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Xiaoling Shu


  • Ph.D., Sociology, University of Minnesota, 1997
  • M.S., Computer & Information Science, University of Minnesota, 1997
  • B.A., English and Economics, Beijing Foreign Studies University, 1990


Xiaoling Shu’s research focuses on the impacts of two of the most profound events of our times – market transition and globalization – on gender inequalities (both in the labor market and within the family), subjective sense of well-being, and gender, family, marriage, and sexual attitudes. Her analysis is both country specific (China) and cross-national.

Professor Shu’s current book project is on data mining as a multi-disciplinary field at the confluence of statistics, computer science, machine learning, artificial intelligence, database technology, and pattern recognition. With the rise of big data and the enormous wealth of information and knowledge buried in the data mine, using data mining technologies to discover interesting, meaningful, and robust patterns has become increasingly important in the research process. The availability of huge amounts of data provides unprecedented opportunities for new discoveries, as well as challenges. Her book attempts to address these emerging opportunities and challenges.

Research Focus

Social Stratification, Gender, Quantitative Methods, Life Course, Social Demography, Comparative Studies, Computer Simulation, Knowledge Discovery & Data Mining

Expertise in statistical modeling

Confirmatory factor analysis, structural equation models, multilevel linear and nonlinear models, cross-classified fixed- & random-effect models (age-cohort-period cross classified fixed- & random-effect models), event history analysis (discrete-time event history analysis & Cox regression), and dynamic modeling (partial adjustment models).

M.S. in Computer Science specializing in Artificial Intelligence, knowledge discovery and data mining.

Current Projects

Knowledge Discovery in Social Sciences: A Data Mining Approach.  University of California Press (under contract).

My research focuses on the impacts of two of the most profound events of our times--market transition and globalization--on gender inequalities (both in the labor market and within the family), subjective sense of well-being, and gender, family, marriage and sexual attitudes.  My analysis is both country specific (China) and cross-national.

Circuits of Communication and Gender Ideologies in the Age of Globalization: International Telecommunication Networks and Gender Attitudes across Countries (with George Barnett and Bob Faris)

Scholars have posed different hypotheses on the impact of global telecommunications on value orientations. Some argue that it will lead to a global convergence towards Western values, while others envision that both global influences and local adaptations will jointly form a hybridization or fusion of ideas and perspectives.  We analyze and characterize the global telecommunication network, and test a series of hypotheses on the relationship between location in this network and value convergence/divergence among nations. We test if the influences of the West, with high centrality in the global telecommunication networks, reach other countries throughout a global network or countries are embedded in a “localized” information diffusion network that are likely to share similar value orientations and mutually reinforce each other’s beliefs. We use data at two levels: between‐country telecommunications network data and individual‐level data (N = 70,000) from the World Value Survey.

Mapping Gender Ideologies Globally: Gender Attitudes in 47 Countries.

I analyzes cross-national variations in gender attitudes in 47 countries--beliefs about hierarchical gender equality and perspectives on horizontal separate spheres.  Using data from the World Value Survey of more than 70,000 individuals and a series of multilevel models, I map gender ideologies globally.  To unravel the influences of country characteristics, I examine three explanatory variables: national maternity leave policies and proportion of female chief wage earners, level of economic development and proportion of female primary wage earners.

Cohort Size, Historical Times and Life Chances: The Misfortune of Children of China's Cultural Revolution.

I examine the impact of dual societal transformations on individual life chances in China--the population explosion in 1949-1971 and the Cultural Revolution in 1966-1976.   I estimate the effects of cohort size and coming of age during the Cultural Revolution on individuals’ socioeconomic status and subjective evaluation of life.  I use a series of cross-classified age-period-cohort models to analyze national data of almost 12,000 individual from the 2003 and 2005 China General Social Surveys.

Social Plane: On Leveraging Social Informatics for Cyber Security (with S. Felix Wu, Nicholas A. Palomares, Karl Levitt, Robert Faris)

The core of our research is a reference model to allow us to conduct a multidisciplinary study on social informatics in the context of cyber security. We will analyze and model how a particular content will impact the behavior, influence and community formation under our cyber society. We emphasize not only the privacy issues but also the possibility of leveraging these open social intelligence pieces to defend our cyber society against those highly sophisticated attack plans involving online social informatics themselves.

Selected Publications

Shu, X. (Forthcoming) Knowledge Discovery in Social Sciences: A Data Mining Approach. University of California Press.

Shu, X., Zhu, Y., & Zhang, Z. (2013) Patriarchy, resources and specialization: Marital decision-making power in urban China. Journal of Family Issues 34(7): 885-917. DOI 10.1177/0192513X12450001. Paper in PDF

Shu, X., & Zhu, Y. (2012) Uneven transitions: Cohort- and period-related changes in gender attitudes in China: 1995-2007. Social Science Research 41(5):1100-1115.

Gonzalez, C., Liu, Y., & Shu, X. (2012) The faculty promotion and merit system in China and the United States: The cases of Wuhan University and the University of California, Davis. Center for Studies in Higher Education Research and Occasional Paper Series 13.12, UC Berkeley.

Shu, X., & Zhu, Y. (2009) The quality of life in China. Social Indicators Research 92:191-225 (Lead article in a special issue on quality of life in Confucian Asia).

Shu, X., & Marini, M. M. (2008) Coming of age in changing times: Occupational aspirations of American youth in 1966-80. Research in Social Stratification and Mobility 26(1):29-55.

Shu, X., Zhu, Y., & Zhang, Z. (2007) Global economy and gender inequalities: The case of the Chinese urban labor market. Social Science Quarterly 88(5):1307-32 (special issue on the role of women in a global society).

Shu, X. (2005) Market transition and gender segregation in Urban China. Social Science Quarterly 86(5):1299-1323 (special issue on income/poverty/opportunity).

Shu, X. (2004) Education and gender egalitarianism: The case of China. Sociology of Education 77(4):311-336.

Shu, X., & Bian, Y. (2003) Market transition and gender gap in earnings in urban China. Social Forces 81(4):1107-1145.

Shu, X. (2003) Artificial intelligence, In The Sage Encyclopedia of Social Science Research Methods, M. Lewis‐Beck, A. Bryman, and T. F. Liao (Eds.) Sage Publications.

Shu, X., & Bian, Y. (2002) Intercity variation in gender inequalities in China. Research in Social Stratification and Mobility19:267-307 (Special issue on the future of market transition).