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Ryan Finnigan


  • Ph.D., Sociology, Duke University, 2013
  • M.A., Sociology, Duke University, 2010
  • B.A., Sociology, Indiana University, 2007
  • B.S., Mathematics, Indiana University, 2007


Ryan Finnigan is an associate professor of sociology at UC Davis, and an affiliate of the UC Davis Center for Poverty Research. Please see his website (www.ryanmfinnigan.com) for more information on his teaching, published research (including replication packages), and ongoing research .

Research Focus

Ryan Finnigan studies poverty, class and racial inequality, and social mobility. He uses quantitative methods to study four topics:

  • Labor market inequality in the US, focusing on (a) earnings inequalities and (b) unstable work hours/schedules
  • Poverty and hardship in US and cross-nationally
  • Intergenerational mobility in the US
  • Social policy and public attitudes cross-nationally

Selected Publications

Tarik Abou-Chadi and Ryan Finnigan. 2019. “Rights for Same-Sex Couples and Attitudes toward Gays and Lesbians in Europe.” Comparative Political Studies 52(6): 868-895 (PDF)

Ryan Finnigan and Kelsey D. Meagher. 2019 “Past Due: Combinations of Housing and Utility Hardships in the United States.” Sociological Perspectives 62(1): 96–119 (PDF)

Ryan Finnigan and Savannah Hunter. 2018. "Occupational Composition and Racial/Ethnic Inequalities in Varying Weekly Work Hours," pp.165-193 in Research in the Sociology of Work, vol. 32, edited by Ethel Mickey and Adia Harvey Wingfield. (PDF)

Ryan Finnigan. 2018. "Varying Weekly Work Hours and Earnings Instability in the Great Recession." Social Science Research 74: 96-107  (PDF)

Bill McCarthy, Angela Carter, Mikael Janson, Cecilia Benoit, & Ryan Finnigan. 2018. "Poverty, Material Hardship, and Mental Health among Workers in Three Frontline Service Occupations." Journal of Poverty 22(4): 334-354

Ryan Finnigan & Jo Mhairi Hale. 2018. "Working 9 to 5? Union Membership and Work Hours and Schedules." Social Forces 4(1):1541–1568 (PDF)

David Brady, Ryan Finnigan, & Sabine Huebgen. 2017. "Rethinking the Risks of Poverty: A Framework for Analyzing Prevalences and Penalties." American Journal of Sociology 123(3):740-786 (PDF)

Ryan Finnigan. 2014. "Racial and Ethnic Stratification in the Relationship between Homeownership and Self-Rated Health." Social Science & Medicine 115:72-81 (PDF)

David Brady & Ryan Finnigan. 2014. "Does Immigration Undermine Support for Social Policy?" American Sociological Review 79(1):17-42 (PDF)

David Brady, Regina Baker, & Ryan Finnigan. 2013. "When Unionization Disappears: State-Level Unionization and Working Poverty in the U.S." American Sociological Review 78(5):872-896 (PDF)


Professor Finnigan regularly teaches Soc 3: Social Problems (syllabus), which surveys several large social issues like poverty, gender pay disparities, and racial/ethnic residential segregation. The course also focuses on bridging “common sense” understandings of these issues with social scientific research. He also regularly teaches Soc 46B (syllabus), an introductory statistics course. The course teaches students to apply quantitative data and methods to research questions about social inequality and to evaluate published quantitative studies.