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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 and ongoing research, and other writing.

** On leave for the 2021–22 academic year **

Research Focus

Ryan Finnigan uses quantitative methods to study three general topics:

  • Homelessness, poverty, and material hardship in the US and internationally
  • Labor markets in the US, focusing on (a) unstable work hours/schedules and (b) disparities by sexual orientation
  • Social policy and public attitudes internationally

Selected Publications

Ryan Finnigan. 2021. “The Growth and Shifting Spatial Distribution of Tent Encampments in Oakland, California.” The ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science (pre-print pdf)

Ryan Finnigan. 2021. "Self-Reported Impacts of the COVID-19 Pandemic for People Experiencing Homelessness in Sacramento, California" Journal of Social Distress and Homelessness (open-access link)

David Brady, Ryan Finnigan, Ulrich Kohler, Joscha Legewie. 2020. “The Inheritance of Race Revisited: Childhood Wealth and Income, and Black-White Disadvantages in Adult Life Chances.” Sociological Science 7: 599-627 (open-acess link)

Ryan Finnigan. 2020. “Rainbow-Collar Jobs? Occupational Segregation by Sexual Orientation in the United States.” Socius 6:1-17 (open-access link)

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)

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)


Professor Finnigan regularly teaches Soc 3: Social Problems, 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, 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. In Soc 159: Work & Employment, Prof. Finnigan teaches about contemporary social forces affecting workers. Students produce a research paper examining those forces in a specific occupation.