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Tak Wing Chan

Professor of Sociology

Room: Social Sciences Building, D 0.22

Tel: +44(0)24 76
Fax: +44(0)24 76

Advice and Feeback Hours: Thursdays 2-4pm



I am from Hong Kong originally, where I did my first degree in Sociology, Politics and Philosophy at the University of Hong Kong. I then went to Oxford, on a Swire Scholarship, for postgraduate training. My doctoral dissertation was on "Social Mobility in Hong Kong". After finishing my doctorate, I took up a Prize Research Fellowship at Nuffield College, Oxford, and then a Postdoctoral Research Fellowship at the Max Planck Institute for Human Development, Berlin. I have since taught at the Universities of Surrey and Oxford, before I took up my current position as Professor of Sociology and Co-Director of the Warwick Q-Step Centre in January 2015.


I am a quantitative sociologist with very diverse substantive interests. But most of my research falls into three broad areas: (1) Social Stratification and Mobility, (2) Sociology of Cultural Consumption, and (3) Family and the Life Course.

I was the Principal Investigator of several externally funded research projects, including a ESRC/AHRB-funded project on "Social Status, Lifestyle and Cultural Consumption" (with John Goldthorpe), a British Academy-funded project on "Understanding Cultural Omnivores", and a ESRC-funded project on "Intergenerational Relationships in the UK" (with John Ermisch). At the moment, I am involved in a research project, also funded by the ESRC and research councils from other countries, called "Life Course and Family Dynamics in a Comparative Perspective". This project involves multiple research teams from China, the Netherlands, Germany and the UK. We use large scale and nationally representative household panel survey data from these four countries to examine (1) child development and education, (2) the transition to adulthood, (3) mid-life economic risks and well-being, and (4) later-life intergenerational exchange. I am the PI of the UK team, focussing on the third theme of the overall project.

Apart from these funded research projects, I am also involved with many colleagues on other smaller scale studies (maybe some of them will become bigger projects later on). These include a paper on "Family Size and Educational Attainment in England and Wales" (with Morag Henderson and Rachel Stuchbury) which is based on data from the ONS Longitudinal Study (i.e. linked census data). With Alex Upfill-Brown, I am working on a paper on "The Social Gradients of Autism Spectrum Disorders in England". In this paper, we analyse data from the National Pupil Database.


In term 1 of the 2015-16 academic year, I will be teaching the second year module, "Practice of Quantitative Methods".

PhD Supervision

I am keen to work with doctoral students who use quantitative methods and large scale survey or administrative data to address sociological questions of substantive interests and policy relevance. Being quite eclectic in my own research, I am fairly open-minded about your substantive topics, so long as they are well defined and answerable.

Key Publications

Chan, T.W. ed. 2010. Social Status and Cultural Consumption. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Recent Journal Articles

Chan, T.W. and Ermisch, J. (2015) Proximity of couples to parents: influences of gender, labor market and family. Demography. 52:379-399.

Chan, T.W. and Boliver, V. (2014) Social mobility over three generations in Finland: a critique. European Sociological Review. 30:13-17.

Chan, T.W. and Boliver, V. (2013) The grandparents effect in social mobility: evidence from British birth cohort studies. American Sociological Review. 78:662-678.

Chan, T.W., Birkelund, G.E., Aas, A.K., and Wiborg, Ø. (2011) Social status in Norway. European Sociological Review. 27:451-468.

Chan, T.W. and Koo, A. (2011) Parenting styles and youth outcomes in the UK. European Sociological Review. 27:385-399.