Wendy Y. Li

Postdoctoral Fellow

Wendy Y. Li is a political sociologist studying interest groups and political networks. Her research examines how policy professionals navigate their careers between public, private, and nonprofit organizations, and the consequences of these career trajectories for interest group influence and democratic engagement. Li uses multiple methods to investigate political life in Washington, D.C., including sequence analysis, network analysis, participant observation, and interviews. Her dissertation proposes a cultural and relational framework for measuring and understanding how revolving doors between government and lobbying impact individual careers and organizational behavior. Through an analysis of revolving doors and interest groups involved in U.S. trade policymaking, Li illustrates how the everyday lives and relationships of political elites shape macro-level economic and political institutions. 

In addition to her ongoing work on the revolving door, Li has written about regulatory capture, culture, and technology policy. Her work is published in Socio-Economic Review, the Yale Journal of Regulation blog, and The Hill, has received awards from the American Sociological Association’s sections on Political Sociology and Organizations, Occupations, and Work, and was featured in the New York Times and The American Prospect. 

Li holds a Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and an A.B. in international affairs from Princeton University. Prior to academia, she worked at the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative.