Fabian T. Pfeffer

Faculty Associate, PSC
Research Associate Professor, SRC-PSID
Associate Professor, Sociology
Fabian T. Pfeffer


Fabian Pfeffer received his Ph.D. in sociology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2010 after receiving his undergraduate degree from the University of Cologne, Germany in Social Sciences, Economics, and Sociology. Pfeffer was a faculty research fellow with the Survey Research Center at the University of Michigan Institute for Social Research (ISR) before transitioning to multiple appointments across the University. Today, Dr. Pfeffer is a Research Associate Professor with ISR and an Associate Professor in the Department of Sociology at the University of Michigan.

Pfeffer's main research interests are the comparative study of social inequality and its maintenance across time and generations. Recent projects have investigated the change in wealth inequality during the Great Recession, the relationship between parents' wealth and their children's educational and occupational outcomes (compared both across time and countries), the transmission of inequality across multiple generations in the United States, the role of education in intergenerational social class mobility, international comparisons of educational inequalities, and inequalities in U.S. higher education.

In addition to his academic appointments and independent research, Dr. Pfeffer serves as Co-Investigator of the Panel Study of Income Dynamics, the longest running longitudinal household survey in the world. He also leads the Inequality Lab, a research and training laboratory that investigates the dynamics of social inequality and trains the next generation of inequality scholars. Pfeffer is currently developing the new Center for Inequality Dynamics, which will undertake foundational research on wealth inequality and socioeconomic mobility and produce the data needed to address these topics. Ultimately, Pfeffer hopes to distribute information on the national state of wealth inequality, while rethinking the traditional pedagogical techniques used in the American collegiate classroom. In 2019, Pfeffer won the American Sociological Association's Doris Entwisle Early Career Award for his work in the sociology of education.