Rourke O’Brien

Rourke O'Brien's picture
Associate Professor of Sociology; Director of Undergraduate Studies
Ph.D. Sociology & Social Policy, Princeton University, 2014
A.B. Social Studies, Harvard University, 2006
Areas of Interest: 
Inequality, Demography, Health, Economic Sociology, Social Policy
493 College Street, Room 309
Phone number: 

Rourke O’Brien is on sabbatical for the fall 2024 semester.


Office Hours:


Rourke O’Brien is a sociologist and social demographer. His research focuses on the causes and consequences of social and economic inequalities with substantive interests in taxation, household finance, and population health. Current projects examine: the interplay between health and intergenerational economic mobility; inequality, demography and the structure of subnational tax systems; and how social context influences financial decision-making. He is coauthor of Taxing the Poor (UC Press) and his research has appeared in academic journals including the American Journal of Sociology, Social Forces, and Demography and his policy writing has appeared in the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, and Washington Post

Before coming to Yale, Rourke was an assistant professor of public affairs at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He also previously served as a Senior Policy Advisor at the U.S. Department of the Treasury and completed a postdoctoral fellowship as a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Health & Society Scholar at Harvard University. Rourke received his B.A. from Harvard University and his Ph.D. in Sociology & Social Policy from Princeton University.