Habinek studies the effects of technological innovation on inequality, and is particularly interested in higher education. His dissertation examines conflicts over public and professional control of the life sciences during the nineteenth century in Germany, Britain, and the United States. He also studies how commercialization has reshaped contemporary American universities. In the past he has explored the rise of the global mortgage-backed securities market and innovation among early American magazine entrepreneurs.
Illuminates the case of US higher education, we consider financialization as both increasing reliance on financial investment returns and increasing costs from transactions to acquire capital. Discusses the implications of the findings for resource allocation, organizational governance and stratification among colleges and households.