Jacob Habinek

Postdoctoral Researcher, Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies, Max Planck Society

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About Jacob

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.


In the News

Research discussed by "The Financialization of U.S. Higher Education," Debt & Society, February 2016.
Research discussed by Josh Freedman, in "The Hidden College Problem: When Universities, Not Just Students, Take On Debt," Forbes, March 19, 2014.
Opinion: "Prop. 30 Funds Will Go to Wall Street," Jacob Habinek (with Adam Goldstein), San Francisco Chronicle, November 13, 2012.


"Swapping Our Future: How Students and Taxpayers are Funding Risky UC Borrowing and Wall Street Profits" (with Charlie Eaton, Mukul Kumar, Tamera Lee Stover, and Alex Roehrkasse). Berkeley Journal of Sociology (forthcoming).

Examines the role of interest rate swaps in the University of California’s massive expansion of borrowing from Wall Street over the last decade, and highlights the costs to students and taxpayers of UC’s interest rate swaps and debt-driven profit strategies.

"The Financialization of U.S. Higher Education" (with Charlie Eaton, Adam Goldstein, Cyrus Dioun, Daniela Garcia Santibáñez Godoy, and Robert Osley-Thomas). Socio-Economic Review (2016): 1-29.

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.

"How Entrepreneurship Evolves: The Founders of New Magazines in America, 1741–1860" (with Heather A. Haveman and Leo A. Goodman). Administrative Science Quarterly 57 (2012): 585-624.
Crafts a historically sensitive model of entrepreneurship linking individual actors to the evolving social structures they must navigate to acquire resources and launch new ventures.
"Codes of Commerce: The Uses of Business Rhetoric in American Academia, 1960–2000" (with Daniel Lee Kleinman and Steve Vallas), in The American Academic Profession: Transformation in Contemporary Higher Education, edited by Joseph Hermanowicz (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2011), 274-294.
Shows that contrary to commonly held assumptions, commercial discourse has been deeply rooted in academic administration since as early as the 1960s, but was extended beyond purely administrative concerns to faculty research and student learning beginning in the 1980s.