Margaret Boittin’s research explores how marginalized individuals perceive their relationships to the laws and institutions that govern their behavior, and how government officials regulate the lives of such vulnerable populations. Her work examines law, society, and the state in mainland China, Hong Kong, and Nepal.
Professor Boittin is currently completing a book manuscript on the regulation of prostitution in China, under contract with Cambridge University Press. It examines on-the-ground interactions between sex workers, police officers, and health officials, through ethnographic research and surveys. She also conducts research on human trafficking and forced labor in Nepal and Hong Kong. This work uses randomized controlled trials to examine the impact of awareness-raising campaigns on attitudes and behaviors pertaining to vulnerability to human trafficking. In addition, she is studying the Chinese bureaucracy through a survey of over 2,000 civil servants. She has been working and conducting research in China since 2001.
Her research has been supported by Humanity United, the US Department of Labor, USAID, the National Science Foundation, Stanford University, and UC Berkeley.
Her work has been published in Law & Society Review and Law & Policy. She teaches in the areas of Property Law, Research Methods, and Chinese Law.