Nicole E. Esparza

Nicole E. Esparza

Assistant Professor

Ph.D. in Sociology
Princeton University

Sol Price School of Public Policy
Ralph and Goldy Lewis Hall, 208
Curriculum Vitae 



Nonprofit organizations, networks, philanthropy, and urban inequality


IMG_3150-130x180Dr. Esparza is an assistant professor at the USC Sol Price School of Public Policy. She teaches courses on public policy and management and program evaluation.

Nicole’s past research examined homeless assistance nonprofits in twenty-six metropolitan areas with a special focus on organizational networks in Los Angeles, Detroit, and Philadelphia. Her current research asks two major questions: How do social, economic, and political forces shape the size and growth of the urban nonprofit sector? How do interorganizational dynamics influence the effectiveness and distribution of services?

Dr. Esparza received her Ph.D. in Sociology from Princeton and a B.A. in Sociology from the University of California, Berkeley. Before arriving at USC, Esparza held the Robert Wood Johnson Scholar in Health Policy Research at Harvard University. She is also an Associate and Scholar at the Institute for Research on Poverty at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

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Suárez, D., & Esparza, N. (2017). Institutional Change and Management of Public–Nonprofit Partnerships. The American Review of Public Administration, 47(6), 648–660.

Esparza, Nicole, Edward T. Walker, and Gabriel Rossman. “Trade Associations and the Legitimation of Entrepreneurial Movements: Collective Action in the Emerging Gourmet Food Truck Industry.” Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly 43.2 (2014): 143S-62S.

Esparza, N., & Weare, C. (Forthcoming). Meet up or Move on? How Culture Impacts Norms of Collective Action. Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly.

Esparza, N., Walker, E. T., & Rossman, G. (2014). Trade Associations and the Legitimation of Entrepreneurial Movements: Collective Action in the Emerging Gourmet Food Truck Industry. Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, 43(2), 143S-162S.

Weare, C., Lichterman, P., & Esparza, N. (2014). Collaboration and Culture: Organizational Culture and the Dynamics of Collaborative Policy Networks. Policy Studies Journal, 42(4), 590-619.

Esparza, N., & Jeon, S. H. (2013). Interlocking Boards of Trustees and Grant Acquisition among Homeless Service Organizations. Public Performance & Management Review, 36(4), 637-664.