Hans' research seeks to understand the causes and consequences of political inequality. He is currently working on a book project linking political inequality in advanced democratic societies to domestic migration. The book argues that domestic migration has important yet under-researched consequences for democratic governance and stability because migrants differ in important political ways from non-migrants.
In his other work, Hans asks how citizens can influence politics in closed authoritarian regimes. Drawing on in-depth archival research on the former German Democratic Republic, Hans identifies little-acknowledged ways through which citizens can still influence politics despite extreme political inequality. Moreover, in his research on unauthorized immigrants in the United States, Hans studies inequality from the perspective of a marginalized community. This work seeks to understand how unauthorized immigrants navigate life while being politically disenfranchised.
Hans’ research has been published or is forthcoming at The American Political Science Review, the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the Journal of Politics, the European Political Science Review, Democratization, and the Journal of Economics, Race, and Policy, among others.