Dalton Conley is the Henry Putnam University Professor in Sociology and a faculty affiliate at the Office of Population Research and the Center for Health and Wellbeing. He is also a Research Associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research. In a pro bono capacity, he serves as Dean of Health Sciences for the University of the People, a tuition-free, accredited, online college committed to expanding higher education access.
Conley’s scholarship has primarily dealt with the intergenerational transmission of socioeconomic and health status from parents to children. This focus has led him to study: the impact of parental wealth in explaining racial attainment gaps; the causal impact of birth weight (as a heuristic for the literal overlap of the generations) on later health and educational outcomes; sibling differences that appear to reflect the triumph of achievement over ascription (but which may, in fact, merely reflect within-family stratification processes); and, finally, genetics as a driver of both social mobility and reproduction.
He earned an M.P.A. in Public Policy and a Ph.D. in Sociology from Columbia University, and a Ph.D. in Biology from New York University.
His books include Being Black, Living in the Red; The Starting Gate; Honky; The Pecking Order; You May Ask Yourself; Elsewhere, USA; Parentology; and The Genome Factor. He has been the recipient of Guggenheim, Wilson Center, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and Russell Sage Foundation fellowships and a CAREER Award and the Alan T. Waterman Award from the National Science Foundation. He is an elected fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and an elected member of the National Academy of Sciences.