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 earned his PhD in sociology from Columbia University in 1996 and a PhD in Biology (Genomics) from NYU in 2014. His research focuses on how socio-economic status and health are transmitted across generations and on the public policies that affect those processes. He studies sibling differences in socioeconomic success; racial inequalities; the measurement of class; and how health and biology affect (and are affected by) social position. His publications include Being Black, Living in the Red; The Starting Gate; Honky; The Pecking Order; You May Ask Yourself; and Parentology. He is a Research Associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research and has been the recipient of Guggenheim, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and Russell Sage Foundation fellowships as well as a CAREER award and the Alan T. Waterman Award of the National Science Foundation.
His current work applies econometric methods for causal inference--namely, a natural experiment framework--to genome-wide data available in social surveys to model gene-by-environment interaction effects. Examples in this vein include deploying the Vietnam draft lottery, twin differences in birth weight, exogenous job loss (such as plant closure), and sibling differences in genotype (polygenic scores) to questions of health, development and socioeconomic attainment across the life course. He is also interested in mapping the genetic architecture of phenotypic plasticity, interrogating the assumptions underlying models for heritability, and characterizing social and genetic sorting as distinct processes.