Frank Dobbin received his B.A. from Oberlin College in 1980 and his Ph.D. from Stanford University in 1987. Dobbin studies organizations, inequality, economic behavior, and public policy. His Inventing Equal Opportunity (Princeton 2009) shows how corporate personnel managers defined what it meant to discriminate. With Alexandra Kalev, he is developing an evidence-based approach to diversity management. Innovations that make managers part of the solution, such as mentoring programs, diversity taskforces, and special recruitment programs, have helped to promote diversity in firms, while programs signaling that managers are part of the problem, such as diversity training and diversity performance evaluations, have not. These findings have been covered by The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Boston Globe, Le Monde, CNN, and National Public Radio.
Professor Dobbin's work in economic sociology generally is both historical and contemporary. His Forging Industrial Policy: United States, Britain, and France in the Railway Age (Cambridge 1994), traces nations' modern industrial strategies to early differences in their political systems. The New Economic Sociology: A Reader (Princeton 2004) assembles classics in economic sociology. The Sociology of the Economy (Russell Sage 2004) compiles research in economic sociology from leading scholars. The Global Diffusion of Markets and Democracy (Cambridge 2008) explores the rise of neoliberal policies in the post-war period. Stanford's Organization Theory Renaissance, 1970-2000 (Emerald 2010) is a modern-day Rashomon about the revival of organizational studies in Palo Alto after 1970.