Dalton Conley

Position
Henry Putnam Professor of Sociology
Role
Faculty affiliate, The Bendheim-Thomas Center for Research on Child Wellbeing
Phone
Office
157 Wallace Hall
Degrees

Ph.D. Biology (Genomics)
New York University, School of Arts and Sciences, 2014

Advisee(s):
Bio/Description

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 (NBER), and 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 access to higher education.  

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 (among other topics): the impact of parental wealth in explaining racial attainment gaps; the causal impact of birthweight (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 a M.P.A. in Public Policy (1992) and a Ph.D. in Sociology (1996) from Columbia University, and a Ph.D. in Biology from NYU in 2014. His books include Being Black, Living in the Red; The Starting GateHonky; The Pecking Order; You May Ask YourselfElsewhere, USA;Parentology; and The Genome Factor. He 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 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.

Selected Publications

Conley, D. (2020). Toward a two-dimensional conception of socioeconomic status for health policy. Milbank Quarterly Opinion, December 17 doi:https://doi.org/10.1599/mqop.2020.1217

Conley, D. (2020). Who you gonna call? COVID-19 and the future of telemedicine. Milbank Quarterly Opinion, July 15 doi:https://doi.org/10.1599/mqop.2020.0715

Conley, D., & Schanzenbach, D. W. (2020). Invest in school-based health centers to improve child health. Milbank Quarterly Opinion, December 23 doi:https://doi.org/10.1599/mqop.2020.1224

Johnson, T., Dawes, C. T., & Conley, D. (2020). How does a statistician raise an army? the time when john W. tukey, a team of luminaries, and a statistics graduate student repaired the vietnam selective service lotteries. The American Statistician, 74(2), 190. doi:DOI: 10.1080/00031305.2019.1677267

McMartin, A., & Conley, D. (2020). Commentary: Mendelian randomization and education-challenges remain. International Journal of Epidemiology, 49(1), 1193. doi:doi: 10.1093/ije/dyaa160
PMID: 33029641

McMartin, A., & Conley, D. (2020). Commentary: Mendelian randomization and education–Challenges remain  . International Journal of Epidemiology, 49(4), 1193. doi:https://doi.org/10.1093/ije/dyaa160

Mostafavi, H., Harpak, A., Agarwal, I., Conley, D., Pritchard, J. K., & Przeworski, M. (2020). Variable prediction accuracy of polygenic scores within an ancestry group. Elife, 9, e48376. doi:https://doi.org/10.7554/eLife.48376
PMCID7067566

Conley, D. (2019). From fraternities to DNA: The challenge genetic prediction poses to insurance markets. The Milbank Quarterly, 97(1), 40. doi:https://doi.org/10.1111/1468-0009.12365
PMCID6422604

Conley, D., & Johnson, T. (2019). Deaths of despair: Lessons from the vietnam draft lottery. The Milbank Quarterly, 97(4), 914. doi:https://doi.org/10.1111/1468-0009.12423
PMCID6904253

Conley, D., Siegal, M. L., Domingue, B. W., Harris, K. M., McQueen, M. B., & Boardman, J. D. (2019). Author correction: Testing the key assumption of heritability estimates based on genome-wide genetic relatedness. Journal of Human Genetics, 64(6), 597. doi:doi: 10.1038/s10038-019-0593-5
PMID: 30940889

Conley, D., Sotoudeh, R., & Laidley, T. M. (2019). Birth weight and development: Bias or heterogeneity by polygenic risk factors?
. Population Research and Policy Review, 38(6), 811. doi:DOI: 10.1007/s11113-019-09559-6

Johnson, T., & Conley, D. (2019). Civilian public sector employment as a long-run outcome of military conscription. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 116(43), 21456. doi:https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1908983116
PMCID7067566

Laidley, T., Domingue, B., Sinsub, P., Harris, K. M., & Conley, D. (2019). New evidence of skin color bias and health outcomes using sibling difference models: A research note. Demography, 56(2), 753.
PMCID6449491

Sotoudeh, R., Harris, K. M., & Conley, D. (2019). Effects of the peer metagenomic environment on smoking behavior . Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 116(33), 16302. doi:https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1806901116
PMCID6697801

Tchernichovski, O., & Conley, D. (2019). A genetically tailored education for birds. Nature, 575(7782), 290. doi:doi: 10.1038/d41586-019-03416-4
PMID: 31712705

Tchernichovski, O., Parra, L. C., Fimiarz, D., Lotem, A., & Conley, D. (2019). Crowd wisdom enhanced by costly signaling in a virtual rating system . Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 116(15), 7256. doi:https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1817392116
PMCID6462092

Belsky, D. W., Domingue, B. W., Wedow, R., Arseneault, L., Boardman, J. D., Caspi, A., . . . Harris, K. M. (2018). Genetic analysis of social-class mobility in five longitudinal studies. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 115(46), E10998. doi:https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1801238115
PMCID6077729

Conley, D., Johnson, R., Domingue, B., Dawes, C., Boardman, J., & Siegal, M. L. (2018). Correction: A sibling method for identifying vQTLs. PloS One, 13(5), e0196881. doi:https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0196881
PMCID5929535

Conley, D., Johnson, R., Domingue, B., Dawes, C., Boardman, J., & Siegal, M. L. (2018). A sibling method for identifying vQTLs. PloS One, 13(4), e0194541. doi:https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0194541
PMCID5884517

Conley, D., & Zhang, S. (2018). The promise of genes for understanding cause and effect. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 115(22), 5626. doi:https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1805585115
PMCID5984546

Domingue, B. W., Belsky, D. W., Fletcher, J. M., Conley, D., Boardman, J. D., & Harris, K. M. (2018). The social genome of friends and schoolmates in the national longitudinal study of adolescent to adult health. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 115(4), 702. doi:https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1711803115
PMCID5789914

Domingue, B. W., Rehkopf, D. H., Conley, D., & Boardman, J. D. (2018). Geographic clustering of polygenic scores at different stages of the life course. The Russell Sage Foundation Journal of the Social Sciences, 4(4), 137. doi:https://doi.org/10.7758/rsf.2018.4.4.08
PMCID6368254

Laidley, T., & Conley, D. (2018). The effects of active and passive leisure on cognition in children: Evidence from exogenous variation in weather. Social Forces, 97(1), 129. doi:https://doi.org/10.1093/sf/soy020

Lee, J. J., ...Conley, D., & et, a. (2018). Gene discovery and polygenic prediction from a genome-wide association study of educational attainment in 1.1 million individuals. Nature Genetics, 50(8), 1112. doi:doi:10.1038/s41588-018-0147-3
PMCID6393768

Conley, D. (2017). The challenges of GxE: Commentary on "genetic endowments, parental resources and adult health: Evidence from the young Finns Study". Social Science & Medicine, 188, 201. doi:doi: 10.1016/j.socscimed.2017.06.040
PMID: 28689629

Domingue, B. W., Belsky, D. W., Harrati, A., Conley, D., Weir, D. R., & Boardman, J. D. (2017). Mortality selection in a genetic sample and implications for association studies. International Journal of Epidemiology, 46(4), 1285. doi:https://doi.org/10.1093/ije/dyx041
PMCID5837559

McCord, G. C., Conley, D., & Sachs, J. D. (2017). Malaria ecology, child mortality & fertility. Economics and Human Biology, 24, 1. doi:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ehb.2016.10.011
PMCID6124668

Schmitz, L. L., & Conley, D. (2017). The effect of vietnam-era conscription and genetic potential for educational attainment on schooling outcomes. Economics of Education Review, 61, 85. doi:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.econedurev.2017.10.001
PMCID5785107

Schmitz, L., & Conley, D. (2017). Modeling gene-environment interactions with quasi-natural experiments. Journal of Personalized Medicine, 85(1), 10.
PMID: 26340722

Tchernichovski, O., Feher, O., Fimiarz, D., & Conley, D. (2017). How social learning adds up to a culture: From birdsong to human public opinion. The Journal of Experimental Biology, 220(Pt 1), 124. doi:https://doi.org/10.1242/jeb.142786
PMCID5278621

Conley, D., & Domingue, B. (2016). The bell curve revisited: Testing controversial hypotheses with molecular genetic data. Sociological Science, 3, 520. doi:https://doi.org/10.15195/v3.a23
PMCID5679002

Conley, D., Laidley, T. M., Boardman, J. D., & Domingue, B. W. (2016). Changing polygenic penetrance on phenotypes in the 20(th) century among adults in the US population. Scientific Reports, 6, 30348. doi:https://doi.org/10.1038/srep30348
PMCID4960614

Conley, D., Laidley, T., Belsky, D. W., Fletcher, J. M., Boardman, J. D., & Domingue, B. W. (2016). Assortative mating and differential fertility by phenotype and genotype across the 20th century . Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 113(24), 6647. doi:https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1523592113
PMCID4914190

Conley, D., & Malaspina, D. (2016). Socio-genomics and structural competency. Journal of Bioethical Inquiry, 13(2), 193. doi:doi: 10.1007/s11673-016-9716-2
PMID: 27251402.

Conley, D., & Sotoudeh, R. (2016). Genotyping the dead: Using offspring as proxy to estimate the genetic correlation of education and longevity. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 113(47), 13269. doi:https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1616274113
PMCID5127308

Domingue, B. W., Conley, D., Fletcher, J., & Boardman, J. D. (2016). Cohort effects in the genetic influence on smoking. Behavior Genetics, 46(1), 31. doi:https://doi.org/10.1007/s10519-015-9731-9
PMCID4720550

Domingue, B. W., Wedow, R., Conley, D., McQueen, M., Hoffmann, T. J., & Boardman, J. D. (2016). Genome-wide estimates of heritability for social demographic outcomes. Biodemography and Social Biology, 62(1), 1. doi:https://doi.org/10.1080/19485565.2015.1068106
PMCID4918078

Okbay, A., ... Conley, D., & et, a. (2016). Genetic variants associated with subjective well-being, depressive symptoms, and neuroticism identified through genome-wide analyses. Nature Genetics, 48(6), 624. doi:doi:10.1038/ng.3552
PMCID4884152

Okbay, A., Beauchamp, J. P., Fontana, M. A., Lee, J. J., Pers, T. H., Rietveld, C. A., . . . … Benjamin, D. J. (2016). Genome-wide association study identifies 74 loci associated with educational attainment. Nature, 533(7604), 539. doi:https://doi.org/10.1038/nature17671
PMCID4883595

Peng, X., & Conley, D. (2016). The implication of health insurance for child development and maternal nutrition: Evidence from china. The European Journal of Health Economics, 17(5), 521. doi:doi: 10.1007/s10198-015-0696-7
PMID: 26024841

Schmitz, L., & Conley, D. (2016). The long-term consequences of vietnam-era conscription and genotype on smoking behavior and health. Behavior Genetics, 46(1), 43. doi:doi: 10.1007/s10519-015-9739-1
PMID: 26341507

Conley, D., Domingue, B. W., Cesarini, D., Dawes, C., Rietveld, C. A., & Boardman, J. D. (2015). Is the effect of parental education on offspring biased or moderated by genotype? Sociological Science, 2(6), 82. doi:https://doi.org/10.15195/v2.a6
PMCID5644503

Domingue, B. W., Belsky, D., Conley, D., Harris, K. M., & Boardman, J. D. (2015). Polygenic influence on educational attainment: New evidence from the national longitudinal study of adolescent to adult health. AERA Open, 1(3), 1. doi:https://doi.org/10.1177/2332858415599972
PMCID5291340

Rauscher, E., Conley, D., & Siegal, M. L. (2015). Sibling genes as environment: Sibling dopamine genotypes and adolescent health support frequency dependent selection. Social Science Research, 54, 209. doi:doi: 10.1016/j.ssresearch.2015.08.002
PMID: 26463544

Conley, D., Siegal, M. L., Domingue, B. W., Mullan Harris, K., McQueen, M. B., & Boardman, J. D. (2014). Testing the key assumption of heritability estimates based on genome-wide genetic relatedness . Journal of Human Genetics, 59(6), 342. doi:https://doi.org/10.1038/jhg.2014.14
PMCID4126504

Domingue, B. W., Fletcher, J. M., Conley, D., & Boardman, J. D. (2014). Reply to abdellaoui et al.: Interpreting GAM. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 111(40), E4138. doi:https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1413105111
PMCID4210049

Domingue, B. W., Fletcher, J., Conley, D., & Boardman, J. D. (2014). Genetic and educational assortative mating among US adults. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 111(22), 7996. doi:https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1321426111
PMCID4050565

Moran, E. F., Hofferth, S. L., Eckel, C. C., Hamilton, D., Entwisle, B., Aber, J. L., . . . Scholz, J. T. (2014). Opinion: Building a 21st-century infrastructure for the social sciences. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 111(45), 15855. doi:https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1416561111
PMCID4234554

Rietveld, C. A., Esko, T., Davies, G., ...Conley, D., & et, a. (2014). Common genetic variants associated with cognitive performance identified using the proxy-phenotype method [published correction appears in proc natl acad sci U S A.]. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 111(38), 13790. doi:doi:10.1073/pnas.1404623111
PMCID4183313

Rietveld, C. A., Conley, D., Eriksson, N., & et, a. (2014). Replicability and robustness of genome-wide-association studies for behavioral traits. Psychological Science, 25(11), 1975. doi:doi:10.1177/0956797614545132
PMCID4375246

Conley, D., Rauscher, E., Dawes, C., Magnusson, P. K., & Siegal, M. L. (2013). Heritability and the equal environments assumption: Evidence from multiple samples of misclassified twins. Behavior Genetics, 43(5), 415. doi:doi: 10.1007/s10519-013-9602-1
PMID: 23903437

Conley, D., & Rauscher, E. (2013). Genetic interactions with prenatal social environment: Effects on academic and behavioral outcomes. Journal of Health and Social Behavior, 54(1), 109. doi:doi: 10.1177/0022146512473758
PMID: 23475742

Conley, D., Rauscher, E., & Siegal, M. L. (2013). Beyond orchids and dandelions: Testing the 5-HTT "risky" allele for evidence of phenotypic capacitance and frequency-dependent selection. Biodemography and Social Biology, 59(1), 37. doi:https://doi.org/10.1080/19485565.2013.774620
PMCID3690663

Fletcher, J. M., & Conley, D. (2013). The challenge of causal inference in gene-environment interaction research: Leveraging research designs from the social sciences. American Journal of Public Health, 103(Suppl 1), S42. doi:https://doi.org/10.2105/AJPH.2013.301290
PMCID3786757

Heerwig, J. A., & Conley, D. (2013). The causal effects of vietnam-era military service on post-war family dynamics. Social Science Research, 42(2), 299. doi:doi: 10.1016/j.ssresearch.2012.11.003
PMID: 23347477

Rietveld, C. A., ...Conley, D., & et, a. (2013). “GWAS of 126,559 individuals identifies genetic variants associated with educational attainment.”(new york, N.Y.). Science, 340,6139, 1467. doi:doi:10.1126/science.1235488
PMCID3751588

Benjamin, D. J., Cesarini, D., van der Loos, M. J., Dawes, C. T., Koellinger, P. D., Magnusson, P. K., . . . Visscher, P. M. (2012). The genetic architecture of economic and political preferences. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 109(21), 8026. doi:https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1120666109
PMCID3361436

Conley, D., & Heerwig, J. (2012). The long-term effects of military conscription on mortality: Estimates from the vietnam-era draft lottery. Demography, 49(3), 841. doi:doi: 10.1007/s13524-012-0103-2
PMID: 22544704

Conley, D., & McCabe, B. J. (2012). Bribery or just desserts? evidence on the influence of congressional reproductive policy voting patterns on PAC contributions from exogenous variation in the sex mix of legislator offspring. Social Science Research, 41(1), 120. doi:doi: 10.1016/j.ssresearch.2011.09.005
PMID: 23017701

Conley, D., & Strully, K. W. (2012). Birth weight, infant mortality, and race: Twin comparisons and genetic/environmental inputs. Social Science & Medicine, 75(12), 2446. doi:doi: 10.1016/j.socscimed.2012.09.024
PMID: 23083893

Conley, D. (2011). Commentary: Reading plomin and daniels in the post-genomic age. International Journal of Epidemiology, 40(3), 596. doi:doi: 10.1093/ije/dyq146
PMID: 21807645

Conley, D. (2011). Wired for distraction? like it or not, social media are reprogramming our children's brains. what's a good parent to do? . Time, 21;177(7), 55.
PMID: 21413540

Conley, D. (2009). The promise and challenges of incorporating genetic data into longitudinal social science surveys and research. Biodemography and Social Biology, 55(2), 238. doi:doi: 10.1080/19485560903415807
PMID: 20183907

Yeung, W. J., & Conley, D. (2008). Black-white achievement gap and family wealth. Child Development Perspectives, 79(2), 3030. doi:doi: 10.1111/j.1467-8624.2007.01127.x
PMID: 18366425

Conley, D., & Glauber, R. (2007). Gender, body mass, and socioeconomic status: New evidence from the PSID. Advances in Health Economics and Health Services Research, 17, 253.
PMID: 19548555

Conley, D., Strully, K. W., & Bennett, N. G. (2006). Twin differences in birth weight: The effects of genotype and prenatal environment on neonatal and post-neonatal mortality. Economics & Human Biology, 4(2), 151. doi:doi: 10.1016/j.ehb.2005.12.001.
PMID: 16439189

Strully, K. W., & Conley, D. (2004). Reconsidering risk: Adapting public policies to intergenerational determinants and biosocial interactions in health-related needs. Journal of Health Politics, Policy and Law, 6, 1073. doi:doi: 10.1215/03616878-29-6-1073
PMID: 15688578

Conley, D., & Bennett, N. G. (2002). Outcomes in young adulthood for very-low-birth-weight infants. New England Journal of Medicine, 11,347(2), 141.
PMID: 12116997