The 1997 ASA Dissertation Award winner was Dalton Conley for his dissertation entitled, “Being Black, Living in the Red: Wealth and the Cycle of Racial Inequality.” The research was funded by a National Science Foundation Dissertation Research Grant. The Department of Sociology at Columbia University awarded him distinction for his dissertation, an honor only rarely conferred by the University.
Dalton Conley’s dissertation analyses current wealth differences between blacks and whites in the United States using the Panel Study of Income Dynamics. He finds that the source of racial wealth discrepancies lies not in educational, occupational, or income inequality but in the dynamics of race and property relations. This inequality in property relations accounts for racial inequality in other areas of life. The Committee saw Dalton Conley’s dissertation as an outstanding work, both original and creative, that was theory-driven, meticulous, and maintained high standards of our craft. The design of the study was evaluated as tight and ingenious, and the findings were seen as having important theoretical and policy implications. In 1996-97, Dalton was a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Scholar in Health Policy at the University of California at Berkeley . He has just joined the department of sociology at Yale University as an assistant professor.