Robert J. Sampson

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Robert J. Sampson
Born (1956-07-09) July 9, 1956 (age 61)
Utica, New York, United States
Nationality American
Education University at Buffalo, SUNY
University at Albany, SUNY
Occupation Sociologist
Notable work Great American City: Chicago and the Enduring Neighborhood Effect

Robert J. Sampson (born July 9, 1956 in Utica) is the Henry Ford II Professor of the Social Sciences at Harvard University and Director of the Social Sciences Program at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study. From 2005 through 2010, he served as the Chair of the Department of Sociology. In 2011–2012, he was elected as the President of the American Society of Criminology.


Before joining Harvard, Sampson taught in the Department of Sociology at the University of Chicago for twelve years and before that the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign for seven years.[1] He was a senior research fellow at the American Bar Foundation from 1994–2002, and in the 1997–98 and 2002–03 academic years he was a fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences in Stanford, California. He was elected as a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2005 and a member of the National Academy of Sciences in 2006.

Sampson has published widely in the areas of crime, neighborhood effects, ecometrics, and the social organization of cities. In the area of neighborhood effects and urban studies his work has focused on race/ethnicity and social mechanisms of ecological inequality, immigration and crime, the meanings and implications of "disorder," spatial disadvantage, collective civic engagement, and other topics linked to the general idea of community-level social processes. Much of this work stems from the Project on Human Development in Chicago Neighborhoods (PHDCN) for which Sampson serves as Scientific Director.[2]

Sampson published his first book in 1993, co-authored with John Laub, entitled Crime in the Making: Pathways and Turning Points Through Life, which received the outstanding book award from the American Society of Criminology. The books detailed Sampson's longitudinal study from birth to death of 1,000 disadvantaged men born in Boston during the Great Depression era. A second book from this research, Shared Beginnings, Divergent Lives: Delinquent Boys to Age 70, published in 2003, follows up on the study by integrating personal narratives with the quantitative analysis of life-course trajectories across the seven decades in the lives of the disadvantaged subjects. The book received the outstanding book award from the American Society of Criminology in 2004.

In 2011, he and fellow sociologist John Laub received the Stockholm Prize in Criminology for their achievements in the field of criminology.

In 2012, he published Great American City: Chicago and the Enduring Neighborhood Effect, which details his decade's worth of research on the city of Chicago.


Sampson received his Bachelor of Arts degree in sociology from the University at Buffalo, SUNY in 1977. He then went on to receive a Doctor of Philosophy degree in Criminal Justice from University at Albany, SUNY in 1983.[3]



  1. ^ Marino, M. (14 January 2008). "Profile of Robert J. Sampson". Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 105 (3): 842–844. doi:10.1073/pnas.0711294105. PMC 2242697Freely accessible. PMID 18195369. 
  2. ^
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  4. ^ Sampson, Robert J. (2012). "Great American City: Chicago and the Enduring Neighborhood Effect" University of Chicago Press – Chicago
  5. ^ "Nonfiction review". Publishers Weekly. 2 January 2012. 
  6. ^ "The Persistence of Place". Harvard Magazine. January–February 2012. 
  7. ^ J. Buntin (June 26, 2012). "Neighborhood Watch (interview with Sampson)". Washington, DC. 

External links[edit]

Professional and academic associations
Preceded by
Steven Messner
President of the American Society of Criminology
Succeeded by
Robert Agnew