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Prof. Sean Safford (University of Chicago), Research Affiliate

Sean Safford is Assistant Professor of Organizations and Strategy at the University of Chicago’s Graduate School of Business. He joined the faculty after a year teaching at the London School of Economics and Political Science.  Safford was previously a Labor Relations Specialist for the National Federation of Federal Employees in Washington, DC, and a Research Associate for the International Union of United Auto Workers in Detroit.

His research is on social, economic and technological change, particularly in mature industrial economies, as well as historical social network analysis.  He was a lead researcher with the MIT Local Innovation Systems Project which examined the role of universities in economic development in the US and several countries around the world.  

Safford earned his Bachelor’s degree at Cornell University’s School of Industrial and Labor Relations in 1994. In 2004, he received his Ph.D. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Sloan School of Management.  His dissertation, “Why the Garden Club Couldn’t Save Youngstown: Social Capital and the Transformation of the Rust Belt” won the Sage-Louis Pondy Prize for best paper from a dissertation by the Academy of Management’s Organization and Management Theory Section as well as Best Paper from a Dissertation from the Economic Sociology Section of the American Sociological Association.


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