Victor Nee elected to American Academy of Arts and Sciences

Victor Nee, the Frank and Rosa Rhodes Professor of Economic Sociology in the College of Arts and Sciences, has been elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the academy announced April 23.

Nee is among 276 newly elected fellows honored for individual achievements in academia, the arts, business, government and public affairs.

Victor Nee

Nee served as founding director of the Center for the Study of Economy and Society from 2001-18. He was the Goldwin Smith Professor of Sociology from 1991 to 2011 and chaired the Department of Sociology from 1997 to 2002.

His research interests involve the role of networks and norms in the emergence of economic institutions and organizations. His current research program focuses on the making of regional knowledge economies in the United States, including the emergence and development of tech startup firms in New York City; and the role of research universities like Cornell in sustaining knowledge-based economic activity. The study examines innovative activity and entrepreneurial action in the context of inclusive American political and economic institutions.

He recently completed a 12-year study of 700 entrepreneurs and their private enterprises in the southeastern coastal provinces of the Yangtze Delta region of China. The study explains how and why a modern capitalist economic order emerged in China.

Nee studied at the University of California, Los Angeles and the University of California, Santa Cruz for his bachelor’s degree; and earned his Ph.D. in sociology from Harvard University in 1977. He taught at the University of California, Santa Barbara before joining Cornell in 1985.

His books include “Capitalism from Below: Markets and Institutional Change in China” with co-author Sonja Opper (2012) and “Remaking the American Mainstream: Assimilation and the New Immigration” with co-author Richard Alba (2003). He is the co-editor of “On Capitalism” (2007), “The Economic Sociology of Capitalism” (2005) and “The New Institutionalism in Sociology” (1998).

Nee’s honors include a John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship in 2007 and an honorary doctorate in economics from Lund University in Sweden in 2013. He was a visiting fellow at the Russell Sage Foundationin 1994-95 and 2015-16, and at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences in 1996-97; and a visiting scholar at Harvard University in 2000-01.

Newly elected fellows of AAAS also include singer and activist Joan Baez, former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, filmmaker Richard Linklater, human health anthropologist Clark Larsen and author Ann Patchett.

“The members of the class of 2020 have excelled in laboratories and lecture halls, they have amazed on concert stages and in surgical suites, and they have led in board rooms and courtrooms,” said AAAS President David W. Oxtoby. “With today’s election announcement, these new members are united by a place in history and by an opportunity to shape the future through the Academy’s work to advance the public good.”

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Abby Butler