Robb Willer

Professor (by courtesy), Organizational Behavior

Robb Willer

Professor of Organizational Behavior (by courtesy)

Professor of Sociology, School of Humanities and Sciences
Academic Area:

Research Interests

  • Morality
  • Politics
  • Generosity
  • Status
  • Masculinity


Robb Willer is a Professor in the Departments of Sociology, Psychology (by courtesy), and the Graduate School of Business (by courtesy) at Stanford University. He received his Ph.D. and M.A. in Sociology from Cornell University and his B.A. in Sociology from the University of Iowa. He previously taught at the University of California, Berkeley.

Professor Willer’s teaching and research focus on the bases of social order. One line of his research investigates the factors driving the emergence of collective action, norms, solidarity, generosity, and status hierarchies. In other research, he explores the social psychology of political attitudes, including the effects of fear, prejudice, and masculinity in contemporary U.S. politics. Most recently, his work has focused on morality, studying how people reason about what is right and wrong and the social consequences of their judgments. His research involves various empirical and theoretical methods, including laboratory and field experiments, surveys, direct observation, archival research, physiological measurement, agent-based modeling, and social network analysis.

Willer’s research has appeared in such journals as American Sociology Review, American Journal of Sociology, Annual Review of Sociology, Administrative Science Quarterly, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Psychological Science, Proceedings of the Royal Society B:Biological Sciences,and Social Networks. He has received grants from the National Science Foundation, the California Environmental Protection Agency, and the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation. His work has received paper awards from the American Sociological Association’s sections on Altruism, Morality, and Social Solidarity, Mathematical Sociology, Peace, War, and Social Conflict, and Rationality and Society.

His research has also received widespread media coverage including from the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, USA Today, the Washington Post, Science, Nature, Time, U.S. News and World Report, Scientific American, Harper’s, Slate, CNN, NBC Nightly News, The Today Show, and National Public Radio.

Willer was the 2009 recipient of the Golden Apple Teaching award, the only teaching award given by UC-Berkeley’s student body.

Academic Degrees

  • Ph.D., Sociology, Cornell University, 2006
  • M.A., Cornell University, 2004
  • B.A., University of Iowa, 1999
  • Director, Laboratory for Social Research, University of California Berkeley, 2006-13
  • Assistant Professor, Department of Sociology, Psychology (by courtesy) and Cognitive Sciences (affiliated faculty), University of California Berkeley, 2006-12

Academic Appointments

  • Professor of Sociology, Stanford University
  • Fellow, Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences, Stanford University, 2012-13
  • Associate Professor, Department of Sociology, University of California Berkeley, 2012-13
  • Visiting Professor, Department of Economics and Social Psychology, University of Cologne Germany, 2011


Journal Articles

Working Papers

Stanford University Affiliations

Insights by Stanford Business