Sanford Jacoby

Distinguished Research Professor
"My advice to students: Now and for the rest of your life, read the Wall Street Journal every day, The Economist every week and a challenging book every month.”
Areas of Expertise:
  • Business History
  • Corporate Governance
  • Europe
  • Globalization
  • Human Resource Management
  • Japan
  • Labor History
  • Labor Market Analysis
  • Unions




Sanford M. Jacoby, Distinguished Research Professor, began his career at UCLA Anderson shortly after graduating from UC Berkeley with a Ph.D. in economics. He also holds professorial appointments in UCLA's Department of History and Department of Public Policy. He is involved with various interdisciplinary groups at UCLA, such as the Institute for Research on Labor and Employment and the Terasaki Center for Japanese Studies.

Jacoby credits the late Lloyd Ulman, his graduate school mentor and "one of the best labor economists of his generation," with spurring his interest in economics. "He was also a comparativist and historical institutionalist, orientations that I came to share," Jacoby says. "In graduate school, Lloyd kept me on a long leash, allowing me to wander, but eventually yanked me back to the theoretical rigor of economics."  

Though trained as an economist, Jacoby values and draws from history, law and sociology. His research uses comparative, historical and statistical methods to analyze employers, labor market institutions, and international political economy. "These topics are situated at the confluence of several areas," he explains.  

Jacoby's first book, Employing Bureaucracy: Managers, Unions, and the Transformation of Work in the Twentieth Century (1985, 2004), won the George Terry Book Award from the Academy of Management. His next book, Modern Manors: Welfare Capitalism Since the New Deal, was published in 1997 and received the Philip Taft Labor History Award. Another book, The Embedded Corporation: Corporate Governance and Employment Relations in Japan and the United States, was translated into Chinese and Japanese and identified by Nikkei Shinbun as one of the top three books on economics and management published in 2005. He edited two collections: Masters to Managers: Historical and Comparative Perspectives on Employers (1991) and The Workers of Nations: Industrial Relations in a Global Economy (1995).  

Jacoby is the author of over ninety articles. His research has appeared in leading journals in several fields that include economics, history, industrial relations and law. He is co-editor of Comparative Labor Law & Policy Journal and serves on the editorial boards of scholarly journals in the United States and abroad. Jacoby has been a visiting professor at Doshisha University, the London School of Economics and Political Science, the University of Manchester, the University of Tokyo and Waseda University. Jacoby's Guggenheim project, which is the topic of his next book, studies the reaction of labor movements to financialization in the United States, focusing on pension fund activism, regulatory efforts, and corporate governance.  

Jacoby is also working on two other projects, both related to Japan. One is a study of Uber's delayed entry into the Japanese market. The other examines the phenomenon of "black companies," places that engage in exploitative working practices, particularly long hours of work.  

Jacoby is a native New Yorker with roots in the Washington Heights neighborhood of Manhattan, a former German-Jewish refugee community. He was introduced to California through his studies at Berkeley and found the culture and climate suited him. His passion for the state continues with his hobby of growing and studying the native plants.



Ph.D. Economics, 1981, UC Berkeley

A.B. Economics, 1974, University of Pennsylvania



Research Fellow, Labor & Employment Research Association 2010

John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship, 2009

Abe Fellow, Social Science Research Council, 2000

National Academy of Social Insurance, 1999

Philip Taft Prize in Labor History, 1998

National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship, 1990

George R. Terry Book Award, Academy of Management, 1986

Allan Nevins Prize, Economic History Association, 1982