Mitchel Y. Abolafia

Mitchel Y. Abolafia, PhD

Specialization: Organizational Theory and Behavior

Department of Public Administration & Policy

307 Milne Hall | 518-442-3858

Curriculum Vitae | Office Hours

About Professor Abolafia

Mitchel Y. Abolafia is a Professor at the Rockefeller College of Public Affairs and Policy, University at Albany/ SUNY. He has also taught at Sloan School of Management at MIT, Johnson School of Management at Cornell, and the School of Management, University of California at Davis. He holds a BA in Sociology from Tufts University, and a Ph.d in Sociology from Stony Brook University. Professor Abolafia’s research interests include organizational theory, economic sociology, public management, and ethnographic methods. He is the author of Making Markets: Opportunism and Restraint on Wall Street. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1997, 2001 (translated into Chinese as Hua Er Jie, China Society Press. Beijing, 1999). He has published over 25 articles in such journals as Administrative Science Quarterly ,Organization Studies, Administration and Society, Group and Organization Management, Sociological Forum, Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory, American Review of Public Administration, Ethnography, and Journal of Contemporary Ethnography.

Professor Abolafia is currently working on a book about decision making at the Federal Reserve titled “Interpreting the Economy: Power and Practice at the Federal Reserve.” It offers an inside look at how senior policy makers at the Fed control the supply of money and credit to the economy. These policy makers are inundated by a continuous flow of complex and ambiguous information about the economy. The books uncovers the interpretative process of the Federal Open Market Committee, explaining how this group makes sense of the data, negotiates a consensual policy and frames that policy for investors, traders, and corporations around the world. Data are drawn from verbatim transcripts of the meetings of the Federal Open Market Committee as well as other archival documents.

Selected Publications

Abolafia - Book Jacket

  • Abolafia, Mitchel Y. “Central Banking and the Triumph of Technical Rationality” Handbook of the Sociology of Finance, Oxford University Press, 2012.
  • Abolafia, Mitchel Y. “Can Speculative Bubbles Be Managed: An Institutional Analysis” Strategic Organization, Vol. 8 #1, pp 93-100, 2010
  • Abolafia, Mitchel Y. “Narrative Construction as Sensemaking: How a Central Bank Thinks” Organization Studies, Vol. 31 #3, pp. 349-367, 2010.
  • Abolafia, Mitchel Y. “Making Sense of Recession: Toward An Interpretive Theory of Economic Action” in The Economic Sociology of Capitalism, Victor Nee and Richard Swedberg (eds), Princeton: Princeton University Press, pp. 204-226, 2005.
  • Abolafia, Mitchel Y. "Framing Moves: Interpretive Politics at the Federal Reserve" Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory, Vol 14, no.3, 2004
  • Abolafia, Mitchel Y. “Bureaucratic Entrepreneurship and Institutional Change: A Sensemaking Approach,” Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory, Vol. 12, #4, October 2002.