Martin Ruef

Martin Ruef

Jack and Pamela Egan Professor of Entrepreneurship

External address: 
344 Soc Psych Bldg,, Box 90088, Durham, NC 27708
(919) 660-5792


My research considers the social context of entrepreneurship from both a contemporary and historical perspective. I draw on large-scale surveys of entrepreneurs in the United States to explore processes of team formation, innovation, exchange, and boundary maintenance in nascent business startups. My historical analyses address entrepreneurial activity and constraint during periods of profound institutional change. This work has considered a diverse range of sectors, including the organizational transformation of Southern agriculture and industry after the Civil War, African American entrepreneurship under Jim Crow, the transition of the U.S. healthcare system from professional monopoly to managed care, and the character of entrepreneurship during early mercantile and industrial capitalism.

Education & Training

  • Ph.D., Stanford University 1999

  • M.A., Stanford University 1994

  • B.S., Virginia Polytech Institute and State University 1990

Ruef, M. “Making Markets: Opportunism and Restraint on Wall Street..” Administrative Science Quarterly. SAGE Publications (UK and US), 1999. Full Text


Ruef, M. “Sociology of Entrepreneurship.” Emerging Trends in the Social and Behavioral Sciences, 2015.

Kwon, S. W., C. Heflin, and M. Ruef. “Community Social Capital and Entrepreneurship.” American Sociological Review 78, no. 6 (2013): 980–1008. Full Text

Ruef, M, and Reinecke, D. "Does Capitalism Produce an Entrepreneurial Class?." Research in Organizational Behavior 31 (2011): 225-252. Full Text

Ruef, M. “On the Social Embeddedness of Greed.” Sociological Forum 25, no. 3 (2010): 607–10. Full Text

Ruef, M. “"Let a Hundred Flowers Blossom": The Cross-Fertilization of Organization Studies at Stanford.” Research in the Sociology of Organizations 28 (2010): 387–93.

Ruef, M, and Patterson, K. "Credit and Classification: The Impact of Industry Boundaries in 19th Century America." Administrative Science Quarterly 54, no. 3 (2009): 486-520. Full Text

Ruef, M., and A. Harness. “Agrarian Origins of Management Ideology: The Roman and Antebellum Cases.” Organization Studies 30, no. 6 (2009): 589–607. Full Text

Ruef, M. “Economic Inequality among Entrepreneurs.” Research in the Sociology of Work 18 (2009): 57–87.