ENSAE Paris - École d'ingénieurs pour l'économie, la data science, la finance et l'actuariat

Topics in quantitative sociology


PETEV Ivaylo

Département : Sociology


The rationale of this course is to expose students to the leading quantitative approaches in contemporary sociology. Some methods are at the frontier of neighboring disciplines like history, economics, psychology, biology and physics. The emphasis is on international, mostly American research. Each session introduces the class to a new approach with a brief overview of the techniques and concepts. The main work consists of the reading, in-class discussion and written commentaries of applied research articles, published in top social science journals in the last 5 to 10 years. In addition to their methodological novelty, the articles are selected for their variety of subject areas (gender stereotyping, racial discrimination, climate change, cultural transmission, innovation, collective action, urban development, etc.). The goal is to expose students to some of the most up-to-date findings of the discipline and to enrich your research tool-set by stimulating your thinking with original takes on classic questions.

For the many economists and few statisticians in the class, the originality of sociology lies in its diversity of methods and subject areas. For the sociologists in the class, contemporary American research offers a good number of approaches that appear rarely in the French curriculum.

Evaluation is based on written reviews of articles.

For more information, see the course web site: https://tiqs.ipetev.org


Week 1: Introduction + Sociobiology.
Week 2: Qualitative and mixed methods.
Week 3: Experiments.
Week 4: Social mechanisms.
Week 5: Pattern search.
Week 6: Social networks.
Week 7: Historical and ecological approaches.
Week 8: Mathematical sociology + Social physics + Conclusion.


Braunstein & al., 2014, ASR, “The role of bridging cultural practices in racially and socioeconomically diverse civic organizations”
Breen & al., 2014, ESR, “Deciding under doubt: A theory of risk aversion, time discounting preferences, and educational decision-making”
Bruch & Mare, 2006, AJS, “Neighborhood choice and neighborhood change”
Centola, 2013, RS, “Homophily, networks, and critical mass. Solving the start-up problem in large group collective action”
Conley & McCabe, 2011, SMR, “Body mass index and physical attractiveness. Evidence from a combination image-alteration list experiment”
Cook & al., 2005, SPQ, “Trust building via risk taking. A cross-societal experiment”
Desmond, 2012, AJS, “Eviction and the reproduction of urban poverty”
England & al., 2016, Socius, “Why do young, unmarried women who do not want to get pregnant contracept inconsistently”
Foschi & Valenzuela, 2012, SSR, “Who is the better applicant? Effects from gender, academic record, and type of decision”
Foschi & Valenzuela, 2012, SSR, ”Who is the better applicant: Effects from gender, academic record, and type of decision”
Fourcade & Babb, 2002, AJS, “The Rebirth of the Liberal Creed. Paths to Neoliberalism in Four Countries”
Hoffman & Bearman, 2015, SS, “Bringing Anomie Back In: Exceptional Events and Excess Suicide”
Hofstra & al., 2017, ASR, “Sources of segregation in social networks. A novel approach using Facebook”
Krysan & al., 2009, AJS, "Does race matter in neighborhood preferences? Results from a video experiment"
Mark, 1998, ASR, “Beyond individual differences. Social differentiation from first principles”
Moody & al., 2005, ASJ, "Dynamic Network Visualization"
Rivera, 2012, ASR, “Hiring as cultural matching: The case of elite professional service firms”
Salganik & Watts, 2009, CS, “Web Based Experiments for the Study of Collective Social Dynamics in Cultural Markets”
Shi & al., 2017, ASR, “A Member Saved Is a Member Earned? The Recruitment-Retention Trade-Off and Organizational Strategies for Membership Growth”
Sorensen, 2013, ICC, "Recruitment based competition between industries. A community ecology"
Stovel, 2001, SF, “Local Sequential Patterns. The Structure of Lynching in the Deep South, 1882–1930”
Thomas & Mark, 2013, SF, “Population size, network density, and the emergence of inherited inequality”
Vaisey & Lizardo, 2016, Socius, “Cultural fragmentation or acquired dispositions: A new approach to accounting for patterns of cultural change”