Topics in quantitative sociology


Objectif

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, presentation and critical commentary 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 in-class presentations and critical reviews of articles.

Note to students in economics, sociology and future INSEE administrators: there is a follow-up, elective course in French, Séminaire de sociologie quantitative, which meets the day after. The goal is to expand on each session of this course in a more interactive seminar setting and to allow for a more in-depth study of each topic and method.
 

Plan

Week 1: Introduction. 
Week 2: Sociobiology.
Week 3: Qualitative methods.
Week 4: Experiments.
Week 5: Social mechanisms.
Week 6: Pattern search.
Week 7: Historical approaches.
Week 8: Spatial and ecological approaches.
Week 9: Networks.
Week 10: Computational sociology.
Week 11: Social physics.
Week 12: Conclusion.

Références

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”