I’m a Ph.D student in Economics at Harvard, where I spend most of my time thinking about social influence and cities.

Before that, I was at Columbia, where I earned a BA in Computer Science and Economics. In between, I did research at NYU Stern and Facebook.

Working Papers

Social Networks Shape Beliefs and Behavior: Evidence from Social Distancing during the COVID-19 Pandemic

with Michael Bailey, Martin Koenen, Theresa Kuchler, Dominic Russel, and Johannes Stroebel
Press: NBER Digest
AbstractWe explore how social network exposure to COVID-19 cases shapes individuals’ social distancing behavior during the early months of the ongoing pandemic. We work with deidentified data from Facebook to show that U.S. users whose friends live in areas with worse coronavirus outbreaks reduce their mobility more than otherwise similar users whose friends live in areas with smaller outbreaks. The effects are quantitatively large: a one standard deviation increase in friend-exposure to COVID-19 cases early in the pandemic results in a 1.2 percentage point increase in the probability that an individual stays home on a given day. As the pandemic progresses, changes in friend-exposure drive changes in social distancing behavior. Given the evolving nature and geography of the pandemic — and hence friend-exposure — these results rule out many alternative explanations for the observed relationships. We also analyze data on public posts and membership in groups advocating to 'reopen' the economy to show that our findings can be explained by friend-exposure raising awareness about the risks of the disease and inducing individuals to participate in mitigating public health behavior.

Published Research

Peer Effects in Product Adoption

with Michael Bailey, Theresa Kuchler, Johannes Stroebel, and Arlene Wong
Forthcoming at American Economic Journal: Applied Economics
Press: Vox EU | LSE Business Review | World Economic Forum
AbstractWe use de-identified data from Facebook to study the nature of peer effects in the market for cell phones. To identify peer effects, we exploit variation in friends’ new phone acquisitions resulting from random phone losses. A new phone purchase by a friend has a large and persistent effect on an individual’s own demand for phones of the same brand. While peer effects increase the overall demand for phones, a friend’s purchase of a particular phone brand can reduce an individual’s own demand for phones from competing brands, in particular if they are running on a different operating system.

The Determinants of Social Connectedness in Europe

with Michael Bailey, Theresa Kuchler, Dominic Russel, Bogdan State, and Johannes Stroebel
Social Informatics 2020
Press: Facebook Research
Replication Code | Online Appendix | SCI Data
AbstractWe use de-identified and aggregated data from Facebook to study the structure of social networks across European regions. Social connectedness declines strongly in geographic distance and at country borders. Historical borders and unions—such as the Austro-Hungarian Empire, Czechoslovakia, and East/West Germany—shape present-day social connectedness over and above today’s political boundaries and other controls. All else equal, social connectedness is stronger between regions with residents of similar ages and education levels, as well as between regions that share a language and religion. In contrast, regionpairs with dissimilar incomes tend to be more connected, likely due to increased migration from poorer to richer regions.

Early-Stage Work

Syrian Refugee Integration in Germany

with Michael Bailey, Martin Koenen, Theresa Kuchler, Dominic Russel, and Johannes Stroebel