I download age-specific fans for every baseball team from Facebook. I then study how a team's performance at every year of your childhood influences your probability of supporting them as an adult. The key years in a boy's life are 8 to 12. A team's winning a World Series when a boy is 8 increases the probability he supports them as an adult by about 8 percent.
- The Cost of Racial Animus on a Black Candidate: Evidence Using Google Data (paper; New York Times op-ed)
I introduce a new measure of racism in different parts of the United States based on Google searches. I argue that racism cost Obama far more votes than previously realized.
- Parental Concerns of Sons vs. Daughters (New York Times op-ed)
Google searches show that parents are more interested in their sons' intelligence and daughters' bodies. In addition, some countries show strong preferences for conceiving sons.
- How Many Gay Americans Are There? (paper forthcoming, New York Times op-ed)
I study 6 datasets, including Facebook profiles and Google searches. I find consistent evidence that roughly 5 percent of American men are gay, with intolerance driving more than half into the closet.
GEOGRAPHY OF SUCCESS
- The Geography of Fame (w/ big help from Noah Stephens-Davidowitz) (New York Times op-ed)
I study the probability of reaching Wikipedia by county of birth for all American Baby Boomers. I find that children of immigrants born in cities or college towns are the most likely to live lives that are deemed notable.
- Where Do NBA Players Come From? (New York Times op-ed)
I find, contrary to conventional wisdom, that poor socioeconomic status is a major hindrance to reaching the NBA.
- Weather and Depression (New York Times op-ed)
Google search data suggests climate is a major factor in depression.
Evidence finds that the Great Recession lowered official child abuse rates. I argue that actual child abuse rates rose, while reporting rates plummeted.
I find that Google searches for "vote" or "voting" in October can predict election turnout in November. I discuss how we can use this data to learn more about the determinants of voting.
- Encouraging Homeownership Through the Tax Code (w/ Bill Gale & Jon Gruber) (paper)
We propose a tax credit to replace the mortgage interest deduction. We argue that this would better encourage homeownership while being far more progressive.