PREJUDICE

  • The Cost of Racial Animus on a Black Candidate: Evidence Using Google Data (paperNew 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 suggest parents have different concerns for male and female children.  They are more excited by the intellectual potential of their sons.  They are more concerned about the weight and appearance of their daughters.
  • How Many Gay Americans Are There? (slidesnotesNew 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.
  • The Demographics of an Online Hate Site (New York Times op-ed)
    • I study age, gender, location, and other information from profiles of Stormfront, the most popular American hate site.  There was no increase in membership due to exposure to the Great Recession. 

CRIME

  • Unreported Victims of an Economic Downturn (paperNew York Times op-ed)
    • Evidence finds that the Great Recession lowered official child abuse rates.  I argue that actual child abuse rates rose, while reporting rates plummeted.

HEALTH

  • Weather and Depression (New York Times op-ed)
    • Google search data suggests climate is a major factor in depression. 
  • Pregnancy Around the World (notesNew York Times op-ed)
    • Google searches suggest that pregnant women around the world have similar symptoms and crave similar things.  But they differ in the questions they have. 

MARKETING

  • What Age Hooks Us on a Baseball Team? (notesNew York Times op-ed)
    • 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. 

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. 

METHODS

  • Who Will Vote? Ask Google (paperNew York Times op-ed)
    • 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.
  • Google Trends: A Primer for Social Scientists (w/ Hal Varian) (paper forthcoming)

MISCELLANEOUS

  • 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.