About


I’m an assistant professor at the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs (GSPIA) at the University of Pittsburgh with a secondary appointment at the Department of Economics. I received my PhD in Social Science at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) in 2010. Before Caltech I was a computer scientist at Adobe Systems, working on the PDF file technology.

My training comes from mathematical social science (experiments, theoretical models), however, the research I do is motivated by practical problems faced by organizations delivering human /social services. My work can be divided into three areas: motivations for helping, information aggregation, and behavior of social service clients.

The first area investigates the role of image concerns in donation and volunteering. One of my studies uncover that women shy away from potential scrutiny about their altruism by matching the average donation when giving is not anonymous. The second area seeks to understand when dispersed signals can be aggregated to reveal information that can not be uncovered otherwise. I’m recently working on mobile phone usage patterns in Cote d’Ivoire to test if it carries signals about incipient political violence. My work in the third area investigate service utilization of residents of homeless shelters and ex-inmates.