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: prosocial behavior, information aggregation, and the behavior of social service clients.

The first area investigates the motivation of donors and volunteers. I am particularly interested in image concerns. One of my studies uncovers that when giving is not anonymous, women shy away from scrutiny of their altruism by giving amounts that matches the average donation. The second area asks what we can do when information crucial to decision making has to be aggregated from signals that are dispersed on the ground. For example, we are exploring the ability to predict political violence through changes in local mobile phone antenna activity gleaned from big data sets. My work in the third area investigate social service utilization of residents of homeless shelters, ex-inmates, and minimum-wage workers.

Link to CV (pdf).