Taylor Whitten Brown
Taylor Whitten Brown
Sociology PhD Candidate, Duke University



Sociologist    -   Duke University, PhD Candidate

computational social science   /   gender   /   status & valuation   /   creative professions   /   social media

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Duke University

PhD Candidate, Sociology
James B. Duke Fellow

Research Affiliate :
   -- Duke Network Analysis Center
   -- NYU w/ Paul DiMaggio (2018 - 19)
   -- Columbia University w/ INCITE  (2017 - 18)


University of North carolina - Chapel hill

MA, Sociology


Oxford University

MSc, Evidence Based Social Intervention
   -- Mark of Distinction on thesis
   -- Degree emphasis in experimental methods [link]






Multivariate & Multilevel Statistics
Natural language processing
Network Analysis
Embedding models
ML ClassifIcation
Experimental design
Survey design
semi-structured interviews




Summer Institute in Computational Social Science
Teaching Assistant
      -- Duke (2018) [link]
      -- Princeton (2017) [link]

American Sociological Association
Methodology  Student Representative  (2018-19)

National Science Foundation
Science Assistant, Social and Economic Sciences [link]

NGO Field Work, Ghana
Semi-structured  surveys of teachers, students, and chiefs in 75  rural villages




Broadly, I study group-level patterns using digital trace data and computational methods. In particular, I ask how these data and methods can be used to uncover and explain otherwise obscure processes of discrimination in society.

For my dissertation, I investigate the patterns of production and valuation that contribute to inequality between men and women in creative professions. I do so because (a) substantial gender inequality persists in creative professions, (b) little work has been done to quantitatively document and explain this inequality, and (c) troves of data on creatives and their products are now available through online platforms. If you want my take on why fostering equality  in creative professions is imperative to a fair and vibrant society, email me! I love to talk about this.

A second strain of my research intersects sociology with human computer interaction. Social life continues to creep further and more indelibly into the digital domain. As is does so, sociologist must ask whether and how our traditional theories keep up with technological advancements. Moreover, we cannot (though we thus far have) ignore the biases introduced into social processes via front-end user interface designs,  backend algorithms, and database structuring.

I see the role of computational social science (CSS) as central to all of my research. While neither a replacement for traditional sociological methods, nor imperative for answering all sociological questions, many CSS tools can equip scholars with the means to address patterns in the masses of data now open by digital resources. To this end, I take an active role in shaping how computational methods are adopted, taught, developed, reported, and reviewed in sociological science. 



Co-chairs: Christopher A Bail & James Moody
Committee Members: Mor Naaman, Martin Ruef, Lynn Smith-Lovin

CHAPTER 1: Quality or Inequality?: A Machine Learning Approach to the Study of Value and Sexism in Creative Professions

Do women make art with different characteristics than men, or is women's art valued differently for the same characteristics? I implement machine learning classification on over 270,000 artworks by over 20,000 artists to assess how well an algorithm, provided with approximately 1,500 salient qualities of an artwork, can be trained to correctly attribute that work to either a female or male artist. The results of this analysis provide the best empiric estimate to date on whether women make art with different characteristics than men, and what those distinguishing characteristics might be. I then use these results to conduct a matched-pair regression of artworks by male and female artists with similar creative profiles, predicting the outcome of gallery listing prices for their work. Preliminary results suggest not only that women and men make art with different characteristics, but also that their work is valued differently for the same characteristics--with men's work being valued significantly higher across five mediums: painting, sculpture, textile, photography, and other. Implications for future work on gender inequality, creative markets, and computational social science are discussed.


CHAPTER 2: History and Hysteresis: An Experiment in Information Disclosure and Market Valuation on Digital Platforms

CHAPTER 3: Matthew and Matilda: Social Networks and Sustained Inequality in the Contemporary Art Market




Channelling Hearts and Minds: Advocacy Organizations, Cognitive-Emotional Currents, and Public Conversation on Social Media (2017). American Sociological Review, 26:2, pp. 1188-1213. [link]

Christopher Bail  /  Taylor Brown  / Marcus Mann
* Second author
* Best Paper Award ASA 2018 Section on Communication, Information Technologies, and Media Sociology
* Honorable Mention for ASA 2018 Distinguished Contribution to Political Sociology Award
* Primary analyses on longitudinal Facebook data

Exploitation of Intercountry Adoption: Toward Common Understanding and Action (2015). Adoption Quarterly, 19:2, pp. 63-80(18). [link]

Taylor Brown  /  Jini Roby

Centre-based Day Care for Children Under-5 and their Families in Low- and Middle-income Countries (A Systematic Review)  (2014). Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, 9:CD010543. Impact Factor: 6.103 [protocol] [report]

Taylor Brown  /  Felix Van Urk  / Evan Mayo-Wilson  / Rebecca Waller

Centre-based Day Care for Children Under-5 and their Families in High-income Countries (A Systematic Review) (2014). Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. 9:CD010544. Impact Factor: 6.103 [protocol] [report]

Felix Van Urk /  Taylor Brown  /  Evan Mayo-Wilson  / Rebecca Waller



Birth Parents as Victims of Trafficking in Intercountry Adoption, in The Intercountry Adoption Debate: Dialogues Across Disciplines (2015), edited by Ballard B, Goodno N, Cochran R, Milbrandt J. Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars Publishing. [link]

Jini Roby / Taylor Brown


REvise & resubmit

Power, Proximity, and Prejudice: A Tardean Analysis of the Global Diffusion of Google Search Terms.

Christopher Bail  /  Taylor W Brown  /  Andreas Wimmer
* R&R at American Journal of Sociology
* Preliminary analyses on longitudinal Google Trends data

Exposure to Opposing Views can Increase Political Polarization: Evidence from a Large- Scale Field Experiment on Social Media. (see SocArXiv. March 19, 2018. [link])

Christopher Bail  /  Lisa Argyle  /  Taylor W Brown  /  John Bumpuss  /   Haohan Chen  /  Mary- Beth Fallin Hunzaker  /  Jaemin Lee  /   Marcus Mann  /   Friedolin Merhout  /  Alexander Volfovsky
* Conditional Acceptance at PNAS
* Principal Investigator: Chris Bail, co-authors ordered alphabetically

Under revieW

When Power Hurts: Community Norms of Masculinity and the Protective Influence of Female Empowerment Against Intimate Partner Violence in 44 Countries.

Taylor Brown


WORKING Projects

A Network Approach to Large-scale Text Analysis

Christopher Bail   /  Taylor W Brown  /  Friedo Merhout  /  Marcus Mann  /  Mark Anthony Hoffman
* textnets software available on github [link]

DARPA SocialSim Program projects

James Moody and the Homo SocioNeticus team

Heterogeneity of Status Signals and Inequality in Cultural Ranking Systems: Randomized Controlled Trials

Fabien Accominotti  / Taylor W Brown



Upcoming (come. let's meet.)

Quality or Inequality: Gender and Valuation in the Contemporary Art World. International Conference on Computational Social Science, Northwestern University,  June 12 - 14 2018.

Dissertation Research. Culture and Politics Workshop, University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill, October 12 - 2018.

Dissertation Research. Culture Workshop, New York University, October 25 - 2018.



Quality or Inequality: Gender and Valuation in the Contemporary Art World. Harvard Conference on Applied Computational Text Analysis, May 2018.

Quality or Inequality: Gender and Valuation in the Contemporary Art World. European Symposium on Societal Challenges in Computational Social Science, London, November 2017.

When Power Hurts: Community Norms of Masculinity and the Protective Influence of Female Empowerment Against Intimate Partner Violence in 44 Developing Countries. American Sociological Association: Section on Development’s Health and Inequalities around the Globe, 2017.
Winning Hearts and Minds: Advocacy Groups, Field Rhythms, and Social Media Bystanders.'' American Sociological Association, 2015 (co-author presented).

The Effect of the Global Campaign Against Intimate Partner Violence on Individuals’ Attitudes in 37 Countries, 1998-2014. American Sociological Association, 2015 (co-author presented). 

The Effect of the Global Campaign Against Intimate Partner Violence on Individuals’ Attitudes in 37 Countries, 1998-2014. Brown University, 2014 (co-author presented). 

lllicit Intercountry Adoption Practices: Sale of Children or Trafficking in persons? International Forum on International Adoption & Global Surrogacy, ISS, The Hague Netherlands, 2014. 

Illicit Intercountry Adoption Practices: Sale of Children or Trafficking in persons?' International Social Work Conference on Children and Youth, Pnom Pen, Cambodia (co-author presented). 

Intercountry Adoption – When and to Whom Does ‘Trafficking’ Apply. Intercountry Adoption Conference, Pepperdine University, 2013.


grants & awards

James B. Duke Fellow, Duke University ($20,000)
Awarded by the Graduate School to outstanding PhD students

Gender Research Travel Grant, Duke University ($500)
Awarded by the Program in Gender, Sexuality and Feminist Studies

Graduate Policy Committee grant, Duke University ($1,150)

Mark of Distinction on Master’s thesis, University of Oxford


Teaching Assistant

Summer Institute in Computational Social Science,  Princeton (2017) & Duke (2018)
Graduate Statistics, Scott Lynch
Intro to Sociology, Chris Bail
United States Poverty and Public Policy, Kathy Harris

Research Assistant

Jim Moody (Present)
Christopher A. Bail (Present)
Steve Vaisey (2015-2017)

National Science Foundation

Science Assistant, Division of Social and Economic Sciences (2 years).
**Programs: Economics, Decision and Risk Management, & Science of Organizations

Journal Reviewer

American Sociological Review; British Journal of Social Work; Systematic Reviews; Social Psychology and Personality Science; International Journal of Comparative Sociology


Project co-lead: BASS Connections-Scientific Social Network Analysis Project (2016)

Senator: UNC Graduate and Professional Student Federation, Chapel Hill (2014/15)