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



Sociologist    -   Duke University, PhD Candidate
( based in NYC )

computational methods  /   gender   /   status   cultural  markets   /   social media

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Duke University

PhD Candidate, Sociology
James B. Duke Fellow
Minors : Networks, Computational Social Science

Research Fellow :
   -- Duke Network Analysis Center (2016 - present)
   -- NYU w/ Paul DiMaggio (2018 - present)
   -- 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]


Summer Institute in Computational Social Science (SICSS)
Organizer & Instructor
      -- Oxford (2019) [link]

Teaching Assistant
      -- Duke (2018) [link]
      -- Princeton (2017) [link]

American Sociological Association
Methodology  Student Representative  (2018 - present)

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

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


Core Data Science - Research Scientist Intern (Fall 2019)

Applied Data Scientist in Residence (2017 - present)

A database of emerging &
underrepresented scholars in CSS…
bc variation matters!

NYC-CSS Happy Hours
Join for drinks and nerdy conversations :)




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



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 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) creative professions are growing, (b) substantial gender inequality persists in these professions, (c) little work has been done to quantitatively document or explain this inequality, and (d) troves of data on creatives and their products are now available through online platforms.

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 align with technological advancements. We cannot ignore the biases introduced into social processes via front-end user interface designs,  backend algorithms, and/or 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




Power, Proximity, and Prejudice: A Tardean Analysis of the Global Diffusion of Google Search Terms (2019). American Journal of Sociology, 124:5.

Christopher Bail  /  Taylor W Brown  /  Andreas Wimmer
* Primary analyses on longitudinal Google Trends data
* Visual and artwork

Exposure to Opposing Views can Increase Political Polarization: Evidence from a Large- Scale Field Experiment on Social Media
(2018). Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Christopher Bail  /  Lisa Argyle  /  Taylor W Brown  /  John Bumpuss  /   Haohan Chen  /  Mary- Beth Fallin Hunzaker  /  Jaemin Lee  /   Marcus Mann  /   Friedolin Merhout  /  Alexander Volfovsky
* Principal Investigator: Chris Bail, co-authors ordered alphabetically
* Paul Lazarsfeld Award - Best Paper in Political Communication, American Political Science Association 2019
* See Media section (below) for write-ups

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

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).

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]

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]

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



Why Does Gender Disparity Persist in the Gallery Sector? A Note on the Science of Inequality in the Art Market, in The Art Market 2019, edited by Clare McAndrew.

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.

Jini Roby / Taylor Brown



WORKING Projects

AI-Mediated Exchange Theory

Xiao Ma  / Taylor W Brown

Expert Signals and Inequality in Cultural Ranking: experiments using 1 million album covers

Fabien Accominotti  / Taylor W Brown

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]

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

Taylor Brown / Jeffrey Swindle



Upcoming (come. let's meet.)

For the fall of 2019, I will be working in Core Data Science at Facebook (Washington DC headquarters). This means that I will split my time between NYC and DC.

I also have several upcoming trips to California, and single trips to North Carolina, Boston, the UK, and Mexico City. Please contact me via email for meetings.


Academy of Management, “Symposium: Conceptualizing and Measuring Outcomes in Creative Industries Research”, Boston, August 9-13, 2019 (last minute travel error, sorry!)

Computational Text Analysis, Oxford University Summer Institute in Computational Social Science (SICSS), Oxford UK, June 16-29, 2019.

Dissertation Research, WZB Berlin Social Science Center, Berlin, December 2018.

Textnets (R Package) Tutorial. European Symposium on Societal Challenges in Computational Social Science, Cologne, December 2018.

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

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

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

Best Paper Award ASA 2018 Section on Communication, Information Technologies, and Media Sociology (w/ Chris Bail and Marcus Mann)

Paul Lazarsfeld Award - Best Paper in Political Communication, American Political Science Association, 2019 (w/ Chris Bail, et al.)

Service, cont’d

Teaching Assistant

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

Research Assistant

Jim Moody (2017-2018)
Christopher A. Bail (2013-2017)
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


Graduate Student Representative: ASA Methodology Section (2018-19)

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

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



News coverage related to gender inequality in contemporary art:

"Why Is Work by Female Artists Still Valued Less Than Work by Male Artists?" Artsy, March 8, 2019.
"Smaller galleries rely on just one artist for almost half their income, Art Basel and UBS Global Art Market Report finds." The Art Newspaper, March 8, 2019.
"Art Basel/UBS art market report shows growth — but not for female artists." Financial Times, March 7, 2019.

News Coverage related to PNAS study:

"Hi Democrat, I'm a Republican, let's not hate each other: The quixotic movement to get opposing voters to talk." Washington Post, January 4, 2018.
"7 bad science and health ideas that should die with 2018" Vox, December 26, 2018
"Obama's evolution from downplaying identity politics to acknowledging the prevalence of tribalism." Washington Post, November 30, 2018.
"Mas comunicacion, mas discordia." El Pais, November 25, 2018.
"Polarizing the network: The most interesting new digital and social media research", Nieman Lab, November 20, 2018
"El enfermo apego a las opiniones propias" El Spectador, November 11, 2018.
"Cuanto odio hay en Twitter? No mucho, pero es constante y hay para todos" El Pais, October 31, 2018.
"On the Division of American Society" NHK News, Japan, Nov 1, 2018.
"Why People Ignore Facts" Psychology Today, October 25, 2018.
"Don't blame social media for the state of our politics" The Spectator, October 24, 2018.
"When Twitter users hear out the other side, they become more polarized" Vox, October 18th, 2018.
"Exposure to Opposing Points of View made Polarization Worse, Not Better" NPR, October 1st, 2018.
"Opposing Opinions could Make your Echo Chamber even Tighter," Spark (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation), September 28, 2018.
"Air pollution rots our brains. Is that why we don't do anything about it?" The Guardian, September 24, 2018.
"Research on political polarization on social media and the U.S. Congress" New Jersey Tribune, September 17, 2018
"Stay in Your Bubble" Daily Kos, September 15th, 2018
"Is Democracy Dying" The Atlantic, September 13th, 2018.
"How to burst your political filter bubble" Financial Times, September 13th, 2018.
"How Facebook and Twitter can use your data for good" Washington Examiner, September 12th, 2018.
"Twitter Users Widen Divide When Met with Opposing Views." Fortune, September 10th, 2018.
"The Problem with Twitter's Efforts to Pop our Information Bubbles" Quartz, September 10th, 2018.
"Twitter's Flawed Solution to Political Polarization." The New York Times, September 9th, 2018.
"Bursting people's political bubbles could make them even more partisan." The Washington Post, September 7th, 2018.
"Can Exposure to Opposing Views on Social Media Shape Your Politics." WUNC National Public Radio, September 5, 2018.
"Caught in a Political Echo Chamber? Listening to the opposition can make partisanship even worse." Los Angeles Times, August 31st, 2018
"Republicans who follow liberal Twitter bots become more conservative." Nieman Lab, August 30, 2018.
"The Myth of the Online Echo Chamber" BBC, April 17, 2018.
"9 Essential lessons from psychology to understand the Trump Era." Vox, April 11, 2018.
"Fear the Monopsony" Boston Globe, April 6, 2018.
"Exposure to opposing views on Twitter might actually increase polarization" Salon, March 27, 2018.