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  • 1.
    Keuschnigg, Marc
    et al.
    Linköping University, Department of Management and Engineering, The Institute for Analytical Sociology, IAS. Linköping University, Faculty of Arts and Sciences.
    Lovsjö, Niclas
    Linköping University, Department of Management and Engineering, The Institute for Analytical Sociology, IAS. Linköping University, Faculty of Arts and Sciences.
    Hedström, Peter
    Linköping University, Department of Management and Engineering, The Institute for Analytical Sociology, IAS. Linköping University, Faculty of Arts and Sciences.
    Analytical sociology and computational social science2018In: Journal of Computational Social Science, ISSN 2432-2717, Vol. 1, no 1, p. 3-14Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Analytical sociology focuses on social interactions among individuals and the hard-to-predict aggregate outcomes they bring about. It seeks to identify generalizable mechanisms giving rise to emergent properties of social systems which, in turn, feed back on individual decision-making. This research program benefits from computational tools such as agent-based simulations, machine learning, and large-scale web experiments, and has considerable overlap with the nascent field of computational social science. By providing relevant analytical tools to rigorously address sociology’s core questions, computational social science has the potential to advance sociology in a similar way that the introduction of econometrics advanced economics during the last half century. Computational social scientists from computer science and physics often see as their main task to establish empirical regularities which they view as “social laws.” From the perspective of the social sciences, references to social laws appear unfounded and misplaced, however, and in this article we outline how analytical sociology, with its theory-grounded approach to computational social science, can help to move the field forward from mere descriptions and predictions to the explanation of social phenomena.

  • 2.
    Keuschnigg, Marc
    et al.
    Department of Sociology, Ludwig Maximilians University Munich, Munich, Germany.
    Ganser, Christian
    Department of Sociology, Ludwig Maximilians University Munich, Munich, Germany.
    Crowd Wisdom Relies on Agents’ Ability in Small Groups with a Voting Aggregation Rule2017In: Management science, ISSN 0025-1909, E-ISSN 1526-5501, Vol. 63, no 3, p. 818-828Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    In the last decade, interest in the “wisdom of crowds” effect has gained momentum in both organizationalresearch and corporate practice. Crowd wisdom relies on the aggregation of independent judgments. Theaccuracy of a group’s aggregate prediction rises with the number, ability, and diversity of its members. Weinvestigate these variables’ relative importance for collective prediction using agent-based simulation. We replicatethe “diversity trumps ability” proposition for large groups, showing that samples of heterogeneous agentsoutperform same-sized homogeneous teams of high ability. In groups smaller than approximately 16 members,however, the effects of group composition depend on the social decision function employed: diversity is key onlyin continuous estimation tasks (averaging) and much less important in discrete choice tasks (voting), in whichagents’ individual abilities remain crucial. Thus, strategies to improve collective decision making must adapt to thepredictive situation at hand.

  • 3.
    Keuschnigg, Marc
    et al.
    Linköping University, Department of Management and Engineering, The Institute for Analytical Sociology, IAS. Linköping University, Faculty of Arts and Sciences.
    Wimmer, Thomas
    Ludwig Maximilians University of Munchen, Germany.
    Is Category Spanning Truly Disadvantageous? New Evidence from Primary and Secondary Movie Markets2017In: Social Forces, ISSN 0037-7732, E-ISSN 1534-7605, Vol. 96, no 1, p. 449-479Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Genre assignments help audiences make sense of new releases. Studies from a wide range of market contexts have shown that generalists defying clear mapping to established categories suffer penalties in market legitimacy, perceived quality, or audience attention. We introduce an empirical strategy to disentangle two mechanisms, reduced niche fitness and audience confusion, causing devaluation or ignorance of boundary-crossing offers. Our data on 2,971 feature films released to US theaters and subsequently made available on DVD further reveal that consequences of category spanning are subject to strong moderating influences. Negative effects are far from universal, manifesting only if (a) combined genres are culturally distant, (b) products are released to a stable and highly institutionalized market context, and (c) offers lack familiarity as an alternative source of market recognition. Our study provides ramifications as to the scope conditions of categorization effects and modifies some widely acknowledged truisms regarding boundary crossing in cultural markets.

  • 4.
    Keuschnigg, Marc
    et al.
    Linköping University, The Institute for Analytical Sociology, IAS. Linköping University, Faculty of Arts and Sciences.
    Wolbring, Tobias
    Department of Sociology University of Mannheim, Germany.
    The Use of Field Experiments to Study Mechanisms of Discrimination2016In: Analyse & Kritik. Zeitung für linke Debatte und Praxis, ISSN 0171-5860, E-ISSN 2365-9858, Vol. 38, no 1, p. 179-202Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    This paper discusses social mechanisms of discrimination and reviews existing field experimental designs for their identication. We first explicate two social mechanisms proposed in the literature, animus-driven and statistical discrimination, to explain differential treatment based on ascriptive characteristics. We then present common approaches to study discrimination based on observational data and laboratory experiments, discuss their strengths and weaknesses, and elaborate why unobtrusive field experiments are a promising complement. However, apart from specific methodological challenges, well-established experimental designs fail to identify the mechanisms of discrimination. Consequently, we introduce a rapidly growing strand of research which actively intervenes in market activities varying costs and information for potential perpetrators to identify causal pathways of discrimination. We end with a summary of lessons learned and a discussion of challenges that lie ahead.

  • 5.
    Keuschnigg, Marc
    et al.
    Department of Sociology, LMU Munich, Munich, Germany.
    Bader, Felix
    Department of Sociology, LMU Munich, Munich, Germany.
    Bracher, Johannes
    Department of Sociology, LMU Munich, Munich, Germany.
    Using Crowdsourced Online Experiments to Study Context-dependency of Behavior2016In: Social Science Research, ISSN 0049-089X, E-ISSN 1096-0317, Vol. 59, p. 68-82Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    We use Mechanical Turk's diverse participant pool to conduct online bargaining games in India and the US. First, we assess internal validity of crowdsourced experimentation through variation of stakes ($0, $1, $4, and $10) in the Ultimatum and Dictator Game. For cross-country equivalence we adjust the stakes following differences in purchasing power. Our marginal totals correspond closely to laboratory findings. Monetary incentives induce more selfish behavior but, in line with most laboratory findings, the particular size of a positive stake appears irrelevant. Second, by transporting a homogeneous decision situation into various living conditions crowdsourced experimentation permits identification of context effects on elicited behavior. We explore context-dependency using session-level variation in participants' geographical location, regional affluence, and local social capital. Across “virtual pools” behavior varies in the range of stake effects. We argue that quasi-experimental variation of the characteristics people bring to the experimental situation is the key potential of crowdsourced online designs.

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