June 17, 2019 - June 28, 2019 | Chicago


As we discussed in our call for applications, we have arranged two types of training prior to the event this summer. Some students have more sophisticated coding skills but little exposure to social science; other students have significant exposure to social science but lack strong coding skills.


The majority of the coding work presented at the 2019 SICSS will employ R. However, you are welcome to employ a language of your choice, such as Python, Julia, or other languages that are commonly used by computational social scientists. If you would like to work in R, we recommend that you complete the free RStudio Primers, which can be supplemented by the open access book R for Data Science by Garrett Grolemund and Hadley Wickham. RStudio Primers cover 6 topics: The Basics, Working with Data, Visualize Data, Tidy Your Data, Iterate, and Write Functions. If you already feel comfortable with these topics (either in R or some other language), then you do not need to complete these Primers.

If you would like more practice after completing the RStudio Primers, some other materials that we can recommend are:

Reading List

Our institute will bring together people from many fields, and therefore we think that asking you to do some reading before you arrive will help us use our time together more effectively. First, we ask you to read Matt’s book, Bit by Bit: Social Research in the Digital Age, which is a broad introduction to computational social science. Parts of this book will be review for most of you, but if we all read this book ahead of time, then we can use our time together for more advanced topics.

Also, for students with little or no exposure to sociology, economics, or political science, we have assembled a collection of exemplary papers in the core areas addressed by the Russell Sage Foundation. Neither your work nor the work we develop together at the institute need map neatly onto these categories, but if those with less exposure to social science read these, we will increase the chances of interdisciplinary cross-pollination, which we view as critical to the future of computational social science.

Future of Work

  • Granovetter, Mark S. 1973. “The Strength of Weak Ties.” American Journal of Sociology 78(6), pp.1360???80.
  • Kalleberg, Arne L. 2009. “Precarious Work, Insecure Workers - Employment Relations in Transition.” American Sociological Review 74(1),pp.1???22.

Behavioral Economics

  • Thaler, Richard H. 2016. “Behavioral Economics - Past, Present, and Future.” American Economic Review, 106(7), pp.1577-1600.
  • Prelec, Drazen and George Loewenstein. 1998. “The Red and the Black - The Mental Accounting of Savings and Debt” Marketing Science, 17(1), pp.4-28.

Race, Ethnicity, and Immigration

  • Waters, Mary. 1994 “Ethnic and racial identities of second-generation black immigrants in New York City” International Migration Review.
  • Sniderman, Paul et. al. 2004. “Predisposing Factors and Situational Triggers - Exclusionary Reactions to Immigrant Minorities.” American Political Science Review.
  • Bertrand, Marrianne and Sendhil Mullainathan. 2004. “Are Emily and Greg More Employable than Lakisha and Jamal? A Field Experiment on Labour Market Discrimination.” American Economic Review.

Social Inequality

  • Chetty, Raj. 2014. “Where is the Land of Opportunity? The Geography of Intergenerational Mobility in the United States” Quarterly Journal of Economics 129(4), pp. 1553-1623.
  • David B. Grusky and Manwai C. Ku. 2008. “Gloom, Doom, and Inequality” In Social Stratification - Race Class and Gender.
  • Laureau, Annette. 2002. “Invisible Inequality - Social Class and Childrearing in White and Black Families.” American Sociological Review.

Host a Location

You can host a partner location of the Summer Institutes of Computational Social Science (SICSS) at your university, company, NGO, or government agency.

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