I am Professor of Sociology at the European University Institute. I received my Ph.D. in Sociology from Cornell University in 2007 and worked until 2016 as Assistant and Associate Professor of Sociology at Stony Brook University in the USA, where I co-led the Center for Computational Social Science. From 2016 to 2019 I worked as Professor of Sociology at Utrecht University, where I led the Computational Sociology focus area.
My research interests span the broad areas of social network analysis, computational social science, and social stratification. My work on cumulative advantage investigates how small, random differences in early success between people can with time, through positive feedback, grow into large gaps between the successful and unsuccessful; and how a person or thing can remain highly popular when a less popular alternative is of higher quality. My research on social networks shows how large, complex network structures emerge as the by-product of many individuals’ decisions on whom to interact with and whom to avoid. I’m proud to have received the Lynton Freeman (2010) and Raymond Boudon (2017) early career awards.
Trying to help with the Coronacrisis using social network analysis. We’re investigating what targeted interventions might work. Our (very preliminary) research on reducing long-range contact and targeting high-contact individuals got some attention (Bloomberg, Volkskrant) and may hopefully help policy makers formulate a comprehensive exit strategy.
Talking about my work on luck and success on ABC’s The Science Show
I’m very pleased the International Society for Scientometrics and Informetrics (ISSI) just awarded Thijs Bol, Mathijs de Vaan and me their paper of the year award, for our article “The Matthew Effect in Science Funding” (PNAS 2018)!
I’m very pleased the Dutch Science Foundation (NWO) just awarded my collaborators and I a 380,000 Euro grant to study the energy transition! ( https://www.nwo.nl/financiering/onze-financieringsinstrumenten/enw/complexity-and-creative-industry/complexity-and-creative-industry.html )
It was just announced our article “The Matthew Effect in Science Funding” (with Thijs Bol and Mathijs de Vaan, PNAS, 2018) was awarded the Coleman Outstanding Article Award!
My article “Self-Reinforcing Dynamics in Social Influence Processes” which came out in American Journal of Sociology this month show that if a bad thing is temporarily more popular than a good thing, in the long run the good thing will tend to regain its natural dominance in popularity.
Our paper on the Matthew effect in science funding is now out in PNAS! We find that luck with early-career funding has a big ripple effect on subsequent academic success. It’s also discussed in Nature, Volkskrant and Trouw
The data and code from our paper “Field Experiments of Success-Breeds-Success Dynamics” are now available at the Open Science Framework.
Vincenz Frey and Arnout van de Rijt. “Social Influence Undermines Crowd Wisdom in Sequential Decision-Making.” Forthcoming in Management Science.
Arnout van de Rijt. 2019. “Self-Correcting Dynamics in Social Influence Processes.” American Journal of Sociology 124(5):1468-95. pdf (pre-publication)
Eran Shor, Arnout van de Rijt, Alex Miltsov, Vivek Kulkarni and Steven Skiena. 2015. “A Paper Ceiling: Explaining the Persistent Underrepresentation of Female Names in Printed News Coverage.” American Sociological Review 80(5): 960-84. pdf Press: The Guardian, Yahoo, NPR Wisconsin, Pacific Standard, RAI, CIBL-FM, Financial Express, Business Standard, Daily Beast
Damon Centola and Arnout van de Rijt. 2015. “Choosing Your Network: Social Preferences in an Online Health Community.” Social Science & Medicine 125: 19-31. pdf
Arnout van de Rijt, Soong Moon Kang, Michael Restivo and Akshay Patil. 2014. “Field Experiments of Success-Breeds-Success Dynamics.” PNAS 111(19):6934–39. pdf data&code Press: Economist, Time, National Geographic, WAMC, Daily News, Daily Mail, World News, Business Insider, Phys.org, FT Alphaville, Psychology Today.
Arnout van de Rijt, Eran Shor, Charles Ward and Steven Skiena. 2013. “Only Fifteen Minutes? The Social Stratification of Fame in Printed Media.” American Sociological Review 78(2): 266-89. pdf data&code Press: LA Times, NBC News, Toronto Star, Globe and Mail, Yahoo News, Pacific Standard, Politiken (front page), U.S. News and World Report, Philly, LiveScience.com, Smithsonian, Hindustan Times, UPI, Winnipeg Free Press, PsychCentral, Salon, Jezebel
Michael Restivo and Arnout van de Rijt. 2012. “Experimental Study of Informal Rewards in Peer Production.” PLoS ONE 7(3): e34358. pdf
Department of Political and Social Sciences
European University Institute
Badia Fiesolana, room BF-179
via dei Roccettini, 9
50014 San Domenico di Fiesole (FI)
+39 055 4685 233