Arnout van de Rijt

Arnout van de Rijt is Professor of Sociology at the European University Institute. He received his 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 he co-led the Center for Computational Social Science. From 2016 to 2019 he worked as Professor of Sociology at Utrecht University, where he led the Computational Sociology focus area.

His research interests span the broad areas of social network analysis, computational social science, and social stratification. His 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. Van de Rijt’s work 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.

For his work van de Rijt received the Lynton Freeman (2010) and Raymond Boudon (2017) early career awards. His work has been funded by the National Science Foundation. His papers have been published in such journals as PNAS, American Sociological Review, and the American Journal of Sociology. Coverage of his work has appeared in various media, among which Nature and the Economist.



February 2020

Talking about my work on ABC’s The Science Show

August 2019

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)!

July 2019

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! ( )

May 2019

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!

April 2019

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.

April 2018

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

March 2018

The data and code from our study “Arbitrary Inequality in Reputation Systems” are now available at the Open Science Framework.

February 2018

The data and code from our paper “Field Experiments of Success-Breeds-Success Dynamics” are now available at the Open Science Framework.

December 2017

I’m very happy to have received the Raymond Boudon award from the European Academy of Sociology!

Selected publications

Arnout van de Rijt. 2019. “Self-Correcting Dynamics in Social Influence Processes.” American Journal of Sociology 124(5):1468-95. pdf (pre-publication)

Thijs Bol, Mathijs de Vaan and Arnout van de Rijt. 2018. “The Matthew Effect in Science Funding.” PNAS. pdf data&code Press: NatureVolkskrant, Trouw

Vincenz Frey and Arnout van de Rijt. 2016. “Arbitrary Inequality in Reputation Systems.” Scientific Reports 6: 38304. pdf data & code

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 GuardianYahooNPR WisconsinPacific StandardRAICIBL-FMFinancial ExpressBusiness StandardDaily 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: EconomistTimeNational GeographicWAMCDaily NewsDaily MailWorld NewsBusiness InsiderPhys.orgFT AlphavillePsychology 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 TimesNBC NewsToronto StarGlobe and MailYahoo NewsPacific StandardPolitiken (front page), U.S. News and World ReportPhillyLiveScience.comSmithsonianHindustan TimesUPIWinnipeg Free PressPsychCentralSalonJezebel

Michael Restivo and Arnout van de Rijt. 2012. “Experimental Study of Informal Rewards in Peer Production.” PLoS ONE 7(3): e34358. pdf

Arnout van de Rijt, David Siegel, and Michael Macy. 2009. “Neighborhood Chance and Neighborhood Change: Comment on Bruch and Mare.” American Journal of Sociology 114(4):1166-80. pdf code

Vincent Buskens and Arnout van de Rijt. 2008. “Dynamics of Networks if Everyone Strives for Structural Holes.” American Journal of Sociology 114(2):371-407. 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