Headshot of Daniel DellaPosta (outdoors) with short, brown hair wearing a blue dress shirt and dark jacket.

Daniel J DellaPosta, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor, Sociology and Criminology

Biography

I study network dynamics in political, economic, and organizational contexts. Most broadly, my research focuses on how interdependent actors collectively shape social structure. I am especially interested in how network structure shapes—and is shaped by—social expectations, norms, and attitudes. I work with data from historical sources, surveys, and the web using a combination of network analysis, statistical modeling, and computational methods. While addressing diverse empirical and theoretical puzzles, my research features a core focus on the mechanisms giving rise to intergroup cooperation and conflict, political and attitudinal alignments, and economic organization. I am currently working on three main projects, each applying network methods in a novel empirical context. The first uses a historical network analysis of the American Mafia to address a broader puzzle in economic and organizational sociology: How do organizations maintain internal solidarity and closure without compromising their access to diverse networks? In several papers stemming from this project, I draw on a rich archival data set containing detailed biographical information on over 700 members and associates of 24 American mafia families. A second project looks at the role of social influence in valuation processes in markets, drawing on an original data set of 2.2 million online beer reviews. A third project in its early stages examines a broader question: Does social influence make the spread of behaviors and other diffusion processes more predictable, or less? In line with my previous work, I also maintain a strong interest in studying the character and evolution of political and cultural polarization in the United States.

Research Interests

Social Networks; Economic Sociology; Political Sociology; Organizations and Institutions; Computational Methods

Education

  • Ph.D., Sociology, Cornell University, 2017
  • B.A., Sociology, University of Chicago, 2011