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Sastry's 10-year study of New Orleans Katrina evacuees shows demographic differences between returning and nonreturning

Stafford says less educated, smaller investors more likely to sell off stock and lock in losses during market downturn

Chen says job fit, job happiness can be achieved over time

Highlights

Deirdre Bloome wins ASA award for work on racial inequality and intergenerational transmission

Bob Willis awarded 2015 Jacob Mincer Award for Lifetime Contributions to the Field of Labor Economics

David Lam is new director of Institute for Social Research

Elizabeth Bruch wins Robert Merton Prize for paper in analytic sociology

Next Brown Bag

Monday, Oct 12
Joe Grengs, Policy & Planning for Social Equity in Transportation

Screen shot of complex data analysis

New methods for modeling decision making in social science

8/1/2014 feature story

Elizabeth Bruch and colleagues develop a framework for linking marketing statistical models to agent-based models of decision making, and apply the statistical framework to decision-making phenomena of interest in population dynamics.

More Information.

Elizabeth Eve Bruch

Project Information:

Cognitively Plausible Models of Decision Making

The statistical models used in quantitative social science and public health research are rarely plausible models of the underlying behavior or decision-making process that gave rise to the social phenomenon under investigation. Researchers in business and marketing use much more sophisticated statistical models of how people navigate their environment and make decisions, which draw on insights from cognitive science and decision theory. But these methods have never been applied in population health to decision modeling, and they are much more difficult to master than techniques currently in use. An initial investigation into marketing statistical methods found no standard statistical software, but rather programs usually written from scratch; and no single model or methodological approach, but rather a loose “toolkit” of techniques or strategies customized for specific applications. In addition, models often rely on Bayesian estimation techniques, which require significant expertise outside of standardized software packages. My aims in this project are to: (1) master the statistical skills involved in estimating these models, and gain a formal understanding of the underlying theories of decision making; (2) adapt the marketing statistical models to new substantive applications; (3) develop a methodological framework for linking these “cognitively plausible” models of individual decision-making with agent-based models to understand the implications of decision strategies for aggregate population dynamics; and (4) explore how this statistical framework may be applied to a broader range of decision-making applications relevant to health research. My analysis will apply the choice-modeling framework in two areas of research: mate choice (as observed on an online dating website) and neighborhood choice.

Elizabeth Eve Bruch, Fred M. Feinberg, Ana Diez Roux

Feature Archive.