William R. Hobbs

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I develop statistical methods to explain social phenomena. My work focuses on the social effects of government policies, on how small groups of people adapt to sudden changes in their lives, and on low-dimensional representation of social interaction and language. The research spans communication, technology, health, politics, and public policy. Political science is my disciplinary home.

From 2016 to 2018, I am a postdoctoral fellow at Northeastern University's Network Science Institute and a visiting scholar at Harvard's Institute for Quantitative Social Science. I earned my PhD in political science from the University of California, San Diego.

Publications (with links to papers)

Voters of the Year: 19 Voters Who Were Unintentional Election Poll Sensors on Twitter
William Hobbs, Lisa Friedland, Kenneth Joseph, Oren Tsur, Stefan Wojcik, and David Lazer. 2017.
ICWSM '17 (short paper). 544-547.

Connective Recovery in Social Networks After the Death of a Friend
William Hobbs and Moira Burke. 2017.
Nature: Human Behaviour. 1 (5).
-- Science
-- The Atlantic
-- UC San Diego press release

Online Social Integration is Associated with Reduced Mortality Risk
William Hobbs, Moira Burke, Nicholas Christakis, and James Fowler. 2016.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 113 (46): 12980-12984.
-- New York Times
-- Los Angeles Times
-- UC San Diego press release
-- Altmetric 2016 Top 100

Presidential Effort and International Outcomes: evidence for an executive bottleneck
David Lindsey and William Hobbs. 2015.
Journal of Politics. 77(4): 1089-1102.
-- supporting information
-- replication materials

Widowhood Effects in Voter Participation
William Hobbs, Nicholas Christakis, and James Fowler. 2014.
American Journal of Political Science. 58(1): 1-16.
-- supporting information
-- replication code (email me for updated code in Python)
-- The Atlantic

Prediction of Mortality Using On-line, Self-Reported Health Data: empirical test of the RealAge score
William Hobbs and James Fowler. 2014.
PLOS ONE. 9(1): e86385.
-- supporting information

Embedded Interests and the Managerial Local State: the political economy of methanol fuel-switching in China
Genia Kostka and William Hobbs. 2013.
Journal of Contemporary China. 22(80): 204-218.

Local Energy Efficiency Policy Implementation in China: bridging the gap between national priorities and local interests
Genia Kostka and William Hobbs. 2012.
China Quarterly. 211: 765-785.


Working papers and selected ongoing research

Partisan Attachment or Life Stability?
William Hobbs.

How Sudden Censorship Can Increase Access to Information
William Hobbs and Margaret Roberts.

The Effects of the 2016 Election on Muslim and Arab Americans
with Nazita Lajevardi.

Latent Dimensions of Attitudes on the Affordable Care Act
with Daniel Hopkins.

Stabilized Text Scaling for Open-Ended Survey Responses
William Hobbs.


University of California, San Diego
PhD '16 in Political Science (2011-2016)
-  Institute for Network Science, Yale University (2013 - 2014)
-  Data Science team, Facebook, Inc. (2013)

University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
BA '09 in Economics