[gov3009-l] Applied Statistics Workshop: Tyler VanderWeele on Wednesday, Nov. 9

Konstantin Kashin kkashin at fas.harvard.edu
Mon Nov 7 01:33:49 EST 2011

Dear all,

Please join us for the Applied Statistics Workshop (Gov 3009) this
Wednesday, November 9 from 12.00 - 1.30 pm in CGIS Knafel Room 354. Tyler
VanderWeele, Associate Professor of Epidemiology at the Harvard School of
Public Health, will give a presentation entitled "Sensitivity Analysis for
Contagion Effects in Social Networks". As always, a light lunch will be

The paper is available here
<http://smr.sagepub.com/content/40/2/240.short>and the abstract is:

*Analyses of social network data have suggested that obesity, smoking,
happiness, and loneliness all travel through social networks. Individuals
exert ''contagion effects'' on one another through social ties and
association. These analyses have come under critique because of the
possibility that homophily from unmeasured factors may explain these
statistical associations and because similar findings can be obtained when
the same methodology is applied to height, acne, and headaches, for which
the conclusion of contagion effects seems somewhat less plausible. The
author uses sensitivity analysis techniques to assess the extent to which
supposed contagion effects for obesity, smoking, happiness, and loneliness
might be explained away by homophily or confounding and the extent to which
the critique using analysis of data on height, acne, and headaches is
relevant. Sensitivity analyses suggest that contagion effects for obesity
and smoking cessation are reasonably robust to possible latent homophily or
environmental confounding; those for happiness and loneliness are somewhat
less so. Supposed effects for height, acne, and headaches are all easily
explained away by latent homophily and confounding. The methodology that
has been used in past studies for contagion effects in social networks,
when used in conjunction with sensitivity analysis, may prove useful in
establishing social influence for various behaviors and states. The
sensitivity analysis approach can be used to address the critique of latent
homophily as a possible explanation of associations interpreted as
contagion effects.*

An up-to-date schedule for the workshop is available at


Konstantin Kashin
Ph.D. Student in Government
Harvard University

Mobile: 978-844-0538
E-mail: kkashin at fas.harvard.edu
Site: http://people.fas.harvard.edu/~kkashin/
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