Columbia University, Teachers College Ph.D. (with distinction), Sociology of Education, (2008). M.Phil., Sociology (2007). Harvard University, Graduate School of Education Ed.M., Administration, Planning and Social Policy (1995). American University B.A., Political Science (1994).
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Professor Pittinsky's research focuses on a subfield of social network theory and analysis; what are called “cognitive social networks.” As with social networks more generally, cognitive social networks are structures of social relations that form and evolve among a set of actors in a particular context. Also like social networks more generally, the structure of cognitive social networks and the location of actors within that structure are thought to affect individual and collective behavior in ways that transcend individual characteristics.
He is currently engaged in two primary lines of research into cognitive social networks. First, he is studying the structure of compensation peer group networks and their role in explaining the dramatic rise in U.S. executive compensation that has been observed in recent decades. Second, he is studying how leaders perceive social relations among their subordinates and the extent to which their performance judgments are affected by their perceptions.
In concert with advancing his research on social networks, Professor Pittinsky has developed two related methodological foci. To better model social ties in education settings at a large-scale and over time, he is working to mine transaction data such as email and campus card events to infer associations among university affiliates (e.g., students, faculty). To better model social ties among firms at a large-scale and over time, he is working to mine unstructured electronic documents using fuzzy matching algorithms to extract data on claimed peers.