Events & Media

Lecture Videos

Remaking the University and Economy in China – 4/8/24

The Symposium on “Remaking the University and Economy in China,” sponsored by the Center for the Study of Economy and Society at Cornell, features two distinguished speakers: John E. Hopcroft and Justin Yifu Lin. Hopcroft, a theoretical computer scientist and former Dean of Cornell’s Engineering School, with 30 years of experience in China, focuses on his work in reforming higher education in China, reflecting on successes and challenges. Lin, Professor of Economics at Peking University and former Chief Economist at the World Bank, explores China’s modernization, analyzing its implications for economics and offering insights for other developing nations.

Remaking the University and Economy in China

Remaking the University and Economy in China Symposium

The Center for the Study of Economy and Society is hosting a Symposium on “Remaking the University and Economy in China” on Monday, April 8th at Cornell University beginning at 4:00 pm. Videos of the presentations will be shared on our YouTube channel the following week.  A list of the participants can be found below:

Introduction

  • Victor Nee, Frank and Rosa Rhodes Professor of Economic Sociology, and Director of the Center for the Study of Economy and Society

Presenters

  • John Edward Hopcroft, Joseph C. Ford Professor of Computer Science Emeritus and former Joseph Sibert Dean of Engineering, Cornell University, A.M. Turing Award (1986), National Academy of Sciences, a foreign member of the Chinese Academy of Sciences and Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
  • Justing Yifu Lin, Professor of Economics, Peking University; Chief Economist of the World Bank, 2008-2012; China’s State Council Counsellor, 2013 to present.

Workshop on Theory, Prediction, and Confirmation

The Center for the Study of Economy and Society is sponsoring a workshop on Theory, Prediction, and Confirmation on Saturday, February 10th at the ILR Conference Center in New York City and via Zoom. A reception and dinner will follow. The complete program for the workshop can be found here.

Participants

  • Delia Baldassarri, New York University
  • Yang Cao, University of North Carolina, Charlotte
  • Karen Cook, Stanford University
  • Daniel DellaPosta, Penn State University
  • Paul DiMaggio, New York University
  • Diego Gambetta, Collegio Carlo Alberto
  • Hakan J. Holm, Lund University School of Economics and Business
  • Siegwart Lindenberg, Universitiy of Tilburg
  • Michael Macy, Cornell University
  • Barnaby Marsh, Institute for Advanced Study
  • Victor Nee, Cornell University
  • Barum Park, Cornell University
  • Arnout van de Rijt, European University Institute
  • Sirui Wang, McKinsey Consulting and Fellow of CSES
Lecture Series

David John Frank, UC Irvine

David John Frank (UC Irvine) joins the Center for the Study of Economy and Society for an in-person talk on his latest work on Friday, May 5th between 3:00 – 4:15pm in Uris Hall G08.  Details of the talk will be shared in the coming weeks.

Lecture Series

Frank Dobbin, Harvard University

Frank Dobbin joins the Center for the Study of Economy and Society for an in-person talk on his latest work at 3:00pm on Thursday, April 20th.  Details and the location of the talk will be announced in the coming weeks.

Lecture Series

James Evans, University of Chicago

Designing Diversity for Sustained Innovation

Abstract

The wisdom of crowds hinges on the independence and diversity of their members’ information and approach. Here I explore how the wisdom of scientific, technological, business, and civic crowds for sustained discovery, invention, and cooperation operate through a process of collective abduction wherein unexpected findings or conflicts stimulate innovators to forge new insights to make the surprising unsurprising. Drawing on tens of millions of research papers and patents across the life sciences, physical sciences and inventions, as also interactions between diverse collaborating groups, I show that surprising designs and discoveries are the best predictor of outsized success and that surprising advances systematically emerge across, rather than within researchers or teams; most commonly when innovators from one field surprisingly publish or share problem-solving results to an audience in a distant and diverse other. This relates to other research I summarize that shows how across innovators, teams and fields, connection and conformity is associated with reduced replication and impeded innovation. Using these principles, I simulate processes of knowledge search to demonstrate the relationship between crowded fields and constrained collective inferences, and I illustrate how inverting the traditional approach to artificial intelligence approach, to avoid rather than mimic human search, enables the design of diversity that systematically violates established field boundaries and is associated with marked success of predicted innovations. I conclude with a discussion of prospects and challenges in a connected age for sustainable innovation through the design and preservation of difference in science and society.

About the Speaker

James Evans is the Max Palevksy Professor of Sociology, Director of Knowledge Lab, and Founding Faculty Director of Computational Social Science at the University of Chicago and the Santa Fe Institute. Evans‘ research uses large-scale data, machine learning and generative models to understand how collectives think and what they know. This involves inquiry into the emergence of ideas, shared patterns of reasoning, and processes of attention, communication, agreement, and certainty. Thinking and knowing collectives like science, Wikipedia or the Web involve complex networks of diverse human and machine intelligences, collaborating and competing to achieve overlapping aims. Evans‘ work connects the interaction of these agents with the knowledge they produce and its value for themselves and the system.

Evans designs observatories for understanding that fuse data from text, images and other sensors with results from interactive crowd sourcing and online experiments. Much of Evans‘ work has investigated modern science and technology to identify collective biases, generate new leads taking these into account, and imagine alternative discovery regimes. He has identified R&D institutions that generate more and less novelty, precision, density and robustness. Evans also explores thinking and knowing in other domains ranging from political ideology and misinformation to popular culture. His work has been published in Nature, Science, PNAS, American Sociological Review, American Journal of Sociology and many other top social and computer science outlets.

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“Economic sociology is a science concerning itself with the interpretive understanding of social economic action and thereby with a causal explanation of its course and consequences.”— Max Weber