Research papers

I am an economic sociologist with interests in the areas of signaling, organizational processes, and competitive strategy.  In particular, my research examines how actors signal their capabilities and commitments in order to achieve competitive advantage in markets.  I am especially intrigued by two dilemmas that arise in this process.  First, competitors are also trying to signal their capabilities and commitments, making competitive advantage difficult to achieve.  Second, such claims of competitive advantage are subject to suspicions of “cheap talk.”  How then does the actor navigate such dilemmas?  When and why can the actor succeed in convincing her audiences of her competitive advantage?  In my research, I identify how the actor’s strategic enactment of valuations (e.g., conformity; differentiation) signals her capabilities and commitments and how such microsociological mechanisms shape macro-phenomena surrounding competitive advantage in organizations and markets. 

Based on a deep understanding of the contexts I study, I use both quantitative (experimental and observational) and qualitative (interview) methods to sharpen my ideas and test them. 

My research has been published or conditionally accepted in academic journals such as American Sociological Review, Sociological Science, and Social Science Research.  It has also received the Best Student Paper Award at the Academy of Management Organization and Management Theory (OMT) Division; Best Graduate Student Paper Award in American Sociological Association Section on Rationality and Society; and Honorable Mention for the Best Graduate Student Paper in American Sociological Association Section on Social Psychology.

Please contact me if you would like a copy of one of the papers below.


A Man is Known By His Cup: Signaling Commitment via Costly Conformity

Job Market Paper

Best Graduate Student Paper Award in American Sociological Association section on Rationality and Society

Honorable Mention for the Best Graduate Student Paper in American Sociological Association section on Social Psychology


Why Elites Love Authentic Lowbrow Culture: Overcoming High-Status Denigration with Outsider Art

With Oliver Hahl and Ezra Zuckerman

Published in American Sociological Review (Link to article)


Strength Matters: Tie Strength as a Causal Driver of Networks’ Information Benefits

With Roberto Fernandez

Published in Social Science Research (Link to article)


When is the Illusion of Sincerity Created? Accounting for Suspicion of Deviance Elicited by (Entrepreneurial) Norm Enforcement

With Ezra Zuckerman

Conditionally accepted in Sociological Science


The Hipster Effect: Selective Differentiation in Cultural Markets

With Daniel DellaPosta

Best Student Paper in Academy of Management Organization and Management Theory (OMT) Division


The Authentic Appeal of the Lying Demagogue: Proclaiming the Deeper Truth of Political Illegitimacy

With Oliver Hahl and Ezra Zuckerman