David M. J. Lazer

Areas of Study

Social networks, deliberation, social implications of technology, DNA and the criminal justice system.



  • DNA and the Criminal Justice System:  The Technology of Justice (ed.), MIT press:  2004.
  • Governance and Information Technology:  From Electronic Government to Information Government, MIT press:  2007. (with V. Mayer-Schönberger)

Recent/ Forthcoming Articles

  • “Who Wants To Deliberate- And Why?”Winner of the Heinz Eulau award for best paper published in the APSR in 2010American Political Science Review 104(3), 2010 (with M. Neblo, K. Esterling, R. Kennedy, and A. Sokhey).
  • “Means, Motive, & Opportunity in Becoming Informed About Politics: A Deliberative Field Experiment with Members of Congress and Their Constituents,” Public Opinion Quarterly (with M. Neblo and K. Esterling), forthcoming.
  • “Connecting to Constituents: The Diffusion of Representation Practices among Congressional Websites”, Political Research Quarterly (with K. Eterling and M. Neblo), forthcoming.
  • “Estimating Treatment Effects in the Presence of Noncompliance and Nonresponse: The Generalized Endogenous Treatment Model”, Political Analysis (with M. Neblo, K. Esterling), forthcoming.
  • “Searching for Answers: Networks of Practice among Public Administrators, “American Review of Public Administration 41 (2) 2012, (with M. Binz-Scharf and I. Mergel).
  • “Representative Communication: Website Interactivity & Distributional Path Dependence in the U.S. Congress,” Political Communication 28, 2011 (with K. Esterling, M. Neblo).
  • “Networks in Political Science: Back to the Future,” PS: Political Science & Politics, January 2011.
  • “The multiple institutional logics of innovation,” International Public Management Journal, 14, 2011. (with I. Mergel, C. Ziniel, K. Esterling, and M. Neblo).
  • “The coevolution of networks and political attitudes,” Political Communication 27(3), 2010 (with B. Rubineau, C. Chetkovich, N. Katz, and M. Neblo).
  • “Reply to Adams: Multi-Dimensional Edge Inference”, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, March 2, 2010. (with N. Eagle, A. Clauset, and A. Pentland)
  • “Inferring friendship structure using mobile phone data,” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, August 17, 2009 (with N. Eagle and A. Pentland)
  • “Computational Social Science,” Science, February 6, 2009. (with A. Pentland, L. Adamic, S. Aral, A-L Barabasi, D. Brewer, N. Christakis, N. Contractor, J. Fowler, M. Gutmann, T. Jebara, G. King, M. Macy, D. Roy, and M. Van Alstyne)
  • “The social structure of exploration and exploitation,” Administrative Science Quarterly, December, 2007. (with A. Friedman)
  • “Structure and tie strengths in mobile communication networks,” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, May 1, 2007. (with J.-P. Onnela, J. Saramaki, J. Hyvonen, G. Szabo,K. Kaskil, J. Kertesz, A.-L. Barabasi)
  • “Finding Criminals Through DNA of Their Relatives,” Science, June 2, 2006, (with F. Bieber and C. Brenner

Selected Public and Institutional Service

  • Board of reviewing editors, Science.
  • Member, Board of International Network of Social Network Analysts (INSNA).
  • Member, Advisory Committee, The Third IEEE International Conference on Social Computing, Hawaii, July 24-28, 2011.
  • Member, Program Committee, Websci 11, Koblenz, Germany, June 15-17, 2011.
  • Member, Program Committee, Computational Social Science and the Wisdom of Crowds, Workshop at NIPS 2010 (Dec, 2010).
  • Member, Advisory Committee, Netsci 2010, Boston, MA.
  • Member, Program Committee, Workshop on Social Computing with Mobile Phones & Sensors: Modeling, Sensing and Sharing, IEEE International Conference on Social Computing, August 29-31 2009, Vancouver, Canada
  • Member, Program Committee, SCMPS 2009.
  • Co-founder and co-chair (2008-09) of Political Networks (now an APSA section).
  • Co-organizer and host of 2008 and 2009 Political Networks conferences at Harvard University.
  • Technical contributions co-chair of Engaging Data conference, MIT, October 12-13, 2009.
  • Member of DNA Database Expansion Working Group, Executive Office of Public Safety, Commonwealth of Massachusetts, 2008-09.
  • Director and founder, Program on Networked Governance.

Recent and Upcoming Invited Presentations

  • “Computational social science meets open government”, White House Conference on Open Government Research, March 21, 2011.
  • “Computational social science and social enterprise,” 2011 Social Enterprise Conference, Harvard University, March 6, 2011.
  • “Field experiments: online townhalls,” Center for Public Leadership, Harvard University, November 29, 2010.
  • Following the Money Networks in American Politics,” Insights speaker series, Northeastern University, November 17, 2010.
  • “The use of familial searching in criminal justice investigations,” Program on Criminal Justice and Management, Harvard Kennedy School, October 25, 2010.
  • “Network science and web science,” Web Science: Exploring the Frontier, The Royal Society, September 29, 2010
  • “How we think together: the role of social networks in collective problem solving,” Cabdyn Complexity Center, Oxford University, September 31, 2010.
  • “How we think together: the role of social networks in collective problem solving,” Workshop on Information in Networks (WIN), NYU, September 24, 2010.
  • “Building a Computational Social Science,” at the Graph Exploitation Symposium (Lincoln Laboratory), April 13-14, 2010
  • “Computational social science,” at Toward Socially Coupled Systems & Informatics: Science, Computing & Decision Making in a Complex Interdependent World, July 13-14, 2010.
  • “How we think together: the role of social networks in collective problem solving,” Netsci meetings, May 2010.

Recent Selected Media Coverage and Appearances

  • Featured in “Whodunit,” Boston Globe Magazine (10/31/2010)
  • “Virginia may nab serial rapist through blood relative DNA”, abcnews.com (8/9/2010).
  • “Grim Sleeper brings familial searching to the fore,” interview on “All things considered,” NPR (7/13/2010).

Current Courses

  • IS U692- Information Science Senior Project
  • HONR 3343- The Networked Society