Jackson's research focuses on modeling the collections of relationships between individuals, called social networks, in an attempt to understand phenomena as diverse as friendships, computer virus transmission, and employment trends. Through developing these models of social networks, Jackson hopes to understand how specific patterns of social relationships arise, how group behaviors can be predicted, and how relationships could be made more efficient inside a group. One application of interest to Jackson is modeling labor markets with respect to socio-economic background. He seeks to answer questions about how an individual's background influences employment and wage prospects. Social network models may also provide insights into possible policies to alleviate unemployment among specific socio-economic groups.
The Guggenheim Fellowship will help fund Jackson's research while he is on leave at the Center for Advanced Studies in Behavioral Sciences (CASBS) in Palo Alto for the 2005-2006 academic year. While at CASBS, Jackson will examine the diffusion of information through social networks and how it affects behaviors, in particular voting behaviors.
The John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation has granted $240 million in fellowships to over 15, 500 individuals in the arts, humanities, and sciences, since 1925. Past Guggenheim fellows include Nobel laureates and Pulitzer Prize winners.
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