Dr Cohen Simpson

Dr Cohen Simpson

LSE Fellow in Quantitative Research Methods

Department of Methodology

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Key Expertise
Social Network Analysis; Friendship; Cooperation; Evolutionary Anthropology

About me

"My findings [from a study on farm size and friend choice amongst rice producers in China] challenge common assumptions about friend choice by demonstrating that the salience of the mechanisms governing who we befriend can be highly context dependent."
- Dr Cohen Simpson discusses the main themes of his research as part of our 30th Anniversary celebrations. Read the full close-up with Methodology faculty.

Cohen is a Fellow in Quantitative Research Methods in the Department of Methodology and an Associate Member of Nuffield College, Oxford. In 2016, he also received his PhD in Social Research Methods from the Department of Methodology. Before returning to the LSE, he was a Research Fellow and British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow at the Oxford Internet Institute and a Non-Stipendary Research Fellow at Nuffield College. He has also held postdoctoral roles in the Department of Sociology at the University of Oxford and the Department of Sociology at the University of Cambridge.

Research Interests

Sitting primarily within the traditions of analytical and mathematical sociology, Cohen's research focus is network formation — i.e., where do networks come from? And he is especially interested in the emergence of social networks that span small-scale traditional human populations — i.e. microcosms wherein supportive relationships (e.g., friendship, advice, financial aid, food provision, and physical assistance) facilitate day-to-day survival by offsetting the challenges of poverty, subsistence-based living, and limited access to protective institutions (e.g. state welfare). 

Cohen also has a deep interest in evolutionary and sociological theories of human sociality (e.g., kin selection theory; structural balance theory), genetic kinship, and ecological arguments around how variation in individuals’ social and physical environments shape their (relational) behaviour. When appropriate, he makes a special effort to draw on zoological research on the social networks of non-human animals. And he is generally interested in interdisciplinary applications of network analysis and mixing social and evolutionary science.

Peer-reviewed publications

Simpson, C.R. & Power, E.A. 2023. Dynamics of cooperative networks associated with gender among South Indian Tamils. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 378 (1868):20210437.  https://royalsocietypublishing.org/doi/10.1098/rstb.2021.0437

Simpson, C.R. & Kirk, D.S. 2022. Is police misconduct contagious? Non-trivial null findings from Dallas, Texas. Journal of Quantitative Criminology. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10940-021-09532-7

Simpson, C.R. 2022. Social support and network formation in a small-scale horticulturalist population. Scientific Data, 9:570. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41597-022-01516-x

Simpson, C.R. 2022. On the structural equivalence of coresidents and the measurement of village social structure. Social Networks, 69:55–73. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.socnet.2020.02.010

Simpson, C.R. 2020. Farm size shapes friend choice amongst rice producers in China: Some evidence for the theory of network ecology. Social Networks, 61:107-127. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.socnet.2019.10.001

Simpson, C.R. 2016. Competition for foundation patronage and the differential effects of prestige on the grant market success of social movement organisations. Social Networks, 46:29-43. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.socnet.2016.02.001

Simpson, C.R. 2015. Multiplexity and strategic alliances: The relational embeddedness of coalitions in social movement organisational fields. Social Networks, 42:42-59. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.socnet.2015.02.007