Christopher Andrew Bail

Christopher Andrew Bail

Douglas and Ellen Lowey Associate Professor


Chris Bail is the Douglas and Ellen Lowey Associate Professor of Sociology and Public Policy at Duke. His research examines political polarization, culture and social psychology using tools from the emerging field of computational social science (e.g. digital trace data from social media sites, automated text analysis, and machine learning)

Chris is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Carnegie Fellowship, and numerous awards from the American Sociological Association, the Association for Research on Non-Profit Organizations and Voluntary Action, and other scholarly associations. His research has been published by Princeton University Press, the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the American Journal of Public Health, the American Sociological Review, and other leading publications. Funding for his work has been provided by the National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and the Russell Sage Foundation. His research has also been covered by major media outlets such as NBC NewsNational Public Radio, the Washington Post, and the BBC.

Chris is the Editor of the Oxford University Press Series in Computational Social Science and the co-founder of the Summer Institutes in Computational Social Science, which are free training events designed to introduce junior scholars to the field that are held concurrently in seven universities around the world each year. Chris also serves on the Advisory Council to the National Science Foundation's Social Behavioral and Economic Sciences Directorate, and helped create Duke's Interdisciplinary Data Science Program.  He is also the Director of Duke's new Polarization Lab.

Education & Training

  • Ph.D., Harvard University 2011

Selected Grants

Summer Institute in Computational Social Science awarded by Alfred P. Sloan Foundation (Principal Investigator). 2018 to 2020

Political Polarization and Social Media Echo Chambers: A Mixed-Method Field Experiment on Twitter awarded by National Science Foundation (Principal Investigator). 2018 to 2019

Ideological Distance, Identity Cues, and Affective Political Polarization on Facebook awarded by Facebook Inc. (Principal Investigator). 2019

Summer Institute on Computational Social Science Russell Sage awarded by Russell Sage Foundation (Principal Investigator). 2018 to 2019

Civil Society Organizations, Social Media, and Public Attention awarded by National Science Foundation (Principal Investigator). 2015 to 2016

Bail, CA, Argyle, LP, Brown, TW, Bumpus, JP, Chen, H, Hunzaker, MBF, Lee, J, Mann, M, Merhout, F, and Volfovsky, A. "Exposure to opposing views on social media can increase political polarization." Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 115.37 (September 2018): 9216-9221. Full Text Open Access Copy

Bail, CA, Brown, TW, and Mann, M. "Channeling Hearts and Minds: Advocacy Organizations, Cognitive-Emotional Currents, and Public Conversation." American Sociological Review 82.6 (December 1, 2017): 1188-1213. Full Text

Bail, CA. "Taming Big Data: Using App Technology to Study Organizational Behavior on Social Media." Sociological Methods and Research 46.2 (March 1, 2017): 189-217. Full Text

McDonnell, TE, Bail, CA, and Tavory, I. "A Theory of Resonance." Sociological Theory 35.1 (March 1, 2017): 1-14. Full Text

Bail, CA. "Combining natural language processing and network analysis to examine how advocacy organizations stimulate conversation on social media." Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 113.42 (October 2016): 11823-11828. Full Text

Bail, CA. "Cultural carrying capacity: Organ donation advocacy, discursive framing, and social media engagement." Social science & medicine (1982) 165 (September 2016): 280-288. Full Text

Bail, CA. "Emotional Feedback and the Viral Spread of Social Media Messages About Autism Spectrum Disorders." American journal of public health 106.7 (July 2016): 1173-1180. Full Text

Bail, CA. "The cultural environment: Measuring culture with big data." Theory and Society 43.3 (January 1, 2014): 465-524. Full Text