My research interests are varied, and include social demography, health and mortality, deviance and crime, complexity and social network analysis, computational sociology, and quantitative methods. I am currently involved in the following research projects:

Dissertation: Income Mobility, Health and Mortality

Recent research on U.S. income mobility and health using community and individual data shows that higher mobility is associated with lower mortality risks. That relationship seems to be stronger and more consistent than the relationship between income inequality and health (a topic widely studied), although considerably smaller than the impact of income on mortality. This preliminary evidence suggests that income mobility might be a relevant determinant of health and mortality. Surprisingly, this potential pathway has received little attention in the literature.

My dissertation builds on that small literature and examines the robustness of the relationship between income mobility and health at the aggregate and individual level. By using different data sources and modeling approaches, I describe the magnitude and variability of this association in the U.S., and explore the plausibility and consistency of explanations offered in the literature. The central argument is that the effect of income mobility on health is stronger and larger than the impact of income inequality and that the mechanisms behind it, although related to income inequality, are theoretically distinct and independent of those of income and inequality, and can have powerful and lasting consequences.

To ground this argument, I use two strategies. First, I analyze aggregate and individual data to assess the magnitude, robustness, and variability of the effects of income mobility, and empirically examine whether some of the potential pathways and mechanisms proposed in the literature are supported by the data. Secondly, building on this evidence, I use a theoretical model to assess the conditions and plausibility of the potential mechanisms involved in the association between income mobility and health. By formulating a generative model, where I precisely define (represent) a set of mechanisms (causal relationships) likely to bring about the observed patterns, I am able to assess the internal consistency of the theory and evaluate its generative sufficiency.

The Consequences of Incarceration for Health and Mortality

with Alberto Palloni and Jerrett Jones

In light of the expansion of the criminal justice system, researchers have become increasingly interested in the social consequences of incarceration. A line of this research suggests that incarceration has negative implications for individuals’ health and well-being at older ages. However, prior studies are limited in that they have not adequately followed former prisoners over a sufficient time period to determine whether incarceration significantly increases mortality.

This project contributes to this growing literature by employing the Panel Study of Income Dynamics (PSID), a long longitudinal data resource, to examine the consequences of incarceration for health and mortality. First, we estimate the effect of short and long-term effects of incarceration on mortality and disability over a period of nearly 40 years. Second, we use those estimates and different counterfactual scenarios to assess to what extent mass incarceration contributes to the so called U.S. health disadvantage.

Chile Re-entry Study

with Pilar Larroulet and Catalina Droppelmann

This study, funded by the San Carlos de Maipo Foundation, is an intensive longitudinal data collection of a sample of about 300 women leaving prison in Santiago, Chile. We are using interviews over a period of a year to examine the employment, family life, housing, and health of women just released from prison, but also, qualitative interviews to examine in more detail re-entry experience. We are in the early stages of the project, designing questionnaire and organizing the fieldwork.

RSiena Selection and Influence Estimates Under Misspecification

with Kurt Kreuger

Although the statistical estimation of selection and influence effects has proven to be extremely difficult, new methods have been proposed recently. Among them, one of the most prominent efforts that have gained popularity during the last ten years is the Stochastic Actor-Oriented Model (Siena) proposed by Tom A. B. Snijders and colleagues. This method has been applied to estimate selection and influence effects in a wide range of behaviors and traits including substance use, delinquency, violence, health, and educational attainment. However, we know little about the conditions for which this method is reliable. In this project, we use an Agent-based model (ABM) to assess under which circumstances Siena is able to provide a good representation of the selection and influence processes of a social system, and how robust its results are to misspecification (e.g., heterogeneity).

Working Papers

Income Inequality, Social Mobility and Mortality in the U.S.
Alberto Palloni and Sebastian Daza
Working Paper (Presented at PAA) 2017

Assessing Stochastic Actor-Oriented Model (Siena) Estimation of Selection and Social Influence Effects
Sebastian Daza and Kurt Kreuger
Working Paper (Presented at PAA) 2017

The Consequences of Incarceration for Mortality
Sebastian Daza, Jerrett Jones and Alberto Palloni
Working Paper (Presented at PAA) 2017

Consequences of Childbearing in Delinquency and Substance Use
Sebastian Daza and Jason Fletcher
Working Paper (Presented at PAA) 2016

Intergenerational Transfers in the U.S., Economic Inequality, and Social Stratification
Alberto Palloni and Sebastian Daza
Working Paper (Presented at PAA) 2014

The Impact of Age, Egotropic Vote, and Political Divisions in the 2009-2010 Chilean Election
Nicolás Somma and Sebastián Daza
Cuadernos ISUC, Vol 1, Num 2 2016