Stefano Balietti Scholar Profile

I get up every morning determined to both change the world and have one hell of a good time. Sometimes this makes planning my day difficult. (E.B. White)

Short Summary

Stefano Balietti I am a fellow at the Center for European Social Science Research at Mannheim University (MZES) and a postdoc at the Alfred-Weber Institute of Economics at Heidelberg University.
Previously, I was at Microsoft Research Computational Social Science NYC, the Northeastern Network Science Institute, the Harvard Institute for Quantitative Social Science, and the ETH Zurich Computational Social Science group.
My methodology brings together computer simulations and online behavioral experiments. I create virtual environments to study human behavior in large groups; I use bots to trigger specific conditions and artificial intelligence to determine optimal experimental designs (Bayesian methods and advanced machine learning).
My research interests encompass:
  • consensus formation, social influence, and polarization;
  • incentives schemes for collective intelligence, in particular peer review systems;
  • governance in blockchain systems;
  • optimal experimental designs, Bayesian optimization with Gaussian processes;
  • inequality, perception thereof and its consequences;
  • noise, efficiency and equality in coordination and public-good games;
  • philosophy of science, in particular Paul Feyerabend's body of work.

I am also an active open source developer. I am the creator of the nodeGame JavaScript platform for conducting real-time online group-behavior experiments: https://nodegame.org.

Publications

2022
"From Online Experiments to Big Experimental Data" S. Balietti, Forthcoming in: T. Yasseri (Ed.), Handbook of Computational Social Science (2023). Edward Elgar Publishing Ltd. Available at SSRN. [Link]
2021
"Reducing Opinion Polarization: Effects of Exposure to Similar People with Differing Political Views" S. Balietti, L. Getoor, D. Goldstein, and D. Watts Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) 118 (52) e2112552118 [Link]
"Does Your Experiment Smell?" S. Balietti Communications of the ACM September 2021, Vol. 64 No. 9, Page 107 [Link]
"Incentives, Competition, and Inequality in Markets for Creative Production" S. Balietti and C. Riedl Research Policy 50(4) 104212 [Link]
"Optimal Design of Experiments to Identify Latent Behavioral Types" S. Balietti, B. Klein, and C.Riedl Experimental Economics Volume 24, pp. 772-799 [Link]
2020
"The Human Quest for Discovering Mathematical Beauty in the Arts" S. Balietti Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) 117 (44) 27073-27075 [Link]
2018
"Adding noise to the Institution: An Experimental Welfare Investigation of the Contribution-Based Grouping Mechanism" H.H. Nax, S. Balietti, R.O. Murphy, and D. Helbing Social Choice and Welfare Volume 50, Issue 2, pp. 213-245 [Link]
2017
"How Do Individuals Share the Costs of Climate Change Mitigation? Evidence from an Online Game Experiment" B. Anderson, T. Bernauer, and S. Balietti Climatic Change Volume 142, Issue 3-4, pp. 447-461 [Link]
"nodeGame: Real-Time, Synchronous, Online Experiments in the Browser" Behavior Research Methods Volume 49, Issue 5, pp. 1696-1715 [Link 1] [Link 2]
2016
"Peer Review and Competition in the Art Exhibition Game" S. Balietti, R.L. Goldstone, and D. Helbing, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) Volume 113, Number 30 (2016) 8414-8419 [Link]
2015
"On Disciplinary Fragmentation and Scientific Progress" S. Balietti, M. Mäs, D. Helbing PLoS ONE 10(3): e0118747. [Link]
2012
"Agent-Based Modeling" D. Helbing, S. Balietti book chapter in 'Social Self-Organization'. Series: Understanding Complex Systems. Helbing, Dirk (Ed.) Springer, (2012) 25-70 [Link] [Link]
2011
"Understanding, Creating, and Managing Complex Techno-Socio-Economic Systems: Challenges and Perspectives" D. Helbing, S. Balietti, S. Bishop and P. Lukowicz The European Physical Journal - Special Topics. Volume 195, Number 1 (2011), 165-186 [Link]
"From Social Data Mining to Forecasting Socio-Economic Crises" D. Helbing and S. Balietti The European Physical Journal - Special Topics. Volume 195, Number 1 (2011), 3-68 [Link]
"From Social Simulation to Integrative System Design" D. Helbing and S. Balietti The European Physical Journal - Special Topics. Volume 195, Number 1 (2011), 69-100 [Link]
"How to Create an Innovation Accelerator" D. Helbing and S. Balietti The European Physical Journal - Special Topics. Volume 195, Number 1 (2011), 101-136 [Link]
2010
"Fundamental and Real-World Challenges in Economics". D. Helbing and S. Balietti Science and Culture 76(9-10), 399-417 [Link]

Working Papers

Persuasiveness of Climate Change News: Humans' vs Machines' Evaluations
Implicit Biases in the 2020 Election Ballot
Distribution Builder: Preferences over Wealth Distributions
Human Evaluation of Text-Based Games Using the TextWorld Platform
Tournaments for Collective Intelligence: a Survey of the Literature
Efficiency Gains in Coordination in Information Poor Environments [Link]
Paul Feyerabend's Peer Review

Book Reviews

Models of Science Dynamics: Encounters Between Complexity Theory and Information Sciences (Understanding Complex Systems) Scharnhorst, Andrea, Boerner, Katy and Besselaar, Peter van den (eds.) Springer-Verlag: Berlin, 2012 [Link]

Conferences

"How Incidental Similarities Reduce Polarization on Partisan Topics: The Case of Wealth Redistribution by the Government" International Conference on Computational Social Science IC2S2, Zurich, Switzerland, 27th - 31st July, 2021
"Media coverage of inequality and influence on US readers' views about redistribution" (poster) International Conference on Computational Social Science IC2S2, Zurich, Switzerland, 27th - 31st July, 2021
"Shifting Attitudes Towards Wealth Redistribution by the Government: An Experiment of Depolarization" European Computational Social Science Symposium, Zurich, Switzerland, 2th - 4th September, 2019
"Shifting Attitudes Towards Wealth Redistribution: Is It All a Matter of Trust?" International Conference on Computational Social Science IC2S2, Amsterdam, The Netherlands, 17th - 20th July, 2019
"Attitudes Towards Redistribution: An Experimental, Network-based Approach" IMEBESS, Utrecht, The Netherlands, 2nd - 5th May, 2019
"The Market Structure for Innovation" International Conference on Computational Social Science IC2S2, Evanston, IL, 12th - 15th Jul, 2018
"Domain Expertise or Algorithmic Insight? Fast Optimization of Information Gain in Experimental Design" World Meeting Economic Science Association Conference ESA18, Berlin, Germany, 28th Jun - 1st Jul, 2018
"Toward the Optimal Design of Social Network Experiments" CompleNet, Boston, MA, 5th - 8th Mar, 2018
"The Market Structure of Innovation" CompleNet, Boston, MA, 5th - 8th Mar, 2018
"Mood, High Stakes and Dropouts in an Online Innovation Tournament" Code @ MIT 2017, Cambridge, MA, 27th - 28st Oct, 2017
"Optimal Design for Online Social Experimentation" Code @ MIT 2017, Cambridge, MA, 27th - 28st Oct, 2017
"nodeGame 4.0: Online Real-Time Synchronous Experiments" (poster) Code @ MIT 2017, Cambridge, MA, 27th - 28st Oct, 2017
"The Market Structure for Innovation" North American Economic Science Association Conference ESA17, Richmond, VA, 19th - 21st Oct, 2017
"Adding Noise to the Institution: An Experimental Welfare Investigation of the Contribution-Based Grouping Mechanism" North American Economic Science Association Conference ESA17, Richmond, VA, 19th - 21st Oct, 2017
"Efficiency Gains in Coordination in Information Poor Environments" North American Economic Science Association Conference ESA17, Richmond, VA, 19th - 21st Oct, 2017
"The Market Structures for Innovation" International Conference on Social Informatics SocInfo-2016, Bellevue, WA, 15th - 17th Nov, 2016 (Best Lightening Talk Award!)
"The Market Structures for Creativity" North American Economic Science Association Conference ESA16, Tucson, AZ, Nov 10th - 12th, 2016
"The Market Structures for Innovation" Code @ MIT 2016, Cambridge, MA, Oct 14th - 15th, 2016
"Efficiency Gains in Coordination in Information Poor Environments" Workshop on the Economic Science with Heterogeneous Interacting Agents (WEHIA) 2016, Castellón de la Plana, Spain, 22nd - 24th Jun, 2016
"Competition Promotes Diversity and Innovation, but Undermines Fair Peer Review" International Conference on Computational Social Science IC2S2 Helsinki, Jun 8th - 11th, 2015
"Dissolving the efficiency-equality tradeoff in public-goods games" Social Norms and Institutions SNI2015 Monte Veritá Ascona, May 10th - 15th, 2015
"nodeGame: a tool for real-time on-line behavioral experiments" General Online Research GOR15 Cologne, Mar 18th - 20th, 2015
"On Fragmentation and Scientific Progress" European Conference on Complex Systems ECCS-2014 Lucca, Sep 22st - 26th, 2014
"On Fragmentation and Scientific Progress" Social Simulation Conference SSC-2014 Barcelona, Sep 1st - 5th, 2014
"The Art Exhibition Game" 15th International Conference on Social Dilemmas Zurich, Jul 10th - 13th, 2013
"A Model of Adaptive Convergence in Science" Deutsche Physikalische Gesellschaft DPG-2013 Regensburg, Mar 11th - 15th, 2013
"nodeGame: Social Experiments in the Browser" (poster) New Developments in Signaling and Game Theory, Oct 14th - 19th, 2012
"Online Social Experiments with Nodegame" (tutorial presentation) SocInfo 2012, Dec 05th - 07th, 2012

Workshops

"Financial Inclusion Workshop" Innovation for Poverty Action, Yale University, New Haven, CT, 14 May 2016
"Innovations in Online Experiments" University of Oxford, Nuffield Center for Experimental Social Sciences, Oxford (UK), 13 Mar 2015
"Multi-Agent Simulation (MAS) and Global Issues" University of Tokyo, Komaba Campus I, Tokyo (JP), 19 Feb 2015
Lorentz workshop "Simulating the Social Processes of Science" Leiden (NL), 7-11 Apr 2014

Reviewer for

Journals:
Proceedings of National Academy of Sciences (PNAS)
Nature Communications
EPJ Data Science
Journal of Artificial Societies and Social Simulation (JASSS)
Frontiers in Psychology, section Theoretical and Philosophical Psychology
Evolutionary and Institutional Economics Review
International Studies in the Philosophy of Science
Games
Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics
Journal of Economic Interaction and Coordination
Journal of Computational Science
Royal Society Open Science
PLoS ONE
Quality and Quantity
Information and Software Technology
Data Science
Journal of Imaging
Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Journal of Economics and Management Strategy
Conferences:
NetSci-X 2020
FACTS-IR Workshop @ SIGIR 2019
KDD 2019
PRIMA 2018
International Conference on Information Systems 2018
CompleNet 2018
Social Simulation Conference 2018
Social Simulation Conference 2017
Social Simulation Conference 2016
Social Simulation Conference 2015
Social Simulation Conference 2014
World Congress Social Simulation 2014
ESSA 2013
ICACI 2012

Awards

Special mention in the "Exeter Prize for Research in Experimental Economics, Decision Theory and Behavioral Economics 2017," paper "Peer Review and Competition in the Art Exhibition Game"
Best Lightening Talk Award "The Market Structure For Innovation" SocInfo 2016

European Projects

VISIONEER: Envisioning a socio-economic knowledge collider http://www.visioneer.ethz.ch
QLectives: Quality Colletives http://www.qlectives.eu
FuturICT: Participatory Computing for Our Complex World http://www.futurict.eu
COST Action PEERE: New Frontieers of Peer Review http://www.peere.org

Invited Presentations

"Experimental Markets for Creative Production: Peer Evaluations, Inequality, and Competition." CUDAN Open Lab, December 6th, 2021
"Talking about Politics: How Informal Communication Shapes Views about Redistribution" Cooperative Relations Seminar (Utrecht University), Utrecht, The Netherlands, 2020-10-21
"Competition and Reward Structures in Creative Production Markets" Human Nature Lab (Yale University), New Haven, CT, 2019-04-04
"Reward Structures for Creative Production Markets" Centre for European Economic Research (ZEW), Mannheim, Germany, 2018-12-04
"Peer Review, Competition and Market Structure" Harvard Political Psychology Graduate Panel, Cambridge (MA) 2017-10-06
"Imitation and innovation in networked groups, and a new experimental framework for collective behavior experiments" Percepts and Concepts Laboratory Colloquium (IU), Bloomington (IN) 2012-10-05
"Scholarly peer-review process (pros and cons) and possible alternatives for the selection of quality in Science" International MSc and PhD Programs in Complexity Sciences ISCTE Seminar, Lisbon, Portugal 2010-10-30
"HTML5 nice to meet you" QLectives winter workshop on web technologies, Fribourg, Switzerland 2010-10-19

Teaching

Block course 'App Development,' University of Luzern, Switzerland, 11-20 May 2022
Seminar 'Blockchain Economics and Radical Markets,' University of Heidelberg and University of Mannheim, Spring Semester 2022
Block course 'Introduction to Programming for App Development,' University of Luzern, Switzerland, 10-19 Nov 2021
Semester class 'Design and Implementation of Online Behavioral Resarch,' University of Mannheim, Germany, 2021 (Fall Semester)
Block course 'App Development,' University of Luzern, Switzerland, 5-14 May 2021
Seminar 'Blockchain Economics and Radical Markets,' University of Heidelberg and University of Mannheim, Spring Semester 2021
Guest Lecture Computational Social Science Seminar 'Experiments in Computational Social Science: Creativity, Innovation, Feeling of Closeness, and Polarization,' ETH Zurich, Fall Semester 2020
Semester class 'Design and Implementation of Online Behavioral Experiments,' University of Mannheim, Germany, 2020 (Fall Semester)
Seminar 'Blockchain Economics and Radical Markets,' University of Heidelberg, Spring Semester 2020
Block course 'Computer Programming Fundamentals (in JavaScript),' University of Luzern, Switzerland, 12-13 March 2020
Block course 'Bias, Dignity, and Fairness in Big Data and Social Data,' University of Luzern, Switzerland, 11 March 2020
Tutorial on 'Online Experiments,' University of West Bohemia, Pilsen, Czech Republic 29 October - 02 Noveber 2019
Semester class 'Design and Implementation of Online Behavioral Experiments,' University of Mannheim, Germany, 2019 (Fall Semester)
Tutorial on 'Synchronous Online Experiments,' European Computational Social Science Symposium, Cologne, Germany 5 Dec 2018
Tutorial on 'Science Meets Industry: Online Behavioral Experiments with nodeGame,' Node.js Interactive North American, Austin, TX, USA 29 Nov 2016
Tutorial on 'Programming Synchronic Online Experiments using NodeGame,' CESS Nuffiled College Oxford, UK 16-17 Nov 2015
Graduate block course 'Modeling and Simulating Social Systems with MATLAB (and other tools),' ETH SEC Center, Singapore, 19 - 23 Oct 2015
Semester class 'Modeling and Simulating Social Systems with MATLAB,' ETH Zurich, 2015 Fall Semester
Tutorial on 'Online Experiments with nodeGame,' SocInfo 2012 EPFL, Lausanne, Switzerland 5 Dec 2012
Semester class 'Modeling and Simulating Social Systems with MATLAB,' ETH Zurich, Switzerland, 2010-2012 (5 Semesters)

Master Theses Supervision

GENG Lyu, "A quantitative analysis of the determinants of the price of Bitcoin", University of Heidelberg, 2021
Christopher Aina Raholdina Heydenreich "Implementing a Web3 Payment Method for Behavioral Experiments", University of Heidelberg, 2022 (expected)
Alexander Pollich "The Role of Banks in a World of Smart Contracts. A Look into the Future of Financial Intermediaries in light of Blockchain and Decentralized Finance", University of Heidelberg, 2022 (expected)

Software Development

nodeGame http://www.nodegame.org
NDDB.JS - Javascript N-Dimensional Database http://nodegame.github.io/NDDB
JSUS - Javascript Utils (JSUS Helps!) http://nodegame.github.io/JSUS
QScience http://www.github.com/QScience
Patterns http://drupal.org/project/patterns
msssm - Modeling and Simulating Social Systems with MATLAB http://www.github.com/msssm

Bibtex References

All my bibtex files are available for download at the github socialbib repository.

Public Writings

"Here's how competition makes peer review more unfair," The Conversation, New Republic Aug. 8 2016

Art Projects

"Faces of change." Ten Percent White, Warsaw Center for Contemporary Art December 18, 2012 - February 10, 2013

Media Coverage

How personal commonalities foster closeness of political views, ScienMag.com. (Feb 11, 2022)
Want to reduce political polarization? Start by looking beyond politics, Phys.org. (Jan 25, 2022)
Online Behavioral Experiments Happening With nodeGame and Node.js, Linux.com Blog. (Nov 14, 2016)
Peer review system 'leads to good research going unpublished', Times Higher Education. (July 26, 2016)
Can we trust peer review? New study highlights some problems, Ars Technica. (July 20, 2016)
Wikileaks wirft ethische Grundfragen auf, News.ch. (Dec 6, 2010)
Quando l'economia incontra la fisica, Caccia al Fotone. (Jan 7, 2011)
Geheimhaltung ist fuer das Wohl einer Gesellschaft entscheidend, Tages Anzeiger. (Dec 12, 2010)
The 70 Online Databases that Define Our Planet, MIT Technology Review. (Dec 3, 2010)