Cohen is a Research Fellow and British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow at the Oxford Internet Institute and a Research Fellow at Nuffield College. His current research focuses on the formation of human social networks and he has a particular interest in socioecology and the relative importance of generative mechanisms (e.g., reciprocity versus transitivity).

Cohen received his PhD in Social Research Methods (Applied Social Statistics) from the London School of Economics & Political Science (Department of Methodology) and before joining the LSE he completed a MSc in Social Science of the Internet here at the OII as a Clarendon Scholar. Prior to joining the OII’s faculty, he was a post-doc in the Department of Sociology here at Oxford and the Department of Sociology at the University of Cambridge.

Research Interests

Network Formation; Socioecology & Choice of Social Contacts; Rural Populations

Positions Held at the OII

  • Research Fellow, January 2018 –
  • British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow, January 2018 –
  • MSc student, October 2011 – September 2012


Current projects

  • The Cultural Origins of Village Social Structure

    Participants: Dr Cohen R. Simpson

    Using data on face-to-face friendship between adult residents of dozens of rural villages in China, this project investigates whether the expression of mechanisms of network formation (e.g., reciprocity and transitivity) varies across environments.

Journal Articles

Simpson, C.R. (Forthcoming). On the structural equivalence of coresidents and the measurement of village social structure. Social Networks.

Simpson, C.R. (2020). Farm size shapes friend choice amongst rice producers in China: Some evidence for the theory of network ecology. Social Networks. Volume 61, p. 107-127.

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. Volume 46, p. 29-43.

Simpson, C.R. (2015). Multiplexity and strategic alliances: The relational embeddedness of coalitions in social movement organisational fields. Social Networks. Volume 42, p. 42-59.


Integrity Statement

My research is currently funded by the British Academy.