Juan Pablo Pardo-Guerra

Associate Professor, UC San Diego

According to Paul Krugman, I must have been a terribly wicked person in my past life.  After training as a physicist at the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, I did a brief stint in economics at El Colegio de México to then join the Science Studies Unit of the University of Edinburgh, where I completed my PhD in Science and Technology Studies in 2010.

Prior to joining UC San Diego, I was an assistant professor in sociology at the London School of Economics and Political Science. At UCSD, I am a founding faculty of the Halıcıoğlu Data Science Institute, co-founder of the Computational Social Science program, and Associate Director of the Latin American Studies Program

My early work (2000-2005) involved developing and testing a novel measure of market efficiency using an artificial financial market developed by colleagues at the Instituto de Ciencias Nucleares (UNAM). Following from this very early interest in how finance works, my more recent contributions explore the production of markets at the intersection of culture, organizations, and technology. Combining theoretical insights from economic sociology, anthropology, and science and technology studies, my book Automating Finance: Infrastructures, Engineers, and the Making of Electronic Markets (Cambridge University Press, 2019), examines the moral, political and organizational struggles that underpinned the automation of modern stock exchanges. By connecting the literatures on infrastructures with discussions on kinship, morality, and institutional change, the book explores how automation occurred not as a planned project but as a confluence of multiple, fragmented visions of the world.

My exposure to computational methods and multi-agent simulations carried over to my more recent project. Firmly positioned within the literature on quantification, organization studies, and computational social science, The Quantified Scholar: How research evaluations transformed the British social sciences (Columbia University Press, 2022) presents a multi-methods analysis of the effects of measuring knowledge on careers, departmental cultures, and the evolution of academic fields. Empirically, the project looks at the consequences of the Research Assessment Exercises/Research Excellence Framework on the evolution of British social sciences. By combining large and original datasets of career trajectories, computational analyses of social science publications, and oral histories of British academics, the study provides a detailed overview of how the quantification of knowledge both transforms the dynamics of scholarly fields and is mediated by organizational hierarchies and inequalities.

In addition to teaching and ‘doing’ computational social science, my current work also includes a critical examination of data, algorithms and the emerging field of computational social science itself. In a project supported by the Institute of Practical Ethics at UC San Diego, I study the way data scientists deal with the uncertainty of their claims. Through a mix of interviews and online experiments, I am exploring the types of uncertainty made (in)visible in data science research in the creation of seemingly trustworthy algorithmic claims. In a different project, I address the ‘missing workers’ of computational social science. Mirroring discussions about replication in the social sciences, in this project I track how authors report data cleaning, processing, storing, and manipulation practices.

Professional Credentials

Research Interests

  • Economic Sociology, with a focus on financial markets, auction houses, and technological innovation. 
  • Science and Technology Studies, with an emphasis on scientific organizations, cultures, and public policies.
  • Computational Social Science, with interests in mixed methods, cultural analysis, and natural language processing.
  • Data and society, with a focus on the development, interpretation and use of ML and AI models in practical domains

education background

  • Licenciatura en Física (BSc in Physics), Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México
  • MSc/PhD in Science and Technology Studies, University of Edinburgh
  • Certificate in Postgraduate Education, London School of Economics and Political Science

Professional Experience

  • Assistant Professor, London School of Economics and Political Science (2010-2015)
  • Assistant Professor, UC San Diego (2015-2020)
  • Associate Professor, UC San Diego (2020-)
  • Associate Director, Latin American Studies Program, UC San Diego (2021-)
  • Research Fellow, School of Social and Political Sciences, University of Edinburgh (2016-2020)
  • Council Member, Sociology of Culture Section, American Sociological Association (2021-2024)