I am a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Politics at NYU and Research Associate at the Social Media and Political Participation Lab. I analyze aspects of American politics (voting, public opinion, social media use) and I use machine learning methods to explain and predict economic sentiment around the world.

Current research topics are:

  • Do citizens remember issue-based promises from election campaigns?
  • How diverse (or narrow) are Americans’ news diets?
  • When are voters satisfied with the state of the economy?

I have served as a Data Fellow at NYU’s College of Arts and Sciences, advising undergraduate students on research design, data manipulation, and interpreting empirical results. I strive to guide students to become clear thinkers and communicators who appreciate both the value and limitations of large datasets. Earlier, I was a Teaching Fellow in the Department of Economics at Harvard, and have taught courses covering topics including model selection, false discovery rates, classification and decision trees, the bootstrap, and cross-validation.

I am interested in how actions of political actors – not only elected leaders but a broad set of influencers who make use of social and traditional media – affect voters’ lives, decisions, and perceptions. I study how people with political objectives convey economic data, and how they apply persuasion strategies in an environment where much of the electorate lacks interest in politics.

I am passionate about understanding the connection between politics and economics through rigorous research. Before joining NYU, I worked on projects related to discrimination, inclusive capitalism, and behavioral economics.


What’s new?

“Trying to understand how Jeff Flake is leaning? We analyzed his Twitter feed.” Washington Post, Monkey Cage. (with Gregory Eady, Joshua Tucker & Jonathan Nagler) 

Methodology: Calculating ideology of political actors based on their social media content


How to get in touch

zilinsky (at) nyu.edu & @janzilinsky

New York (most of the year)

If you are passing through the area and we have similar research interests, 
or if we follow each other on Twitter, 
or if you would like to chat about economic and politics,
feel free to reach out.

I generally welcome face-to-face conversations with other social scientists, journalists, and other people. (But please understand that I sometimes take breaks from email and social media to attend to work obligations or to take time to think.)

Recent/upcoming opportunities to meet:

Provo (July 2018) 
Boston (Late August – Early Sept. 2018)
Washington, D.C. (mid-December 2018)
Abu Dhabi (January 2019)