Skip to Content

Department of Sociology

Faculty and Staff Directory

Diego F. Leal

Title: Assistant Professor
College of Arts and Sciences
Phone: 803-777-3123
Resources: Personal Website
Curriculum Vitae [pdf]

Diego Leal


Diego F. Leal earned his Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of Massachusetts in 2018.  He has been an Assistant Professor of Sociology at the University of South Carolina since the Fall of 2018. He was born and raised in Bogotá, Colombia, where he did an M.A. and B.A in Political Science. He applies systems science methods, particularly network analysis and agent-based models, to the study of international migration, and network inequalities.


Substantive research interests: International Migration, Social Networks, Latin America, Relational Determinants of Health, Network Inequalities, Computational Social Science.

Department cluster: Social Inequalities, Identities, and Institutions; Population and Health.

Research overview: Diego’s current research focuses on the study of international migration in the Americas. Specifically, he studies the emergence and evolution of migration flows between countries in the American continent using flow data. He also studies the current in-flow of Venezuelans to Colombia using both interview data and aggregate-level data. His other projects use empirical and simulated network data to understand friendship formation, the diffusion of innovations, and the social determinants of health and well-being.

Current projects:

  • Migration Flows in the Americas: A Story of Network Inequalities.
  • Modeling Diffusion Through Cultural Holes: Implications for Intergroup Inequalities.
  • Tactical Innovation in Bogotá, Colombia. The Case of Mass Transit Shutdowns.
  • Is Having a Diverse Network Good for Health? (with Mark Pachucki).
  • Mapping Feminized Migration Flows Globally (with Joya Misra and Ragini Malhotra)
  • Venezuelan Migration to Bucaramanga (with María Bonilla and Mairene Tobón).
  • What is(n’t) a Friend? Dimensions of the Friendship Concept (with James Kitts).


Statistical Analysis in Sociology (undergraduate and graduate), Race and Ethnic Relations, Introduction to Social Problems, Social Networks.

Selected Publications

  • Leal, Diego F., Anthony Paik and Steven A. Boutcher. Forthcoming “Status and Collaboration: The case of Pro Bono Network Inequalities in Corporate Law” Social Science Research.
  • Leal, Diego F., Ragini S. Malhotra and Joya Misra. 2018. “Visualizing Feminized International Migration Flows in the 1990s.”
  • Kitts, James A., Diego F. Leal, Will Felps, Thomas M. Jones and Shawn L. Berman. 2016. “Greed and Fear in Network Reciprocity” PLOS ONE.
  • Leal, Diego F. 2014. “Well-Being, Social Capital, and International Migration: An Exploration of a Latin American and Andean Spain,” Migraciones 36: 369-401. (In Spanish).

Challenge the conventional. Create the exceptional. No Limits.