Joshua Snoke

Photo of Joshua Snoke
Pittsburgh Office


Ph.D. in statistics, Pennsylvania State University; B.S. in mathematics, economics, Wheaton College


Joshua Snoke is a statistician at RAND. His primary research focuses on novel estimation procedures when data are unavailable due to privacy restrictions. These methods seek to increase researchers’ ability to answer policy questions using hard to obtain data due to privacy concerns. He has expertise broadly in the field and has published papers on topics such as the release of synthetic datasets, the enabling of model estimation across multiple databases, and the creation of differentially private algorithms.

Outside of privacy, he has worked on numerous projects evaluating programs and institutions for individuals’ outcomes. He works on Department of Defense (DoD) and Department of Homeland Security manpower and personnel questions, such as evaluating marketing and recruitment strategies, evaluating predictors of success in enlisted personnel, and staffing models. He also has an interest in algorithmic fairness and is currently working on applying these ideas to DoD decision-making processes.

His work, both privacy related and otherwise, has involved a variety of administrative datasets, such as from the U.S. Census Bureau, the UK Administrative Data Research Network, the U.S. Army Recruiting Command, and the American Educator Panels. His broader methodological interests include estimation, model selection, non-parametric modeling and classification, machine learning, and causal inference.

He received his Ph.D. in statistics with a graduate minor in social data analytics from the Pennsylvania State University. He received his B.S. in mathematics and economics from Wheaton College.

Recent Projects

  • Development and Deployment of a Validation Server for Administrative Tax Data
  • Addressing Algorithmic Bias in Military Applications of Machine Learning
  • Analysis of Barriers to Employment in FEMA
  • Relationship of Marketing Campaigns to Prospect, Parent, and General Population Attitudes and to Enlistment-Related Actions
  • American Educator Panels

Selected Publications

Bowen, C. M. and Snoke, J., "Comparative Study of Differentially Private Synthetic Data Algorithms from the NIST PSCR Differential Privacy Synthetic Data Challenge," Journal of Privacy and Confidentiality, 11(1), 2021

Snoke, J. and Bowen, C. M., How Statisticians Should Grapple with Privacy in a Changing Data Landscape, CHANCE, 2020

Snoke, J., Raab, G. M., Nowok, B., Dibben, C., and Slavković, A., "General and specific utility measures for synthetic data.," Journal of the Royal Statistical Society: Series A (Statistics in Society), 181(3), 2018

Snoke, Joshua, Brick, T. R., Slavković, A., and Hunter, M. D., "Providing accurate models across private partitioned data: Secure maximum likelihood estimation.," The Annals of Applied Statistics, 12(2), 2018

Snoke, J. and Slavković, A.. "pMSE Mechanism: Differentially Private Synthetic Data with Maximal Distributional Similarity.," in , Privacy in Statistical Databases. pp. 138-159, Springer, 2018

Honors & Awards

  • U.S. Census Bureau Dissertation Fellowship
  • National Science Foundation Big Data Social Science Graduate Traineeship