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Archive of posts filed under the Political Science category.

Tips when conveying your research to policymakers and the news media

Following up on a conversation regarding publicizing scientific research, Jim Savage wrote: Here’s a report that we produced a few years ago on prioritising potential policy levers to address the structural budget deficit in Australia. In the report we hid all the statistical analysis, aiming at an audience that would feel comfortable reading a broadsheet […]

Fitting multilevel models when predictors and group effects correlate

Ryan Bain writes: I came across your ‘Fitting Multilevel Models When Predictors and Group Effects Correlate‘ paper that you co-authored with Dr. Bafumi and read it with great interest. I am a current postgraduate student at the University of Glasgow writing a dissertation examining explanations of Euroscepticism at the individual and country level since the […]

“A mixed economy is not an economic abomination or even a regrettably unavoidable political necessity but a natural absorbing state,” and other notes on “Whither Science?” by Danko Antolovic

So. I got this email one day, promoting a book that came with the following blurb: Whither Science?, by Danko Antolovic, is a series of essays that explore some of the questions facing modern science. A short read at only 41 pages, Whither Science? looks into the fundamental questions about the purposes, practices and future […]

Using D&D to reduce ethnic prejudice

OK, not quite D&D—I just wrote that to get Bob’s attention. It is a role-playing game, though! Here’s the paper, “Seeing the World Through the Other’s Eye: An Online Intervention Reducing Ethnic Prejudice,” by Gabor Simonovits, Gabor Kezdi, and Peter Kardos: We report the results of an intervention that targeted anti-Roma sentiment in Hungary using […]

The time reversal heuristic (priming and voting edition)

Ed Yong writes: Over the past decade, social psychologists have dazzled us with studies showing that huge social problems can seemingly be rectified through simple tricks. A small grammatical tweak in a survey delivered to people the day before an election greatly increases voter turnout. A 15-minute writing exercise narrows the achievement gap between black […]

Pseudoscience and the left/right whiplash

I came across this post by blogger Echidne slamming psychology professor Roy Baumeister. I’d first heard about the Baumeister in the context of his seeming inability to handle scientific criticism. I hadn’t realized that Baumeister had a sideline in pseudoscientific anti-political-correctness. One aspect of all this that interests me is the way that Baumeister, and […]

More thoughts on that “What percent of Americans would you say are gay or lesbian?” survey

We had some discussion yesterday about this Gallup poll that asked respondents to guess the percentage of Americans who are gay. The average response was 23%—and this stunningly high number was not just driven by outliers: more than half the respondents estimated the proportion gay as 20% or more. All this is in stark contrast […]

“Americans Greatly Overestimate Percent Gay, Lesbian in U.S.”

This sort of thing is not new but it’s still amusing. From a Gallup report by Frank Newport: The American public estimates on average that 23% of Americans are gay or lesbian, little changed from Americans’ 25% estimate in 2011, and only slightly higher than separate 2002 estimates of the gay and lesbian population. These […]

Using Mister P to get population estimates from respondent driven sampling

From one of our exams: A researcher at Columbia University’s School of Social Work wanted to estimate the prevalence of drug abuse problems among American Indians (Native Americans) living in New York City. From the Census, it was estimated that about 30,000 Indians live in the city, and the researcher had a budget to interview […]

Whipsaw

Kevin Lewis points to a research article by Lawton Swan, John Chambers, Martin Heesacker, and Sondre Nero, “How should we measure Americans’ perceptions of socio-economic mobility,” which reports effects of question wording on surveys on an important topic in economics. They replicated two studies: Each (independent) research team had prompted similar groups of respondents to […]

Science funding and political ideology

Mark Palko points to this news article by Jeffrey Mervis entitled, “Rand Paul takes a poke at U.S. peer-review panels”: Paul made his case for the bill yesterday as chairperson of a Senate panel with oversight over federal spending. The hearing, titled “Broken Beakers: Federal Support for Research,” was a platform for Paul’s claim that […]

Quick Money

I happened to come across this Los Angeles Times article from last year: Labor and business leaders declared victory Tuesday night over a bitterly contested ballot measure that would have imposed new restrictions on building apartment towers, shops and offices in Los Angeles. As of midnight, returns showed Measure S going down to defeat by […]

Beyond forking paths: using multilevel modeling to figure out what can be learned from this survey experiment

Under the heading, “Incompetent leaders as a protection against elite betrayal,” Tyler Cowen linked to this paper, “Populism and the Return of the ‘Paranoid Style’: Some Evidence and a Simple Model of Demand for Incompetence as Insurance against Elite Betrayal,” by Rafael Di Tella and Julio Rotemberg. From a statistical perspective, the article by Tella […]

I disagree with Tyler Cowen regarding a so-called lack of Bayesianism in religious belief

Tyler Cowen writes: I am frustrated by the lack of Bayesianism in most of the religious belief I observe. I’ve never met a believer who asserted: “I’m really not sure here. But I think Lutheranism is true with p = .018, and the next strongest contender comes in only at .014, so call me Lutheran.” […]

The “fish MRI” of international relations studies.

Kevin Lewis pointed me to this paper by Stephen Chaudoin, Jude Hays and Raymond Hicks, “Do We Really Know the WTO Cures Cancer?”, which begins: This article uses a replication experiment of ninety-four specifications from sixteen different studies to show the severity of the problem of selection on unobservables. Using a variety of approaches, it […]

Apply for the Earth Institute Postdoc at Columbia and work with us!

The Earth Institute at Columbia brings in several postdocs each year—it’s a two-year gig—and some of them have been statisticians (recently, Kenny Shirley, Leontine Alkema, Shira Mitchell, and Milad Kharratzadeh). We’re particularly interested in statisticians who have research interests in development and public health. It’s fine—not just fine, but ideal—if you are interested in statistical […]

What happened in the recent German election?

Divya Schäfer writes: I am not a statistician, but a historian by training. However, I have a lay interest in election analyses, among other topics covered in your blog. I live in Germany. Yesterday, the federal elections were concluded, as you may have heard. I was wondering if you could share your views on it […]

Weisburd’s paradox in criminology: it can be explained using type M errors

This one (with Torbjørn Skardhamar, and Mikko Aaltonen) goes out to all the criminologists out there. . . . Here’s the story: Simple calculations seem to show that larger studies should have higher statistical power, but empirical meta-analyses of published work in criminology have found zero or weak correlations between sample size and estimated statistical […]

“What we know and don’t know about the 2016 election—and beyond” (event at Columbia poli sci dept next Monday midday)

On Monday 25 Sep, 12:10-1:45pm, in the Playroom (707 International Affairs Bldg): “What we know and don’t know about the 2016 election—and beyond” (discussion led by Bob Shapiro, Bob Erikson, me, and other Columbia political science faculty)

Maybe this paper is a parody, maybe it’s a semibluff

Peter DeScioli writes: I was wondering if you saw this paper about people reading Harry Potter and then disliking Trump, attached. It seems to fit the shark attack genre. In this case, the issue seems to be judging causation from multiple regression with observational data, assuming that control variables are enough to narrow down to […]