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Archive of posts filed under the Political Science category.

A short answer to a short question

Emir Efendic writes: What is your opinion and can you think of any critiques of the multiple mediation models by Preacher and Hayes (e.g. Preacher & Hayes, 2008)? What would be your method of choice if you were testing multiple possible mediators of an effect, but also if said mediators are connected in a model […]

Put your own questions on the General Social Survey!

Tom Smith of the National Opinion Research Center writes: The General Social Survey plans to include some items or short topical modules designed by users in its 2018 survey, and invites users to submit proposals recommending such items or modules. Proposals submitted in response to this call will be included based on assessments of their […]


Lee Wilkinson writes: In the latest issue of Harvard Magazine (, a letter writer (David W. Pittelli) comments under the section “Social Progress Index”: We are informed by Harvard Magazine (November-December 2015, page 15) that the country with the best “Health and Wellness” (“Do people live long and healthy lives?”) is Peru, while the United […]

John Yoo blogging

Jonathan Falk sends along this gem: Judicial Torture as a Screening Device Kong-Pin Chen / Tsung-Sheng Tsai Judicial torture to extract information or to elicit a confession was a common practice in pre-modern societies, both in the east and the west. This paper proposes a positive theory for judicial torture. It is shown that torture […]

Gay persuasion update

Hey, did you hear about that study last year, where some researchers claimed to find that a 20-minute doorstep conversation with skeptical voters could change views on same-sex marriage? It was published in the tabloids and featured on This American Life? And it turned out it was all a fraud, that one of the authors […]

What is a Republican?

Byron Gajewski writes in with a good question: My seven year old daughter asked us “what is a Republican?” We struggled. Do you have a working definition? Democrat too? My reply: There are different answers to this one. Simplest is party registration (that is public record), or party identification (which is a survey response). It’s […]

Kalesan, Fagan, and Galea respond to criticism of their paper on gun laws and deaths

The other day we posted some remarks on a recent paper by Bindu Kalesan, Jeffrey Fagan, Sandro Galea, “Firearm legislation and firearm mortality in the USA: a cross-sectional, state-level study.” In response to the criticisms from me and various commenters, the authors of the paper prepared a detailed response, which I’m linking to here. They […]

Recently in the sister blog

Can you trust international surveys? Place your bets now. How much does someone’s world view predict their other attitudes? You funded these clinical trials, but you’ll never know what they found. Where’s the partisan polarization on abortion? Political scientists are debating how to make research more transparent. Here’s a way forward. Maybe college football doesn’t […]

“Why this gun control study might be too good to be true”

Jeff Lax points us to this news article by Carolyn Johnson discussing a research paper, “Firearm legislation and firearm mortality in the USA: a cross-sectional, state-level study,” by Bindu Kalesan, Matthew Mobily, Olivia Keiser, Jeffrey Fagan, and Sandro Galea, that just appeared in the medical journal The Lancet. Here are the findings from Kalesan et […]

What parts of the country are most religious?

I saw this from Tyler Cowen: The middle part of America is more religious than the South. And I was like, Huh? So I followed the link which in turn linked to this article by J. D. Vance which said: When Gallup ranked every U.S. state by its religiosity, states in the South took nine […]

Having trouble planning a replication? Here’s how the scientific publishing process gets in the way.

So, I decided to do a preregistered replication. Of one of my own projects. We made a four-step plan: (1) do a duplication, digging up our old code and our old data and checking that we could reproduce our published graphs; (2) clean our analysis in various ways and check that our results don’t change […]

Can you trust international surveys?

On the sister blog I report on a new paper, “Don’t Get Duped: Fraud through Duplication in Public Opinion Surveys,” by Noble Kuriakose, a researcher at SurveyMonkey, and Michael Robbins, a researcher at Princeton and the University of Michigan, who gathered data from “1,008 national surveys with more than 1.2 million observations, collected over a […]

Mister P: Challenges in Generalizing from Sample to Population (my talk at the Ross-Royall Symposium at Johns Hopkins this Friday)

Mister P: Challenges in Generalizing from Sample to Population Andrew Gelman, Department of Statistics and Department of Political Science, Columbia University With internet surveys, nonrepresentativeness and nonresponse are bigger concerns than ever. The natural approach is to adjust for more information, demographic and otherwise, to align the sample with the population. We demonstrate the effectiveness […]

School county data request

Macartan Humphreys writes: We have a student here who is trying to look at the effect of school busing on racial attitudes. He knows where busing was inrtoduced and when at the county level but is having the hardest time finding a dataset (whether a recent one or historical one) that has information on (a) […]

Arrow’s Theorem in the news: Sleazy-ass political scientists cut-and-paste their way to 3 publications from the same material

I’m posting this one in the evening because I know some people just hate when I write about plagiarism. But this one is so ridiculous I had to share it with you. John Smith (or maybe I should say “John Smith”?) writes: Today on a political science forum I saw this information about plagiarism by […]

The bejeezus

Tova Perlmutter writes of a recent online exchange:

Ted Cruz angling for a position in the Stanford poli sci department

In an amusing alignment of political and academic scandals, presidential candidate Ted Cruz was blasted for sending prospective voters in the Iowa Caucus this misleading mailer: Which reminds me of the uproar two years ago when a couple of Stanford political science professors sent prospective Montana voters this misleading mailer: I don’t know which is […]

One quick tip for building trust in missing-data imputations?

Peter Liberman writes: I’m working on a paper that, in the absence of a single survey that measured the required combination of variables, analyzes data collected by separate, uncoordinated Knowledge Networks surveys in 2003. My co-author (a social psychologist who commissioned one of the surveys) and I obtained from KN unique id numbers for all […]

Unz Ivy Stats Flashback

This news story reminded me of some threads from a few years ago about Ron Unz, the political activist who wrote a statistics-filled article a few years ago claiming that Harvard and other Ivy League colleges discriminate against Asian-Americans and in favor of Jews in undergraduate admissions. It turned out that some of his numbers […]

“Journalistic lapses at the New York Times should, in effect, count triple”

Palko, writing about the latest Judith Miller Matt Apuzzo, Michael Schmidt, and Julia Preston story: There is no publication in the country, perhaps even in the world, with a reputation like that of the New York Times. It is almost universally considered the standard for American newspapers. For that reason, I would argue that journalistic […]