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Archive of posts filed under the Political Science category.

When doing causal inference, define your treatment decision and then consider the consequences that flow from it

Danielle Fumia writes: I am a research at the Washington State Institute for Public Policy, and I work on research estimating the effect of college attendance on earnings. Many studies that examine the effect of attending college on earnings control for college degree receipt and work experience. These models seem to violate the practice you […]

Splitsville for Thiel and Kasparov?

The tech zillionaire and the chess champion were always a bit of an odd couple, and I’ve felt for awhile that it was just as well that they never finished that book they were talking about. But given that each of them has taken a second career in political activism, I can’t imagine that they’re […]

“Stop the Polling Insanity”

Norman Ornstein and Alan Abramowitz warn against over-interpreting poll fluctuations: In this highly charged election, it’s no surprise that the news media see every poll like an addict sees a new fix. That is especially true of polls that show large and unexpected changes. Those polls get intense coverage and analysis, adding to their presumed […]

Nick and Nate and Mark on Leicester and Trump

Just following up on our post the other day on retrospective evaluations of probabilistic predictions: For more on Leicester City, see Nick Goff on Why did bookmakers lose on Leicester? and What price SHOULD Leicester have been? (forwarded to me by commenter Iggy). For more on Trump, see Nate Silver on How I Acted Like […]

Leicester City and Donald Trump: How to think about predictions and longshot victories?

Leicester City was a 5000-to-1 shot to win the championship—and they did it. Donald Trump wasn’t supposed to win the Republican nomination—last summer Nate gave him a 2% chance—and it looks like he will win. For that matter, Nate only gave Bernie Sanders a 7% chance, and he came pretty close. Soccer There’s been a […]

MAPKIA 2: Josh and Drew shred the CCP/APPC “Political Polarization Literacy” test!

Just like the original Jaws 2, this story features neither Richard Dreyfus nor Steven Spielberg. It all started when Dan Kahan sent me the following puzzle: Match the resonses of large nationally representative sample to supporting these policy items. I let this languish in my inbox for awhile until Kahan taunted me by letting me […]

The Access to Justice Lab at Harvard Law School: Job Openings!

Jim Greiner writes: The Access to Justice Lab is a startup effort, initially supported by the Laura and John Arnold Foundation with sufficient funds for three years, headed by Jim Greiner at Harvard Law School. The Lab will produce randomized control trials (“RCTs”) directly involving courts and lawyers, particularly in the areas of access to […]

Math on a plane!

Paul Alper pointed me to this news article about an economist who got BUSTED for doing algebra on the plane. This dude was profiled by the lady sitting next to him who got suspicious of his incomprehensible formulas. I feel that way about a lot of econ research too, so I can see where she […]

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 […]

GIGO

Lee Wilkinson writes: In the latest issue of Harvard Magazine (http://www.harvardmagazine.com/2015/12/cambridge-02138), 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 […]