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Archive of posts filed under the Political Science category.

Big Data needs Big Model

Gary Marcus and Ernest Davis wrote this useful news article on the promise and limitations of “big data.” And let me add this related point: Big data are typically not random samples, hence the need for “big model” to map from sample to population. Here’s an example (with Wei Wang, David Rothschild, and Sharad Goel):

Nicholas Wade and the paradox of racism

The paradox of racism is that at any given moment, the racism of the day seems reasonable and very possibly true, but the racism of the past always seems so ridiculous.

Cause he thinks he’s so-phisticated

This story (“Yale tells students to keep Kissinger talk secret . . . ‘Dr. Kissinger’s visit to campus will not be publicized, so we appreciate your confidentiality…’”) reminds me of two things: – In the 1980s, I once went to a public lecture at Harvard by Kissinger protogé Ted Koppel, who indeed has that deep […]

Seth Roberts

I met Seth back in the early 1990s when we were both professors at the University of California. He sometimes came to the statistics department seminar and we got to talking about various things; in particular we shared an interest in statistical graphics. Much of my work in this direction eventually went toward the use […]

“If you are primarily motivated to make money, you . . . certainly don’t want to let people know how confused you are by something, or how shallow your knowledge is in certain areas. You want to project an image of mastery and omniscience.”

A reader writes in: This op-ed made me think of one your recent posts. Money quote: If you are primarily motivated to make money, you just need to get as much information as you need to do your job. You don’t have time for deep dives into abstract matters. You certainly don’t want to let […]

As the boldest experiment in journalism history, you admit you made a mistake

The pre-NYT David Brooks liked to make fun of the NYT. Here’s one from 1997: I’m not sure I’d like to be one of the people featured on the New York Times wedding page, but I know I’d like to be the father of one of them. Imagine how happy Stanley J. Kogan must have […]

Beyond the Valley of the Trolls

In a further discussion of the discussion about the discussion of a paper in Administrative Science Quarterly, Thomas Basbøll writes: I [Basbøll] feel “entitled”, if that’s the right word (actually, I’d say I feel privileged), to express my opinions to anyone who wants to listen, and while I think it does say something about an […]

Is a steal really worth 9 points?

Theodore Vasiloudis writes: I’d like to bring your attention to this article by Benjamin Morris discussing the value of steals for the NBA. The author argues that a steal should be a highly sought after statistic as it equates to higher chances of victory and is very hard to replace when a player is injured. […]

Empirical implications of Empirical Implications of Theoretical Models

Robert Bloomfield writes: Most of the people in my field (accounting, which is basically applied economics and finance, leavened with psychology and organizational behavior) use ‘positive research methods’, which are typically described as coming to the data with a predefined theory, and using hypothesis testing to accept or reject the theory’s predictions. But a substantial […]

Teaching Bayesian applied statistics to graduate students in political science, sociology, public health, education, economics, . . .

One of the most satisfying experiences for an academic is when someone asks a question that you’ve already answered. This happened in the comments today. Daniel Gotthardt wrote: So for applied stat courses like for sociologists, political scientists, psychologists and maybe also for economics, what do we actually want to accomplish with our intro courses? […]