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Archive of posts filed under the Political Science category.

George Orwell on the Olympics

From 1945: If you wanted to add to the vast fund of ill-will existing in the world at this moment, you could hardly do it better than by a series of football matches between Jews and Arabs, Germans and Czechs, Indians and British, Russians and Poles, and Italians and Jugoslavs, each match to be watched […]

I know I said I wouldn’t blog for awhile, but this one was just too good to resist

Scott Adams endorsing the power pose: Have you heard of the “victory pose.” It’s a way to change your body chemistry almost instantly by putting your hands above your head like you won something. That’s a striking example of how easy it is to manipulate your mood and thoughts by changing your body’s condition. So […]

Don’t believe the bounce

Alan Abramowitz sent us the above graph, which shows the results from a series of recent national polls, for each plotting Hillary Clinton’s margin in support (that is, Clinton minus Trump in the vote-intention question) vs. the Democratic Party’s advantage in party identification (that is, percentage Democrat minus percentage Republican). This is about as clear […]

In policing (and elsewhere), regional variation in behavior can be huge, and perhaps give a clue about how to move forward.

Rajiv Sethi points to a discussion of Peter Moskos on the recent controversy over racial bias in police shootings. Here’s Sethi: Moskos is not arguing here that the police can do no wrong; he is arguing instead that in the aggregate, whites and blacks are about equally likely to be victims of bad shootings. . […]

Even social scientists can think like pundits, unfortunately

I regularly read the Orgtheory blog which has interesting perspectives from sociologists. Today I saw this, from Sean Safford: I [Safford] actually hold to the idea that the winning candidate for President is always the one who has a clearer view of the challenges and opportunities facing the country and articulates a viable roadmap for […]

“Children seek historical traces of owned objects”

Recently in the sister blog: An object’s mental representation includes not just visible attributes but also its nonvisible history. The present studies tested whether preschoolers seek subtle indicators of an object’s history, such as a mark acquired during its handling. Five studies with 169 children 3–5 years of age and 97 college students found that […]

When do statistical rules affect drug approval?

Someone writes in: I have MS and take a disease-modifying drug called Copaxone. Sandoz developed a generic version​ of Copaxone​ and filed for FDA approval. Teva, the manufacturer of Copaxone, filed a petition opposing that approval (surprise!). FDA rejected Teva’s petitions and approved the generic. My insurance company encouraged me to switch to the generic. […]

No, Google will not “sway the presidential election”

Grrr, this is annoying. A piece of exaggerated science reporting hit PPNAS and was promoted in Politico, then Kaiser Fung and I shot it down (“Could Google Rig the 2016 Election? Don’t Believe the Hype”) in our Daily Beast column last September. Then it appeared again this week in a news article in the Christian […]

Replin’ ain’t easy: My very first preregistration

I’m doing my first preregistered replication. And it’s a lot of work! We’ve been discussing this for awhile—here’s something I published in 2013 in response to proposals by James Moneghan and by Macartan Humphreys, Raul Sanchez de la Sierra, and Peter van der Windt for preregistration in political science, here’s a blog discussion (“Preregistration: what’s […]

About that claim that police are less likely to shoot blacks than whites

Josh Miller writes: Did you see this splashy NYT headline, “Surprising New Evidence Shows Bias in Police Use of Force but Not in Shootings”? It’s actually looks like a cool study overall, with granular data, and a ton of leg work, and rich set of results that extend beyond the attention grabbing headline that is […]

Of polls and prediction markets: More on #BrexitFail

David “Xbox poll” Rothschild and I wrote an article for Slate on how political prediction markets can get things wrong. The short story is that in settings where direct information is not easily available (for example, in elections where polls are not viewed as trustworthy forecasts, whether because of problems in polling or anticipated volatility […]

Retro 1990s post

I have one more for you on the topic of jail time for fraud . . . Paul Alper points us to a news article entitled, “Michael Hubbard, Former Alabama Speaker, Sentenced to 4 Years in Prison.” From the headline this doesn’t seem like such a big deal, just run-of-the-mill corruption that we see all […]

“Most notably, the vast majority of Americans support criminalizing data fraud, and many also believe the offense deserves a sentence of incarceration.”

Justin Pickett sends along this paper he wrote with Sean Roche: Data fraud and selective reporting both present serious threats to the credibility of science. However, there remains considerable disagreement among scientists about how best to sanction data fraud, and about the ethicality of selective reporting. OK, let’s move away from asking scientists. Let’s ask […]

Over at the sister blog, they’re overinterpreting forecasts

Matthew Atkinson and Darin DeWitt write, “Economic forecasts suggest the presidential race should be a toss-up. So why aren’t Republicans doing better?” Their question arises from a juxtaposition of two apparently discordant facts: 1. “PredictWise gives the Republicans a 35 percent chance of winning the White House.” 2. A particular forecasting model (one of many […]

Causal mediation

Judea Pearl points me to this discussion with Kosuke Imai at a conference on causal mediation. I continue to think that the most useful way to think about mediation is in terms of a joint or multivariate outcome, and I continue to think that if we want to understand mediation, we need to think about […]

“Merciless Indian savages”

Paul Alper writes:

Americans (used to) love world government

Sociologist David Weakliem writes: It appears that an overwhelming majority of Americans who have an opinion on the subject think that Britain should remain in the European Union. But how many would support the United States joining an organization like the EU? My guess is very few. But back in 1946, the Gallup Poll asked […]

Horrible attack in Turkey

I don’t have anything to say about this, nor I think did I blog on the attacks in Florida or Paris or all the terrible things going on in the Middle East every day. It’s not my area of expertise and I don’t have anything particular to add. I’m only posting this note here because […]

Broken broken windows policy?

A journalist pointed me to this recent report from the New York City Department of Investigation, which begins: Between 2010 and 2015, the New York City Police Department (NYPD) issued 1,839,414 “quality-of-life” summonses for offenses such as public urination, disorderly conduct, drinking alcohol in public, and possession of small amounts of marijuana. . . . […]

How is Brexit different than Texit, Quexit, or Scotxit?

Here’s a news item: Emboldened by Brexit, U.S. secessionists in Texas are keen to adopt the campaign tactics used to sway the British vote for leaving the European Union and are demanding “Texit” comes next. . . . “The Texas Nationalist Movement is formally calling on the Texas governor to support a similar vote for […]