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Archive of posts filed under the Political Science category.

Stock, flow, and two smoking regressions

In a comment on our recent discussion of stock and flow, Tom Fiddaman writes: Here’s an egregious example of statistical stock-flow confusion that got published. Fiddaman is pointing to a post of his from 2011 discussing a paper that “examines the relationship between CO2 concentration and flooding in the US, and finds no significant impact.” […]

John Lott as possible template for future career of “Bruno” Lacour

The recent story about the retracted paper on political persuasion reminded me of the last time that a politically loaded survey was discredited because the researcher couldn’t come up with the data. I’m referring to John Lott, the “economist, political commentator, and gun rights advocate” (in the words of Wikipedia) who is perhaps more well […]

BREAKING . . . Princeton decides to un-hire Kim Jong-Un for tenure-track assistant professorship in aeronautical engineering

Full story here. Here’s the official quote: As you’ve correctly noted, at this time the individual is not a Princeton University employee. We will review all available information and determine next steps. And here’s what Kim has to say: I’m gathering evidence and relevant information so I can provide a single comprehensive response. I will […]

“In my previous post on the topic, I expressed surprise at the published claim but no skepticism”

Don’t believe everything you read in the tabloids, that’s for sure. P.S. I googled to see what else was up with this story and found this article which reported that someone claimed that Don Green’s retraction (see above link for details) was the first for political science. I guess it depends on how you define […]

A causal-inference version of a statistics problem: If you fit a regression model with interactions, and the underlying process has an interaction, your coefficients won’t be directly interpretable

A colleague pointed me to a recent paper, “Does Regression Produce Representative Estimates of Causal Effects?” by Peter Aronow and Cyrus Samii, which begins: With an unrepresentative sample, the estimate of a causal effect may fail to characterize how effects operate in the population of interest. What is less well understood is that conventional estimation […]

Political Attitudes in Social Environments

Jose Duarte, Jarret Crawford, Charlotta Stern, Jonathan Haidt, Lee Jussim, and Philip Tetlock wrote an article, “Political Diversity Will Improve Social Psychological Science,” in which the argued that the field of social psychology would benefit from the inclusion of more non-liberal voices (here I’m using “liberal” in the sense of current U.S. politics). Duarte et […]

Go to PredictWise for forecast probabilities of events in the news

I like it. Clear, transparent, no mumbo jumbo about their secret sauce. But . . . what’s with the hyper-precision: C’mon. “27.4%”? Who are you kidding?? (See here for explication of this point.)

Gigerenzer on logical rationality vs. ecological rationality

I sent my post about the political implication of behavioral economics, embodied cognition, etc., to Gerd Gigerenzer, who commented as follows: The “half-empty” versus “half-full” explanation of the differences between Kahneman and us misses the essential point: the difference is about the nature of the glass of rationality, not the level of the water. For […]

Item-response and ideal point models

To continue from today’s class, here’s what we’ll be discussing next time: – Estimating the direction and the magnitude of the discrimination parameters. – How to tell when your data don’t fit the model. – When does ideal-point modeling make a difference? Comparing ideal-point estimates to simple averages of survey responses. P.S. Unlike the previous […]

Outside pissing in

Coral Davenport writes in the New York Times: Mr. Tribe, 73, has been retained to represent Peabody Energy, the nation’s largest coal company, in its legal quest to block an Environmental Protection Agency regulation that would cut carbon dioxide emissions from the nation’s coal-fired power plants . . . Mr. Tribe likened the climate change […]

This is why I’m a political scientist and not a psychologist

I can understand how people can hold all sorts of wacked-out political views (after all, in the past, people have supported ideas as crazy as abolitionism, polygamy, monarchy, and the nationalization of the means of production), but certain things in psychology just continue to baffle me, even though I know they’re true. The most recent […]

Time-release pedagogy??

Mark Palko points to this report and writes: Putting aside my concerns with the “additional years of learning” metric (and I have a lot of them), I have the feeling that there’s something strange here or i’m missing something obvious. That jump from 3-year impact to 4-year seems excessive. The press release links to a […]

How is ethics like logistic regression?

Ethics decisions, like statistical inferences, are informative only if they’re not too easy or too hard. For the full story, read the whole thing.

“Voices from everywhere saying gently: This we praise. This we don’t.”

One of America’s leading political columnists, David Brooks, has just come out with a column called “The Cost of Relativism” about the growing chasm between college-educated America and those who write for major newspapers. It’s got a definitive collection of data about this divide. Just kidding about the “definitive collection of data.” Anyway, to continue: […]

My talk tomorrow (Thurs) at MIT political science: Recent challenges and developments in Bayesian modeling and computation (from a political and social science perspective)

It’s 1pm in room E53-482. I’ll talk about the usual stuff (and some of this too, I guess).

When the evidence is unclear

A few months ago I posted on a paper by Bernard Tanguy et al. on a field experiment in Ethiopia where I couldn’t figure out, from the article, where was the empirical support for the claims being made. This was not the first time I’d had this feeling about a claim made in social science […]

Total survey error

Erez Shalom writes: It’s election time in Israel and every week several surveys come out trying to predict the ‘mandates’ that each party will get (out of a total of 120). These surveys are historically flakey, and no one takes the ‘sampling error’ they come with seriously, but no one has a good idea of […]

Economics/sociology phrase book

Mark Palko points me to this amusing document from Jeffrey Smith and Kermit Daniel, translating sociology jargon into economics and vice-versa. Lots of good jokes there. Along these lines, I’ve always been bothered by economists’ phrase “willingness to pay” which, in practice, often means “ability to pay.” And, of course, “earnings” which means “how much […]

Cognitive vs. behavioral in psychology, economics, and political science

I’ve been coming across these issues from several different directions lately, and I wanted to get the basic idea down without killing myself in the writing of it. So consider this a sketchy first draft. The starting point is “behavioral economics,” also known as the “heuristics and biases” subfield of cognitive psychology. It’s associated with […]

What’s the point of the margin of error?

So . . . the scheduled debate on using margin of error with non-probability panels never happened. We got it started but there was some problem with the webinar software and nobody put the participants could hear anything. The 5 minutes of conversation we did have was pretty good, though. I was impressed. The webinar […]