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Archive of posts filed under the Political Science category.

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 […]

Debate on using margin of error with non-probability panels

Tomorrow (Thurs 22 Jan) at 2pm, I’m participating (along with Jane Tang, John Bremer, Nancy Brigham, and Steve Mossup) on an online discussion, moderated by Annie Pettit, on the above topic. Here’s the description: Most marketing researchers know that using Margin of Error with convenience samples, non-probability samples, and online research panels is inappropriate. However, […]

Planning my class for this semester: Thinking aloud about how to move toward active learning?

I’m teaching two classes this semester: – Design and Analysis of Sample Surveys (in the political science department, but the course has lots of statistics content); – Statistical Communication and Graphics (in the statistics department, but last time I taught it, many of the students were from other fields). I’ve taught both classes before. I […]

A New Year puzzle from Macartan Humphreys

Macartan writes: There is a lot of worry about publication and analysis bias in social science research. It seems results are much more likely to be published if they are statistically significant than if not which can lead to very misleading inferences. There is some hope that this problem can be partly addressed through analytic […]

The anti-Woodstein

I received the following email: Dear professor Andrew Gelman, My name is **, a resident correspondent of **. I am writing to request for an interview via email. We met once at New York Foreign Press Center one week ago. As you may know, President Obama will travel to China, Burma and Australia from November […]

Common sense and statistics

John Cook writes: Some physicists say that you should always have an order-of-magnitude idea of what a result will be before you calculate it. This implies a belief that such estimates are usually possible, and that they provide a sanity check for calculations. And that’s true in physics, at least in mechanics. In probability, however, […]