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Archive of posts filed under the Political Science category.

Regularized Prediction and Poststratification (the generalization of Mister P)

This came up in comments recently so I thought I’d clarify the point. Mister P is MRP, multilevel regression and poststratification. The idea goes like this: 1. You want to adjust for differences between sample and population. Let y be your outcome of interest and X be your demographic and geographic variables you’d like to […]

No, there is no epidemic of loneliness. (Or, Dog Bites Man: David Brooks runs another column based on fake stats)

[adorable image] Remember David Brooks? The NYT columnist, NPR darling, and former reporter who couldn’t correctly report the price of a meal at Red Lobster? The guy who got it wrong about where billionaires come from and who thought it was fun to use one of his columns to make fun of a urologist (ha […]

Does “status threat” explain the 2016 presidential vote?

Steve Morgan writes: The April 2018 article of Diana Mutz, Status Threat, Not Economic Hardship, Explains the 2016 Presidential Vote, was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences and contradicts prior sociological research on the 2016 election. Mutz’s article received widespread media coverage because of the strength of its primary conclusion, declaimed […]

A political reporter asks some questions about polling

John Kruzel from PolitiFact writes in with some questions: Readers have asked us to look into Trump’s claim that his support among African Americans doubled as a result of praise from rapper Kanye West. (Trump: “Kanye West must have some power because you probably saw, I doubled my African-American poll numbers. We went from 11 […]

We Count! The 2020 Census

Like many readers of this blog, I’m a statistician who works with Census Bureau data to answer policy questions. So I’ve been following the controversy surrounding the added citizenship question. Andy thought I should write an article for a wider audience, so I published a short piece in The Indypendent. But much more discussion could […]

A coding problem in the classic study, Nature and Origins of Mass Opinion

Gaurav Sood writes: In your 2015 piece, you mention: “In my research I’ve been strongly committed, in many different ways, to the model in which voter preferences and attitudes should be taken seriously.” One of the reasons people in political sciene think voters are confused is because of data presented in a book by Zaller—Nature […]

Early p-hacking investments substantially boost adult publication record

In a post with the title “Overstated findings, published in Science, on long-term health effects of a well-known early childhood program,” Perry Wilson writes: In this paper [“Early Childhood Investments Substantially Boost Adult Health,” by Frances Campbell, Gabriella Conti, James Heckman, Seong Hyeok Moon, Rodrigo Pinto, Elizabeth Pungello, and Yi Pan], published in Science in […]

A quick rule of thumb is that when someone seems to be acting like a jerk, an economist will defend the behavior as being the essence of morality, but when someone seems to be doing something nice, an economist will raise the bar and argue that he’s not being nice at all.

Like Pee Wee Herman, act like a jerk And get on the dance floor let your body work I wanted to follow up on a remark from a few years ago about the two modes of pop-economics reasoning: You take some fact (or stylized fact) about the world, and then you either (1) use people-are-rational-and-who-are-we-to-judge-others […]

Proposed new EPA rules requiring open data and reproducibility

Tom Daula points to this news article by Heidi Vogt, “EPA Wants New Rules to Rely Solely on Public Data,” with subtitle, “Agency says proposal means transparency; scientists see public-health risk.” Vogt writes: The Environmental Protection Agency plans to restrict research used in developing regulations, the agency said Tuesday . . . The new proposal […]

Taking perspective on perspective taking

Gabor Simonovits writes: I thought you might be interested in this paper with Gabor Kezdi of U Michigan and Peter Kardos of Bloomfield College, about an online intervention reducing anti-Roma prejudice and far-right voting in Hungary through a role-playing game. The paper is similar to some existing social psychology studies on perspective taking but we […]

Hey! Free money!

This just came in: On Dec 27, 2017, at 6:55 PM, **@gmail.com wrote: My name is ** and I am a freelance writer hoping to contribute my writing to andrewgelman.com. I would be willing to compensate you for publishing. For my posts, I require one related client link within the body of my article, as […]

The problem with those studies that claim large and consistent effects from small and irrelevant inputs

Dale Lehman writes: You have often critiqued those headline grabbing studies such as how news about shark attacks influence voting behavior, how the time of month/color of clothing influences voting, etc. I am in total agreement with your criticisms of this “research.” Too many confounding variables, too small sample sizes, too many forking paths, poor […]

Debate over claims of importance of spending on Obamacare advertising

Jerrod Anderson points to this post by Paul Shafer, Erika Fowler, Laura Baum, and Sarah Gollust, “Advertising cutbacks reduce Marketplace information-seeking behavior: Lessons from Kentucky for 2018.” Anderson expresses skepticism about this claim. I’ll first summarize the claims of Shafer et al. and then get to Anderson’s criticism. Shafer et al. write: The Trump administration […]

“The problem of infra-marginality in outcome tests for discrimination”

Camelia Simoiu, Sam Corbett-Davies, and Sharad Goel write: Outcome tests are a popular method for detecting bias in lending, hiring, and policing decisions. These tests operate by comparing the success rate of decisions across groups. For example, if loans made to minority applicants are observed to be repaid more often than loans made to whites, […]

Wanna know what happened in 2016? We got a ton of graphs for you.

The paper’s called Voting patterns in 2016: Exploration using multilevel regression and poststratification (MRP) on pre-election polls, it’s by Rob Trangucci, Imad Ali, Doug Rivers, and myself, and here’s the abstract: We analyzed 2012 and 2016 YouGov pre-election polls in order to understand how different population groups voted in the 2012 and 2016 elections. We […]

What are the odds of Trump’s winning in 2020?

Kevin Lewis asks: What are the odds of Trump’s winning in 2020, given that the last three presidents were comfortably re-elected despite one being a serial adulterer, one losing the popular vote, and one bringing race to the forefront? My reply: Serial adulterer, poor vote in previous election, ethnicity . . . I don’t think […]

3 cool tricks about constituency service (Daniel O’Donnell and Nick O’Neill edition)

I’m a political scientist and have studied electoral politics and incumbency, but I’d not thought seriously about constituency service until a couple years ago, when I contacted some of our local city and state representatives about a nearby traffic intersection that seemed unsafe. I didn’t want any kids to get run over by drivers who […]

Another reason not to believe the Electoral Integrity Project

Nick Stevenson writes: If wonder if the Electoral Integrity Project still wants to defend Rwanda’s score of 64? Or is the U.S. (electoral integrity score 61) just jealous? Stevenson was reacting to a news article from the Washington Post (sorry, the link no longer works) that reported: The United States said Saturday it was “disturbed […]

Information flows both ways (Martian conspiracy theory edition)

A topic that arises from time to time in Bayesian statistics is the desire of analysts to propagate information in one direction, with no backwash, as it were. But the logic of Bayesian inference doesn’t work that way. If A and B are two uncertain statements, and A tells you something about B, then learning […]

Who’s afraid of prediction markets? (Hanson vs. Thicke)

In a post entitled, “Compare Institutions To Institutions, Not To Perfection,” Robin Hanson slams a recent paper by Michael Thicke that criticizes prediction markets. Hanson summarizes: Unfortunately many responses to reform proposals fit the above pattern: reject the reform because it isn’t as good as perfection, ignoring the fact that the status quo is nothing […]