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Archive of posts filed under the Political Science category.

In which I play amateur political scientist

Mark Palko writes: I have a couple of what are probably poli sci 101 questions. The first involves the unintended (?) consequences of plans bring political power back to the common people. The two examples I have in mind are California’s ballot initiatives and parental trigger laws but I’m sure I’m missing some obvious ones. […]

Guys, we need to talk. (Houston, we have a problem).

This post is by Phil Price. I’m posting it on Andrew’s blog without knowing exactly where he stands on this so it’s especially important for readers to note that this post is NOT BY ANDREW! Last week a prominent scientist, representing his entire team of researchers, appeared in widely distributed television interviews wearing a shirt […]

The history of MRP highlights some differences between political science and epidemiology

Responding to a comment from Thomas Lumley (who asked why MRP estimates often seem to appear without any standard errors), I wrote: In political science, MRP always seems accompanied by uncertainty estimates. However, when lots of things are being displayed at once, it’s not always easy to show uncertainty, and in many cases I simply […]

Why I’m not posting on this topic

A colleague writes: Following our recent ** article (on which you commented favourably . . .), are you maybe planning a blog post on this? Both ** and ** have extensively analysed the statistical methods used in the original article, and found them wanting. I would really like to see the ** article retracted, as […]

Social research is not the same as health research: Macartan Humphreys gives new guidelines for ethics in social science research

In reaction to the recent controversy about a research project that interfered with an election in Montana, political scientist Macartan Humphreys shares some excellent ideas on how to think about ethics in social science research: Social science researchers rely on principles developed by health researchers that do not always do the work asked of them […]

My talk today at the University of Michigan, 4pm at the Institute for Social Research

Generalizing from sample to population Andrew Gelman, Department of Statistics, Columbia University We’ve been hearing a lot about “data” recently, but data are generally a means to an end, with the goal being to learn about some population of interest. How do we generalize from sample to population? The process seems a bit mysterious, especially […]

A Montana resident just sent me this

He got it in the mail and writes, “I don’t recall receiving the original mailer, but I probably would have just tossed it with the rest of the election mail I was getting.” P.S. Wouldn’t it be funny if this letter was actually sent from someone in the political science department at Montana State University, […]

Was it really necessary to do a voting experiment on 300,000 people? Maybe 299,999 would’ve been enough? Or 299,998? Or maybe 2000?

There’s been some discussion recently about an experiment done in Montana, New Hampshire, and California, conducted by three young political science professors, in which letters were sent to 300,000 people, in order to (possibly) affect their voting behavior. It appears that the plan was to follow up after the elections and track voter turnout. (Some […]

Body-slam on the sister blog

John Ahlquist and Scott Gehlbach nail it.

Sailing between the Scylla of hyping of sexy research and the Charybdis of reflexive skepticism

Recently I had a disagreement with Larry Bartels which I think is worth sharing with you. Larry and I took opposite positions on the hot topic of science criticism. To put things in a positive way, Larry was writing about some interesting recent research which I then constructively criticized. To be more negative, Larry was […]