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Archive of posts filed under the Political Science category.

LaCour and Green 1, This American Life 0

A couple days after listening to the segment where This American Life got conned by Mars One, I happened to listen to the This American Life segment on LaCour and Green. LaCour didn’t appear on the show but Green did. Wow, Ira Glass really got scammed. But it was a pretty elaborate con; LaCour not […]

Syllabus for my course on design and analysis of sample surveys

Here’s last year’s course plan. Maybe I’ll change it a bit, haven’t decided yet. The course number is Political Science 4365, and it’s also cross-listed in Statistics.

Why are we such a litigious society?

As a European, I’ve always been fascinated by how trivial and common-sense matters end up in courts. I’ve been less fascinated and more annoyed by the piles of forms and disclaimers everywhere. Finally, annoyance takes over any kind of fascination faced with the medical bills – often so high because of lawsuit-protecting insurance. As Paul H. […]

Garry is 50 years old. He is a chess player who is also active in a political movement.

You all know about Linda, that now-retired bank teller who back in the 1970s was active in the feminist movement. Even if she never had any formal political experience before this activity, Linda might well have had a talent for politics. Garry is in the opposite situation: he’s had several political opportunities since his rise […]

“iPredict to close after Govt refuses anti-money laundering law exemption”

Richard Barker points us to an update on ipredict, the New Zealand political prediction market. From the news article by Hamish Rutherford: The site, run by Victoria University of Wellington’s commercialisation arm, VicLink, issued a statement to its website and on Twitter on Thursday. According to the iPredict statement, Associate Justice Minister Simon Bridges refused […]

I already know who will be president in 2016 but I’m not telling

Nadia Hassan writes: One debate in political science right now concerns how the economy influences voters. Larry Bartels argues that Q14 and Q15 impact election outcomes the most. Doug Hibbs argues that all 4 years matter, with later growth being more important. Chris Wlezien claims that the first two years don’t influence elections but the […]

I like the Monkey Cage

The sister blog is a good place to reach a wider audience, also our co-bloggers and guests have interesting posts on important topics, but what I really like about our blog at the Washington Post is its seriousness and its political science perspective. For better or worse, political science does not have a high profile […]

Is 8+4 less than 3? 11% of respondents say Yes!

Shane Frederick shares some observations regarding junk survey responses: Obviously, some people respond randomly. For open ended questions, it is pretty easy to determine the fraction who do so. In some research I did with online surveys, “asdf” was the most common and “your mama” was 9th. This fraction is small (maybe 1-2%). But the […]

“Should Prison Sentences Be Based On Crimes That Haven’t Been Committed Yet?”

Andrea Panizza asks me what I think of this post by Anna Maria Barry-Jester, Ben Castleman, and Dana Goldstein, “Should Prison Sentences Be Based On Crimes That Haven’t Been Committed Yet?” The post begins as follows: Criminal sentencing has long been based on the present crime and, sometimes, the defendant’s past criminal record. In Pennsylvania, […]

Inference from an intervention with many outcomes, not using “statistical significance”

Kate Casey writes: I have been reading your papers “Type S error rates for classical…” and “Why We (Usually) Don’t Have to Worry…” with great interest and would be grateful for your views on the appropriateness of a potentially related application. I have a non-hierarchical dataset of 28 individuals who participated in a randomized control […]

Taleb’s Precautionary Principle: Should we be scared of GMOs?

Skyler Johnson writes: I was wondering if you could (or had already) weigh(ed) in on Nassim Taleb’s Precautionary Principle as it applies to GMOs? I’ve attached his working paper with Rupert Read, Raphael Douady, Joseph Norman and,Yaneer Bar-Yam. It can also be found at his site, See also his response to a critique from […]

Death rates have been increasing for middle-aged white women, decreasing for men

Here’s the deal (data from CDC Wonder, age-standardized to a uniform distribution in the age range): Hoo boy. Looky here, something interesting: From 1999 to 2013, the death rate for middle-aged white women steadily increased. The death rate for middle-aged white men increased through 2005, then decreased. Since 2005, the death rate has been rising […]

Pathological liars I have known

There was this guy in college who just made stuff up. It was weird, then funny, then sad. He was clearly an intelligent guy and but for some reason felt the need to fabricate. One thing I remember was something about being a student of Carl Sagan at Cornell—at the same time as he was […]

Econometrics: Instrument locally, extrapolate globally

Rajeev Dehejia sends along two papers, one with James Bisbee, Cristian Pop-Eleches, and Cyrus Samii on extrapolating estimated local average treatment effects to new settings, and one with Cristian Pop-Eleches and Cyrus Samii on external validity in natural experiments. This is important stuff, and they work it out in real examples.

“Another reminder that David Brooks is very good at being David Brooks”

Outsourcing this one to Palko.

My job here is done

It was cool, back in the day, to be mocked in the House of Commons: And of course I was happy a few months ago to be cited by the Supreme Court: But the high point of my journalistic career is being mentioned in Private Eye (see above). I can retire now.

Are you ready for some smashmouth FOOTBALL?

Kickoff This story started for me three years ago with a pre-election article by Tyler Cowen and Kevin Grier entitled, “Will Ohio State’s football team decide who wins the White House?.” Cowen and Grier wrote: Economists Andrew Healy, Neil Malhotra, and Cecilia Mo . . . examined whether the outcomes of college football games on […]

“How does peer review shape science?”

In a paper subtitled, “A simulation study of editors, reviewers, and the scientific publication process,” political scientist Justin Esarey writes: Under any system I study, a majority of accepted papers will be evaluated by the average reader as not meeting the standards of the journal. Moreover, all systems allow random chance to play a strong […]

3 postdoc opportunities you can’t miss—here in our group at Columbia! Apply NOW, don’t miss out!

Hey, just once, the Buzzfeed-style hype is appropriate. We have 3 amazing postdoc opportunities here, and you need to apply NOW. Here’s the deal: we’re working on some amazing projects. You know about Stan and associated exciting projects in computational statistics. There’s the virtual database query, which is the way I like to describe our […]

It’s all about the denominator: Rajiv Sethi and Sendhil Mullainathan in a statistical debate on racial bias in police killings

Rajiv Sethi points me to this column by Sendhil Mullainathan, who writes: Tamir Rice. Eric Garner. Walter Scott. Michael Brown. Each killing raises a disturbing question: Would any of these people have been killed by police officers if they had been white? . . . There is ample statistical evidence of large and persistent racial […]