Category: Political Science

Forming a hyper-precise numerical summary during a research crisis can improve an article’s chance of achieving its publication goals.

Speaking of measurement and numeracy . . . Kevin Lewis pointed me to this published article with the following abstract that starts out just fine but kinda spirals out of control: Forming a military coalition during an international crisis can improve a state’s chances of achieving its political goals. We argue that the involvement of […]

Amending Conquest’s Law to account for selection bias

Robert Conquest was a historian who published critical studies of the Soviet Union and whose famous “First Law” is, “Everybody is reactionary on subjects he knows about.” I did some searching on the internet, and the most authoritative source seems to be this quote from Conquest’s friend Kingsley Amis: Further search led to this elaboration […]

Conditional probability and police shootings

A political scientist writes: You might have already seen this, but in case not: PNAS published a paper [Officer characteristics and racial disparities in fatal officer-involved shootings, by David Johnson, Trevor Tress, Nicole Burkel, Carley Taylor, and Joseph Cesario] recently finding no evidence of racial bias in police shootings: Jonathan Mummolo and Dean Knox noted […]

The Economist does Mister P

Elliott Morris points us to this magazine article, “If everyone had voted, Hillary Clinton would probably be president,” which reports: Close observers of America know that the rules of its democracy often favour Republicans. But the party’s biggest advantage may be one that is rarely discussed: turnout is just 60%, low for a rich country. […]

Gendered languages and women’s workforce participation rates

Rajesh Venkatachalapathy writes: I recently came across a world bank document claiming that gendered languages reduce women’s labor force participation rates. It is summarized in the following press release: Gendered Languages May Play a Role in Limiting Women’s Opportunities, New Research Finds. This sounds a lot like the piranha problem, if there is any effect […]

Pre-results review: Some results

Aleks Bogdanoski writes: I’m writing from the Berkeley Initiative for Transparency in the Social Sciences (BITSS) at UC Berkeley with news about pre-results review, a novel form of peer review where journals review (and accept) research papers based on their methods and theory — before any results are known. Pre-results review is motivated by growing […]

Voter turnout and vote choice of evangelical Christians

Mark Palko writes, “Have you seen this?”, referring to this link to this graph: I responded: Just one of those things, I think. Palko replied: Just to be clear, I am more than willing to believe the central point about the share of the population dropping while the share of the electorate holds relatively steady, […]

Gigerenzer: “The Bias Bias in Behavioral Economics,” including discussion of political implications

Gerd Gigerenzer writes: Behavioral economics began with the intention of eliminating the psychological blind spot in rational choice theory and ended up portraying psychology as the study of irrationality. In its portrayal, people have systematic cognitive biases that are not only as persistent as visual illusions but also costly in real life—meaning that governmental paternalism […]

“Did Austerity Cause Brexit?”

Carsten Allefeld writes: Do you have an opinion on the soundness of this study by Thiemo Fetzer, Did Austerity Cause Brexit?. The author claims to show that support for Brexit in the referendum is correlated with the individual-level impact of austerity measures, and therefore possibly caused by them. Here’s the abstract of Fetzer’s paper: Did […]

“Did Austerity Cause Brexit?”

Carsten Allefeld writes: Do you have an opinion on the soundness of this study by Thiemo Fetzer, Did Austerity Cause Brexit?. The author claims to show that support for Brexit in the referendum is correlated with the individual-level impact of austerity measures, and therefore possibly caused by them. Here’s the abstract of Fetzer’s paper: Did […]

How much is your vote worth?

Tyler Cowen writes: If it were legal, and you tried to sell your vote and your vote alone, you might not get much more than 0.3 cents. It depends where you live. If you’re not voting in any close elections, then the value of your vote is indeed close to zero. For example, I am […]

Donald J. Trump and Robert E. Lee

The other day the president made some news by praising Civil War general Robert E. Lee, and it struck me that Trump and Lee had a certain amount in common. Not in their personalities, but in their situations. Lee could’ve fought on the Union side in the Civil War. Or he could’ve saved a couple […]

(from Yair): What Happened in the 2018 Election

Yair writes: Immediately following the 2018 election, we published an analysis of demographic voting patterns, showing our best estimates of what happened in the election and putting it into context compared to 2016 and 2014. . . . Since then, we’ve collected much more data — precinct results from more states and, importantly, individual-level vote history records […]