rvenkat + via:nyhan   95

Strict ID Laws Don't Stop Voters: Evidence from a U.S. Nationwide Panel, 2008-2016
U.S. states increasingly require identification to vote – an ostensive attempt to deter fraud that prompts complaints of selective disenfranchisement. Using a difference-in-differences design on a 1.3-billion-observations panel, we find the laws have no negative effect on registration or turnout, overall or for any group defined by race, gender, age, or party affiliation. These results hold through a large number of specifications and cannot be attributed to mobilization against the laws, measured by campaign contributions and self-reported political engagement. ID requirements have no effect on fraud either – actual or perceived. Overall, our results suggest that efforts to reform voter ID laws may not have much impact on elections.

--so the *real* problem is redistricting?
voter_supression_complex  political_economy  intervention  democracy  via:nyhan  for_friends 
7 days ago by rvenkat
Fighting misinformation on social media using crowdsourced judgments of news source quality | PNAS
Reducing the spread of misinformation, especially on social media, is a major challenge. We investigate one potential approach: having social media platform algorithms preferentially display content from news sources that users rate as trustworthy. To do so, we ask whether crowdsourced trust ratings can effectively differentiate more versus less reliable sources. We ran two preregistered experiments (n = 1,010 from Mechanical Turk and n = 970 from Lucid) where individuals rated familiarity with, and trust in, 60 news sources from three categories: (i) mainstream media outlets, (ii) hyperpartisan websites, and (iii) websites that produce blatantly false content (“fake news”). Despite substantial partisan differences, we find that laypeople across the political spectrum rated mainstream sources as far more trustworthy than either hyperpartisan or fake news sources. Although this difference was larger for Democrats than Republicans—mostly due to distrust of mainstream sources by Republicans—every mainstream source (with one exception) was rated as more trustworthy than every hyperpartisan or fake news source across both studies when equally weighting ratings of Democrats and Republicans. Furthermore, politically balanced layperson ratings were strongly correlated (r = 0.90) with ratings provided by professional fact-checkers. We also found that, particularly among liberals, individuals higher in cognitive reflection were better able to discern between low- and high-quality sources. Finally, we found that excluding ratings from participants who were not familiar with a given news source dramatically reduced the effectiveness of the crowd. Our findings indicate that having algorithms up-rank content from trusted media outlets may be a promising approach for fighting the spread of misinformation on social media.
misinformation  disinformation  fact_checking  intervention  crowd_sourcing  via:nyhan 
20 days ago by rvenkat
The Effect of Adult Entertainment Establishments on Sex Crime: Evidence from New York City
This paper studies how the presence of adult entertainment establishments affects the incidence of sex crimes, including sexual abuse and rape. We build a daily panel that combines the exact location of unreported sex crimes with the day of opening and exact location of adult entertainment establishments in New York City. We find that these businesses decrease daily sex crime by 13% per police precinct, and have no effect on other types of crimes. The results imply that the reduction is mostly driven by potential sex offenders frequenting these establishments rather than committing crimes. We also rule out the possibility that other mechanisms are driving our results, such as an increase in the number of police officers, a reduction in the number of street prostitutes and a possible reduction in the number of potential victims in areas where these businesses opened. The effects are robust to using alternative measures of sex crimes.

--deserves the long overdue *new* tag
is_causal_inference_this_easy?  via:nyhan 
27 days ago by rvenkat
Fake News as Discursive Integration: An Analysis of Sites That Publish False, Misleading, Hyperpartisan and Sensational Information: Journalism Studies: Vol 0, No 0
After the 2016 US presidential election, the concept of fake news captured popular attention, but conversations lacked a clear conceptualization and used the label in elastic ways to describe various distinct phenomena. In this paper, we analyze fake news as genre blending, combining elements of traditional news with features that are exogenous to normative professional journalism: misinformation, sensationalism, clickbait, and bias. Through a content analysis of stories published by 50 sites that have been labeled fake news and the engagement they generated on social media, we found that stories employed moderate levels of sensationalism, misinformation and partisanship to provide anti-establishment narratives. Complete fabrications were uncommon and did not resonate well with audiences, although there was some truth-stretching that came with genre blending. Results suggest that technocentric solutions aimed at detecting falsehoods are likely insufficient, as fake news is defined more by partisanship and identity politics than misinformation and deception.

-- Finally, a concrete potentially measurable definition of fake of news. If reframed, a potential hypothesis on content virality.
journalism  media_studies  misinformation  disinformation  natural_language_processing  text_mining  via:nyhan 
5 weeks ago by rvenkat
White Identity Politics by Ashley Jardina
Amidst discontent over America's growing diversity, many white Americans now view the political world through the lens of a racial identity. Whiteness was once thought to be invisible because of whites' dominant position and ability to claim the mainstream, but today a large portion of whites actively identify with their racial group and support policies and candidates that they view as protecting whites' power and status. In White Identity Politics, Ashley Jardina offers a landmark analysis of emerging patterns of white identity and collective political behavior, drawing on sweeping data. Where past research on whites' racial attitudes emphasized out-group hostility, Jardina brings into focus the significance of in-group identity and favoritism. White Identity Politics shows that disaffected whites are not just found among the working class; they make up a broad proportion of the American public - with profound implications for political behavior and the future of racial conflict in America.

-- too simplistic; and I am guilty of judging the book by the publisher's description.
us_elections  us_politics  caste_system  political_psychology  political_science  book  via:nyhan 
9 weeks ago by rvenkat
Hall of Mirrors: Corporate Philanthropy and Strategic Advocacy
Politicians and regulators rely on feedback from the public when setting policies. For-profit corporations and non-pro t entities are active in this process and are arguably expected to provide independent viewpoints. Policymakers (and the public at large), however, may be unaware of the financial ties between some firms and non-profits - ties that are legal and tax-exempt, but difficult to trace. We identify these ties using IRS forms submitted by the charitable arms of large U.S. corporations, which list all grants awarded to non-pro fits. We document three patterns in a comprehensive sample of public commentary made by firms and non-profits within U.S. federal rulemaking between 2003 and 2015. First, we show that, shortly after a firm donates to a non-profit, the grantee is more likely to comment on rules for which the firm has also provided a comment. Second, when a firm comments on a rule, the comments by non-profits that recently received grants from the firm's foundation are systematically closer in content similarity to the firm's own comments than to those submitted by other non-profits commenting on that rule. This content similarity does not result from similarly-worded comments that express divergent sentiment. Third, when a firm comments on a new rule, the discussion of the final rule is more similar to the firm's comments when the firm's recent grantees also comment on that rule. These patterns, taken together, suggest that corporations strategically deploy charitable grants to induce non-pro fit grantees to make comments that favor their benefactors, and that this translates into regulatory discussion that is closer to the firm's own comments
lobbying_complex  corruption  governance  regulation  political_economy  natural_language_processing  via:nyhan 
9 weeks ago by rvenkat
Scientific communication in a post-truth society | PNAS
Within the scientific community, much attention has focused on improving communications between scientists, policy makers, and the public. To date, efforts have centered on improving the content, accessibility, and delivery of scientific communications. Here we argue that in the current political and media environment faulty communication is no longer the core of the problem. Distrust in the scientific enterprise and misperceptions of scientific knowledge increasingly stem less from problems of communication and more from the widespread dissemination of misleading and biased information. We describe the profound structural shifts in the media environment that have occurred in recent decades and their connection to public policy decisions and technological changes. We explain how these shifts have enabled unscrupulous actors with ulterior motives increasingly to circulate fake news, misinformation, and disinformation with the help of trolls, bots, and respondent-driven algorithms. We document the high degree of partisan animosity, implicit ideological bias, political polarization, and politically motivated reasoning that now prevail in the public sphere and offer an actual example of how clearly stated scientific conclusions can be systematically perverted in the media through an internet-based campaign of disinformation and misinformation. We suggest that, in addition to attending to the clarity of their communications, scientists must also develop online strategies to counteract campaigns of misinformation and disinformation that will inevitably follow the release of findings threatening to partisans on either end of the political spectrum.

-- restricts itself to a smaller subset of of problems; ignores the fact that politically motivated disinformation and misinformation coexist along side the more innocuous looking, socially sanctioned campaigns of hype conducted researchers and universities themselves.
science_journalism  misinformation  disinformation  public_perception_of_science  review  via:nyhan 
11 weeks ago by rvenkat
Bots increase exposure to negative and inflammatory content in online social systems | PNAS
Social media can deeply influence reality perception, affecting millions of people’s voting behavior. Hence, maneuvering opinion dynamics by disseminating forged content over online ecosystems is an effective pathway for social hacking. We propose a framework for discovering such a potentially dangerous behavior promoted by automatic users, also called “bots,” in online social networks. We provide evidence that social bots target mainly human influencers but generate semantic content depending on the polarized stance of their targets. During the 2017 Catalan referendum, used as a case study, social bots generated and promoted violent content aimed at Independentists, ultimately exacerbating social conflict online. Our results open challenges for detecting and controlling the influence of such content on society.
bots  misinformation  disinformation  networked_public_sphere  journalism  via:nyhan 
november 2018 by rvenkat
How Political Opinions Change - Scientific American
-- the article is framed to suggest that people's opinion can be manipulated. Deeper political beliefs and attitudes may still be resilient to superficial interventions. Also, the results suggest that in the current media environment, public opinion swings might be a result of such mechanisms.

-- one swallow doesn't make a summer
political_psychology  public_opinion  via:nyhan 
november 2018 by rvenkat
They saw a game; a case study
When the Dartmouth football team played Princeton in 1951, much controversy was generated over what actually took place during the game. Basically, there was disagreement between the two schools as to what had happened during the game. A questionnaire designed to get reactions to the game and to learn something of the climate of opinion was administered at each school and the same motion picture of the game was shown to a sample of undergraduate at each school, followed by another questionnnaire. Results indicate that the "game" was actually many different games and that each version of the events that transpired was just as "real" to a particular person as other versions were to other people.

groups  judgment_decision-making  collective_cognition  cultural_cognition  dmce  teaching  via:nyhan 
november 2018 by rvenkat
Trump, the 2016 Election, and Expressions of Sexism
The amount of prejudice that people express in social situations, in private conversations, or even on public opinion surveys is not a direct reflection of their views, but rather the result of a process of suppression and justification. Accordingly, the expression of prejudice can be influenced both by a change in one’s internal cognitive calculations and also by a change in how one perceives the norms of their social environment. In this paper, I examine how the 2016 election influenced the expression of sexist viewpoints among Republicans. Specifically, I find that partisan motivated reasoning made Republicans more willing to express tolerance for sexist rhetoric when it came from Trump rather than from another source. Additionally, I show that Republicans became more willing to endorse sexist statements after the 2016 election, likely due to the fact that Trump’s victory changed their perceptions about the prevalence of sexist attitudes in American society. This increase in expressed sexism has persisted into 2018.

--For better or worse, * studies terms have infiltrated social science literature. Now, the hard part of figuring out if these terms intangible concepts can be objectively quantified as easily as the recent scholarly work suggests it can be.
us_politics  political_psychology  gender  2016  via:nyhan  epidemiology_of_representations  political_science 
october 2018 by rvenkat
Fake images: The effects of source, intermediary, and digital media literacy on contextual assessment of image credibility online - Cuihua Shen, Mona Kasra, Wenjing Pan, Grace A Bassett, Yining Malloch, James F O’Brien, 2018
Fake or manipulated images propagated through the Web and social media have the capacity to deceive, emotionally distress, and influence public opinions and actions. Yet few studies have examined how individuals evaluate the authenticity of images that accompany online stories. This article details a 6-batch large-scale online experiment using Amazon Mechanical Turk that probes how people evaluate image credibility across online platforms. In each batch, participants were randomly assigned to 1 of 28 news-source mockups featuring a forged image, and they evaluated the credibility of the images based on several features. We found that participants’ Internet skills, photo-editing experience, and social media use were significant predictors of image credibility evaluation, while most social and heuristic cues of online credibility (e.g. source trustworthiness, bandwagon, intermediary trustworthiness) had no significant impact. Viewers’ attitude toward a depicted issue also positively influenced their credibility evaluation.
media_studies  misinformation  disinformation  online_experiments  amazon_turk  judgment_decision-making  political_psychology  via:nyhan 
october 2018 by rvenkat
now publishers - Does Rape Culture Predict Rape? Evidence from U.S. Newspapers, 2000–2013
We offer the first quantitative analysis of rape culture in the United States. Observers have long worried that biased news coverage of rape — which blames victims, empathizes with perpetrators, implies consent, and questions victims' credibility — may deter victims from coming forward, and ultimately increase the incidence of rape. We present a theory of how rape culture might shape the preferences and choices of perpetrators, victims and law enforcement, and test this theory with data on news stories about rape published in U.S. newspapers between 2000 and 2013. We find that rape culture in the media predicts both the frequency of rape and its pursuit through the local criminal justice system. In jurisdictions where rape culture was more prevalent, there were more documented rape cases, but authorities were less vigilant in pursuing them.

--very strong latent causal claims, especially using an intangible variable which is really a gender studies concept. Given the status of such *found data* research, a more subdued claim should have been made.
causal_inference  gender_studies  media_studies  contemporary_culture  i_remain_skeptical  via:nyhan 
september 2018 by rvenkat
Economic losers and political winners: The rise of the radical right in Sweden | TSE

We study the rise of the Sweden Democrats, a radical-right party that rose from negligible size in 2002 to Swedenís third largest party in 2014. We use comprehensive data to study both its politicians (supply side) and voters (demand side). All political candidates for the party can be identiÖed in register data, which also lets us aggregate individual social and economic conditions in municipalities or voting districts and relate them to the partyís vote share. We take a starting point in two key economic events: (i) a series of policy reforms in 2006-2011 that signiÖcantly widened the disposable- income gap between ìinsidersîand ìoutsidersîin the labor market, and (ii) the Önancial-crisis recession that doubled the job-loss risk for ìvulnerableî vs ìsecureîinsiders. On the supply side, the Sweden Democrats over-represent both losing groups relative to the population, whereas all other parties under-represent them, results which also hold when we disaggregate across time, subgroups, and municipalities. On the demand side, the local increase in the insider-outsider income gap, as well as the share of vulnerable insiders, are systematically associated with larger electoral gains for the Sweden Democrats. These Öndings can be given a citizen-candidate interpretation: economic losers (as we demonstrate) decrease their trust in established parties and institutions. As a result, some economic losers became Sweden-Democrat candidates, and many more supported the party electorally to obtain greater descriptive representation. This way, Swedish politics became potentially more inclusive. But the politicians elected for the Sweden Democrats score lower on expertise, moral values, and social trust ñas do their voters which made local political selection less valence oriented.

--A more traditional racial resentment PoV

-- It is plausible that both resentment of out-groups and economic factors simultaneously contributed to third party success. I can see parallels with what happened in India in the 1990s with the emergence of anti-establishment parties, which in turn can be traced to J.P. Narayan's socialist movement back in th3 70s. All in all, a nice way to analyze emergence and eventual success of third-parties in democracies.
political_economy  right-wing_populism  european_politics  via:nyhan 
september 2018 by rvenkat
SocArXiv Papers | Exposure to Opposing Views can Increase Political Polarization: Evidence from a Large-Scale Field Experiment on Social Media
There is mounting concern that social media sites contribute to political polarization by creating ``echo chambers" that insulate people from opposing views about current events. We surveyed a large sample of Democrats and Republicans who visit Twitter at least three times each week about a range of social policy issues. One week later, we randomly assigned respondents to a treatment condition in which they were offered financial incentives to follow a Twitter bot for one month that exposed them to messages produced by elected officials, organizations, and other opinion leaders with opposing political ideologies. Respondents were re-surveyed at the end of the month to measure the effect of this treatment, and at regular intervals throughout the study period to monitor treatment compliance. We find that Republicans who followed a liberal Twitter bot became substantially more conservative post-treatment, and Democrats who followed a conservative Twitter bot became slightly more liberal post-treatment. These findings have important implications for the interdisciplinary literature on political polarization as well as the emerging field of computational social science.
political_psychology  cultural_cognition  bias  public_opinion  opinion_dynamics  dmce  teaching  via:nyhan 
march 2018 by rvenkat
Investigator Characteristics and Respondent Behavior in Online Surveys | Journal of Experimental Political Science | Cambridge Core
Prior research demonstrates that responses to surveys can vary depending on the race, gender, or ethnicity of the investigator asking the question. We build upon this research by empirically testing how information about researcher identity in online surveys affects subject responses. We do so by conducting an experiment on Amazon’s Mechanical Turk in which we vary the name of the researcher in the advertisement for the experiment and on the informed consent page in order to cue different racial and gender identities. We fail to reject the null hypothesis that there is no difference in how respondents answer questions when assigned to a putatively black/white or male/female researcher.
online_experiments  amazon_turk  survey  race  gender  bias  sociology_of_science  social_psychology  via:nyhan 
march 2018 by rvenkat
Explaining Preferences from Behavior: A Cognitive Dissonance Approach | The Journal of Politics: Ahead of Print
The standard approach in positive political theory posits that action choices are the consequences of preferences. Social psychology—in particular, cognitive dissonance theory—suggests the opposite: preferences may themselves be affected by action choices. We present a framework that applies this idea to three models of political choice: (1) one in which partisanship emerges naturally in a two-party system despite policy being multidimensional, (2) one in which interactions with people who express different views can lead to empathetic changes in political positions, and (3) one in which ethnic or racial hostility increases after acts of violence. These examples demonstrate how incorporating the insights of social psychology can expand the scope of formalization in political science.

--It is still only a model. Yes, one that systematically corrects and improves on rational choice models but some studies testing their claims would be nice.
political_psychology  social_psychology  behavioral_economics  rational_choice  critique  maya.sen  via:nyhan 
march 2018 by rvenkat
Game Changers: Detecting Shifts in Overdispersed Count Data | Political Analysis | Cambridge Core
In this paper, I introduce a Bayesian model for detecting changepoints in a time series of overdispersed counts, such as contributions to candidates over the course of a campaign or counts of terrorist violence. To avoid having to specify the number of changepoint ex ante, this model incorporates a hierarchical Dirichlet process prior to estimate the number of changepoints as well as their location. This allows researchers to discover salient structural breaks and perform inference on the number of such breaks in a given time series. I demonstrate the usefulness of the model with applications to campaign contributions in the 2012 U.S. Republican presidential primary and incidences of global terrorism from 1970 to 2015.
bayesian  statistics  change_detection  time_series  political_science  via:nyhan 
march 2018 by rvenkat
Do Human Capital Decisions Respond to the Returns to Education? Evidence from DACA
This paper studies the human capital responses to a large shock in the returns to education for undocumented youth. We obtain variation in the benefits of schooling from the enactment of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) policy in 2012, which provides work authorization and deferral from deportation for high school educated youth. We implement a difference-in-differences design by comparing DACA eligible to non-eligible individuals over time, and we find that DACA had a significant impact on the investment decisions of undocumented youth. High school graduation rates increased by 15 percent while teenage births declined by 45 percent. Further, we find that college attendance increased by 25 percent among women, suggesting that DACA raised aspirations for education above and beyond qualifying for legal status. We find that the same individuals who acquire more schooling also work more (at the same time), counter to the typical intuition that these behaviors are mutually exclusive, indicating that the program generated a large boost in productivity.
immigration  education  human_capital  natural_experiment  causal_inference  public_policy  via:nyhan 
february 2018 by rvenkat
More COPS, Less Crime
I exploit a unique natural experiment to estimate the causal effect of police on crime. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act increased funding for the COPS hiring grant program from $20million in 2008 to $1 billion in 2009 and over $150 million annually in 2010-2013. During this period, grant applications were scored and funding was allocated according to a fuzzy cutoff rule. I leverage quasi-random variation in grant receipt by comparing the change over time in police and crimes for cities above and below the score threshold. Relative to low-scoring applicants, cities above the cutoff experience increases in police levels of about 3.6% and decreases in violent and property crimes of about 4.8% and 3%, respectively. The effects are driven by large and statistically significant effects of police on robbery, larceny, and auto theft. I also find evidence that police reduce murders, with the point estimate implying that one life can be saved by hiring eleven officers. Arrest rates do not increase with police force expansions, suggesting a deterrence mechanism underlying the crime reductions. The program passes a cost-benefit test under some assumptions but not others. The results highlight that police hiring grants may offer higher benefit-cost ratios than other stimulus spending.
crime  policing  causal_inference  econometrics  natural_experiment  dmce  teaching  via:nyhan 
february 2018 by rvenkat
Wealth, Slave Ownership, and Fighting for the Confederacy: An Empirical Study of the American Civil War
How did personal wealth affect the likelihood southerners fought for the Confederate Army in the American Civil War? We offer competing accounts for how we should expect individual wealth, in the form of land, and atrociously, in slaves, to affect white men’s decisions to join the Confederate Army. We assemble a dataset on roughly 3.9 million white citizens in Confederate states, and we show that slaveowners were more likely to fight in the Confederate Army than non-slaveowners. To see if these links are causal, we exploit a randomized land lottery in 19th-century Georgia. Households of lottery winners owned more slaves in 1850 and were more likely to have sons who fought in the Confederate Army than were households who did not win the lottery. Our results suggest that for wealthy southerners, the stakes associated with the conflict’s threat to end the institution of slavery overrode the incentives to free-ride and to avoid paying the costs of war

-- very, very counterintuitive to my worldview. Interesting if these results hold up in other conflicts. Anybody studying demographics of East India Company or the subsequent British Army?
economic_history  political_sociology  causal_inference  rational_choice  slavery  civil_war  united_states_of_america  19th_century  dmce  teaching  ?  via:nyhan 
february 2018 by rvenkat
Social Mobilization | Annual Review of Psychology

This article reviews research from several behavioral disciplines to derive strategies for prompting people to perform behaviors that are individually costly and provide negligible individual or social benefits but are meaningful when performed by a large number of individuals. Whereas the term social influence encompasses all the ways in which people influence other people, social mobilization refers specifically to principles that can be used to influence a large number of individuals to participate in such activities. The motivational force of social mobilization is amplified by the fact that others benefit from the encouraged behaviors, and its overall impact is enhanced by the fact that people are embedded within social networks. This article may be useful to those interested in the provision of public goods, collective action, and prosocial behavior, and we give special attention to field experiments on election participation, environmentally sustainable behaviors, and charitable giving.

collective_action  political_economy  public_goods  social_behavior  intervention  review  social_networks  networks  dmce  teaching  via:nyhan 
february 2018 by rvenkat
Are Toxic Political Conversations Changing How We Feel about Objective Truth? - Scientific American
-- Bad headline writing, overly simplistic essay. Surely, a longer essay could have done better at conveying what the authors couldn't...
political_psychology  cultural_cognition  dmce  teaching  via:nyhan 
february 2018 by rvenkat
The Role of Anger in the Biased Assimilation of Political Information - Suhay - 2018 - Political Psychology - Wiley Online Library
Political psychologists have established that politically motivated reasoning is a common phenomenon; however, the field knows comparatively less about the psychological mechanisms that drive it. Drawing on advances in the understanding of the relevance of emotion to political reasoning and behavior, we argue that anger likely plays a major role in motivating individuals to engage in the biased assimilation of political information—an evaluative bias in favor of information that bolsters one's views and against information that undercuts them. We test this proposition with two online studies, the second of which includes a quasi-representative sample of Americans. The studies support our expectations. Individuals felt more negative emotions toward arguments that undermined their attitudes and positive emotions toward arguments that confirmed them; however, anger was nearly alone in fueling biased reactions to issue arguments.
political_psychology  cultural_cognition  dmce  teaching  via:nyhan 
january 2018 by rvenkat
How Newspapers Reveal Political Power* | Political Science Research and Methods | Cambridge Core
Political science is in large part the study of power, but power itself is difficult to measure. We argue that we can use newspaper coverage—in particular, the relative amount of space devoted to particular subjects in newspapers—to measure the relative power of an important set of political actors and offices. We use a new dataset containing nearly 50 million historical newspaper pages from 2,700 local US newspapers over the years 1877–1977. We define and discuss a measure of power we develop based on observed word frequencies, and we validate it through a series of analyses. Overall, we find that the relative coverage of political actors and of political offices is a strong indicator of political power for the cases we study. To illustrate its usefulness, we then apply the measure to understand when (and where) state party committees lost their power. Taken together, the paper sheds light on the nature of political news coverage and offers both a new dataset and a new measure for studying political power in a wide set of contexts.
news_media  political_science  natural_language_processing  text_mining  journalism  via:nyhan 
january 2018 by rvenkat
Do Low Levels of Blood Lead Reduce Children's Future Test Scores?
We construct a unique individual-level dataset linking preschool blood lead levels with third grade test scores for Rhode Island children born 1997–2005. Using two identification strategies, we show for the first time that reductions of lead from even historically low levels have significant positive effects. A one-unit decrease in average blood lead levels reduces the probability of being substantially below proficient in reading (math) by 0.96 (0.79) percentage points on a baseline of 12 (16) percent. Since disadvantaged children have greater exposure to lead, lead poisoning may be one of the causes of continuing disparities in test scores.
econometrics  causal_inference  education  lead-crime_hypothesis  via:nyhan 
january 2018 by rvenkat
On the Dynamics of Ideological Identification: The Puzzle of Liberal Identification Decline* | Political Science Research and Methods | Cambridge Core
Our focus is a puzzle: that ideological identification as “liberal” is in serious decline in the United States, but at the same time support for liberal policies and for the political party of liberalism is not. We aim to understand this divorce in “liberal” in name and “liberal” in policy by investigating how particular symbols rise and fall as associations with the ideological labels “liberal” and “conservative.” We produce three kinds of evidence to shed light on this macro-level puzzle. First, we explore the words associated with “liberal” and “conservative” over time. Then we take up a group conception by examining the changing correlations between affect toward “liberals” and affect toward other groups. Finally, we consider the changing policy correlates of identification.


I am curious about the evolution of *neoliberal* as an expletive.
norms  dynamics  political_science  ideology  conservatism  liberalism  public_opinion  us_politics  via:nyhan  linguistics  evolution  cultural_cognition 
december 2017 by rvenkat
Patashnik, E.M., Dowling, C.M. and Gerber, A.S.: Unhealthy Politics: The Battle over Evidence-Based Medicine (Hardcover and eBook) | Princeton University Press
The U.S. medical system is touted as the most advanced in the world, yet many common treatments are not based on sound science. Treatments can go into widespread use before they are rigorously evaluated, and every year patients are harmed because they receive too many procedures—and too few treatments that really work. Unhealthy Politics sheds new light on why the government’s response to this troubling situation has been so inadequate, and why efforts to improve the evidence base of U.S. medicine continue to cause so much political controversy and public trepidation.

This critically important book draws on public opinion surveys, physician surveys, case studies, and political science models to explain how political incentives, polarization, and the misuse of professional authority have undermined efforts to tackle the medical evidence problem and curb wasteful spending. It paints a portrait of a medical industry with vast influence over which procedures and treatments get adopted, and a public burdened by the rising costs of health care yet fearful of going against “doctor’s orders.” The book shows how the government’s efforts to promote evidence-based medicine have become mired in partisan debates. It also proposes sensible solutions that can lead to better, more efficient health care for all of us.

health  public_policy  united_states_of_america  via:nyhan 
december 2017 by rvenkat
The Polarizing Effects of Online Partisan Criticism: Evidence from Two ExperimentsThe International Journal of Press/Politics - Elizabeth Suhay, Emily Bello-Pardo, Brianna Maurer, 2018
Affective and social political polarization—a dislike of political opponents and a desire to avoid their company—are increasingly salient and pervasive features of politics in many Western democracies, particularly the United States. One contributor to these related phenomena may be increasing exposure to online political disagreements in which ordinary citizens criticize, and sometimes explicitly demean, opponents. This article presents two experimental studies that assessed whether U.S. partisans’ attitudes became more prejudiced in favor of the in-party after exposure to online partisan criticism. In the first study, we draw on an online convenience sample to establish that partisan criticism that derogates political opponents increases affective polarization. In the second, we replicate these findings with a quasi-representative sample and extend the pattern of findings to social polarization. We conclude that online partisan criticism likely has contributed to rising affective and social polarization in recent years between Democrats and Republicans in the United States, and perhaps between partisan and ideological group members in other developed democracies as well. We close by discussing the troubling implications of these findings in light of continuing attempts by autocratic regimes and other actors to influence democratic elections via false identities on social media.
political_science  online_experiments  polarization  democracy  partyism  us_politics  via:nyhan  dmce  teaching 
december 2017 by rvenkat
Viktor Orban’s oligarchs: a new elite emerges in Hungary
--remarkable similarities to the co-evolution of oligarchy autocracy and right-wing populism world over. It is almost as if we are watching the emergence of potential mechanisms through which liberal democracies devolve and regress into something else. Newer the democracy, easier it seems to be to get these going.
comparative  political_science  european_politics  world_trends  autocracy  right-wing_populism  conservatism  norms  institutions  via:nyhan 
december 2017 by rvenkat
Policy Preferences and Policy Change: Dynamic Responsiveness in the American States, 1936–2014 | American Political Science Review | Cambridge Core
Using eight decades of data, we examine the magnitude, mechanisms, and moderators of dynamic responsiveness in the American states. We show that on both economic and (especially) social issues, the liberalism of state publics predicts future change in state policy liberalism. Dynamic responsiveness is gradual, however; large policy shifts are the result of the cumulation of incremental responsiveness over many years. Partisan control of government appears to mediate only a fraction of responsiveness, suggesting that, contrary to conventional wisdom, responsiveness occurs in large part through the adaptation of incumbent officials. Dynamic responsiveness has increased over time but does not seem to be influenced by institutions such as direct democracy or campaign finance regulations. We conclude that our findings, though in some respects normatively ambiguous, on the whole paint a reassuring portrait of statehouse democracy.
democracy  public_opinion  public_policy  political_science  causal_inference  ?  via:nyhan 
november 2017 by rvenkat
Secular Party Rule and Religious Violence in Pakistan | American Political Science Review | Cambridge Core
Does secular party incumbency affect religious violence? Existing theory is ambiguous. On the one hand, religiously motivated militants might target areas that vote secularists into office. On the other hand, secular party politicians, reliant on the support of violence-hit communities, may face powerful electoral incentives to quell attacks. Candidates bent on preventing bloodshed might also sort into such parties. To adjudicate these claims, we combine constituency-level election returns with event data on Islamist and sectarian violence in Pakistan (1988–2011). For identification, we compare districts where secular parties narrowly won or lost elections. We find that secularist rule causes a sizable reduction in local religious conflict. Additional analyses suggest that the result stems from electoral pressures to cater to core party supporters and not from politician selection. The effect is concentrated in regions with denser police presence, highlighting the importance of state capacity for suppressing religious disorder.
secularism  the_civilizing_process  political_science  extremism  causal_inference  asia  via:nyhan 
november 2017 by rvenkat
Becoming White: How Mass Warfare Turned Immigrants into Americans
How do groups on the social periphery assimilate into the social core of a nation? I develop a theory of cultural assimilation that highlights the way in which mass mobilization around warfare can reduce ethnic stratifications by incorporating low-status ethnic groups into the dominant national culture. To test the theory, I hone in on the case of World War I in the United States–a period that closely followed a massive wave of immigration into the United States. Using an instrumental variables strategy exploiting the combination of the exogenous timing of the war and features of the draft system, I show that individuals of foreign, European nativity–especially, the Italians and Eastern Europeans–were more likely to assimilate into American society. I also provide evidence of backlash against Germans despite their service for the United States in World War I. The theory and results contribute to our understanding of the ways in which states make identity and the prospects for immigrant assimilation in an age without mass warfare.

-- Ta-nehisi Coates argues that such processes somehow never really happened for Blacks in these United States. Wonder if there is similar data on that.
political_sociology  historical_sociology  immigration  united_states_of_america  via:nyhan 
november 2017 by rvenkat
Red fighting blue how geography and electoral rules polarize american politics | American government, politics and policy | Cambridge University Press
The national electoral map has split into warring regional bastions of Republican red and Democratic blue, producing a deep and enduring partisan divide in American politics. In Red Fighting Blue, David A. Hopkins places the current partisan and electoral era in historical context, explains how the increased salience of social issues since the 1980s has redefined the parties' geographic bases of support, and reveals the critical role that American political institutions play in intermediating between the behavior of citizens and the outcome of public policy-making. The widening geographic gap in voters' partisan preferences, as magnified further by winner-take-all electoral rules, has rendered most of the nation safe territory for either Democratic or Republican candidates in both presidential and congressional elections - with significant consequences for party competition, candidate strategy, and the operation of government.
book  us_politics  geography  polarization  history  political_science  via:nyhan 
november 2017 by rvenkat
CESifo Group Munich - Shocking Racial Attitudes: Black G.I.s in Europe
Can attitudes towards minorities, an important cultural trait, be changed? We show that the presence of African American soldiers in the UK during World War II reduced anti-minority prejudice, a result of the positive interactions which took place between soldiers and the local population. The change has been persistent: in locations in which more African American soldiers were posted there are fewer members of the UK’s leading far-right party, less implicit bias against blacks and fewer individuals professing racial prejudice, all measured around 2010. We show that persistence has been higher in rural areas and areas with less subsequent in-migration.
causal_inference  cultural_history  discrimination  extremism  geography  britain  political_sociology  public_opinion  via:nyhan 
november 2017 by rvenkat
Psychological targeting as an effective approach to digital mass persuasion
People are exposed to persuasive communication across many different contexts: Governments, companies, and political parties use persuasive appeals to encourage people to eat healthier, purchase a particular product, or vote for a specific candidate. Laboratory studies show that such persuasive appeals are more effective in influencing behavior when they are tailored to individuals’ unique psychological characteristics. However, the investigation of large-scale psychological persuasion in the real world has been hindered by the questionnaire-based nature of psychological assessment. Recent research, however, shows that people’s psychological characteristics can be accurately predicted from their digital footprints, such as their Facebook Likes or Tweets. Capitalizing on this form of psychological assessment from digital footprints, we test the effects of psychological persuasion on people’s actual behavior in an ecologically valid setting. In three field experiments that reached over 3.5 million individuals with psychologically tailored advertising, we find that matching the content of persuasive appeals to individuals’ psychological characteristics significantly altered their behavior as measured by clicks and purchases. Persuasive appeals that were matched to people’s extraversion or openness-to-experience level resulted in up to 40% more clicks and up to 50% more purchases than their mismatching or unpersonalized counterparts. Our findings suggest that the application of psychological targeting makes it possible to influence the behavior of large groups of people by tailoring persuasive appeals to the psychological needs of the target audiences. We discuss both the potential benefits of this method for helping individuals make better decisions and the potential pitfalls related to manipulation and privacy.

--meta-studies of political canvasing and prejudice reduction all suggest otherwise; so has replications of priming studies. Unless there are other mechanisms at work, these results seem untrustworthy.
big_five  intervention  social_media  influence  social_psychology  i_remain_skeptical  via:nyhan 
november 2017 by rvenkat
Political Power, Public Employment, & Private Wage Convergence: The Labor Market Effects of the Voting Rights Act
A central concern for racial and ethnic minorities living in democratic societies is having access to opportunities for economic advancement equal to their majority counterparts. In this paper, we test whether minority political empowerment is linked to individual economic gains in the form of labor market progress. We use the passage of the 1965 Voting Rights Act to examine whether the re-enfranchisement of black Americans in the American South contributed to their improved economic status over the second half of the twentieth century. Using a border discontinuity design, we find that counties where political rights were protected by the federal government experienced larger reductions in the black-white wage gap between 1950 and 1990. In addition to showing that the VRA improved blacks Americans’ wages, we also provide evidence of a mechanism that has been less-often discussed in research examining racial disparities in the labor market: public sector employment. Finally, we also show that the wage gains of black Americans occur almost immediately after passage of the VRA. As such, our results suggest that wage gains are likely not caused (at least exclusively) by differential changes in human capital accumulation as schools attended by black children improved.

-- I am sure there are systematic critical reviews of causal inference in political science.
political_economy  economic_sociology  labor  discrimination  natural_experiment  causal_inference  via:nyhan  political_science 
november 2017 by rvenkat
Ethno-nationalist populism and the mobilization of collective resentment - Bonikowski - 2017 - The British Journal of Sociology - Wiley Online Library
Scholarly and journalistic accounts of the recent successes of radical-right politics in Europe and the United States, including the Brexit referendum and the Trump campaign, tend to conflate three phenomena: populism, ethno-nationalism and authoritarianism. While all three are important elements of the radical right, they are neither coterminous nor limited to the right. The resulting lack of analytical clarity has hindered accounts of the causes and consequences of ethno-nationalist populism. To address this problem, I bring together existing research on nationalism, populism and authoritarianism in contemporary democracies to precisely define these concepts and examine temporal patterns in their supply and demand, that is, politicians’ discursive strategies and the corresponding public attitudes. Based on the available evidence, I conclude that both the supply and demand sides of radical politics have been relatively stable over time, which suggests that in order to understand public support for radical politics, scholars should instead focus on the increased resonance between pre-existing attitudes and discursive frames. Drawing on recent research in cultural sociology, I argue that resonance is not only a function of the congruence between a frame and the beliefs of its audience, but also of shifting context. In the case of radical-right politics, a variety of social changes have engendered a sense of collective status threat among national ethnocultural majorities. Political and media discourse has channelled such threats into resentments toward elites, immigrants, and ethnic, racial and religious minorities, thereby activating previously latent attitudes and lending legitimacy to radical political campaigns that promise to return power and status to their aggrieved supporters. Not only does this form of politics threaten democratic institutions and inter-group relations, but it also has the potential to alter the contours of mainstream public discourse, thereby creating the conditions of possibility for future successes of populist, nationalist, and authoritarian politics.

--my summary: framing effects and latent preferences produce a mechanism for ethno-nationalism, authoritarianism and populism to interact. But I don't understand this *context* business as well. Feels like a _everything is obvious_ explanation...Not very convincing

-- see also the special issue
us_politics  european_politics  brexit  trumpism  political_psychology  framing_effects  political_economy  behavioral_economics  democracy  public_opinion  social_movements  via:nyhan 
november 2017 by rvenkat
The Federal Spending Paradox: Economic Self-Interest and Symbolic Racism in Contemporary Fiscal PoliticsAmerican Politics Research - Katherine Krimmel, Kelly Rader, 2017
We show how symbolic politics condition public opinion on federal spending and how this helps to explain an important puzzle in contemporary American politics. Using multilevel regression and poststratification to estimate state-level opinion on federal spending, we show that, curiously, opposition to federal spending is higher in states receiving more federal money, per tax dollar paid. Belying the popular narrative surrounding so-called “red state socialism,” we find that simple hypocrisy does not explain this paradox—individuals who are likely to benefit from spending tend to support it. But, income is a more powerful predictor of opinion on spending in “taker” states than “giver” states, heightening state-level opposition in the former. There is also more to the story than economic self-interest. Symbolic racism is four times more powerful than income in explaining opposition to spending, and there are more people with such attitudes in states receiving more federal money.
political_psychology  public_opinion  public_policy  dmce  teaching  us_politics  via:nyhan 
november 2017 by rvenkat
Complex Thinking as a Result of Incongruent Information ExposureAmerican Politics Research - Cengiz Erisen, Dave Redlawsk, Elif Erisen, 2017
In this article, we explore whether incongruent information influences what people recall to mind about a presidential candidate’s policy statements. We investigate whether the volume of people’s political thoughts, their ability to produce arguments, the affective valence of these thoughts, and their integrative complexity are influenced by the congruency between new political information and prior political convictions. We conducted an experiment via MTurk manipulating the congruency of information with respect to ideology. Our results show that incongruency significantly alters how people think about politics. Incongruent information increases integrative complexity of the opposing thoughts, becomes more voluminous, and includes more rationales. Moreover, these defensive thoughts are significantly more negative and less positive about the incongruent information. Parallel to what studies on motivated reasoning demonstrated, we also find that politically knowledgeable people in particular seem to strengthen their thoughts’ cognitive structure while defending their priors against information counter to their political views. We further discuss the general effects of these results and the importance of challenges to existing beliefs in generating complex thought systems.

-- can these domain specific findings generalize well?
public_opinion  political_psychology  cultural_cognition  ideology  heuristics  dmce  teaching  amazon_turk  online_experiments  via:nyhan 
november 2017 by rvenkat
Frontier Culture: The Roots and Persistence of "Rugged Individualism" in the United States
In a classic 1893 essay, Frederick Jackson Turner argued that the American frontier promoted individualism. We revisit the Frontier Thesis and examine its relevance at the subnational level. Using Census data and GIS techniques, we track the frontier throughout the 1790-1890 period and construct a novel, county-level measure of historical frontier experience. We document skewed sex ratios and other distinctive demographics of frontier locations, as well as their greater individualism (proxied by infrequent children names). Many decades after the closing of the frontier, counties with longer historical frontier experience exhibit more prevalent individualism and opposition to redistribution and regulation. We take several steps towards a causal interpretation, including an instrumental variables approach that exploits variation in the speed of westward expansion induced by national immigration inflows. Using linked historical Census data, we identify mechanisms giving rise to a persistent frontier culture. Selective migration contributed to greater individualism, and frontier conditions may have further shaped behavior and values. We provide evidence suggesting that rugged individualism may be rooted in its adaptive advantage on the frontier and the opportunities for upward mobility through effort.
political_sociology  norms  historical_sociology  causal_inference  18th_century  19th_century  united_states_of_america  via:nyhan 
november 2017 by rvenkat
Researcher Bias and Influence: How Do Different Sources of Policy Analysis Affect Policy Preferences? by Grant Jacobsen :: SSRN
Analyses of policy options are often unavailable or only available from think tanks that may have political biases. This paper experimentally examines how voters respond to policy analysis and how the response differs when a nonpartisan, liberal, or conservative organization produces the analysis. Partisan organizations are effective at influencing individuals that share their ideology, but individuals collectively are most responsive to analysis produced by nonpartisan organizations. This pattern holds consistently across several areas of policy. The results suggest that increasing the availability of nonpartisan analysis would increase the diffusion of information into the public and reduce political polarization.
elite_opinion  public_opinion  contagion  think_tank  institutions  social_epistemology  cultural_cognition  political_psychology  polarization  democracy  via:nyhan 
october 2017 by rvenkat
Culture, Ethnicity and Diversity
We investigate the empirical relationship between ethnicity and culture, defined as a vector of traits reflecting norms, values, and attitudes. Using survey data for 76 countries, we find that ethnic identity is a significant predictor of cultural values, yet that within-group variation in culture trumps between-group variation. Thus, in contrast to a commonly held view, ethnic and cultural diversity are unrelated. Although only a small portion of a country's overall cultural heterogeneity occurs between groups, we find that various political economy outcomes (such as civil conflict and public goods provision) worsen when there is greater overlap between ethnicity and culture.
culture  race  political_economy  world_trends  survey  data  econometrics  public_goods  via:nyhan 
october 2017 by rvenkat
Extending the Use and Prediction Precision of Subnational Public Opinion Estimation - Leemann - 2017 - American Journal of Political Science - Wiley Online Library
The comparative study of subnational units is on the rise. Multilevel regression and poststratification (MrP) has become the standard method for estimating subnational public opinion. Unfortunately, MrP comes with stringent data demands. As a consequence, scholars cannot apply MrP in countries without detailed census data, and when such data are available, the modeling is restricted to a few variables. This article introduces multilevel regression with synthetic poststratification (MrsP), which relaxes the data requirement of MrP to marginal distributions, substantially increases the prediction precision of the method, and extends its use to countries without census data. The findings of Monte Carlo, U.S., and Swiss analyses show that, using the same predictors, MrsP usually performs in standard applications as well as the currently used standard approach, and it is superior when additional predictors are modeled. The better performance and the more straightforward implementation promise that MrsP will further stimulate subnational research.
public_opinion  spatial_statistics  methods  social_science  via:nyhan 
october 2017 by rvenkat
How Responsive are Political Elites? A Meta-Analysis of Experiments on Public Officials* | Journal of Experimental Political Science | Cambridge Core
In the past decade, the body of research using experimental approaches to investigate the responsiveness of elected officials has grown exponentially. Given this explosion of work, a systematic assessment of these studies is needed not only to take stock of what we have learned so far about democratic responsiveness, but also to inform the design of future studies. In this article, I conduct the first meta-analysis of all experiments that examine elite responsiveness to constituent communication. I find that racial/ethnic minorities and messages sent to elected officials (as opposed to non-elected) are significantly less likely to receive a response. A qualitative review of the literature further suggests that some of these inequalities in responsiveness are driven by personal biases of public officials, rather than strategic, electoral considerations. The findings of this study provide important qualifications and context to prominent individual studies in the field.
us_politics  political_science  bias  discrimination  meta-analysis  democracy  via:nyhan  dmce  teaching 
october 2017 by rvenkat
Violent Crime, Killings by the Police and the Overmilitarization of US Law Enforcement
Withdrawal from the Afghan and Iraqi wars has led to the arrival of vast quantities of military equipment to the US. Much of this equipment, now unused by the military, has been redis-tributed to police departments via a program called the 1033 Program. In this paper, I study the causal effect on criminal activity and police behavior of the militarization of the police through this program. I do so by taking into account that military equipment is stored in various disposition centers. Police departments do not pay for the cost of these items but must cover all transportation costs. I then use the distance to a disposition center and the timing of the US withdrawal from the wars in an instrumental variable setting. Estimates show that military equipment reduces violent crime and is responsible for half of the rapid drop observedsince 2007. More than one third of this effect is caused by the displacement of violent crime to neighboring areas. Because police departments do not consider this externality when making militarization decisions, they overmilitarize. Finally, I show that police militarization increases the number of people killed by the police. Estimates imply that all of the recent increases in killings by the police are due to police militarization.
crime  policing  geography  spatial_statistics  causal_inference  united_states_of_america  via:nyhan 
october 2017 by rvenkat
Media Source, Selective Exposure, and Susceptibility to False Information by Katherine Clayton, Jase Davis, Kristen Hinckley, Yusaku Horiuchi :: SSRN
We investigate citizens' perceptions of ideological bias in the media and their selective exposure to ideologically congenial sources when the news contains false information. In a survey experiment, we presented study participants with a news article excerpt that varied by source shown (CNN, Fox News, or no source) and content (true or false information). We then measured the participants' perceived accuracy of the information and their interest in reading the rest of the article. We find that while the effects of news source are mixed, information content has consistently large effects. Contrary to the common claim that American people have low confidence in the media, they tend to believe news stories irrespective of their source and of whether they contain false information. They also tend to exhibit a stronger interest in reading more when the article excerpt provides false -- and more surprising -- information, regardless of source.

-- summaries are predictive of individual trust in news.
political_psychology  misinformation  fact_checking  news_media  via:nyhan  dmce  teaching 
october 2017 by rvenkat
The Politics of Selecting the Bench from the Bar: The Legal Profession and Partisan Incentives to Introduce Ideology Into Judicial Selection
Using a new dataset that captures the ideological positioning of nearly half a million U.S. judges and lawyers who have made campaign contributions, we present evidence showing how ideology affects the selection of U.S. judges across the state and federal judicial hierarchies. We document that the higher the court, the more it deviates ideologically from the overall population of attorneys, suggesting an even stronger role of ideology in judicial selection. We show similarly stronger findings in jurisdictions where judges are selected via political appointments or through partisan elections. Our findings therefore suggest that ideology is an important component of judicial selection primarily when (1) doing so leads to expected benefits to political parties, (2) when the jurisdiction’s selection process affords them the opportunity to do so, and (3) when it concerns the most important courts. The study is the first to provide a direct ideological comparison across tiers of the judiciary and between judges and lawyers and to document how—and why— American courts are politicized.
law  legal_system  united_states_of_america  polarization  data  political_science  via:nyhan  dmce  teaching 
october 2017 by rvenkat
Rumor Has It: The Adoption of Unverified Information in Conflict Zones | International Studies Quarterly | Oxford Academic
Rumors run rife in areas affected by political instability and conflict. Their adoption plays a key role in igniting many forms of violence, including riots, ethnic conflict, genocide, and war. While unverified at the time of transmission, some rumors are widely treated as truth, while others are dismissed as implausible or false. What factors lead individuals to embrace rumors and other forms of unverified information? This article presents a new theoretical framework for understanding individual receptivity to rumors and tests it using original survey data gathered in insurgency-affected areas of Thailand and the Philippines. We find wide variation in rumor adoption, and argue that three factors drive individuals to embrace rumors: worldview, threat perception, and prior exposure. Contrary to conventional wisdom, we find no evidence that commonly cited factors—including education, income, age, and gender—determine individual receptivity to rumors. We also explore the implications of belief in rumors on conflict dynamics. We find that greater receptivity to rumors correlates with the belief that ongoing conflict is intractable. This suggests that rumors can not only help spark political violence, but also impede its resolution. Our findings shed light on the complex interaction between worldview and unverified information in shaping popular beliefs—and through them, political contention and competition—in conflict areas and beyond.
public_opinion  common_knowledge  ?  conspiracy_theories  cultural_cognition  dmce  teaching  via:nyhan  models_of_behavior 
october 2017 by rvenkat
The Effects of Pre-Trial Detention on Conviction, Future Crime, and Employment: Evidence from Randomly Assigned Judges
Over 20 percent of prison and jail inmates in the United States are currently awaiting trial, but little is known about the impact of pre-trial detention on defendants. This paper uses the detention tendencies of quasi-randomly assigned bail judges to estimate the causal effects of pre-trial detention on subsequent defendant outcomes. Using data from administrative court and tax records, we find that pre-trial detention significantly increases the probability of conviction, primarily through an increase in guilty pleas. Pre-trial detention has no net effect on future crime, but decreases formal sector employment and the receipt of employment- and tax-related government benefits. These results are consistent with (i) pre-trial detention weakening defendants' bargaining positions during plea negotiations and (ii) a criminal conviction lowering defendants' prospects in the formal labor market.
race  discrimination  criminal_justice  law  empirical_legal_studies  civil_rights  observational_studies  legal_system  bias  economic_sociology  inequality  united_states_of_america  via:nyhan 
october 2017 by rvenkat
SocArXiv Papers | Random? As if -- Spatial Interdependence and Instrumental Variables
Instrumental variable (IV) methods are widely used to address endogeneity concerns in research using observational data. Yet, a specific kind of endogeneity -- spatial interdependence -- is regularly ignored in this research, threatening claims of causal identification. While researchers are increasingly aware of the consequences of unmodeled spatial interdependence, it seems less well-understood that this also affects instrumental variable analyses. We show that, as always, ignoring spatial interdependence results in biased and inconsistent estimates, even when instruments are randomly assigned. The extent of this bias increases when the instrument is also spatially distributed -- that is, not spatially randomly assigned -- which is the case for most widely-used instruments (such as rainfall, natural disasters, or economic shocks). This is also necessarily the case whenever researchers use instruments measured at a higher level of aggregation than the endogenous predictor -- e.g regionally- or globally-weighted averages. We demonstrate the extent of these biases both analytically and via Monte Carlo simulation, and discuss how they can be addressed using a simple estimation strategy. In short, instrumenting for both the endogenous predictor and spatial lag of the outcome (via 2SLS or GMM) recovers consistent estimates of the desired effects.
causal_discovery  methods  spatial_statistics  observational_studies  geography  statistics  via:nyhan 
october 2017 by rvenkat
Do Anti-Immigrant Laws Shape Public Sentiment? A Study of Arizona’s SB 1070 Using Twitter Data: American Journal of Sociology: Vol 123, No 2
Scholars have debated whether laws can influence public opinion, but evidence of these “feedback” effects is scant. This article examines the effect of Arizona’s 2010 high-profile anti-immigrant law, SB 1070, on both public attitudes and behaviors toward immigrants. Using sentiment analysis and a difference-in-difference approach to analyze more than 250,000 tweets, the author finds that SB 1070 had a negative impact on the average sentiment of tweets regarding immigrants, Mexicans, and Hispanics, but not on those about Asians or blacks. However, these changes in public discourse were not caused by shifting attitudes toward immigrants but by the mobilization of anti-immigrant users and by motivating new users to begin tweeting. While some scholars propose that punitive laws can shape people’s attitudes toward targeted groups, this study shows that policies are more likely to influence behaviors. Rather than placating the electorate, anti-immigrant laws may stir the pot further, mobilizing individuals already critical of immigrants.
law  public_opinion  mediation_analysis  causal_inference  ?  media_studies  twitter  political_psychology  us_politics  via:nyhan 
october 2017 by rvenkat
You Can't Stay Here: The Efficacy of Reddit's 2015 Ban Examined Through Hate Speech
n 2015, Reddit closed several subreddits—foremost among them r/fatpeoplehate and r/CoonTown—due to violations of Reddit’s anti-harassment policy. However, the effectiveness of banning as a moderation approach remains unclear: banning might diminish hateful behavior, or it may relocate such behavior to different parts of the site. We study the ban of r/fatpeoplehate and r/CoonTown in terms of its effect on both participating users and affected subreddits. Working from over 100M Reddit posts and comments, we generate hate speech lexicons to examine variations in hate speech usage via causal inference methods. We find that the ban worked
for Reddit. More accounts than expected discontinued using the site; those that stayed drastically decreased their hate speech usage—by at least 80%. Though many subreddits saw an influx of r/fatpeoplehate and r/CoonTown “migrants,” those subreddits saw no significant changes in hate speech usage. In other words, other subreddits did not inherit the problem. We conclude by reflecting on the apparent success of the ban, discussing implications for online moderation, Reddit and internet communities more broadly.
causal_inference  natural_language_processing  natural_experiment  internet_culture  reddit  social_media  public_sphere  freedom_of_speech  via:nyhan 
september 2017 by rvenkat
Trumpism and American Democracy: History, Comparison, and the Predicament of Liberal Democracy in the United States by Robert C. Lieberman, Suzanne Mettler, Thomas B. Pepinsky, Kenneth M. Roberts, Richard Valelly :: SSRN
In the eyes of many citizens, activists, pundits, and scholars, American democracy appears under threat. Concern about President Trump and the future of American politics may be found among both conservatives and progressives; among voters, activists, and elites; and among many scholars and analysts of American and comparative politics. What is the nature of the Trumpism as a political phenomenon? And how much confidence should we have at present in the capacity of American institutions to withstand this threat?

In this essay, we argue that answering these questions and understanding what is uniquely threatening to democracy at the present moment requires looking beyond the contemporary particulars of Donald Trump and his presidency. Instead, it demands a historical and comparative perspective on American politics. Drawing on a range of insights from the fields of comparative politics and American political development, we argue that President Trump’s election in 2016 represents the intersection of three streams in American politics: polarized two-party presidentialism; a polity fundamentally divided over membership and status in the political community, in ways structured by race and economic inequality; and the erosion of democratic norms at the elite and mass levels. The current political circumstance is an existential threat to American democratic order because of the interactive effects of institutions, identity, and norm-breaking in American politics.
us_politics  political_science  institutions  democracy  autocracy  norms  trumpism  via:nyhan 
august 2017 by rvenkat
he Politics of Policy: The Initial Mass Political E ects of Medicaid Expansion in the States
Whether public policy a ects electoral politics is an enduring question with an elusive answer. We identify the impact of the highly contested Patient Protection and A ordable Care Act (ACA) of 2010 by exploiting cross-state variation created by the 2012 Supreme Court decision in National Federation of Independent
Business v. Sebelius. We compare changes in registration and turnout following the expansion of Medicaid in January of 2014 to show that counties in expansion states experience higher political participation compared to similar counties in non-expansion states. Importantly, the increases we identify are concentrated in counties with the largest percentage of eligible bene ciaries. The e ect on voter registration persists through the 2016 election, but an impact on voter turnout is only evident in 2014. Despite the partisan politics surrounding the ACA { a political environment that di ers markedly from social programs producing policy feedbacks in the past { our evidence is broadly consistent with claims that social policy programs can produce some political impacts, at least in the short-term.
us_politics  health  ACA  voting  political_science  causal_inference  ?  united_states_of_america  via:nyhan 
july 2017 by rvenkat
Jewish Persecutions and Weather Shocks: 1100–1800 - Anderson - 2016 - The Economic Journal - Wiley Online Library
What factors caused the persecution of minorities in pre-modern Europe? Using panel data consisting of 1,366 persecutions of Jews from 936 European cities between 1100 and 1800, we test whether persecutions were more likely following colder growing seasons. A one standard deviation decrease in growing season temperature in the previous five-year period increased the probability of a persecution by between 1 and 1.5 percentage points (relative to a baseline of 2%). This effect was strongest in weak states and with poor quality soil. The long-run decline in persecutions was partly attributable to greater market integration and state capacity.
history  economic_history  economic_sociology  materialism  economics  war  jewish_diaspora  political_science  via:nyhan 
june 2017 by rvenkat
Did Shy Trump Supporters Bias the 2016 Polls? Evidence from a Nationally-representative List Experiment : Statistics, Politics and Policy
Explanations for the failure to predict Donald Trump’s win in the 2016 Presidential election sometimes include the “Shy Trump Supporter” hypothesis, according to which some Trump supporters succumb to social desirability bias and hide their vote preference from pollsters. I evaluate this hypothesis by comparing direct question and list experimental estimates of Trump support in a nationally representative survey of 5290 American adults fielded from September 2 to September 13, 2016. Of these, 32.5% report supporting Trump’s candidacy. A list experiment conducted on the same respondents yields an estimate 29.6%, suggesting that Trump’s poll numbers were not artificially deflated by social desirability bias as the list experiment estimate is actually lower than direct question estimate. I further investigate differences across measurement modes for relevant demographic and political subgroups and find no evidence in support of the “Shy Trump Supporter” hypothesis.
us_elections  us_politics  2016  trumpism  political_science  data  hypothesis_testing  via:nyhan 
june 2017 by rvenkat
SocArXiv Preprints | When Wealth Encourages Individuals to Fight: Evidence From the American Civil War
How does personal wealth shape an individual's decision to abandon the democratic process and participate in violent rebellion? Studying the American Civil War and the atrocity of human slavery, we offer competing theoretical accounts for how we should expect individual wealth, in the form of land and slaves, to affect white men's decisions to join the Confederate Army. To resolve these disagreements, we assemble a dataset on roughly 3.9 million white citizens in Confederate states, and we show that slaveowners were more likely to fight in the Confederate Army than non-slaveowners. To see if these links are causal, we exploit a randomized land lottery in 19th-century Georgia. Households of lottery winners owned more slaves in 1850 and were more likely to have sons who fought in the Confederate Army than were households who did not win the lottery. The findings add nuance to our understanding of the relationship between individual wealth, political institutions, and the propensity to engage in civil conflict. Although in general wealthier individuals are less likely to fight in such conflicts, when their wealth is tied to existing institutions that civil conflict threatens, they may in fact be more likely to fight.
political_economy  wealth  19th_century  united_states_of_america  economic_history  via:nyhan 
june 2017 by rvenkat
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