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Do GetOutTheVote Calls Reduce Turnout? The Importance of Statistical Methods for Field Experiments
 American Political Science Review
, 2005
"... In their landmark study of a field experiment, Gerber and Green (2000) found that getoutthevote calls reduce turnout by five percentage points. In this article, I introduce statistical methods that can uncover discrepancies between experimental design and actual implementation. The application of ..."
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In their landmark study of a field experiment, Gerber and Green (2000) found that getoutthevote calls reduce turnout by five percentage points. In this article, I introduce statistical methods that can uncover discrepancies between experimental design and actual implementation. The application of this methodology shows that Gerber and Green’s negative finding is caused by inadvertent deviations from their stated experimental protocol. The initial discovery led to revisions of the original data by the authors and retraction of the numerical results in their article. Analysis of their revised data, however, reveals new systematic patterns of implementation errors. Indeed, treatment assignments of the revised data appear to be even less randomized than before their corrections. To adjust for these problems, I employ a more appropriate statistical method and demonstrate that telephone canvassing increases turnout by five percentage points. This article demonstrates how statistical methods can find and correct complications of field experiments. Voter mobilization campaigns are a central part of democratic elections. In the 2000 general election, for example, the Democratic and Republican parties spent an estimated $100 million on
Best Practices in QuasiExperimental Designs: Matching Methods for Causal Inference
 in Best Practices in Quantitative Social Science, Edited by Jason Osborne. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage
, 2007
"... any studies in social science that aim to estimate the effect of an intervention suffer from treatment selection bias, where the units who receive the treatment may have different characteristics from those in the control condition. These preexisting differences between the groups must be controlled ..."
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any studies in social science that aim to estimate the effect of an intervention suffer from treatment selection bias, where the units who receive the treatment may have different characteristics from those in the control condition. These preexisting differences between the groups must be controlled to obtain approximately unbiased estimates of the effects of interest. For example, in a study estimating the effect of bullying on high school graduation, students who were bullied are likely to be very different from students who were not bullied on a wide range of characteristics, such as socioeconomic status and academic performance, even before the bullying began. It is crucial to try to
Advances in Bayesian Time Series Modeling and the Study of Politics: Theory Testing, Forecasting, and Policy Analysis
, 2005
"... Bayesian approaches to the study of politics are increasingly popular. But Bayesian approaches to modeling multiple time series have not been critically evaluated. This is in spite of the potential value of these models in international relations, political economy, and other fields of our disciplin ..."
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Bayesian approaches to the study of politics are increasingly popular. But Bayesian approaches to modeling multiple time series have not been critically evaluated. This is in spite of the potential value of these models in international relations, political economy, and other fields of our discipline. We review recent developments in Bayesian multiequation time series modeling in theory testing, forecasting, and policy analysis. Methods for constructing Bayesian measures of uncertainty of impulse responses (Bayesian shape error bands) are explained. A reference prior for these models that has proven useful in short and mediumterm forecasting in macroeconomics is described. Once modified to incorporate our experience analyzing political data and our theories, this prior can enhance our ability to forecast over the short and medium terms complex political dynamics like those exhibited by certain international conflicts. In addition, we explain how contingent Bayesian forecasts can be constructed, contingent Bayesian forecasts that embody policy counterfactuals. The value of these new Bayesian methods is illustrated in a reanalysis of the IsraeliPalestinian conflict of the 1980s.
The impact of partisan electoral regulation: Ballot effects from the California alphabet lottery
, 2004
"... How does partisan regulation of political markets affect elections? We investigate how the partisan control of ballot format, which is expressly regulated – often to the apparent advantage of incumbents and major parties – in all U.S. states, affects voting. Through the analysis of a unique natural ..."
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How does partisan regulation of political markets affect elections? We investigate how the partisan control of ballot format, which is expressly regulated – often to the apparent advantage of incumbents and major parties – in all U.S. states, affects voting. Through the analysis of a unique natural experiment, we focus specifically on the longstanding question of whether the name order of candidates on ballots affects election outcomes. Since 1975, California law has mandated randomizing the ballot order with a lottery. Previous studies, relying overwhelmingly on observational data, have yielded largely conflicting results. Using improved statistical methods, our analysis of statewide elections from 1978 to 2002 reveals that ballot order might have changed the winner in twelve percent of all primary races, including major and minor party races. We propose that all electoral jurisdictions should randomize ballot order to minimize ballot effects, and show that randomization may be substantially more costeffective at
Majoritarian Electoral Systems and Consumer Power: A Matching Rejoinder ∗
, 2003
"... In a substantial contribution to positive political economy, Rogowski and Kayser (2002, p. 526) finds that “systems of proportional representation... systematically advantage producers and disadvantage consumers. ” I find that there is no evidence to sustain that conclusion. The original study extra ..."
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In a substantial contribution to positive political economy, Rogowski and Kayser (2002, p. 526) finds that “systems of proportional representation... systematically advantage producers and disadvantage consumers. ” I find that there is no evidence to sustain that conclusion. The original study extrapolates severely due to the fact that proportional representation countries are systematically different from majoritarian district countries in their background characteristics. Accounting for these differences by matching on the propensity score forces us to discard observations that severely extrapolate from the data, yielding estimates of such high variance that we cannot find evidence for the pricelevel effect. The only way to reassess the hypothesis without bias or implausible assumptions is to gather a larger dataset, which by including nonOECD democracies increases potential observations. Yet even with this data the pricelevel effect remains undetectable. The conclusion of a pricelevel effect thereby rests on modeling assumptions that are theoretically and empirically unjustified.
ECONOMETRIC EVALUATION OF HEALTH POLICIES
, 2009
"... are also grateful to Pedro Rosa Dias, Silvana Robone, Ranjeeta Thomas for comments on an earlier version. 1 This chapter provides a concise guide to the econometric methods that are available to evaluate the impact of health policies. ..."
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are also grateful to Pedro Rosa Dias, Silvana Robone, Ranjeeta Thomas for comments on an earlier version. 1 This chapter provides a concise guide to the econometric methods that are available to evaluate the impact of health policies.
Empirical versus Theoretical Claims about Extreme Counterfactuals: A Response
, 2009
"... In response to the databased measures of model dependence proposed in King and Zeng (2006), Sambanis and Michaelides (2008) propose alternative measures that rely upon assumptions untestable in observational data. If these assumptions are correct, then their measures are appropriate and ours, based ..."
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In response to the databased measures of model dependence proposed in King and Zeng (2006), Sambanis and Michaelides (2008) propose alternative measures that rely upon assumptions untestable in observational data. If these assumptions are correct, then their measures are appropriate and ours, based solely on the empirical data, may be too conservative. If instead, and as is usually the case, the researcher is not certain of the precise functional form of the data generating process, the distribution from which the data are drawn, and the applicability of these modeling assumptions to new counterfactuals, then the databased measures proposed in King and Zeng (2006) are much preferred. After all, the point of model dependence checks is to verify empirically, rather than to stipulate by assumption, the effects of modeling assumptions on counterfactual inferences. We are grateful for the attention devoted to our work (King and Zeng 2006, hereinafter KZ) in Sambanis and Michaelides (2008, hereinafter SM) and appreciate this opportunity to respond. KZ develops methods that reveal when analyses are model dependent without the laborious process of sensitivity testing; KZ does this by building on the general understanding that inferences on the empirical support of the data are less model dependent than
Symposium  U.S. Elections Did Illegal Overseas Absentee Ballots Decide the 2000 U.S. Presidential Election?
"... George W. Bush is president because he overcame his election day deficit with overseas absentee ballots that arrived and were counted after election day. In the final official tally, Bush received 537 more votes than Gore.These numbers are taken from the official results released by the Florida Secr ..."
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George W. Bush is president because he overcame his election day deficit with overseas absentee ballots that arrived and were counted after election day. In the final official tally, Bush received 537 more votes than Gore.These numbers are taken from the official results released by the Florida Secretary of State’s office and so do not reflect overvotes, undervotes, unsuccessful litigation, butterfly ballot problems, recounts that might have been allowed but were not, or any other hypothetical divergence between voter preferences and counted votes. After the election, the New York Times conducted a sixmonth investigation and found that 680 of the overseas absentee ballots were illegally counted, and almost no one has publicly disagreed with their assessment. In this article, we describe the statistical procedures we developed and implemented for the Times to ascertain whether disqualifying these 680 ballots would have changed the outcome of the election. These include adding formal Bayesian model averaging procedures to models of ecological inference. We present a variety of new empirical results that delineate the precise conditions under which Al Gore would have been elected president and offer new evidence of the striking effectiveness of the Republican effort to prevent local election officials from applying election law equally to all Florida citizens.
Zelig: Everyone’s Statistical Software 1
, 2012
"... The current version of this software is available at ..."