Our new book!

A Quantitative Tour of the Social Sciences has just come out. The book is edited by Jeronimo Cortina and myself, and it is intended to give the reader a sense of how research is done in different areas of social science. It is not a book of statistical methods, nor is it that sort of academic book that has a zillion little chapters of things that people submitted because they couldn’t get them accepted into journals. Rather, it is a set of in-depth examples and discussions of social science research from a variety of perspectives.

I think the book should be especially useful for courses for graduate students or advanced undergraduates in social science, who typically aren’t familiar with the way people think in neighboring fields. For example, a political science student might know a little bit about economics but nothing about psychology. Or a sociology student might not know much about historical data collection. And so forth.

Here’s the table of contents:

I. Models and Methods in the Social Sciences (Andrew Gelman)
1. Introduction and overview
2. What’s in a number? Definitions of fairness and political representation
3. The allure and limitations of mathematical modeling: Game theory and trench warfare

II. History (Herbert Klein and Charles Stockley)
1. Historical background of quantitative social science
2. Sources of historical data
3. Historical perspectives on international exchange rates
4. Historical data and demography in Europe and the Americas

III. Economics (Richard Clarida and Marta Noguer)
1. Learning from economic data
2. Econometric forecasting and the flow of information
3. Two studies of interest rates and monetary policy

IV. Sociology (Seymour Spilerman and Emanuele Gerratana)
1. Models and theories in sociology
2. Demographic explanations of social disturbances in the 1960s
3. Studying the time series of lynchings in the South
4. Attainment processes in a large organization

V. Political Science (Charles Cameron)
1. What is political science?
2. The politics of Supreme Court nominations: the critical role of the media environment
3. Modeling strategy in congressional hearings

VI. Psychology (E. Tory Higgins, Elke Weber, and Heidi Grant)
1. Formulating and testing theories in psychology
2. Some theories in cognitive and social psychology
3. Signal detection theory and models for tradeoffs in decision making

VII. To Treat or Not to Treat: Causal Inference in the Social Sciences (Jeronimo Cortina)
1. The potential-outcomes model of causation; propensity scores
2. Some statistical tools for causal inference with observational data
3. Migration and Solidarity

The cover is an adaptation of this image that was sent to us from Chris Albon last year after we asked for cover ideas on the blog. Thanks, Chris. You’re getting a free copy!

6 thoughts on “Our new book!

  1. And with a list price of $32.99, it's actually reasonably affordable.

    Amazon quirks on this book:

    8 new from $30.78 4 used from $61.72

    It makes you wonder who it was used BY. Is Obama's signature on the inside front cover?

  2. I've neither written nor edited a book, so I'm curious: When compiling a 'tour' book like this, how do you go about picking the topics/disciplines (ie History, Economics, Pol. Sci, et cetera). Do the editors decide? Is it based on the anticipated interest of the readers, availability of contributors? Specifically, with this book, was there ever any discussion of including a chapter/section on either human geography (or some sort of quantitative 'spatial' study) or demography?

  3. Mine arrived from Amazon just over a week ago, I paid $32.99, but now I can only see if for $90.

    (I've only glanced at it, but it looks nice so far.)

  4. Frank: Several years ago we created a new M.A. program on quantitative methods in social sciences as a joint effort by the departments of history, economics, political science, sociology, psychology, and statistics. As part of this program, I created a new course that was jointly taught by faculty in each of the social science departments–three weeks of each. Much of the book is based on lecture notes from that course. (My section at the beginning, and Jeronimo's section at the end, were added separately.)

    In answer to your specific questions: we did not intend the book to be comprehensive but rather to give a sense of how different sorts of social scientists think and operate.

    Jeremy: The paperback is $33 and the hardback is $90. For some irritating reason, Amazon chooses to send people to the hardback link. They also do this for Teaching Statistics: A Bag of Tricks.

  5. Andrew

    For some bizarre reason, ever since the launch date here in the UK it has been out of stock at at all of the main online retailers – Waterstones, Blackwells and Amazon.uk. Is there a shortage? On the positive side it is listed at a very reasonable £17.99.

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