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My talk today (Tues 19 Feb) 2pm at the University of Southern California

At the Center for Economic and Social Research, Dauterive Hall (VPD), room 110, 635 Downey Way, Los Angeles:

The study of American politics as a window into understanding uncertainty in science

Andrew Gelman, Department of Statistics and Department of Political Science, Columbia University

We begin by discussing recent American elections in the context of political polarization, and we consider similarities and differences with European politics. We then discuss statistical challenges in the measurement of public opinion: inference from opinion polls with declining response rates has much in common with challenges in big-data analytics. From here we move to the recent replication crisis in science, and we argue that Bayesian methods are well suited to resolve some of these problems, if researchers can move away from inappropriate demands for certainty. We illustrate with examples in many different fields of research, our own and others’.

Some background reading:

19 things we learned from the 2016 election (with Julia Azari),
The mythical swing voter (with Sharad Goel, Doug Rivers, and David Rothschild).
The failure of null hypothesis significance testing when studying incremental changes, and what to do about it.
Honesty and transparency are not enough.
The connection between varying treatment effects and the crisis of unreplicable research: A Bayesian perspective.

The talk will mostly be about statistics, not political science, but it’s good to have a substantive home base when talking about methods.


  1. A videocast available after the event would be great.

  2. Anonymouse says:

    How do we find the location of the PDFs now that the web address prefix has changed? For example, trying to use the address below does not bring up the PDF, at least on my computer:
    Thank you

  3. Anonymouse says:

    Strange. It works now. I guess sometimes “try again” is the best solution. Thank you.

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