Monthly Archives: August 2015

Why Dictators help us Watch them cheat

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Before they emptied the ballot box to be counted, a group of poll workers semi-discretely placed a man in a puffy coat next to the table. As the (presumably legally cast) ballots were dropped on the table, the man in the puffy coat threw a stack of additional ballots in ...

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Time Series Analysis for the Social Sciences


Observational political science overwhelmingly involves phenomena that occur and change over time. Temporal dependencies abound both between and within many social processes. Of course, failing to account for temporal dependencies in dynamic data violates the classical regression assumptions. Yet unfortunately some analysts seem to view the dynamic processes in their ...

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Dissatisfaction with Politicians

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It has become a commonplace of modern politics that most people in the UK take a dim view of their elected representatives. The 2009 MP expenses revelations and the subsequent drip-drip of sleaze are but the latest in a long series of scandals that have sent ripples over Britain’s political landscape. At the same time, outright corruption in UK politics is relatively rare in comparison to many other countries. An interesting and largely unanswered question is how the British people come to hold such negative views of their elected leaders, given that by international standards, British politicians are relatively clean.

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Voting against your constituents? How lobbying affects representation

Photo credits: Peter Mosimann

Do MPs listen to interest groups instead of their voters? Citizens delegate the representation of their political preferences to Members of Parliament (MPs) who are supposed to represent their interests in the legislature. However, MPs are exposed to a variety of interest groups seeking to influence how MPs cast their vote on policy proposals. Every day, thousands of lobbyists approach our legislative representatives in Brussels, Washington and any other democratic capital to influence legislative votes in their favor.

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Is Exposure Enough? Reducing Racial Prejudice in Candidate Evaluations

(Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

When Barack Obama was elected President of the United States in 2008, many argued the historical milestone of electing a black president marked a significant turning point in American racial politics and attitudes. In a Gallup poll run at the time, more than two-thirds of Americans said that Obama’s election was either the most important advance for blacks in the past 100 years, or among the top three most important advances.

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