Yusaku Horiuchi

Professor Yusaku Horiuchi featured in Dartmouth admissions magazine


Professor of Government and Mitsui Professor of Japanese Studies Yusaku Horiuchi is a dedicated teacher and distinguished scholar.  His deep engagement with students at Dartmouth is profiled in the August 2019 Dartmouth Admissions magazine. Professor Horiuchi serves on the Steering Committee of the Program in Quantitative Social Science (QSS), and teaches its most popular course, Data Visualization.

Professor Horiuchi first taught Data Visualization in the winter term in 2015, and this course operates in a "flipped" fashion.  This means that the typical lecture and homework elements of a course are reversed. Students watch video lectures (and work on other materials) as homework. Then, in regular class meetings, they work on coding exercises or work on their own data visualization projects. According to Professor Horiuchi, the advantage of a flipped classroom is that students can enjoy “experiential” and “active” learning through a variety of in-class activities with rich data and examples.

This past year, Professor Horiuchi advised two QSS honors theses. According to Jennifer Wu, one of Professor Horiuchi's 2019 advisees, "Professor Horiuchi sets a high bar for his students and dedicates a great deal of time and effort to help them meet that bar. I am lucky to have been able to take his classes and work on my undergraduate thesis with him - in all of my experiences with Professor Horiuchi, he was very responsive, as well as understanding of my circumstances while still encouraging me to aim higher than the goals I set for myself."

In the past several years, Professor Horiuchi has published numerous articles with Dartmouth undergraduates.  One example is “Has Trump Damaged the U.S. Image Abroad? Decomposing the Effects of Policy Messages on Foreign Public Opinion,” a paper with Alexander Agadjanian, a class of 2018 with a QSS and Government double-major published in Political Behavior. This paper was based on the student’s independent research project supervised by Horiuchi in the Spring quarter in 2017.

According to Michael Herron, Professor of Government and Chair of QSS, Professor Horiuchi's class on Data Visualization regularly causes enrollment chaos when students sign up for classes.  "So many people want to study with Professor Horiuchi, we regularly have to open up extra sections of his Data Visualization course."

Professor of Government John Carey, who serves on the QSS Steering Committee and is presently the Associate Dean for the Social Sciences, is writing a book with Professor Horiuchi on campus diversity.  One of Professor Horiuchi's great talents, notes Professor Carey, is his ability to identify where every student is on his or her personal learning curve.  This helps Professor Horiuchi propel his students forward.  Professor Carey writes, "For students who are struggling with basic concepts, Professor Horiuchi pulls them toward mastery.  For students who have command of the material and are ambitious, Professor Horiuchi welcomes them as colleagues and finds way for them to make original contributions to research.  The amount of time and care Professor Horiuchi devotes to his communications with students is tremendous, and the results speak for themselves."

Can weather affect elections?


Yusaku Horiuchi, Mitsui Professor of Japanese Studies, Professor of Government, and Program in Quantitative Social Science steering committee member, has studied the effect of weather on elections.  Will people turn out if it is raining?  Can weather change voting behavior?  Professor Horiuchi's recent article on this subject, co-authored with Woo Chang Kang of The Australian National University, was published in American Politics Research. The article confirms what others have found about a Republican advantage when it rains on the Election Day.  Moreover, based on a compositional data analysis of candidate vote shares in 14 presidential elections since the 1960s, Horiuchi and his collaborator shows that the weather influences not just whether people vote but how they cast their ballots.   They argue that, when the weather is bad, individuals' moods are affected.  People tend to become more risk-averse in the face of bad weather and this brings out conservative, and hence pro-Republican, views.

In light of the 2018 midterm elections, weather has been covered extensively in the American media.   Professor Horiuchi's contribution to this area has been cited in The New York Times, USA Today, the Atlantic and CNBC.

Has Trump Damaged the U.S. Image Abroad?


With Alexander Agadjanian '18, Yusaku Horiuchi the Mitsui Professor of Japanese Studies and Program in Quantitative Social Science Steering Committee member, recently published an article, "Has Trump Damaged the U.S. Image Abroad? Decomposing the Effects of Policy Messages on Foreign Public Opinion," in Political Behavior.  The article considers the extent to which residents of Japan have reacted to United States President Donald Trump's foreign policy messages. 

The abstract of their article reads as follows:

The U.S. President Donald Trump has frequently made foreign countries central to his political messages, often conveying animosity. But do foreign citizens react more to the speaker of these messages—Trump himself—or their content? More generally, when people are exposed to messages sent from foreign countries, are their attitudes influenced by information heuristics or information content in messages? Although related studies are abundant in the literature of American public opinion, these questions are not fully examined in the literature of foreign public opinion. To address them, we used Japan as a case and fielded a survey experiment exposing citizens to U.S. policy messages that varied by source, policy content, and issue salience. Results suggest that while the source cue (Trump attribution) causes negative perceptions of the U.S., the policy content (cooperative vs. uncooperative) has a larger effect in shaping opinion of the U.S. Furthermore, analysis of interaction effects shows that only when U.S. policy approach is uncooperative does the Trump attribution have significantly negative and large effects. We conclude that foreign citizens rely more on policy content in transnational opinion formation—an aspect that past research in this area has overlooked. Substantively, these findings may demonstrate that even under a presidency that has alienated foreign countries and seemingly undermined U.S. stature in the world, foreign opinion toward the U.S. does not hinge entirely on its political leader. In short, Trump has not irreparably damaged the U.S. image abroad.

During the 2018-19 academic year, Professor Horiuchi is on leave from Dartmouth and is currently Visiting Professor of Political Science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He is currently working on a book project with Professor Benjamin Goldsmith at the Australian National University. His research examines the causes and consequences of global public opinion about the United States under three recent presidents, Bush, Obama, and Trump. For other projects, see his website.

Since graduating in June 2018, Alexander has been working as a Senior Research Support Associate at the MIT Election and Data Science Lab in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Alexander's responsibilities include helping with the lab’s effort to collect, manage, and disseminate current and historical election data, and Alexander is presently researching various topics in elections and political behavior.


Yusaku Horiuchi - Dartmouth Quote of the Week


“Our study suggests that weather conditions may affect people’s decisions on not only whether to vote but also who they vote for.” QSS Steering Committee member Yusaku Horiuchi, referencing his study of the effect of weather on voting behavior. The quote comes from an Irish News Magazine article, Study shows potential Democrat voters are more likely to switch allegiance if it rains.

Using the Tools of Quantitative Social Science to Study Fake News


Using new data collection technologies, QSS steering committee members Brenda Nyhan and Yusaku Horiuchi, with Dartmouth undergraduate students from Nyhan’s “Experiments in Politics” course, have been able to contribute to social science research on the prevalence and effect of fake news and fact checking. A recent Dartmouth News story, “Dartmouth Scholar Is at the Center of the Fake News Debate” highlights Professor Nyhan and his work.

QSS students and faculty investigte the believability of fake news


Three papers co-authored by QSS students and steering committee members investigate individuals' likelihood to be skeptical of false news. In thier paper "Media Source, Selective Exposure, and Susceptibility to False Information," Dartmouth students Katherine Clayton, Jase Davis, and Kristen Hinckley, with Professor Yusaku Horiuchi, investigate whether citizens' are more likely to believe false information based on the source of the news piece. In "Counting the Pinocchios: The Effect of Summary Fact-Checking Data on Perceived Accuracy and Favorability of Politicians," students Alexander Agadjanian, Nikita Bakhru, Victoria Chi, Devyn Greenberg, Byrne Hollander, Alexander Hurt, Joseph Kind, Ray Lu, Annie Ma, Daniel Pham, Michael Qian, Mackinley Tan, Clara Wang, Alexander  Wasdahl, and Alexandra Woodruff, with Professor Brendan Nyhan, study the effects of summary fact-checking (assessing the accuracy of politicians over time) on the favorability rating of those politicians. And in "Real Solutions for Fake News? Measuring the Effectiveness of General Warnings and Fact-Check Banners in Reducing Belief in False Stories on Social Media," Professor Nyhan worked with students Spencer Blair, Jonathan A. Busam, Katherine Clayton, Samuel Forstner, John Glance, Guy Green, Anna Kawata, Akhila Kovvuri, Jonathan Martin, Evan Morgan, Morgan Sandhu, Rachel Sang, Rachel Scholz-Bright, Austin T. Welch, Andrew G. Wolff, and Amanda Zhou explore the effectiveness of various strategies that could be used by social media platforms to counter fake news. Professors Nyan and Horiuchi also discussed these findings in an Upshot article, "Why the Fact-Checking at Facebook Needs to Be Checked" and a Monkey Cage article "Homegrown ‘fake news’ is a bigger problem than Russian propaganda. Here’s a way to make falsehoods more costly for politicians."

Q&A with QSS Professor Yusaku Horiuchi


QSS Steering Committee member Yusaku Horiuchi was interviewed by The D on his teaching, research, background and interests. Read the full article here.

QSS Faculty publish findings on attitudes to refugees in Science Advances


DJ Flynn, a postdoctoral fellow in the Program in Quantitative Social Science, and Yusaku Horiuchi, an affiliated faculty member in the program who teaches a popular data visualization course, have published a new article in Science Advances.  This article, which is co-authored with Jeremy Fewerda of the Department of Government, is an analysis of attitudes in the United States toward refugee resettlement. Ferwerda, Flynn, and Horiuchi show that Americans are less supportive of refugee resettlement locally than they are elsewhere in the United States.  This highlights how refugee resettlement is a collective action problem facing the country.  Ferwerda, Flynn, and Horiuchi also show that threatening media frames reduce support for refugee resettlement. In addition to the article in Science Advances, this research has also been covered in CITYLAB, (Even Liberals Can be Refugee NIMBYs) and in The Dartmouth News (Study Shows Support for Refugees Drops Off Closer to Home).

QSS 17/GOV 16 Students Participate in a Data Visualization Contest (16F)


As part of his Fall 2016 Data Visualization classes, Professor Yusaku Horiuchi organized a contest for his students.  The top six student submissions were chosen by voting. These graphics can be viewed here.