Recent Bulletins

QSS alumni work with data and each other
Posted on: 09/13/2019

Three former Dartmouth College students, Franklin Dickinson ’16, Clara Wang ’17, and Junghye Kim ’19, who studied in the Program in Quantitative Social Science, recently crossed paths as employees in the Washington, DC and Chicago offices of Civis Analytics, a data science consultancy and technology firm founded by the former chief analytics officer for Barack Obama’s re-election campaign.  Clara Wang was the first Dartmouth student to complete a minor in QSS, and Junghye Kim was a QSS major.

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These three students all took Brendan Nyhan’s Experiments in Politics seminar, which is cross-listed in QSS and Dartmouth's Department of Government.  They are also co-authors on a manuscript reporting the results of the randomized controlled trial they conducted in the class, which they hope to publish in the coming year. Clara Wang recently left Civis after two years to pursue graduate study in China after being selected as a Yenching Scholar.

The Applied Data Scientist role at Civis involves coding in R, SQL, and Python to analyze, visualize, and communicate data, with a particular focus on survey data and predictive models. On the Political team at Civis, data of interest often pertain to which races are most important when considering resource allocation, the demographics and preferences of the electorate within such races, and which messages matter most to electorates.

Civis is Franklin’s second job since graduating Dartmouth; he first worked for a year and a half as a Revenue Intelligence Analyst for a search engine marketing technology startup in Buenos Aires, Argentina.  After this job, Franklin attended a three month data science bootcamp in New York City. He distinctly credits his time learning experimental design and online surveys in Nyhan’s Experiments in Politics in preparing him for his work now.

Civis is Junghye’s first job post-graduation. She has been able to use skills she learned in her QSS classes, such as tidyverse from both Data Visualization and Race, Incarceration, and Politics; survey research techniques from Experiments in Politics and the Washington, DC, Foreign Study Program; and, machine learning concepts from Computational Text Analysis. Overall, Junghye feels fortunate to have been a part of QSS at Dartmouth and to have had the opportunity to think about social phenomena and apply quantitative skills to learn more about them-something she does daily in her job.  She is always happy to talk more about her experience in QSS and/or life at Civis and interested students should feel free to reach out at [email protected]visanalytics.com.

 

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QSS graduate on Joe Biden's ability to attract black and racially resentful voters
Posted on: 09/09/2019

Alexander Agadjanian, a 2018 graduate of Dartmouth College's Program in Quantitative Social Science, who currently works at the MIT Election Lab, recently published an article in the Washington Post examining what's shaping candidate preferences in the Democratic presidential primary. He finds significant roles for voter prejudices, like racial resentment and sexism, in dividing Democratic voters and an interesting paradox as well: current leader and former vice president Joe Biden enjoys huge advantages among both African American voters and also among those high in anti-black prejudice. In this recent work, Agadjanian applied the data analysis and visualization skills he learned in QSS 17 Data Visualization, a course he took his third year at Dartmouth.

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Since leaving New Hampshire, Agadjanian, who double-majored in QSS and Government, has been working on election data projects at his lab at MIT. He’s also involved in numerous other research projects, including a recent academic publication with Dartmouth Professor of Government Brendan Nyhan and other seminar classmates, and a resently presented a paper at the 2019 Annual Meeting of the American Political Science Association in Washington, DC.  This paper uses cast vote records—also known as ballot logs---to study rates of ticket splitting, e.g., voting for a Democratic presidential candidate and a Repulican United States Senate candidate. More of Agadjanian's work is available on his website. In addition, Agadjanian has maintained a politics and data blog, where he puts his data analysis skills to use.

Agadjanian wrote an Honors Thesis in QSS, titled "Party Leader Influence and Conflicting Signals in Opinion Formation.” In this work, Agadjanian explores the ability of political party leaders to influence public opinion. He finds that intra-party elite division — for example, when Republicans oppose Donald Trump on policy — significantly weakens a leader’s (here, Trump’s) persuasion ability. Policy information, on the other hand, is not particularly effective in remedying blind leader adherence: partisans still mostly “follow the leader” even after they’re better informed about the policy they’re evaluating. Agadjanian currently is in the process of revising his thesis for publication, and the latest version of it can be found here.

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Professor Yusaku Horiuchi featured in Dartmouth admissions magazine
Posted on: 08/21/2019

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.

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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."

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Professor Brendan Nyhan publishes with undergrads
Posted on: 08/19/2019

Along with 15 Dartmouth College undergraduates, Professor Brendan Nyhan recently published "Counting the Pinocchios: The effect of summary fact-checking data on perceived accuracy and favorability of politicians." The article appears in the July-September 2019 issue of Research and Politics.

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"Counting the Pinocchios" was a class project from Professor Nyhan's 2016 Experiments in Politics seminar. Students in this course, which is cross-listed between Dartmouth's Program in Quantitative Social Science and Department of Government, work with Nyhan in a lab-style format to design, field, and analyze an experimental study of political misperceptions.

Professor Nyhan regularly teaches Experiments in Politics. Previously published articles from the course are, "Classified or Coverup? The Effect of Redactions on Conspiracy Theory Beliefs" and "Real Solutions for Fake News? Measuring the Effectiveness of General Warnings and Fact-Check Banners in Reducing Belief in False Stories on Social Media." Research in this seminar has been supported by Dartmouth Undergraduate Advising and Research and the Dartmouth Center for the Advancement of Learning.

Professor Nyhan serves on the QSS Steering Committee. Among the co-authors of "Counting the Pinocchios" are Alexander Agadjanian '18 (QSS / Government double major); Ray Lu '18 (QSS Minor), Annie Ma ‘17 (QSS Minor), and Clara Wang ’17 (QSS Minor).

The abstract of "Counting the Pinocchios" is as follows:

Can the media effectively hold politicians accountable for making false claims? Journalistic fact-checking assesses the accuracy of individual public statements by public officials, but less is known about whether this process effectively imposes reputational costs on misinformation-prone politicians who repeatedly make false claims. This study therefore explores the effects of exposure to summaries of fact-check ratings, a new format that presents a more comprehensive assessment of politician statement accuracy over time. Across three survey experiments, we compared the effects of negative individual statement ratings and summary fact-checking data on favorability and perceived statement accuracy of two prominent elected officials. As predicted, summary fact-checking had a greater effect on politician perceptions than individual fact-checking. Notably, we did not observe the expected pattern of motivated reasoning: co-partisans were not consistently more resistant than supporters of the opposition party. Our findings suggest that summary fact-checking is particularly effective at holding politiciansaccountable for misstatements.

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Apply for a QSS Postdoctoral Fellowship
Posted on: 07/17/2019

The Program in Quantitative Social Science (QSS) at Dartmouth College is pleased to announce that it is searching for postdoctoral fellows for the 2020-21 academic year. QSS is an interdisciplinary program that integrates modern statistical, computational, and mathematical tools with social science questions. Each fellow should be highly motivated, collegial, and able to work independently on a research agenda that is grounded in quantitative social science. Fellows should be interested in working with existing QSS faculty who have expertise in a diverse range of social science disciplines on campus (for more, see https://qss.dartmouth.edu/people).

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During the 2020-21 academic year, QSS fellows will participate in the intellectual life of the program by interacting with each other, with QSS faculty, and with undergraduate students pursuing a minor or major in QSS.  Fellows will also attend seminars and workshops and are expected to present their own research on a regular basis.  There are many postdoctoral fellows at Dartmouth College, and QSS fellows will be part of a large community on campus. Postdoctoral fellows are guaranteed one year of funding with opportunities to extend funding for an additional year.

Applications will be reviewed starting on October 25, 2019. Interested individuals can apply at the following URL: http://apply.interfolio.com/65324.  

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Three QSS majors from the Class of 2019 named to Phi Beta Kappa
Posted on: 06/19/2019

On June 8, 2019, 97 seniors from the Dartmouth College Class of 2019 were inducted into the Phi Beta Kappa honor society.

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Among these were three majors from the Program in Quantitative Social Science.  The New Hampshire chapter of Phi Beta Kappa was established at Dartmouth in 1787.  It is the fourth-oldest chapter in the United States as described by the Dartmouth College Registrar

QSS congratulates its majors who were inducted into Phi Beta Kappa: Yihang Genna Liu, Amanda Katharine Sload, and Jennifer A. Wu.  These students exemplify the highest ideals of dedication to academic achievement.

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QSS course helps graduates land dream jobs
Posted on: 11/30/2018

Shane Weisberg ’16 and Garrett Schirmer ’16 both scored jobs in major league sports with the help of QSS 30.01 Sports Analytics. Both stress how they use knowledge gained from the course in their professions. “A lot of people come in from math or economics, but they don’t have the applied side of things, which I got from this sports analytics course, so I have definitely found that to be an advantage. This one course opened my eyes to a different way of thinking about problems.” Schirmer said. Read more in the Dartmouth News.

Postdoctoral fellowships available
Posted on: 11/29/2018

The Program in Quantitative Social Science (QSS) at Dartmouth College is pleased to announce that it is searching for up to two postdoctoral fellows for the 2019-20 academic year. QSS is an interdisciplinary program that integrates modern statistical, computational, and mathematical tools with social science questions.  Each successful fellow should be highly motivated, collegial, and able to work independently, and the fellow’s research agenda should be grounded methodologically in statistics or other computational techniques.

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During the academic year, fellows will participate in the intellectual life of QSS by working with QSS faculty and honors students on ongoing research, attending seminars and workshops, and presenting research results.  The stipend for each QSS fellow is $50,000 with a $5,000 account available for equipment, travel, and research materials.  Subject to consultation with the QSS Chair, each fellow may teach a one-quarter course on a subject of his or her choosing; there is an extra stipend for teaching.  The postdoctoral fellowship can be extended through the 2020-21 academic year, subject to negotiation between the fellow and the QSS Chair.

apply here: http://apply.interfolio.com/58249

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Can weather affect elections?
Posted on: 11/07/2018

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.

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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.

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The Kavanaugh confirmation polarized women and motivated them to vote
Posted on: 11/01/2018

Jin Woo Kim, a postdoctoral fellow in the Program in Quantitative Social Science at Dartmouth College, recently authored a Monkey Cage article on the effect of the confirmation hearings for Supreme Court justice Brett Kavanaugh on political polarization in the United States.  Kim's findings are based on an experiment using over 4,000 United States residents that was carried out via Amazon Mechanical Turk. He first surveyed his subjects in early October 2018 when the Federal Bureau of Investigation was investigating allegations that Kavanaugh committed sexual assault as a teenager. Kim then contacted his respondents a second time several days later, randomizing the timing of survey invitation so that half of the his participants responded to a follow-up survey before the Senate floor vote and the other half responded after. Results from the study indicate that the Kavanaugh confirmation vote polarized opinions toward the parties among women.  Specifically, Republican-leaning women expressed greater interest in voting for Republicans and independent women expressed greater interest in voting for Democratic candidates after the confirmation vote (compared to before it took place).

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Brendan Nyhan, Professor of Public Policy at the University of Michigan, who has worked with Kim since he came to Dartmouth, also noted that Kim's findings provide important new evidence for how the Kavanaugh confirmation hearings helped to polarize opinion toward the Supreme Court. In his Monkey Cage article, Kim finds the gap in partisan approval of the Court increased by nine percentage points among men and 19 percentage points among women after the confirmation vote.

Kim received his doctorate in Communications from the University of Pennsylvania in 2017.  He has been at Dartmouth since 2017 and is currently working on several research projects examining whether factual information can change partisan minds and whether political rumor diffusion affects mass opinions.

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