Recent Bulletins

Prof. Herron's latest paper "Residual Votes in the 2020 Election in Georgia"
Posted on: 11/17/2020
Prof. Nyhan discusses "How The 2020 Election Has Changed Trust In U.S. Democracy"
Posted on: 11/17/2020
Prof. Brendan Nyhan Explains "Five Myths about Misinformation"
Posted on: 11/10/2020
"Will Rejected Mail-In Ballots Decide the Election? QSS Faculty Michael Herron Weighs In"
Posted on: 10/23/2020
QSS Steering Committee Member Daniel Rockmore publishes article "Is it time to kill calculus?"
Posted on: 09/29/2020

Math curricula are designed to shepherd students toward calculus. Some mathematicians think this path is outdated. Read more here.

How will Americans respond when there’s another split between the electoral college and the popular vote?
Posted on: 09/09/2020

How do Americans feel when the winner of a Presidential election loses the popular vote but wins the Electoral College? QSS Affiliates John Carey and Brendan Nyhan write about their research in the Washington Post. Click here for more

QSS Student Hannah Lang '21 Publishes Op-Ed in the New York Daily News
Posted on: 08/24/2020

QSS Major Hannah Lang recently published an Op-Ed in the New York Daily News, arguing that Gen Z/ Millenials are not to be blamed for the spread of COVID-19. To read Hannah's piece, click here.

Alexander Agadjanian '18 publishes college honors thesis in Political Communication
Posted on: 07/08/2020

Alexander Agadjanian '18, who majored in Quantitative Social Science and Government at Dartmouth College, has published his college honors thesis in Political Communication, a peer-reviewed journal at the nexus of political science and communication studies.  In the article, titled "When Do Partisans Stop Following the Leader?", Alexander asks to what extent individuals form their political opinions in response to cues from political party elites.  The abstract of his new article and a link to the full text is below:  

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Evidence of public opinion blindly following political leader rhetoric has important implications for the scope of elite influence and normative democratic concerns. Past research, however, does not test the strength of real world leader cues amid signals that conflict with a leader’s policy message, and thus has not gauged the robustness of the “follow-the-leader” dynamic. The current study explores whether two different conflicting signals – 1) opposing intra-party Congressional elite cues and  2) negative policy information that gives compelling reasons to oppose a policy – attenuate leader influence in support of a realistic counter-stereotypical policy. A national survey experiment with two parallel partisan designs shows that individuals follow their leader to a substantial degree whether or not conflicting signals are present. Conflicting co-party elite cues do not attenuate leader influence among Republicans. For Democrats, although they weaken amid opposition, leader cues still shape mass opinion sizably. Providing substantially more information about the policy at hand does not make either partisan group much less likely to follow their leader, a finding that holds regardless of individuals’ preexisting ideology in the policy area. Results demonstrate the broad conditions under which “follow-the-leader” behavior holds and reveal a stronger nature of elite influence than previously understood. Party elites and information fail to effectively constrain the sway of prominent leaders, who have considerable latitude in positions they can take without losing mass support. To read the full article click here.

After finishing at Dartmouth, Alexander was a research associate in the MIT Election Lab for two years, working under MIT Professor Charles Stewart III. At MIT, he led the lab’s effort to collect, clean, and disseminate data from U.S elections from 1976 to 2018 across various geographic levels. This fall, Alexander will start a doctoral program in political science at the University of California, Berkeley.

Outside of his QSS thesis, Alexander has published papers in Political Behavior (on the causes of foreign public opinion toward the U.S.) and Research & Politics (on whether fact-checking information can promote politician accountability).


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QSS research on fake news in the age of COVID presented at Pre-Union
Posted on: 06/26/2020

Like so much of life in the summer of 2020, reunions at Dartmouth this year were virtual.  Even so, Dartmouth faculty have presented their research to alumni who are gathering in online forums.  The virtual Pre-Union recently heard from Vignesh Chockalingam ’20, who majored in Quantitative Social Science (QSS) and was a member of a Spring 2020 class on Experiments in Politics taught by Prof. Brendan Nyhan.  Prof. Nyhan is on the QSS Steering Committee, and his spring quarter class on experiments was cross-listed between QSS and the Department of Government.

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 This spring, Prof. Nyhan and his students carried out an experiment on the effectiveness of different approaches to correcting misinformation about COVID-19 and other health and science topics. They found little evidence that messages emphasizing a scientific consensus of the sort typically used on climate change were more effective than standard corrections. The class participants and Prof. Nyhan are currently preparing a paper for submission to a peer-reviewed journal.

 Research is a key aspect of the QSS curriculum, and the Experiments in Politics course exemplifies the program's connection between education and research. Students in Professor Costa's Fall 2018 Experiments course conducted a survey experiment examining how people evaluate politicians accused of sexual misconduct. They find evidence that partisanship, sexist attitudes, and the severity of the allegations strongly influence voter reactions to #MeToo allegations. The collaborative manuscript that was produced by the class is forthcoming in the academic journal Research & Politics.

 Vignesh completed an independent QSS research project this past winter quarter, and his project investigated the impact of hate crimes on academic achievement.  He found that hate crimes may worsen K-12 academic outcomes at the county level, especially in rural areas and during President Trump’s prominence in American politics.  Now that he has finished up at Dartmouth, Vignesh is planning on joining Bain and Company as an Associate Consultant in Boston this fall.

To see Vignesh and Professor Nyhan present their research at the Pre-Union, click here.

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Research Computing supports QSS during coronavirus pandemic
Posted on: 05/15/2020

The sudden shift to online teaching has presented numerous challenges for Dartmouth students and for Dartmouth College itself.  Research Computing, a unit within Information, Technology & Consulting (ITC) that provides advanced computing resources to the Dartmouth Community, has responded to the exigencies imposed by the pandemic by stepping up to help the Program in Quantitative Social Science (QSS).

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QSS offers its students an introductory statistics course known as QSS 15.  James Lo, a postdoctoral fellow in QSS and an assistant professor of political science at the University of Southern California, is teaching QSS 15 in Spring 2020.

QSS 15 is an introductory course in data analysis, and it uses the popular statistical computing environment RStudio.  Many QSS classes use RStudio as well, and one goal of QSS 15 is familiarize students with RStudio and introduce basic statistical programming techniques.

Under normal circumstances, students in QSS 15 are required to install RStudio on their own computers. This spring quarter, to help support the class Research Computing has operated an RStudio server for QSS 15 students. This allowed students to run RStudio in the cloud through the convenience of a web browser.

Having access to an RStudio server in an introductory data analysis course has vastly simplified teaching QSS 15. When setting up RStudio on their own computers, students confronting programming for the first time often run into difficulties; many students, for example, are not familiar with directory structures. The RStudio server set up by ITC has simplified the QSS 15 teaching process considerably by ensuring that all students in the course have access to all data files under the same directory structure. It also made it much easier for Professor Lo to diagnose computing problems when they arose. When, for example, one student in the course encountered a faulty installation of an auxiliary RStudio package, it was easy for Professor Lo to identify and fix this problem.  Once he addressed it, the solution was immediately accessible to all students in QSS 15 and shared with everyone in the course.

Bill Hamblen and Arnold Song, Senior Research Engineer and Assistant Director of the Advanced Computing Lab (ACL) of Research Computing at ITC, respectively, were instrumental in setting up the RStudio server.  According to Arnold, the ability for the ACL to quickly stand up the online RStudio environment was enhanced by the use of cloud services and the approach could be easily extended to expanded offerings for QSS and across the campus.  Once it became clear that QSS 15 needed an online solution, the QSS faculty and the ACL worked closely to quickly deliver RStudio in a manner that minimized disruption to the students' virtual learning.  Arnold writes, "This was a fruitful collaboration between QSS and the ACL that will likely continue and grow as we adjust to delivering an enhanced online learning environment."

George Morris, Associate CIO of Information, Tehcnology, and Consulting at Dartmouth College, has seen his organization involved in a variety of new initiatives since the coronavirus pandemic erupted.  According to George, "We have witnessed an acceleration of demand to infuse advanced technologies in research and teaching that began with the first wave of interest in data sciences.  Our teams have partnered with faculty and students from all over Dartmouth to quickly innovate and integrate solutions in ways we could not have anticipated before the pandemic.  It has been a terrific collaboration to ensure the Dartmouth experience is carried over online.”

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