Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns


So You Want to Be a Political Science Professor?

Then watch this video, and enroll at the Ashbrook Center instead, so you can be a better citizen, as well as a better political scientist.

Hat tip: Julie Ponzi.
Categories > Politics

Discussions - 9 Comments

played at Thesis Research seminar tonight

Well, a bit overstated, don't you think? Economists are frequently listened to, and they are very quantitative. What's with all this math resentment?

math is fine where it is appropriate--the young student wants to study politics, the polly sigh prof tells him that he'll wind up studying stats instead. The lament about their sex and social lives underlines the unerotic nature of their discipline--it is politics with all flesh and blood removed, meaning its heart is ripped out.

Right. Believe me, a lot of psci's issues have to do with their failed emulation of economics. That is what we are trying to be. Plus, I sometimes wonder if we have even advanced very far in THAT field!

(And Ken is right. Imagine Allan Bloom ever talking about love and sex that way!)

Redwald: This is from some work that won 'best article in 2009' from the APSA. It is titled "The Aggregate Dynamics of Campaigns" (Box-Steffensmeier et al, 2009). Tell me how any politician could ever use this:

"Granger and Joyeux (1980) provide methodological foundations for why we would expect [fractional integration]. They show that aggregating
heterogeneous dynamic microprocesses with autoregressive behavior results in a macroprocess that is
fractionally integrated."


The lawyer one is better.

If you're discouraged from a PhD in political science, maybe you should consider the humanities.

Well, looked that article up (luckily it's a pdf just sitting on the Net). Anyway, here's the abstract:

"Daily interactions between partisan elites, the media, and citizens are the driving
dynamic of election campaigns and the central determinant of their outcomes. Accord-
ingly, we develop a theory of campaign dynamics that departs from previous top-down
models of campaign e®ects in its emphasis on the reciprocal campaign interactions
between these actors. We examine these interactions with daily data on campaign ex-
penditures, media coverage, and voter support in the 2000 presidential campaign. We
¯nd that partisan elites, the media, and citizens each played critical and interdepen-
dent roles in creating the dynamics of the campaign and producing the closest election
in decades."

I'm sure the way they arrive at these conclusions is very, very technical, but it's a complex interactive problem, so what do you expect?

I guess we could solve the conundrum the old fashion way -- just argue at each other until all sides grow weary of the bickering.

Science, as technical as it can be, provides a better way to arrive at consensus (over time, of course). It's a more even-handed way of adjudicating evidence. Just because some people can't understand the more technical aspects of it in no way delegitimates the exercise.

So, all you polisci professors out there in small qualitatively-inclined departments, better brush up on your statistical skills.

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