stats · politics

Choice experiments for political microtargeting

I am reading these days some literature on conjoint experiments in which respondents are asked to choose, rank or score a set of alternatives for which some attributes are randomized. In the typical application the number of factors to randomize is too large for your usual full factorial design and you need to resort to slightly more sophisticated experimental designs that can give you, at least, the main parameters with a limited number of experimental runs. These stated choice studies are particularly useful to guide decision-making in the design of products when you want to choose among a large number... Read more ›

stats · surveys

Your usual reminder about missing data in surveys

Political science is not a strange to the Spanish general public anymore and specialized blogs are clearly leading the way in the opening of the discipline to the general audience. It seems to me that the public understanding of what political scientists do is now more accurate than, say, ten years ago. Excellent researchers are now part of the roll of experts in radio and television, and their in-depth, academically grounded perspective is helping raise the level of the political debate. But I also feel that sometimes the urge to produce analysis is making us sideline the standards of excellence... Read more ›

theory · methodology

Poor, poor game theory

Game theory does not receive much love outside academic departments. We are making slow but steady progress in the consolidation of quantitative social science in the mainstream media, but it seems that game theory is not following that same path. On the contrary, the game theory that gets mentioned in opinion pieces usually bears scarce resemblance to one that is the bread and butter of any Economics and some Political Science departments. On the one hand, there are cases in which game theory is used as a mere descriptor for a given situation, as if game theory was some kind... Read more ›

politics · stats

Open data, data formats, and the CIS

Every time someone talks about open data, I think about the CIS, a public research institution in Spain mostly known for its political surveys. Its case nicely illustrates some of the challenges involved in releasing data to a public that may include occasional consumers, but that is largely formed by sophisticated —maybe professional— users. Let me start by saying that social researchers in Spain cannot be thankful enough to an institution that runs excellent surveys and shares the results for free. However, it is also fair to admit that the CIS takes a surprisingly outdated approach to data sharing. In... Read more ›

stats · data

Things I learned from organizing a datathon

A couple of weeks ago we had our first Global Datathon at my company. It was an initiative that I shamelessly copied from the Global Hackathon that our team of developers organizes annually. I thought it would be a good idea to let people in the data science and analytics teams to explore creative ways to use the data that we collect and analyze every day. There are extraordinarily smart people working with me and I felt that it would be fruitful to let them work on their own ideas in a short, intensive, and collaborative event. There were some... Read more ›