Data Analysis for Social Science: A Friendly and Practical Introduction

Looking to get started with data science, but scared it’d be too complicated? There’s a new book by Elena Llaudet and Kosuke Imai that will get you covered. Data Analysis for Social Science: A Friendly and Practical Introduction is now available as an e-book, and it truly delivers what the title claims: friendly and practical. It’s also up-to-date, with a focus on experimental data and causal inference much more than on multiple regression analysis. I don’t think I’ve seen a more accessible introduction to R and Rstudio — cheat-sheets included!

Out now: Local-to-local electoral connections for migrants

Joint work with Lorenzo Piccoli, out now at Democratization. Does transnationalism mean that immigrants who keep their right to vote in the country of origin focus their energies on the country of origin and therefore do not participate in the current country of residences? Or, by contrast, does this right to vote in the country of origin keep them interested in politics in general, and actually participate more in the country of destination? We wanted to find out.

Theoretical considerations led us to consider national-to-local and local-to-local influences separately: The right to vote in national elections in the country of origin may not have the same implications as the right to vote in local elections in the country of origin.

Empirically, we used data on electoral participation in Geneva, one of the places where foreign citizens can vote at the local level. We find evidence for local-to-local influences, that is a benefit if immigrants keep their right to vote in the country of origin.

Piccoli, Lorenzo, and Didier Ruedin. 2022. ‘Local-to-local electoral connections for migrants: The association between voting rights in the place of origin and the propensity to vote in the place of residence’. Democratization. DOI: 10.1080/13510347.2022.2108802

Ruedin, Didier. 2018. ‘Participation in Local Elections: “Why Don’t Immigrants Vote More?’’. Parliamentary Affairs 71 (2): 243–262. https://doi.org/10.1093/pa/gsx024. — examination of participation more generally, with thanks to Rosita Fibbi!

Reblog: How one sporting gesture helped curb ethnic discrimination

Back in 2018, Daniel Auer and Didier Ruedin were conducting a research experiment on prejudice in the Swiss housing market. That same summer, a footballer at the FIFA World Cup made a controversial gesture that got the nation talking. After he did so, our researchers observed a significant drop in ethnic discrimination. Were the two phenomena connected?

Continue reading

Auer, Daniel, and Didier Ruedin. 2022. ‘How One Gesture Curbed Ethnic Discrimination’. European Journal of Political Research. DOI: 10.1111/1475-6765.12547

School book knowledge…

School books can be gems… here’s a timeline of important events, apparently. Quite a particular perspective on the world, and a particular perspective on science and inventions, where the typical case is one person (usually a man) single-handedly achieved something.

Young World 4, Activity Book, © 2015 Klett und Balmer Verlag

Like “James Watt invented the steam engine.” James Watt shares the honour with Matthew Boulton on the £50 note. For inventing the steam engine? Nope, for making “revolutionary changes to the efficiency of the steam engine”, and Boulton to “market steam engines”.

Wikipedia knows of historical precedents from the first century AD, and Thomas Savery as the first to use a steam engine commercially.

Wikipedia

I recognize that school books need to simplify and leave out details, but we can also simplify in a way that doesn’t pretend that history is the act of “great men”. A language book is maybe not the place to nitpick about stuff like whether a railway line in 1845 that ended in Switzerland should be counted, rather than the first internal line in 1847 which is mentioned, or discuss that there are other ways to count the length of World War II.

But why is there Ferdinand Magellan all on his own, who didn’t actually complete the circumnavigation, and none of the 200+ staff (some of whom actually did sail around the world)?

Hopefully, I need not say much about “1492 Christopher Columbus discovered America.” But it struck me how Columbus is greatly under-credited in history: Not only did he “discover” America (never mind indigenous peoples, never mind Norse colonization), but he can obviously see into the future (I’ve never seen him credited for that…!): when he discovered those lands, he already knew that 15 years later two German cartographers would name those lands after Amerigo Vespucci and the name will stick. ⸮⸮⸮

OK, we’ll probably want to leave irony out of school books in primary school, but can we try harder? I’m all for simplification, but perhaps a less Eurocentric one where we don’t celebrate individuals and ignore everyone else who contributed…?!