QUANTITATIVE RESEARCH METHODS WORKSHOP
Abstract: Social scientists are often interested in understanding the effect of language. We introduce a new research design and statistical procedure that simultaneously discovers low-dimensional treatments in texts and then credibly estimates their causal effect. To do this we introduce a new experimental design that assigns unique blocks of texts to respondents and then assesses their response. We prove that randomization at the text level is sufficient to identify the effect of low-dimensional treatments in the texts. We then provide a statistical procedure that enables us to discover a set of low-dimensional treatments from the texts and then introduce a procedure to credibly estimate the causal effect of the treatments without risk of p-hacking or false discovery. We show our procedure can replicate effects from experiments with known treatments, is useful for estimating the effect of politician rhetoric, and apply it to an experiment assessing the persuasive features of messages about net neutrality.
Justin Grimmer is an associate professor of political science. His research examines how representation occurs in American politics using new statistical methods. His first book Representational Style in Congress: What Legislators Say and Why It Matters (Cambridge University Press, 2013) shows how senators define the type of representation they provide constituents and how this affects constituents’ evaluations and won the Fenno Prize from the legislative studies section. His second book The Impression of Influence: How Legislator Communication and Government Spending Cultivate a Personal Vote (Princeton University Press, with Sean J. Westwood and Solomon Messing) demonstrates how legislators ensure they receive credit for government actions. His work has appeared in the American Political Science Review, American Journal of Political Science, Journal of Politics, Political Analysis, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Regulation and Governance, and other journals.
This workshop series is being sponsored by the ISPS Center for the Study of American Politics and The Whitney and Betty MacMillan Center for International and Area Studies at Yale with support from the Edward J. and Dorothy Clarke Kempf Fund.