Can you believe the media? Evidence from 3 surveys

8,000 Americans were asked about the credibility of the media, as part of Voter Study Group, and the results suggest that there are still people who believe the media, but... There are not that many of them: The unusual wording of the prompt might make you pause before concluding…

Social science research with better data

A common problem in economic research is that a crucial variable is either not recorded, or it is not accurately captured. A typical example: when people self-report how much they earned last year, they might either forget or deliberately not mention some sources of income. Ten years ago, administrative datasets…

Innovation in protective bubbles

Facebook encourages people to collect "memories" in the same place. It can certainly be useful down the road to have a centralized repository, given that many people now use Facebook as something like a diary, blog, noticeboard, or a photo book. (Let's put data ownership issues aside, and…

Lustration after communism in Eastern Europe

Elections in Czechia are coming up and someone with proven contacts with the former secret police is projected to be the next prime minister.[1] (And a fresh Slovak supreme court ruling should make it impossible to sue archival institutions which hold secret police files.[2]) I've been thinking about…

Understanding the 2016 vote: Democratic turnout

Why did the election in 2016 turn out the way it did? One story is the that too many Democrats stayed home. Soon after the vote, articles like this one (“Don’t blame minority turnout for Clinton’s loss. White Democrats in key states just didn’t vote.”) went up.…

Twitter use by politicians

Andreas Jungherr, a professor at the University of Konstanz, summarizes existing research on how Twitter is used in election campaigns. Selected insights: Twitter is not a dialogue-enabling tool. Social media has (mostly) not change power dynamics between parties and candidates. Active Twitter use does not imply electoral success. Key moments…

Cynicism in America

Is the economic system "rigged"? Several presidential candidates claimed they believed it was -- and that they'd clean it up, if elected. "It's not just the political system that's rigged, it's the whole economy", Americans were told by Trump last summer. But was the cheering at…