Andrew Gelman

Andrew Gelman is a professor of statistics and political science and director of the Applied Statistics Center at Columbia University. He has received the Outstanding Statistical Application award from the American Statistical Association, the award for best article published in the American Political Science Review, and the Council of Presidents of Statistical Societies award for outstanding contributions by a person under the age of 40.

Recent Articles

Forecasting 2012: How much does ideology matter?

Brendan Nyhan and Jacob Montgomery talk sense here. I am perhaps too influenced by Steven Rosenstone’s 1983 book, Forecasting Presidential Elections, which is the first thing I read on the topic. In any case, I agree with Nyhan and Montgomery that the difference in vote, comparing a centrist candidate to an extreme candidate, is probably on the order of 1-2%, not the 4% that has been posited by some.

Should voting be mandatory?

You can see my contribution to the discussion here. I discuss the research of Jan Leighley, Jonathan Nagler, and others. Here’s my conclusion:

Whether or not mandatory voting is a good idea, I think it’s unlikely to happen at a national level. Even setting aside the practical difficulties of taking a now-voluntary action and making it compulsory, bringing in the other half of the potential electorate would change the political conversation so much that it’s hard for me to see current officeholders supporting such a plan.

Not much of a mystery

Wow, that Steve Forbes guy is pretty dumb! I wonder how someone this foolish got a column in Forbes magazine???

The one-sided bet rears its ugly head once again

The story of notorious speed-limit-violater and gambler-with-other-people’s-money Jon Corzine should remind us all of the problem with asymmetrical bets.

Corzine’s behavior has been linked to the idea of “too big to fail” (see link above)—-and I agree these can make things worse—-but I think the fundamental problem would arise even in a world without bailouts. The fundamental problem seems to be that the laws put people like Corzine in a heads-I-win, tails-you-lose situation. If he makes his bet, he wins billions, but if he loses his bet, he doesn’t have to pay billions. Sure, he lost his reputation, but he’s not having to pay billions of dollars back to people.

The revolving door of U.S. politics

I got the following email today from Jordan Gehrke, Campaign Director, AmericansforHermanCain.com

Patriot—
They’re at it again.

Herman Cain is winning the Republican race for President. So the left-wing media has swung into action.

Clarence Thomas called it a “high tech lynching” 20 years ago. That’s exactly what they’re doing to Herman Cain today. This is nothing but an attempt to smear Cain’s reputation and character. . . .

The Left spews such hatred at black conservatives because they know that if the GOP ever breaks the Democrat stranglehold on the black vote, they are DONE as a party. . . .

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