Pablo Barberá (University of Southern California)
Selection committee: Neil Malhotra (Stanford, chair), Megan Shannon (Colorado), Arthur Spirling (NYU) and Thad Dunning (UC Berkeley)
Scholars of comparative politics, international relations, and American politics frequently seek to identify the interests of political actors. Yet our estimates of political preferences have historically been limited to actors taking visible positions in conventional media or public institutions. Barberá's paper improves our ability to identify the ideological positions of a vast number of political actors. The paper provides a method to estimate the ideal points of actors through their positions within networks on social media. The result is a powerful tool that the committee believes will be used widely to explore a broad range of social science phenomena. Indeed the paper has already been cited over 100 times in a short amount of time since publication. In addition to providing a valuable method for inferring ideology, the mechanics of the paper are superb. It is clearly written and technically precise. Barberá takes care to validate the method by comparing its estimates to other renowned measures of ideology and expert surveys. In the outstanding 2015 volume of Political Analysis, Barberá's paper stands out for its accessibility and broad potential utility. We congratulate Pablo Barberá as the winner of the Miller Prize for best paper in Political Analysis.