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Where do partisans get their election news in the contemporary media environment? We track the online news consumption of a national sample during the 2016 presidential campaign. We find levels of partisan isolation in news exposure are two to three times greater than in prior studies, although the absolute level of isolation remains modest. The partisan divide for election-related news exceeds the divide for non-political news. This tendency of partisans to follow like-minded news providers occurs despite the relatively small differences in the partisan slant of the content offered by the majority of sources they visited. Finally, we find that partisans who gravitated to congenial news providers did not shift their evaluations of the presidential candidates during the campaign.
Survey experiments are ubiquitous in social science. A frequent critique is that positive results in these studies stem from experimenter demand effects (EDEs)—bias that occurs when participants infer the purpose of an experiment and respond so as to help confirm a researcher’s hypothesis. We argue that online survey experiments have several features that make them robust to EDEs, and test for their presence in studies that involve over 12,000 participants and replicate five experimental designs touching on all empirical political science subfields. We randomly assign participants information about experimenter intent and show that providing this information does not alter the treatment effects in these experiments. Even financial incentives to respond in line with researcher expectations fail to consistently induce demand effects. Research participants exhibit a limited ability to adjust their behavior to align with researcher expectations, a finding with important implications for the design and interpretation of survey experiments.
Fixed effects estimators are frequently used to limit selection bias. For example, it is well known that with panel data, fixed effects models eliminate time-invariant confounding, estimating an independent variable’s effect using only within-unit variation. When researchers interpret the results of fixed effects models, they should therefore consider hypothetical changes in the independent variable (counterfactuals) that could plausibly occur within units to avoid overstating the substantive importance of the variable’s effect. In this article, we replicate several recent studies which used fixed effects estimators to show how descriptions of the substantive significance of results can be improved by precisely characterizing the variation being studied and presenting plausible counterfactuals. We provide a checklist for the interpretation of fixed effects regression results to help avoid these interpretative pitfalls.
Can politicians use targeted messages to offset position taking that would otherwise reduce their public support? We examine the effect of a politician’s justification for their tax policy stance on public opinion and identify limits on the ability of justifications to generate leeway for incongruent position taking on this issue. We draw on political communication research to establish expectations about the heterogeneous effects of justifications that employ either evidence or values based on whether or not constituents agree with the position a politician takes. In two survey experiments, we find small changes in support in response to these types of messages among targeted groups, but rule out large benefits for politicians to selectively target policy justifications toward subsets of the public. We also highlight a potential cost to selective messaging by showing that when these targeted messages reach unintended audiences they can backfire and reduce a candidate’s support.
In the 1930s, two concepts excited the European biological community: the organizer phenomenon and organicism. This essay examines the history of and connection between these two phenomena in order to address the conventional ‘rise-and-fall’ narrative that historians have assigned to each. Scholars promoted the ‘rise-and-fall’ narrative in connection with a broader account of the devitalizing of biology through the twentieth century. I argue that while limited evidence exists for the ‘fall of the organizer concept’ by the 1950s, the organicism that often motivated the organizer work had no concomitant fall – even during the mid-century heyday of molecular biology. My argument is based on an examination of shifting social networks of life scientists from the 1920s to the 1970s, many of whom attended or corresponded with members of the Cambridge Theoretical Biology Club (1932–1938). I conclude that the status and cohesion of these social networks at the micro scale was at least as important as macro-scale conceptual factors in determining the relative persuasiveness of organicist philosophy.
Competition is a defining element of democracy. One of the most noteworthy events over the last quarter-century in U.S. politics is the change in the nature of elite party competition: The parties have become increasingly polarized. Scholars and pundits actively debate how these elite patterns influence polarization among the public (e.g., have citizens also become more ideologically polarized?). Yet, few have addressed what we see as perhaps more fundamental questions: Has elite polarization altered the way citizens arrive at their policy opinions in the first place and, if so, in what ways? We address these questions with a theory and two survey experiments (on the issues of drilling and immigration). We find stark evidence that polarized environments fundamentally change how citizens make decisions. Specifically, polarization intensifies the impact of party endorsements on opinions, decreases the impact of substantive information and, perhaps ironically, stimulates greater confidence in those—less substantively grounded—opinions. We discuss the implications for public opinion formation and the nature of democratic competition.
We provide empirical evidence on order submission strategy of investors with similar commitments to trade by comparing the execution costs of market orders and marketable limit orders (i.e., limit orders with the same trading priority as market orders). The results indicate the unconditional trading costs of marketable limit orders are significantly greater than market orders. We attribute the difference in costs to a selection bias and provide evidence suggesting the order submission strategy decision is based on prevailing market conditions and stock characteristics. After correcting for the selection bias, the results show the average trader chooses the order type with lower conditional trading costs.
But after the white people came, elements in this world began to shift; and it became necessary to create new ceremonies. I have made changes in the rituals. The people mistrust this greatly, but only this growth keeps the ceremonies strong.
Leslie Marmon Silko, Ceremony
Four centuries after Columbus stumbled onto the “New World” and mistakenly named its inhabitants, over fifty representatives of the newly formed American Indian Association met on his birthday in Columbus, Ohio. Their purpose was to define their “common ground” as Indians and visibly demonstrate their ability to participate fully in American society (Hertzberg 59–78). At this conference, one of the delegates and founders of the new association, Doctor Charles A. Eastman, illustrated the contradictions that the conference and many of its delegates faced. On the one hand, Eastman sought to dispel the charge of racial inferiority pervasive in nineteenth-century anthropology by appealing to the assimilationist metaphor of the “melting pot” and the Spencerian logic of cultural evolution, both of which assumed the inevitable demise of Indian culture. On the other hand, however, he recognized who denned the “pot” ― and its homogenizing effect ― and challenged his listeners to preserve their Indian identity and redefine the pot. In this confrontation of Euro-American evolutionary progress and the traditions of his San tee Sioux culture, Eastman sought to bridge their divisions and discover their continuities.
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