A fresh look at economic voting

The basic assumptions of the theory of economic voting are very simple: voters care about unemployment, inflation, and growth voters blame the government for adverse economic conditions voters use the ballot to punish the government. Unfortunately, the impact of this effect is not constant over time and across countries, which is slightly embarrassing. In their…

How Stata and a Makefile can make your day

By relying on scripts (do-files), Stata encourages you to work in a structured, efficient and reproducible way. This text-based approach is familiar and attractive to anyone who has ever used a unix shell and the standard utilities. Actually, unix-flavoured utilities can make your stata experience even better. One non-obvious candidate is make, which is usually…

Resolved: French Departements, INSEE, ISO and NUTS-3 codes

If you are interested in subnational politics, France is an interesting case for many reasons. On the one hand, the country is highly centralised and divided into 96 (European) Departements (administrative units) with equal legal rights (though Corsica is a bit of an exception to this). In fact, Departements were created after the revolution in…

Review: Modeling and Interpreting Interactive Hypotheses in Regression Analysis

Many hypothesis in the social sciences involve interaction: The effect of some variable x (say xenophobia) on some variable y (say support for the extreme right) is conditional on a third variable z (say ethnicity). Modelling interactive hypotheses looks straightforward on the surface: simply generate a third variable by multiplying x and z and plug…

Turnout, Institutions, Inequality, and the Welfare State

Last year, the British Journal of Politics and International Relations published an article which essentially argued that higher levels of welfare state spending create attitudes which are conducive to higher turnout. I was not convinced and so I wrote a comment/replication in which I demonstrate that there is no robust evidence for a universal, politically…