Archive for the 'Culture, Values and Attitudes' Category

More fun with names

Who knew that the name Violet was such a good example of a bi-modal distribution?

bi-modal

This was drawn from a very fun post:

How to Tell Someone’s Age When All You Know is Her Name
Nate Silver and Allison McCann | FiveThirtyEight blog
May 29, 2014

We had a previous post on fun with the Social Security names database.

This age of names example is a great applied demography exercise – calculating the median age of names. For that you’ll need a link to the full names database and cohort life tables:

Beyond the Top 1000 Names
Cohort Life Tables for the Social Security Areas by Calendar Year

Here’s also a nice link to some Big Data exercises via Python. There is a lot of code sharing in this GitHub repository.

Chicago’s Summer Jobs Program Lowers Violent Crime Rate

By: Emily Badger
Via: Wonkblog

A couple of years ago, the city of Chicago started a summer jobs program for teenagers attending high schools in some of the city’s high-crime, low-income neighborhoods. The program was meant, of course, to connect students to work. But officials also hoped that it might curb the kinds of problems — like higher crime — that arise when there’s no work to be found.

Read the rest of the article
Research on the program was conducted by the University of Chicago Crime Lab and published in the journal Science.

Alcohol’s Hold on Campus: Report from the Chronicle of Higher Education

Alcohol is an entrenched reality of campus life. Read and share this collection of articles on college drinking to inform colleagues and campus discussions, beginning with “A River of Booze: Inside one college town’s uneasy embrace of drinking” by Karin Fischer and Eric Hoover.

Rethinking Parole

By: Jessica Glazer
Source: FiveThirtyEight

Parole conditions vary widely from state to state and case to case. As states attempt to reduce their prison populations, and as the number of parolees grows — now up to more than 851,000 people nationally — advocates are increasingly concerned that parole rules can be too restrictive for the average parolee, making it too easy to end up behind bars again for technical violations. As states contend with the high cost of incarceration and use parole to cut costs, advocates are calling for consistency in how it’s deployed.

Read the full story

Political Science: A self-inflicted wound?

Stanford University and Dartmouth have sent an open apology letter to the state of Montana for a voting experiment conducted by political scientists at their respective institutions. The study had IRB approval, at least from Dartmouth. It uses a database of ideological scores based on donors to identify the political affiliation of judges. See this Upshot article on the start-up company, Crowdpac, that developed this database. Montana is quite irritated with the use of the state of Montana seal on the mailer. Did that get through the IRB?

The letters:

Senator John Tester’s letter to Stanford & Dartmouth | The apology letter

Messing with Montana: Get-out-the -Vote Experiment Raises Ethics Questions
Melissa R. Michelson | The New West (blog of the Western Political Science Association)
October 25, 2014

Today, the Internet exploded with news about and reactions to a get-out-the-vote field experiment fielded by three political science professors that may have broken Montana state law and, at a minimum, called into question the ethics of conducting experiments that might impact election results.

Professors’ Research Project Stirs Political Outrage in Montana
Derek Willis | NY Times
October 28, 2014

Universities say they regret sending Montana voters election mailers criticized for being misleading
Hunter Schwarz | The Washington Post
October 29, 2014

The Economics of Parenting

By: Roberto A. Ferdman
Source: Wonkblog (Washington Post)

Strict parents — the sort who practice an authoritarian form of parenting that restricts children’s choices — are more common in countries with high inequality, according to a study by the National Bureau of Economic Research. The study used the World Value Survey to measure whether parents in different countries care more about qualities desired by stricter parents, like “hard work” and “obedience,” or qualities desired more by passive parents, like “imagination” and “independence.

It found that the more unequal a society, the more likely people were to favor strict parenting.

Wonkblog post
NBER Working Paper (PDF)

Fewer Marriages, More Divergence: Marriage Projections for Millennials to Age 40

By: Steven Martin, Nan Astone, Elizabeth Peters
Source: Urban Institute

Abstract:

Declining marriage rates suggest a growing fraction of millennials will remain unmarried through age 40. In this brief, we use data from the American Community Survey to estimate age-specific marriage rates and project the percentage of millennials who will marry by age 40 in different scenarios. We find that the percentage of millennials marrying by age 40 will fall lower than for any previous generation of Americans, even in a scenario where marriage rates recover considerably. Moreover, marriage patterns will continue to diverge by education and race, increasing the divides between mostly married “haves” and increasingly single “have-nots”.

Download full report

Fundamentalisms and Women’s Rights

Eldis has put together some resources on Christian and Islamic fundamentalism and women’s rights.

From the website:

This guide features a handful of excellent resources on this difficult and broad issue including: practical guidance on fundamentalisms for human rights activists; regional studies into Christian and Islamic fundamentalist discourses around sexual and reproductive health and rights; recommendations on broadening understanding and developing more nuanced approaches to tackling fundamentalisms; an overview of women’s rights in the Middle East and North Africa region.

Find links to these resources here.

A Tape-Measure for Well-Being

by Tom Barlett
Source: Chronicle of Higher Education

From the article:

Pretty much everyone seems happy. In Australia, 93 percent of the population is either happy or very happy. In China, it’s 85 percent. Jordan: 86 percent. They’re chipper in Colombia at 92. Belarus is below average, at 64, but it still has a solid majority of happy campers. In the United States, 90 percent of us are happy and presumably steering clear of the sour-faced 10-percenters.

Those figures come from the latest round, released in April, of the World Values Survey, which has been tracking the beliefs and feelings of humanity since 1981. How do surveyors determine whether people are happy? They ask them. This is what social scientists usually do when they want to find out such things.

The theory is that you are the best source of information about your own happiness. But is that the case?

Read the full article and watch the video for Pharrell Williams’ “Happy”.

Mapping Twitter

Source: Pew Research Internet Project
By: Marc A. Smith, Lee Rainie, Ben Shneiderman, and Itai Himelboim

Mapping Twitter Topic Networks: From Polarized Crowds to Community Clusters

Conversations on Twitter create networks with identifiable contours as people reply to and mention one another in their tweets. These conversational structures differ, depending on the subject and the people driving the conversation. Six structures are regularly observed: divided, unified, fragmented, clustered, and inward and outward hub and spoke structures. These are created as individuals choose whom to reply to or mention in their Twitter messages and the structures tell a story about the nature of the conversation.

Overview
Complete Report (PDF)
Infographic: The six types of Twitter conversations