CEU’s Intellectual Themes Initiative Funds Our Comparative Populism Project

We are grateful for CEU’s Intellectual Themes Initiative for funding our project. Now we have a lot of work to do over the next two years. Announcement penned by Erin Jenne:

We are excited to announce our two-year interdisciplinary CEU grant project, Comparative Populism, which will launch September 2017 and is conducted by Levente Littvay, Bruno Castanho E Silva, Rosario Aguilar Pariente, Constantin Iordachi, Nick Sitter, Zsolt Enyedi, Elissa Helms, Balazs Vedres, Judit Sandor, Matt Singer, Norbert Sabic, Federico Vegetti, several CEU students (hopefully) and with external support from multiple scholars including Team Populism.

This project brings together CEU and international scholars working on topics related to populism across different disciplinary traditions. The aim is to build up a comparative database on countries across Europe on the varieties of populist politics and policies across the region from the end of the Cold War to present and to explore the connections between populism on the one hand and gender, law, foreign policy, and party politics on the other. By joining the different methodological skills and perspectives across the different academic units, the project team can arrive at a multi-faceted understanding of why populism manifests more strongly in some countries than others in the same region, why it takes on social conservative dimension in some places and more nationalist/nativist dimension in others, and how all of this connects to gender, the law, foreign policy, public administration and party systems.

Find out more HERE!

Evaluation of English as a Medium Instruction Outcomes

Hanging with the good Jose L. Arco-Tirado in Granada, working on the impact of English as a Medium Instruction (EMI) on University GPA. It is kind of hard as the people who go into an English language instruction school in Spain are not exactly a random sample. (Spoiler alert, they are much better students and end up with a better GPAs than the average.) But what if we try to construct a reasonable comparison group? The results flip. Not so good news for EMI education, (though I still don’t care. My kid still gets three languages spoken to her at home and I still want to send her to a school where she can learn a fourth).

Not to bore anyone with the details but we used matching to get closer to a true causal inference (not that we expect to succeed – but at least get a more reasonable comparison). Propensity matching sucks (and no, we did not try higher order interactions and machine learning to find best model), as usual Coarsened Exact Matching (as implemented and without tweaking) throws away most of the treatment group (not exactly something we can afford to do now) and, as anyone could have predicted, Genetic Matching is still the method that saves the day with incredible balance and super interesting findings. (I guess findings were the same with a simple nearest neighbor propensity matching and tended in this direction with CEM as well but insignificant due to probably the very low sample size.)

I want to spend more time in Granada. Maybe next year when we’ll have enough data to try a regression discontinuity design. (Or any other time is fine…)

CEP knows R

With the help of David Pupovac and then this training session (by moi), you can count on the people at CEP (European Policy Centre in Belgrade) to be using the most up to date tools for quantitative policy analysis. A few months ago they did not know the first thing about statistics, now they are doing regression diagnostics with R. Impressive!!

CUPESSE, a new adventure

Today, I am starting a new adventure of an EU Framework Program 7 research grant funded collaborative research project with 9 other Universities. CUPESSE, or the Cultural Pathways to Economic Self-Sufficiency and Entrepreneurship, “is dedicated to the comparative analysis of youth unemployment in Europe. By taking issues related both to the demand and supply sides into consideration, the project aims to obtain a comprehensive picture of the causes and consequences of unemployment among young people as well as to formulate policy strategies and recommendations for addressing this ever-growing issue. The project brings together a broad network of researchers and practitioners from the fields of economics, political science, psychology, and sociology.”

For me the appeal is less the dependent variable and more the family studies and methodology. My team is specifically responsible for the data analysis work package.