Perestroika

At least one of my semi-regular readers is a political scientist, so the chances are that posting this won’t be a complete waste of time. Everyone else, look away.

What follows purports to be an exam paper for a graduate course on introductory quantitative methods in political science somewhere in the United States…

Part 1: Write an essay for the following question.Read the attached article on the “Perestroika” movement in political science and letter in PS on the movement. Identify several testable hypotheses made by members of this movement. These should be hypotheses about the current state of political science, not on normative conclusions or policy proposals.

State three hypotheses on the causes of one phenomenon within political science, e.g., three explanations for why people receive tenure or three reasons why methods are chosen in dissertations. You must provide at least one hypothesis of your own that might provide an alternative explanation. Explain how you could use a regression model to test these hypotheses within the same model (note: you are not limited to OLS but may include any “regression-type” model).

Be sure to explain under what conditions how you would measure the phenomena, how you would estimate the parameters, how you would test the hypotheses, how you would interpret your estimates, and what the results would tell you (or not tell you) about the claims of this movement. Be as thorough as possible. I want details. Your answer should demonstrate that you have a strong understanding of the proper use and limitations of the model. Your answer should be at least three pages in length.

Part 2: Write a two-page essay answer for the following question:

Again using the article and the letter, give examples of phenomena within political science that might be produced by the following distributions. Explain why your example is appropriate. Your answer should demonstrate a
full understanding of the distribution.

a. Bernoulli
b. Poisson
c. Normal
d. Binomial
e. Negative Binomial

Readers who pay more attention than they should to these kinds of things may remember spotting my name on the original Perestroika letter. Or they may not. The latter is more probable.

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