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Essays on Causal Inference and Political Representation


Bailey, Delia Ruth Grigg (2007) Essays on Causal Inference and Political Representation. Dissertation (Ph.D.), California Institute of Technology. doi:10.7907/56R7-4M29.


I present three political science examples of observational studies where modern causal inferences techniques are used to improve upon previous estimates. Difference-in-differences, fixed effects estimators, and a propensity score matching model are used to demonstrate model dependence in previous studies of the impact of voting technology on residual vote rates. Measuring the incumbency advantage serves as an example of when the assumptions of matching methods fail, and given the data, a linear model is most appropriate. The impact of voter identification on turnout is properly modeled in two ways: first, a multilevel logistic regression is used to appropriately model how state and individual covariates, and their interactions, affect the decision to participate; second, a Bayesian shrinkage estimator is used to properly model the ordinal nature of the voter identification treatment variable. In each essay, the benefit of using causal inference techniques to more efficiently estimate quantities of interest in questions of political representation and policy outcomes is demonstrated.

Item Type:Thesis (Dissertation (Ph.D.))
Subject Keywords:causal inference; incumbency advantage; political representation; voter identification; voting technology
Degree Grantor:California Institute of Technology
Division:Humanities and Social Sciences
Major Option:Social Science
Thesis Availability:Public (worldwide access)
Research Advisor(s):
  • Katz, Jonathan N. (advisor)
  • Alvarez, R. Michael (advisor)
Thesis Committee:
  • Katz, Jonathan N. (chair)
  • Lorden, Gary A.
  • Alvarez, R. Michael
  • Sherman, Robert P.
Defense Date:10 May 2007
Record Number:CaltechETD:etd-05242007-154102
Persistent URL:
Default Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:2025
Deposited By: Imported from ETD-db
Deposited On:31 May 2007
Last Modified:11 Feb 2020 23:20

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