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  • Big Data & Human Behavior Seminar Series: Justin Grimmer (Stanford University) - Exploratory and Confirmatory Causal Inference for High Dimensional Interventions

    Wed, Apr 12, 2017 @ 12:00 PM - 01:00 PM

    Computer Science

    Conferences, Lectures, & Seminars


    Speaker: Justin Grimmer, Associate Professor of Political Science and Computer Science, Stanford University

    Talk Title: Exploratory and Confirmatory Causal Inference for High Dimensional Interventions

    Series: Big Data & Human Behavior Seminar Series

    Abstract: An extensive literature in computational social science examines how features of messages, advertisements, and other corpora affect individuals' decisions, but these analyses must specify the relevant features of the text before the experiment. Automated text analysis methods are able to discover features of text, but these methods cannot be used to obtain the estimates of causal effects-”the quantity of interest for applied researchers. We introduce a new experimental design and statistical model to simultaneously discover treatments in a corpora and estimate causal effects for these discovered treatments. We prove the conditions to identify the treatment effects of texts and introduce the supervised Indian Buffet process to discover those treatments. Our method enables us to discover treatments in a training set using a collection of texts and individuals' responses to those texts, and then estimate the effects of these interventions in a test set of new texts and survey respondents. We apply the model to an experiment about candidate biographies, recovering intuitive features of voters' decisions and revealing a penalty for lawyers and a bonus for military service.

    Biography: Justin Grimmer's research examines how representation occurs in American politics using new statistical methods. His first book Representational Style in Congress: What Legislators Say and Why It Matters (Cambridge University Press, 2013) shows how senators define the type of representation they provide constituents and how this affects constituents' evaluations and won the Fenno Prize from the legislative studies section. His second book The Impression of Influence: How Legislator Communication and Government Spending Cultivate a Personal Vote (Princeton University Press, with Sean J. Westwood and Solomon Messing) demonstrates how legislators ensure they receive credit for government actions. His work has appeared in the American Political Science Review, American Journal of Political Science, Journal of Politics, Political Analysis, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Regulation and Governance, and other journals.

    Host: Morteza Dehghani

    Location: BCI

    Audiences: Everyone Is Invited

    Contact: Assistant to CS chair

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