2021 Political Methodology Awards

June 16, 2021

Career Achievement Award: Larry Bartels

Over a career of nearly 40 years, Larry has fundamentally challenged, altered, and increased our understanding of voters, elections, media, representation, nominations, inequality, and democracy.   In doing so, he worked to preserve and maintain the world’s longest-standing collection of political data as Chair of the American National Election Studies Board of Advisers. He has advanced knowledge about survey methodology and the analysis of survey data.  His work combines a keen eye for inferential challenges, the technical knowhow to develop and deploy statistical models to overcome these challenges, and a deep sensitivity to what might go wrong when models are applied to real-world politics.   This makes him a true political methodologist; one who focuses on methodological issues that are consequential for science, but also when putting science in to practice, he uses his tools in ways that respect the politics of the problem. Read more

Mentoring Awards: Kosuke Imai and Rebecca Morthon

Kosuke Imai: Professor Imai’s extensive work on statistical methods for causal inference and development of computational algorithms for data-intensive research in the social sciences has been justly celebrated through multiple awards, and he has left an indelible imprint in the development of our field through a number of efforts, including as past president of the Society for Political Methodology. It is, however, his excellence as a teacher and as a mentor of unsurpassed ability to bring out the best traits in his students that the Excellence in Mentorship prize celebrates. Over a professional career spanning almost two decades at Princeton University and Harvard University, Professor Imai has reached out to an uncountable number of students in Political Science, Statistics, and Computer Science that have benefited from his clarity of exposition and his ability to communicate with people from many different backgrounds and with many different experiences. Read more

Rebecca B. Morton: Rebecca (Becky) Morton was a leader scholar of political methodology and mentor of graduate students, undergraduate students, and faculty alike until her untimely passing in September 2020. It is our honor to recognize her mentoring, posthumously, with the Society for Political Methodology’s Excellence in Mentoring Award. ... Professor Morton had a lasting impact on the subfield of political methodology. Her mentorship was consistently marked by taking the initiative to mentor students both near and far. Few scholars have had such an impact both up close and on the field across the globe. The field of political methodology is stronger for her mentoring. It’s impossible to imagine the field without her personal engagement in mentoring during these past decades. Her legacy lives on in the careers of the countless scholars whose lives and careers she shaped through her mentoring. Read more

Emerging Scholar Award: Molly Roberts

The Emerging Scholar Committee is pleased to announce Molly Roberts as the 2021 Society for Political Methodology Emerging Scholar Award recipient. Roberts has made important contributions to the field of political methodology in scholarship, service, and mentorship. Roberts is an intellectual leader in the field of political methodology for her contributions to the methods of automated content analysis, topic models, and experimentation. Her work in this area has been published in Political Analysis, American Journal of Political Science, American Political Science Review, Journal of the American Statistical Association, Nature, and Science, among other outlets. Read more

Gosnell Prize: Avidit Acharya, Kirk Bansak, and Jens Hainmueller

There were a number of outstanding nominations for the 2020 cycle, though the award committee (Skyler Cranmer, Naoki Egami, Anand Sokhey) agreed that "Combining Outcome-Based and Preference-Based Matching: A Constrained Priority Mechanism" by Avidit Acharya, Kirk Bansak, and Jens Hainmueller was very deserving of this honor. Acharya et al.'s paper opens up a new opportunity to connect political methodology, machine learning, and mechanism design — the latter is a lively field in Economics, and has clear implications for designing real-world institutions. Read more

Miller Prize: Reagan Mozer, Luke Miratrix, Aaron Russell Kaufman, and L. Jason Anastasopoulos

On behalf of this year's Miller Prize committee (myself, Alexander Theodoridis, Patrick Brandt, and Jeff Gill), I’m delighted to announce the winner of the Society for Political Methodology’s 2021 Miller Prize for the best paper published in Political Analysis. This year the prize goes to the article "Matching with Text Data: An Experimental Evaluation of Methods for Matching Documents and of Measuring Match Quality," by Reagan Mozer, Luke Miratrix, Aaron Russell Kaufman, and L. Jason Anastasopoulos. The paper represents a significant advance in the important area of incorporating text data into a causal-inference framework. Please join us in congratulating the authors for this excellent piece of scholarship. Read more

Statistical Software Award: fastLink by Ted Enamorado, Kosuke Imai, and Ben Finfield

The Statistical Software Award Committee is pleased to announce fastLink by Ted Enamorado (WUSTL), Kosuke Imai (Harvard), and Ben Fifield (ACLU Legal Analytics Group) as the winner of the 2021 Society for Political Methodology Statistical Software Award. fastLink solves a common problem faced by researchers in political science as well as across the social sciences: merging multiple datasets that do not share unique record identifiers. This problem arises when linking data between surveys and administrative data, among multiple survey rounds, when connecting historical to modern administrative units, and in many other situations. Most applied work relies on manual or ad hoc merging of non-exact matches or deterministic algorithms, none of which can be used to quantify the amount of error in the merge. Read more