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New Census site and blog: Research Matters

The Census Bureau has a new web site and blog that focus on research at the Bureau.

  • Research @ Census.

    This new Web page is a gateway to the world of research at the Census Bureau. Visit the site to learn about innovations to measure and understand America through improved statistics, statistical products and analysis. The new blog — “Research Matters” — features the work of researchers from all areas of the Census Bureau. Research ranges from substantive topics of interest in demography, economics and other social sciences to methodological questions, such as the role of statistical modeling in surveys, designs for the 10-year census, research on record linkage and confidentiality protection. Census Bureau researchers include geographers, statisticians, economists, demographers and more. (press release)

  • Research Matters, U.S. Census Bureau.

    Welcome to Research Matters, a new blog highlighting research at the Census Bureau. We aim to discuss important research in government statistics, and stimulate informed debate. Research ranges from substantive topics of interest in demography, economics and other social sciences, to methodological questions, such as the role of statistical modeling in surveys, designs for the Decennial Census, research on record linkage and confidentiality protection.

New FTC tech blog

Ed Felton, the Chief Technologist at the FTC, has a new blog which he describes as “published by the Federal Trade Commission” but expressing the views “of the Chief Technologist” and not those of the Chairman or the Commission. The blog will focus on technology issues. It is hosted by wordpress.com not by a .gov site.

  • Tech@FTC.

    As the nation’s consumer protection agency, the FTC works on technology issues every day. You’ll see lots of discussion of technology in our reports, cases, speeches and testimonies, not to mention the consumer and business education pieces we publish. But we haven’t had a venue for speaking, more directly and less formally, to the technically minded public about tech issues. That’s what this blog is for.

    Our goal is to talk about technology in a way that is sophisticated enough to be interesting to hard-core techies, but straightforward enough to be accessible to the broad public that knows something about technology but doesn’t qualify as expert.

  • RSS feed.

 

Census Blog

Random Samplings: The official blog of the U.S. Census Bureau.

Thanks to the Scout Report for pointing out this useful blog!

The U.S. Census Bureau provides a wealth of data about the population and economy of the United States, and certain aspects of their work are covered in this eminently engaging blog, “Random Samplings”. The intent of this blog is “to describe the objective of their work and explain census and survey results”. The blog began in September 2010, and visitors can search the archive of previous posts by category or date of publication. Some of the categories include “business ownership”, “income”, and “poverty”.

U.S. Census Bureau: Random Samplings, Scout Report (2011-04-22)

Survey of (academic) research on Twitter in politics

There has been a lot of research done by academic and consulting institutions regarding Twitter adoption in politics. Between February 2010 to now, I think that there have been at least a dozen circulated studies on this topic. The fact that this topic is studied by consultants, economists, marketers, and political scientists suggests that the topic is important; or at the very least, a trend. A number of interesting results have emerged. Collectively, all of these studies give us a refined picture of a typical politician who Tweets.

Williams and Gulati (2010) find that those who adopt Twitter are politicians who have received a lot of contributions. Well funded politicians often have better access and information about “trendy” communication technologies. Alternatively, well funded politicians may have more connections and benefit more from technology that (presumably) maintains these connections.

Lassen and Brown (2010) find that politicians in less competitive districts are more likely to adopt Twitter. It is hard to say why this pattern emerges. However, our well publicized paper (Chi and Yang, 2010) may provide a hint.

Our study finds that the positive effect on adoption associated with the lack of competitiveness (i.e. electoral support) is largest for inexperienced politicians. This pattern seems to fit with the story which links the benefit associated with transparency and electoral support. Those with strong support have an incentive to maintain their constituents’ trust. This incentive is strongest for those who are new to the game and have yet to solidify their positive reputation.

Now, this leaves the plethora of studies that seem to be fixated on showing: Republicans are more likely to Tweet (or have higher “Digital IQ”). You can find some of these studies here, here and here.

There are probably more studies floating around. But these are the ones that I believe have gained the most traction in the public arena.

FEC makes data available in multiple formts

Disclosure Data Catalog, Federal Election Commission

“Each of the files listed here can be downloaded in either csv or xml formats. Each also has a metadata page that describes the information included and the structure of the file itself. There is a pdf version of each file if you need to print the information. You can also subscribe to RSS feeds for each of the files so you’re notified whenever new data is available or a change is made.”

Also see the Commission’s Disclosure Data Blog where the FEC will post information about the files and its future plans. And: they say that “you can get help with any questions about the data we’re providing here.”