SPS Allievi will take the following courses over two years: Tutorials in Social and Political Sciences, Logical Reasoning for Sciences, Applied Statistics for Social and Political Sciences, Advanced Research Design, and Applied Economics. SPS Allievi will also write a dissertation under the supervision of a Faculty member of the Collegio Carlo Alberto.
The tutorial is a theory-led empirical course examining some of the core mechanisms in social and political sciences and their application to substantive issues. We adopt a puzzle-led approach, and, throughout the course we will explore, and try answer such questions as:
- Why do people put their lives at risk to help strangers?
- Who is more discriminated against in labour-market entry: African Americans or individuals with criminal records?
- How do voters make up their mind in election campaigns?
- Why do boys obtain lower school grades than girls?
- Does online communication lead to polarization of opinions?
- Why do people leave tips and why does this vary so much according to countries?
The course is 30 hours long and is divided into 15 two-hour tutorial sessions. In the final sessions, students will present their puzzles and possible empirical tests to answer them. These puzzles can form the basis for final dissertations at the end of the second year. Students are assessed on a combination of their in-class participation and their presentation. Two core books for the tutorial are Explaining Social Behavior: More Nuts and Bolts for the Social Sciences (Elster 2007) and The Oxford Handbook of Analytical Sociology (Hedström and Bearman 2009). We will read and discuss selected chapters from these sources and return to them throughout the course.
Applied Statistics for SPS (40 hours)
We introduce and apply statistical techniques to substantive topics in the social and political sciences. This course will start from the ground up and cover basic topics up to linear regression. It takes a practical and data-led approach to statistics that prepares SPS Allievi students for more advanced statistics in their second year.
Among others, we will cover univariate statistics, the logic of inference, bivariate analyses, t-test, Chi-square test, ANOVA, correlation, bivariate and multivariate linear regression, predicted scores, logistic models, predicted probabilities, marginal effects, plotting results and regression assumption checking. Students will apply the techniques they learn to data using Stata.
Dino Gerardi and Daniele Pennesi
Advanced Research Design (30 hours)
This course focuses on data gathering. Put differently, it covers the methods before data analysis and helps students identify comparative settings that are suitable for identifying causal relationships rather than associations. The topics include:
- Experimental approaches including laboratory experiments including lab-in-the-field, field experiments, survey experiments, and randomised controlled trials.
- Observational approaches including primary data collection and survey design, administrative and survey data for natural experiments, interrupted time series analyses, and regression-discontinuity designs.
- Data scraping and the quantitative analysis of text.