American Sociological Association



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  1. Comment: Bayes, Model Uncertainty, and Learning from Data

    The problem of model uncertainty is a fundamental applied challenge in quantitative sociology. The authors’ language of false positives is reminiscent of Bonferroni adjustments and the frequentist analysis of multiple independent comparisons, but the distinct problem of model uncertainty has been fully formalized from a Bayesian perspective.
  2. Comment: Some Challenges When Estimating the Impact of Model Uncertainty on Coefficient Instability

    I once had a colleague who knew that inequality was related to an important dependent variable. This colleague knew many other things, but I focus on inequality as an example. It was difficult for my colleague to know just how to operationalize inequality. Should it be the percentage of income held by the top 10 percent, top 5 percent, or top 1 percent of the population? Should it be based on the ratio of median black income to median white income, or should it be the log of that ratio? Should it be based on the Gini index, or perhaps the Theil index would be better?
  3. The Emergence of Statistical Objectivity: Changing Ideas of Epistemic Vice and Virtue in Science

    The meaning of objectivity in any specific setting reflects historically situated understandings of both science and self. Recently, various scientific fields have confronted growing mistrust about the replicability of findings, and statistical techniques have been deployed to articulate a “crisis of false positives.” In response, epistemic activists have invoked a decidedly economic understanding of scientists’ selves. This has prompted a scientific social movement of proposed reforms, including regulating disclosure of “backstage” research details and enhancing incentives for replication.
  4. Comment: The Inferential Information Criterion from a Bayesian Point of View

    As Michael Schultz notes in his very interesting paper (this volume, pp. 52–87), standard model selection criteria, such as the Akaike information criterion (AIC; Akaike 1974), the Bayesian information criterion (BIC; Schwarz 1978), and the minimum description length principle (MDL; Rissanen 1978), are purely empirical criteria in the sense that the score a model receives does not depend on how well the model coheres with background theory. This is unsatisfying because we would like our models to be theoretically plausible, not just empirically successful.
  5. Comment: Evidence, Plausibility, and Model Selection

    In his article, Michael Schultz examines the practice of model selection in sociological research. Model selection is often carried out by means of classical hypothesis tests. A fundamental problem with this practice is that these tests do not give a measure of evidence. For example, if we test the null hypothesis β = 0 against the alternative hypothesis β ≠ 0, what is the largest p value that can be regarded as strong evidence against the null hypothesis? What is the largest p value that can be regarded as any kind of evidence against the null hypothesis?
  6. Featured Essay: The Contributions of Charles Tilly to the Social Sciences

    Evaluating Charles Tilly’s contributions to the social sciences is not an easy task: “Chuck Tilly was a master of sociological thinking and methodology,” wrote two of his former students when he passed away ten years ago; “But he was sufficiently concerned about getting to the heart and dynamics of questions and topics that he never permitted the blinkers of disciplinary orthodoxy to stand in his way” (Michelson and Wellman 2008).
  7. Beyond America: Cross-national Context and the Impact of Religious Versus Secular Organizational Membership on Self-rated Health

    Studies using data from the United States suggest religious organizational involvement is more beneficial for health than secular organizational involvement. Extending beyond the United States, we assess the relative impacts of religious and secular organizational involvement on self-rated health cross-nationally, accounting for national-level religious context. Analyses of data from 33 predominantly Christian countries from the 2005–2008 World Values Survey reveal that active membership in religious organizations is positively associated with self-rated health.
  8. Unequal Marriage Markets: Sex Ratios and First Marriage among Black and White Women

    Using the marital events data from the American Community Survey for the first time, we examine the association between the quantity and characteristics of unmarried men and first marriage for Black and White women ages 20 to 45. We incorporate both unmarried sex ratios and the economic status of unmarried men within each racial group using multilevel logistic models. We find higher marriage odds in markets with more (same-race) unmarried men, holding constant women’s own characteristics.
  9. Classical World-Systems Analysis, the Historical Geography of British North America, and the Regional Politics of Colonial/Revolutionary New York

    A less-appreciated aspect of earlier or “classical” works of world-systems analysis (WSA), in particular that of Braudel, Frank, and Wallerstein in the 1970s-80s is the examination of why the thirteen North American colonies that became the United States split from Great Britain. Specifically, why did some of Britain’s North American colonies revolt in the mid-1770s, but not others? Why were some colonists pro-independence while others preferred remaining within the empire?
  10. Transnational Social Movement Organizations and Counter-Hegemonic Struggles Today

    World-systems analysts have drawn our attention to the importance of the long-standing worldwide struggles of subaltern groups to defend their livelihoods and address fundamental conflicts of our times. Climate change, financial volatility, and rising inequality are exposing the existential threats the global capitalist system poses to growing numbers—many of whom once enjoyed some of its benefits. These urgent challenges create possibilities for social movements to attract more widespread support for alternatives to global capitalism.