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Dr. Jennifer Bachner Publishes Case Study on Survey Experiments

Dr. Jennifer Bachner has published a new research methods case study with SAGE, titled Studying Public Opinion Using Survey Experiments.  The case study is based on research with Dr. Benjamin Ginsberg that examines how political leaders frame both history and the future to influence the public and advance their agendas.  See the abstract below; the full case can be accessed here.

Survey experiments are a frequently used methodological tool to study public opinion. This case discusses how a survey with a series of embedded experiments was used to examine how public opinion can be manipulated through the strategic framing of historical and future issues. The case first reviews the motivation and design of the survey and then discusses key practical considerations of survey administration, including pre-testing and obtaining Institutional Review Board approval. Next, the case outlines how to evaluate whether a survey went as planned, which can be accomplished by testing for random assignment to the treatment groups and identifying any biases that may have influenced the results. Finally, the case reflects on the lessons learned, such as the importance of proofreading the questions and answer choices with extreme care, using descriptive statistics to orient readers to the dataset and discussing the real-world implications of the key findings.



Dr. Kathy Hill Leads Panel on Assessing Science and Technology in Congress at the 2018 Dupont Summit

The 11th Annual Dupont Summit on Science, Technology, and Environmental Policy was held on December 7th in Washington D.C. and Dr. Kathy Hill, Director of the Center for Advanced Governmental Studies, led a panel called, "Assessing Science and Technology in Congress:  Time for a New Office of Technology Assessment (OTA)?"  The panel participants were: Kevin Kosar, Vice President of Policy at the R Street Institute; Zach Graves, Head of Policy at the Lincoln Network; Yuri Beckleman, Deputy Chief of Staff for Congressman Mark Takano (D-CA); and Berin Szoka, Founder of TechFreedom.  There was a lively discussion with the consensus that the need for increased congressional capacity to assess and legislate on science and technology matters has never been greater.  It was also agreed that momentum with bipartisan support has built to the point that it is likely some version of OTA will be resurrected and funded perhaps as early as the next Congress.  OTA was created in 1972 and de-funded in 1995 (by one vote) in an effort led by then Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich (R-GA), but discussions about bringing it back have continued ever since.  Kosar and Graves discussed their paper, "Bring in the Nerds:  Reviving the Office of technology Assessment," and Zach's more recent paper, "Rebuilding the Technology Assessment Office in Congress:  Frequently Asked Questions."  The panel also reviewed the new efforts at the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to address science and technology issues and the various forms a revived OTA might take.


New JHU Survey: Americans Don't Know Much About State Government

Dr. Jennifer Bachner (Director, Government Analytics) and Dr. Benjamin Ginsberg (Professor of Political Science) have recently conducted a survey to examine what Americans know and think about their state governments.  

Americans trust their state governments to handle issues as important as education and health care and pay them more than a trillion dollars in taxes annually, yet we know very little about these institutions, a new Johns Hopkins University survey finds.

Almost half of those surveyed couldn’t say what their state spent the most on; even fewer knew which state issues were most controversial. Fewer than 20 percent could name their state legislators. A third couldn’t even name their governor.

'Most people say they like their state leaders, and a large majority even remembers learning about state government in school,' said Johns Hopkins University political scientist Jennifer Bachner, a senior lecturer and one of the researchers. 'Despite this, most people are not aware of who exactly represents them and the significant decisions made by their state government.'

Read more about the findings in the complete press release here.

You can also read an interview with Jennifer Bachner about the survey on Route Fifty.


Ryu Koide (Government Analytics) Receives Award for Research on Climate Change

Many congratulations to Ryu Koide (Government Analytics) who received the People's Choice Award at the 13th Biennial International Conference on EcoBalance (EcoBalance 2018). His poster presentation, "Carbon Footprint from Household Consumption and Exploration of Reduction Potentials for the Paris Agreement Target: A Preliminary Study on Japan and Finland," examined the impacts of consumer lifestyles on climate change and highlighted the potential contribution of lifestyle changes to the global temperature targets of the Paris Agreement. His research combined methodologies of life cycle assessment and data analytics using national statistics and expenditure survey microdata. 

Ecobalance is an international conference in the field of life cycle assessment, and the 13th conference was held on October 9-12, 2018 in Tokyo, Japan. The award was determined by votes from the conference participants. More information is available here

Ryu Koide is a policy researcher with the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies (IGES) and part of the Government Analytics program  at Johns Hopkins University. You can find a commentary related to the content of the poster here


JHU Center Hosts Midterm Election Returns Party

On November 6, the JHU Center for Advanced Governmental Studies held a party to watch the midterm election returns.   Dr. Dorothea Wolfson and adjunct faculty member Robert Guttman hosted the event, which drew about 40 attendees.  Students shared their positions as well as pizza and popcorn.  It was a fun evening with a lot of tight races to follow.