Publications in 2018

Weidmann, Nils B. and Kristian Skrede Gleditsch. "Geodaten und deren Analyse in der Politikwissenschaft"

Handbuch Methoden der Politikwissenschaft, ed. C. Wagemann, M. Siewert und A. Goerres

Räumliche Daten und Phänomene spielen eine wachsende Rolle in der Politikwissenschaft. Durch die Entwicklung von Geografischen Informationssystemen (GIS) und Geodatensätzen werden Wissenschaftlern neue und mächtige Analysewerkzeuge an die Hand gegeben. In diesem Kapitel geben wir eine kurze Einführung in die Verwendung räumlicher Methoden für die politikwissenschaftliche Forschung. Wir beginnen mit grundlegenden Konzepten und diskutieren die Datentypen, die für die Speicherung räumlicher Daten verwendet werden. Anhand einiger Beispiele geben wir einen Einblick in verfügbare Datensätze, die in der Politikwissenschaft Verwendung gefunden haben. Wir beschreiben drei verschiedene Ansätze, wie GIS Werkzeuge und Daten eingesetzt werden können und diskutieren die Schwierigkeiten, die dabei auftreten können.

Updated and translated version of Kristian Skrede Gleditsch and Nils B. Weidmann. Richardson in the Information Age: GIS and Spatial Data in International Studies. Annual Review of Political Science, 2012.

Crabtree, Charles and Nils B. Weidmann. "Internet Service Provision under Authoritarian Rule: A Field Experiment in Belarus"


Do authoritarian regimes strategically limit the opposition’s Internet access? By constricting Internet access to potential challengers, governments can reduce the need to censor (since anti-regime content would be less likely to be produced and read) and also the need for large infrastructure shutdowns (which may harm the government). Cross-national work shows that political exclusion is associated with significantly lower rates of connectivity for the affected groups, but cannot tell us whether this pattern is because governments strategically limiting Internet access of the political opposition. We test this mechanism with a field experiment in Belarus. We email support centers of the national telecommunications provider and vary partisan cues in our emails. In line with the strategic exclusion mechanism, we find a tendency that opposition support leads to lower response rates for Internet-related service requests. Due to the low response rate, however, our findings largely fail to reach conventional levels of significance.

Weidmann, Nils B., Sabine Otto and Lukas Kawerau. "The Use of Positive Words in Political Science Language" 

PS: Political Science & Politics 51(3) 

Political science prides itself on objective and methodologically rigorous research. This should be reflected in a clear and concise writing style that convinces readers by the content of research, and not by the language that is used to report about it. In this short note, we demonstrate that is true only to a limited extent. We show that, similar to recent findings from natural science research, the frequency of positive words that political scientists use to describe their research has increased markedly over the last several decades. At the same time, however, the magnitude of this increase is much less pronounced. The article discusses and analyzes different potential explanations for this trend. We suspect that it can at least partly be attributed to changing norms in the discipline, where research framed in a positive way is more likely to be published.