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Political Language in Economics

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Zubin Jelveh, Ph.D., Crime Lab New York
Thursday, November 7, 4pm, University Hall 1040
Political Language in Economics

Abstract: Do empirical estimates in economics reflect the political orientation of economists? We show that policy-relevant parameters are correlated with economist partisanship as predicted from the text of published academic papers. Specifically, we build a model to predict the observed political behavior of a subset of economists which we then use to predict partisanship for all economists. Using our out-of-sample predictions, we show considerable sorting of economists into fields of research, and yet can detect differences in partisanship among economists even within a field, even across those estimating the same theoretical parameter. Using policy-relevant parameters collected from previous meta-analyses we then show that imputed partisanship is correlated with estimated parameters, such that the implied policy prescription is consistent with partisan leaning.


Bio: Zubin Jelveh is a Research Director at Crime Lab New York, a University of Chicago-affiliated research institute that partners with civic and community leaders in New York City and New Jersey to design, test, and scale promising programs and policies to reduce crime and violence. His research interests include the development and evaluation of prediction models intended to improve outcomes in the areas of domestic violence, gun violence, and child safety. He also studies the science production function, specifically the incentives that drive how research is presented.

Zubin Jelveh holds a BA in economics from the University of Chicago, an MA in quantitative methods in the social sciences from Columbia University, and a PhD in Computer Science from New York University. In a previous life, Zubin was a journalist covering economics for outlets like The New York Times, Condé Nast Portfolio, and The New Republic.