Applied Statistics Workshop (Gov 3009)


Wednesday, February 19, 2020, 12:00pm to 1:30pm


CGIS Knafel K354

Today's speaker: Asya Magazinnik (MIT), What Do we Learn About Voter Preferences From Conjoint Experiments?”


Abstract: Political scientists frequently interpret the results of conjoint experiments as reflective of voter preferences. In this paper we show that the target esti- mand of conjoint experiments, the AMCE, is not well-defined in these terms. Even with individually rational experimental subjects, unbiased estimates of the AMCE can indicate the opposite of the true preference of the majority. To show this, we characterize the preference aggregation rule implied by AMCE and demonstrate its several undesirable properties. With this result we provide a method for placing sharp bounds on the proportion of experimental subjects with a strict preference for a given candidate-feature. We provide a testable assumption to show when the AMCE corresponds in sign with the majority preference. Finally, we offer a structural interpretation of the AMCE and highlight that the problem we describe persists even when a model of voting is imposed.

The paper can be found here


The Applied Statistics Workshop (Gov 3009) meets all academic year, Wednesdays, 12pm-1:30pm, in CGIS K354. This workshop is a forum for advanced graduate students, faculty, and visiting scholars to present and discuss methodological or empirical work in progress in an interdisciplinary setting. The workshop features a tour of Harvard's statistical innovations and applications with weekly stops in different fields and disciplines and includes occasional presentations by invited speakers. Free lunch is provided.

More information is available at the Gov 3009 website: