The Nelson A. Rockefeller Center for Public Policy and the Social Sciences

2016 Dartmouth Experiments Conference

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Nate Cohn, New York Times political correspondent for “The Upshot” blog delivering the conference’s keynote address to a packed audience at the Rockefeller Center.

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In July, political scientist, New York Times contributor, and Dartmouth Professor of Government Brendan Nyhan organized the 2016 Dartmouth Experiments Conference. This two-day event brought together researchers who use quantitative data to investigate phenomena surrounding elections, voter behavior, and public opinion. As an intensive quantitative research workshop, the conference featured presentations of new findings and study designs by graduate students, postdoctoral researchers, and junior faculty who study American politics.

Scholars from various backgrounds took advantage of this opportunity to collaborate and discuss the latest findings in their field, pooling together their own expertise with quantitative data.

“The academic goal of the conference was to give promising graduate students, postdocs, and junior faculty a chance to get detailed feedback on their work prior to submitting for publication,” said Professor Nyhan. “Each presenter was matched with a senior faculty discussant who led the discussion of the work among attendees and helped identify areas for improvement and future research. The feedback was (I hope) especially valuable because everyone at the conference uses experiments to study political science.”

Participants came from Georgetown University, the University of Exeter, the University of Colorado, Iowa State University, Arizona State University, and Dartmouth College itself.

“The Dartmouth Experiments Conference gave me the opportunity to present my research to a group of leading experimental political scientists from around the country,” said D.J. Flynn, a Postdoctoral Fellow from the Dartmouth College Program in Quantitative Social Sciences. “Their comments greatly improved the paper and helped identify interesting lingering questions to pursue in future experiments.”

Nate Cohn, New York Times political correspondent for “The Upshot” blog delivered the conference’s keynote address. Untangling the complexities of polling data to reveal a bigger message, Cohn’s talk, “Will Obama’s America Vote for Trump?” compared Obama’s past demographic sweep to win two consecutive elections to Trump’s less diverse attempt at the presidency.

"The conference was a great gathering of political scientists presenting cutting-edge, in-progress experimental work,” said Herschel Nachlis, Department of Government Research Assistant Professor and Postdoctoral Fellow at the Rockefeller Center. “Conferences this productive, interesting, and collegial are indeed quite rare."

The conference was sponsored by the Rockefeller Center, the Department of Government, the Program in Quantitative Social Science, and the Politics and Law Program.

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The Nelson A. Rockefeller Center for Public Policy and the Social Sciences