Projects & Working Papers

Trust and Cooperation: Evidence from the Realm of Data-sharing (Download)

Trust is praised by many social scientists as the foundation of functioning social systems owing to its assumed connection to cooperative behavior. The existence of such a link is still subject to debate. In the present study, we first highlight important conceptual issues within this debate. Second, we examine previous evidence, highlighting several issues. Third, we present findings from an original experiment, in which we tried to identify a "real" situation that allowed us to measure both trust and cooperation. People's expectations and behavior when they decide to share (or not) their data represents such a situation, and we make use of corresponding data. Our study yields insights that are relevant for the trust---behavior nexus beyond the particular situation we study empirically.

Visualizing causal scenarios and planned|realized measurements [interactively] (Download)

We explore ways of visualizing scenarios of and data on the temporal relation between treatment and response variables across time, across units or groups. The graph we develop may be used for systematic assessments of the role of time in causal relationships. We illustrate various insights it may produce and test potential applications relying on a combination of hypothetical examples and classics from the causal inference literature (e.g. Lalonde 1986, Card and Krueger 1994). As a proof-of-concept we supplement our study with an open-source application (based on R, Shiny and Plotly). This app should allow users to visualize examples as well as ‘draw’ their own scenarios interactively. Most of the graphs in this paper were made using the app and you can find an online version that is under development.

The “quality” of citations: Measuring the qualitative impact of research (Download)

The quantity of citations (“times cited”) has evolved into an influential indicator of scientific impact both in itself and packaged into other metrics (e.g. h-index, impact factor). In this study we contrast the idea of “quantity” with the idea of the “quality” of citations, i.e. the “quality” of impact. We develop and present methods that can be used to move from a superficial assessment of citation quantity to a more nuanced view of the quality of citations. We illustrate these methods using six highly cited study in the fields of political science, economics and sociology. In the future this more nuanced view and the data we are generating should allow for testing various hypotheses linked to the reception of scientific works and the sociology of science more generally. Our study is complemented by opensource code (based on R) that shall be collected in a R package CitationsR that allows other researchers to pursue their own analyses of the quality of impact of one or several studies.

Conceptualizing Trust and Trustworthiness (Download)

This study explores the meaning of the concepts of trust and trustworthiness. Despite the concepts' popularity and indisputable relevance, interested scholars face a conceptual 'jungle' that is hard to pervade. Building on and summarizing previous definitions and research, we attempt to provide a general definition for both concepts. This conception may serve as a starting point for future research, as well as a basis on which to analyse research done thus far. It is flexible enough to describe a wide variety of situations in which both concepts play a role and sets a clear boundary between the concepts themselves, their causes and their consequences. In addition, it helps to isolate trust and trustworthiness from other closely linked concepts (e.g. trusting behavior) and to systematically classify different subconcepts of trust.

Writing a reproducible paper in R Markdown (Download)

The present paper provides a template for a reproducible scientific paper written in R Markdown. Below I outline some of the "tricks"/code (e.g., referencing tables, sections etc.) I had to figure out to produce this document. The underlying files which produce this document can be downloaded here (see paper). I think I got pretty far but there is always room for improvement and more automatization, in parallel to the incredible developments in R and Rstudio (bookdown etc.). I intend to update this file when I discover more convenient code.

Does Suffering Suffice? An Experimental Test of Moore’s Retributivism

Michael S. Moore is among the most prominent normative theorists to argue that retributive justice, understood as the deserved suffering of offenders, justifies punishment. Moore claims that the principle of retributive justice is pervasively supported by our judgments of justice and sufficient to ground punishment. We offer an experimental assessment of these two claims, (1) the pervasiveness claim, according to which people are widely prone to endorse retributive judgments, and (2) the sufficiency claim, according to which no nonretributive principle is necessary for justifying punishment. We test these two claims in a survey and a related survey experiment in which we present participants (N = ~900) with the stylized description of a criminal case. Our results seem to invalidate claim (1) and provide mixed results concerning claim (2). We conclude that retributive justice theories which advance either of these two Moorean claims have weak evidential support.