Introduction

Introduction

What do an Australian TV show, British Nobel prize winners, and US rock bands have in common? They are concerned, in some way, with time—be it the effects of manipulating it, its import for certain statistical techniques, or if anybody really knows (or cares) about it.

This module shares a similar broad concern. “Time” plays an intrinsic role in many questions of interest to us, regardless of field. For example: How long will a mechanical part, constructed of a particular material, last before it must be replaced? What affects human longevity? How can we shorten commute times? What makes some wars last so long?

This module discusses the implications of “time,” specifically for quantitative analyses. What is “time”? How is it important for understanding certain phenomena? How might its passage, in and of itself, be of interest? What econometric models are appropriate for quantitatively testing time-related hypotheses?

Students will explore these questions using political science as a thematic topic. They will first read substantive material regarding the time’s importance for understanding the processes that produce politics-related phenomena. Students will then learn more advanced quantitative modelling strategies that can accommodate the implications of “time,” allowing students to correctly test time-related hypotheses (e.g., survival analysis).

Organization

The course is broadly divided into three thematic components:

  • Econometrics 101
  • Effects of “Time”: Its Conditioning Effect
  • Causes of “Time”: The Duration of Phenomena

The first component lays the groundwork for the course, including the basics of econometric analyses as a refresher. In the second component, we examine time as a factor affecting an outcome of interest to us. In the final component, time is the outcome of interest to us. Within each component, we use politics-related phenomena to discuss the theoretical substance and their implications for quantitative testing.