APSA (Political Science) Challenge


APSA PoliInformatics Research Challenge: The Politics of the Financial Crisis

[Challenge Datasets (updated and improved as of 6/15/2014) are available below]

APSA PoliInformatics Research Challenge Short Course will take place August 27th 2014 in Washington DC as part of the APSA Annual Meeting. The preliminary submissions list can be browsed here. The Agenda for the Short Course can be found here.

 What’s a research challenge? A research challenge invites scholars to show what they can do with a common dataset. In the physical sciences, winning one of these judged competition is a prestigious accomplishment. We invite political scientists to participate in a new research challenge focusing on the politics of the 2007-09 financial crisis.

Why participate? The APSA challenge is one of several that serve as feeders to an interdisciplinary workshop to be held next November. The goal of this workshop is to promote collaborations among political scientists, computer scientists, and journalists to ask new questions and develop new approaches to investigating new repositories of government data. The challenge provides an opportunity to become part of this community.

 More than 20 teams entered the computer science edition of this challenge earlier this year. If you are a graduate student or faculty who sees research opportunities in big data, text and data visualization, then bring your ideas to the APSA challenge. Research teams are especially encouraged.

How the challenge works. We provide original data, you pose the question and/or methods. For example, one dataset contains all Federal Reserve meeting transcripts from 2005-08 parsed by speaker statement (9,380 total statements). This record of deliberations before, during and after the crash that has received very limited attention from scholars, in part because the 2008 transcripts were only just released. We also offer every congressional hearings held in response to the crisis (once again parsed by speaker), extensive economic data, and more.  Participants are also welcome to incorporate additional data sources as needed.

What can you do with these data? Propose innovative questions, methodologies, and tools for investigating the crisis and other subjects. Submissions may be complete research projects (similar to a conference paper or poster) or conceptually ambitious project proposals.

A computer science research challenge is typically highly focused (for example research teams might compete to produce the best performing algorithm on a shared corpus). In political science, the same highly focused approach seems less appropriate, Indeed, we are less interested in methods to the extent that methods are a limiting factor with respect to the questions that might be posed.

A central purpose of Poliinformatics is to leverage the strengths of different disciplines. What this means for the APSA challenge is that a broad range of submissions is encouraged, from narrowly focused methodological projects similar to what one might find in a computer science challenge, to more ambitious conceptual projects that scholars in other disciplines would view as a worthy methodological challenge.

Please feel free to contact us with additional questions at poli.informatics@gmail.com.

Awards. Entries will be judged by the PoliInformatics steering committee with the winners receiving an award and travel and accommodation expenses to the interdisciplinary November workshop (to be held in the Seattle area Nov. 9-11, 2014). In addition, an edited volume of winning entries from different disciplines is anticipated.

How to participate. There are two options. The first is to bring your project to the APSA Short Course on Wednesday August 27,2014 from 1:30-5:30. There will be opportunities to display posters and to give about 5 minute presentations followed by Q&A. This should be a fun opportunity to share your discoveries and trials and see what other scholars participating in the challenge came up with. The second option is to submit your project directly to poli.informatics@gmail.com. The deadline for all submissions in August 31, 2014. Awards and invitations will be announced no later than September 15 2014.

In either case, we would appreciate knowing that you are planning to participate. Please submit your proposal to poli.informatics@gmail.com, ideally by July 1, 2014.

 For additional information, please contact us at poli.informatics@gmail.com

To register for the Short Course (free):  http://www.apsanet.org/mtgs/program_2014/program.cfm?event=1524021


Datasets related to the Financial Crisis

The following comprise the official data sources available to challenge participants. In addition, upon request, we offer access to Python scripts used to generate challenge data.

CLICK HERE To Access the Challenge Datasets

Economic Indicators (stocks, bonds, CPI, Housing index etc)  DATA

 Other Resources

These additional sources are not part of the official collection.  We ask that any data you collect for the purpose of this challenge be shared.

After Reform

Other possible data options

  • Media coverage of the financial crisis
  • Macroeconomic data during the crisis
  • Congressional floor debates
  • Legislator voting positions
  • Congressional press releases
  • Campaign contributions
  • Lobbying activity
  • Other committee hearings
  • Prior financial regulation legislation and laws
  • Election outcomes data
  • Population data (e.g., income, employment, health)
  • Policy reforms adopted outside the U.S. in response to the financial crisis

 for more information, contact pollinformatics@gmail.com





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