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  1. Abstract

    While inequalities in science are common, most efforts to understand them treat scientists as isolated individuals, ignoring the network effects of collaboration. Here, we develop models that untangle the network effects of productivity defined as paper counts, and prominence referring to high-impact publications, of individual scientists from their collaboration networks. We find that gendered differences in the productivity and prominence of mid-career researchers can be largely explained by differences in their coauthorship networks. Hence, collaboration networks act as a form of social capital, and we find evidence of their transferability from senior to junior collaborators, with benefits that decay as researchers age. Collaboration network effects can also explain a large proportion of the productivity and prominence advantages held by researchers at prestigious institutions. These results highlight a substantial role of social networks in driving inequalities in science, and suggest that collaboration networks represent an important form of unequally distributed social capital that shapes who makes what scientific discoveries.

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  2. Gutiérrez-Pérez, José (Ed.)
    Political elites both respond to public opinion and influence it. Elite policy messages can shape individual policy attitudes, but the extent to which they do is difficult to measure in a dynamic information environment. Furthermore, policy messages are not absorbed in isolation, but spread through the social networks in which individuals are embedded, and their effects must be evaluated in light of how they spread across social environments. Using a sample of 358 participants across thirty student organizations at a large Midwestern research university, we experimentally investigate how real social groups consume and share elite information when evaluating a relatively unfamiliar policy area. We find a significant, direct effect of elite policy messages on individuals’ policy attitudes. However, we find no evidence that policy attitudes are impacted indirectly by elite messages filtered through individuals’ social networks. Results illustrate the power of elite influence over public opinion. 
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  3. null (Ed.)
    Abstract Across the social sciences, scholars regularly pool effects over substantial periods of time, a practice that produces faulty inferences if the underlying data generating process is dynamic. To help researchers better perform principled analyses of time-varying processes, we develop a two-stage procedure based upon techniques for permutation testing and statistical process monitoring. Given time series cross-sectional data, we break the role of time through permutation inference and produce a null distribution that reflects a time-invariant data generating process. The null distribution then serves as a stable reference point, enabling the detection of effect changepoints. In Monte Carlo simulations, our randomization technique outperforms alternatives for changepoint analysis. A particular benefit of our method is that, by establishing the bounds for time-invariant effects before interacting with actual estimates, it is able to differentiate stochastic fluctuations from genuine changes. We demonstrate the method’s utility by applying it to a popular study on the relationship between alliances and the initiation of militarized interstate disputes. The example illustrates how the technique can help researchers make inferences about where changes occur in dynamic relationships and ask important questions about such changes. 
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  4. Background Communicating official public health information about infectious diseases is complicated by the fact that individuals receive much of their information from their social contacts, either via interpersonal interaction or social media, which can be prone to bias and misconception. Objective This study aims to evaluate the effect of public health campaigns and the effect of socially communicated health information on learning about diseases simultaneously. Although extant literature addresses the effect of one source of information (official or social) or the other, it has not addressed the simultaneous interaction of official information (OI) and social information (SI) in an experimental setting. Methods We used a series of experiments that exposed participants to both OI and structured SI about the symptoms and spread of hepatitis C over a series of 10 rounds of computer-based interactions. Participants were randomly assigned to receive a high, low, or control intensity of OI and to receive accurate or inaccurate SI about the disease. Results A total of 195 participants consented to participate in the study. Of these respondents, 186 had complete responses across all ten experimental rounds, which corresponds to a 4.6% (9/195) nonresponse rate. The OI high intensity treatment increases learning over the control condition for all symptom and contagion questions when individuals have lower levels of baseline knowledge (all P values ≤.04). The accurate SI condition increased learning across experimental rounds over the inaccurate condition (all P values ≤.01). We find limited evidence of an interaction between official and SI about infectious diseases. Conclusions This project demonstrates that exposure to official public health information increases individuals’ knowledge of the spread and symptoms of a disease. Socially shared information also facilitates the learning of accurate and inaccurate information, though to a lesser extent than exposure to OI. Although the effect of OI persists, preliminary results suggest that it can be degraded by persistent contradictory SI over time. 
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  5. The large majority of inferences drawn in empirical political research follow from model-based associations (e.g., regression). Here, we articulate the benefits of predictive modeling as a complement to this approach. Predictive models aim to specify a probabilistic model that provides a good fit to testing data that were not used to estimate the model’s parameters. Our goals are threefold. First, we review the central benefits of this under-utilized approach from a perspective uncommon in the existing literature: we focus on how predictive modeling can be used to complement and augment standard associational analyses. Second, we advance the state of the literature by laying out a simple set of benchmark predictive criteria. Third, we illustrate our approach through a detailed application to the prediction of interstate conflict. 
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  6. Since few states are able to produce all of their own military hardware, a majority of countries’ military systems rely on weapon imports. The structure of the international defense technology exchange network remains an important puzzle to understand, along with the factors that drive its evolution. Drawing on a political economy model of arms supply, we propose a new network-oriented explanation for the worldwide transactions of major conventional weapons in the period after World War II. Using temporal exponential random graph models, our dynamic approach illustrates how network dependencies and the relative weighting of economic versus security considerations vary over time. One of our major results is to demonstrate how security considerations started regaining importance over economic ones after 2001. Additionally, our model exhibits strong out-of-sample predictive performance, with network dependencies contributing to model improvement especially after the Cold War.

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