Matthew Levendusky

Associate Professor, Political Science

Matthew Levendusky is currently an associate professor of political science. He is also Chair of the department's graduate group. He was previously an assistant professor of Political Science at Penn (2007-2013), and a postdoctoral research associate at the Center for the Study of American Politics at Yale University (2006-2007). He obtained his Ph.D. from Stanford University in 2006, and his BA (with highest honors) from The Pennsylvania State University in 2001.

Courses Taught

Instructor: Matthew Levendusky
Course Section: 001
On-Campus Day(s): Monday, Wednesday
On-Campus Time: 1:00pm-2:00pm
Course Description:

This course presents students with statistical tools for government administration and public policy evaluation. The foundations of statistical description and inference are emphasized, and the course builds the skills students need to become critical consumers of statistical information. An integrated laboratory component provides training in the use of general statistical software, which will meet on Wednesdays from 11:00am - 12:30pm. 

Statistics for Public Policy Fall 2016 On-Campus
Instructor: Matthew Levendusky
Course Section: 001
Day(s): Monday, Wednesday
Time: 1:00pm-2:00pm
Course Location: On-Campus
Course Description:

This course is actually two courses rolled into one. The first class is PSCI 692, which is the required course in statistical analysis for Political Science Ph.D. students. The second one is GAFL 611, the required course in statistical analysis for students in the Fels school. The two classes will meet together on Mondays and Wednesdays for lectures, and on Fridays for the Stata labs. The PSCI 692 students will also meet several times separately with Professor Levendusky to discuss various applications of regression and quantitative methods separately.

This is the required course in statistical analysis for graduate students in political science and public policy/public administration. Increasingly, ours is a quantitative field. These days, even qualitative researchers need to be skilled consumers (if not outright producers!) of at least some quantitative scholarship. For example, consider any of the following key questions in political science: what is the probability that two states will go to war in a given year? How does their level of trade and democratization affect this probability? Do left-wing governments help or hinder economic growth? How likely is it that a Democrat will vote for a Republican Presidential candidate? Likewise, those interested in public policy and public management are often concerned with various types of program evaluation: did giving low-income children after-school tutoring improve their academic performance? Did Philadelphia’s “big belly” trash cans actually reduce the amount of litter on our streets? Answering any of these questions requires statistical analysis.

This course aims to lay the groundwork for you to answer these (and many more!) questions.  The point here is not to convince you to adopt a quantitative design for your own work, or that quantitative designs are the “best” designs for answering all questions. Rather, the goal is to give you a set of tools that will enable you to read, critique and eventually produce your own quantitative research. The course will introduce you to the logic of social scientific inquiry, and the basic statistical tools used to analyze politics and public policy.

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Contact Information

Fels Institute of Government
University of Pennsylvania
3814 Walnut Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104

Phone: (215) 898-2600
Fax: (215) 746-2829