Past Conferences


Representation & Governance: A Conference in Honor of David Mayhew

May 29-30, 2013 – The 2-day conference celebrates the extraordinary scholarship of our friend, teacher, and colleague. The most fitting way to celebrate a life of teaching and fundamental research is to produce more scholarship and debate. The conference includes intellectual leaders from across American Politics who continue the discussion of several areas in which David has made pioneering contributions. David Mayhew is Sterling Professor of Political Science at Yale University, and a resident Faculty Affiliate at the Institution for Social and Policy Studies and the Yale Center for the Study of American Politics. In a career spanning almost a half-century, David Mayhew has established himself as a leading scholar of Congressional legislative behavior, American party politics, and U.S. public policy. He was recently elected to the National Academy of Sciences in recognition of the outstanding and influential contributions that David has made as the “leading scholar of American party politics today.”

Purchasing Power: Money, Politics, and Inequality

May 6, 2013 – Leading policy-makers, academics, advocates, and thought leaders from around the country will come together at Yale University to explore the role of money on our political system. The day-long conference will include a keynote address from Lawrence Lessig, the Roy L. Furman Professor of Law and Leadership at Harvard Law School and Director of the Edmund J. Safra Center for Ethics. The conference will also feature two panels of leading academics and practitioners; the first will highlight the effects of campaign spending on the 2012 elections, and the second will explore the connection between money and policy-making, particularly as it relates to economic inequality. The day will conclude with an interactive session exploring the various efforts to address these issues, as well as other possibilities for reform. Purchasing Power: Money, Politics, and Inequality is the second annual conference on inequality and American governance hosted by the Institution for Social and Policy Studies.

Detaining Democracy? Criminal Justice and American Civic Life

November 8-9, 2012 – This conference assembles a series of empirical articles that will test the possibly countervailing positive and negative effects of imprisonment on these essential traits, focusing on the direct effects of imprisonment on the individuals who cycle through the penal system and the indirect effects of neighborhood-level incarceration rates and the incarceration of a family member. Seating space for this conference is limited, therefore registration is required.

Society for Political Methodology Summer Conference

July 23-25, 2009 – Since 1984 the Society for Political Methodology has held an annual summer conference, generously supported by the host institution, and by the National Science Foundation. In 2009, ISPS hosted the 26th Annual Summer Conference of the Society for Political Methodology.

Experiments on Government and Politics (EGAP) Meeting

April 24-25, 2009 – EGAP is a research network for scholars and practitioners who are actively engaged in field experiments on the topics of governance, politics, and institutions, or who provide methodological expertise. Members of EGAP are accepted into the network by the steering committee. The group meets twice a year, at rotating meeting locations, and is funded by the Hewlett Foundation. The group’s inaugural meeting, April 24-25, 2009 was hosted by ISPS.

ISPS at 40 Celebration and Conference

November 14-15, 2008 – ISPS celebrated its 40th Anniversary by bringing together a distinguished group of scholars representing a diversity of disciplines to commemorate ISPS’ accomplishments and look toward the future. The theme of the conference was the use of rigorous scientific research methods, such as field experimentation, to study important social science and policy questions. The conference showcased unusually creative and important pieces of research conducted by ISPS-affiliated scholars in a variety of social science disciplines.

Past courses:

Designing, Conducting, and Analyzing Field Experiments

ISPS sponsors an annual summer course on Designing, Conducting, and Analyzing Field Experiments, as well as occasional conferences. Established in 2001, this is a three-day workshop co-sponsored by the Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR), and offerred this year at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. This short course aims to accomplish the following: (1) explain why experiments are valuable tools for social science and program evaluation; (2) examine in-depth examples of how field experiments are designed, executed, and analyzed; and (3) explore and develop research ideas through discussion with peers and specialists. For more information about the ICPSR Summer Program in Quantitative Methods of Social Research, click here. For information about Designing, Conducting, and Analyzing Field Experiments, click here.

Other Notable Events:

Political Science 271: Gateway to American Public Policy, Professor Jacob Hacker

Spring 2012, Mondays and Wednesdays 2:30-3:20, DL 220 Syllabus

Introduction to critical thinking about current domestic policy issues, such as economic inequality, job insecurity, the federal debt, environmental protection, criminal justice, and education. Prominent invited experts lead a series of modules, each on a current policy topic in their area of expertise. This year’s lecturers include:

  • Stanley Greenberg, pollster and former advisor to President Clinton (On the Budget and the Middle Class)
  • Steven Brill, CEO of Press+, an online journalism site, and author of Class Warfare: Inside the Fight to Fix America’s Schools (On the Struggle to Reform Public Education)
  • James Forman, Professor of Law at Yale, and co-founder of Maya Angelou Public Charter School (On the Struggle to Reform Public Education) 
  • Gus Speth, Former Dean of the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, Professor of Law, Vermont Law School (On energy and the environment)
  • Daniel Esty, Professor of Environmental Law and Policy (Yale) and Commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) (On energy and the environment)
  • Douglas Kysar, Deputy Dean of Yale Law School (On energy and the environment)
  • Chris Dodd, former Senator (D-CT), Chairman and CEO of Motion Picture Association of America (On Wall Street and the Regulation of Finance)
  • Bob Herbert, Disguished Senior Fellow, Demos, and former New York Times columnist (On race and inequality)  

The Volatility Economy: Wall Street, Main Street, and the Middle Class: A Panel Discussion

November 29, 2011 – Joe Nocera, New York Times columnist and author most recently of the bestselling All the Devils Are Here: The Hidden History of the Financial Crisis (with Bethany McLean) will be moderating the discussion. View a webcast of the event on the Yale YouTube channel. The panel will feature presentations and discussion by: • Robert J. Shiller, Arthur M. Okun Professor of Economics, Yale University – Market Volatility Past and Present • William Casey King, Executive Director, Yale Center for Analytical Sciences, Yale School of Public Health – Can Regulation Control Market Volatility? • Frank Hatheway, Chief Economist, NASDAQ OMX Group, Inc. – An Insider’s Perspective • Jacob S. Hacker, Stanley B. Resor Professor of Political Science and the new Director of ISPS, Yale University – The Middle Class At Risk

Experimental Methods in the Social Sciences: A Debate

October 20, 2009 – Recent innovations in the theory and practice of field experimentation have lead some scholars to suggest the primacy of experiments for making causal claims. As with all bold promulgations in academe, many other researchers reject the notion that field experiments are the new “gold standard” of social scientific research. In this debate we will explore the issue from multiple angles – papers will be presented in favor of theory-building, observational studies, as well as problem (as opposed to method) driven research. This page is designed as a resource for those interested in reading more about experimental methods in the social sciences.

Bioethics Annual Margaret Farley Lecture: LeRoy Walters, Georgetown

November 17, 2009 – LeRoy Walters Joseph P. Kennedy, Sr. Professor of Christian Ethics, Kennedy Institute, Georgetown University: Dietrich Bonhoeffer and People with Disabilities: A German Theologian Confronts Nazi Eugenics and Euthanasia