Two Talks at the Annual Conference of the EPSA in Barcelona

This friday and saturday I will give two talks, one on “Modeling Latent Information in Voting Data using Dirichlet Process Priors” (joint paper with Jeff Gill and Andreas Murr) and one on “Changes in Religious Regulation in 31 European Democracies, 1990-2011”. Here are the abstracts:

Modeling Latent Information in Voting Data using Dirichlet Process Priors

This paper describes nonparametric Bayesian tools to accommodate semi-informed prior information that comes from the data but is not picked up by the likelihood function as a way to improve models for such data. These Dirichlet mixture models represent a new paradigm for semi-informed prior information that reflects both information from observations and researcher intuition, where neither dominates. Such models have proven useful in practice, and we have observed a noticeable variance reduction, in the estimation of the fixed effects, when the Dirichlet process is used instead of the normal. In this paper we apply the generalized linear mixed Dirichlet model (GLMDM) to ethnic minorities vote preferences in Germany.


Changes in Religious Regulation in 31 Euroepan Democracies, 1990-2011

European regimes of religious regulation are currently under considerable strain. As a result, there is currently much debate about whether European democracies hold on to their divergent institutional arrangements of religious regulation or converge to a common European model of governing religious diversity. Both perspectives not only differ in their descriptive predictions regarding the recent trends in religious policy but also stress different causal mechanisms for the explanation of policy change. This paper seeks to shed empirical light on the dynamics and changes in European religious regulation from a strictly quantitative-comparative perspective. The analysis draws on a newly coded data set for 31 European countries (27 EU member states plus Iceland, Norway, Switzerland, and Turkey) that extends the data collected by the second round of the Religion and State Project (RAS2), resulting in a total observation period of two decades (1990-2011). Results suggest that there are no signs of convergence in the modes of religious regulation across Europe. Quite to the contrary, the empirical evidence shows not only a persistence of specific national patterns but even an increasing divergence of European religious policies.  This holds for the treatment of religious minority groups and the restrictive or supportive regulation of religion in general. Change in religious policy is mainly driven by national political processes and in particular by a strong presence of religious parties in parliament.


When?  Friday, June 21th, 11:00 & Saturday, June 22nd.

Where? Barcelona.