180th White Talk

Quantitative sociology

This week, Bai Hao invited Cao Qiqi, a student from Stanford University, to share with us the methods of interpreting social issues and life choices. Cao Qichen is currently working as an intern at Google. Under the tutelage of Francis Fukuyama, he studied political science and had unique insights into the methodology of social sciences.


The complex society we are in is full of variables – can democracy promote economic development? Is there any advantage in the current presidential reelection? Or take a closer look at life around you. Will entering a good university help increase your income? It is precisely because of society that the relationship between these variables is particularly confusing. Everyone knows that correlation does not necessarily mean causality. Two things happen one after the other, not necessarily indicating that the former led to the latter.
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Some people will say that universities do not necessarily have an impact on income. Those who are admitted to top-ranking universities are better than others. Even if they don’t go to college, they can get a high salary. The things around them are still the same. Macros about democracy and economic development. Propositions are even more elusive. Over time, the discussion of these issues will inevitably fall into the ideological debate, and it seems impossible to have objective standard answers.

But this is not the case. Natural sciences can explore the causal relationship between complex natural variables through ingenious experiments. Similarly, in the view of social scientists, as long as the design is sufficiently sophisticated, the direct causal relationship of complex social variables can be explored. In this lecture, the speaker will analyze these cases one by one, and in this way, introduce the causal inference methods commonly used in contemporary quantitative social sciences—double difference, instrumental variables and breakpoint regression. Lectures don't entangle in mathematical formulas, but focus on the ideas behind these methods, and how we can use them to explore the social causal chains of interest.

details of the event
07/15/2017 2:30 – 5:30pm
Activity costs
Completely free


Cao Qizhen

Bachelor of Science in Stanford University, graduated from the Graduate School of Social Science Engineering.

Activity notice


Please bring your ID on time and register by ID name.


Activity process