Editor’s Note: this post is contributed by Fang-Yi Chiou, research fellow of the Institute of Political Science, Academia Sinica.
In the political science research communities across Asian countries, the use of quantitative methodology is a relatively recent phenomenon. However, quantitative political science has a potential to greatly inform debates and enhance our understanding of long-standing questions that are of interest to political scientists and decision makers in the region.
In January 2013, Professor Kosuke Imai of Princeton University initiated the idea of having an annual political methodology meeting in Asia and organized a program committee that is composed of methodologists from various parts of Asia. The committee then set forth to promote the advancement of quantitative social science research in Asia by holding a two-day annual conference on political methodology in Asia. The inaugural meeting was held in Tokyo in January 2014, jointly sponsored by the Tokyo Institute of Technology, Gakushuin University, and Princeton University. It attracted about 70 participants from 13 countries, and roughly 40% of them traveled from outside of Japan.
With the same spirit, the 2015 Asian political methodology conference took place in Taipei, Taiwan. We were very honored to have three distinguished invited speakers: Professor Kevin Quinn of University of California, Berkeley who is the current president of the Society for Political Methodology (SPM), Professor Simon Jackman of Stanford University who is a former president of the SPM, and Professor Chi Huang who is one of the most respected political methodologists in Taiwan. In addition, there were about 120 conference attendees, with more than 30 from regions other than Taiwan. The conference created many opportunities for scholarly exchanges among participants who would otherwise have had no opportunity to meet.
This conference program included 3 invited talks, 12 paper presentations, and 9 poster presentations. While some presenters were domestic scholars, other presenters came from South Korea, Japan, Hong Kong, Australia, Ireland, Britain, Germany, and the U.S. These papers not only addressed some of the most interesting substantive topics in political science, but also spoke to the most important research areas in political methodology, including survey design, computation methods, measurement problems, Bayesian data analysis, and causal inference (please see http://asiapolmeth.princeton.edu/online-program for the conference program). Our presenters shed new light on existing methodological issues and highlighted areas for future research. The conference was large enough to cover various methodological issues, and yet was small enough to allow numerous opportunities for attendees to interact with each other.
This conference was organized by the Institute of Political Science at Academia Sinica, and cosponsored by the Institute of Political Methodology and Princeton University (Program for the Quantitative and Analytical Political Science). Academia Sinica has played a significant role in contributing to the development of political methodology in Taiwan and across Asia by holding international conferences on positive political economy, workshops on methodology, and summer methodology courses to promote formal modeling and political methodology in Taiwan. This conference was the first-ever large-scale international conference in Taiwan focusing on the advancement of political methodology. We believe that it will have a substantial impact on Taiwan’s next generation of political scientists, as many of the attendees were graduate and undergraduate students interested in pursuing careers in the discipline.
The program committee for this conference was composed of Fang-Yi Chiou (Academia Sinica, Taiwan, committee chair and local host), Kentaro Fukumoto (Gakushuin University, Japan), Benjamin Goldsmith (University of Sydney, Australia), Kosuke Imai (Princeton University, USA), Xun Pang (Tsinghua University, China), and Jong Hee Park (Seoul National University, South Korea). The administrative and funding support from Academia Sinica and Princeton University contributed to the conference’s success.
We will hold this conference again in Beijing in 2016, in Seoul in 2017, and in Sydney in 2018. We hope to see you in Beijing next year!