Winston Chou

130 Corwin Hall, Department of Politics

Princeton University, Princeton, NJ 08544

About Me

Welcome to my website! I am a PhD candidate in the Department of Politics at Princeton University, where I have been a Quantitative and Analytical Political Science (Q-APS) graduate student fellow since 2015.

I have research and teaching interests in comparative political economy, political sociology, and formal theory and quantitative methods. My research appears or is due to appear in the journals Social Forces and American Sociological Review.

In my spare time, I enjoy spending time with my dog Maggie, whom I adopted from SAVE Animal Shelter in Princeton, NJ.



"Culture Remains Elusive: On the Identification of Cultural Effects with Instrumental Variables." 2017. American Sociological Review, 82(2). [Preprint with simulation study] [Replication code]

"Seen Like a State: How Illegitimacy Shapes Terrorism Designation." 2016. Social Forces, 94(3): 1128-1152. [Ungated access] [Replication materials and README]

Papers under Review

"Sensitive Survey Questions with Auxiliary Information." Co-authored with Kosuke Imai and Bryn Rosenfeld. In revision for Sociological Methods & Research.

Scholars increasingly use indirect questioning techniques to alleviate social desirability bias and item nonresponse when conducting survey research on sensitive topics. This paper develops methods of improving the efficiency of these techniques by incorporating outside information. We apply the methods to survey experiments conducted after an anti-abortion referendum held in the 2011 Mississippi General Election.

Work in Progress

"How Mainstream Politicians Create Opportunities for Outsiders." Last updated 5/7/17.

This paper develops a theory of why voters support outsiders: politicians who emerge from new or newly competitive parties and party factions. I argue that the demand for outsiders partially reflects a desire to exclude ``professional'' politicians, characterized by weak ideological attachments and high responsiveness to electoral incentives. Because the benefits of professionalism are weaker when politicians' and voters' interests are misaligned, voters are more likely to prefer outsiders when they perceive a greater risk of moral hazard, i.e., actions that benefit politicians but harm voters. I apply this theory to the rise of the Front National (FN) in France. Analyzing a natural experiment stemming from French mayors' use of high-risk financial products, I show that moral hazard has a strong effect on the FN vote share in local elections.

"Conditioning on Violations of the Exclusion Restriction."

This paper explains why exclusion restriction violations impede causal inference with instrumental variables and, in particular, why the common practice of conditioning on potential violations does not eliminate the bias. In fact, adjusting for such nonfocal treatments may yield estimates that are less interpretable, and at times more biased, than unadjusted estimates. We provide expressions for the biases of conditional and unadjusted estimates and a simple method for quantifying the sensitivity of the IV estimator to exclusion restriction violations. Attractively, the method "scales" to an arbitrary number of violations under flexible assumptions about the additivity of causal effects.


Assistantships Held at Princeton

POL 245 Visualizing Data
POL 245 is an undergraduate course in data analysis and visualization which introduces the statistical programming language R. I taught this course under Kosuke Imai and James Lo in Summer 2015.

POL 502 Mathematics for Political Science
POL 502 is an introductory-level graduate course that presents the basic mathematical concepts needed to conduct formal and quantitative political science research. Topics include real analysis, linear algebra, calculus, and probability theory. I taught this course under Kristopher Ramsay in Fall 2015.

POL 220/WWS 310 American Politics
POL 220/WWS 310 is an undergraduate survey course in American politics and institutions. I taught this course under Nolan McCarty in Spring 2016.


About Me
CV (.pdf)