Clyde H. Coombs
Born: 22 July 1912
Died: 4 February 1988

Spring Semester AY2014-2015
Department of Political Science
School of Public and International Affairs
University of Georgia
Athens, GA 30602

Classroom: Baldwin 301
Time: 3:35-6:35 Mondays

Instructor: Keith T. Poole

Office: Baldwin 304D
E-Mail: ktpoole@uga.edu
WebSite: Voteview Home Page or Office Hours: 2:00 - 4:00PM Thursdays or By Appointment

The following texts will be used in this course:


This course is concerned with dimensional analysis, that is, the measurement of latent dimensions in data matrices. A working knowledge of OLS multiple regression analysis and STATA is required for this course. Students will be required to use two statistical packages -- R and WINBUGS/JAGS. We will also use a variety of "canned" programs that perform various kinds of dimensional analyses.

Grades will be determined by regularly assigned class problems.

Useful Links -- R

PCH Symbols in R

Octal References for Math Symbols that can be used in PlotMath in R

Miscellaneous Useful R Programs

Useful Links -- EPSILON

EPSILON HomePage -- Lugaru Software Ltd.

Useful Epsilon Commands

Epsilon Keyboard Macro Examples

Epsilon Text File Macro Examples

Useful Links -- Old Homeworks

Old Homeworks: 2001 - 2011

Useful Links -- How to Install GNU C/C++ and FORTRAN Compilers for WINDOWS and MAC Machines

How to Install GNU Compilers

Useful Links -- How to Install JAGS on the MAC

How to Install JAGS

Useful Links -- JAGS for WINDOWS 64 bit

Sourcefore JAGS 3.4 -- Runs on 64 bit WINDOWS and 64 bit R

Problem Sets (2015)

Homework 1: Due 20 January 2015 (NOTE THAT THIS IS A TUESDAY!)
Homework 2: Due 26 January 2015
Homework 3: Due 2 February 2015
Homework 4: Due 9 February 2015
Homework 5: Due 16 February 2015
Homework 6: Due 23 February 2015
Homework 7: Due 2 March 2015
Homework 8: Due 16 March 2015
Homework 9: Due 30 March 2015
Homework 10: Due 6 April 2015
Homework 11: Due 13 April 2015
Homework 12: Due 20 April 2015
Homework 13: Due 27 April 2015

Course Outline
  1. Clyde Coombs' Theory of Data: Similarities and Preferential Choice


  2. Analyzing Issue Scales


  3. Classical Scaling of Similarities Data


  4. Non-Metric Multidimensional Scaling


  5. Bayesian Multidimensional Scaling

  6. Assignment:

  7. Unfolding Analysis of Rating Scale Data -- Interest Group Ratings and Thermometer Scores


  8. Unfolding Analysis of Binary Choice Data

    1. Parametric Methods


    2. The NOMINATE Model

    3. wnominate_in_R.r -- -- Simple R Program that does W-NOMINATE that illustrates ways to write out the coordinates.
      sen88kh.ord -- 88th House (1963-64) Roll Call Data
      wnominate_hou108.r -- Runs W-NOMINATE on 108th US House; plots legislator coordinates and specific roll call vote.
      hou108kh.ord -- 108th House (2003-04) Roll Call Data
      wnominate_senate_111_DADT.r -- Runs W-NOMINATE on the 111th US Senate; plots legislator coordinates on the repeal of "Don't Ask Don't Tell roll call vote.
      sen111kh.ord -- 111th House (2009-10) Roll Call Data
      oc_senate_111_DADT.r -- Runs Optimal Classification on the 111th US Senate; plots legislator coordinates on the repeal of "Don't Ask Don't Tell roll call vote. Illustrates the Difference between W-NOMINATE and Optimal Classification.

      wnominate_house_113_coombs_mesh.r -- R program that runs WNOMINATE, writes the legislator and roll call coordinates to disk, outputs the summary plot of the results, and makes a plot of the Coombs Mesh and a histogram of the cutting line angles.
      hou113kh.ord -- 113th House (2013-14) Roll Call Data
    4. The Quadratic Utility Model

    5. The One Parameter IRT (Rasch) Model

    6. bayesirt_SupCourt2000.r: Runs Bayesian IRT on the 2000 Term of the US Supreme Court using the "MCMCirt1d" function in the MCMCpack package.

      bayesirt_SupCourt2000_pscl.r: Runs Bayesian IRT on the 2000 Term of the US Supreme Court using the "ideal" function in the pscl package.

      bayesirt_multidimensional_sen89_pscl.r: Runs multidimensional Bayesian IRT on the 89th US Senate using the "ideal" function in the pscl package.
      sen89kh.ord -- 89th Senate Roll Call data.
    7. Notes on the NOMINATE Model

    8. Royce Carroll, Jeffrey B. Lewis, James Lo, Keith T. Poole, and Howard Rosenthal. 2013. "The Structure of Utility in Spatial Models of Voting." American Journal of Political Science 57(4): 1008-1028.

      anominate_sen111_onedim.r -- Program to run alpha-NOMINATE in one dimension:
      sen111kh.ord -- 111th Senate Roll Call data.
    9. Non-Parametric Methods [Optimal Classification (OC)]

    10. Assignment: