komex: Mathematics for Political Science

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This five-day in-person course introduces students to the mathematics that are fundamental to fully understanding state-of-the-art quantitative research in political science, focusing on mathematical basics and notation, calculus in one dimension, and probability theory.

What Is This Course About?
Many students are not systematically trained in the underlying mathematical tools that are key to fully understanding quantitative research. Do you struggle with parts of econometrics because you are unfamiliar with the notation that is used? Would you like to more comprehensively and thoroughly understand the mathematical tools that are the very foundation of statistics and game theory? This five-day in-person course introduces students to the mathematics that are fundamental to state-of-the-art quantitative research in political science. We will emphasize mathematical basics and notation, calculus in one dimension, and probability theory as the most important foundation of statistical analysis in political science research. If desired by the participants, we may also cover some linear algebra.

Timetable – 4h / day

  •         09:00-10:30h
  •         10:45-12:15h
  •         13:30-14:30h

Learning Goals
By the end of the class, students will be able to:

  • Understand the mathematical notation that is used in quantitatively oriented research in political science.
  • Apply essential insights from calculus to regression models, which are extremely popular in contemporary scholarship.
  • Elaborate on the basics of probability theory, including statistical distributions and probability functions, among others.
  • Take more advanced courses in mathematics, statistics, and game theory that often necessitate a certain level of mathematical understanding without providing it directly to the students.

There will be a final (60-minute) written examination on Friday (10 March 2023), the last day of the course, from 15:30-16:30h.

Who is Your Instructor?
Jan Vogler is an assistant professor of quantitative social science at the University of Konstanz. In his research, he uses state-of-the-art quantitative tools and causal inference research designs to address major questions in the field of political economy. He teaches courses on mathematics, causal inference in political science research, and political economy (for details, see here). His work has won multiple awards, including MPSA’s Kellogg/Notre Dame Award for the best paper in comparative politics (for “Pandemics and Political Development”) and the SAGE Award for the best article in European Union Politics (for “Does EU Funding Improve Local State Capacity?”).
Twitter: @Jan_Vogler

Bildungszeit (can be claimed by employees in Baden-Württemberg) 
Anforderungen des Bildungszeitgesetzes Baden-Württemberg sind erfüllt
460 EUR / Early bird 390 EUR / Please note: you will gain access to our learning management system Moodle only after having paid your course fee
ECTS Credits 
Contact for Questions 
06.03.2023 09:00 to 14:30
07.03.2023 09:00 to 14:30
08.03.2023 09:00 to 14:30
09.03.2023 09:00 to 14:30
10.03.2023 09:00 to 14:30
The course does not require specific knowledge. Basic knowledge of empirical social research is assumed, such as what is a case, what is data, what is a variable. Participants should bring their own laptops — sockets will be provided. As we will work through significant amounts of mathematical content on the white board during our in-person sessions, participants should bring the necessary writing material to take comprehensive notes during class.