d. alex hughes

Department of Political Science UC, San Diego Social Sciences Building
9500 Gilman Drive, #0521 La Jolla, CA 92093-0521




I am a 6th year PhD student at the Department of Political Science at the University of California, San Diego. Before coming to San Diego I attended the University of Michigan, where I graduated with a B.A. in Political Science and and B.A. in Economics.


I research how the connections between voters influence political behavior, in particular political coordination. In my dissertation, I measure the face-to-face social networks of more than 4,000 people and the online networks of millions. Then, I run controlled experiments to examine how these networks shape political coordination behavior. In one experiment - for a real political position - I randomly assigned candidates to stand for office, and find that being socially-well connected is the single most important factor in shaping candidates' electoral fortunes.

In other work, I examine the role of cognition in decision making, but with experimental subjects who hold influential positions in government and industry.


  1. Intimate partner violence norms cluster within households: an observational social network study in rural Honduras.
    Holly Shakaya, D. Alex Hughes Derek K. Stafford, James H. Fowler, Nicholas Christakis, and Jay G. Silverman. BMC Health. (2016) 16:233.

  2. A Randomised Controlled Trial of Social Network Targeting to Maximise Population Behaviour Change.
    David A. Kim, Allison Hwong, Derek K. Stafford, D. Alex Hughes, James O'Malley, James H. Fowler, and Nicholas Christakis. The Lancet.

  3. The Role of Self Interest in Elite Bargaining.
    Brad L. LeVeck, D. Alex Hughes, James H. Fowler, Emilie Hafner-Burton, and David G. Victor. Proceedings of the National Academies of Science, 111(52): 18536-18541.
    [Bloomberg|Science Daily|The Speaker]

  4. One Step in and One Step Out: The Lived Experience of Immigrant Participants in the DACA Program.
    Hillary S. Kosnack, Wayne Cornelius, Tom Wong, Micah Gell-Redman, and D. Alex Hughes.

  5. The Cognitive Revolution and the Political Psychology of Elite Decision Making.
    Emilie M. Hafner-Burton , D. Alex Hughes , and David G. Victor. Perspectives on Politics, 11(02):368-386.
    [Wilson Quarterly|e-IR]

Graduate Instruction

Political Science 204b: Introduction to Data and Regression This is the introductory course for first-year PhD students in the Political Science program. We focus on the mechanics and assumptions that underlie the most commonly used tool in the discipline. (Instructor) [Syllabus][Data Craft|HW][Sample Inference|HW][Regression|HW][LA Review|Regression2|HW][Joint Inference|HW][Interactions & Dummies|HW|code][Outliers & Assumptions|Code|HW][Model Problems][Causality Intro][Time-Seriesx]

Political Science 270: Math and Probability Foundations A (re)introduction to core math and probability concepts for first year political science PhD students. Topics covered in the course include calculus, optimization, linear algebra, and probability. (Instructor) [ Syllabus ] [ Discrete Probability | Conditional Probability | Continuous Probability | Random Variables | Special Distributions ]

Political Science 271: Quantitative Methods II This course moves beyond the linear model of PS 204 to cover the theoretical basis for maximum likelihood estimation (MLE). Particular focus is placed on the application of these models to political science data. Ordinal and count models, duration and survival models, time-series cross-sectional data, as well as likelihood and bayesian concepts will be covered. This is your swiss-army knife. (Lab Instructor) [Course Page]

(Recent) Presentations

Small Group Cooperation Benefits [D. Alex Hughes, Brad L. LeVeck, Emlie Hafner-Burton and David G. Victor]
Humans Persistently Underestimate the Benefit of Coordination in Smaller Groups. This project recruited nearly 300 subjects to make predictions on a minimum-effort game previous run by Weber (2006). We find that subjects (a) undervalue the benefits of cooperation in the first round; (b) do not make accurate predictions about the dynamics of coordination through rounds; and, (c) likely attribute coordination on high or low equilibria to be a characteristic of the game, rather the size of the group playing the game. (ISA 2014, Toronto)


Partial Effects Plot There are (too?) many calls out there to visualize the effects of choosen RHS-variables on LHS-variables, but for what I was working on, this was quicker. This function takes a stored model from a lm(...) call and produces a scatter plot of the RHS and LHS variabes, the best fit line, and confidence envalope. The function is easily extendable to handle different models. Because prediction requires you set variables, a word of caution: RHS variable correlation is poorly handled (at R's predict.lm(...) level).

Odds ratio for fit models from geeglm I was writing a paper for a journal that requested reports for odds ratios for binomial models. Golly, it was frustrating to tinker with the model, and then produce all the OR anew.

texReg output for geeglm objects A method for extracting model output from texReg, which is nicely extensible. Immediate inclusion of that sweet clustered model wherever you want it is now possible. I'll leave it put if you want to source(...) this at the top of your script. Otherwise, you can do as you like.

Licensed under Creative Commons