Gerrymandering and the Extent of Democracy in America

Project Summary

A team of students led by Professors Jonathan Mattingly and Gregory Herschlag will investigate gerrymandering in political districting plans.  Students will improve on and employ an algorithm to sample the space of compliant redistricting plans for both state and federal districts.  The output of the algorithm will be used to detect gerrymandering for a given district plan; this data will be used to analyze and study the efficacy of the idea of partisan symmetry.  This work will continue the Quantifying Gerrymandering project, seeking to understand the space of redistricting plans and to find justiciable methods to detect gerrymandering. The ideal team has a mixture of members with programing backgrounds (C, Java, Python), statistical experience including possibly R, mathematical and algorithmic experience, and exposure to political science or other social science fields.

Read the latest updates about this ongoing project by visiting Dr. Mattingly's Gerrymandering blog.

Themes and Categories
Year
2018
Contact
Paul Bendich
Mathematics
bendich@math.duke.edu

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In this two-day, virtual data expedition project, students were introduced to the APIM in the context of stress proliferation, linked lives, the spousal relationship, and mental and physical health outcomes.

Stress proliferation is a concept within the stress process paradigm that explains how one person’s stressors can influence others (Thoits 2010). Combining this with the life course principle of linked lives explains that because people are embedded in social networks, stress not only can impact the individual but can also proliferate to people close to them (Elder Jr, Shanahan and Jennings 2015). For example, one spouse’s chronic health condition may lead to stress-provoking strain in the marital relationship, eventually spilling over to affect the other spouse’s mental health. Additionally, because partners share an environment, experiences, and resources (e.g., money and information), as well as exert social control over each other, they can monitor and influence each other’s health and health behaviors. This often leads to health concordance within couples; in other words, because individuals within the couple influence each other’s health and well-being, their health tends to become more similar or more alike (Kiecolt-Glaser and Wilson 2017, Polenick, Renn and Birditt 2018). Thus, a spouse’s current health condition may influence their partner’s future health and spouses may contemporaneously exhibit similar health conditions or behaviors.

However, how spouses influence each other may be patterned by the gender of the spouse with the health condition or exhibiting the health behaviors. Recent evidence suggests that a wife’s health condition may have little influence on her husband’s future health conditions, but that a husband’s health condition will most likely influence his wife’s future health (Kiecolt-Glaser and Wilson 2017).

This team is part of an ongoing project dedicated to exploring how states and local communities responded to the causes of the 2007-09 Global Financial Crisis. Led by faculty from the Global Financial Markets Center at Duke Law the Data+ team  will conduct analysis of multiple states mortgage enforcement databases to gain a better understanding of how state regulators were, or were not, enforcing existing state law pertaining to mortgages leading up to the crisis. Our website has an example of what this will look like, as last year we analyzed North Carolina’s mortgage enforcement actions and displayed them by topic.

Project Lead: Lee Reiners

Project Manager: Malcolm Smith Fraser

Nationally there is a disproportionate number of children of color (African American & Latino) in the child welfare system. Durham County is no different. However, reviewing this problem through the lens of data has not been done to formulate or implement possible solutions. Durham County Department of Social Services Child & Family Services would like to evaluate systems to identify where and how disproportionality and disparity are occurring. It is occurring at the entry point of Reporting child abuse and neglect? Is it occurring at the case decision? Is our reunification time different for African American children? Or Does it take longer for a child of color to achieve permanence through adoption? Organizing the data to show us our “hot spots” would facilitate further discussion and focus on solutions to an age-old systemic problem.

Faculty Lead: Greg Herschlag

Project Lead: Jovetta L Whitfield