Data Essay

Data Analytics and Visualization with R

Viktoriia Semenova

University of Mannheim
Spring 2023

Data Essay


  • Individual repos called dataessay_[GITHUB-LOGIN] with data and template document
  • Repo should contain all material for replication, i.e. code and text
  • Text should read like a paper, not a homework with chunks of code in-between
  • Use chunk options to have a part with text only and code later


  • RQ: To what extent is constituency work of legislative candidates strategic?
  • Candidates’ motivations:
    • Extrinsically motivated constituency work: Interact with constituents only since they could vote for me \(\Rightarrow\) responsive mostly to in-district emails
    • Intrinsically motivated constituency work: Interact with constituents because this is an important part of my job \(\Rightarrow\) responsive also to out-of-district emails


  1. Legislative candidates are more likely to respond to emails from same district.
  2. Legislative candidates are more likely to respond to emails from same district, especially when candidates’ electoral safety is low.


  • Data from field experiment from 2015 election of the Swiss legislature
  • Random sample of 660 candidates across cantons and parties
  • Researchers randomized two conditions in the email:
    • in- vs. out-canton
    • same vs. different party to candidate

Where To Start

  • Get to know the dataset
  • Start with a DAG (what is the main relationship? what are the confounders? what is randomly assigned, what is not? what is observed, what is not?)
  • Choose your identification strategy
  • Decide on model specification; have one main model (potentially testing all hypotheses), use it to generate meaningful quantities
  • Present your results not only numerically but also graphically
  • If necessary/possible, try different approaches for identification/measure for key variables/etc. as robustness checks

Formal Stuff

  • No collaboration at this stage
  • If you have questions/get errors and Google can’t handle them, ask me
  • Deadline: June 13, 2023, 23:59
    • Please upload PDF with signed statutory declaration on ILIAS
    • All material (including the qmd and rendered PDF) should be on GitHub by then, too. I should be able to render the same PDF with one click.
  • Please proofread.