J. Andrew Sinclair

Clinical Assistant Professor of Public Service

212.998.7457
J. Andrew Sinclair

Andy Sinclair is a Clinical Assistant Professor of Public Service at the NYU Wagner Graduate School of Public Service.

Prior to joining NYU, Sinclair spent time as Visiting Assistant Professor of Government at Claremont McKenna College and most recently was Research Associate at the University of Southern California. His fields of specialization are in American Politics and Political Methodology. Sinclair is currently in the final stages of completing a book with Cambridge University Press on California's new "top-two" nonpartisan primary called Nonpartisan Primary Election Reform: Mitigating Mischief.

Sinclair received his B.A. in Mathematics and Government from Claremont McKenna College and both his M.S. and Ph.D. in Social Science from the California Institute of Technology.

This course prepares students to evaluate, use, and conduct surveys for their many uses in modern social science applications. Students will examine the technical challenges for moving from theory to practice, including building an understanding of the tradeoffs involved in different approaches. The course covers issues in implementation, survey design, and analysis and includes the use of statistical software to produce research output.

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This course provides an introduction to the political institutions and processes through which public policy is made and implemented in the United States (although the key concepts are applicable to other political systems as well). The course also introduces students to the tools of policy analysis. The first half of the course presents the major models of policymaking and policy analysis. The second half of the course applies these concepts to specific policy areas such as health, education, and environment, as illustrated by real-world case studies. The course emphasizes written and oral communication through the development of professional memo-writing and presentation skills.

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Introduction to Public Policy covers a wide range of topics, from the norms and values informing democratic policymaking to the basics of cost-benefit and other tools of policy analysis. Though emphases will differ based on instructor strengths, all sections will address the institutional arrangements for making public policy decisions, the role of various actors-including nonprofit and private-sector professionals-in shaping policy outcomes, and the fundamentals (and limits) of analytic approaches to public policy.

Note: Students who have not taken an American Government course, or have not taken the course in many years, are strongly encouraged to brush up on knowledge of the basic design and functions of the governmental units in the United States.

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This course introduces students to basic statistical methods and their application to management, policy, and financial decision-making. The course covers the essential elements of descriptive statistics, univariate and bivariate statistical inference, and introduces multivariate analysis. In addition to covering statistical theory the course emphasizes applied statistics and data analysis. The primary goal of this course is to introduce these basic skills and encourage a critical approach to reviewing statistical findings and using statistical reasoning in decision making.

Download Syllabus

Introduction to Public Policy covers a wide range of topics, from the norms and values informing democratic policymaking to the basics of cost-benefit and other tools of policy analysis. Though emphases will differ based on instructor strengths, all sections will address the institutional arrangements for making public policy decisions, the role of various actors-including nonprofit and private-sector professionals-in shaping policy outcomes, and the fundamentals (and limits) of analytic approaches to public policy.

Note: Students who have not taken an American Government course, or have not taken the course in many years, are strongly encouraged to brush up on knowledge of the basic design and functions of the governmental units in the United States.

Download Syllabus

This course introduces students to basic statistical methods and their application to management, policy, and financial decision-making. The course covers the essential elements of descriptive statistics, univariate and bivariate statistical inference, and introduces multivariate analysis. In addition to covering statistical theory the course emphasizes applied statistics and data analysis. The primary goal of this course is to introduce these basic skills and encourage a critical approach to reviewing statistical findings and using statistical reasoning in decision making.

Download Syllabus

This course introduces students to basic statistical methods and their application to management, policy, and financial decision-making. The course covers the essential elements of descriptive statistics, univariate and bivariate statistical inference, and introduces multivariate analysis. In addition to covering statistical theory the course emphasizes applied statistics and data analysis. The primary goal of this course is to introduce these basic skills and encourage a critical approach to reviewing statistical findings and using statistical reasoning in decision making.

Download Syllabus

Introduction to Public Policy covers a wide range of topics, from the norms and values informing democratic policymaking to the basics of cost-benefit and other tools of policy analysis. Though emphases will differ based on instructor strengths, all sections will address the institutional arrangements for making public policy decisions, the role of various actors-including nonprofit and private-sector professionals-in shaping policy outcomes, and the fundamentals (and limits) of analytic approaches to public policy.

Note: Students who have not taken an American Government course, or have not taken the course in many years, are strongly encouraged to brush up on knowledge of the basic design and functions of the governmental units in the United States.

Download Syllabus

Multiple regression is the core statistical technique used by policy and finance analysts in their work. In this course, you will learn how to use and interpret this critical statistical technique. Specifically you will learn how to evaluate whether regression coefficients are biased, whether standard errors (and thus t statistics) are valid, and whether regressions used in policy and finance studies support causal arguments.

In addition, using a number of different datasets, you will compute the statistics discussed in class using a statistical computer package, and you will see how the results reflect the concepts discussed in class. If you choose, you can do a larger data and regression project in a team.

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2016

J. Andrew Sinclair and Anthony Bertelli. Democratic Accountability and the Politics of Mass Administrative Reorganization. British Journal of Political Science. Forthcoming.
Forthcoming

2015

Abstract

In this paper we investigate to what extent perceptions of economic conditions, policy-oriented evaluations, and blame attribution affected Californians’ involvement in political activities in 2010. We use a statistical methodology that allows us to study not only the behavior of the average citizen, but also the behavior of “types” of citizens with latent predispositions that incline them toward participation or abstention. The 2010 election is an excellent case study, because it was a period when citizens were still suffering the consequences of the 2008 financial crisis and many were concerned about the state’s budgetary crisis. We find that individuals who blamed one of the parties for the problems with the budget process, and who held a position on the 2010 Affordable Care Act, were often considerably more likely to participate. We also find, however, that the impact of economic evaluations, positions on the health care reform, and blame attributions was contingent on citizens’ latent participation propensities and depended on the class of political activity.

Abstract

How does media attention influence government decisions about whether to terminate independent administrative agencies? We argue that an agency’s salience with partisan audiences has a direct effect, but a high media profile can disrupt normal government monitoring processes and obfuscate termination decisions. We evaluate our argument in the context of a recent mass administrative reorganization by the British coalition government using probit and heteroscedastic probit regression models. Evidence suggests that termination is less likely for agencies salient in newspapers popular with the government’s core supporters, but not those read by its minority coalition partner. We also find that agencies with greater overall newspaper salience as well as younger agencies have a higher error variance.

Abstract

In 2012, California first used a nonpartisan “top-two” primary. Early academic studies of the effects statewide have produced mixed results on the key question: does the new law make it possible for more moderate candidates to win? This study focuses on one particular California State Assembly race, District 5, from 2012 to assess the operation of the new law in detail in one same-party runoff. Republicans Frank Bigelow and Rico Oller competed against each other in both rounds; Bigelow, the more moderate Republican, won the general election. This study uses the internal Bigelow campaign polling data (three surveys of 400 voters each) to assess the dynamics of the race, revealing not just voter attitudes towards the candidates but the reasons for Bigelow campaign choices. The results suggest that although little strategic behavior took place in the first round, voters, including Democrats, tended to support the spatially logical candidate in the general election – with the advantage to Bigelow, the candidate closer to the median voter of the district.