The University of Michigan will host the eighth annual Summer Institute on EITM: Empirical Implications of Theoretical Models this summer, June 15th through July 10th, 2009. Funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF), this program seeks to leverage the complementarity between formal models and empirical methods.
EITM is training a new generation of scholars to integrate theoretical models more closely, effectively, and productively with empirical evaluation of those models. The Summer Institutes are highly interactive training programs for advanced graduate students and junior faculty. They are led by teams of scholars from across the discipline who are working at the forefront of such empirical-theoretical integration.
Summer Institutes generally accept 25 participants - advanced graduate students and junior faculty - through a competitive selection process. Tuition, dormitory lodging, meals, and domestic travel are covered for participants through a grant from the National Science Foundation.
Graduate students will benefit most from the program if they are committed to using both theoretical models and empirical data in their dissertations. They should have some training in both formal methodology and quantitative analysis, and advanced training in at least one of these areas. We also welcome applications from junior faculty looking to improve their defended dissertation in a direction that incorporates EITM, or who are embarking on an EITM-style post-dissertation project.
A recent addition to the EITM Summer Institutes is the participation of a team of Mentoring Faculty-in-Residence (MFR). We expect that MFRs will be drawn from the ranks of tenure-track or recently tenured political science faculty who use EITM methods in their research. Each MFR will have a mentoring group, consisting of a small number of EITM participants. MFRs will work closely with his/her mentees, helping them integrate ideas and methods from the Institute into their own projects. MFRs will also work closely with lecturing faculty to supplement the classroom instruction, develop their own teaching materials, and make presentations of their own current research.
The 2009 EITM VIII is hosted by the Ford School of Public Policy and the Center for Political Studies at the University of Michigan under the leadership of Professor Elisabeth Gerber.
The NSF also funds another, complementary, EITM summer program at Washington University in St. Louis. Participation in either program in no way debars students or faculty from future participation in the other program.
The scientific study of politics requires empirical evaluation of theoretical models, but theories too often proliferate without adequate testing, and empirical work too frequently applies sketchy and oversimplified theory. In EITM, researchers use recent advances in game theory and mathematical modeling to develop theoretical models of politics.
These models are then subjected to rigorous tests that meet the highest standards of empirical research, including statistical analysis, experiments, and case studies. In some instances, researchers create new estimators designed to closely test the assumptions and predictions of the theoretical models. By integrating models and data, EITM is creating a new standard for theoretically grounded empirical research that yields cumulative advances to our understanding of politics.
Recognizing that gaps between theory and empirical method seriously impair scientific progress, the Political Science Program of the National Science Foundation supports annual four-week summer institutes on Empirical Implications of Theoretical Models (EITM). Previous summer institutes have taken place at Harvard (2002), Michigan (2003 and 2006), Duke (2004 and 2008), UC-Berkeley (2005) and UCLA (2007).
Funding to defray participants' costs of travel, accommodation, and subsistence is available. EITM institutes are selective, with admission based significantly on the quality and potential of research presented. Institute training includes teaching and research components, providing students a highly individualized interaction with a far wider and deeper array of mentors than is available at any individual institution.