Building a dataset for political science analysis in R, PART 2

Packages we will need

library(tidyverse)
library(peacesciencer)
library(countrycode)
library(bbplot)

The main workhorse of this blog is the peacesciencer package by Stephen Miller!

The package will create both dyad datasets and state datasets with all sovereign countries.

Thank you Mr Miller!

There are heaps of options and variables to add.

Go to the page to read about them all in detail.

Here is a short list from the package description of all the key variables that can be quickly added:

We create the dyad dataset with the create_dyadyears() function. A dyad-year dataset focuses on information about the relationship between two countries (such as whether the two countries are at war, how much they trade together, whether they are geographically contiguous et cetera).

In the literature, the study of interstate conflict has adopted a heavy focus on dyads as a unit of analysis.

Alternatively, if we want just state-year data like in the previous blog post, we use the function create_stateyears()

We can add the variables with type D to the create_dyadyears() function and we can add the variables with type S to the create_stateyears() !

Focusing on the create_dyadyears() function, the arguments we can include are directed and mry.

The directed argument indicates whether we want directed or non-directed dyad relationship.

In a directed analysis, data include two observations (i.e. two rows) per dyad per year (such as one for USA – Russia and another row for Russia – USA), but in a nondirected analysis, we include only one observation (one row) per dyad per year.

The mry argument indicates whether they want to extend the data to the most recently concluded calendar year – i.e. 2020 – or not (i.e. until the data was last available).

dyad_df <- create_dyadyears(directed = FALSE, mry = TRUE) %>%
  add_atop_alliance() %>%  
  add_nmc() %>%
  add_cow_trade() %>% 
  add_creg_fractionalization() 

I added dyadic variables for the

You can follow these links to check out the codebooks if you want more information about descriptions about each variable and how the data were collected!

The code comes with the COW code but I like adding the actual names also!

dyad_df$country_1 <- countrycode(dyad_df$ccode1, "cown", "country.name")

With this dataframe, we can plot the CINC data of the top three superpowers, just looking at any variable that has a 1 at the end and only looking at the corresponding country_1!

According to our pals over at le Wikipedia, the Composite Index of National Capability (CINC) is a statistical measure of national power created by J. David Singer for the Correlates of War project in 1963. It uses an average of percentages of world totals in six different components (such as coal consumption, military expenditure and population). The components represent demographic, economic, and military strength

First, let’s choose some nice hex colors

pal <- c("China" = "#DE2910",
         "United States" = "#3C3B6E", 
         "Russia" = "#FFD900")

And then create the plot

dyad_df %>% 
 filter(country_1 == "Russia" | 
          country_1 == "United States" | 
          country_1 == "China") %>% 
  ggplot(aes(x = year, y = cinc1, group = as.factor(country_1))) +
  geom_line(aes(color = country_1)) +
  geom_line(aes(color = country_1), size = 2, alpha = 0.8) + 
  scale_color_manual(values =  pal) +
  bbplot::bbc_style()

In PART 3, we will merge together our data with our variables from PART 1, look at some descriptive statistics and run some panel data regression analysis with our different variables!

Graph linear model plots with sjPlots in R

This blog post will look at the plot_model() function from the sjPlot package. This plot can help simply visualise the coefficients in a model.

Packages we need:

library(sjPlot)
library(kable)

We can look at variables that are related to citizens’ access to public services.

This dependent variable measures equal access access to basic public services, such as access to security, primary education, clean water, and healthcare and whether they are distributed equally or unequally according to socioeconomic position.

Higher scores indicate a more equal society.

I will throw some variables into the model and see what relationships are statistically significant.

The variables in the model are

  • level of judicial constraint on the executive branch,
  • freedom of information (such as freedom of speech and uncensored media),
  • level of democracy,
  • level of regime corruption and
  • strength of civil society.

So first, we run a simple linear regression model with the lm() function:

summary(my_model <- lm(social_access ~ judicial_constraint +
        freedom_information +
        democracy_score + 
        regime_corruption +
        civil_society_strength, 
        data = df))

We can use knitr package to produce a nice table or the regression coefficients with kable().

I write out the independent variable names in the caption argument

I also choose the four number columns in the col.names argument. These numbers are:

  • beta coefficient,
  • standard error,
  • t-score
  • p-value

I can choose how many decimals I want for each number columns with the digits argument.

And lastly, to make the table, I can set the type to "html". This way, I can copy and paste it into my blog post directly.

my_model %>% 
tidy() %>%
kable(caption = "Access to public services by socio-economic position.", 
col.names = c("Predictor", "B", "SE", "t", "p"),
digits = c(0, 2, 3, 2, 3), "html")
Access to public services by socio-economic position
Predictor B SE t p
(Intercept) 1.98 0.380 5.21 0.000
Judicial constraints -0.03 0.485 -0.06 0.956
Freedom information -0.60 0.860 -0.70 0.485
Democracy Score 2.61 0.807 3.24 0.001
Regime Corruption -2.75 0.381 -7.22 0.000
Civil Society Strength -1.67 0.771 -2.17 0.032
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Higher democracy scores are significantly and positively related to equal access to public services for different socio-economic groups.

There is no statistically significant relationship between judicial constraint on the executive.

But we can also graphically show the coefficients in a plot with the sjPlot package.

There are many different arguments you can add to change the colors of bars, the size of the font or the thickness of the lines.

p <-  plot_model(my_model, 
      line.size = 8, 
      show.values = TRUE,
      colors = "Set1",
      vline.color = "#d62828",
      axis.labels = c("Civil Society Strength",  "Regime Corruption", "Democracy Score", "Freedom information", "Judicial constraints"), title = "Equal access to public services distributed by socio-economic position")

p + theme_sjplot(base_size = 20)

So how can we interpret this graph?

If a bar goes across the vertical red line, the coefficient is not significant. The further the bar is from the line, the higher the t-score and the more significant the coefficient!

Create a correlation matrix with GGally package in R

We can create very informative correlation matrix graphs with one function.

Packages we will need:

library(GGally)
library(bbplot) #for pretty themes

First, choose some nice hex colors.

my_palette <- c("#005D8F", "#F2A202")
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Next, we can go create a dichotomous factor variable and divide the continuous “freedom from torture scale” variable into either above the median or below the median score. It’s a crude measurement but it serves to highlight trends.

Blue means the country enjoys high freedom from torture. Yellow means the county suffers from low freedom from torture and people are more likely to be tortured by their government.

Then we feed our variables into the ggpairs() function from the GGally package.

I use the columnLabels to label the graphs with their full names and the mapping argument to choose my own color palette.

I add the bbc_style() format to the corr_matrix object because I like the font and size of this theme. And voila, we have our basic correlation matrix (Figure 1).

corr_matrix <- vdem90 %>% 
  dplyr::mutate(
    freedom_torture = ifelse(torture >= 0.65, "High", "Low"),
    freedom_torture = as.factor(freedom_t))
  dplyr::select(freedom_torture, civil_lib, class_eq) %>% 
  ggpairs(columnLabels = c('Freedom from Torture', 'Civil Liberties', 'Class Equality'), 
    mapping = ggplot2::aes(colour = freedom_torture)) +
  scale_fill_manual(values = my_palette) +
  scale_color_manual(values = my_palette)

corr_matrix + bbplot::bbc_style()
Figure 1.
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First off, in Figure 2 we can see the centre plots in the diagonal are the distribution plots of each variable in the matrix

Figure 2.

In Figure 3, we can look at the box plot for the ‘civil liberties index’ score for both high (blue) and low (yellow) ‘freedom from torture’ categories.

The median civil liberties score for countries in the high ‘freedom from torture’ countries is far higher than in countries with low ‘freedom from torture’ (i.e. citizens in these countries are more likely to suffer from state torture). The spread / variance is also far great in states with more torture.

Figure 3.

In Figur 4, we can focus below the diagonal and see the scatterplot between the two continuous variables – civil liberties index score and class equality index scores.

We see that there is a positive relationship between civil liberties and class equality. It looks like a slightly U shaped, quadratic relationship but a clear relationship trend is not very clear with the countries with higher torture prevalence (yellow) showing more randomness than the countries with high freedom from torture scores (blue).

Saying that, however, there are a few errant blue points as outliers to the trend in the plot.

The correlation score is also provided between the two categorical variables and the correlation score between civil liberties and class equality scores is 0.52.

Examining at the scatterplot, if we looked only at countries with high freedom from torture, this correlation score could be higher!

Figure 4.

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Analyse Pseudo-R2, VIF scores and robust standard errors for generalised linear models in R

This blog post will look at a simple function from the jtools package that can give us two different pseudo R2 scores, VIF score and robust standard errors for our GLM models in R

Packages we need:

library(jtools)
library(tidyverse)

From the Varieties of Democracy dataset, we can examine the v2regendtype variable, which codes how a country’s governing regime ends.

It turns out that 1994 was a very coup-prone year. Many regimes ended due to either military or non-military coups.

We can extract all the regimes that end due to a coup d’etat in 1994. Click here to read the VDEM codebook on this variable.

vdem_2 <- vdem %>% 
  dplyr::filter(vdem$year == 1994) %>% 
  dplyr::mutate(regime_end = as.numeric(v2regendtype)) %>% 
  dplyr::mutate(coup_binary = ifelse(regime_end == 0 |regime_end ==1 | regime_end == 2, 1, 0))

First we can quickly graph the distribution of coups across different regions in this year:

palette <- c("#228174","#e24d28")

vdem_2$region <- car::recode(vdem_2$e_regionpol_6C, 
    '1 = "Post-Soviet";
     2 = "Latin America";
     3 = "MENA";
     4 = "Africa";
     5 = "West";
     6 = "Asia"')


dist_coup <- vdem_2 %>%
  dplyr::group_by(as.factor(coup_binary), as.factor(region)) %>% 
  dplyr::mutate(count_conflict = length(coup_binary)) %>% 
  ggplot(aes(x = coup_binary, fill = as.factor(coup_binary))) + 
  facet_wrap(~region) +
  geom_bar(stat = "count") +
  scale_fill_manual(values = palette) + 
  labs(title = "Did a regime end with a coup in 1994?",
       fill = "Coup") +
  stat_count(aes(label = count_conflict),
       geom = "text", 
       colour = "black", 
       size = 10, 
       position = position_fill(vjust = 5)

Okay, next on to the modelling.

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With this new binary variable, we run a straightforward logistic regression in R.

To do this in R, we can run a generalised linear model and specify the family argument to be “binomial” :

summary(model_bin_1 <- glm(coup_binary ~ diagonal_accountability + military_control_score,
 family = "binomial", data = vdem_2) 

However some of the key information we want is not printed in the default R summary table.

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This is where the jtools package comes in. It was created by Jacob Long from the University of South Carolina to help create simple summary tables that we can modify in the function. Click here to read the CRAN package PDF.

The summ() function can give us more information about the fit of the binomial model. This function also works with regular OLS lm() type models.

Set the vifs argument to TRUE for a multicollineary check.

summ(model_bin_1, vifs = TRUE)

And we can see there is no problem with multicollinearity with the model; the VIF scores for the two independent variables in this model are well below 5.

Click here to read more about the Variance Inflation Factor and dealing with pesky multicollinearity.

In the above MODEL FIT section, we can see both the Cragg-Uhler (also known as Nagelkerke) and the McFadden Pseudo R2 scores give a measure for the relative model fit. The Cragg-Uhler is just a modification of the Cox and Snell R2.

There is no agreed equivalent to R2 when we run a logistic regression (or other generalized linear models). These two Pseudo measures are just two of the many ways to calculate a Pseudo R2 for logistic regression. Unfortunately, there is no broad consensus on which one is the best metric for a well-fitting model so we can only look at the trends of both scores relative to similar models. Compared to OLS R2 , which has a general rule of thumb (e.g. an R2 over 0.7 is considered a very good model), comparisons between Pseudo R2 are restricted to the same measure within the same data set in order to be at all meaningful to us. However, a McFadden’s Pseudo R2 ranging from 0.3 to 0.4 can loosely indicate a good model fit. So don’t be disheartened if your Pseudo scores seems to be always low.

If we add another continuous variable – judicial corruption score – we can see how this affects the overall fit of the model.

summary(model_bin_2 <- glm(coup_binary ~
     diagonal_accountability + 
     military_control_score + 
     judicial_corruption,
     family = "binomial", 
     data = vdem_2))

And run the summ() function like above:

summ(model_bin_2, vifs = TRUE)

The AIC of the second model is smaller, so this model is considered better. Additionally, both the Pseudo R2 scores are larger! So we can say that the model with the additional judicial corruption variable is a better fitting model.

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Click here to learn more about the AIC and choosing model variables with a stepwise algorithm function.

stargazer(model_bin, model_bin_2, type = "text")

One additional thing we can specify in the summ() function is the robust argument, which we can use to specify the type of standard errors that we want to correct for.

The assumption of homoskedasticity is does not need to be met in order to run a logistic regression. So I will run a “gaussian” general linear model (i.e. a linear model) to show the impact of changing the robust argument.

We suffer heteroskedasticity when the variance of errors in our model vary (i.e are not consistently random) across observations. It causes inefficient estimators and we cannot trust our p-values.

Click to learn more about checking for and correcting for heteroskedasticity in OLS.

We can set the robust argument to “HC1” This is the default standard error that Stata gives.

Set it to “HC3” to see the default standard error that we get with the sandwich package in R.

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So run a simple regression to see the relationship between freedom from torture scale and the three independent variables in the model

summary(model_glm1 <- glm(freedom_torture ~ civil_lib + exec_bribe + judicial_corr, data = vdem90, family = "gaussian"))

Now I run the same summ() function but just change the robust argument:

First with no standard error correction. This means the standard errors are calculated with maximum likelihood estimators (MLE). The main problem with MLE is that is assumes normal distribution of the errors in the model.

summ(model_glm1, vifs = TRUE)

Next with the default STATA robust argument:

summ(model_glm1, vifs = TRUE, robust = "HC1")

And last with the default from R’s sandwich package:

summ(model_glm1, vifs = TRUE, robust = "HC3")

If we compare the standard errors in the three models, they are the highest (i.e. most conservative) with HC3 robust correction. Both robust arguments cause a 0.01 increase in the p-value but this is so small that it do not affect the eventual p-value significance level (both under 0.05!)

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