Improving Supreme Court Forecasting Using Boosted Decision Trees

Citation:

Kaufman, Aaron, Peter Kraft, and Maya Sen. 2019. “Improving Supreme Court Forecasting Using Boosted Decision Trees.” Political Analysis 27 (3): 381-387. Copy at http://j.mp/2nRjto6

Date Published:

2016

Abstract:

Though used frequently in machine learning, boosted decision trees are largely unused in political science, despite many useful properties. We explain how to use one variant of boosted decision trees, AdaBoosted decision trees (ADTs), for social science predictions. We illustrate their use by examining a well-known political prediction problem, predicting U.S. Supreme Court rulings. We find that our ADT approach outperforms existing predictive models. We also provide two additional examples of the approach, one predicting the onset of civil wars and the other predicting county-level vote shares in U.S. presidential elections.

Publisher's Version

Last updated on 10/10/2019