2019-01 – Present
Beijing, China

Assistant Professor

Tsinghua University

2015-08 – 2018-05
Iowa, U.S.A.

Statistical Consultant

Iowa Social Science Research Center

Responsibilities include:

  • Community Workshop
  • One-on-one consulting


Certificate in Informatics

University of Iowa

Interdisciplinary Graduate Program in Informatics

Experimental Methods

National University of Singapore, Singapore

IPSA-NUS Summer School for Social Science Research Methods









Object. Informal education based on public facilities, such as museums and memorials, is an important propaganda practice in authoritarian countries. However, the empirical research on this area is underdeveloped and relies on small and potentially biased samples. Method. This study collects unique spatial-opinion data of over 300 such informal education facilities in China merged with original survey data and conducts a systematic evaluation of this form of propaganda. Result. The statistical results challenge the conventional expectation that more exposure to the informal education facilities would improve the citizens’ support and obedience to the government. Conclusion. The findings reveal a backfire effect of informal education facilities that more exposure to them reduces both citizens’ political support and obedience.
Social Science Quarterly, 2019

In this article, we argue that citizens’ personal exposure to corrupt transactions with bureaucrats, many of whom are the only representatives of the state these people encounter, leads to a conclusion that the political leadership is corrupt and, therefore, undeserving of electoral support. To provide empirical support for this thesis, we first justify our case for analysis by discussing the significance of voting in authoritarian systems. While scholars have explained the function of semi-competitive elections in non-democratic systems, few have actually studied how citizens make their electoral choices in such contexts. We fill this gap by validating a “demobilization” model of voting in competitive authoritarian regimes. We show that even though voting in such systems is unlikely to bring about regime change, citizens do use elections to express their political preferences and their opinions about the performance of their leaders. Most significant is our identification of two causal paths by which individual contact with corrupt officials undermines Vladimir Putin’s electoral support. Our demobilization model also specifies the nuanced mechanisms, both direct and indirect, by which other well-established predictors affect turnout and vote choice in an authoritarian context.
Electoral Studies, 2018

Do contexts of greater income inequality spur the disadvantaged to achieve a class consciousness vital to contesting the fairness of the economic system and demanding more redistribution? One prominent recent publication, the 2015 study by Newman, Johnston, and Lown, argues that simple exposure to higher levels of local income inequality lead low-income people to view the United States as divided into haves and have-nots and to see themselves as among the have-nots, that is, to become more likely to achieve such a class consciousness. Here, we show that this sanguine conclusion is at best supported only in analyses of the single survey presented in that study. There is no evidence that higher levels of income inequality produce greater class consciousness among those with low incomes in other similar but neglected surveys.
The Journal of Politics, 2017

This study finds that the Mandarin proficiency is partially responsible for the gap in socioeconomic inequality between the Han majority and the Uyghur Muslim minority. Multiple sources of evidence show that Uyghur Muslims share equal educational attainment as the Han majority, but are noticeably less fluent in Mandarin than the Han majority. Using data from the 2012 China Labor-Force Dynamics Survey (CLDS), we find that Mandarin proficiency can significantly improve occupational attainment and income. In other words, holding other factors equal, if ethnic minorities speak better Mandarin, they would have better chances to improve their socioeconomic status.
Chinese Sociological Review, 2016

How does the context of income inequality in which people live affect their belief in meritocracy, the ability to get ahead through hard work? A prominent recent study by Newman, Johnston, and Lown argues that, consistent with the conflict theory, exposure to higher levels of local income inequality leads lower-income people to become more likely to reject and higher-income people to become more likely to accept the dominant United States ideology of meritocracy. Here, we show that this conclusion is not supported by the studys own reported results and that even these results depend on pooling three distinctly different measures of meritocracy into a single analysis. We then demonstrate that analysis of a larger and more representative survey employing a single consistent measure of the dependent variable yields the opposite conclusion. Consistent with the relative power theory, among those with lower incomes, local contexts of greater inequality are associated with more widespread belief that people can get ahead if they are willing to work hard.
Research and Politics, 2016

This study discusses the ability of culture to affect a state’s foreign policies in terms of cultural diplomacy, concentrating on the institutional level. It argues that one way a culture may affect a state’s cultural diplomacy is in making national institutions have features similar to the cultural features. Using China and Canada for comparative analysis, this article tests the theory that a state’s institutions of cultural diplomacy have features paralleling its own culture. This examination demonstrates that China and Canada, two states with different cultures, have different features in their institutions of cultural diplomacy that are consistent with Chinese and Canadian cultures respectively, thus supporting the validity of the theory.
Journal of American-East Asian Relations, 2013

比较政治研究是现今政治学研究最为活跃的领域之一, 因其研究内容直接涉及具体 的政治决策、实施及反馈过程, 从而具有了理论和实践的双重意义。西方比较政治学呈现一种由 ‘主义导向’到’问题导向’的发展趋势, 基于对这种趋势的认识, 中国比较政治研究应选择’问题导 向’的研究策略。中国比较政治研究本土化是个漫长而复杂的过程, 一旦选择了适合的导向, 即可 通过借鉴西方比较政治研究成果加快这一进程。
天津社会科学, 2011

从文明冲突论的理论内核、理论构建的方法及其与美国对外政策的一致性等三个方面可以看出, 文明冲突论并非严格意义上的’真正的理论’, 只是一种工具性理论。但是作为一种工具性理论, 文明冲突论却对美国自’冷战’结束以来的对外政策发挥着重要的影响作用。中国作为一个具有5000多年文明史的国家, 有着丰厚的文化 资源, 在对外政策方面应该建立自己的文化理论。
学习论坛, 2010

中国共产党领导的多党合作和政治协商制度,是中国特色政治民主体制的重 要组成部分和代表性特点之一。随着中国政治体制的不断完善和政治民主进 程的不断演进,坚持中国共产党领导的多党合作和政治协商制度,搞好新时 期、新环境下的统一战线工作,发挥人民政协在保证社会稳定、支持国家建设 当中的重要作用,成为当前中国的重要政治任务之一;而对中国特色的人民政 协制度理论研究则是保证中国特色政协体制顺利进行,正确发展的重要基础 和前提。本文旨在运用以分析性方法(Analytic Approach)为主要途径,结合组 织理论和政府过程理论,对于“政协体制在中国政治系统中的定位”这一核 心问题进行政治学意义上的定性研究。
天津社会主义学院学报, 2009



Solt, Frederick, and Yue Hu. 2015. interplot: Plot the Coefficients of Variables in Interaction Terms. The Comprehensive R Archive Network (CRAN).

CRAN version

interplot is a tool for plotting the conditional coefficients (“marginal effects”) of variables included in multiplicative interaction terms. The function plots the changes in the coefficient of one variable in a two-way interaction term conditional on the value of the other included variable. The resulting plot also includes simulated 95% confidential intervals of these coefficients.

To install:

  • the latest released version: install.packages("interplot").
  • the latest development version: devtools::install_github("sammo3182/interplot").

For more details, check out the vignette


Solt, Frederick, and Yue Hu. 2015. dotwhisker: Dot-and-Whisker Plots of Regression Results. The Comprehensive R Archive Network (CRAN).

CRAN version

dotwhisker is an R package for quickly and easily generating dot-and-whisker plots of regression results, either directly from model objects or from tidy data frames. It provides a convenient way to create highly customizable plots for presenting and comparing statistics. It can be used to plot coefficients or other estimates (e.g., predicted probabilities) within a model or compare them across different models. The estimates are presented as dots with confidence interval whiskers.

To install:

  • the latest released version: install.packages("dotwhisker").
  • the latest development version: devtools::install_github("fsolt/dotwhisker").

For more details, check out the vignette


Solt, Frederick, and Yue Hu. 2016. pewdata: Reproducible Retrieval of Pew Research Center Datasets. The Comprehensive R Archive Network (CRAN).

CRAN version Travis-CI Build Status

pewdata is an R package that provides reproducible, programmatic access to survey datasets from the Pew Research Center.

To install:

  • the latest released version: install.packages("pewdata")
  • the latest development version:
if (!require(ghit)) install.packages("ghit")

Note that pewdata depends on the Firefox browser; if you don’t already have it installed on your machine, get it here.

For more details, check out the vignette.



Language and Language Politics In China

A study of language policy and its influences in Chinese society and politics

Measure Political Desirability

A joint project with Wenfang Tang about measuring political desirability using a sensitive-questioning skill.

State Media and Its Audience?

A joint project with Zijie Shao about state media in China and its audience’s characteristics and causality of watching

Motivations for Labor Migration in China

A joint study with Elise Pizzi about the motivations and opinions of internal migrants of contemporary China

Is Smart Power Really Smart?

A joint project with Ray Ou-Yang of soft-hard power dynamic in the post-WII history with network analysis

Recent & Upcoming Talks

Breaking through the Barrier: Effects of Language Policy on Migration Decision-Making
Political Communications in Exhibitions: Informal Education Facilities and Political Conversations
Strategic Communication: Why the Chinese Government Engages in Discourse about Democracy and Why It Matters
Measuring the Influence of Language in Political Science Research
Rebuilding the Tower of Babel? The Influence of Language Policy on Political Trust
Culture Marker vs. Authority Marker: How Does Language Attitude Affect Political Trust?


Tsinghua University


  • Analysis of Political Data
  • Governance and Big Data (co-instructor)


  • Analysis of Public Policy

University of Iowa

  • POLI2000 Designing Political Research