Category Archives: quantitative methods

Socio-spatial secondary data source for all over the world

In this post I want to echo this fantastic source of socio-spatial data, perfect for your GIS analysis in most of the countries all over the world

The files have been created from OpenStreetMap data
and are licensed under the Open Database 1.0 License. See for details about the project.

This file contains data as of 2020-10-12T20:42:02Z and every day
a new version of this file is being made available at:

A documentation of the layers is available here:

Geofabrik also makes extended shapefiles to order; please see for details and example

Socio-economic analysis with nighttime light series: downloading nighttime images

Context: we analyze economic changes in Colombian municipalities between 1993 and 2020.

In this post, we focus on how to download our “raw data”, i.e. the nighttime light data for Colombia.

Step 1: Download nighttime light series from NOAA National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI). Particularly Version 4 DMSP-OLS Nighttime Lights Time Series (DMSP) – The DMSP annual composite data contain average radiance values of cloud-free coverages, reflecting the persistent lights from cities, villages, and roads, with a spatial resolution of about 900m, and a temporal coverage of 1992 to 2013 – and VIIRS data which is available from 2013 on and with is a finer spatial resolution of 450m approximately. We will later do a post on the particularities of VIIRS, here we focus on DMSP.

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Worlwide Energy Statistics from International Energy Agency

energy statistics.png

Tableau, the software that could potentially replace excel for doing data analysis

Confirmit: example of an advance online survey platform

Does mass media shape public opinion and dominant discourse regarding policy issues? Do press and public opinion converge over time?


“We sampled and analyzed media portrayals of the Dead Sea Water Canal from the Israel national Ha´aretz newspaper along the two time periods. We then undertook synchronic (comparative simultaneous depictions) and diachronic (historically-sensitive sequences of representations) analyses to examine these portrayals within as well as accross these periods. Ha´aretz is the oldest daily newspaper in Israel and the main stage for intelectual and policy debates in Israel (Viser, 2003). Its articles are commonly used when aiming at “elite” or “quality” press (Nossek, 2004) and therefore it serves our purpose to reflect the dominant discourse regarding policy issues. Moreover, the media outlet was selected in part due to the availability of news archives across the full period of study: from the 1970s to the present. It has been well documented and importantly cautioned elsewhere that the approach of analyzing newspaper articles carries several weakness and biases (e.g. Boykoff, 2011). Specific to this study, Ha´aretz newspaper is considered a liberal newspaper that may represent an agenda different from those of other national newspapers (e.g. Carvalho, 2007)

Fischhendler, I., Cohen-Blankshtain, G., Shuali, Y., & Boykoff, M. (2013). Communicating mega-projects in the face of uncertainties: Israeli mass media treatment of the Dead Sea Water Canal. Public Understanding of Science, 0963662513512440.

Public opinion can in fact not be measured by surveys alone, but media analysis contributes as some sort of proxy of what actors, who for example read newspaper, deem to be “the public opinion” and that “the mass media circulates images and arguments widely and thereby inform public perceptions” (Bauer, 2005a, p. 10). Combining media analysis, focus group, and surveys, Bauer (2005b, p. 63) found a “strong convergence of press and opinion over time”.

Even if media attention does not translate directly into opinion changes (Matthes and Schemer, 2012), it is still foreseeable that media articles impact (1) the importance attributed to the particular issue (agenda setting) of the public debate and (2) how the issue is dealt with, the discourses that develop around the relevant technology, and an issue that is either emphasized or minimized (framing process). While the first factor focuses on the quantity of available information, how often an issue is covered by media articles, and how the attention cycle of a certain issue develops, the second is interested in the substantive content of these articles, the broader storylines, the narratives, and the issues´sociocultural resonance that makes them attractive to journalists and readers (Scheufele and Tewskbury, 2007). Framing means to focus on an issue, select certain aspects of it and make them more salient, and finally, help, influence, or persuade the readers to understand what is at stake (Entman, 1993; Gamson and Modigiliani, 1989; Scheufele, 1999). This “twist” that journalist give the story makes it interesting. Druckman and Bolsen (2011, p. 673) using an experimental approrach can illustrate that in essence, “facts add little to frames when it comes to influencing individuals” opinions about new technologies”. It is not primarily whether the article is positive or negative; it is rather the broader context to which the issue is related (Matthes and Schemer, 2012; Nisbet, 2009). By focusing on certain aspects, other facets are of course muted or excluded.

To frame an issue, journalists rely on information they obtain from different sources in order to report news that is as realistic and objective as possible. They have a code of ethics that provides guidelines on how to deal with contradictory, uncertain, partial, or biased informaiton and how to balance the actors´ different views and often conflicting interests.

Framing is exactly how stakeholders or social movements can impact media coverage; trying to frame an issue ata an angle that meets their interests helps them promote their perspective and position (Andsager, 2000; Benford and Snow, 2000)…Of course, stakeholders have different levels of agency and power (Carrage and Roefs, 2004); some can organize media conferences, send out press releases, or invite the media to a publicly appealing event, while other issues are generally only addressed when a journalist has a specific request or question to be answered. 

Stauffacher, M., Muggli, N., Scolobig, A., & Moser, C. (2015). Framing deep geothermal energy in mass media: the case of Switzerland. Technological Forecasting and Social Change, 98, 60-70.

Health and happiness: cross-sectional household surveys in Finland, Poland and Spain



To explore the associations between health and how people evaluate and experience their lives.


We analysed data from nationally-representative household surveys originally conducted in 2011–2012 in Finland, Poland and Spain. These surveys provided information on 10 800 adults, for whom experienced well-being was measured using the Day Reconstruction Method and evaluative well-being was measured with the Cantril Self-Anchoring Striving Scale. Health status was assessed by questions in eight domains including mobility and self-care. We used multiple linear regression, structural equation models and multiple indicators/multiple causes models to explore factors associated with experienced and evaluative well-being.


The multiple indicator/multiple causes model conducted over the pooled sample showed that respondents with younger age (effect size, β = 0.19), with higher levels of education (β = −0.12), a history of depression (β = −0.17), poor health status (β = 0.29) or poor cognitive functioning (β = 0.09) reported worse experienced well-being. Additional factors associated with worse evaluative well-being were male sex (β = −0.03), not living with a partner (β = 0.07), and lower occupational (β = −0.07) or income levels (β = 0.08). Health status was the factor most strongly correlated with both experienced and evaluative well-being, even after controlling for a history of depression, age, income and other sociodemographic variables.


Health status is an important correlate of well-being. Therefore, strategies to improve population health would also improve people’s well-being.

Miret, M., Caballero, F. F., Chatterji, S., Olaya, B., Tobiasz-Adamczyk, B., Koskinen, S., … & Ayuso-Mateos, J. L. (2014). Health and happiness: cross-sectional household surveys in Finland, Poland and Spain. Bulletin of the World Health Organization, 92(10), 716-725.

Donald Trump discourse/language analysis

“An individual’s level of personal well-being is strongly related to the level of wealth of the household in which they live”

“Relationship between Wealth, Income and Personal Well-being, July 2011 to June 2012”

This article uses data from the Wealth and Assets Survey (WAS) for July 2011 to June 2012
which, for the first time, included measures of personal well-being. It describes the results of
regression analysis considering the relationships between the total wealth or total income of
the households in which individuals live and their personal well-being. Regression analysis is
a statistical technique which was used to analyse variation in well-being outcomes by specific
characteristics and circumstances of individuals while holding all other characteristics equal.
This allows for a better understanding of what matters most to an individual’s personal well-being
compared to analysis when different factors are considered separately.
Main points
• An individual’s level of personal well-being is strongly related to the level of wealth of the
household in which they live. Life satisfaction, sense of worth and happiness are higher, and
anxiety less, as the level of household wealth increases.
• The levels of household income are less strongly related, with relationships found only with life
satisfaction and sense of worth.
• The net financial wealth of the household appears to be the type of wealth most strongly
associated with personal well-being. In particular, life satisfaction will be higher in households
with greater net financial wealth.
• Levels of property wealth and private pension wealth were not found to be related levels of
personal well-being.


Why and where early retirees move? A post-mining town case study (my abstract for the next European Sociological Association conference in Prague)

Problem and research question Mining industries have played a crucial part in the European history. Starting in the 19th century, the extraction of coal and lignite provided the basis for the industrialization of many European regions (Wirth et al, 2012). Due to exhaustion of resources or technical and market conditions changes, mining industry has been retreating since 1960s in central Europe and since 1990s in Eastern and Southern Europe. In the particular case of Spain and according to a mining institution attached to the Ministry of Industry, in 2012 there were 79 mining municipalities “very affected” by mining restructuring. In order to avoid the “socioeconomic drama” (Baeten et al, 1999) that usually accompanied this process, these municipalities have been benefited from revitalization policies from public institutions, such as early retirement plans, employment incentives and grants to attract investors, among other measures. This papers aims to explore the patterns of residential mobility among early retirees mining workers in one of these Spanish regions. Specifically, the municipality of As Pontes de García Rodríguez, located in the Autonomous Community of Galicia. There, the largest opencast coalmine in Spain and its power plant was located. Its construction and operation as of 1979 and the associated influx of newcomers workers would definitely change a place that by that time was not far from many others villages that form the most genuine rural Galicia. In hardly two decades, this boom scenario will soon give way to a deep shrinkage process. The closure of the adjacent opencast coalmine, its conversion into an artificial lake, as well as the massive early retirement plan implemented in the last decades, finally defined its particular idiosyncrasies up to date. The mining industry workforce was nearly 2,000 employees in 1998. It is estimated that the early retirement plan implemented between 1998 and 2012 meant the withdrawal from the labour market of around 1.855 employees between 47 and 64 years old. How many and where early retirees moved? What variables better explain such decision? This paper aims to answer these questions, while also reflecting about revitalization policies in European post-mining regions. Methodology A self-administrated postal questionnaire survey has been conducted. The relatively high response rate (18%) has allowed obtaining a representative sample of 327 cases to be analysed by mean statistic software. With a confidence interval of 95% and p=q=50% (hypothesis of the maximum possible variation), the maximum sample error is ± 4.9% (assuming the number of early-retirees [1855] as the total population. The questionnaire includes opinion (perception of the social integration in the mining community during their time as employees, Retirement Satisfaction Inventory variables (F. J. Floyd et al, 1992), among others), behavioural (social capital related questions, medical treatment for anxiety, current municipality of residence and others) and attribute variable (birthplace and origin related questions and other socio-demographic variables). Different statistical association test according to variable nature (mainly Chi square, Cramer´s V and regression coefficient) were applied in order to identify statistically significant relationships between the different variables. Results Approximately 75% of respondents had resided in the town of As Pontes during most of the time they were employed at the mine, 10% would had done it only at specific times and 14% never, i.e., their place of residence was other than the workplace. Of those who resided most of the time in As Pontes, 28% decided to emigrate after retirement. This decision does not appear to have any statistically significant relationship with most of the variables. Only two variables seem to be associated. First and foremost, the origin. The percentage of former employees who decided to emigrate after retiring is much higher among newcomers from other municipalities, and above all, among those coming from outside the Autonomous Community of Galicia. Here the percentage increases to 48%, against the 12% of natives residents.  However, the destination is not precisely the place of origin. In most of the cases, the respondents reside in a third place within Autonomous Community of Galicia. Thus, 55% do it in nearby urban or coastal areas, especially the city of A Coruña and its metropolitan area. And this is even clearer among those coming from other Autonomous Communities. On the other hand, there is a striking moderate but significant association between the residence and such variable as being or having been under anxiety or depression medical treatment. It is more likely among people who no longer reside in As Pontes. Specifically, 22% of those who have left As Pontes were under treatment in comparison to 10% of the total sample and the 15% of the total Spanish population, according to experts. Conclusions Despite no problem of social integration was identified during the time living in the mining community, evidence suggests that the lower attachment to the community explain the higher tendency to emigrate after retirement among newcomers miners. The fact that the main destination was not the place of origin but a third place suggests that the decision making process may be based on such factors as perception of more urban areas as provider of greater standard of living and services availability. This fact, however, could explain greater problems in the post-retirement adaptation process, judging by the worse health status identified among those who left the community.  The improvement of local services, and especially for retired population, must be seen as an important factor of economic revitalization in post mining regions. The capacity to keep and even attract retirees with usually high level of purchase may reactivate the local economy; especially when other revitalization measures such as tax breaking and grants to attract investors does not seem to be giving the expected results.