The 2014 Election by the Numbers

Note: I acquired the data for this post on November 5th, 2014 at 1:00 pm. A handful of election results were still not fully updated. In this post, I briefly describe the outcome of the House of Representatives elections. I only analyze elections where there was one Democrat on the ballot and one Republican on the ballot. In total, I analyze 355 House elections. Republicans won about 53.4% of the nationwide popular vote in the 355 House elections and won 59.7% of the seats. Republicans won 210 of the House seats. If the results were proportional to the Republican vote share, they would Continue reading

Divided Government Isn’t All Bad

The results of the midterm elections on November 4th have generated considerable hand-wringing in some circles over the Democrats’ loss of the Senate and the expected legislative gridlock that will result as in this piece in the Washington Post.  Political polarization and the gridlock that may result can harm countries that would benefit from necessary reforms because polarization decreases the chance of passing new legislation or reforming existing laws. This is what causes the hand-wringing: the prospects for solving policy problems such as immigration or infrastructure deficiencies in a way that is palatable to both Republicans or Democrats should decrease as Continue reading

It’s not always the Prisoner’s Dilemma: Military Deployments Edition

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During the Russian invasion of Crimea, I previously mentioned that I, Julie VanDusky-Allen, and Michael Flynn, were working on a research project that examined the effect that hosting varying amounts of foreign (i.e. US) troops has on the defense spending of local and regional governments. Earlier this week, that article became available in Foreign Policy Analysis’ Early View. If you have taught game theory long enough, or if you have read enough anecdotes by people who have, one thing that you learn is that students, once they have learned and consumed the lessons from the Prisoner’s Dilemma (PD), seem to see it everywhere—even when it Continue reading

Voting Rights in the Wake of Shelby County v. Holder

In June 2013, the Supreme Court issued a decision in the case of Shelby County v. Holder, where the Court ruled that Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act was unconstitutional. The contentious 5-4 decision eliminated the Justice department’s mandatory oversight of the electoral process in the Deep South. As a result, many individuals have openly expressed fear that the repeal of Section 4 will lead to the return of Jim Crow and new wave of voter suppression. Broadly speaking the Voting Rights Act was designed to enforce the 14th and 15th Amendments of the U.S. Constitution. The 14th Amendment, Continue reading

The Passivity of Political Science and Objective Science

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I am in the midst of grading the first major written assignment for my introductory political science class and, as I grade these assignments digitally, I have my finger constantly pushing one key on my keyboard: That is, the key I programmed in Microsoft Word to automatically create a comment and write “Passive voice” within that comment. While it is no surprise that undergraduates opt for sub-optimal stylistic choices when engaging in formal writing, this problem does not end at the undergraduate level. Political Science graduate students engage in the passive voice throughout their writing and even many of our top Continue reading

What to Expect in Graduate School: A Primer

Editor’s Note: This post is co-authored with Andrew P. Owsiak, Assistant Professor of International Affairs at the University of Georgia, and is cross-posted at Relations International.  It also owes a debt to our colleagues in UGA’s Departments of International Affairs and Political Science that participated in the Graduate Student Professionalization seminar on September 12, 2014. Last week, we, along with several of our UGA School of Public and International Affairs colleagues, met with graduate students in our program to talk about graduate school expectations. For first year students, this was an introduction to graduate school. For those past their first Continue reading

Should the Decisions of Administrative Law Judges Be Subject to Public Opinion?

In the United States, if a citizen has a dispute with an executive agency, they can take the dispute in front of an administrative law judge (ALJ). The judge is supposed to act as a neutral arbiter in resolving the dispute. For example, if the Social Security Administration (SSA) denies someone disabilities benefits, that person can appeal the decision, and an ALJ is supposed to either award or deny the claim based solely on the facts of the case. The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) has tried to ensure ALJs remain neutral agents. The OPM has established rules and procedures Continue reading

Calling All Martyrs: Recruitment Incentives & Terror Attack Casualties

Editor’s Note: This is a guest post by Graig R. Klein. Graig is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Political Science at Binghamton University. His research focuses on domestic conflict, protest, and terrorism. This post is based on his article entitled “Ideology Isn’t Everything: Transnational Terrorism, Recruitment Incentives & Attack Casualties,” which is forthcoming in Terrorism and Political Violence. Since the al-Qaeda attacks on September 11th, 2001 and the subsequent War on Terror, much of the media, policy makers’, and, academics’ attention has focused on the increase in religious motivated terror groups and attacks since the 1990s. Prior to 1993, there Continue reading

Journal Acceptance Rates, Trends and Strategies

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I was recently reflecting on Political Science as a discipline as I attended APSA along with many of you this past week. In particular, I had many discussions surrounding the seeming impossibility of placing certain articles in certain top journals compared to the relative ease of placing otherwise-comparable articles, but in different subfields or with well-known co-authors in similar journals. In the interests of full disclosure, I would like to note that I also do not have any publications in top-3 Political Science journals. John Conley’s recent study in Economics (here) shows how journal acceptance rates are dropping, whereas submission rates Continue reading

The Prisoner’s Dilemma in Introductory International Relations

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This semester marks my seventh time teaching the introductory course to international relations and my seventh time incorporating strategic games into the course.  A staple game for any political science course is the Prisoner’s Dilemma and a typical introduction of the material to students may have students explain the concept or, perhaps, play it with a partner.  However, this introduction is incomplete as part of the major lessons from the game (for IR anyways) is how we can use it to modify our institutions, behaviors, or norms to overcome prisoner dilemma-esque situations.  Having played this in class that range from very small Continue reading