Why Don’t We See Party Organizations In Faculty Senates?

What kinds of features would a legislative or pseudo-legislative situation need to have before would we expect the emergence of parties (or pseudo-parties)? The organization of political parties is usually argued to be a response to the collective action problem inside legislatures (Aldrich 1995) or outside legislatures (Cox and McCubbins 1997). But is the mere presence of one or both of these problems enough to trigger the development of organizations that look like parties? I’m thinking particularly of a setting that many of us are probably familiar with – faculty governance. Different colleges and universities have different institutions, but are Continue reading

What Can Dollar-Store Candy Teach Us About Voting? A Rational Choice Argument For Casting A Wasted Vote

You’re probably familiar with the idea that voting is ‘irrational’. Your one vote doesn’t matter. Sure, there’s some tiny probability that after you vote, your preferred candidate will end up winning by one vote – and in that scenario your vote truly did matter. But outside of that Hollywood script, your vote probably won’t decide the outcome. So why bother with the whole rigmarole of voting? Worse still, imagine that your preferred candidate isn’t even one of the frontrunners. If you support the Greens or the Libertarians, then your tiny probability of deciding the election just got a whole lot Continue reading

Is America in Decline?

There are a lot of political pundits and observers that are amazed by the success of the Trump campaign. I am not one of them. The reason why I am not surprised is the subtext that is defining the 2016 campaign. There is a very real perception that the U.S. is a county in decline. The Trump campaign has embraced this perception head on, and I argue performing well because of it. The campaign slogan “Let’s Make America Great Again” does not leave any doubt about the country’s perceived trajectory. Ben Carson, among others, has successfully channeled this narrative too, Continue reading

Looking for two-sided coattail effects: Integrated parties and multilevel elections in the U.S.

The following is a guest post by Amuitz Garmendia Madariaga & H. Ege Ozen.  Amuitz and Ege are Ph.D. candidates in the Department of Political Science at Binghamton University.  This post is based on an article of the same name, which is forthcoming in Electoral Studies.  Multilevel structures of government are spreading all around the world but we still know little regarding the relation between tiers of subnational, national and supranational institutions. We have recently published an article in which we delve into this matter by analyzing how and to what extent is the federal structure in the United States incorporated into individual Continue reading

Military Ethics and Measurement

I’m finally getting back to writing now that the first year is starting to wind down. To ease myself back into a routine I figured I would write a brief post about a recent episode of EconTalk, featuring Leonard Wong of the US Army War College. The episode’s title/description, “[O]n Honesty and Ethics in the Military”, didn’t immediately strike me as something that would be all that engrossing, but it turned out to be a worthwhile listen. So much so that I’ll likely assign it for at least a couple of the classes that I’ll be teaching next year as Continue reading

This is not the PhD advice you were Looking for, either

Some recent attention has focused on the difficulty of getting a tenure-track position in Political Science and thus the desirability of enrolling in a Ph. D. program in the first place. Dan Drezner in blog posts here and here has done an excellent job chronicling the long odds of getting a tenure-track job after earning a Ph. D., especially if this degree does not come from a highly-ranked program. Many of you reading the Quantitative Peace might be considering a Ph.D. and I think it’s worthwhile to not only acknowledge the difficulty of gaining tenure track employment, but the reasons Continue reading

Teaching (and learning) Quantitative Analysis

I’ve spent the last few years teaching quantitative methods to undergraduate majors at Boise State. Ours is one of the few Political Science departments to require a two-course statistics sequence for our majors and we’re always seeking ways to improve the experience. As you might imagine, very few students become political science majors because they’re interested in quantitative analysis. However, we believe these research skills are essential for future political analysts to develop. A few years ago I embarked on an effort to experiment with my course delivery to help my students acquire quantitative analytic skills more easily. Here’s what Continue reading

Disavowing Strategy is a Strategic Move!

A friend on twitter sent me a message about a New York Times Op-Ed piece by a game theorist that ostensibly suggests real-world limitations of game theory. Yanis Varoufakis, economist, game theorist, and current Finance Minister of Greece opined that the delicate negotiations with Greece’s debt issues is a serious issue and the game theory world devoted to Poker and Black Jack is incapable of capturing the tense negotiations. Fundamentally, Varoufakis argues that Greece is not playing games at the negotiation table and they are not using some sort of psychological tricks or strategic moves to secure a better bargain Continue reading

A Comparative Perspective on Racial Polarization

Like many of you, I’ve been thinking a lot about the politicization of race and ethnicity lately. Most of this has surrounded the emerging national conversation on systemic racism present in America and its impact on racial minorities in the country. This is an important, necessary conversation, but I’ve been especially interested in the ways race is politicized in the US- some subtle, some quite overt. Literature from Sociology, Psychology, Political Science, Anthropology and Ethnic Studies regularly address issues of race around the world. However, I am most familiar with the political science and economics scholarship on ethnic fractionalization in Continue reading

Faking a Prisoners’ Dilemma to Get Out of Trouble

Imagine you committed a crime alone and the police eventually figure out that you did it. You believe there is enough evidence against you for you to be convicted of the crime, and you will serve a long sentence. You have nothing to offer the police to reduce your sentence or avoid getting in trouble at all. So what could you do? You could make up an accomplice to reduce your sentence. In other words, you could create a prisoners’ dilemma. In the fake prisoners’ dilemma, as long as you confess, no matter what the fake accomplice does (stay silent Continue reading