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

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


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