Two Lessons Voters Learned This Week

FutUndBeidl via Compfight 1. Do not take selfies in a voting booth. You could inadvertently photograph your own ballot or someone else’s ballot. You have the right to vote by secret ballot- make sure to keep it that way. 2. Voters who live in states that require voter identification cards- make sure to bring your identification cards with you to vote. Alternatively, make sure to bring a staffer with you who can run home and get your credentials for you just in case you forget them. That way voter identification laws will only cause you a “little bit of an inconvenience.”

The Rise, Decline, and Rebirth of Extra-State Conflicts

NMCB-3 participates in an eight-day jungle training program.

Official U.S. Navy Page via Compfight In the most recent update to the Correlates of War (COW) War databases (update to v4.0), the COW project added a new category of war to include wars between non-state actors, bringing us up to a total of four different types of wars: Inter-state, Intra-state, Extra-state, and Non-state wars.  For those who are less familiar with this vein of international relations research, inter-state wars are those that occur between two recognized states.  Intra-state wars are wars within a state between a state actor and a non-state actor within its territory; these are better known as civil wars.  Extra-state Continue reading The Rise, Decline, and Rebirth of Extra-State Conflicts

The Spatial and Demographic Determinants of Racial Threat

Does familiarity with members of out-groups breed contempt or acceptance?  The relationship between the geographic distribution of ethnic and racial minorities and white attitudes has been the subject of considerable academic debate since V.O. Key’s 1949 landmark Southern Politics.  In Southern Politics, Key advanced the claim that white racial conservatism was the strongest in places with large African American populations.  Key noted that white turnout in support of the segregationist Democratic Party and the Jim Crow apartheid system was strongest in places where African Americans constituted a large proportion of the population and thus presented a potential political and cultural Continue reading The Spatial and Demographic Determinants of Racial Threat

Military Deployments, Human Development, and Growth

Guatemalan families wait in line outside a Medical Readiness Training Exercise during Beyond the Horizon 2014, Zacapa, Guatemala, April 21, 2014.

The deployment of US military forces has received a bump in attention over the past year or two. Most recently, as Michael Allen has discussed, US military forces were deployed to Poland in response to the deteriorating situation in Ukraine. In 2011 President Obama sent 100 US military personnel to Uganda to help track Joseph Kony, bolstering forces that were already deployed to the region. Obama recently moved to strengthen the presence of US forces in Uganda, sending aircraft and an additional 150 Air Force personnel in mid-March. According to the Washington Post article linked above, the total number of Continue reading Military Deployments, Human Development, and Growth

Barriers to Market Entry, the Informal Sector and Growth

redtape

My first post for the Quantitative Peace highlights the pervasive problem registering a business poses for economic development around the world.  Entrepreneurs in developing countries often operate in the informal marketplace: transactions occur in a cash economy, taxes are rarely collected and enterprises are not represented in any formal, legal sense. These countries feature vibrant markets at the local level, but have great difficulty harnessing markets to achieve growth. One reason for this is entrepreneurs without legal standing cannot expand their businesses when their businesses do not officially exist. These entrepreneurs cannot use their assets as collateral for small-business loans, Continue reading Barriers to Market Entry, the Informal Sector and Growth

What Role Does Age Play In Presidential Elections?

Hillary Clinton in Hampton, NH

Marc Nozell via Compfight With Hilary Clinton seemingly poised to run for the Democratic nomination for President in 2016, a fair amount has been written on her age (see, for example, http://www.cnn.com/2014/04/21/opinion/frum-hillary-clinton-double-standard/ ). She’s been in the public eye for a long time, which probably explains part of this commentary, and it also seems likely that there’s also a gendered element to it. As a female candidate, she can probably expect increased negative attention on relatively superficial factors like her appearance, tone, and age. But is some of this discussion also rooted in the contrast between Clinton’s experience and Obama’s Continue reading What Role Does Age Play In Presidential Elections?

The United States is Still a Democracy

Polity IV map from http://www.systemicpeace.org/polity/polity4.htm

In the last few weeks, several media outlets have reported on a new study on American democracy by Martin Gilens and Benjamin I. Page . The headlines include: “Study: The US is an oligarchy, not a democracy” “It’s Official: America is an Oligarchy and NOT a Democracy” “Princeton Concludes What Kind of Government America Really Has, and It’s Not a Democracy” “U.S. more oligarchy than democracy, study suggests” “Too Important for Clever Titles – Scientific Study Says We are an Oligarchy” “The Silver Lining to Our Oligarchy.” Gilens and Page’s article, forthcoming in Perspectives on Politics this fall, examines which types Continue reading The United States is Still a Democracy