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 Is America in Decline?

Fictional Political Scientists

Editor’s note: This is a guest post by Carla Martinez Machain. She is an assistant professor in the Department of Political Science at Kansas State University. In having a recent conversation with one of my colleagues in the English department, she noted (with much regret), that the most common characteristic of English professors in fiction is a wish (fulfilled or not) to sleep with their students.  I ran through a few examples in my head (here and here, just to name two); she clearly had a point.  Soon after that, I spoke with someone in the Anthropology department, who decried the Continue reading Fictional Political Scientists

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

The Dark Knight Rises and the Economic Impact of Bane’s Occupation of Gotham

I started working on this post a long time ago and, for whatever reason, never got around to finishing it. So please keep in mind that this was largely written shortly after the film first came out. I should also disclose at the outset that this post will contain spoilers, so if there is some sort of unbelievably powerful force that has kept you from seeing this fantastic movie, please be warned. For those still interested, there’s more after the jump.

On Hegemons and Trade (Part I): Origins

I am currently in the process of entirely rewriting and redesigning one of my earliest academic papers that I want to update with the context of better data and methods in evaluating the hypotheses I initially proposed. That is, I am writing the same paper a second time.  As part of this process, I am revisiting some classic works on the topic of Hegemonic Stability Theory. Consequently, this is part one of a multi-stage blog post series.  Part 1 of the project deals with the origins of Hegemonic Stability Theory, Part 2 will dig into the advancements in the theory Continue reading On Hegemons and Trade (Part I): Origins

Peer Performance in the Review Process: Reviewer Elo

The peer review process is an imperfect construction that helps lend credibility to the publication of research. It is not the final arbiter of who is right, as cumulative research should encourage further discussion, but it is an important barrier that offers a check on research and also provides feedback as authors work to make their findings available to the scientific community and the public in general. Non-academic peer review exists in a variety of venues beyond just scientific research.  One such arena, online video games, may offer an insight of how to encourage active and meaningful participation in the Continue reading Peer Performance in the Review Process: Reviewer Elo

On the Utility of IR Research

At the Duck of Minerva, Josh Busby has a post on the gap between political science research/IR and the policymaking community. I don't have a whole lot to say about the specific content of Busby's post, aside from the fact that I think this is an interesting an important debate to have. (Also, please note that the links in the quotations were provided in Busby's original post).

Math’s PR Problem OR Changing our Educational System

I was listening to the BBC's Global News Podast this morning and found an interesting segment on the utility of mathematical modeling. Professor John Adam's book (which can be found here) looks at how one can model various aspects of urban life—pollution, traffic congestion, number of dentists offices, etc. I've not read the book, but Adam's message in his interview was something that I can sympathize with. In particular, Adam talks about the degree to which the educational process divorces math from any kind of applied usage. Learning math in this way, he goes on, is partially responsible for why Continue reading Math’s PR Problem OR Changing our Educational System

NSF Funding Amendment, Part II

Erik Voeten at the Monkey Cage with an update on the amendment that cuts NSF funding for political science programs. A version of the amendment passed the House with a vote of 218-208. You can see the breakdown of the votes here (thanks for Erik for so conveniently providing the link to the votes). Erik also notes a couple of important points: 1) This is not the end of the issue, and 2) No other discipline was singled out in the same way as political science.  Other interesting facts: Jeff Flake has a BA in International Relations (see his official House Continue reading NSF Funding Amendment, Part II

Two Comics for Friday

If you are not subscribed to these two comics, then this will be new to you.  If you already have them on your RSS feed, well, you get to suffer their propagation.*  The ever-linkable XKCD offers the rational incentives on leaving reviews for hotels (and other places). Poor reviews may drive demand down, which should lower the price of your consumption. SMBC, often delving into philosophy, science, and economics, has offered two economics-related comics in the past two days. Yesterday's comic posits the economists value of humans versus other objects and today's comic offers a, perhaps obvious, comic on the incentives Continue reading Two Comics for Friday