How the US military’s overseas troop deployments affect global defense spending

This post is based on the article “Regions of Hierarchy and Security: US Troop Deployments, Spatial Relations, and Defense Burdens”, by Michael Allen (Boise State University), Michael Flynn (Kansas State University), and Julie VanDusky–Allen (Boise State University), which is forthcoming in International Interactions. Since the end of World War II, the United States has deployed tens-of-thousands of military personnel overseas. In spite of their importance to foreign policy, relatively little research has focused on understanding the effects of these deployments. However, recent years have seen an increase in research on the effects of such deployments on a wide range of Continue reading How the US military’s overseas troop deployments affect global defense spending

How Legislator Professionalization Constrains Executive Decree Issuance in Latin America

This is a guest post by Alissandra T. Stoyan (Assistant Professor, Department of Political Science, Kansas State University) and Sarah Shair-Rosenfield (Assistant Professor, School of Politics and Global Studies, Arizona State University). This post is based on their article, “Constraining Executive Action: The Role of Legislator Professionalization in Latin America,” forthcoming at Governance and now available through Early View online: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/gove.12210/abstract Traditionally Latin American presidents have been viewed as excessively powerful, given both their constitutionally-endowed authority as well as their tendency to ignore the rule of law. Yet, across the region today, legislatures are asserting themselves and challenging executives. Brazilian Continue reading How Legislator Professionalization Constrains Executive Decree Issuance in Latin America

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

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 Calling All Martyrs: Recruitment Incentives & Terror Attack Casualties

While the IR people are away, the Americanists will play.

Editor’s note: This is a guest post by Joshua N. Zingher, a doctoral candidate in the Department of Political Science at Binghamton University. The content of this post is based on Josh’s paper, ‘An Analysis of the Changing Social Bases of America’s Political Parties: 1952-2008’, appearing in Electoral Studies. This piece is cross-posted at the London School of Economics’ USAPP Blog, which can be found here.    Demographic changes mean that traditional Republican constituencies are shrinking as the Democrats’ grow. It is difficult to discuss electoral politics in the United States without talking in terms of social groups.  Journalistic accounts of party Continue reading While the IR people are away, the Americanists will play.

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.

The Day of the Doctor and the Veil of Ignorance (Warning: Spoilers!)

The 50th Anniversary episode of “Doctor Who” aired this week in theatres throughout the world. There was an interesting scene towards the end of the movie, which I would like to share. Below I give a very simplified version of the scene. There are two main characters in the scene, a human and a shape-shifting alien refugee that took on the human’s form. The human and the alien are located in a secret storage facility in London and it has the most dangerous alien weapons on Earth. The alien wants to take over the earth, and she plans to use Continue reading The Day of the Doctor and the Veil of Ignorance (Warning: Spoilers!)

Educational Attainment and Race in Alabama

A part of my responsibilities as a post-doc here at Alabama entails helping faculty with seeking out external funding for projects. One of these projects has involved developing a program to promote educational outreach throughout the state. In the course of this work I’ve been digging through some data on educational attainment rates in Alabama. In terms of learning about the political and economic characteristics of my new state, this has been an informative exercise. I also think it’s helpful in illustrating the benefits of digging through your data, and helps to shed some light on the benefits of considering Continue reading Educational Attainment and Race in Alabama

Teaching Introductory Graduate Methods: Some Ideas About Understanding Sampling Distributions

Everyone has their own way of teaching methods, but in this entry I thought I’d share a brief exercise that I thought worked well. This code was developed when I was the teaching assistant for a second-semester methods class focusing on regression. Specifically, this was a section of the class from the first few weeks that dealt with two things: first, showing/repeating the idea of a sampling distribution, and second, showing some introductory code on loops and graphics. The code uses the ggplot2 package for R. This software, and this package, have (in my experience) a somewhat steep learning curve Continue reading Teaching Introductory Graduate Methods: Some Ideas About Understanding Sampling Distributions

History vs. Political Science? Temporally Constrained Studies and Generalizability.

So this is my first post back from a prolonged break. As I mentioned in a previous—albeit brief—entry, I’ve had a busy but enjoyable summer. I got married, defended my dissertation at the beginning of July, and my wife and I have since relocated to Tuscaloosa, Alabama where I’ve accepted a position as a post-doc. We’re both pretty excited about the move and we’re really enjoying ourselves. Having grown up in the Adirondacks in upstate New York, summers that extend beyond a two month window have a certain appeal. And now that we’re getting settled in down here, I’m slowly Continue reading History vs. Political Science? Temporally Constrained Studies and Generalizability.