Entries Tagged as 'political science'

Who Watches the Watchmen?

David Frum October 13th, 2011 at 7:02 pm 15 Comments

Matt Yglesias says he doesn’t “get” why Tyler Cowen would describe public-choice theorem as important.

Here’s why.

There’s much more to public choice than a cynical assertion that politicians act in self-interested ways. Public choice (like so much else!) builds on an insight of the great economist Kenneth Arrow’s that it’s possible for a group of voters to confront a set of choices a, b, c where: a > b > c > a

Think of the children’s game rock, paper, scissors, and you get the idea.

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What if No One Gets Credit for the Recovery?

September 13th, 2011 at 12:24 pm 14 Comments

Seth Masket writes:

The upcoming presidential election is the most important election in a generation. . . . we are in the middle of (and hopefully on the tail end of) a truly catastrophic recession. The economy will recover, although that may not happen for several years. It seems fair to say that the economy will not be roaring again any time soon, meaning that Obama will at best win by a squeaker. If it dips back into recession, he’s toast. Most likely, it will end up just being a really competitive and interesting race on par with 2004.

The party occupying the White House when the economy does finally start booming will get the credit among the public for saving the country. It doesn’t matter so much who was in power when the recession hit or whose policies helped or hurt the recovery. To a large extent, it’s simply a matter of being in the Oval Office at the right time.

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Politics: It’s Not Just About Winning Elections

September 8th, 2011 at 2:01 pm 4 Comments

With the election a mere year and a half away, all sorts of people are making the mistake of viewing all of politics through the narrow lens of election outcomes.

Here are three examples.

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Obama’s Surprisingly Big Base

August 8th, 2011 at 1:59 pm 66 Comments

The downgrade of the national debt, sagging approval ratings and better poll numbers for Mitt Romney are giving many Republicans hope for a victory in the 2012 elections. Given the inherent differences between elections, I wouldn’t count on current polls or anything else (including what I’m about to write) as a sure predictor of presidential elections.

Here’s an interesting data point however: Obama’s approval rating lows, to date, are higher than those for any President since Kennedy.

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Bogus Election Predictions

August 5th, 2011 at 1:16 pm 13 Comments

Like most other systems for predicting the winner of the presidential election using income growth to guess who will win (as Noah Kristula-Green does here) probably isn’t all that valuable.  In fact, sovaldi sale no far-in-advance predictor of reelection—not the 13 Keys to the Presidency (which is pretty darn interesting), sickness not the even the presence or absence of a primary challenger (which I have highlighted myself)—is all that certain. Frankly, the data set for predicting presidential elections is just too small and the dynamics of each election too different for any sweeping generalization to hold.

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Why 2012 is the Republicans’ to Lose

August 4th, 2011 at 2:38 pm 23 Comments

As we get closer to 2012, look there is one chart that pundits and columnists need to constantly refer back to in their writing – a scatterplot that shows how changes in real disposable income correlate with the success of the incumbent party in presidential elections:

(Courtesy of Seth Masket)

The general trend is clear: parties which oversee increases in personal disposable income generally do better in elections than parties which do not.

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Thought From Engelsberg

David Frum June 9th, 2011 at 10:17 am 5 Comments

The Engelsberg conference takes place in an elegant manor house adjoining the largely shuttered steelworks which made the fortune of the manor’s builders.

This year’s seminar topic is ideology and politics, and the discussion opened Thursday afternoon with an attempt to define “ideology” and set the term in historical context.

One discussant proposed a very restrictive definition: ideology is an inherently revolutionary project, an attempt to overthrow everyday arrangements in favor of a new politics that will transform society and human beings. If so, that definition raised in my mind this question: Was Shiite Islam the first ideology when it emerged more than a thousand years ago, promising that justice could be achieved on this earth if only the right rulers were installed?