Category Archives: US Politics

Crafty Mothers

The Chronicle of Higher Education reports that Duke University is planning to publish the PhD thesis of S. Ann Dunham, the late mother of President Obama. Titled Surviving Against the Odds: Village Industry in Indonesia, it is a study carried … Continue reading

Posted in Eclectic Observations, US Politics

Do you see Obama as Black or White?

[Tirta Susilo is a PhD student in psychology, and a co-author of mine on a recent study, published in (appropriately enough) the Journal of Economic Psychology. Tirta has written a guest-post on some fascinating new research about skin colour and … Continue reading

Posted in Australian Politics, US Politics | 1 Comment

Local lads

My father – presently in Malaysia – emails an observation about the US Presidential race. This must be the very first US election where the candidates of both major political parties each spent some years living in Southeast Asia, our … Continue reading

Posted in US Politics | 2 Comments

A question of Vice

Who will be Obama’s running mate? According to Intrade, Clinton is the favourite, with a 24% chance. Next in line is Virginia Senator Jim Webb (19%) and Bill Richardson (8%). And reflecting the huge degree of uncertainty in such a pick, … Continue reading

Posted in US Politics | 2 Comments

Obama in St Paul

If you haven’t yet seen it, I can highly recommend watching Obama’s victory speech in St Paul, Minnesota (link above, transcript here). Behind his Philadelphia race speech, I think it’s the best of his career. (Clinton’s concession speech yesterday was also pretty good, though … Continue reading

Posted in US Politics | 4 Comments

Thanks for the votes

At 39, Dalton Conley is the chair of the New York University department of sociology. He’s also one of my favourite sociologists, having written about race, class, health, and biology. His work ranges across lived experience (including Honky, a superbly written … Continue reading

Posted in Universities, US Politics | 1 Comment

Leadership by the Famous Paul 't Hart

My political science colleague Paul ‘t Hart is giving a talk on Wednesday (details here) on the topic ‘Leadership by the Famous: Celebrity as Political Capital’. Here’s the paper. For a more ascerbic perspective on the same topic, here’s Michael … Continue reading

Posted in Australian Politics, US Politics

Is Obama Still for Merit Pay?

There’s a piece in the New Republic attempting to work out Obama’s views on education reform, and particularly whether he’s still for merit pay. It’s an important topic, but I find it a smidgin frustrating that the author spends so … Continue reading

Posted in Economics of Education, US Politics | 1 Comment

The Politics of Hope

My AFR oped today is on Barack Obama and the politics of hope. Full text over the fold.

Posted in Australian Politics, US Politics | 10 Comments

Backgrounder on prediction markets

The latest issue of Scientific American has an article on prediction markets. Those who know the literature won’t learn that much from it, but it does have a neat history on the Iowa Electronic Markets. My favourite quote: When the … Continue reading

Posted in US Politics | 1 Comment

Parochial, US?

When I first visited the US (at age 18), I was struck by how much the mainstream media focused on domestic events. ‘How parochial’, I thought. Not like Australia, where our media covers lots of things happening outside the country. … Continue reading

Posted in Media, US Politics | 8 Comments

It's a coin toss on who'll face McCain

Hard to know whether exit polling numbers have leaked yet (it’s coming up to 4pm East Coast US time), but Intrade has McCain an 89% chance of being Republican nominee, and Clinton and Obama both on 50%. Nailbiting. (FWIW, I’m … Continue reading

Posted in US Politics | 5 Comments

Who cares about inequality?

The Maxwell School has released its latest poll on Americans’ attitudes to inequality. As Norberto Bobbio once wrote, attitudes to inequality are the best way of gauging a person’s position on the left/right spectrum, and their poll strongly reinforces that.

Posted in Inequality, US Politics | 3 Comments

'08 Odds Updated

The ’08 race is changing so fast, I’m having trouble keeping up. Here’s the Iowa Electronic Markets’ estimates on the probability of various nominees on both sides. Democratic: Clinton 54%, Obama 45%, Edwards 2%, Rest 1% Republican: McCain 45%, Giuliani … Continue reading

Posted in US Politics

More Contingent Presidential Markets

I mentioned recently Robin Hanson’s discussion of the contingent Presidential nomination prediction markets. Now Robin draws our attention to some new markets. Wow.  Under “politics,” next to the “US Pres. Decisions” section I announced Friday, now has an “Impact … Continue reading

Posted in US Politics

Update '08

According to the Iowa Electronic Markets, Obama is now a 58% chance of winning the Democratic nomination, and Clinton a 38% chance. Between them, John Edwards, Bill Richardson and the rest of the field are a 4% chance. And if … Continue reading

Posted in US Politics | 4 Comments

Markets '08

Justin Wolfers is writing a series of columns on prediction markets for WSJ Online. Here’s his first.

Posted in US Politics | 1 Comment

It's been a good year for US political comedians

In the New York Times, Daniel Kurztman catalogues 2007’s most laughable US political antics. My favourite paragraph: Best Fodder for the Late-Night Comedians: Senator Larry Craig (R-estroom) gave “new meaning to the word caucusing” (David Letterman) when he was caught … Continue reading

Posted in US Politics

Is six hours enough?

In the latest Democratic Presidential candidates debate, the candidates were asked whether they supported a longer school day. Ed Sector parses their answers.

Posted in Economics of Education, US Politics | 2 Comments

Glaeser on Krugman

Ed Glaeser, who is always worth reading, writes a feisty fact-filled review of Krugman’s recent pro-Democrat book. He begins: Human knowledge is produced by intellectual combat that exposes weak premises and faulty conclusions to withering challenge. We are often improved … Continue reading

Posted in US Politics | 1 Comment


Another terrific paper from Steven Levitt – this one coauthored with Roland Fryer, one of America’s top young economists. They’ve turned their attention to the economics of the KKK. Hatred and Profits: Getting Under the Hood of the Ku Klux Klan … Continue reading

Posted in Social Capital, US Politics | 1 Comment

Family Ties

A casual comment in an email from my coauthor Christine Neill made me realise that I’d forgotten to blog on this – very cool – paper. My favourite summary statistic is that 9% of US Congressional representatives have close relatives who also … Continue reading

Posted in Australian Politics, US Politics | 5 Comments


For any political tragics who are mildly curious as to precisely what books Kevin Rudd bought George Bush yesterday, an insider tells me that they were: David Day’s biography of John Curtin (I had previously thought that it might have … Continue reading

Posted in Australian Politics, US Politics | 3 Comments

Poor Policies

Ed Glaeser has a fascinating op-ed that gets at the question: should government focus on helping poor people, or poor places? (HT: Mark Thoma)

Posted in Inequality, US Politics | 15 Comments

On Leadership

In today’s NYT mag, Michael Ignatieff has one of the nicest essays on political leadership that I’ve read in a long time.

Posted in Iraq, US Politics | 1 Comment

How to turn betting odds into probabilities

A colleague emailed me today, asking how to turn betting odds into probabilities, and reminded me that this is something I’ve been meaning to blog about for some time. To some readers, it will be obvious, but to non-gamblers, it … Continue reading

Posted in Australian Politics, US Politics | 7 Comments

Dems on YouTube

The Democrats’ CNN/YouTube debate last night was one of the best political things I’ve seen on TV for a long time. If you didn’t see it and are pressed for time, all the questions are here. My favourites were gay … Continue reading

Posted in US Politics

The Next Ross Perot?

Last week I wrote about the congestion fee proposed by Republican mayor of New York Michael Bloomberg. Well, now it’s Independent Michael Bloomberg. Doubtless plenty of Democrats are keen to fuel his ambitions to be President Bloomberg, though the prospect of … Continue reading

Posted in US Politics | 4 Comments

It's the genocide, stupid

Aussie* Bec Hamilton has an op-ed in the Baltimore Sun, showing that young Americans regard Darfur as one of the most important foreign policy issues. at 18 percent. Darfur had more than three times the support found for negotiating peace … Continue reading

Posted in US Politics | 1 Comment

College for Everyone?

The Democratic Presidential candidates faced off in New Hampshire last week. It’s an entertaining debate if you have the time to watch it. But there were also some snippets about education that I thought neatly illustrated the differences in educational … Continue reading

Posted in Australian Politics, Economics of Education, US Politics | 2 Comments