In the Company of Scholars
Jacob Hacker's talk "Is American Politics Undermining the
American Dream," addressed how rising economic inequality is linked to
changes in American politics and policy, with a special emphasis on the
current election season. Watch the video here.
Informal Talk: Larry Summers
Lawrence Summers, Charles W. Eliot University Professor at Harvard University's
Kennedy School of Government and former president of Harvard University
(2001-2006) who worked in two Democratic administrations, gave an informal talk at ISPS on November 14. He told the gathering that the
election should not be read as a mandate for large scale progressive policies,
redistribution, and the welfare state, given that it was a close election for an
incumbent President. More here.
Informal Talk: Cass Sunstein
Cass Sunstein, former director of the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs in the Obama Administration, gave an
informal talk at ISPS on November 13 where he discussed what drove him
to pursue scholarship at the intersection of law, political science and
behavioral economics as well as public service. He talked about the academics who influenced his thinking and what it was like to go from academia to the White House. Dan Feder blogs here.
Detaining Democracy Conference
On November 8 & 9, Vesla Weaver, Chris Wildeman, and Jacob Hacker
moderated the conference "Detaining Democracy" that examined how
increasing contact with criminal justice institutions—from prisons and
jail to probation, parole, and police officers—shapes American civic
life. The conference brought together internationally recognized
scholars from political
science, sociology, economics, public policy, education, and law. The
results will appear in a special issue of the Annals of the American
Academy of Political and Social Science in 2014.
ISPS Panel Discusses "Teetering on the Fiscal Cliff"
On December 4th, David Mayhew, Jacob Hacker and Zack Cooper held
a panel at the Yale Law School, "Teetering on the Fiscal Cliff," concerning social programs and government spending in the next
Obama presidency. Mayhew gave the historical framework of prior financial showdowns when, as now, the House was
divided, noting that austerity, tax hikes and spending cuts are not
popular in any presidency. Hacker presented the growth of inequality, showing how the
richest .01% of income has soared in the last generation and how it is linked to politics and policy. Cooper laid out the rising cost of medicine, noting that the main drivers of spending are medical
technology and unproductive spending. Cooper said, "Right now, the government is projected to spend about $14.5 trillion on Medicare and Medicaid through 2020 and what we're arguing about is roughly $200 billion, about 1% of the money. It's really a false debate." Read more.
ISPS and the 2012 Elections
What They're Saying
The work of several ISPS experts relates to elections. From voter behavior to voter data mining; from the dramatically rising costs of government health care programs to the issues of redistribution and taxation, we have compiled some of the highlights featuring the 2012 election where ISPS research has had an impact.
Moneyball for Politics
Alan Gerber’s work on voter messaging that he co-authored with Don Green was featured in a New Yorker article “Calculating Campaigns” by James Suroweicki, and in Sasha Issenberg’s new book, The Victory Lab (what
Politico called “Moneyball for Politics”). Both authors drew on
Gerber and Green’s research using randomized experiments on voter
turnout that has effectively upended conventional campaign thinking.
Their findings: Deluging the public with mass media doesn’t change
voters’ minds as much as social pressure, door-to-door
canvassing, personal appeals and micro targeting, especially in very
close races. Gerber and Green published Get Out the Vote (GOTV) in 2008, and it is used by both parties as their go-to book for mobilizing voters. See their recent textbook on experiments.
What We Talk About When We Talk About Debt
Zack Cooper put into perspective "What's At Stake in this Election"
about future healthcare costs, in particular, the exploding costs of
Medicare, in a paper released jointly by ISPS and LSE, and in a video.
“Our ability as a country to rein in healthcare will determine our
fiscal future. Healthcare is driving our debt." View and read here.
Are They Keeping a File On Me?
Eitan Hersh joined a panel of experts on NPR’s Kojo Nnamdi Show
in a discussion about the use of sophisticated data tools that mine
individuals’ email, social media, and buying habits to be able to micro
target voters for political fund raising. Hersh said: “It’s good
because it gives campaigns new information about what voters care
about.” But it’s bad “because we don’t want this information to move
over to the government rolls. We don’t want a return to old world
politics.” Hersh posed the questions: What is the role of public policy
in regulating this data? What is the danger of the government collecting
all this information and using it in the political process? Listen here.
The Next Four Years
Jacob Hacker participated in a special episode of @YaleLive today,
along with two other Yale scholars — Beverly Gage and David Bach —
assessing the issues that will be front and center in Obama’s second
term. Hacker said that there are very few mandates for Obama from this
election, "but the president clearly thinks he has a mandate to raise
taxes on the wealthy." Watch here.
Getting Out the Woman Vote
Less than two months away from Election Day, NPR’s All Things Considered
did a story on the McMann-Murphy fight for the Connecticut Senate seat.
It was a close race back then and each candidate made a concerted
effort to court the women vote. Political Science professor, Ellie Powell,
weighed in, "She [Linda McMann] has managed to portray that she's done a
lot for Connecticut women, whereas Murphy's been in the House of
Representatives taking votes with the Democrats, which are sort of more
traditionally allied with many women's issues." Listen here.
The Google Search for Mormon
Dan Butler, along with former ISPS Director, Don Green, blogged at Monkey Cage about how politics played a pedagogical function. Using Google Trends they charted the word searches for "Mormon" and "Romney" during the GOP nomination battle. As primary elections drew close in states, there was a remarkable uptick in the search for the two words as Americans sought out information about the first presidential Mormon candidate. Read here.
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