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With all the noise created by a 24/7 news cycle, it can be hard to really grasp what's going on in politics today. We provide a fresh perspective on the biggest political stories not through opinion and anecdotes, but rigorous scholarship, massive data sets and a deep knowledge of theory. Understand the political science beyond the headlines with Harris School of Public Policy Professors William Howell, Anthony Fowler and Wioletta Dziuda. Our show is part of the University of Chicago Podcast ...
 
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show series
 
The midterm elections are fast approaching, and with rampant inflation one of the main concerns for Democrats is the state of the economy. It’s commonly accepted that some voters cast their ballots solely on the price of gas and bread, but does the science back that up? There is a classic paper by political scientist Gerald Kramer from 1971 that ca…
 
Something curious has happened in American politics. Andrew Yang of 2016 presidential election fame has launched a third party, The Forward Party, and he's attracting some attention. A key feature of this party is a belief in ranked choice voting and raising up the possibility that through ranked choice voting, we might recover our our democracy.We…
 
Nearly a decade ago, the Supreme Court effectively removed the "preclearance" process in its Shelby County v. Holder decision. That process had been implemented for decades as part of the Voting Rights Act and required places with a history of racial discrimination to get approval from the Justice Department before changing their voting procedures.…
 
Advocates for the striking down of Roe by the Supreme Court say this will improve our politics by allowing people’s preferences to be better represented at the State level. But do State and local governments accurately match the preferences of their citizens when responding to their demands? It’s a difficult question to answer, but one paper by NYU…
 
There’s long been a belief that the Supreme Court rarely departs from precedent. But as the court appears to intend to strike down Roe, we’re wondering what the data tell us about how consistent the Supreme Court has been at honoring precedent. And, is the Supreme Court more likely to depart from precedent in constitutional cases than other types? …
 
There are many questions surrounding the nature of money in politics, but one of the first order questions we should be asking is who exactly is donating that money? We now have access to more data than ever due to a dramatic increase in small donations through online fundraising platforms. Georgetown University Economist Laurent Bouton digs throug…
 
As the academic year draws to a close at The University of Chicago, our hosts are busy attending to the last minute activities of a professor. So, this week we wanted to re-share one of our favorite episodes interrogating a radically different proposal to fix the filibuster rather than abolishing it altogether. The filibuster is still one of the mo…
 
One of the biggest questions surrounding the conflict in Ukraine is to what extent the shadow of nuclear war affects the degree of involvement by Western countries. Much of the literature in nuclear deterrence theory assumes the incentives of mutually assured destruction are strong enough to avoid a nuclear war, and hence the existence of nuclear c…
 
When it comes to cable news, Fox and CNN have pretty partisan viewers. So, what would happen if Fox viewers tuned into CNN for a month? Would they suddenly adopt different views more aligned with CNN? UC Berkeley political scientist David Broockman and his colleagues wanted to find out. When they paid Fox News viewers to watch CNN, they found that …
 
By now, we've heard a lot about how state-owned Russian television is distorting the truth about the war in Ukraine. But Russian TV doesn't just reach Russian viewers. Some Ukrainians can receive its analog television signals. To understand how this propaganda influences Ukrainians, we turned to New York University political scientist Arturas Rozen…
 
We know that lobbyists have the power to influence politics. But not all lobbyists are working on behalf of corporate interest groups. Sometimes, city officials actually hire lobbyists to represent the interests of their constituents in the state legislature. Why would cities do this? This is what New York University political science professor Jul…
 
Russia has invaded Ukraine. This horrible global crisis raises questions about Putin’s ultimate ambitions, and how nations can make credible deterrent threats in incredible circumstances. We’re not experts on the Ukraine conflict, but we can dive into the political science research to get some clarity on the underlying dynamics that may be at play.…
 
You've probably heard this one before: college football games and shark attacks influence elections in favor of incumbents. Surprising findings like these are exciting, and seem to tell us a lot about the stability of our democracy and the rationality of voters. If you listen to our podcasts regularly, you’ve probably also heard this one: Anthony F…
 
We often think of polarization as a single policy spectrum with Democrats to the left and Republicans to the right. But what if this entire framework is wrong, and this error itself is worsening the divides in our country? This is what Michigan State University political scientist Matt Grossman argues in his article: “Ideological Republicans and Gr…
 
If you watch cable news or open your twitter feed it may seem like Americans are more polarized than ever. It certainly feels like everyone is on the far ends of two diametrically opposed ideologies. But, if you look closely at the data, this current conventional wisdom may be wrong.Our very own co-host Anthony Fowler has developed a reputation on …
 
There’s a long tradition in political science of using voter rationality to test the health of our democracy. But could this myopia be misguided? Are there any situations where irrational and uninformed voters could actually generate a healthier democracy? That’s exactly what University of Chicago political scientist Ethan BdM examines in his paper…
 
When it comes to polarization, most people in American politics blame the voters. But much of the political science data suggests most voters are actually moderates. So, where are all the moderate politicians? In a new book, “Who Wants To Run?: How The Devaluing of Political Office Drives Polarization”, Stanford political scientist Andrew Hall argu…
 
In 1964, political scientist Philip Converse published one of the most citied papers in the discipline: “The nature of belief systems in mass publics”. It attempted to define just how consistent and sophisticated are the political beliefs of the American public. In our current moment, when democracy seems in the balance of an ideologically polarize…
 
As the delta variant of the coronavirus continues to surge across the U.S. the question of should we lockdown again is on a lot of people’s minds. But, shouldn’t we stop and look at the data to see if lockdowns work?In a new paper, our very own Anthony Fowler has done just that. And what the data say about the efficacy of state imposed shelter in p…
 
The University of Chicago Podcast Network is excited to announce the launch of a new show, it’s called "Entitled" and it’s about human rights. Co-hosted by lawyers and UChicago Law School Professors, Claudia Flores and Tom Ginsburg, Entitled explores the stories around why rights matter and what’s the matter with rights.We’re taking a much needed b…
 
There’s a long standing debate in political science about the problem of strategic voting: when voters cast their ballots not in line with their true preferences, but for the candidate they hate the least whom they think is also most likely to win. In a new paper, University of Chicago political scientist Andrew Eggers shows that a completely diffe…
 
You’ve probably seen a lot of surveys recently about how many Republicans believe the 2020 election was stolen, or that they support the January 6th insurrection on Capitol Hill, or that they don’t trust the vaccine. Do these responses predict their behavior in the real world? Or are they just partisan cheerleading? Northwestern Political Scientist…
 
Whether it’s trying to convince you to vote for a particular candidate or get vaccinated, the identity of the person who knocks on your door may matter. So who are the people who volunteer to do this canvassing? Are they likely to succeed? These are all questions that Harvard political scientist Ryan Enos investigates in his paper, “Party Activists…
 
Infrastructure. It’s one of the hottest topics in politics today. But what does the research say about the effects and politics of infrastructure investment? Political scientist, Jon Rogowski, from the University of Chicago has a surprising paper that shows the long-term economic outcomes of post office developments in the United States. But it als…
 
It seems like extremists politicians like Marjorie Taylor Greene receive a disproportionate amount of attention and money. This has led many political actors to believe that extremism is good politics. There’s even some scientific research to back up that claim. But a new paper by Professor of Politics at Princeton, Brandice Canes-Wrone, shows the …
 
The debate about abolishing the filibuster isn’t going anywhere. Proponents say it forces compromise and consensus, while detractors claim it leads to gridlock and minority rule. But is there a third option? Harvard scholar, Kenneth Shepsle, has a radically different proposal that addresses all these concerns without abolishing the filibuster altog…
 
A lot of people are unhappy with the ideological make-up of the Supreme Court. They say it doesn’t reflect the majority of the country. President Biden’s commission tasked with reforming the Supreme Court started meeting for the first time in May of this year. One of the proposals they’re going to consider is setting term limits on Justices. But th…
 
We’ve been doing this podcast for over a year and we’ve covered a lot of research, but each paper is far from the final word on any topic. On this episode, it’s time to do some updating. We’re going to take three recent papers and show how they change or deepen our understanding of prior papers we’ve covered on this podcast.…
 
Does the ability for minority parties to delay and obstruct legislation force the majority party to only pass bills that are more moderate? It’s a question that informs much of our political debate around dilatory tactics like the filibuster. University of Michigan Political Scientist, Christian Fong, has a paper that models this question and argue…
 
There’s a lot of debate in our politics about whether we should have stricter voter ID laws. But both sides are having an argument based almost entirely on assumptions because data on the real effect of these laws are scarce. Not anymore. In a brand new paper, Stanford Political Scientist Justin Grimmer gives us a fresh look at whether stricter vot…
 
This year the U.S. will go through its decennial redistricting process, which is resurfacing our national conversation around gerrymandering. But Stanford Professor of Political Science, Jonathan Rodden, says gerrymandering isn't the least of our problems when it comes to the politics of geography. In his book, "Why Cities Lose", Rodden illustrates…
 
Are land-use regulations incredibly boring? Not quite. As our guest argues, these seemingly banal policies could be causing modern-day segregation. In a new paper, Jessica Trounstine, chair of the political science department a the University of California Merced, makes a strong case for why land-use policies aren’t as race-neutral as they seem, an…
 
We’re constantly told that we’re trapped in media “echo chambers”, that our media diets mirror our political leanings. But what do the data say? Is it possible that a majority of us have a much more moderate media diet than we assume? A new paper by Andrew Guess, Assistant Professor of Politics at Princeton, provides a completely unique data set th…
 
When was the last time you voted split-ticket in an election? It may not be surprising to hear that our elections have become increasingly nationalized in the last few decades. Most people vote for a single party straight down the ballot. The question is, why? Daniel Moskowitz, Assistant Professor of Political Science at the Harris School of Public…
 
Political scandal is a historically defining aspect of American politics. But, there’s been very little scholarship on the political incentives that surround the production and consequences of scandals. In a recent paper, “Political Scandal: A Theory”, our very own Will Howell and Wioletta Dziuda create a new model of political scandal that makes t…
 
One of the defining discussions of the Trump presidency centers on the fate of our democracy. In the aftermath of his populist presidency, and as we transition to the Biden era, we’re wondering whether the future is bright or dim. There’s no better scholar to put this question to than the University of Chicago Professor and co-author of “Why Nation…
 
It’s an extraordinarily distressing time for democracy in America. The storming of the Capitol and the votes by some Republican elected officials questioning the results of the 2020 election have many asking what force could act as a check on these increasing anti-democratic tendencies in American political life? A paper from Milan Svolik, Prof. of…
 
It’s been an incredibly divisive year, and we’re constantly told we’re more politically divided than ever. But, as our team takes some time with their families for the holidays, we want to re-share a more hopeful conversation with you that sheds some new light on these seemingly unbridgeable divides in our country. We hope you enjoy it, and we’ll b…
 
It’s long been thought in political science that giving people resources through government programs will get them more involved in politics. But this has always been a difficult question to answer in a controlled environment. That is until the 2008 Medicaid expansion in Oregon. There was an extensive research initiative done on the roll out of tha…
 
This week, we took some time off for Thanksgiving so we're going to feature another University of Chicago Podcast Network show. It’s called Big Brains. On this episode, they spoke with Professor James Robinson, author of the renowned book Why Nations Fail, about his groundbreaking theories on why certain nations succeed and others fail as well as t…
 
Most of America, and a lot of the world, has been singularly focused on the U.S. presidential election. With so much media attention on this one event, could foreign actors be taking advantage of this moment to do unpopular things? In a new paper, economist Ruben Durante from the University of Pompeu Fabra argues that politicians strategically time…
 
Last week, the American people elected Joe Biden to be the forty-sixth president of the United States. This was an incredibly contentious and complex election. We decided to get together to try and make sense of what just happened. On this episode, we discuss what message the historic turn out, for both candidates, sends about Trumpism and the incr…
 
The appointment of Amy Coney Barrett would make the Supreme Court more conservative than it has been in decades. Importantly, it also would be more conservative than the majority of the public. But one piece of political science research suggests that an out-of-step Court will not simply have its way in the years ahead. Judges like to present thems…
 
On this second edition of the "Just Another Politics Podcast Special", we decide to join our fellow political podcasts in sitting back in our armchairs and sharing our thoughts on the first Presidential debate. The day after the Vice Presidential debate, we recorded a response to what happened and what we think its affect on the 2020 election could…
 
On this "Just Another Politics Podcast Special", we decide to join our fellow political podcasts in sitting back in our armchairs and sharing our thoughts on the first Presidential debate. The day after the debate, we recorded a response to what happened and what we think its affect on the 2020 election could be. We think this insightful conversati…
 
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