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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
 
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…
 
Every Presidential election, we talk about “getting out the vote”. But what really works and what doesn’t in terms of getting people to go to the polls? And how will the coronavirus pandemic alter those efforts? We speak to one political scientist who has conducted more studies into “get out the vote” campaigns than any other. Professor Donald Gree…
 
We’re heading into the homestretch of the 2020 election and, as October draws near, we want to take a research focused look at the famed “October Surprise.” It’s a political notion that says, if you want to damage a presidential candidate with a political bombshell you’ve discovered, you should wait until just before the election to release the acc…
 
In November, Kamala Harris could be elected the first woman to ever serve as president or vice president. Why are women so underrepresented in the highest levels of government? And what does this imply about the women who do reach those levels? In this episode, we discuss a paper from Professors Christopher Berry at the University of Chicago and Sa…
 
How is it that in a Democracy with massive inequality, where the poor have just as much voting power as the rich, do the wealthy continue to get what they want politically? It’s a question that’s troubled political thinkers for a long time. Political scientists Jacob Hacker and Paul Pierson have an answer in their new book “Let Them Eat Tweets: How…
 
Who shows up to vote in America, and why do they do it? These are two of the most debated and contentious questions in political science. After almost every election, you’ll hear experts and pundits lamenting the lack of voter turnout. But does the research have anything to say about what policies would increase representation? In this episode, our…
 
The dramatic rise of populism in America, embodied in President Trump, presents a real threat to democracy. Our very own professor William Howell argues that the root of the problem lies with ineffective government and that the solution may be to give the President agenda setting power. We delve into his new book “Presidents, Populism, and the Cris…
 
One of the most anticipated developments of the 2020 election is who Democratic Presidential nominee, Joe Biden, will pick to be his running mate. One thing is almost certain though, whoever he picks will be a women. And that person very well could be the first female President of the United States. Does the political science scholarship tell us an…
 
In the last few weeks, the killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Rayshard Brooks, and many other black people at the hands of police have driven nationwide protests. To be true to the mission of our show, we want to look at this complex moment through the lens of political science research. There’s almost no paper getting more attention at this…
 
One cause for concern during a pandemic that hasn’t gotten much attention is what else politicians might be doing while we’re focused on the virus. What laws are they passing, what regulations are they getting rid of, and could their actions be more in line with their donors than their voters? Professor Jorg Spenkuch from Northwestern University ha…
 
It may be hard to believe during coronavirus, but the 2020 election will soon be upon us. As usual, news outlets will play a crucial role informing the public about the candidates. But could their decisions actual swing elections? That’s the argument put forward by Prof. Gregory Martin from Stanford University in a recent paper. The data he’s colle…
 
One of the increasingly prominent concerns around the coronavirus is how we’ll handle voting in the 2020 election. Democrats have called for a blanket vote-by-mail system, while Trump and the Republicans have said that system would disproportionately favor Democrats. But what does the research and data tell us about vote by mail systems? A recent p…
 
One of the prominent stories of the coronavirus outbreak has been that Democrats and Republicans can’t agree on a shared set of facts about the virus. One believes it is more deadly and dangerous than the other. But groundbreaking research from political scientist Gregory Huber at Yale University call that narrative into question. For years, politi…
 
Americans often think of demagogues as a feature of foreign countries with weak or non-existent democracies. But is it possible to still get a demagogue in a functioning and strong democracy? That’s the argument of Mehdi Shadmehr in his paper: “Demagogues and the Fragility of Democracy”. One of the scariest features of this research is that once a …
 
Why don’t we prepare better for crises we know are coming? What effect will the coronavirus pandemic have on Trump’s 2020 chances? Should we even be having an election in the midst of a viral outbreak? On this episode, we turn to the best political science research to answer these questions and more about the politics behind COVID-19.…
 
We’re constantly told by journalists and academics that America is too divided. That people no long just oppose members of the opposite party, but actually hate them. That something is broken, not just in our politics but in American life generally. On this episode, we take these issues to one of the leading scholars in the world on polarization, D…
 
Do primaries attract more extremist voters who skew elections toward candidates like Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump? The common thought has always been that extremist voters, because of their intense passion on issues, are more likely to vote in primaries. But one scholar at UCLA says the real story is far more complicated. On this episode, we spe…
 
Could racially charged policies cause you to act racist, even if you aren’t actually a racist? That’s the story two political scientists, Stephane Wolton and Torun Dewan from the London School of Economics and Political Science, tell in a recent paper: https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=3397918 On this episode, we discuss the possi…
 
Do divisive primaries actually affect how candidates will perform in general elections? It's a question political scientist have been trying and failing to untangle, but we found someone who may have an answer. With the 2020 democratic primary getting into full swing, we're kicking off our inaugural episode with prof. Alexander Fouirnaies whose res…
 
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