Blog Profile / Chris Blattman's Blog


URL :http://chrisblattman.com/
Filed Under:Academics / Political Science
Posts on Regator:2450
Posts / Week:7.1
Archived Since:July 25, 2008

Blog Post Archive

Turning our understanding of Russian politics upside down

While watching the roller coaster that is the Russian ruble, I recalled how much I liked this NYRB review of Karen Dawisha’s new book, Putin’s Kleptocracy: Who Owns Russia? An excerpt: For twenty years now, the Western politicians, journalists,...Show More Summary

My favorite novels of the year

Yesterday I talked about my favorite book of the year. An autobiography. Here are the novels I liked best, excellent for holiday reading or last-minute stocking stuffers. To the purists: Please keep in mind that I’m not one of these intellectuals who mysteriously … Continue reading ? The post My favorite novels of the year appeared first on Chris Blattman.

Among all the other things police are being called these days, the latest is “fat”

From the WSJ, obesity by occupation: Police are at the top. At the bottom are economists. It’s kind of perfect. The charitable interpretation: all that muscle mass in police is edging them up the BMI scale. I’m sympathetic, since even...Show More Summary

The economic and social returns to building character

I personally find this line of research fascinating and in need of more international research. A new paper by Tim Kautz, Jim Heckman, and coauthors: This paper reviews the recent literature on measuring and boosting cognitive and noncognitive skills. Show More Summary

The best book I read this year

It is My Struggle: Book 2: A Man in Love by Karl Ove Knausgaard. I am far from alone. Rachel Cusk at The Guardian says it “deserves to be called perhaps the most significant literary enterprise of our times.”  Tyler Cowen calls it “the equal … Continue reading ? The post The best book I read this year appeared first on Chris Blattman.

“Are anthropologists better than you think?”

The question is asked by Tyler Cowen. A part of his response: Many economists like to dump on their fellow social scientists, and personally I find that reading anthropology is often quite uninspiring.  That said, I would like to say a … Continue reading ? The post “Are anthropologists better than you think?” appeared first on Chris Blattman.

The case for cash, Exhibit 12

Lant Pritchett and Yamini Aiyarit further convince me on the merits of more cash and vouchers. Paraphrasing an email: In India the government spends Rps 14,600 for a year of schooling, which is 80 percent of rural per capita consumption. The … Continue reading ? The post The case for cash, Exhibit 12 appeared first on Chris Blattman.

What happens when a very good political science journal checks the statistical code of its submissions?

The Quarterly Journal of Political Science has a policy of in-house review of all statistical code. This is expensive and hard to do. Is it worth it? According to Nick Eubank, an unambiguous yes: Of the 24 empirical papers subject to...Show More Summary

Do development workers underestimate the poor? The survey evidence

I give you, perhaps, the best and deepest piece of analysis I’ve ever read in a World Bank report. Timothy Taylor explains it nicely: What do development experts think that the poor believe, and how does it compare to what the poor … Continue reading ? The post Do development workers underestimate the poor? The survey evidence appeared first on Chris Blattman.

Conversations with openly gay canvassers about gay equality changes people’s opinions. Contagiously.

A close family member, who shall remain nameless, supports gay rights because he had a great gay hairdresser for 10 years. Turns out, all he needed was one haircut. From Michael LaCour and Don Green in Science, a nice example … Continue reading ? The post Conversations with openly gay canvassers about gay equality changes people’s opinions. Show More Summary

Trade leads to development: The experiment

Is there learning by exporting? Can preferential trade agreements or aid for trade promote development? Atkin, Khandelwal and Osman provided a random group of small rug producers the opportunity to export handmade carpets to high-income markets. Show More Summary

Neogotiating your first academic job

You’re finishing a PhD and you’ve just gotten a phone call with a verbal job offer. Congratulations! And welcome to the bottom of a whole new pyramid. But before you get to the new pyramid, you need to do something … Continue reading ? The post Neogotiating your first academic job appeared first on Chris Blattman.

Recommended reading

Also known as “things I wish I had time to read farther than the abstract but I am occupied wiping drippy noses, cooking chicken nuggets, and cleaning up pee.” Instead of civil disobedience, there is also Uncivil Obedience. Economist’s research topics and … Continue reading ? The post Recommended reading appeared first on Chris Blattman.

A rare music recomendation

Saw Over the Rhine live last night. This was a highlight. The post A rare music recomendation appeared first on Chris Blattman.

Signs that something is seriously wrong in the global response to Ebola

From Buzzfeed: When nurse Nina Pham contracted Ebola, she requested her dog, Bentley, be taken care of and monitored for the disease and not euthanized – similar to what was done with an Ebola-exposed dog in Spain. The City of … Continue reading ? The post Signs that something is seriously wrong in the global response to Ebola appeared first on Chris Blattman.

Why the NSA and Anonymous need one another

In 2012, the director of the National Security Agency, General Keith Alexander, warned the White House that Anonymous was acquiring the capability to attack the power grid; soon major newspapers were speculating about an Operation Global Blackout supposedly planned for … Continue reading ? The post Why the NSA and Anonymous need one another appeared first on Chris Blattman.

What if George Lucas made the new Star Wars movie?

This made me laugh out loud: Warning: This will only be funny to (a) diehard fans who (b) have seen the actual new trailer. Several times. If you are especially obsessive, you will love this 70-minute takedown of Lucas’ Episode I. … Continue reading ? The post What if George Lucas made the new Star Wars movie? appeared first on Chris Blattman.

Maybe the best interview I’ve read all year

Frank Rich talks to Chris Rock on comedy, politics, and race. It starts a little weak but gets very good. What would you do in Ferguson that a standard reporter wouldn’t? I’d do a special on race, but I’d have … Continue reading ? The post Maybe the best interview I’ve read all year appeared first on Chris Blattman.

Voter experiments by space aliens

The ethics of experimenting have been much in the news lately. It started with the Montana mailer experiment. It gets weirder. Via Jeff Mosenkis, two mailers received by his family or neighbors. First there is the now-standard Big Brother approach, which just creeps me … Continue reading ? The post Voter experiments by space aliens appeared first on Chris Blattman.

Sentences to ponder

Walmart reported brisk traffic overnight. The retailer, based in Bentonville, Ark., said that 22 million shoppers streamed through stores across the country on Thanksgiving Day. That is more than the number of people who visit Disney’s Magic Kingdom in an … Continue reading ? The post Sentences to ponder appeared first on Chris Blattman.

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