Monthly Archives: July 2015

Is Three (or More) No Longer a Crowd?

In his dissent in Obergefell, Chief Justice John Roberts challenged those, who endorse the legal recognition of same-sex marriage, to explain why such legal recognition should not extent to multi-person relationships. In my new book, In Defense of Plural Marriage, I defend the view that states, which refuse to give marriage licenses to plural marriage enthusiasts, are acting unconstitutionally.

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How Political Institutions and Partisan Ideologies Shape Law and Order Spending in Twenty Western Industrialized Countries

Law and order issues are frequently at the top of the political agenda in Western industrialized countries. Think, for instance, of the 2012 French Presidential election, when President Nicolas Sarkozy tried to gain votes by portraying himself as being tough on crime; or of the Swiss People’s Party (SVP), which has pursued law and order issues successfully during recent years, making itself a major player in the Swiss political system. These examples show that law and order issues can be of significant importance in a country’s partisan competition, and should therefore also be reflected in the policies resulting from that competition.

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Demystifying a Hero

Donald Trump’s flair for rhetoric provides the occasion for thinking about democracy, citizenship, military service, and patriotism. Speaking before a group of Iowa evangelicals in his quest for the presidency, Trump said of John McCain, an unquestioned American icon best known for his imprisonment (five years in Hoa Lo Prison) during the Vietnam War: “He’s not a war hero. He’s a war hero because he was captured. I like people who weren’t captured.”

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Who stuffs Turkey? Statistical anomalies and jinns in Turkish elections

The 2015 Turkish Parliamentary elections went, perhaps much to our surprise, relatively smoothly. The previously governing AK Parti (AKP) was denied for the first time in its history an absolute majority. The AKP received 41% of the votes (they achieved 49% in the previous parliamentary elections and 52% in the last presidential election). This won the AKP 258 of 550 available seats, 18 short of a majority.

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Applied Regression: An Introduction, Second Edition

We are pleased to announce completion of our Applied Regression: An Introduction, Second Edition, available in hard copy this July. It maintains the strengths of the First Edition, namely its directness and simplicity, while building out in important ways. The graphics are updated, as are the examples and the statistical language. New substantive sections are added. Altogether, these changes have increased the size of the monograph just enough. Hence, it contains noticeably more than the first edition, but still has the familiar comfortable size.

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A quantitative method for substantive robustness assessment

What is substantive significance? A p-value can tell you whether an empirical result is distinguishable from zero, but that’s not usually the information that we’re interested in as scientists and policy makers. For instance, the bricks in a typical house give off a non-zero amount of nuclear radiation, but this does not mean that those bricks present a radiation hazard to humans.

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