November 26, 2007

The Monkey Cage

Since it looks as though Andrew Gelman has already announced it, I figure that I’m now allowed to publicize a new political science blog, The Monkey Cage. It’s written by three of my colleagues at GWU, David Park, John Sides, and Lee Sigelman (who’s received previous mention at CT for his groundbreaking collaborative research on Supreme Court Justice betting pools). One interesting post on the costs of wars:

Recent days have brought a shower of media attention to the long-term economic cost of the war in Iraq. … According to Clayton, the pattern of long-term costs associated with American wars indicates that “the bulk of the money is spent long after the fighting stops” — and when Clayton said “long after,” he meant it. The primary reason: veterans benefits, which for the Civil War, World Wars I and II, and the Korean War averaged 1.8 times the original cost of the wars themselves.

It would be interesting to know whether this is likely to hold for the Iraq war. Will veterans’ benefits be as costly for an all-volunteer army? Has the ratio of technology costs to manpower costs changed substantially since the earlier wars discussed?

[Crossposted at Crooked Timber.

August 27, 2007

Levy on papers at APSA

Jacob Levy on changing norms over paper distribution at APSA:

It seems to me that the switch from the Panel Paper Room to PROceedings online has resulted in a very dramatic reduction in the number of papers being circulated. It seems to me that there was a genuine strong norm in favor of bringing papers to the PPR in the old days— it was stated as a rule, and while some papers were too drafty to be circulated and some senior people didn’t bother, most papers were in there.

Now as I browse through the (terrible) PROceedings site … it seems to me that the modal number of papers per panel that are actually uploaded is zero. It also seems to me that this wasn’t true in the first few years after the switch— that is, the norm stuck for a little while but is now close to dead.

Explanations? Is it the terrible site, the worry about putting drafts online, some combination? Or am I hallucinating that there’s a phenomenon here at all?

My feeling is that it’s a combination of the unfriendliness of the site, and a Schelling-type death spiral - as people note that fewer people are putting the papers up online, they themselves are less likely to, prompting others to be less likely in turn etc etc.

August 15, 2007

Political Science on SSRN

Via Jacob Levy, SSRN has now created a political science network (this has been in the works for a few months). This has both advantages and disadvantages - it means that political science papers will be more widely available than before, but through a clunky and often bug-ridden interface, provided by a for-profit company whose interests aren’t always going to coincide with those of political scientists. I’d have liked to have seen political scientists build on the ArXiv model instead - it seems much more robust and easily expandable as Web 2.0 goodness becomes more widely disseminated among political scientists. Instead, we had, which doesn’t seem to my knowledge to have had any very measurable impact on the field (in large part, I suspect because of its dreadful interface, which doesn’t even offer stable permalinks).

August 09, 2007

Pateman to British Academy

Via Jacob Levy, Carol Pateman has been elected to the British Academy.