Showing posts with label Miscellany. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Miscellany. Show all posts

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Shameless Self-Promotion

. Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Adam Elkus was kind enough to interview me for the Abu Muquwama blog at CNAS. He asks about my use of network methods in my research, my thoughts on IPE more generally, and some experiences blogging. You can find it here.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

UNC Everywhere

. Wednesday, June 19, 2013

A friend of mine -- a student at the Kenan-Flagler Business School -- is profiled in the Financial Times.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Tim Harford on Thomas Schelling

. Tuesday, February 5, 2013

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Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Academia QotD

. Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Jim Dixon, the fortunate one in Kingsley Amis' Lucky Jim, is described by Matthew Walther:

Its eponymous hero, Jim Dixon, is a junior lecturer in history at an undistinguished Welsh college. Dixon’s pleasures are simple: he smokes a carefully allotted number of cigarettes each day and drinks a rather less measured amount of beer most nights at pubs. His single goal is to coast successfully through his two-year probation period and become a permanent faculty member in the history department.

Standing in his way is the departmental supervisor, Professor Welch. (“No other professor in Great Britain, Dixon thought, set such store by being called Professor.”) Welch is a dedicated amateur flautist—or, as he insists, recorder player—and busybody who forces Dixon to attend chamber music recitals during impossibly dull weekend visits to the professor’s home and perform quotidian tasks such as doing Welch’s research for him and proofing his manuscripts.

In order to remain in good standing with his department, Dixon must also publish an article, “The Economic Influence of Shipbuilding Techniques, 1450 to 1485,” in an scholarly journal. Dixon, despite his having little knowledge and even less interest in the period, is a medievalist. Amis’s description of Dixon’s article will ring true for anyone who has ever been forced into academic writing: “It was a perfect article, in that it crystallized the article’s niggling mindlessness, its funereal parade of yawn-enforcing facts, the pseudo-light it threw upon non-problems. Dixon had read, or begun to read, dozens like it, but his own seemed worse than most in its air of being convinced of its own usefulness and significance.”
That last bit, the "niggling mindlessness" and most especially the "pseudo-light it threw upon non-problems," is one of the great indictments of any profession in literature. As a description of quite a lot of social science it has the markings of the best satire: hilarity (it is even laugh-out-loud funny), recognizable truth, and melancholy.

Of course it isn't all that way. But still.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Happy Blogiversary, Dan!

. Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Congrats to Dan Drezner on 10 years of blogging. He paved the way for IR/FP bloggers, and he's still the gold standard. Thanks, also, for mentioning us in his round-up as one of the "thinker" blogs still worth reading. Very kind.

I'd love to do more thinking in blog-format, but I'm swamped with job applications and dissertating and article revisions and teaching and so-forth. So it might be sparse for a bit, but we'll keep the lights on and get back to a more regular routine soon. I hope.

Saturday, March 10, 2012


. Saturday, March 10, 2012

So it's been quiet around here. I could excuse myself by saying that I've been busy working on my dissertation and teaching my own course for the first time -- which is true -- but the reality is that I just haven't been all that interested in things that have been going on lately. Still, for the sake of keeping the lights on, here is what I think about some of the news of the day:

1. Romney will still win the GOP nomination, and it won't be especially close.

2. The eurozone continues to muddle and buy time, but the problem isn't fixed. I still think something big happens in 2013, and I still think that citizens in democracies will eventually refuse to finance the sort of transfers that will be necessary to keep Greece in the union.

3. If an intervention into Syria were to work, it would require a large, credible, and open-ended commitment from the international community to the security and stability of a post-Assad Syria. This would most likely need to include the U.S. That commitment is pretty much impossible to make given the current political environment in the U.S. and elsewhere. Nor is it clear that an intervention would lead to less bloodshed, or a more appealing political outcome, than non-intervention.

4. I find it pretty difficult to muster outrage about Rush Limbaugh, the coverage of Catholic insurance, or any of that sort of thing.

5. China continues to weaken, and it's another reminder that there is no ready successor for U.S. hegemony.

6. I don't care what Obama said in college, and I don't care if he hugged someone once. Politics is structural people... even if he were a Marxist Islamist atheist dedicated to destroying the U.S. he'd be unable to actually do so. So cheer up.

7. Things are generally getting better in the U.S. and worse in most other places. Except parts of Africa, maybe.

Hopefully more regular posting will be forthcoming.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Winning the Future

. Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

SOTU Bingo

. Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Jon Kropko -- UNC poli sci PhD, now at a postdoc at Columbia -- puts together bingo sheets every year for the State of the Union address. Here ya go, but be forewarned: it usually doesn't take all that long for someone to line 'em up, so it pays to be familiar with your layout ahead of time.

(The link is to a pdf containing 30 sheets, with randomized placements of key words likely to be spoken by Obama tonight. Instructions for making your own sheets can be found at Jon's web site.)

Saturday, December 31, 2011

We Won An Award!

. Saturday, December 31, 2011

Well, not "we". Thomas did. And not an "award" per se, in that there's no cash or statue or anything. But Thomas was just given a prestigious "Albie", named in memory of the great Albert Hirschman (whether A. H. would approve or not), by Dan Drezner, for his article "The Reductionist Gamble". In Drezner's words:

The Albies are awarded to the best writing in global political economy for the past calendar year. The writing can be in a book, journal article, think tank report, or blog post -- the key is that the article makes you reconsider the way the world works.
Thomas's article was listed second in the "no particular order" list, but it was the only article published in a top academic journal on his list -- there was a think tank paper and a UP book as well -- so in terms of importance for the discipline of IPE it in some sense stands alone. Last year, I believe, no academic IPE pieces made Drezner's list.

In my opinion this article should be on every IPE syllabus from the advanced undergrad level on up.

The link Drezner provided to the article is gated; an ungated pdf is here. The logical extension of that article is to forge a new IPE paradigm. Or, as I believe, to try to re-unify the open economy politics paradigm with the "complex interdependence" focus from IPE's early days, using more rigorous empirical tools. I think that's the track that Thomas is currently pursuing in his work, and it's the primary epistemological motivation for my dissertation as well.

So, congrats Thomas!

Monday, December 12, 2011


. Monday, December 12, 2011

Andrew Gelman:

If some dude scratched my car, I wouldn’t be so quick to jump to the conclusion that he’s a rapist.
But would you think he was an atheist?


Apologies for the light posting. Hopefully we'll be back to normal soon.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Arbitrage Opportunity of the Day

. Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Tyler Cowen points to a discussion of the possibility of physicists discovering the Higgs Boson Particle, and notes that InTrade has the odds of discovery prior to Jan. 1, 2014 as 88%. Which is true. But InTrade also has the odds of discovery prior to Jan. 1, 2015 as 60%. (The market for discovery prior to Jan. 1, 2016 appears to not be trading.) This makes no sense. It's illegal for folks in the U.S. to use sites like InTrade, but readers in foreign countries have a chance to make some money.

Friday, December 2, 2011


. Friday, December 2, 2011

3QuarksDaily is hosting a contest for best blog writing in politics and social sciences, to be judged by Stephen Walt. Nominations are open until end-of-day on December 3. In a characteristic fit of pugnaciousness, I'm very tempted to self-nominate one my posts blasting Walt. Like this one. Or this one. Or this one. Of course, we've run many other very good posts here that have nothing to do with Walt, and it'd be an honor if you kind folks nominated us for consideration.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Fly the Flag

. Saturday, October 29, 2011

I am very happy right now.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011


. Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Some of these I may blog properly later, but time is scarce these days.

-- Ikenberry responds to Walt.

-- Good discussion of Herbert Simon and complex social systems.

-- Bernanke on how central banking has changed post-crisis, including on the interplay between regulatory and monetary policies.

-- Problems with Basel III implementation. This is what Jamie Dimon is referring to when he says Basel is "anti-American".

-- Vladislav Surkov, "Putin's Rasputin".

-- Interactive description of the eurozone crisis, as a series of weighted, directed networks. (ht Alex)

-- US attacks China's "Great Firewall" at WTO.

-- Ambrose Evans-Pritchard says world power is swinging back to the US. I hadn't realized it had gone.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Sunday Links

. Sunday, October 2, 2011

-- NYT roundtable on Basel III.

-- Michael Lewis goes to California.

-- Long interview with Daron Acemoglu, on a number of topics.

-- Economist special report on shifting of economic activity from west to east.

-- Opening statement of Firedoglake book salon on Chinn/Frieden's Lost Decades.

-- The attempt to collect and publish in one place accurate data on the graduation and placement rates of poli sci departments. I fully support this, and hope UNC gets on board soon.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Few Links

. Wednesday, September 21, 2011

-- Cool interactive map of migration patterns.

-- Jeffry Frieden on Europe's "Lehman moment".

-- When hierarchical models are appropriate for time series cross-sectional data.

-- Excellent report on the economic situation, mostly in graphical form. Gist: it's about the banks.

-- Twitter debate between me and Dan Trombly over Hitchens, game theory, Marxism, GWOT, hegemonic stability theory, and other topics.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

A Few Links in Lieu of Actual Post

. Thursday, September 15, 2011

-- Phil Arena has a great post on selectorate theory as applied by Bueno de Mesquita and Smith in this Foreign Policy article. Gist: if selectorate theory generates useful advice for leaders like Obama, then it isn't much good as theory.

-- John Quiggin on China.

-- Erik Voeten on the UN and a potential General Assembly vote on Palestinian statehood.

-- Hayek: *Monetary Nationalism and International Stability*, from 1937. Haven't finished this yet. Hoping it provides some impetus for a research project or at least a substantive blog post or two.

-- Michael Pettis is a must-read on balance of payments dynamics and currency issues, especially related to China. I've started a post on this, which I hope to finish soon.

Thursday, August 25, 2011


. Thursday, August 25, 2011

Probably won't get to blog these properly, but they deserve attention.

-- Sad that this is necessary, but Barry Eichengreen discusses why a return to the gold standard is probably impossible, and not at all desirable anyway.

-- "The network of global corporate control", a very interesting research paper.

-- "The Convulsions of Political Economy", an application of Marx to the current environment from an unlikely source: a Senior Economic Advisor at UBS.

Monday, August 8, 2011


. Monday, August 8, 2011

Monday, August 1, 2011


. Monday, August 1, 2011


I just realised that plenty of mainstream US Democrats, having spent the last however long castigating people to the left of them for perceiving some progressive tendencies in the government of Fidel Castro, are now reduced to supporting the re-election of a President who imprisons people without human rights in Cuba, but who has made excellent advances in the field of bringing healthcare to the poor.


International Political Economy at the University of North Carolina: Miscellany

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