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Academic Insights for the Thinking World

  • Social Sciences

Fears of a Latino invasion: demographic panic then and now

How are Donald Trump’s racist tweets about “rat-infested” Baltimore, his tacit endorsement of chants of “send her home” about representative Ilhan Omar at his rallies, and the mass shooting in El Paso, TX, targeting Latinos by a gunman concerned about a Mexican “invasion” of the United States connected?

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Despite Brexit, there is still plenty to learn from government successes

For those who follow the news, it is all too easy to form the impression that governments are incompetent, slow, inefficient, unresponsive to ordinary citizens’ needs, and prone to overreach and underdeliver. Easy, since Brexit is currently the public’s main measure of the competence of government. And yet across many public policy domains, for most […]

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Understanding the Multi-functional Nature of the Countryside

It is tempting to see the countryside through a haze of a pink washed nostalgia as somewhere where life continues with a perceived simplicity in tandem with the seasons and inherited practises. However, just as urban areas change and evolve, so does the countryside. With this, comes a more complex wordscape that combines the traditional language of […]

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The science behind ironic consumption

When I turned 21, my friends brought me to a dive in East Atlanta called the Gravity Pub. The menu offered burnt tater tots, deep fried chili cheese dogs, and donut sandwiches. Happy hour featured rot-gut whiskey, red-eye gin, and one-dollar cans of Schlitz. We listened to Bon Jovi, Spice Girls, and a medley of yacht rock and boy band blue eyed soul crackling through rusty speakers.

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How helping disabled people find employment affects the job market

Policy makers have long been concerned with helping people on disability benefits find some employment as this group has grown dramatically in recent decades. In the UK, as in several other countries, there are now many more people on disability benefits than on unemployment benefits.

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Beyond open defecation: a free, clean India

The Right to Sanitation in India: Critical Perspectives, edited by Philipe Cullet, Sujith Koonan, and Lovleen Bhullar, represents the first effort to conceptually engage with the right to sanitation and its multiple dimensions in India. We sat down with editor Philipe Cullet to analyse the contributions of the law and policy framework to the realisation of the right to sanitation in India, the place the book holds in the socio-political landscape, and its international and comparative relevance.

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What professors can do to boost student success

Dear Professor, If you are at all like me, you have been living a mostly placid life as a professor. You do your research and sit on committees. Like most of your colleagues, you regard yourself as an above-average teacher, and you get okay student ratings. The only time you are pay attention to policy […]

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Enoch Powell and the rise of neo-liberalism

The Conservative politician Enoch Powell is best known for his outspoken opposition to immigration, but he also adopted distinctive positions on a range of other prominent issues in the post-1945 era. Indeed, he was the most prominent early exponent of neo-liberalism, the free-market perspective linking economic and political freedom in British politics. Yet there has […]

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How the Ebola crisis affected people’s trust in their governments

Legitimacy and trust fundamentally determine a state’s ability to effectively implement policies. Without legitimacy, governments cannot rely on citizens to voluntarily comply with centrally mandated policies, making their implementation costly and the provision of public goods inefficient. This is particularly true in the case of public health interventions, where adherence to recommendations of governments determines the […]

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The first gay president?

The topic of the sexuality of President James Buchanan has become a talking point in the media of late due to the presidential campaign of openly gay candidate Mayor Pete Buttigieg of Indiana. In that spirit, we turn to the life of our nation’s only bachelor president and his intimate personal relationship with William Rufus King of Alabama […]

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How women are fighting sexist language in Russia

Coal miners are predominantly male, and kindergarten teachers predominantly female. Professions are gendered, as any Department of Labor survey, anywhere in the world, illustrates. And until the 1980s, the nouns used in English to describe some occupations were also gendered, such as fireman, or stewardess. Feminists in English-speaking countries fought this largely by neutralizing male […]

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Why American cities remain segregated 50 years after the Fair Housing Act

Fifty years after passage of the Fair Housing Act, large urban areas still remain highly segregated by both race and income. A report last year in the Washington Post concluded that that although the United States is on track to be a minority-majority nation by 2044, most of us have neighbors that are the same race as us.

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What went wrong with Poland’s democracy

Poland had been one of the most successful of the European states that embarked upon a democratic transformation after the fall of Communism. After joining the European Union, Poland has been held up as a model of a successful European democracy, with a reasonably consolidated rule-of-law based state and well-protected individual rights. And yet, this […]

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Progressive black radio weighs in on Trump’s base

“Tom and Sybil, you guys lifted us up mightily for so many years,” said President Barack Obama to the Tom Joyner Morning Show anchors on 2 November, 2016. “I could not be more grateful.” Economic insecurity or racism? Immediately following Donald Trump’s shocking 2016 electoral-college presidential win, commentators rushed to explain the results by focusing on white […]

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How quantitative thinking shaped our worldview

Over the past couple of months or so, I’ve had a few opportunities to speak with individuals and groups about “us” — who we are and how we came to be ourselves. By “us,” I do not mean self-reflection and the introspection of following self-help conventions; rather, I mean the “us” to be our worldview: our thinking, acting, and doing.

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