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Academic Insights for the Thinking World

  • Social Sciences

Why gun owners could be the decisive vote in 2020

Recently, Joe Biden visited a construction plant in Michigan. A worker confronted Biden and accused the former vice president of “actively trying to diminish our Second Amendment right and take away our guns.” Biden, in turn, responded, “You’re full of shit.” The exchange continued, cameras rolling, Biden clearly sensed an opportunity, recognized the political value of the […]

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How downward social mobility happens

The common story about downward mobility is one of bad luck: recent generations have the misfortune of coming of age during an economic downturn, a student debt crisis, declining job security, and, now, a pandemic. Of course, these factors relate to downward mobility, but they are not all that matters. The truth is that many […]

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How to rate and rank potential doctoral students

Graduate education, particularly the training of doctoral students, plays crucial role in the progress of society. Around 1,500 of the country’s 4,500 or so universities award doctoral degrees. In 2018 according to the Survey of Earned Doctorates 55,185 students were doctorate recipients in the United States. To match potential graduate students and graduate programs needs the […]

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How to be an ally for transgender rights

The last day of March is the International Transgender Day of Visibility, celebrated each year to honor transgender people around the world and the courage it takes to live authentically and openly. It is also an opportunity to raise awareness about the severe, ongoing discrimination and violence that transgender people often face every day. Estimates […]

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How African presidents rig elections to stay in office

There are at least 19 African countries where the heads-of-state have overstayed beyond their term limits via (un)constitutional revisions: Algeria, Angola, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Chad, Congo-Brazzaville, Cote d’Ivoire, the Democratic Republic of the Congo , Egypt, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Guinea (which is trying once more in 2020), Rwanda, Senegal, Togo, Tunisia, Uganda, and Zimbabwe. […]

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How New York City became a technology hub

Recently in New York, as in other cities, the coronavirus pandemic has spurred an urgent shift from working in offices to working at home and given a massive boost to digital platforms for telecommuting, teleconferencing, and online teaching. Yet the tech industry has also generated some of the most significant spaces for face-to-face interaction of […]

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How religion affects global pandemics

People sometimes see religion as an unwelcome infection affecting the secular politics of international relations. Such attitudes easily present themselves in consideration of terrorism and violence. Religion is seen to distort and hamper the healthy peaceful progress of secular politics, operating as an outside pathogen that inflames tensions and challenges already present in global affairs. Religion […]

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Governments should tackle air pollution by banning old cars

Air pollution continues to be a serious problem in many cities around the world in part because of a steady increase in car use. In an effort to contain such a trend and persuade drivers to give up their cars in favor of public transport, authorities increasingly rely on limits to car use. Some places […]

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Why cost-benefit analysis is flawed and how to improve it

Cost-benefit analysis is a key component of the US regulatory state. How it works and the function it plays in policymaking is not widely understood, however. Even the most substantive media outlets rarely discuss it. But cost-benefit analysis is a linchpin of the regulatory process. Its structure and role—and its flaws—should therefore be grist for […]

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Why Iran’s dependence on China puts it at risk

The depth of ties between China and Iran was revealed dramatically in late February 2020, when news broke that some of Tehran’s most senior officials had contracted the coronavirus. By early March, one of Iran’s vice presidents, the deputy health minister, and 23 members of parliament were reported ill. A member of the 45-person Expediency […]

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Four women’s quest to end global poverty

Gender matters for policymaking: there is no better evidence than the experience of four women who, twenty years ago, became ministers in charge of international development in their governments and collaborated to develop new approaches to end global poverty. Eveline Herfkens from the Netherlands, Hilde F. Johnson from Norway, Clare Short from the United Kingdom, […]

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Nine books that make you think about a woman’s role in society [reading list]

Every year in March we celebrate Women’s History Month, a perfect time to be inspired by the triumphs of real-life heroes. Let us not forget the path it took to get this far and the tribulations that these women endured. This year marks the 100th anniversary of the passage of the 19th Amendment, which granted […]

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100 years of the Nineteenth Amendment and women’s political action

On 28 August 2020 we celebrate the 100th anniversary of the day the Nineteenth Amendment to the US Constitution was ratified. Although the Amendment did not enfranchise all women –African American, Native American, and Latina women would wait decades before they could vote on equal terms– the event is an important milestone in women’s political […]

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The remarkable life of philosopher Frank Ramsey

Frank Ramsey, the great Cambridge philosopher, economist, and mathematician, was a superstar in all three disciplines, despite dying at the age of 26 in 1930. One way to glimpse the sheer genius of this extraordinary young man is by looking at some of the things that bear his name. My favourite was coined by Donald […]

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Seven psychology books that explore why we are who we are [reading list]

Social Psychology looks at the nature and causes of individual behavior in social situations. It asks how others’ actions and behaviors shape our actions and behaviors, how our identities are shaped by the beliefs and assumptions of our communities. Fundamentally it looks for scientific answers to the most philosophical questions of self. These seven books […]

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How academics can leave the university but stay in academia

When “quit lit,” the trend of disillusioned PhDs writing personal essays about their decision to leave academia, hit its peak around 2013, I was just finishing my own PhD coursework. It seemed that every day, as I revised my dissertation proposal and worked on recruiting potential field sites, there was another column about the scarcity of tenure-track […]

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