The Herd at the Iowa Caucus: The Herding Effect and the Iowa Winner

Pollsters are often left dumbfounded that their predictions go awry after the Iowa Caucus. By most accounts, yesterday was supposed to be Donald Trump’s night, and Hillary Clinton was scheduled to win by a small but perceivable margin of at least over 1 percentage point. But the results went otherwise: Trump came in second, and […]

Read more

Why Does Iowa Get to Go First? Is Iowa Relevant?

The Iowa Caucus is the country’s first caucus or primary that helps the two major political parties select their presidential nominees. Iowa’s going first isn’t new: it’s a long-established tradition. In recent years, much has been said about how relevant (or not) Iowa is to the rest of the country. Does Iowa represent the country […]

Read more

Bernie vs. Hillary: Medicare For All, “Tax Increases,” And How It Saves You Money

Bernie and Hillary have been having a bit of a snafu over the specifics of their respective healthcare plans. Hillary accuses Bernie of wanting to dismantle Obamacare and existing programs like Medicare, Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program. She also accuses him of wanting to raise taxes. It’s the tax point that is most […]

Read more

Powerball: Expected Winnings, Rational Playing, and What Else We Could Do With $1.5 Billion

As almost every American knows, this week’s Powerball payout has reached a record high — $1.5 billion. Americans are rapidly buying tickets hoping to be the country’s latest billionaire. But each buyer also faces insurmountable odds — one out of every 292.2 million tickets is a winner. But does that mean you shouldn’t play? Well, […]

Read more

New Years Resolutions: Measuring Obesity, the World’s Fattest Countries, and the Importance of Age Standardization

It’s that time of year again! Thousands of people are signing up for gym memberships, making workout plans, and thinking about healthy eating for the year ahead. By February, though, the gyms will thin out, and the lines at fast food joints will swell. Most Americans won’t keep their weight loss goals, and the country’s […]

Read more

Abortion and Social Policy: Birth Rates, Access to Care, and Poverty

Policymakers in the United States generally prefer to discuss abortion as a moral issue. To conservatives, abortion is simply immoral, and should be severely limited. For those on the left, the right to control one’s body is paramount, and thus abortion should be readily accessible. The result of this discussion has been gridlock: since both […]

Read more

Income Inequality: Progressive Taxation, Government Transfers and the Importance of Precise Language

Income inequality was once again a prominent issue at Saturday night’s Democratic presidential debate. As he has in virtually all of his campaign speeches, Senator Sanders highlighted the fact that the top 1% of the income distribution owns a disproportionate share of all income, and that inequality of income has grown rapidly in recent decades. […]

Read more

Our Disproportionate Conversation About Muslim Immigration: Demographics and Diversity

Unless you’re living under a rock, you’ve heard about Donald Trump’s recent proposal to ban all Muslim immigration to the United States. As a result, the media has focused closely on Muslim immigration, and the place of Muslims in the United States. Unfortunately, the amount of energy devoted to the topic is disproportionate to the […]

Read more

U.S. Gun Violence: Facts, Myths, and Why “Good Guys With Guns” Won’t Save Us

Does the GGWG (Good Guys With Guns) Theory make sense?

In the wake of the San Bernardino mass shooting, Americans are once again debating the facts and figures surrounding gun violence in the U.S. Unfortunately, policymakers on both side of the issue get more than a few facts wrong. Myth #1: gun violence has decreased despite higher gun ownership On the right, conservatives argue that […]

Read more