Thursday, February 27, 2020

Adam Dynes on Noisy Retrospection: The Effect of Party Control on Policy Outcomes - Manifold #35

Steve and Corey talk to Adam Dynes of Brigham Young University about whether voting has an effect on policy outcomes. Adam’s work finds that control of state legislatures or governorships does not have an observable effect on macroscopic variables such as crime rates, the economy, etc. Possible explanations: parties push essentially the same policies, politicians don't keep promises, monied interest control everything. Are voting decisions just noisy mood affiliation? Perhaps time is better spent obsessing about sports teams, which at least generates pleasure.

1:22 - What is retrospective voting?
5:43 - Research findings on retrospective voting
14:02 - Uniparty/Monied interests?
17:23 - Martin Gilens' research
23:10 - Are people just voting based on noise or mood affiliation?
27:13 - Bryan Caplan - Myth of the Rational Voter
34:35 - Is time better spent obsessing about sports teams, which at least generates pleasure?
39:42 - After the fall of Athens, was democracy commonly referred to as irrational mob rule?
48:22 - Does this research translate to the national level?
52:19 - Super Nerdy Stuff: Statistical Analysis, Reproducibility & Null Results
56:40 - Reactions to the results


Adam Dynes (Personal Website)

Adam Dynes (Faculty Profile)

Noisy Retrospection: The Effect of Party Control on Policy Outcomes

Related: 2016 blog post on Martin Gilens' work: American and Chinese Oligarchies.

man·i·fold /ˈmanəˌfōld/ many and various.

In mathematics, a manifold is a topological space that locally resembles Euclidean space near each point.

Steve Hsu and Corey Washington have been friends for almost 30 years, and between them hold PhDs in Neuroscience, Philosophy, and Theoretical Physics. Join them for wide ranging and unfiltered conversations with leading writers, scientists, technologists, academics, entrepreneurs, investors, and more.

Steve Hsu is VP for Research and Professor of Theoretical Physics at Michigan State University. He is also a researcher in computational genomics and founder of several Silicon Valley startups, ranging from information security to biotech. Educated at Caltech and Berkeley, he was a Harvard Junior Fellow and held faculty positions at Yale and the University of Oregon before joining MSU.

Corey Washington is Director of Analytics in the Office of Research and Innovation at Michigan State University. He was educated at Amherst College and MIT before receiving a PhD in Philosophy from Stanford and a PhD in a Neuroscience from Columbia. He held faculty positions at the University Washington and the University of Maryland. Prior to MSU, Corey worked as a biotech consultant and is founder of a medical diagnostics startup.

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