With all the noise created by a 24/7 news cycle, it can be hard to really grasp what's going on in politics today. We provide a fresh perspective on the biggest political stories not through opinion and anecdotes, but rigorous scholarship, massive data sets and a deep knowledge of theory. Understand the political science beyond the headlines with Harris School of Public Policy Professors William Howell, Anthony Fowler and Wioletta Dziuda. Our show is part of the University of Chicago Podcast Network.
Nationalized Elections, The End Of Local News, And Government Accountability
When was the last time you voted split-ticket? It may not be surprising to hear that our elections have become increasingly nationalized in the last few decades. The question is, why?
Daniel Moskowitz, Assistant Professor at the Harris School of Public Policy, says the answer may be the massive reduction of local news. We speak with Moskowitz about why nationalized elections are a problem, the key role of local news, and what we might do to fix things.
A New Theory of Political Scandals
Political scandal is a historically defining aspect of American politics. But, there’s been very little scholarship on the political incentives that surround the production and consequences of scandals.
In a recent paper, “Political Scandal: A Theory”, our very own Will Howell and Wioletta Dziuda create a new model of political scandal that makes these incentives clear. On this episode, we discuss how these incentives should reshape the way we think about political scandals.
The State of Our Democracy, with James Robinson
One of the defining discussions of the Trump presidency centers on the fate of our democracy. In the aftermath of his populist presidency, and as we transition to the Biden era, we’re wondering whether the future is bright or dim.
There’s no better scholar to put this question to than the University of Chicago Professor and co-author of “Why Nations Fail”, James Robinson. We look forward and backward with Robinson to diagnose the health of our democracy.
Do Americans Support Democracy As Much As They Say?
The storming of the Capitol and the votes by some Republican elected officials questioning the results of the 2020 election have many asking what force could act as a check on these increasing anti-democratic tendencies in American political life?
Milan Svolik, Prof. of Political Science at Yale, may hold some answers. He investigates whether the American public would act as a check on anti-democratic politicians, and reveals how much we truly value democracy when we’re presented with tradeoffs.
Best Of: Are We Really Living In Separate Worlds?
It’s been an incredibly divisive year, and we’re constantly told we’re more politically divided than ever. But, as our team takes some time with their families for the holidays, we want to re-share a more hopeful conversation with you that sheds some new light on these seemingly unbridgeable divides in our country.
We hope you enjoy it, and we’ll be bringing you brand new episodes after the holiday.
Do Government Programs Get People More Involved In Politics?
It’s long been thought that giving people resources through government programs will get them more involved in politics. But this has always been a difficult question to answer in a controlled environment. That is until the 2008 Medicaid expansion in Oregon.
There was a research initiative done on that expansion, and our boss the Dean of the Harris School of Public Policy, Katherine Baicker, was involved. We parse through the results with her to see if we can get a new perspective on this question.
Customer ReviewsSee All
It’s ok to be pretentious, if your heart is true!
We need more of this, and fewer 1-hour TV shows that, let’s face it, are designed to convince us of a particular view. Thanks to all three of you for preserving my sanity! Can t wait for the post-election discussions.
No historical context
More than halfway into an episode on whether Americans really believe in democracy I realized the panelists had not even touched upon the antidemocratic legacy of racism in the U.S.
That’s crucial. America has a history of believing that white people, have a right to vote and Blacks don’t. It’s an important part of the conversation that was missing.
I couldn’t take the scholars seriously after noticing this absence, not just an elephant in the room but an entire herd of elephants.
My apologies if, in the last few minutes of the podcast, the professors noted that, by the way, we didn’t address racism. But it should have been part of the discussion.
Politics without politics
Podcast for technocrats who view politics largely as a topic for social science. The hosts filter out most historical context in favor of largely apolitical rationalist analysis that tends to focus on behavior and individual cognition of voters and politicians rather than offering any deeper insights focused on things like class structure, racism, gender norms etc.