In Congress, Even Lawmakers’ Degrees are a Partisan Issue

Does going to an elite college make for a more effective legislator? That’s what research scientist Jonathan Wai and co-authors argue in a forthcoming paper. However, political scientist Nicholas Carnes (not one of the co-authors) notes that we shouldn’t overstate the extent to which education alone affects policy makers’ decisions. It’s important to also consider factors, he says, like the regions of the country elite-educated members represent and the ideologies of their constituents, Carnes says.

Read More in The Chronicle of Higher Education

What Will Kill Neoliberalism?

 Economist William Darity contributes to a commentary on the future of neoliberalism. Suppose, indeed, that the age of capitalism is actually reaching its conclusion — but one that doesn’t involve the ascension of the working class. Suppose, instead, that we consider the existence of a third great social class vying with the other two for social dominance. …”

Read More in The Nation

An Increase in Women Legislators Is Linked to Fewer Infant Deaths

A study led by Patricia Homan, a doctoral candidate in sociology, finds that American states with higher percentages of women in their legislatures enjoy lower infant mortality rates. She found this relationship both when making state-to-state comparisons, and when looking at the same state’s statistics over the years. “These findings underscore the importance of women’s political representation for population health,” Homan writes in the journal Social Science and Medicine.

Read More in Pacific Standard

Seven States May Provide a Window Into Taxes Under Trump

President Donald Trump and congressional Republicans are promising one of the biggest tax cuts since the days of Ronald Reagan, similar to what North Carolinians have already experienced through state legislation. The poor would be especially hard hit, critics contend. For example, a border adjustment tax “would be passed through to people based on what they consume,” says tax law professor Lawrence Zelenak.

Read More in USA Today

Activists Try to Turn Anti-Trump Protests Toward Nine Companies

Liberal activists groups are hoping to turn the wave of anti-Trump outrage against nine corporations they say are enabling Trump’s agenda. “Whether we like it or not, everything is political now, including business,” says Aaron Chatterji, associate professor at The Fuqua School of Business. “We can leverage the way people interact with campaigns to the way they interact with companies.”

Read More in TIME

White-Collar Government

Trump’s cabinet is the wealthiest in U.S. history. In light of this news, this podcast revisits Sanford School of Public Policy professor Nicholas Carnes‘ interview on the effects of a government run by the rich, for the rich, and ways to get working class Americans a seat at the table.

Listen on Scholars Strategy Network

Gerrymandering: America’s Most Dangerous Maps?

Ever wonder why congressional districts are shaped so oddly? The answer is gerrymandering: Drawing districts in part to sway election outcomes. State legislators across the nation are redrawing their electoral boundaries. But who, exactly, does gerrymandering benefit? And does it deserve the bad rap it gets? Political scientist Michael Munger helps explain the history and process of gerrymandering. “The United States, perhaps uniquely, has wrestled with this in a way most counties don’t have to deal with,” he says.

Listen on NPR’s ‘1A’


Equitable Growth in Conversation: An interview with William Darity Jr.

“I think that the run-up in inequality that we’ve observed in recent years is closely tied to a set of social policies that have produced virtually unlimited capacity to generate extraordinary levels of wealth. … In short, I think we can look directly at a set of policies and, more recently, at the advent of the Great Recession to understand the rise in economic inequality,” says economist William “Sandy” Darity,  the Samuel DuBois Cook Professor of Public Policy at the Sanford School of Public Policy.

Read More From The Washington Center for Equitable Growth

Understanding the Freedom Caucus

“Everyone who cares about Congress should take note. Last week the House Freedom Caucus hijacked our legislative branch and trumped the Republican Party. It wasn’t the first time, and it won’t be the last,” writes Bradley Harris, a master’s of public policy candidate at the Sanford School of Public Policy.

Read More in the Sun-Sentinel

A Budget for the People?

“The core purpose of federal taxing and spending is to provide the American people with the government services and public goods they need, want, and deserve. The new administration’s budget, if we can even call it that, does nothing of the sort,” writes Mark Paul, an economist and postdoctoral associated at the Samuel DuBois Cook Center on Social Equity.

Read More on Medium

A Novel Way That Citizens Can End Gerrymandering

“North Carolina’s current system of gerrymandered voting districts is indeed harmful. Undemocratic and alien to American values, gerrymandering – drawing electoral districts to favor certain parties and minimize competitiveness of general elections – also undermines our society in many ways. The answer to this problem, we believe, may seem counterintuitive, but is compelling: convince non-Republicans to register Republican or, almost as usefully, Unaffiliated,” write economics professors Charles Becker, Bruce Caldwell, Edward Tower and Michael Munger.

Read More in The Charlotte Observer

Supreme Court Nominee Neil Gorsuch and the Rise of Originalism

“People like (Bork and Scalia) have really succeeded in persuading everyone from the right to the left that we ought to do more historical research in constitutional interpretation than maybe we did under the Warren court,” says law professor Ernest Young. “Everyone is pretty much persuaded that history counts, (but) very few people think that only history matters.”

Read More in The Christian Science Monitor