Phenomenal World is a publication managed by the Jain Family Institute.

November 20, 2021

Sources

In October, over 10,000 John Deere workers went on strike, 1,400 Kellogg's workers followed suit, and observers anticipated thousands more IATSE members and Kaiser Permanente workers to walk out. (After voting down two contracts, workers at Deere reached an agreement last week ending…

November 13, 2021

Sources

In recent decades, policy arenas which are resistant to national and international regulation have seen the flourishing of voluntary, self-regulatory, and private accountability mechanisms. Researchers have grouped these broadly as a system of Non-State-Market-Driven-Governance (NSMDG), characterized by the institutional role of markets and…

November 6, 2021

Sources

After two years of publishing, we are thrilled to launch a new website. Our new home—developed and designed by Partner & Partners—retains the style of our original blog layout, while creating new streams of longform and shortform content, gathering a series section, and collecting past PW Sources…

October 30, 2021

Sources

While a group of statisticians recently found the 2020 US Census to be free of major errors, many were concerned about the census' ability to accurately reflect the population given its coincidence with the height of the Covid-19 pandemic. The debate shed light on the…

October 23, 2021

Sources

Since the mid-19th century, municipal debt has been responsible for funding some of the most significant investments in US infrastructure, schools, and social services. But rising risks of climate-related flooding threaten the value of municipal bonds, often in cities which…

October 16, 2021

Sources

Both consumers and businesses have felt the effects of ongoing backlogs in global supply chains. The world's largest retailers have been integral in shaping these supply chains, especially in the global South, where changing patterns of consumption have been met…

October 9, 2021

Sources

As the Fed moves towards tightening its post-pandemic monetary policy, developing countries around the world face growing risks of capital flight. The deep political constraints posed by this risk are not new, but their implications for contemporary policymaking are persistent.

October 2, 2021

Sources

A rise in deportations of Haitian immigrants at the US-Mexico border has brought another cycle of media attention to the US immigration system and border security apparatus.

September 25, 2021

Sources

The possible collapse of Evergrande, China's second largest property developer, has reverberated through global financial markets. With over $300 billion in outstanding debt, 3.8 million jobs on the line, and investments across consumer industries, the scale of the impact could…

September 18, 2021

Sources

This week, millions in California voted in support of Governor Gavin Newsom in a recall election. California is one of 19 states that grants power to voters to recall a sitting governor, a law which was passed in 1911 as…

September 11, 2021

Sources

Long held to be essential for development, capital flows have come under increasing scrutiny for their impact on the financial stability and autonomy of low and middle income countries.

September 4, 2021

Sources

Haiti won independence from France in 1804, but in return for recognizing its formerly enslaved colony, France later forced Haiti to pay an indemnity of 150 million francs and give preferential treatment to French exports. The debt was equivalent to…

August 28, 2021

Sources

Earlier this year, global carbon markets were valued at a record breaking $277 billion. The number contrasts strikingly with this summer's wave of devastating fires, many of which proliferated precisely in protected forests designed to offset carbon emissions from other…

August 21, 2021

Sources

Observers in the past decades have commented on increased urbanization in India, which has led to new challenges for development, housing, and labor. But the majority of India's population, and thus electoral power, remains in rural regions.

August 14, 2021

Sources

75 percent of US firms currently make use of non-disclosure agreements. Originally developed to protect trade secrets, today's agreements have expanded to include information on salaries, skills, client lists, and employment practices.

August 7, 2021

Sources

This week, the Mexican government sued eleven major US arms manufacturers, alleging that they facilitated the illegal flow of guns into the country. The proliferation of US-manufactured guns in Mexico during recent years has been well-documented, but their presence precedes…

July 31, 2021

Sources

MICRO-STRATEGY Accounts of major historical shifts tend to treat states as unified actors responding to external incentives. In a new article, INGA RADEMACHER complicates this assumption. Drawing on archival documents from the German Federal Cabinet and Bundesbank Council from 1960-1981,…

July 24, 2021

Sources

Structures of unfree labor have always been at the edge of current and historical discourse on labor, mobility and caste in South Asia. This has been in focus during the COVID-led migrant crisis in India, where around 11.4 million migrant…

July 17, 2021

Sources

Earlier this week, the EU published a series of proposals aimed at reducing its carbon emissions by 55 percent by 2030. The legislation has revived debates on the economic models best suited to facilitating investment and decarbonization.

July 10, 2021

Sources

Haiti's President Jovenel Moïse was assassinated on Wednesday, plunging the country into greater political unrest following months of protests around Moïse's controversial decision to rule by decree.

July 3, 2021

Sources

The impending retreat of US troops from Afghanistan has brought renewed discussion on Pakistan amidst both US and Chinese alliances. Much of the scholarship on Pakistan centers around its military and foreign policy, but less attention has been given to…

June 26, 2021

Sources

Since the 2000 World Water Forum in The Hague, governance over water resources has gained salience in international development discourse. The allocation of rights (to technology and decisionmaking) and resources (both financial and natural) has shaped local economies in the…

June 19, 2021

Sources

Earlier this week, global leaders at the G7 summit signed a "green belt and road initiative," which offers funds to low income countries for sustainable investment.

June 12, 2021

Sources

former congresswoman and daughter of former President Alberto Fujimori. The contest has revealed deep polarization in the country between social movements opposed to foreign investment and those who favored market liberalization that has defined Peruvian politics since the 1990s.

June 5, 2021

Sources

This week marked the 640th anniversary of the 1381 Great Rising, a rebellion which swept across medieval England demanding an end to serfdom and an overhaul of the legal system and the aristocracy.

May 29, 2021

Sources

Though the US economy remains about 10 million jobs short of its pre-pandemic levels, employers and commentators have begun to express fears over a reduction in the labor supply, prompting debates over the possible causes of this shortage.

May 22, 2021

Sources

Recent events in Gaza and Colombia have led to calls for the conditioning of foreign aid—a controversial but longstanding element of the US foreign policy toolkit for pursuing economic and political aims abroad.

May 15, 2021

Sources

Use of the most recent government stimulus varied by income, with richer households saving the money and poorer ones using it to pay off debt.

May 8, 2021

Sources

In the late 2000s, the term "land grab" rose to prominence to describe large-scale acquisitions of farmland in Africa, Asia, and Latin America.

May 1, 2021

Sources

Millions of workers in global supply chains have lost their jobs as a result of the pandemic.

April 24, 2021

Sources

The US government spends upwards of $20 billion annually on domestic agricultural support programs, but with over 20 percent of farm products exported, these programs interact with trade policies that have fluctuated in the last century between protectionism and liberalization.

April 17, 2021

Sources

In January 2021, Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia Mohammed bin Salman unveiled plans to build ‘The Line’, a $/500bn futuristic 170km carbon-free city strip in Neom destined to be fully automated, fueled by clean energy, linked to neighboring Jordan and…

April 10, 2021

Sources

Amid the global Covid-19 vaccination campaign, a debate has emerged around intellectual property (IP) and stark inequalities in vaccine distribution. Wealthier nations have opposed a petition to waive the 1995 Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) agreement, which imposes…

April 3, 2021

Sources

Earlier this week, the blockage of the Suez Canal by the giant Ever Given container ship prompted renewed discussions on the weakness of our supply chain infrastructure, the future of globalization, and the region's colonial past.

March 27, 2021

Sources

Frequent mass shootings and recurring political struggle over gun control measures are uniquely American social phenomena.

March 20, 2021

Sources

Debates concerning the relative role of structure versus agency in explaining social phenomena has endured for decades. Drawing parallels between the teleology of nineteenth century approaches and more modern, variable-oriented research methods, historian WILLIAM SEWELL JR's 2005 book reflects on…

March 13, 2021

Sources

The Covid-19 pandemic has brought attention to the underfunding of US public health infrastructure over the last several decades. Alongside a fragmented system, a gap has emerged between public health and clinical care, with consequences for the public.

March 6, 2021

Sources

Deindustrialization is a key orienting point for research in political economy. But around the world, factory production remains significant, with employment in industry constituting between one-fifth and one-third of total employment in large economies.

February 27, 2021

Sources

Since November 2020, thousands of Indian farmers from Punjab, Haryana, and other states have protested the implementation of national market-based agricultural reforms. A look to a series of liberalization measures in the 1990s, which did not specifically address agriculture, reveals…

February 20, 2021

Sources

Earlier this week, millions of households lost power in the face of a powerful snowstorm. While these numbers are unusual, they are not new—the US suffers among the most frequent power outages of any industrialized country, concentrated especially in rural…

February 13, 2021

Sources

The proposed Covid-19 stimulus package in the US has reignited debate around inflation. Much contemporary concern and discussion on the topic still bears the mark of the 1970s, the Volcker disinflation, and the past consensus around the relationship between unemployment…

February 6, 2021

Sources

While the neoliberal era appears to be in crisis, we took on a project to investigate its historical foundations. The tensions of the current political moment are commonly traced to the financial deregulation and economic liberalization of the 1980s and…

January 30, 2021

Sources

Next week marks the launching of our first book-length Phenomenal World publication: Market Economy, Market Society: Interviews and Essays on the Decline of European Social Democracy. The book examines the fracturing of the social democratic consensus through the eyes of…

January 23, 2021

Sources

Outside of Brazil, the Bolsa Familia is known as the hallmark social policy of the former President Lula and remains the world's largest conditional cash transfer program. Less well known is the history of Brazil's social policy in the early…

January 16, 2021

Sources

The simultaneous integration of global markets and decentralization of government within nation states has been a hallmark of the age of globalization. In a 2004 article, NEIL BRENNER looks to Europe to argue that through processes of decentralization and localization,…

January 9, 2021

Sources

The deep divisions in American political and social life have long been thought to explain the unique weakness of America’s welfare infrastructure, and the absence of an integrated system of universal benefits. But on their own, demographic divisions need not…

December 19, 2020

Sources

In the wake of recent financial convulsions, central banks have emerged yet again as the first responders to crisis. But to confront the crisis of anthropogenic climate change, there is growing acknowledgement that central banks should go further, beyond their…

December 12, 2020

Sources

Between 1940 and 1990, housing growth in the United States outpaced population growth by 173 to 88 percent, and the proportion of homeowners nearly doubled. The same trend is observable internationally, and scholarly debate weighs whether demographic shifts or policy…

December 5, 2020

Sources

This year's turbulent oil market, in combination with the Covid-19 pandemic, has threatened the financial outlook of several Latin American nations. With many governments dependent on oil revenues, the issues of public ownership of the oil sector and financial liberalization…

November 21, 2020

Sources

Recent studies estimate approximately 60% of the world's population earns their wages in the informal economy. Focusing on the prevalence of informal work across Africa, Latin America, and South Asia, analysts frequently advocate for a transition to the formal economy…

November 14, 2020

Sources

The conclusion of the United States election has prompted a resurgence of commentaries on the state's role in markets. By focusing on the state's capacity to shape and alter market structure, these discussions build on a longstanding academic tradition which…

November 7, 2020

Sources

With Covid-19 cases again rising around the globe, the World Health Organization (WHO) has faced increased scrutiny from governments on its handling of the early pandemic. Today, the organization plays a key role in defining global public health and coordinating…

October 31, 2020

Sources

The confirmation of Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court has sparked ongoing debates over the institution's merits and relationship to American democracy. Among liberal democracies, the United States stands apart in the strength and autonomy of its judiciary. A…

October 24, 2020

Sources

India's Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has dominated Indian politics in the past decade, upending the country's long-standing Congress Party rule at the national level and competing with regional and ethnic parties in state elections.…

October 17, 2020

Sources

Explanations for the absence of a universal healthcare program in the United States tend to focus on the obstructive role of the American Medical Association, which, via an extensive lobbying campaign, prevented the passage of a national health insurance plan…

October 10, 2020

Sources

With millions facing housing insecurity, the economic downturn has sparked concerns of a new housing crisis. Where the subprime mortgage crisis thrust the centrality of unsustainable housing financing practices in the global economy into view, the Covid-19 recession has brought…

October 3, 2020

Sources

Recent weeks have seen proliferating analyses of the constitutional infrastructure of the US, and speculation over its ability to hinder the behaviors of a disruptive incumbent. New concerns reflect longstanding apprehension over the stability of presidential regimes.

September 28, 2020

Sources

It is well known that the share of the global labor force working in services has risen precipitously over the past several decades, with nearly half of all workers around the globe now counted in the service sector. Scholarly work…

September 19, 2020

Sources

Since the first export processing zone was established in Puerto Rico during the 1940s, special economic zones (SEZs) have proliferated to number 5,400 across 147 countries and employ more than 100 million workers. While the zones have been lauded for…

September 12, 2020

Sources

Land acquisitions have been on the rise since 2008, when rising oil prices and an international food crisis dramatically increased demand. Changing ownership patterns have the potential to influence not only the terms of agricultural supply chains, but the structure…

September 5, 2020

Sources

In addition to straining America's existing welfare infrastructure, the pandemic has fundamentally altered labor markets and generated a wide range of new social needs. Policy responses to these changing circumstances have the potential to shape the trajectory of US inequality…

August 31, 2020

Sources

The compound risks of climate catastrophe and Covid-19 have defined the year thus far. As the world continues to reel from the effects of the pandemic, and storms and wildfires dot the map, calls for marshaling a green recovery have…

August 25, 2020

Sources

Covid is accelerating the transition away from cash and encouraging the development of state-backed digital currencies. In the past two weeks, the People's Bank of China launched a trial run for digital renminbis in three major cities, and the Boston…

August 18, 2020

Sources

Standard postwar theories of class composition in the global north emphasized occupational differences between employers, blue collar, and white collar workers. But deindustrialization, and the army of underpaid service workers it generated, has increasingly muddied these categories.

August 13, 2020

Reviews

Geoeconomics and the Balance of Payments: A Reading List

Suggested readings on the savings glut, critical macrofinance, and the balance of payments.

Below is a rough reading list assembled by the panelists in the August 13, 2020 discussion on “Geoeconomics and the Balance of Payments.”

August 10, 2020

Sources

It's been over a week since Congress allowed the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation scheme to lapse, and negotiations over an extension have reached a gridlock. But even prior to its end, access to the enhanced benefit was far from equal…

August 3, 2020

Sources

Much research has documented the vast sums of "missing wealth" stored in tax havens, and detailed its implications for inequality, fiscal policy, and economic growth. Less present in the discussion is the institutional and political history of these offshore financial…

July 27, 2020

Sources

Catastrophic deficiencies in the federal response to the Covid-19 pandemic have led to renewed discussion over federalism and its discontents. The divergence among state responses to the crisis in the absence of federal guidance has produced analyses of Trump’s unique,…

July 20, 2020

Sources

Common wisdom around central bank independence (CBI) is increasingly a matter of debate. Before the Covid-19 crisis, a growing number of scholars and commentators have proposed means by which central banks can address looming climate catastrophe—either by integrating new risks…

July 13, 2020

Sources

Michael Mann's four volume magnum opus, The Sources of Social Power, analyzes the history of human societies from antiquity to the present. Theoretically, the work's major contribution is the so-called IEMP model, which examines historical shifts through the relations between…

July 6, 2020

Sources

Historically, the expansion of the American frontier symbolized a unity between political liberty and economic growth, at the same time as it justified the violent expropriation that continues to define the country's racial and distributional politics.

June 30, 2020

Sources

Brazil's Bolsa Familia is widely credited with lifting more than 20 million people out of extreme poverty, making it a global model for anti-poverty initiatives. Developed as part of a broader theory of equitable development, it serves as the basis…

June 24, 2020

Sources

LABOR In her 2007 book, Against the Law: Labor Protests in China's Rustbelt and Sunbelt, sociologist CHING KWAN LEE paints an intricate portrait of the two segments of the Chinese working class that have most acutely experienced the country's changing…

June 18, 2020

Phenomenal Works

Phenomenal Works: Mehrsa Baradaran

Banking between states and markets

Mehrsa Baradaran is a Professor of Law at UC Irvine. Her research situates the American banking system within a dense network of legal, historical, and political relationships.

June 15, 2020

Sources

As debate and discussion continues over reforms to US policing, attention has been drawn to the share of municipal and state budgets dedicated to police departments. While a useful proxy of governmental priorities, these budgets only tell part of the…

June 8, 2020

Sources

As commentators and policymakers have scrambled to find explanations for and responses to the unprecedented uprisings against police brutality across the United States, interest in the role of police unions in local politics has soared. Recent research into the question…

June 2, 2020

Sources

This week has seen policymakers, scholars, and the public debate the meaning of collective violence. While political and media discourse often fails to examine the long-term effects of social unrest, a vast literature grapples with the mechanisms that link protests…

May 26, 2020

Sources

Analyses of variation in state-level responses to the coronavirus tend to focus on party determination: On the whole, states led by Democrats have been found to undertake more rapid and extensive responses to the crisis. The focus on immediate political…

May 19, 2020

Sources

Among the many corona-induced shocks rippling through the global economy is the crash in remittance payments to developing countries. The World Bank predicts that remittance flows will fall 20% this year—a decline of $100b—largely as a result of shutdowns and…

May 12, 2020

Sources

Covid is changing popular attitudes towards the public sector, prompting many commentators to anticipate a new period of welfare expansion. Others are more skeptical, noting that public opinion undergoes rapid fluctuations, which rarely resolve into a new equilibrium.

May 4, 2020

Sources

Following the comparative success of South Korea and Singapore to flatten the Covid-19 curve, governments around the world have been discussing the merits and feasibility of tech-aided contact tracing systems. (Whether these comparative public health successes are actually attributable to…

April 28, 2020

Sources

It's been a turbulent week for the US Postal Service. With revenues plummeting as mail volume drops, the Postal Worker's Union leader recently estimated that the service is likely to literally "run out of money" by October. The crisis has…

April 21, 2020

Sources

Among the diverse local and national policy responses undertaken to combat the pandemic in recent months, Kerala's has been notable. Within the broader context of Indian economic development, Kerala's government has a tradition of successful redistributive development policies, sometimes referred…

April 13, 2020

Sources

Scholars of the global food system unravel a vast web linking trade policy, public health, economic development, labor issues, supply chain logistics, and so on. The pandemic has already prompted states to break with the implicit rules underpinning global food…

April 7, 2020

Sources

Comparisons of responses to the Covid-19 crisis across national lines yield as many questions as answers. Divergent histories of public health programs, differences in cultural norms, population density, age distributions, and internal migration patterns create a muddy picture for causal…

March 31, 2020

Sources

The need to formulate a unified COVID response has placed pressure on European integration in recent days, with Germany and the Netherlands resisting Southern European calls for the issuing of "coronabonds." A 2018 paper by John Ryan and John Loughlin…

March 25, 2020

Sources

This week, reports swirled regarding President Trump's invocation of the Defense Production Act—a 1950 law passed to manage production in the context of the Korean War—to meet the coming demand of crucial medical supplies to treat people with COVID-19. Much…

March 16, 2020

Sources

At present it's difficult to think of much else beyond the fragility of our global economic infrastructure. A 2012 discussion paper by RICHARD BALDWIN looks at global supply chains: their history, future, and policy implications.

March 9, 2020

Sources

The correlation between health, income, and wealth is widely recognized in contemporary research and policy circles. This broadly social understanding of public health outcomes has its origins in a theoretical tradition dating back to the 1970s and 80s, in which…

March 6, 2020

Phenomenal Works

Phenomenal Works: Nathan Lane

History, empirics, and industrial policy

Nathan Lane is an economist working on political economy, development, and economic history.

March 2, 2020

Sources

Over the past two decades, "evidence-based policy" has come to define the common sense of research and policymakers around the world. But while attempts have been made to create formalization schemes for the ranking of evidence for policy, a gulf…

February 24, 2020

Sources

Of the various issues mired in severe and ongoing party polarization, climate crisis is among the most puzzling. Despite longstanding discussions of bipartisan market-based policy proposals like carbon taxes and cap and trade, large-scale government and industry action remains elusive.

February 20, 2020

Phenomenal Works

Phenomenal Works: Mark Blyth

On growth models, supply chains, and dollar hegemony

Mark Blyth is William R. Rhodes Professor of International Political Economy at Brown University and a Faculty Fellow at Brown’s Watson Institute for International Studies. His research examines how the interests of state level economic actors shape ideological consensus and…

February 18, 2020

Sources

In an employer-sponsored healthcare system like that of the United States, deteriorating labor market protections have immediate consequences for access to healthcare. Democratic primary candidates have presented a number of proposals to address declining rates of insurance, ranging in degrees…

February 10, 2020

Sources

Standard theories of development have been predicated on the goal of an industrialized economy with the potential for full and regularized employment. Such a view necessitates a host of statistical categories to define and measure labor markets. In a 2000…

February 3, 2020

Sources

Sample size does more than determine the sort of methodology appropriate for a given study; theorists of social science have long pointed out that the number of case studies considered determines the sorts of questions researchers can analyze and the…

January 27, 2020

Sources

Deindustrialization is a global phenomenon taking place more rapidly in middle- income countries than in high-income ones. Despite the global decline of manufacturing employment, "industrial policy" is increasingly salient in research and policy debates. But deindustrialization poses significant challenges for…

January 21, 2020

Sources

Despite contributing towards a series of crises (from the third world debt crisis of the 80s to the Euro-crisis of 2010), sovereign debt is rising across low-, middle-, and high-income economies, leading to renewed discussions around the macroeconomic consequences of…

January 13, 2020

Sources

Researchers of policy history have long deliberated over explanatory frameworks: institutionalist accounts tend to focus on inherited conditions and path dependency in political development, while others stress the importance of social movements in shaping policy. Among the more dynamic analytical…

January 9, 2020

Phenomenal Works

Phenomenal Works: Alice Evans

Four books and papers on the 'despondency trap'

Alice Evans is a Lecturer in the Social Science of International Development at King's College London, and a Faculty Associate at Harvard's Kennedy School. She is writing a book on “The Great Gender Divergence”, which explores why European countries rapidly…

January 6, 2020

Sources

Foundational to the discipline of international relations, historian E. H. Carr's path-breaking book Twenty Years' Crisis was the first to systematically assess the (then-emerging) field as consisting of 'realist' and 'idealist' approaches. Published in 1939, the book carefully outlines the…

December 23, 2019

Sources

Thank you for reading the JFI letter this year. As we prepare for another year of research and link sharing, here's some of what we sent in 2019. We'll see you in 2020. OVER ILLUMINATION Highlights from a year of…

December 16, 2019

Sources

The recent boom in identifying and measuring monopsony in labor markets has brought the question of employers' wage-setting power to the fore of various academic and policy debates. (For an overview, see our blog post by Owen Davis from earlier…

December 9, 2019

Sources

Like many systems of social provision—from housing to pensions—American education has become increasingly financialized. In a recent paper, Charlie Eaton, Jacob Habinek, Adam Goldstein, Cyrus Dioun, Daniela García Santibáñez Godoy, and Robert Osley-Thomas consider the scope and consequences of financialization…

November 28, 2019

Phenomenal Works

Phenomenal Works: Alexander Hertel-Fernandez

On unions, advocacy, and influence

Alexander Hertel-Fernandez is a political scientist who studies the mechanisms of influence. Focusing on the strategies of organized interests, including both business and labor, Hertel-Fernandez's helps illuminate crucial and poorly understood levers of American political economy.

November 25, 2019

Sources

In recent decades, policy approaches to housing provision have focused on increasing the incomes of subsidy recipients and, due to declining federal investment, promoting tenant mobility both between subsidized housing units and out of the public housing system altogether. But…

November 18, 2019

Sources

Major accounts of the role of the state in economic development have held that the state is essential for ensuring private property rights—that democratic checks and balances encourage investment and therefore economic growth. Other schools of development stress the importance…

November 14, 2019

Phenomenal Works

Phenomenal Works: Beth Popp Berman

On knowledge, institutions, and social policy

Beth Popp Berman is sociologist whose research focuses on the history of knowledge, organizations and public policy making.

November 12, 2019

Sources

In addition to lagging behind many European economies in the breadth, amount, and quality of welfare provision, the United States also exhibits relatively low rates of take-up among the benefits it does make available. Non-take-up rates can be accounted for—at…

October 31, 2019

Phenomenal Works

Phenomenal Works: Leah Stokes

Networks of climate denial

Leah Stokes is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of Santa Barbara. Her research spans representation and public opinion, voting behavior, and environmental and energy politics. ways forward in the climate crisis. Below, her…

October 28, 2019

Sources

Tax reform is at the forefront of contemporary policy debate. US citizens pay taxes at lower rates than their European counterparts, and a growing number of researchers agree that progressive taxes on wealth and income have the potential to rectify…

October 21, 2019

Sources

Of the many justifications for introducing a universal basic income, automation is among the most popular. Over the past years, a slew of reports and endless media coverage has raised the specter of mass "technological unemployment"—a possible future that has…

October 15, 2019

Sources

As student debt grows and the labor market stagnates, a growing body of research seeks to answer questions about the worthiness of college. What characterizes the schools and populations for whom college is worth it? What does worthiness mean—financial, intellectual,…

October 7, 2019

Sources

Breathless media coverage of machine learning tools and their applications often obscures the processes that allow them to function. Time and again, services billed or understood by users as automatic are revealed to rely on undervalued, deskilled human labor.

September 30, 2019

Sources

In his 1990 book, The Three Worlds of Welfare Capitalism (TWWC), sociologist Gosta Esping-Andersen identified three categories of European welfare regimes: liberal, conservative, and social democratic. In Esping-Andersen's account, these welfare regimes developed according to the sorts of coalitions formed…

September 23, 2019

Sources

Recent years have seen a surge in scholarship that critically evaluates the origins and impact of the law and economics movement. Out of the many theoretical bedrocks of the movement, the Coase Theorem is one of the most significant. Stemming…

September 16, 2019

Sources

Two weeks ago today marked the passing of the great Immanual Wallerstein. His work has had resounding influence across fields: from literature, to legal theory, education, development studies, and international relations. Among his foremost contributions is the four volume Modern…

September 9, 2019

Sources

While the thorny ethical questions dogging the development and implementation of algorithmic decision systems touch on all manner of social phenomena, arguably the most widely discussed is that of racial discrimination. The watershed moment for the algorithmic ethics conversation was…

September 3, 2019

Sources

Last week, we considered how social and political standards can pressure climate scientists to under-report their findings, introducing an underestimation bias into published climate research. In a recent thread, Nicholas Loubere examines the development buzz around mobile money, showing how…

August 26, 2019

Sources

Without any “evidence of fraud, malfeasance or deliberate deception or manipulation,” or any promotion of inaccurate views, how can bias enter a scientific assessment? In their new book, Discerning Experts, Michael Oppenheimer, Naomi Oreskes, Dale Jamieson, et al explore the…

August 19, 2019

Sources

The role of labor (with some notable exceptions) has been relatively marginal in debates over how to decarbonize the economy. But given the growing number of clean energy jobs (and some recent labor news), it is reasonable to predict that…

August 12, 2019

Sources

The emergence of companies like Uber and Taskrabbit has prompted commentators across legal, economic, and policy research spheres to pronounce the beginning of a new era of work, marked by the prevalence of technologically mediated casual work arrangements.

August 5, 2019

Sources

Technology companies are coming under increased scrutiny for the ethical consequences of their work, and some have formed advisory boards or hired ethicists on staff. (Google's AI ethics board quickly disintegrated.) Another approach is to train computer scientists in ethics…

July 29, 2019

Sources

Many recent policy proposals are variations on European programs implemented throughout the twentieth century. Despite their marked diversity, European welfare states share a foundation of social protections largely responsible for their lower rates of inequality. Theories on the development of…

July 22, 2019

Sources

At the Phenomenal World, we have been publishing pieces covering a wide-range of topics, many of which are common ground in this newsletter. Below, in no particular order, is a round-up of some recent work in case you missed it.

July 15, 2019

Sources

Beyond growing calls for welfare expansion and a more progressive tax system, recent policy debates have begun to consider alternative models of firm ownership. Last year, the UK Labour party published a report outlining a path towards a more diverse…

July 8, 2019

Sources

Higher education is widely understood to be a major driver of intergenerational mobility in the United States. Despite the clear (and growing) inequalities between and within colleges, it remains the case that higher education reduces the impact that parental class…

July 1, 2019

Sources

How can evidence inform the decisions of policymakers? What value do policymakers ascribe to academic research? In January, we highlighted Yale's Evidence in Practice project, which emphasizes the divergence between policymakers' needs and researchers' goals. Other work describes the complexity…

June 24, 2019

Sources

In past newsletters, we have highlighted research and policy proposals relating to the Green New Deal and the literature surrounding "degrowth"—the idea that the growth imperative is at odds with human flourishing. In a recent exchange, economist Robert Pollin debates…

June 17, 2019

Sources

Debates over the relevance of indicators like GDP for assessing the health of domestic economies are persistent and growing. Critics of such measures point to the failures of such measures to holistically capture societal wellbeing, and argue in favor of…

June 10, 2019

Sources

Debates over the political impacts of Central Bank Independence (CBI) reached their peak in the late 90s and early 2000s, due to rising inequality and the volatility of financial markets. Initiated with the 1977 Federal Reserve Act and Paul Volcker’s…

June 3, 2019

Sources

Jay Inslee, the governor of Washington State and Democratic presidential candidate, has made climate policy the center of his longer-than-long-shot campaign. On May 3rd, he released 8 pages of goals, and on May 16th, he released the 35-page, 28-policy “Evergreen…

May 28, 2019

Sources

The Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) is the country's largest anti-poverty program. In 2018, over 20 million filers received $63 billion in EITC refunds. Because of its bipartisan popularity and its secure position in the tax code, with no distinct…

May 20, 2019

Sources

Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965 permits certain postsecondary institutions to be eligible for federal financial aid funds. A wide variety of programs are Title IV eligible: public, private, for-profit, vocational. Yet there are also a vast…

May 13, 2019

Sources

As economies across Europe and in the United States have become more knowledge-based, urban-centered, and tech-driven, people in manufacturing reliant regions have seen declining life expectancies, stagnating real incomes, and minimal job growth.

May 6, 2019

Sources

April 29, 2019

Sources

In nearly every major urban center, housing affordability is in crisis. Since the 1960s, median home value has risen by 112% across the country, while median owner incomes rose just 50%. For renters, especially since 2008, the problem is increasingly…

April 20, 2019

Sources

April 13, 2019

Sources

Current UBI discussions emerged out of concerns over the role of human beings in a machine-dominated labor market. In 2013, a paper by Oxford University professors Carl Benedikt Frey and Michael Osborne claimed that 47% of US jobs were at…

April 6, 2019

Sources

The most visible discourse on universal basic income focuses squarely on the labor market. Unconditional cash transfers are understood above all as a potential policy solution to wage stagnation, rising inequality, and labor displacement. This framework, which responds to rising…

March 30, 2019

Sources

Public research universities have long been understood as engines of meritocratic social mobility. Relative to other higher ed institutions, public universities remain those with the highest mobility rates. But research over the past decade has shown that these institutions are…

March 23, 2019

Sources

There is renewed debate around the merits of protectionism and free trade, spurred by political rhetoric from the left and right in the US, and in Europe and Latin America. Active disagreements over the consequences of free trade date back…

March 16, 2019

Sources

Research surrounding student debt and the labor market value of postsecondary degrees focuses primarily on students obtaining a 4-year degree, secondarily on students receiving a 2-year degree, and only rarely considers students in certificate programs—non-degree awards that are cheaper and…

March 9, 2019

Sources

In the digital ethics literature, there's a consistent back-and-forth between attempts at designing algorithmic tools that promote fair outcomes in decision-making processes, and critiques that enumerate the limits of such attempts. A December paper by ANDREW SELBST, dana boyd, SORELLE…

March 2, 2019

Sources

Household debt has proliferated in the past decade. In the final quarter of 2018, it reached $13.54 trillion—an $869 billion increase since the previous peak in 2008 and a 21.4% increase since the post-crisis trough. While it is now widely…

February 23, 2019

Sources

More than a decade after the financial crisis of 2008, median household incomes have stagnated at their pre-2008 levels, and global economic growth is expected to decline further from what is already a historic low. While the unemployment rate has…

February 16, 2019

Sources

In recent weeks, a familiar debate over how we understand the global poverty rate across time reappeared in mainstream op-ed pages. Sparked initially by Bill Gates tweeting out an infographic produced by Our World in Data—which visualizes massive decreases (94%…

February 9, 2019

Sources

This week, we delve into the persisting inequalities of our higher education system. Since Winston, Hill, and Boyd found that only 10% of students at elite universities came from families who fell within the bottom 40% of the income distribution…

February 2, 2019

Sources

In the ever expanding digital ethics literature, a number of researchers have been advocating a turn away from enticing technical questions—how to mathematically define fairness, for example—and towards a more expansive, foundational approach to the ethics of designing digital decision…

January 26, 2019

Sources

A new paper from the Center for Effective Global Action at Berkeley surveys a topic important to our researchers here at JFI: the question of long-run effects of interventions. In our literature review of cash transfer studies, we identified the…

January 19, 2019

Sources

In a recent newsletter, we noted a spate of reporting drawing attention to the authoritarianism of China's growing Social Credit System. This week, we are sharing a paper by YU-JIE CHEN, CHING-FU LIN, AND HAN-WEI LIU that casts light on…

January 12, 2019

Sources

In a report for the Berkman Klein center, Henry Farrell and Bruce Schneier identify a gap in current approaches to cybersecurity. National cybersecurity officials still base their thinking on Cold War-type threats, where technologists focus on hackers. Combining both approaches,…

January 5, 2019

Sources

We’re beginning with a report from Evidence in Practice, a project from the Yale School of Management. The report focuses on how to integrate rigorously researched evidence with policy and practice, with an emphasis on international development. The needs numerous…

December 22, 2018

Sources

The JFI Letter has grown and morphed over the past twelve months; thank you to our readers for opening, skimming, clicking, and writing us every week. We'll be offline until January 5. In the meantime, here's a list of our…

December 15, 2018

Sources

SCIENTIFIC RETURNS A new book examines the economic and social impacts of R&D Last May, we highlighted a report on workforce training and technological competitiveness which outlined trends in research and development investment. The report found that despite "total U.S.…

December 1, 2018

Sources

GREEN INFLUENCE A discussion of different approaches to climate policy Last week, the U.S. government released the Fourth National Climate Assessmentwhich outlined the dire economic and environmental consequences of climate change. Instead of highlighting key findings of the report—two good…

November 17, 2018

Sources

PLACE-BASED SUBSIDIES | UBERLAND | HISTORY OF QUANTIFICATION STAGNANT INFLUENCE The inefficiency of lobbying A few weeks ago, we spotlighted work by Elliott Ash et. al. on the startling influence of the Manne economics seminars in shaping judicial decision-making. This…

November 10, 2018

Sources

NEW UBI REPORTS | ELECTORAL VIOLENCE | BEYOND GDP DISCRETION DIFFERENTIAL On the varying modes of conceiving of privacy (and its violation) in the law In a 2004 YALE LAW JOURNAL article, comparative legal scholar JAMES Q. WHITMAN explores differing…

November 3, 2018

Sources

FUTURE OF WORK | MEDIEVAL FLOOD INSURANCE | GENDERED EMPLOYMENT POLITICAL TURBULENCE How do we meaningfully compare regime change? In last week’s newsletter, we spotlighted work by Elliott Ash, Daniel Chen, and Suresh Naidu that provided quantitative analysis of the…

October 27, 2018

Sources

EFFICIENT DISPERSION Applying quantitative methods to examine the spread of ideology in judicial opinion In a recent paper, co-authors ELLIOTT ASH, DANIEL L. CHEN, and SURESH NAIDU provide a quantitative analysis of the judicial effects of the law and economics…

October 20, 2018

Sources

WHAT IS A FAMILY? Competing definitons of the term have vast policy implications The formal definition of family is “blood, marriage, or adoption,” but that leaves out many possible arrangements, including families of unmarried people, foster children, co-ops, and, until…

October 13, 2018

Sources

CLAIMS THAT CAN'T BE TESTED What policy lessons can we derive from UBI experiments? Political philosopher KARL WIDERQUIST of Georgetown has published a 92-page book examining historical and current basic income pilots, the difficulties of extrapolating from policy research to…

October 10, 2018

Uncategorized

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consetetur sadipscing elitr, sed diam nonumy eirmod tempor invidunt ut labore et dolore magna aliquyam erat, sed diam voluptua. At vero eos et accusam et justo duo dolores et ea rebum. Stet clita kasd gubergren,…

October 6, 2018

Sources

HARD CAPS Economic growth vs. natural resources A recent Foreign Policy op-ed by JASON HICKEL examines “green growth,” a policy that calls for the absolute decoupling of GDP from the total use of natural resources. Hickel synthesizes three studies and…

October 1, 2018

Analysis

Phenomenal World is a new publication that distributes research, analysis, and commentary on applied social science. We chose this name for our blog because we hope to publish work that addresses the social world in all its apparent complexity. Our…

September 29, 2018

Sources

MIDDLE WAGE Questioning the great transition into a "global middle class" Economist STEVE KNAUSS, in a new paper published by the CANADIAN JOURNAL OF DEVELOPMENT STUDIES, examines the "myth" of the global middle class and the claim that the $2/day…

September 22, 2018

Sources

MATERIAL UNDERSTANDING The full resource stack needed for Amazon's Echo to "turn on the lights" In a novel new project, KATE CRAWFORD and VLADAN JOLER present an "anatomical case study" of the human labor, data, and planetary resources necessary for…

September 15, 2018

Sources

THE JANUS FACE The paradoxical outcomes of university-centered economic growth A recent paper by RICHARD FLORIDA and RUBEN GAETANI takes an empirical look at the role of research universities in anchoring local economies and driving economic growth. The paper examines…

September 8, 2018

Sources

WEALTH BEGETS WEALTH Matt Bruenig's Social Wealth Fund proposal, and responses Last week, MATT BRUENIG of the PEOPLE’S POLICY PROJECT published the most detailed version of a bold policy he’s been writing about for a long time: a Social Wealth…

September 8, 2018

Sources

Example table test County, State Participation Rate 2016 Population DeSoto County, Florida 74.0 35800 Hardee County, Florida 72.5 27360 Stewart County, Georgia 72.0 5705 Taliaferro County, Georgia 78.0 1593 Telfair County, Georgia 74.5 15965 Wheeler County, Georgia 77.7 7978 Holmes…

September 1, 2018

Sources

CONSTRAINED POSSIBILITIES On the relationship between academic economics and public policy In a recent working paper, ELIZABETH POPP BERMAN discusses the interconnected fields of academic economics and public policy. The paper conceptualizes the translation of certain academic ideas into public…

August 25, 2018

Sources

SPATIAL PARAMETERS On place-based and adaptable public policy A recent report published by BROOKINGS INSTITUTE discusses the potential effectiveness of place-based policies for strengthening the economies of depressed areas. Co-authored by Harvard’s BENJAMIN AUSTIN, EDWARD GLAESER, and LAWRENCE H. SUMMERS,…

August 18, 2018

Sources

COMPENSATION TREATMENT In Iran, cash transfers don't reduce labor supply A new study examines the effects of Iran's changeover from energy subsidies to cash transfers. From the abstract, by DJAVAD SALEHI-ISFAHANI and MOHAMMED H. MOSTAFAVI-DEHZOOEI of the ECONOMIC RESEARCH FORUM:…

August 11, 2018

Sources

ALCHEMIST STOCK Automation, employment, and capital investment At his blog STUMBLING AND MUMBLING, CHRIS DILLOW discusses recent reporting on rapid automation fears in the United Kingdom: "'More than six million workers are worried their jobs could be replaced by machines…

August 4, 2018

Sources

ENERGY BOOM A new carbon tax proposal and a big new carbon tax research report Representative Carlos Curbelo (R-FL) introduced a carbon tax bill to the House last week (though it is “sure to fail” with the current government, it's…

July 28, 2018

Sources

BANKING AS ART On the history of economists in central banks  A recent paper by FRANÇOIS CLAVEAU and JÉRÉMIE DION applies quantitative methods to the historical study of central banks, demonstrating the transition of central banking from an "esoteric art"…

July 21, 2018

Sources

ALTERNATIVE ACTUARY History of risk assessment, and some proposed alternate methods  A 2002 paper by ERIC SILVER and LISA L. MILLER on actuarial risk assessment tools provides a history of statistical prediction in the criminal justice context, and issues cautions…

July 14, 2018

Sources

DATA IS NONRIVAL Considerations on data sharing and data markets  CHARLES I. JONES and CHRISTOPHER TONETTI contribute to the “new but rapidly-growing field” known as the economics of data: “We are particularly interested in how different property rights for data…

July 7, 2018

Sources

EVIDENCE PUZZLES The history and politics of RCTs  ⤷ Guaranteed Income In a 2016 working paper, JUDITH GUERON recounts and evaluates the history of randomized controlled trials (RCTs) in the US, through her own experience in the development of welfare experiments…

June 30, 2018

Sources

CLIMATE PREDICTION MARKET How to link a carbon tax to climate forecasting A 2011 paper by SHI-LING HSU suggests a way of using a carbon tax to generate more accurate predictions of future climate conditions: “The market for tradable permits…

June 23, 2018

Sources

VISIBLE CONSTRAINT Including protected variables can make algorithmic decision-making more fair  ⤷ Digital Ethics A recent paper co-authored by JON KLEINBERG, JENS LUDWIG, SENDHIL MULLAINATHAN, and ASHESH RAMBACHAN addresses algorithmic bias, countering the "large literature that tries to 'blind' the algorithm…

June 16, 2018

Sources

ROLL CALL  A new report from Fordham CLIP sheds light on the market for student list data from higher education institutions From the paper authored by N. CAMERON RUSSELL, JOEL R. REIDENBERG, ELIZABETH MARTIN, and THOMAS NORTON of the FORDHAM…

June 9, 2018

Sources

Ego

PAVEMENT, NURSING, MISSILES Algorithm Tips, a compilation of "potentially newsworthy algorithms" for journalists and researchers DANIEL TRIELLI, JENNIFER STARK, and NICK DIAKOPOLOUS and Northwestern’s Computational Journalism Lab created this searchable, non-comprehensive list of algorithms in use at the federal, state,…

June 2, 2018

Sources

ARTIFICIAL INFERENCE Causal reasoning and machine learning  In a recent paper titled "The Seven Pillars of Causal Reasoning with Reflections on Machine Learning", JUDEA PEARL, professor of computer science at UCLA and author of Causality popup: yes, writes: “Current machine…

May 26, 2018

Sources

SHOCK-LEVEL-ZERO Jobs guarantees vs. basic income In a characteristically lengthy and thorough post, SCOTT ALEXANDER of SLATE STAR CODEX argues for a basic income over a jobs guarantee, in dialogue with a post by SIMON SARRIS. Here's how Alexander addresses the…

May 19, 2018

Sources

EACH POINT ON THE CHAIN Arguments for Value-Added Tax in the US, and using VAT to fund basic income VAT The Wall Street Journal lays out the basics popup: yes: “Unlike a traditional sales tax, a VAT is a levy…

May 12, 2018

Sources

LABOR-LEISURE TRADE-OFF A new paper on the labor effects of cash transfers SARAH BAIRD, DAVID MCKENZIE, and BERK OZLER of the WORLD BANK review a variety of cash transfer studies, both governmental and non-governmental, in low- and middle-income countries. Cash…

May 5, 2018

Sources

POSTAL OPTION  Renewed interest in an old model  Last week we linked to the widely publicized news popup: yes that SENATOR KIRSTEN GILLIBRAND would be pushing legislation to reintroduce government-run commercial banking through the United States Postal Service. Link popup: yes…

April 28, 2018

Sources

ONTARIO FOR ALL Canada calculates expanding Ontario's guaranteed income to the entire nation Canada’s Parliamentary Budget Office looks at the cost of expanding the Ontario pilot nationwide. Full report here popup: yes. ht Lauren ANDREW COYNE of the NATIONAL POST summarizes…

April 21, 2018

Sources

NON-ZERO PRICE "Digital goods have created large gains in well-being that are missed by conventional measures of GDP and productivity" A new paper by ERIK BRYNJOLFSSON et al. suggests using massive online choice experiments as a method to find the…

April 14, 2018

Sources

METARESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT Changes in R & D funding and allocation In a new report on workforce training and technological competitiveness, a task force led by former Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker describes recent trends in research and development investment. Despite…

April 7, 2018

Sources

TARGET VARIABLE Big data's effect on the credit-scoring industry A lengthy 2016 article from the Yale Journal of Law and Technology delves into credit-scoring then suggests a new legislative framework. Since 2008, lenders have only intensified their use of big-data…

March 31, 2018

Sources

URBAN WEALTH FUNDS | OWNERSHIP OF SOVEREIGN WEALTH | FILTER BUBBLE EFFECTS URBAN WEALTH FUNDS Social wealth funds on the municipal level Matt Bruenig, Roger Farmer and Miles Kimball, and Sam Altman have all pushed for versions of a US…

March 24, 2018

Sources

FAIRNESS IN MACHINE LEARNING | METARESEARCH | MICROSTRUCTURE OF VIOLENCE DISTINCT FUSION Tracking the convergence of terms across disciplines In a new paper, CHRISTIAN VINCENOT looks at the process by which two synonymous concepts developed independently in separate disciplines, and…

March 17, 2018

Sources

STATE SCHOOL RECRUITMENT | JOB GUARANTEE | BLOCKCHAIN DEPENDENCE EXTERIOR State universities' reliance on out-of-state enrollment Research on enrollment patterns finds that shrinking state funds leads admissions departments to look for out-of-state tuition financing. "Fixed effects panel models revealed a…

March 10, 2018

Sources

CRIMINALIZATION OF DEBT | INTERNET CENSORSHIP | EQUALITY BRUTAL ATTACHMENTS A new report on the criminalization of debt Last week, the ACLU published a report entitled "A Pound of Flesh: The Criminalization of Private Debt." It details the widespread use…

March 3, 2018

Sources

IVORY MECHANICS Regional parochialism and the production of knowledge in universities "Scholarly understanding of how universities transform money and intellect into knowledge remains limited. At present we have only rudimentary measures of knowledge production's inputs: tuition and fees, government subsidies,…

February 24, 2018

Sources

DEFERRED ACTION On the effects of DACA Last week we linked to a paper that outlines the effects of DACA status on educational attainment and productivity: "High school graduation rates increased by 15 percent while teenage births declined by 45…

February 17, 2018

Sources

BASIC OPPORTUNITY Considerations on funding UBI in Britain The RSA (Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce) published a discussion paper on UBI. ANTHONY PAINTER outlines some key points here, including some thoughts on funding: “To fund…

February 10, 2018

Sources

AUTOMATIC PRECISION Translating randomized controlled trials into policy action "A randomized experiment is performed,a statistically significant comparison is found, and then story time begins, and continues and continues—as if the rigor from the randomized experiment somehow suffuses through the entire…

February 3, 2018

Sources

MASS PRIVACY The inadequacy of individual informed consent This week, an Australian college student noticed how data from Strava, a fitness-tracking app, can be used to discover the locations of military bases. Many outlets covered the news and its implications,…

January 27, 2018

Sources

DISCONTINUOUS ADVANCE A flurry of articles in December and January assess the state of artificial intelligence From Erik Brynjolfsson et al, optimism about productivity growth: “Economic value lags technological advances. “To be clear, we are optimistic about the ultimate productivity…

January 20, 2018

Sources

PERVERSE CONSEQUENCES Does banning the box increase hiring discrimination? “Our results support the concern that BTB [Ban the Box] policies encourage racial discrimination: the black-white gap in callbacks grew dramatically at companies that removed the box after the policy went…

January 13, 2018

Sources

THE WAGE EFFECT Higher minimum wages and the EITC may reduce recidivism “Using administrative prison release records from nearly six million offenders released between 2000 and 2014, we use a difference-in-differences strategy to identify the effect of over two hundred…

January 6, 2018

Sources

THE YEAR IN ECONOMICS Nominations from top economists, including selections by Raj Chetty, Sendhil Mullainathan, and Angus Deaton One favorite from this excellent round-up is by Hulten and Nakamura on metrics, selected by Diane Coyle (we previously sent her Indigo…

December 23, 2017

Sources

INCOME SHARE AGREEMENTS Purdue, BFF, the national conversation “Long discussed in college policy and financing circles, income share agreements, or ISAs, are poised to become more mainstream.” That’s from a September Wall Street Journal article. 2017 saw new pilots and…

December 16, 2017

Sources

HOW TO HANDLE BAD CONTENT Two articles illustrate the state of thought on moderating user-generated content Ben Thompson of Stratechery rounds up recent news on content moderation on Twitter/Facebook/Youtube and makes a recommendation: “Taking political sides always sounds good to…

December 9, 2017

Sources

THE FUTURE OF UNDERGRADUATE EDUCATION A new report argues that quality, not access, is the pivotal challenge for colleges and universities From the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, a 112-page report with "practical and actionable recommendations to improve the…

December 2, 2017

Sources

ARTIFICIAL AGENCY AND EXPLANATION The gray box of XAI A recent longform piece in the New York Times identifies the problem of explaining artificial intelligence. The stakes are high because of the European Union’s controversial and unclear “right-to-explanation” law, which…

November 18, 2017

Sources

PREDICTIVE JUSTICE How to build justice into algorithmic actuarial tools Key notions of fairness contradict each other—something of an Arrow’s Theorem for criminal justice applications of machine learning. "Recent discussion in the public sphere about algorithmic classification has involved tension…

November 11, 2017

Sources

"A DOLL POSSESSED BY A DEMON" Recommender systems power YouTube's controversial kids' videos Familiar cartoon characters are placed in bizarre scenarios, sometimes by human content creators, sometimes by automated systems, for the purpose of attracting views and ad money. First,…

November 4, 2017

Sources

FEED FEEDBACK Sociologist Zeynep Tufekci engages with Adam Mosseri, who runs the Facebook News Feed Tufekci: “…Facebook does not ask people what they want, in the moment or any other way. It sets up structures, incentives, metrics & runs with…