By Angus Deaton, via Richard Horton on Twitter. Excellent bits on the measurement of poverty.
This paper is interesting in two ways. First, it recasts the discussion away from monadic attributes — GDP share, say — towards global categories — market share of American multinational corporations. Second, it suggests that the old “relative power” discussions, which tend to be cast in dyadic terms, is also inappropriate. Instead we need to think globally. If China increases its GDP share relative to the U.S. but does so by importing American technology, adding a small amount of value, then exporting a finished product, the statistics will show a big GDP boost from exports but can we really say China has gained on the U.S. in any meaningful way? As Susan Strange once wrote, becoming a blue collar worker in service to American white collar management does not make you more powerful than the Americans. The old dependency theorists understood this quite well even if they got some other things wrong. Add to this Benjamin Cohen’s recent work (with Tabitha Benney) showing that the US dollar has not slipped in importance in the monetary system (recent events have demonstrated this), and my dissertation (recently defended) showing that American prominence in global banking has increased since the crisis, and the overall picture looks clear: relative to recent history, the U.S.’s power position has not changed and has in some ways improved.Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose
This analysis suggests that the cross-national declines in military expenditures and force sizes have less to do with political demilitarization, and more to do with the increasing technological efficiencies of defense markets. It is worth noting this distinction before making pacifistic inferences about the international security climate, particularly given turmoil in the Middle East and Asia.A Phantom Decline in Militaries? — The Monkey Cage
You can think of rape and sexual assault as the darkest of the dark figure of crime,” said Candace Kruttschnitt, a sociologist at the University of Toronto who is co-chairing a panel of researchers who are advising the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics on its victimization surveys.Rape: the Darkest Dark Figure of Crime - The Numbers Guy - WSJ
n 1: Raise the Crime Rate
Uncounted in the official tallies are the hundreds of thousands of crimes that take place in the country’s prison system, a vast and growing residential network whose forsaken tenants increasingly bear the brunt of America’s propensity for anger and violence.
Crime has not fallen in the United States—it’s been shifted.
You have to look at the GDP/GNI adjusted for purchasing power parity but not per capita to see the US and China as “close.” So, straight-up GDP I think is done at exchange rates. GDP/capita is obviously not the right question here (since we are interested in “size of the economy” not “standard of living”). Whether or not exchange-rate or PPP is the right measure for “size of the economy” depends on what you think you are measuring, but in any rate, if you look at the WDI series for “Gross National Income in PPP dollars”, you’ll see the US and China are “closer” , at least closer than the US being double (instead, the US is about a quarter ahead, as Milanovic said). In this case, it’s the wildly different PPP estimates that are doing a lot of the work of producing uncertainty around the largest economy.What is the Largest Economy? | A (Budding) Sociologist’s Commonplace Book
In the control group, the authors find what Bartels, Nyhan and Reifler found: There are big partisan gaps in the accuracy of responses. …. For example, Republicans were likelier than Democrats to correctly state that U.S. casualties in Iraq fell from 2007 to 2008, and Democrats were likelier than Republicans to correctly state that unemployment and inflation rose under Bush’s presidency.Survey respondents are lying, not ignorant | Stats Chat
That process and the data it produced made sense for certain research tasks, but they also swept under the rug the ambiguity and uncertainty that makes cases like Turkey right now so important for our understanding of what democracy is, and how it really emerges and recedes. Many regimes are easy to tag as democracies or autocracies, but there’s a sizable bloc that defies this bifurcation, and this bloc has only gotten larger in the past 25 years. As more and more states that long eschewed democratic procedures have adopted them, they have often done so in bits and pieces. What one hand has given in formal rules, the other has often taken away with informal practices and outright subterfuge that are meant to preserve the power distribution “real” democracy would threaten to overturn.The State of Democracy in Turkey | Dart-Throwing Chimp
It might not feel like it to those stuck on a delayed train or struggling to get a mobile phone signal but Britain has been ranked as the second most advanced country in the world in a new measure designed to rival GDP.Britain ranked second only to Sweden in table of most advanced countries - Telegraph