Andrew Gelman

Andrew Gelman is a professor of statistics and political science and director of the Applied Statistics Center at Columbia University. He has received the Outstanding Statistical Application award from the American Statistical Association, the award for best article published in the American Political Science Review, and the Council of Presidents of Statistical Societies award for outstanding contributions by a person under the age of 40.

Recent Articles

If Paul Krugman is Right and it’s 1931, What Happens Next?

The New York Times columnist writes : Suddenly normally calm economists are talking about 1931, the year everything fell apart. . . . And it’s happening again, both in Europe and in America. . . . None of this should be happening. As in 1931, Western nations have the resources they need to avoid catastrophe, and indeed to restore prosperity — and we have the added advantage of knowing much more than our great-grandparents did about how depressions happen and how to end them. But knowledge and resources do no good if those who possess them refuse to use them. In some ways, things might even be worse now than in 1931, as there seem to be a lot of opinion-makers in the United States who are rooting for Europe to fall apart economically, as this would represent a discrediting of the social-democratic political system that holds in the leading countries of Western Europe. The attitude on the part of these Americans, I think, is better for Europeans to have the pain sooner than later. What...

Do We Have a Civic Duty to Listen to Pollsters During Dinner?

About an hour ago, we received the following email from the communications director of University of California Television: Thought you might be interested in this short video commentary featuring UC Berkeley Goldman School of Public Policy Dean Henry E. Brady on why it’s so important for average citizens to participate in political polls. The video premiered today on UCTV Prime, the YouTube original channel from University of California. Hope you’ll share the timely piece with your readers. I’ve known Henry forever and have a great respect for him and his work. Also I agree with the general message that political participation is important; regular readers of this and other blogs will know that I’ve spent a lot of time arguing against various voting-is-for-suckers-it’s-a-waste-of-your-time arguments. But, when it comes to political polls, I’m bothered by the asymmetry by which pollsters make money from interviews, while survey respondents often participate for free. And then, just a...

America’s Increasing Economic Inequality

Nicholas Lemann recently published a judicious review of several books on inequality in The New Yorker . Along these lines, I wanted to point out two links: 1. My comments on Charles Murray’s recent book. I argue that he has some interesting points but makes two big mistakes: (a) He focuses on upper-class liberals but ignores upper-class conservatives, thus only telling half the story. (b) I don’t think that Murray’s advice to “preach what you practice” is so easy. I give the example of Joe Paterno, who led an upright life and preached morality, but that didn’t stop all sorts of immoral things being condoned right under his eyes. The point is that, to be effective, “preaching” requires some effort. Talk is cheap. Actions (even actions as simple as calling the cops) aren’t. 2. Lane Kenworthy’s very thoughtful recent book on progress for the poor. Also, here’s an article that Lane and I wrote on economic and political inequality.

Unpacking the "Zombie" Confusion

John Sides and Larry Bartels have recently spent some space explaining the “political science” view of social class and voting in American politics, in contrast to the claims of journalists Thomas Frank, George Packer, and Jonathan Chait, that working-class whites vote Republican. Frank, Packer, and Chait are outspoken liberals, but their views of class and politics align well, at least in this point, with arguments by conservatives such as David Brooks, Michael Barone, and Charles Murray about the prominence of upper-class liberals. John and Larry presented the data clearly. What I’d like to add here is a brief discussion from Red State Blue State about how all this confusion can have arisen. First take a look at this graph of trends in voting by occupation class. We created the graph using data from the National Election Study. (Sociologists Clem Brooks and Jeff Manza published a similar graph before we did; our improvements were to include more years of data and to simply plot raw...

More on political opinions of U.S. military

Following up on this and this , Paul Gronke writes: There is a fairly active literature on attitudes of military personnel. The bulk of the literature has come out of sociology, much of it inspired by the pioneering work of Morris Janowitz (Chicago) and Charles Moskos (Northwestern, passed away in 2008). The primary academic journal in the field is Armed Forces and Society. Political science engagement has been primarily driven be interests in the “civil military gap” that has grown as a consequence of the all-volunteer force. Peter Feaver , an old friend and colleague of mine when at Duke, has been a leader in this area, working mainly through the Triangle Institute for Security Studies , along with Dick Kohn (History at UNC , now emeritus) and Chris Gelpi (Duke, moving now to the Mershon Center at OSU ). I worked with Peter, Chris, and Dick on a set of parallel surveys of civilian and military elites and the mass public, and much of this work was published in a 2001 MIT Press book...