Jul 25, 2013

Can a president control gas prices? Depends on when you ask

Can a president control gas prices? The answer depends on whether you ask a Republican or a Democrat — and which party occupies the White House.

Jul 23, 2013

The royal baby, your newest cousin?

No wonder the world is going gaga over the birth of the newest heir to the British throne. We’re all related by blood to Kate, Will and their little prince. He’s our cousin—though for most people of European descent in the United States he’s our distant cousin as much as 35 times removed, give or take a few generations.

Jul 18, 2013

The price that politicians pay for scandals

Becoming caught up in a serious ethics scandal isn’t necessarily a career-ender for a member of the U.S. House of Representatives. It turns out only about a quarter exit the political stage through resignation or retirement.  The rest choose to seek re-election despite the blot on their records—and two-thirds of them win. This scandal scorecard comes […]

Jul 18, 2013

The most (and least) culturally diverse countries in the world

A new study of cultural diversity and economic development measures the amount of cultural diversity in each of more than 180 countries.

Jul 12, 2013

The politics and demographics of food stamp recipients

The House on July 11 passed a farm bill stripped of funding for food stamps. A Pew Research survey last year found about one-in-five (22%) of Democrats say they had received food stamps compared with 10% of Republicans.

Jul 11, 2013

Is childhood obesity contagious?

Every parent knows that young children catch lots of things at school: chicken pox, the flu and, of course, the annual back-to-school cold. Now there’s evidence that kids can catch something else from their classmates:  obesity. Of course there isn’t a fat virus, or at least one we know about.  But a research team from […]

Jul 2, 2013

For states, gambling on casinos may be a bad bet

When casinos come to town, an increase in public corruption is likely to follow. Or so claim two economists who studied federal corruption conviction rates in states before and after they legalized casino gambling. They focused on the years 1985 to 2000, a period of intense efforts by the casino industry to legalize casinos in […]

Jun 27, 2013

Why boys with sisters are more likely to be Republicans

Interesting things happen when little boys grow up with sisters: They are less likely to help mom with housekeeping chores—and they’re more likely to grow up to be Republicans, according to a new paper published in the latest issue of the Journal of Politics (doc). Young men who were raised with sisters also are more likely […]

Jun 25, 2013

What’s killing the less-educated white women of America?

For nearly three decades researchers have known that better-educated adults are living increasingly longer than those with less education. (Kids: One more reason to stay in school.) Then in the mid-1980s a new trend emerged: The education-mortality gap began growing much faster among women than among men. By 2006, white women without a high school […]

Jun 19, 2013

What Americans really want from their lawmakers

Americans often say they want their representatives in Congress to put the country’s needs over local concerns. But four novel experiments suggest that the public does just the opposite.  In a new study, respondents rated a member of Congress far more favorably if the lawmaker put the interests of his or her district or state […]