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Chris Blattman

Chris Blattman is an Associate Professor at Columbia University. Through his blog, Chris explores statistics and cultural trends to examine poverty and political participation. His weekly links capture some of the best content on the web.

If we elected more women would there be less war? Yes but not for the reasons you think

Liz Truss is the United Kingdom's new prime minister—that brings the number of female leaders in the G20 to two. She enters world politics at a tense moment: Russian President Vladimir Putin's invasion of Ukraine looks unlikely to end anytime soon, and tensions in the Taiwan Strait are greater than ever. The risk of a great power war between the West and Russia or China seems greater than any point in 30 years.Maybe what we need is more women in charge, and fewer macho men. Surely that would...

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Predicting and preventing violent crime before it happens

All of us want to feel safe in our daily lives. Yet when we think about crime, our first response is often a blanket approach: find the bad guys, and punish them. But what if there were another way? This week on the show, researchers Sara Heller and Chris Blattman explore how technology and psychology can be used to radically transform our approach to crime. Additional Resources “Social Networks and the Risk of Gunshot Injury,” by Andrew Papachristos, Anthony Braga, David Hureau in the...

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How to cut short the long slog in Ukraine

James Stavridis, the former NATO supreme allied commander for Europe, recently predicted that the Russia-Ukraine conflict would end this year. Some experts, such as Stavridis, expect a stalemate and frozen conflict. Others hope for negotiations to begin. After all, this is what usually happens. War is brutally expensive and exhausting, so most conflicts are brief. Over the last century, the average war was just 100 days long.   Unfortunately, some wars last because sustaining the...

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The work habits of highly successful mathematicians, mostly to make you feel bad about your day today

On any given day, Huh does about three hours of focused work. He might think about a math problem, or prepare to lecture a classroom of students, or schedule doctor’s appointments for his two sons. “Then I’m exhausted,” he said. “Doing something that’s valuable, meaningful, creative” — or a task that he doesn’t particularly want to do, like scheduling those appointments — “takes away a lot of your energy.” To hear him tell it, he doesn’t usually have much control over what he decides to focus...

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Russian soldier gangsterism, cricket scams, optical illusions, and other links I liked

1. Scam of the day (Indian cricket edition): “I have never seen a scam like this. These guys just cleared a patch of land deep inside a village and began playing a match and beaming it on YouTube to make money through gambling. …We know very little about the Russians who were putting bets on this” 2. A good story on Russian repression and Ukrainian resistance inside occupied areas of Ukraine. Some Russian actions look an awful lot like how gangs and militias try to foster civilian...

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America’s path to war with Russia

That’s the title of my feature with RealClearDefense, published this weekend. Full text follows here. The Biden administration has worked hard to keep Russia from treating America as a co-combatant in Ukraine. But that doesn’t mean NATO isn’t deeply embroiled in the fight. The level of support is extraordinary and increasing, including sanctions, intelligence sharing, weapons transfers, and money. Add to that the ever-heightening political rhetoric: “The United States is in this to win...

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Acht Wochen Verhaltenstherapie und 200 Dollar verändern das Leben gewalttätiger Männer in Liberia nachhaltig

Erstmals haben Forscher gezeigt, dass Verhaltenstherapie bei Erwachsenen mit krimineller Vergangenheit auch 10 Jahre später noch wirkt: Im Durchschnitt konnten so 338 Straftaten verhindert werden – pro Person. Strassenverkäufer in Liberia, Juni 2021. Zohra Bensemra / ReutersWer in einem Umfeld von Gewalt aufgewachsen ist, ändert sein eigenes kriminelles Verhalten selten. So lautet die gängige Meinung. Auch Forscher sagen, antisozialem Verhalten sei im Erwachsenenalter schwer...

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Two articles on Russia and Ukraine

Between 1998 and 2003, Ksenia Yudaeva and Konstantin Sonin were colleagues, first at the Russian-European Center for Economic Policy and then at the Center for Economic and Financial Research and Development. After Russia invaded Ukraine in February 2022, Sonin (now a professor at the University of Chicago) reached out to Yudaeva (who today serves as the first deputy governor of the Central Bank). Fearing data insecurity on Facebook and Telegram, she asked him to install Signal....

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