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Across disciplines, scholars strive to better understand individuals’ milieus—the people, places, and institutions individuals encounter in their daily lives. In particular, political scientists argue that racial and ethnic context shapes attitudes about candidates, policies, and fellow citizens. Yet, the current standard of measuring milieus is to place survey respondents in a geographic container and then to ascribe all that container's characteristics to the individual's milieu. Using a new dataset of over 2.6 million GPS records from over 400 individuals, we compare conventional static measures of racial and ethnic context to dynamic, precise measures of milieus. We demonstrate how low-level static measures tend to overstate how extreme individuals’ racial and ethnic contexts are and offer suggestions for future researchers.
We describe an ultra-wide-bandwidth, low-frequency receiver recently installed on the Parkes radio telescope. The receiver system provides continuous frequency coverage from 704 to 4032 MHz. For much of the band (
), the system temperature is approximately 22 K and the receiver system remains in a linear regime even in the presence of strong mobile phone transmissions. We discuss the scientific and technical aspects of the new receiver, including its astronomical objectives, as well as the feed, receiver, digitiser, and signal processor design. We describe the pipeline routines that form the archive-ready data products and how those data files can be accessed from the archives. The system performance is quantified, including the system noise and linearity, beam shape, antenna efficiency, polarisation calibration, and timing stability.
Good education requires student experiences that deliver lessons about practice as well as theory and that encourage students to work for the public good—especially in the operation of democratic institutions (Dewey 1923; Dewy 1938). We report on an evaluation of the pedagogical value of a research project involving 23 colleges and universities across the country. Faculty trained and supervised students who observed polling places in the 2016 General Election. Our findings indicate that this was a valuable learning experience in both the short and long terms. Students found their experiences to be valuable and reported learning generally and specifically related to course material. Postelection, they also felt more knowledgeable about election science topics, voting behavior, and research methods. Students reported interest in participating in similar research in the future, would recommend other students to do so, and expressed interest in more learning and research about the topics central to their experience. Our results suggest that participants appreciated the importance of elections and their study. Collectively, the participating students are engaged and efficacious—essential qualities of citizens in a democracy.
Changes in land-use and climate are threatening migratory animals worldwide. In birds, declines have been widely documented in long-distance migrants. However, reasons remain poorly understood due to a lack of basic information regarding migratory birds’ ecology in their non-breeding areas and the effects of current environmental pressures there. We studied bird densities, spatial and territorial behaviour and habitat preference in two different habitat types in northern Ghana, West Africa. We study three common Eurasian-African songbirds (Willow Warbler Phylloscopus trochilus, Melodious Warbler Hippolais polyglotta and Pied Flycatcher Ficedula hypoleuca) in a forested site, heavily disturbed by agricultural activities, and a forest reserve with no agriculture. The three species differed in non-breeding spatial strategies, with Willow Warblers having larger home ranges and being non-territorial. Home ranges (kernel density) of the three species were on average 1.5–4 times larger in the disturbed site than in the undisturbed site. Much of the birds’ tree species selection was explained by their preference for tall trees, but all species favoured trees of the genus Acacia. The overall larger home ranges in the disturbed site were presumably caused by the lower density of tall trees. Density of Pied Flycatchers was 24% lower in disturbed habitat (not significantly different from undisturbed) but Willow Warbler density in the disturbed habitat was more than 2.5 times the density in undisturbed. This suggests that the disturbed habitat was less suitable for Pied Flycatcher but not for Willow Warbler. This difference is possibly related to differences in tree species preferences and suggests that at least for some species, presence of preferred tree species is more important than overall tree abundance. Such information is crucial for predicting consequences of habitat changes on larger scales and population levels, as well as for planning potentially migrant-friendly farming practices.
Treerow vegetation abundance and biodiversity were measured in response to six orchard floor management strategies in organic peach in northern Utah for three growing seasons. A total of 32 weed species were observed in the treerow; the most common were field bindweed, dandelion, perennial grasses (e.g., red fescue and ryegrass), clovers, and prickly lettuce. Weed biomass was two to five times greater in unmanaged (living mulch) than in manipulated treatments. Tillage greatly reduced weeds for approximately one month; however, vegetation rebounded midseason. Tillage selected for species adapted to disturbance, such as common purslane and field bindweed. Straw mulch provided equivalent weed suppression to tillage in the early season. Straw required annual reapplication with material costs, labor, and weed-seed contamination (e.g., volunteer grains and quackgrass) as disadvantages. Plastic fabric mulch reduced weeds the most, but had high initial costs and required seasonal maintenance. Weed biomass declined within seasons and across the three years of the study, likely due to tree canopy shading. Neither birdsfoot trefoil nor a perennial grass mixture planted in the alleyways influenced treerow weeds. Our results demonstrate several viable alternatives to tillage for weed management in treerows of organic peach orchards in the Intermountain West.
Accurate discrimination of two morphologically similar species of Patella limpets has been facilitated by using qPCR amplification of species-specific mitochondrial genomic regions. Cost-effective and non-destructive sampling is achieved using a mucus swab and simple sample lysis and dilution to create a PCR template. Results show 100% concurrence with dissection and microscopic analysis, and the technique has been employed successfully in field studies. The use of highly sensitive DNA barcoding techniques such as this hold great potential for improving previously challenging field assessments of species abundance.
On page 157 of the article by Kriner and Reeves in the February 2015 issue of American Political Science Review, the author of a book by Hart (1995) is incorrectly cited as House. On page 170, the reference incorrectly lists the author as House and the publisher as M.E. Sharpe. The publisher is in fact Chatham House. The correct reference is below.
The political scientist Harold Lasswell famously defined politics as who gets what, when, and how. On these questions, the universalistic presidency framework and the vision of a particularistic presidency that we offer in its place yield starkly diverging expectations. When making major policy decisions and deciding how to allocate federal resources across the country, do presidents prioritize the needs and desires of some constituencies over others? The universalistic presidency framework argues no. Presidents, alone in our system, possess a truly national constituency. As such, they are uniquely positioned to pursue nationally optimal policy outcomes. Unlike members of Congress, they know that their lasting legacy will be measured by how they served the national interest, not how they balanced such imperatives with the need to serve a more narrow geographic constituency.
We do not dispute that presidents are motivated by an intense desire to champion and implement policies that benefit the nation as a whole. However, we argue that presidents also have strong incentives to be particularistic – that is, to weigh the needs and desires of some Americans more heavily than others when forming their policy priorities. The incentives driving particularistic behaviors are multiple. For example, electoral motivations drive presidents to respond disproportionately to the interests of voters in constituencies with the most clout in the next presidential contest. Moreover, presidents are more than reelection seekers; they are also partisan leaders. As such, presidents routinely prioritize the needs of their partisan base over those of constituencies that reliably back the partisan opposition. As party leaders, presidents reliably move to channel federal benefits to constituencies that send co-partisan legislators to Washington.
The differences between the universalistic and particularistic paradigms are not merely theoretical or semantic. Rather, they have serious, tangible consequences for public policymaking in America. Left to their own devices, presidents do not simply pursue policies that maximize benefits for the entire nation.
In the previous chapter, we searched for evidence of presidential particularism in military base closings and trade policy. In both cases, we found that presidents favored the interests of some Americans over others. In some cases, presidents sought to court key swing voters; in others, they endeavored to protect their partisan allies from economic pain and instead concentrate it in constituencies that backed the partisan opposition. This stands in stark contrast to the conventional wisdom of presidential universalism, where presidents eschew parochialism and instead pursue policies that maximize outcomes for the nation as a whole. In this chapter, we look for further evidence of presidential particularism by analyzing presidential disaster declarations and executive influence over the allocation of transportation grants.
Presidential decisions concerning whether or not to issue a federal disaster declaration present an ideal venue to examine presidential motivations because the stimulus (severe weather) is determined outside the political system and creates a direct need for relief. As a result, we can assess whether – after controlling for storm damage and objective economic need – political factors influence the allocation of federal disaster aid. Although need is the preeminent determinant of presidential disaster declarations, our data unambiguously show that these presidential directives are also influenced by whether the affected area is in a battleground state or a core partisan constituency.
Shifting focus to the politics of transportation grants affords us an opportunity to look for evidence of presidential particularism in a realm where presidents do not have unilateral authority over policymaking. Indeed, transportation funding is a policy realm long held to be dominated not by the president but by Congress. As a result, transportation grants serve as a critical test for our argument; if we find evidence of presidential particularism here, there are strong reasons to expect to find it in a myriad of other policy realms as well.
Presidential Disaster Declarations
Disaster declarations are opportunities for presidents to make unilateral decisions about distributive politics. Moreover, in this policy realm we are able to measure accurately and objectively economic need – the dollar amount of damage caused by the severe weather.
In 1909, President William H. Taft began his public appeal for a massive expansion and improvement of American waterways with a flotilla down the Mississippi River. The convoy included nearly one hundred members of Congress and was, in part, an early twentieth-century publicity stunt designed to garner support for infrastructure improvements legislation. But the president also used the public spectacle as a powerful platform from which to warn Congress not to treat the initiative as pork barrel legislation. Taft “caused a sensation” among members, especially Speaker of the House Joe Cannon, for criticizing Congress for doing what was politically expedient to the detriment of the general welfare. If the local interests of members of Congress caused them to invest in strengthening already solid riverbanks and deepening untraveled waterways in their districts, the collective aims of the nation would suffer. Taft demanded that funds be allocated based on objective need and not the wants of powerful members of Congress.
More than a century later, modern presidents still echo Taft's warnings. Presidents continue to rail against pork barrel spending and to champion the office of the presidency as the defender of the national interest from petty and parochial politics. At times, members of Congress seem to acknowledge their own failings and look to the president to save them from themselves. Witness the Line Item Veto Act of 1996, which gave presidents the power to strike certain types of provisions from legislation individually rather than veto the entire bill. While the Supreme Court struck down the line item veto as unconstitutional in 1998, both George W. Bush and Barack Obama have called for its reintroduction in a form that might pass constitutional muster. Most recently, in 2010 the Obama administration submitted a new proposal to Congress, the Reduce Unnecessary Spending Act, which the president claimed would help his administration cut billions of dollars of federal waste inserted into appropriations bills by spendthrift members of Congress each year.
As an initial inquiry into the scope of presidential particularism, we examine the politics driving presidential behavior in the cases of foreign trade policy and military base closings. These policies are of national importance and affect communities directly. Decisions to grant an industry protection are an economic boon for the communities where that industry is concentrated – but they simultaneously impose an economic cost on the country as a whole. Similarly, decisions concerning military base closings involve the allocation of billions of tax dollars and can mean the difference between economic decay and rejuvenation for the affected communities.
We focus on trade and base closures for two reasons. First, in both policy areas presidents have enjoyed considerable independent authority to act without congressional approval. With respect to trade, Congress has delegated authority to the president on multiple fronts, particularly in dealing with domestic demands for protection from foreign competition. Presidents possess great discretion when deciding whether to help an industry adversely affected by free trade. As a result, when trying to understand why some industries are granted relief while others are denied, we look to the president and the incentives he faces. In the military realm, there have been significant shifts in the unilateral power of presidents to select military bases for closure over time. As a result, by comparing and contrasting the politics of base closings and where they occur across the country in times of unilateral presidential control versus when the president is constrained by statute, we can isolate the influence of presidential particularism on policy.
Second, these policies each present multiple avenues for presidents to act on their particularistic impulses. In trade policy, we see evidence of all three forms of particularism described in Chapter 2, with an emphasis on the pursuit of targeted policies to bolster the president's electoral fortunes. In the case of base closings, we find the strongest evidence for partisan particularism. Presidents seek to concentrate the economic pain of base closures in opposition party strongholds and insulate their core co-partisan constituencies from losses.