Why not award research grants via lotteries?

Some scholars are beginning to advocate for a partial lottery system for the awarding of research grants, an idea that is long overdue in my humble opinion. Why? Among other things, because under a random allocation system a new researcher would have just as much probability of winning an award as an established or big-name researcher does. (See links below for more details. Hat tip: The Amazing Tyler Cowen.)

  1. James Urton, How economic theory and the Netflix Prize could make research funding more efficient, via UW News.
  2. Kevin Gross & Carl T. Bergstrom, Contest models highlight inherent inefficiencies of scientific funding competitions, via PLOS Biology.
  3. Ferric C. Fang & Arturo Casadevall, Research funding: the case for a modified lottery, via mBio.
Image result for lottery for research grants

Credit: Fang & Casadevall

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The partial government shutdown as a game of chicken

President Trump wants Congress to fund a border wall; the Democrats, who now have regained control of the House of Representatives, do not want to fund a border wall. Which side will “swerve” first? The Game of Chicken, along with the Prisoner’s Dilemma and the Battle of the Sexes, is one of the ways in which this political conflict can be modeled. Here is the Wikipedia entry for the Game of Chicken; here is a memorable example of Chicken from the movie “Footloose”. Update (6pm): As I replied to Kathy H. in the comments section, I find it fascinating that in this particular case the intransigence of both sides is due to their moralizing of the border wall, which suggests an inverse relationship between the ability to reach a pragmatic compromise and the strength of one’s moral convictions!

Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments


Happy Three Kings Day!

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Noche en Nuevo Orleans

We have been attending the 21st Annual Federalist Society Faculty Conference in New Orleans, where we presented our work in progress “Bayesian Stare Decisis.” Shout out to Gene Meyer, the president of FedSoc, for hosting an excellent conference. Unlike the elitist AALS conference next door, the Federalist does not charge any fees and is open to legal scholars of all political persuasions.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Law conference art

While I was attending and live-tweeting a scholarly panel on “substantive due process” at this year’s Federalist Society Faculty Conference, a colleague of mine penned the beautiful doodle pictured below.

Artist Unknown. Photo Credit: F. E. Guerra-Pujol.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Street Sign Art

My wife Sydjia found this stop sign on the corner of Dante and Freret streets in New Orleans.

Photo credit: F. E. Guerra-Pujol

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Product Placement

We recently visited The James Museum of Western & Wildlife Art, which is located in St Petersburg, Florida. Enjoy! 

“Coors is the one” by John Nieto (1988)

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment