Our American Discourse

Great knowledge need not wither on the academic vine. We bring you the smartest minds from the University of Southern California and beyond, wrestl...
When do leaders pay penalties for backing down on promises? In this episode of the PS You’re Interesting podcast, Jeff Jenkins's guest is Philip Potter, Associate Professor of Politics (UVA), and the Founding Director of the National Security Policy Center. Potter's work looks at how public opin...
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National Party Committees and Political Power In this episode of the PS You’re Interesting podcast, Jeff Jenkins and political Boris Heersink, Assistant Professor in the Department of Political Science at Fordham University, look at the national party committees. What kind of power do the nation...
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Democracy & Inequality of Political Influence In this episode of the PS You’re Interesting podcast, Jeff Jenkins talks  economic and political inequality in democracies with Martin Gilens, Professor of Public Policy at UCLA Luskin. The degree of political influence is dramatically unequal fo...
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In this episode of the PS You’re Interesting podcast, Jeff Jenkins talks about human trafficking with Greg DeAngelo, Associate Professor of Economic Studies at Claremont Graduate University. How does an economist get data on human trafficking, and other black market enterprises? What are the pre...
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In this episode of the PS You’re Interesting podcast, Jeff Jenkins and D. Roderick (Rod) Kiewiet, Professor of Political Science at Caltech, break down the long standing myth of the equalizing force of public education. We hold the idea that public schools present Americans with equal opportunit...
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In this episode of the PS You’re Interesting podcast, Jeff Jenkins and Benjamin A. T. Graham, assistant professor in the School of International Relations at USC, discuss the role that migrants can play in bringing foreign capital into countries. He uses case studies from the Philippines and Geo...
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In this episode of the PS You’re Interesting podcast, Jeff Jenkins and LaGina Gause, Assistant Professor of Political Science at UC San Diego, discuss the pro-democracy (small d) results of her study on legislative responsiveness to collective action by marginalized groups. Her findings seem cou...
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In this episode of the P.S. You're Interesting podcast, Jeff Jenkins and Benjamin Newman , Associate Professor of Public Policy and Political Science at the UC Riverside, discuss creativity and experimentation in political science. As a young scholar, Ben was interested in figuring out why peop...
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A quick update from our Producers:  We will use this feed, for the Our American Discourse podcast, to bring you a new series of conversations. We will change the title to PS You’re Interesting. PS will be a series of conversations on new and novel research in political science. We’re conceiving ...
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Though we are sad to bid farewell to “Our American Discourse,” we welcome the opportunity to talk about farewells—indeed, the hardest farewells of all: those that happen after death. How do we say goodbye to the past? And what does our farewell mean for the lives gone before us and for the futur...
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If the old saying is true that “life is a journey, not a destination,” then it stands to reason that the way we travel matters a great deal. In fact, that’s what the latest evidence has shown: Transportation choices and systems play a crucial role in our economy and our environment. You may thin...
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Power is up for grabs in Washington. A controversial President, an unpopular Congress, and a midterm election all make 2018 a battleground for political control. Who will win? How will they do it? And what role do you play? This is story of the most consequential game ever played, and it’s told ...
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Think of all the public policy problems that the government hasn’t been able to solve. Now imagine that you had a solution for one of them. The government should be interested, right? If your solution really works, they should want to invest in it. They should want to encourage you to make it ha...
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We’re six months away from one of the most consequential midterm elections in modern history, and Americans are fed up with Congress. Politicians have gotten a bad rap throughout history, but today’s legislators are setting record lows in approval ratings and public trust. What gives? Why do the...
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At long last, Millennials have begun buying homes. Will they ever catch up to previous generations? Or will the market continue to hold them back with high rents, lingering student debt, and opposing pressure from Baby Boomers? Believe it or not, these forces are neither inevitable nor insurmount...
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It used to be that big mansions and fancy jewelry were the consummate signs of wealth, but new research shows that people are increasingly spending their wealth on less “conspicuous” forms of consumption. In today’s world, it pays more to signal your status with things like health care and educat...
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How It’s Possible to Talk About and Improve Diversity and Inclusion Diversity and inclusion sound like universally accepted ideas, but when we try to talk about how we fall short of them and how we can improve, they become two of the most controversial political sparks in the fire that rages ar...
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With Donald Trump’s approval ratings at record lows, it’s worth asking how much this one number matters…and whether the people who approve really are better represented by him than the people who don’t. If our politicians really do represent some Americans better than others, it calls into quest...
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We’ve been having a mistaken debate, or so it would seem based on the new book The Myth of Independence. The Federal Reserve, the nation’s central bank and most influential economic regulator, isn’t as independent as critics like Rand Paul and Bernie Sanders suggest. Congress created it, and Con...
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Just when you thought the economy was the only good news you could count on, the stock market took a dive on the heels of Janet Yellen’s exit from the Federal Reserve. Suddenly, Americans everywhere wondered whether the volatility and uncertainty in Washington had finally caught up with the long...
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