Monday, October 26, 2009

Various and sundry, v N.

It's been some time since I have posted. To those of bated breath, you can now exhale. Here are three unrelated items:

i) I recently completed the first public draft of a paper with my great colleague, Chris Dawes. The paper is titled "The CHRNA6 Gene, Patience, and Voter Turnout." It's a straight-ahead behavioural genetics piece showing the relationship between a gene that regulates impulsivity and voter turnout. We rely on Fowler and Kam's clever observation that voting relies on patience, since you pay a cost today for benefits in the future. We then show that those who have versions of the CHRNA6 gene that are associated with lower impulsivity are more likely to vote. Comments are welcome, of course.

ii) This is not good news for Michael Ignatieff. But it's hardly the end of the world. Turning around the Liberal ship should take time, however talented a leader. Liberals need to focus on fighting an election a year from now and not tomorrow. By my lights, this means avoiding silly gimmicks, building up riding associations (especially the more amateur ones, on which my colleague Royce Koop is doing great academic work), and preparing very convincing post-recession policy. It's not the time for panic, for unnecessary bemoaning of a lack of strategic acumen, or for seemingly reflective interviews.

iii) I recently flew to India for a wedding. Indian weddings are long, and the flights seem longer. But they are, without question, worth every wasted jet-lagged day on return.

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