Erik Voeten


Why Are We More Outraged by Chemical Weapons Killings?

The victims of the chemical weapons’ attacks in Syria have suffered immeasurably. Yet, many more have been killed and maimed by conventional weapons. Why are we so much more outraged when people are killed by chemical weapons than when they are killed in a more conventional way? Why should Assad be able to kill hundreds… Read more »

Sex and Networking at Academic Conferences

Large academic conferences are prone to create awkward social situations, especially for those who are not (yet) well integrated into a field. Imagine walking around the Chicago Palmer House lobby among 7,000 political scientists who have gathered for the American Political Science Association annual meetings. You know that many in attendance exercise gate keeping powers over… Read more »

Does Peacekeeping Reduce Violence Against Civilians?

Most of the recent news regarding UN peacekeepers has been bad, ranging from their responsibility for a cholera epidemic in Haiti to their failures to reduce violence against civilians in The Congo, Sudan, and elsewhere. Nevertheless, a forthcoming article in the American Journal of Political Science by Lisa Hultman, Jacob Kathman, and Megan Shannon shows evidence that increased numbers of… Read more »

A Warning to College Professors from a High School Teacher

This is from a retired high school teacher of AP U.S. Government and Politics classes: If you, as a higher education professional, are concerned about the quality of students arriving at your institution, you have a responsibility to step up and speak out. You need to inform those creating the policies about the damage they… Read more »

Was There a Good Reason for the Iraq War?

The Duck of Minerva is hosting an interesting debate about explanations for the Iraq war based on two recently published articles in International Organization and International Security that the publishers have agreed to make freely available. You should go read the whole thing here and here.  Alexandre Debs and Nuno P. Monteiro make the controversial claim that:  Contrary to… Read more »