Thursday, July 2, 2015

FIFA Women's World Cup Canada 2015: The Final Matches!

Time to pick winners for the final two matches of the 2015 World Cup! I choose World Cup winners according to what the countries have done for my career as a scholar. And, surprisingly, it's not a bad way to predict. If your country is in the final matches, I have co-authored multiple times with your countrymen...or you're from Japan (see below).

Overall in the women's World Cup, my decision rule has picked 25 winners and 13 losers. (There have been 50 total matches, but there were 10 ties, which I don't count. Yeah, purists will say I should be able to pick ties, but I think it's already a stretch to use this ridiculous approach to pick winners. There were also 2 matches where neither country had contributed much to my career, so I made no prediction.) While far from perfect, this silly rule does better than one might expect. The reason is a spurious correlation: populous & rich countries are likely to have both (1) good performances in international sports (including Soccer) and (2) strong universities. Countries with strong universities are more likely to produce co-authors I end up working with, or simply have the resources to invite me to share my research through presentations or teaching courses.

Here is my prediction for third place (July 4):

Germany v. England -- The English have done a lot for me. I have three English co-authors: Alastair Smith, Matthew Rablen, and Matthew Gould. Plus I've had a visit to Oxford, which has a Blackwell's bookstore -- the only bookstore where I've actually seen my books for sale on the regular shelves! Furthermore, I have tremendous gratitude to the London School of Economics.

But Germany slightly edges out England. In addition to sponsored visits to Berlin, Göttingen, Heidelberg, Munich, and Tübingen, I've got 4 German co-authors: Axel Dreher, Martin Gassebner, Michael Lamla, and Stephan Klasen. In total, my English co-authors and I have produced one book chapter and one article -- and that article also happens to be co-authored by a German. Meantime, with Germans I have co-authored a total of seven articles and a book. With regrets to the English, I'm going to have to go with Germany.


And my predicted champion (July 5):

USA v. Japan -- The rematch! The prediction is clear. Despite a massive economy and great soccer team, Japan has done virtually nothing for me. No co-authors, no invitations. By contrast, no country has done more for my career than the United States.

My American co-authors include Raj Desai, Jennifer Gandhi, Jay Goodliffe, Darren Hawkins, Christian Holkeboer, James Hollyer, and Stephen Kosack.

The universities I have had direct connections with include: Manhattan College (where I did my undergraduate education), NYU (where I did my PhD), Yale (where, over the course of a decade, I was an assistant and then associate prof), UCLA (where I had the most amazing fellowship ever!), and Georgetown (where I am currently a professor).

Plus, I have been invited to present my research at so many other US institutions, including Binghamton University, Chicago University, Columbia University, Dartmouth College, Duke University, Emory University, George Washington University, Notre Dame University, Nova Southeastern University, Ohio State University, Penn State, Pittsburgh University, Princeton University, Tufts University, UC Berkeley, UC San Diego, UMASS Amherst, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, University of Maryland, University of Minnesota, University of Pennsylvania, University of Southern California, University of Texas at Austin, University of Virginia, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Vassar College, and Villanova University.

I thank them all so much and will wholeheartedly root for our team to win it all. USA! USA!

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

FIFA Women's World Cup Canada 2015: The Semifinals

It has come down to four teams. I pick World Cup matches according to what the countries have done for my career as a scholar. And, surprisingly, it's not a bad way to pick winners. If your country is in the semifinals, I have co-authored multiple times with your countrymen...or you're from Japan (see below).

Overall in the women's World Cup, my decision rule has picked 24 winners and 12 losers. (There have been 48 total matches, but there were 10 ties, which I don't count. Yeah, purists will say I should be able to pick ties, but I think it's already a stretch to use this ridiculous approach to pick winners. There were also 2 matches where neither country had contributed much to my career, so I made no prediction.) While far from perfect, this silly rule does better than one might expect. The reason is a spurious correlation: populous & rich countries are likely to have both (1) good performances in international sports (including Soccer) and (2) strong universities. Countries with strong universities are more likely to produce co-authors I end up working with, or simply have the resources to invite me to share my research through presentations or teaching courses.

Here are the predictions for the semifinals (June 30, July 1):

USA v. Germany -- This is the battle of the powerhouses: my top two ranked teams.

I've got a lot to thank Germany for. In addition to sponsored visits to Berlin, Göttingen, Heidelberg, Munich, and Tübingen, I've got 4 German co-authors: Axel Dreher, Martin Gassebner, Michael Lamla, and Stephan Klasen. But for once, the German record cannot compare to that of the opposing team: USA.

No country has done more for my career than the United States. My American co-authors include Raj Desai, Jennifer Gandhi, Jay Goodliffe, Darren Hawkins, Christian Holkeboer, James Hollyer, and Stephen Kosack. The universities I have had direct connections with include: Manhattan College (where I did my undergraduate education), NYU (where I did my PhD), Yale (where, over the course of a decade, I was an assistant and then associate prof), UCLA (where I had the most amazing fellowship ever!), and Georgetown (where I am currently a professor). Plus, I have been invited to present my research at so many other US institutions, including Binghamton University, Chicago University, Columbia University, Dartmouth College, Duke University, Emory University, George Washington University, Notre Dame University, Nova Southeastern University, Ohio State University, Penn State, Pittsburgh University, Princeton University, Tufts University, UC Berkeley, UC San Diego, UMASS Amherst, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, University of Maryland, University of Minnesota, University of Pennsylvania, University of Southern California, University of Texas at Austin, University of Virginia, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Vassar College, and Villanova University. I thank them all so much and will wholeheartedly root for our team to make it to the final. USA! USA!

Japan v. England -- Once again, Soccernomics would pick mighty Japan. Japan's economy is substantially larger than England's. And England isn't doing itself any favors by parochially playing as only one part of the United Kingdom. Even if we added in the economies of Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland, Japan would still have the edge. This is why it continues to surprise me, year after year, that Japan does nothing for me! No co-authors, no visits. Meantime, look what the English have done... Three English co-authors: Alastair Smith, Matthew Rablen, and Matthew Gould. Plus I've had a visit to Oxford, which has a Blackwell's bookstore -- the only bookstore where I've actually seen my books for sale on the regular shelves! Furthermore, I have tremendous gratitude to the London School of Economics. England has come through for me a lot this World Cup, and I'm sticking with them. Go England!

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

FIFA Women's World Cup Canada 2015: The Quarter Finals

I pick World Cup matches according to what the countries have done for my career as a scholar. The "Round of 16" was rough for me -- I had 5 correct predictions and 3 incorrect. Usually, my approach does much better thanks to a spurious correlation: populous & rich countries are likely to have both (1) good performances in international sports (including Soccer) and (2) strong universities. Countries with strong universities are more likely to produce co-authors I end up working with, or simply have the resources to invite me to share my research through presentations or teaching courses.

Overall in this World Cup, the rule has done fairly well. In the group stage of the Women's World Cup, there were 36 matches total. For two of them, my rule wasn't decisive because neither country had done much of anything to directly impact my career. And then there were 10 ties. (Purists will say that I should be able to predict ties, but I think it's a stretch for my ridiculous approach to even pick winners.) So what about the remaining 24 matches where my decision-rule was decisive? 16 wins, 8 losses. My overall tally is therefore 21 wins, 11 losses. Not bad considering that it's a pretty silly approach.

Now we move into the quarter finals. Here are the upcoming matches (June 26-27):

Germany v. France -- I studied abroad in France and learned the language, but French universities have snubbed me ever since. I don't know what their problem is -- they have a great women's soccer team. Clearly they have the resources to do more for me! Meantime, I've got a lot to thank Germany for. In addition to sponsored visits to Berlin, Göttingen, Heidelberg, Munich, and Tübingen, I've got 4 German co-authors: Axel Dreher, Martin Gassebner, Michael Lamla, and Stephan Klasen. Go Germany!

China v. USA -- I have loved my teaching experiences with Peking University's Guanghua School of Management. But no country has done more for me than the United States. Co-authors Raj Desai, Jennifer Gandhi, Jay Goodliffe, Darren Hawkins, Christian Holkeboer, James Hollyer, and Stephen Kosack. Plus my universities: Manhattan College, NYU, Yale, and Georgetown. USA! USA!

Australia v. Japan -- Soccernomics would pick mighty Japan in this match. Japan's economy is more than triple the size of Australia's. But what has Japan done for me? Not much. No visits, no co-authors. Meanwhile, my friend and colleague Barry Williams hosted my visit to Australia's Bond University. I stay loyal to my friends, even when up against the odds. Aussie Aussie Aussie, Oi Oi Oi!!!

England v. Canada -- I've got one Canadian co-author, Eric Werker. But I've got three English co-authors: Alastair Smith, Matthew Rablen, and Matthew Gould -- and visits to London School of Economics. England really came through for me last round, defeating Norway. I've got to stay with them again. England!

Friday, June 19, 2015

FIFA Women's World Cup Canada 2015: Round of 16!

I pick World Cup matches according to what the countries have done for my career as a scholar. The approach does ok because of a spurious correlation: populous & rich countries are likely to have both (1) good performances in international sports (including Soccer) and (2) strong universities. Countries with strong universities are more likely to produce co-authors I end up working with, or simply have the resources to invite me to share my research through presentations or teaching courses.

How does my silly decision rule perform? In the group stage of the Women's World Cup, there were 36 matches total. For two of them, my rule wasn't decisive because neither country had done much of anything to directly impact my career. And then there were 10 ties. (Purists will say that I should be able to predict ties, but I think it's a stretch for my ridiculous approach to even pick winners.) So what about the remaining 24 matches where my decision-rule was decisive? 16 wins, 8 losses. Not bad.

Now we move into the knock-out stage. Here are the matches coming up for the round of 16 (June 20-23):

Germany v. Sweden -- I've got to stick with my German co-authors: Axel Dreher, Martin Gassebner, Michael Lamla, and Stephan Klasen. Germany!

China v. Cameroon -- I have loved my teaching experiences with Peking University's Guanghua School of Management. China!

Brazil v. Australia -- This match is a bit more competitive. My colleague Barry Williams hosted my visit to Australia's Bond University. But Brazil is a powerhouse. I've got my co-author José Cheibub and my co-teacher Fernando Limongi at USP. Brazil!

France v. South Korea -- I studied abroad in France and learned the language, but French universities have snubbed me ever since. I don't know what their problem is -- they have a great women's soccer team. Clearly they have the resources to do more for me! Meantime, I taught for 6 weeks at Korea University's summer campus back in 2009. Then I participated in a major conference sponsored by the Bank of Korea in 2011. I've got to root for Korea!

Canada v. Switzerland -- Oh boy. This one is tough. Switzerland has paid for many trips I've made to ETH Zurich. I even published an article about Switzerland, and so the Swiss press interviews me from time to time. But the co-author rule is supposed to trump everything (except maybe a job offer). And I've got a Canadian co-author, Eric Werker. With many regrets to CH, the rule predicts victory for Canada.

Norway v. England -- Much easier to decide thanks to co-authors Alastair Smith, Matthew Rablen, and Matthew Gould -- and visits to London School of Economics. England!

USA v. Colombia -- USA is all over my CV. Co-authors Raj Desai, Jennifer Gandhi, Jay Goodliffe, Darren Hawkins, Christian Holkeboer, James Hollyer, and Stephen Kosack. Plus my universities: Manhattan College, NYU, Yale, and Georgetown. USA! USA!

Japan v. Netherlands -- Another easy call, thanks to co-author Jan-Egbert Sturm: Netherlands!

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

June 17 edition: FIFA Women's World Cup Canada 2015

Continuing to pick World Cup matches according to what the countries have done for my career as a scholar. The approach does ok because of a spurious correlation: populous & rich countries are likely to have both (1) good performances in international sports and (2) strong universities.

Here are the June 17 matches:

Mexico v. France -- Loved studying abroad in France in 1992, but what have you done for me lately, France? Mexico had me out for a visit to CIDE in 2005. I'm with Mexico!

England v. Colombia -- Again I'm with my co-authors, Alastair Smith, Matthew Rablen, and Matthew Gould -- and my friends at the London School of Economics. Go England!

Costa Rica v. Brazil -- Co-authoring with Cheibub and co-teaching with Limongi at USP). Brazil!

South Korea v. Spain -- This is a really tough call. I taught for 6 weeks at Korea University's summer campus back in 2009. Then I participated in a major conference sponsored by the Bank of Korea in 2011. But I went to Madrid to teach a short course for Santander in 2010, and I taught at ESADE's Madrid campus in 2012. I've presented my research at Fundación Juan March, Institut Barcelona d'Estudis Internacionals, and at ESADE's Barcelona campus. I love you, Korea, but this time I've got to go with Spain.

June 16 edition: FIFA Women's World Cup Canada 2015

Continuing to pick World Cup matches according to what the countries have done for my career as a scholar. The approach does ok because of a spurious correlation: populous & rich countries are likely to have both (1) good performances in international sports and (2) strong universities.

Here are the June 16 matches:

Ecuador v. Japan -- I can't believe that I'll be with Japan again, since they're such a rich country and have never bothered to invite me for a visit. But Ecuador has done even less for me. I published an article about Japan with Daniel Yew Mao Lim. And my students put me on an excellent panel with scholars of Japan back in 2010. So, I am with Japan again...

Switzerland v. Cameroon -- ETH Zurich has done for me than any university outside of the United States. Hopp Schwiiz!

Nigeria v. USA -- USA! USA!

Australia v. Sweden -- Thanks to my colleague Barry Williams who hosted my visit to Australia's Bond University, this is an easy call. Australia all the way!

Saturday, June 13, 2015

June 15 edition: FIFA Women's World Cup Canada 2015

Continuing to pick World Cup matches according to what the countries have done for my career as a scholar. The approach does ok because of a spurious correlation: populous & rich countries are likely to have both (1) good performances in international sports and (2) strong universities.

How has my ridiculous approach to picking teams performed? There have been 24 matches so far. For one of them, I couldn't make a prediction (neither Cameroon nor Ecuador has done much of anything for my career...yet!). Seven of them ended in a tie (purists will say that I should be able to predict ties... but, com'on, I'm already stretching with this silly approach to predict winners). How about the remaining 16 matches where my decision-rule and the outcome were decisive? I've got 11 wins and 5 losses.

Here are the June 15 matches:

Thailand v. Germany -- With my co-authors as usual, Dreher, Gassebner, Lamla, and Klasen: Germany!

Côte d’Ivoire v. Norway -- Tough call. No visits or co-authors from either country. I've got my former student Nathaniel Cogley teaching at Ivory Coast's International University of Grand Bassam. But the Peace Research Institute Oslo (PRIO) has done a lot to promote my research. I'm going to have to stay neutral on this one.

Netherlands v. Canada -- I've got co-authors from both countries: Eric Werker and Jan-Egbert Sturm. But only one article published in Economic Development and Cultural Change with Werker. I've got three articles with Sturm published in Journal of Development Economics, European Economic Review, and Journal of Conflict Resolution. I'm with the Dutch again. Go Orange!

China v. New Zealand -- I have loved my teaching experiences with Peking University's Guanghua School of Management. Happy to be with China!

(By the way, research shows that home field advantage matters in international competitions, so I am worried about my Dutch pick over Canada. But I gotta stick to my career strategy!)

Friday, June 12, 2015

June 13 edition: FIFA Women's World Cup Canada 2015

Continuing to pick World Cup matches according to what the countries have done for my career as a scholar. The approach does ok because of a spurious correlation: populous & rich countries are likely to have both (1) good performances in international sports and (2) strong universities.

Here are the June 13 matches:

France v. Colombia -- Dear Colombian friends, France has done nothing for me since I studied abroad there in 1992. So you had more than 2 decades to invite me for a visit. And yet, nothing. Vive la France!

Brazil v. Spain -- I've got strong ties to Spain's ESADE, thanks to the joint GEMBA program with Georgetown. But that doesn't compare with Brazil's contributions in the embodiment of my co-author José Cheibub and my co-professor Fernando Limongi (teaching with him at USP). Brazil!

England v. Mexico -- I really appreciate Mexico for inviting me to present my research at CIDE. But England has done so much for me -- co-authors Alastair Smith, Matthew Rablen, and Matthew Gould -- and visits to London School of Economics. England!

South Korea v. Costa Rica -- I continue to have loads of Global KU Frontier Spirit thanks to my teaching experience at Korea University's summer campus. Korea!

Thursday, June 11, 2015

June 12 edition: FIFA Women's World Cup Canada 2015

Continuing to pick World Cup matches according to what the countries have done for my career as a scholar. The approach does ok because of a spurious correlation: populous & rich countries are likely to have both (1) good performances in international sports and (2) strong universities.

Here are the June 12 matches:

Australia v. Nigeria -- A big thank you to my colleague Barry Williams who hosted my visit to Australia's Bond University. Australia all the way!

Switzerland v. Ecuador -- A big thank you to ETH Zurich. Switzerland all the way!

USA v. Sweden -- USA! USA!

Japan v. Cameroon -- I'm still waiting for my invitation to visit Japan. I even published an article about the country with Daniel Yew Mao Lim. And my students put me on an excellent panel with scholars of Japan back in 2011. So, I am with Japan (but only barely).

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

June 11 edition: FIFA Women's World Cup Canada 2015

Continuing to pick World Cup matches according to what the countries have done for my career as a scholar. The approach does ok because of a spurious correlation: populous & rich countries are likely to have both (1) good performances in international sports and (2) strong universities.

How has my ridiculous approach to picking teams performed? There have been 12 matches so far. For one of them, I couldn't make a prediction (neither Cameroon nor Ecuador has done much of anything for my career...yet!). Three of them ended in a tie (purists will say that I should be able to predict ties... but, com'on, I'm already stretching with this silly approach to predict winners). How about the remaining 8 matches where my decision-rule and the outcome were decisive? I've got 6 wins and 2 losses. Not bad.

Let's see how things go with the remaining 24 matches of the group stage... Here are the predictions for the upcoming June 11 matches:

Germany v. Norway -- I'm with my co-authors, Dreher, Gassebner, Lamla, and Klasen: Germany!

China v. Netherlands -- I have loved my teaching experiences with Peking University's Guanghua School of Management, but I've got to stick with my Dutch co-author Jan-Egbert Sturm: Netherlands!

Côte d’Ivoire v. Thailand -- I don't have close ties to either country, but my great student and friend, Nathaniel Cogley, is a Professor of Political Science at Ivory Coast's International University of Grand Bassam. Côte d’Ivoire!

Canada v. New Zealand -- I'm with my Canadian co-author, Eric Werker: O Canada!

Monday, June 8, 2015

June 9 edition: FIFA Women's World Cup Canada 2015

Continuing to pick World Cup matches according to what the countries have done for my career as a scholar. The approach does ok because of a spurious correlation: populous & rich countries are likely to have both (1) good performances in international sports and (2) strong universities.

Here are the June 9 matches:

France v. England -- I studied abroad in France and learned the language. And yet the French universities have snubbed me ever since. I wish the Brits would get over their parochialism and play as a unified country. But England still has done plenty for me, between my co-author Alastair Smith and my wonderful visits to the excellent London School of Economics. Go England!

Spain v. Costa Rica -- I've got strong connections to Spain's ESADE, thanks to the joint GEMBA program with Georgetown. I'm with Spain!

Colombia v. Mexico -- Thanks to my friend Covadonga Meseguer, I had the wonderful opportunity to give a talk at Mexico's CIDE. I'm with Mexico!

Brazil v. South Korea -- Loved teaching at Korea University's summer campus back in 2009. But between my co-author José Cheibub and my co-teaching with Fernando Limongi at USP, Brazil has done way more for my career. Brazil!

Sunday, June 7, 2015

FIFA Women's World Cup Canada 2015

World Cup 2015 coverage begins now! I'm just back from abroad and so didn't have a chance to post my career-based predictions for the past few days -- so first some catch-up.

If you're new to this, I predict the winners of international competitions based on how much the country has done for my career as a political scientist in academia. Since population size and average income help determine who has the strongest international athletics and the best universities, the decision-rule does ok!


June 6:

Canada v. China -- easy. Canadian Eric Werker is my co-author. My pick: Canada. (And Canada won 1-0)

New Zealand v. Netherlands -- easy again, thanks to co-author Jan-Egbert Sturm: Netherlands. (And the Dutch won 0-1)


June 7:
Norway v. Thailand. I don't have co-authors, presentations, or teaching experience in either country. But the Peace Research Institute Oslo (PRIO) has done a lot to promote my research. So, another easy call: Norway. (And Norway won 4-0)

Germany v. Cote d'Ivoire. Thanks to Axel Dreher, Martin Gassebner, Michael Lamla, and Stephan Klasen, I'm with Germany a lot. (And they crushed: 10-0!).


Now for tomorrow's matches:

June 8:
Sweden v. Nigeria -- No co-authors or visits to either country. I did write about Nigeria in my first book on the IMF, but this game is really supposed to be about what the country has done for me, not what I've done about the country. Show me the money! Uppsala University sponsored a wonderful conference I attended at Georgetown in 2008 (when I was still at Yale). So, I've got to go with the Swedes! (I'm sure Anders Olofsgård will agree.)

Cameroon v. Ecuador -- Another pair of countries that haven't produced co-authors for me, invited me to present or to teach. Their universities haven't funded me in any way. In the past, I've made up ad-hoc rules to decide these cases, but those rules never perform as well as my core decision-rule, which -- in the true spirit of FIFA -- is based on the transfer of tangible rewards that I can put in my pocket...uh, I mean...on my CV. I suppose I could start looking at the tuition dollars spent by my students from these countries, but I don't have comprehensive data on this variable. So, I think I should just stay neutral.

USA v. Australia -- I loved my visit to Australia's Bond University, but this isn't even close. USA all the way!

Japan v. Switzerland -- Japan...the reigning champs... but I'm still waiting for an invitation to a Japanese university! And in the meantime, ETH Zurich has done more for me than any university outside of the United States. Hopp Schwiiz!


(By the way, if the above "analysis" seems biased against poor countries -- especially if they are small -- well, yeah, that's exactly the point. International competitions favor rich and powerful. When you see a powerful country like Germany crushing a developing country like Ivory Coast, you should be aware that there are some systematic macro-economic factors that help to explain the performances of the teams. International sports competitions are not just about talent and effort -- they're about advantages and privileges that certain countries enjoy. These privileges translate into lots of different outcomes, from stronger soccer teams to universities that are financially able to invite scholars like me for visits. But rather than get too preachy, I stick to predicting soccer matches based on a ridiculous premise that my career has some kind of connection to the outcomes :-) This ridiculous approach generates discussion from a different angle...often at my expense when my teams occasionally lose ;-) ...this is a price I'm willing to pay to promote dialogue about the international political economy of global athletic competitions.)

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

World Cup 2014: The Semi-Finals


In a rocky Round of 16, my rule to pick teams according to how much a country has done for my career scored just 4 wins and 4 losses. But the rule swept through the Quarter Finals with 4 wins and 0 losses. Not surprisingly, then, all four remaining countries have contributed in major ways to my career. (Face it, France, you're never going to win another World Cup without putting in a bit more effort.) So let's see how the remaining four teams stack up. Below, I present the critical features of each team: (1) Number of co-authors, (2) Number of publications with co-authors, (3) Total citations to those publications, and (4) Sponsored days visiting universities of the country.

    Argentina:
    • Co-authors: 0
    • Co-authored publications: 0
    • Citations to co-authored publications: 0
    • Sponsored days visiting: 60
    • Assessment: I greatly appreciate the conferences, presentations, and teaching I've done in Argentina, but the country is just not going to measure up to the other contenders.

    Netherlands:
    • Co-authors: 1
    • Co-authored publications: 3
    • Citations to co-authored publications: 458
    • Sponsored days visiting: 5
    • Assessment: Thanks to my co-author Jan-Egbert Sturm, Netherlands has been a heavy favorite from the beginning of the tournament. One of our publications even won an award. And I had the chance to visit the country thanks to De Nederlandsche Bank, which sponsored my attendance at a conference (after which I visited the lovely town of Vreeland).

Bottom line: Netherlands > Argentina

    Brazil:
    • Co-authors: 1
    • Co-authored publications: 3
    • Citations to co-authored publications: 607
    • Sponsored days visiting: 30
    • Assessment: Thanks to Zé Cheibub and Fernando Limongi, Brazil has a real shot. Limongi sponsored my visit to USP, and Cheibub has co-authored with me. We may not have many publications (yet), but we've got a lot of citations. Brazil is going to be tough to beat.

Bottom line: Brazil has a very slight edge in citations, but Germany dominates in all other categories. I'll have to side with Germany.

    Remaining games:
    • Prediction for third place: Brazil over Argentina
    • Prediction for first place: Germany over Netherlands

Thursday, June 26, 2014

World Cup June 26


This is it - the final day of the World Cup group stage. Going into it, I'm at 22 wins, 13 losses, and 8 ties. Some analysis of those results will be coming up. But for now, here are my picks using my fun rule to pick teams according to what each country has done for my career:

Portugal v. Ghana: Neither country has done any direct favors for me, so I'm going to the book index for this one. 11 to 17, Ghana.

USA v. Germany: There's only one country that has definitely done more for my career than Germany. Go USA!!!

South Korea v. Belgium: With apologies to Pierre-Guillaume Méon and the Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB), I've got to go with Korea University's summer campus where I taught back in 2009. I also should thank the Bank of Korea for inviting me to their International Conference on the Future of the International Financial Architecture back in 2011. Go Korea!

Algeria v. Russia: Thanks the ESADE/Georgetown GEMBA program, I've taught three times in Russia. Russia didn't pay me, though, so I'm only slightly leaning their way. I'll happily switch to Algeria if any universities want to invite me for a visit in the next few hours. Otherwise, I guess I'm with Russia.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

World Cup June 25


One win, one tie, and two losses yesterday, bringing me to 20 wins, 13 losses, and 7 ties. Here are today's picks, using my rule of choosing teams according to what each country has done for my career:

Nigeria v. Argentina: Having taught at the Universidad Nacional de San Martín (UNSAM), my choice is clear. ¡Vamos Argentina!

Bosnia and Herzegovina v. Iran: If I didn't have a preference for actually rooting for a winner, I'd go with a 0-0 tie here - because that's what I've got with these country. Time to go to the index of my new book with Axel Dreher. What a battle! Iran makes 21 appearances, while Bosnia-Herzegovina appears 11 times. Iran it is.

Honduras v. Switzerland: Thank you, ETH. Thank you Review of International Organizations. Hopp Schwiiz!!

Ecuador v. France: I've got to go back to 1992 to find a connection with either of these countries: study abroad in the Sorbonne's cours de la civilisation française pour les étrangers. Vive la France.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

World Cup June 24


Yesterday: 4 games, 4 wins! Made me feel a little better and brought my record to 19 wins, 11 losses, and 6 ties. I'm not feeling so confident about my picks for today, but I'm sticking to my rule of choosing teams according to what each country has done for my career:

Costa Rica v. England: Oh, England... when will you learn the lessons of Soccernomics and play as one United Kingdom? The full force of the UK economy is what produced my connections to your country - the London School of Economics and my co-authors Matthew Gould, Matthew Rablen, and Alastair Smith... Good luck, United Kingdom.

Italy v. Uruguay: Tough call. I've got two Italian co-authors: Silvia Marchesi and Paolo Spada. But Diego Aboal and Juan Andrés Moraes translated a paper of mine and included it in their book Economía Política en Uruguay: Instituciones y Actores Políticos en el Proceso Económico. I'll have to go to the citation count... and, according to Google Scholar, the prediction is Italy.

Greece v. Côte d'Ivoire: I must root for Harris Mylonas and Eleftherotypia. Greece.

Japan v. Colombia: Not at all confident about this, but the closest connection I have to either country is my article about Japan in World Politics with Daniel Yew Mao Lim. Go Japan.

Monday, June 23, 2014

World Cup June 23


I don't want to talk about yesterday. I'm at 15-11-6. Nuff said. Here are today's picks:

Australia v. Spain: Does this match even matter? (No.) I've got connections to both countries and wanted them both to do so much better. A few more connections to Spain. ¿Vamos España?

Netherlands v. Chile: Going with my co-author Jan-Egbert Sturm. Hup, Holland, Hup... Clockwork Oranje!

Cameroon v. Brazil: Going with my co-author José Cheibub and with Fernando Limongi thanks to our co-teaching at USP. Força Brasil!

Croatia v. Mexico: Thank you for inviting me to present my research, CIDE... ¡Vamos México!

Sunday, June 22, 2014

World Cup June 22


Two wins and a tie yesterday, using my rule to pick World Cup matches according to what the countries have for my career. I'm now at 14-10-5. Here are today's picks:

Belgium v. Russia: Tough call. I've taught 3 times in Russia - but it was for the Georgetown/ESADE GEMBA program. I didn't receive a cent from a Russian university. No Russian co-authors either. Meantime, Pierre-Guillaume Méon invited me to give a talk at the Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB). Had a great visit...so go Belgium!

South Korea v. Algeria: I had a wonderful time teaching for Korea University's summer campus back in 2009. Global KU Frontier Spirit all the way!

United States v. Portugal: Sooo excited for this one... USA!!!

Saturday, June 21, 2014

World Cup June 21


Another tough one yesterday for the teams I picked using my rule to favor countries that have done the most to help my career: 2 losses and 1 win, bringing me to 12-10-4. Here are today's picks:

Argentina v. Iran: Great times teaching for the Universidad Nacional de San Martín (UNSAM). ¡Vamos Argentina!

Germany v. Ghana: Going with the co-authors: Axel Dreher, Martin Gassebner, Stephan Klasen, and Michael Lamla. Schland!

Nigeria v. Bosnia and Herzegovina: I wrote a bit about Nigeria in my first book. Go Nigeria!

Friday, June 20, 2014

World Cup June 20


Still having a lot of fun rooting for the countries I have connections with... but not nearly with as much success as I had in 2010. I'm now at 11-8-4. But I just love watching these games and cheering for one team over another, which is why I never go for ties. So here are today's picks:

Italy v. Costa Rica: This time, I'm with my Italian co-authors: Silvia Marchesi and Paolo Spada (who published with me here and here).

Switzerland v. France: Studied abroad in France back in 1992. But what have you done for me lately? Nothing. And Switzerland has done so much! (Thank you, ETH. Thank you Review of International Organizations.) Hopp Schwiiz!!

Honduras v. Ecuador: Nothing. So, I'll choose the country that contributed the most to my recent book with Axel Dreher: Honduras appears once. Ecuador appears 17 times. (Makes you curious to see what we have to say about Ecuador, eh? The book is in stock and on sale at Amazon!) Meantime... ¡Vamos Ecuador!

Thursday, June 19, 2014

World Cup June 19


Mixed results yesterday using my rule to pick countries that have done the most to help my career: 1 win, 2 losses. Overall record is now 10-7-3 (I definitely did better in 2010). Today's picks:

Colombia v. Côte d'Ivoire: Once again, I've got nothing. If you want my support, invite me for a visit :-) Meantime, I've got to make a choice. So, I'll go with the country that appears the most times in my new book with Axel Dreher about money and influence at the United Nations Security Council: 15 for Colombia, and 3 for Côte d'Ivoire. Colombia it is!

Uruguay v. England: With respect to Diego Aboal and Juan Andrés Moraes, who included a chapter by me in their volume entitled Economía Política en Uruguay: Instituciones y Actores Políticos en el Proceso Económico, I've got to go with my co-authors: Matthew Gould, Matthew Rablen, and Alastair Smith (published here and here). Go England!

Japan v. Greece: Splitting hairs here. Never been to either country. My connection to Japan is that I published a scholarly article about it in World Politics with the great Daniel Yew Mao Lim. My connection to Greece is that I co-authored a blog piece with the amazing Harris Mylonas. I also once got some very nice press in Greece. But let's face it. Academia doesn't (yet) reward blogs or press. It rewards academic publications. I guess I must side with Japan.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

World Cup June 18


Using my fun rule to pick countries that have done the most to help my career, I had an ok day yesterday: 1 win, 2 ties, and no losses. I'll take it. Overall record is now 9-5-3. Today's picks:

Australia vs. Netherlands: Loved visiting Bond University in Australia (thanks to my friend Barry Williams), but it's hard to top the 3 publications with my friend and co-author Jan-Egbert Sturm (in JDE, JCR, and EER). Go Orange!

Spain vs. Chile: Time to give some love back to my friends at ESADE. Special shout out to the colleagues who have taught with me: Luisa Alemany, Fernando Ballabriga, and Pedro Parada. ¡Vamos España!

Cameroon vs. Croatia: I've got nothing here. I'll pick the country that appears the most times in my new book with Axel Dreher about money and influence at the United Nations Security Council: 7 for Cameroon, and 1 for Croatia... but don't forget that Croatia used to be part of Yugoslavia, which appears 23 times in the book (but mostly in footnotes and the index)... Goodness, I have no idea what to do. Go Cameroon.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

World Cup June 17


Wow! Yesterday's US victory was the best! What a rush. Overall, I had a great World Cup day: 2 wins, 1 tie. My overall record now stands at 8-5-1. And the tie was in a game where my connections to each team were tenuous at best. Today, I have direction connections to five of the six teams playing. Here are my picks using my silly rule of choosing countries that have done the most for my career:

Belgium vs. Algeria: Thanks to my awesome friend Pierre-Guillaume Méon, I gave a talk at the Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB). Go Belgium!

Brazil vs. Mexico: Loved giving a talk at CIDE in Mexico. But Brazil has won my loyalty, thanks to my co-author José Cheibub and my co-teaching with Fernando Limongi at USP. To paraphrase from Casablanca, "[Mexico], I love you. But [Brazil] pays me."

Russia vs. South Korea: Thanks the ESADE/Georgetown GEMBA program, I've taught three times in Russia. But Russia didn't pay for it. Meantime, I had a great time teaching for Korea University's summer campus back in 2009. Global KU Frontier Spirit all the way!

Monday, June 16, 2014

World Cup June 16


Some redemption yesterday. My rule of rooting for countries that have done the most to advance my career went 3 for 3, bringing my total record to 6 wins, 5 losses.

Here are today's picks:

Germany vs. Portugal: Easy. German co-authors include Axel Dreher, Martin Gassebner, Stephan Klasen, and Michael Lamla. We've published in Journal of Conflict Resolution (twice), Public Choice (twice), Economic Development and Cultural Change, European Economic Review, and Journal of Development Economics. Plus, Axel and I just published a book with Cambridge University Press! These guys have made a major impact on my career and my life. Gotta root for their home country today!

Iran vs. Nigeria: Other than great students from these countries, I haven't had much contact. So I'll pick the country that appears the most times in my new book with Axel about the United Nations Security Council. Iran comes up 21 times, Nigeria 29. Plus, I wrote a bit about Nigeria in my first book. Go Nigeria!

Ghana vs. United States: Rematch with the team that stopped us during the last World Cup. Gotta go with my own home country here!

Sunday, June 15, 2014

World Cup June 15


Crushed. Yesterday my picks went 0-4, bringing my overall record to 3-5. That's the kind of risk you face when you bet on spurious correlations!

As for the real research on international competitions, another variable that matters, which does not factor into the Vreelander rule, is home field advantage. It's been shown to matter in the Olympics and in the World Cup. The mechanism is unclear. I've seen some evidence of a lagged effect, so it might be the investment that a country puts into their team when hosting. But it could also have to do with the more intuitive support of the home crowd, being in the right time zone, or just being in a more familiar setting. If so, then it might help Ecuador, Honduras, and Argentina.

But it's still great fun to simply cheer for the countries that have done so much for me and my career. A way to give back some of the love...(although if this pattern keeps up, some of these countries might prefer that I *not* root for them ;-) I'm not going to give up on my countries, so here are today's picks:

Switzerland vs. Ecuador: Easy pick. I've spent a lot of time at the amazing university ETH and have a little publication on Switzerland. I'm with the Swiss!

France vs. Honduras: Last World Cup I went against France in some key matches because the country has never invited me for a visit. France, you really should invite me to visit at least once! But I did study abroad at the Sorbonne back in 1992... and I've got nothing from Honduras. Don't expect much loyalty in future matches, but for now, vive la France.

Argentina vs. Bosnia and Herzegovina: Easy pick. I've taught a few times down at the Universidad Nacional de San Martín (UNSAM). ¡Vamos Argentina!

Saturday, June 14, 2014

World Cup June 14


Picking World Cup matches according to my connections to the home countries is silly, but turns out to do ok thanks to a spurious correlation: populous and rich countries are likely to have both (1) good performances in international sports competitions and (2) strong universities that can contribute to my career in many different ways. So far, the record is 3 wins and 1 loss (and I picked Netherlands to beat Spain). Here are the Vreelander picks for today's matches:

Colombia vs. Greece: Never been to either country. I've got great students, colleagues, and friends from both. But my good friend Harris Mylonas co-authored a little piece with me. So, go Greece!

Uruguay vs. Costa Rica: Thanks to Diego Aboal and Juan Andrés Moraes, I've got a piece published in their edited volume entitled Economía Política en Uruguay: Instituciones y Actores Políticos en el Proceso Económico. ¡Vamos Uruguay!

England vs. Italy: This one is tough to decide. Two of my co-authors, Silvia Marchesi and Paolo Spada come from Italy. But I once had a job offer from the London School of Economics. Publications are rewarded... but jobs are the reward. Then throw in the fact that three English scholars, Matthew Gould, Matthew Rablen, and Alastair Smith have co-authored with me, and the choice becomes obvious. Go England!

Japan vs. Côte d'Ivoire : No co-authors, no visits to either country. But Daniel Yew Mao Lim and I published an article about Japan in World Politics. Go Japan!

Friday, June 13, 2014

World Cup is Back!


It's been too long. Time once again to start blogging about the World Cup! Since I know nothing about soccer, I just pick teams according to how I'm connected to them... Since I'm a quantitative type guy, I typically root for the country that has contributed the most to my career in academia. There turns out to be a nice, albeit spurious, correlation because big and rich countries are likely to have both (1) good performances in international sports competitions and (2) strong universities that can contribute to my career in many different ways.

I've been away from blogging for a while because I got busy finishing my co-authored book with Axel Dreher: The Political Economy of the United Nations Security Council: Money and Influence.

The book has just been released, and I'll have more to say about that soon enough. But for now, how about some ridiculous analysis of the World Cup?

Yesterday's victory for Brazil was a no-brainer for the Vreelander rule. Between my co-author José Cheibub and my co-teaching with Fernando Limongi at USP, Brazil has done way more for my career than has Croatia. It was an easy pick for me.

Vreelander picks for today's matches:

Mexico v. Cameroon: Thanks to my wonderful friend Covadonga Meseguer, I once had the wonderful opportunity to visit Mexico City and give a talk at CIDE. Cameroon -- I'm still waiting... So, I'm with Mexico all the way!

Spain v. Netherlands: Tough call. I love teaching with Spain's ESADE Business School through the joint Georgetown GEMBA program. And I also had the excellent experience of giving a talk in Madrid for Santander. But I've got 3 really nice publications with my co-author Jan-Egbert Sturm (in pretty darn good journals: JDE, JCR, and EER). Since academia rewards research more than teaching, I'm going to have to go with the Netherlands. (Plus, with a name like Vreeland, how can I not?) But, fear not, GEMBA Family, I'm sure to be with Spain in future matches.

Chile v. Australia: Easy call. Never been to Chile. And I had a cool research affiliation with the Globalisation and Development Centre at Bond University in Gold Coast, Australia (thanks to my friend Barry Williams). Aussie, Aussie, Aussie oi,oi,oi!

More to come tomorrow!