Thursday, June 24, 2010

Winning at the World Cup Correlated with The Vreelander?

Relationships between soccer and politics have been well established at the international as well as the domestic level. As a scholar of international relations, I decided to root for teams in this year's World Cup out of loyalty to the scholars, students, and universities who have invested in my career.

A fun, but absurd rule, of course.

Yet, it's record speak for itself:

Correctly predicted: 29
Incorrectly predicted: 5
Ties: 14


(A note to purists: I didn't attempt to predict ties or final scores - I was just having fun by choosing a side to root for.)

So, does contributing to my career help countries do better in soccer? Or perhaps good soccer makes countries want to help my career?

The connection is, of course, spurious. But it's not accidental that my win-loss ratio was nearly 6:1.

See, countries with large, rich populations are more likely (1) to have better athletic teams and (2) to have more developed universities.

When it comes to soccer, it works something like this:

First, how many people does your country have? More people, more chances at having talented athletes.

Second, how rich is your country? More money, better investment in the health and performance of your athletes.

Third, how much does your country care? More interest in soccer, the more of the population and the income you'll put into the sport.

An interesting study presents evidence of the above, and also argues that having democracy helps. The latter is interesting because it goes against the literature on Olympic Games, which argues that Communist Dictatorships have the edge.

Cultural preference for soccer is measured by the strength of club teams, but one might also consider other measures, like the percentage of children playing soccer, soccer fields/balls per capita, government support of the sport, and which sports pay their professional athletes the most.

Another factor that has been shown to help in the Olympics, soccer, and basketball is home-team advantage.

Finally, getting into how specific athletes play, Miguel, Saiegh, and Satyanath show that players who have lived through civil wars are more likely to commit violence on the soccer field.

All of that said, my absurd rule predicted a few upsets that the econometric studies did not.

For example, thanks to the investments that ETH Zurich has made in my career, my rule correctly predicted Switzerland's victory over Spain (where I also have a wonderful affiliation at ESADE, but the ETH connection has a deeper history).

I also predicted that France would lose to both South Africa and Mexico (I've never been invited to France to give a talk, but South Africa and Mexico have both hosted me).

And thanks to my Uruguayan colleagues, Diego Aboal and Juan Andrés Moraes, who translated and published a piece I wrote about their country, I correctly predicted Uruguay over South Africa and Mexico.

Most importantly, I correctly predicted USA moving to the next round! (Who's invested more in my career than my home country?! Go NYU! Go Yale! Go UCLA! Go Georgetown!)

For those of you looking to find ways of getting invited to all these great countries, might I suggest a career in international relations? Georgetown University is a great place to start!

For those of you just looking to waste time, I present all of my picks below, complete with the rationales off of my Curriculum Vitae. The bottom line is this: If France would like to make it to the second round in 2014, I suggest they start inviting me to visit their universities! (Please forward to scholars in France ;-)


11 June:
South Africa v. Mexico
This is a tossup for me. I've given talks in both countries. Mexico has figured much more in my research (10 references to 5 for S Africa in the 2007 book). Plus, I used to work with the former President of Mexico, Ernesto Zedillo, when I was at Yale. Yet, I have a South African co-author, Peter Rosendorff...
I have to break slightly in favor of South Africa.
RESULT: TIE
1-1

Uruguay v. France
Another tossup. I studied abroad in France and worked there for a summer. But I have actually been published in an edited volume in Uruguay (in Spanish)... and I wrote the chapter about Uruguay and the IMF. Easy call for me.
Uruguay.
RESULT: TIE
0-0

12 June:
June 12: Korea v. Greece
This is an easy choice for me. Though I recently was interviewed in a Greek newspaper, last summer I taught at Korea University for 6 weeks.
Go Korea!
RESULT: KOREA
2-0

Argentina v. Nigeria
Another easy choice - Just got back from teaching 2 weeks in Argentina - plus I did a conference there in 2002.
ARGENTINA!...
RESULT: ARGENTINA
1-0

England v. USA:
Obvious. With regrets to my beloved co-author, Alastair Smith...
USA-USA-USA!!!
RESULT: TIE
1-1

Algeria v. Slovenia
This one is a tossup. I haven't had any real contact with these countries in my career... so I'm going by how many times they appear in the index of my 2007 book. Slovenia gets the edge 2 times to 1.
Go Slovenia!
RESULT: SLOVENIA
0-1

Serbia v. Ghana
Another match with countries I haven't had direct contact with. But I talk about Ghana in 3 places in my 2007 book; only mention Serbia twice.
Go Ghana!
RESULT: GHANA
0-1

13 June:
Germany V. Australia
So, here are two countries that have both been good to me. I have a research affiliation with Bond University in Gold Coast, Australia. But I am currently a visiting researcher at Georg-August-Universität Göttingen, and I just finished a conference at Tubingen - and I have written about 5 papers with 4 German co-authors (Dreher, Klasen, Gassebner, and Lamla), so...
Deutschland!
RESULT: GERMANY
4-0

14 June:
Netherlands v. Denmark
Easy call for me to make. I have 2 publications with my beloved co-author, Jan-Egbert Sturm. (And we're working on a third paper right now...)
Plus, well, my name is *Vreeland* after all:
Go Orange!!!
RESULT: NETHERLANDS
2-0

Japan v. Cameroon
No question that Japan has figured larger in my research than Cameroon. I'm actually working on two papers right now that deal directly with Japan's foreign policy interests. Still, I am still waiting for an invitation to visit a Japanese university... but in the meantime:
Go Nippon!
RESULT: JAPAN
1-0

Italy v. Paraguay
Another easy call. I have worked with two Italian co-authors: Silvia Marchesi & Paolo Spada.
Italia!
RESULT: TIE
1-1

15 June:
New Zealand v. Slovakia
Oh jeez - neither of these countries have figured much in my research. I only mention Slovakia once in my book. Amazingly, New Zealand appears nowhere (which surprised me - I thought I mentioned every country at least once...)
Go Slovakia!
RESULT: TIE
1-1

Cote d'Ivoire v. Portugal
Another pair of countries where I haven't been invited... although there may be something in the works for Portugal. Meantime, both countries appear 3 times in my book. To break the tie, I go to the index of my 2003 book, where Portugal appears twice and Cote d'Ivoire not at all.
Go Portugal!
RESULT: TIE
0-0

Brazil v. North Korea
Easy choice. Between co-author Ze Cheibub and a visit to the University of São Paulo arranged by my friend & colleague Fernando Limongi, I'm with Brazil on this one!
Penta campeão!
RESULT: BRAZIL
2-1


16 June:
South Africa v. Uruguay
Published on Uruguay in an edited volume in Uruguay. Visited South Africa on a trip paid for by the South African Finance Ministry.
Breaking slightly in favor of Uruguay
RESULT: URUGUAY
0-3

Honduras v. Chile
Neither country has done much for my career. But both appear in my 2007 book. 6 times to 3 times.
Go Honduras!
RESULT: CHILE
0-1
FIRST LOSS***

Spain v. Switzerland
I'm affiliated with ESADE in Spain, and have given talks there and at IBEI. But ETH has done so much for my career! I've been a visiting research there many times, and I've given about 9 talks throughout Switzerland and have even appeared in the press there. Plus, I just wrote a paper on Swiss foreign aid.
Schweiz! Suisse! Svizzera!
RESULT: SWITZERLAND
0-1

17 June:
France v. Mexico
Studied abroad in France in 1992 and worked there for a summer. But what have you done for me lately? I gave a talk in Mexico at CIDE in el Distrito Federal in November 2005. It was an amazing trip!
Viva Mexico!!
RESULT: MEXICO
0-2

Argentina v. Korea
Yikes. I attended my first international conference at Di Tella in Buenos Aires in 2002. And I just finished teaching a class as the Universidad Nacional de San Martín. I love Buenos Aires!
But I also taught last summer in Seoul for 6 weeks at Korea University. I love Seoul!
I just don't know who to pick...
Korea U. pays better, but also demands more teaching time.
Argentina appears 7 times in my 2007 index. Korea only 3 times.
Korea appears 3 times in my 2003 index. Argentina not at all.
I have wonderful colleagues and students from both countries.
Looks like I need to go to the "citation rule"
Who has cited me more according to ISI Web of Knowledge?
One from Minzee Kim - that's a point for Korea.
One from Seonjou Kang - that's 2 points for Korea.
One from Jong-Wha Lee - that's 3 points for Korea.
Books are not linked to references on ISI, so for the book, I go to Google Scholar:
One from Sebastian Saiegh - 1 point for Argentina!
One from Vicky Murillo - 2 points for Argentina...
One from Maria Soledad Martinez Peria - 3 points for Argentina... (this is more exciting to me than actual soccer...)
Another cite from Seonjou Kang - 4 points for Korea!
Another cite from Saiegh - 4 points for Argentina - these countries are really battling!
Chi Wook Kim: 5 points for Korea...
Yong Kyun Ki: 6 points for Korea!
My friend Hye Jee Cho from UCLA - 7 points for Korea... they're running away with it!
Byungwon Woo - 8 for Korea!
Another from Murillo: 5 points for Argentina - they're not giving up!
Another from Woo - 9 for Korea. Relentless.
So that's it - I'm with Korea.
And since Argentina is the favorite, I'll most likely have chances to root for them in future rounds. For now, so I'm going with:
Korea!
RESULT: ARGENTINA (2ND LOSS***)
4-1

Greece v. Nigeria
Nigeria was a case in my 2003 book, and appeared 4 times in my 2007 book. Greece only 3 times. Yet, a Greek newspaper recently did a really nice interview with me about the IMF where they flattered me by saying I was a foremost expert on the subject. Flattery will get you everywhere... Plus, I co-authored a magazine article with Harris Mylonas.
Go Greece!
RESULT: GREECE
2-1


18 June:
Slovenia v. USA
Obvious.
USA!
RESULT: TIE
2-2 (horrible referee call - this should have been a win!)

England v. Algeria
Co-authored with Alastair Smith in 2006.
Go England!
RESULT: TIE
0-0

Germany v. Serbia
Go Germany!
RESULT: SERBIA
0-1 (3RD LOSS***)


19 June:
Ghana v. Australia
Australia hosted me for 2 weeks at Bond University, where I am a research affiliate.
Go Auzzi!
RESULT: TIE
1-1

Netherlands v. Japan
Dutch co-author trumps. And did I mention my wonderful colleague, Erik Voeten?
Go Netherlands!
RESULT: NETHERLANDS
1-0

Cameroon v. Denmark
Neither. But Denmark appears 4 times in my book index, Cameroon only twice.
Go Denmark.
RESULT: DENMARK
1-2


20 June
Slovakia v. Paraguay
Neither. Book index indicates more support for:
Paraguay.
RESULT: PARAGUAY
0-2

Italy v. New Zealand
2 co-authors=
Italy!
RESULT: TIE
1-1

Brazil v. Cote d'Ivoire
Co-author + visit to USP =
Brazil!
RESULT: BRAZIL
3-1

21 June
Portugal v North Korea
Again - 2 countries who have done nothing for my career. But let's face it - Portugal is more of a possibility.
Go Portugal.
RESULT: PORTUGAL
7-0

Chile v Switzerland
Easy choice for me. Go KOF, Go ETH, Go Zurich...
Go Switzerland!
RESULT: CHILE ***4TH LOSS
1-0

Spain v Honduras
Another easy choice - Go ESADE...
Go Spain!
RESULT: SPAIN
2-0


22 June
France v South Africa
France, what have you done for me lately?
Qui veut-dire recemment
Je veux que tu arretes de men-
tir! (MC James)
Go South Africa!
RESULT: SOUTH AFRICA
1-2

Mexico v Uruguay
Yikes - tough call. Gave a talk in Mexico. Published in Uruguay.
Go Uruguay!
RESULT: URUGUAY
0-1

Greece v Argentina
ARGENTINA!
RESULT: ARGENTINA
0-1

Nigeria v South Korea
Global KU Frontier Spirit!
KOREA!
RESULT: TIE
2-2


23 June
Slovenia v England
England!
RESULT: ENGLAND
0-1

United States v Algeria
USA!
RESULT: USA
1-0

Australia v Serbia
Australia!
RESULT: AUSTRALIA
2-1

Ghana v Germany
Germany!
RESULT: GERMANY
0-1


24 June
Cameroon v Netherlands
Go Dutch!
RESULT: NETHERLANDS
1-2

Denmark v Japan
Japan!
RESULT: JAPAN
1-3

Paraguay v New Zealand
Index rule says...
Paraguay
RESULT: TIE
0-0

Slovakia v Italy
Italy!
RESULT: SLOVAKIA (?)
3-2
***FIFTH LOSS


25 June
North Korea v Ivory Coast
Neither country has done me any favors. Both appear the same # of times in the 2007 book. Neither appears in the 2003 book. I like the North Korea flag better, but I study the IMF and North Korea is not even a member.
Go Cote d'Ivoire.
RESULT: COTE D'IVOIRE
0-3

Portugal v Brazil
Go USP! Go BRAZIL!
RESULT: TIE
0-0

Chile v Spain
Go ESADE! Go Spain!
RESULT: SPAIN
1-2

Switzerland v Honduras
GO ETH! Go Switzerland!
RESULT: TIE
0-0

Sunday, June 20, 2010

The G20 and MAKTISAS

Why should you care about the G20?

The G20 represents the arrival of the emerging markets!

The 2008 financial meltdown made clear the reality of a multipolar world. The United States, while still the strongest country in the world, ain't what it used to be. And there are a number of new important players in international affairs.

So, even if the meetings produce nothing more than photo-ops and media frenzy, the G20 makes a splash when it meets.

Funny thing is, I have never found anyone who can name the G20. And I'm not just talking about people I meet on the street or even my wonderful students. I'm talking about fellow professionals who teach international affairs for a living.

This is a reflection a few things, I think: (1) The G20 doesn't really do anything. (2) The selection process was arbitrary and membership is already out of date. (3) The group is just too big to be effective (which, by the way, may be by design).

Still, learning who is in the G20 - and who is not - is a good way to get a sense of the mightiest countries on the horizon. Note, however, that the G20 does not actually reflect the largest countries in terms of Gross Domestic Product, so it's important to pay attention to a few countries who are out.

First, who's in?

Let me give you a manageable way to remember them in 4 easy steps:

G7 + BRIC + EU + MAKTISAS

(1)
Start with the G7.
You should already know these countries if you have been paying attention to the world of international affairs for the past 30 years or so. But, just in case, they are:
The United States of America
Japan
Germany
The United Kingdom
France
Italy
Canada


(2) Add BRIC:
Brazil
Russia
India
China


(3) 11 down... so 9 countries to go, right? Wrong!
Only 8 more to go because the G20 only has 19 countries.
The 20th member is:
The European Union.

(4) So who are the remaining 8? They are... MAKTISAS!
M-exico
A-ustralia
K-orea
T-urkey
I-ndonesia
S-audi Arabia
A-rgentina
S-outh Africa



So there you have the G20 in 4 easy steps:

G7 + BRIC + EU + MAKTISAS

No more excuses - this is easy to remember. And don't worry, the G20 has stated it will keep the same membership.

That's good news for remembering these countries... but bad news for global governance. Just like the current international institutions, the G20 is destined to become out of sync with economic reality. Indeed, it's already out of sync.

Who's out? Again - 4 groups:
(1) EU Countries, (2) Other European Countries, (3) The Bad Guy, (4) Good/Bad Guesses

(1) EU countries
There are EU countries that are big enough to be in the top 20, but they're not G20 because there'd just be too many Europeans around the table. Personally, I would like all the EU countries - or at least the Eurozone countries - to unite as one voice. An EU voice would be the largest, most powerful at the table - surpassing even the United States... but that's not going to happen. Germany, France, the UK, and Italy are in, and they don't want to give up their individual seats. Who's out?
Spain
Poland
The Netherlands

(The remaining EU countries are too small - they wouldn't get an individual voice anyway.)

(2) Other European countries
There are two remaining countries of Europe that could have top 20 status (depending on how you measure), but they are not in the G20. The reason is the same as above - there'd be too many Europeans. But unlike the previous group, this group really loses out, because they don't even have nominal representation through the EU seat because they're not members of the EU:
Norway
Switzerland


(3) The bad guy
So here's a game I like to play. Name a country whose GDP (measured in either nominal or PPP terms) is larger than that of G20 members South Africa and Argentina, but who is not in the G20 and is not a country in Europe... At this point, people start throwing out names of countries. I've never had anyone guess right at first, and I often offer the following hint: When I tell you the name of the country, it will be obvious why the country is not in the G20. At this point, clever people get it. The answer is...
Iran

(4) Good/Bad Guesses
Finally, I'd like to list some countries that people often guess and address the merits of those guesses.

Bangladesh & Pakistan: These countries are very poor, so they don't meet the GDP criterion. But their populations are, well, huge. They each constitute at least 2% of global population. These are wrong, but good guesses.

Nigeria: The most populous country in Africa. At nearly 155 million people, it's much larger than South Africa (about 50 million). But South Africa is far richer, and its GDP is thus way bigger. That said, neither of these countries is really a top 20 economy. South Africa is in the G20 to have balanced representation - we want at least one country from Africa.

Egypt: It's got the 2nd largest economy on the African continent after South Africa. So, a good guess for Africa, but no cigar.

Thailand: Excellent guess. It's economy is bigger than that of South Africa in PPP terms (though not in nominal terms). And it's smaller than Argentina... and we needed a country from Africa.

Taiwan: Economically, a good guess. Politically, a terrible guess. Its PPP economy is bigger than that of Saudi Arabia, Argentina, or South Africa. But this country will never play a big role in global governance. The answer in three letters: P.R.C.

Venezuela: Depends on how you measure its GDP. In nominal terms, it's bigger than Argentina. But in terms of what you actually get for your money - Purchasing Power Parity (PPP) - it is not. Venezuela doesn't make the cut. And with Chavez at the helm, well, I wouldn't hold my breath for an invitation - remember, the United States is still the biggest kid on the block.

Israel: I hear this one a lot, but it's a terrible guess. Israel is, of course, strategically important, and because it is a nuclear state, it is militarily powerful. But it's citizens are not that rich (Israel makes the top 30 for GDP/capita, but not the top 20), and its population is tiny (around 100th in the world, making it median-sized). As for its GDP, it is significantly smaller than South Africa or Argentina. Israel is just not even close to being a top 20 economy. The fact that I have heard so many people guess this country shows just how out of sync people are when it comes to Israel's economic weight.

North Korea: Another terrible guess that I hear a lot. Again we have a strategically important country with nuclear ambitions. But this country is small. Just 20 million people... and it is poor! So GDP turns out to be ranked around 100th in the world - this is a median-sized economy.


Now, to conclude, it's useful to go through the countries above one more time, giving a rough sense of their economic size and their population. Together, these two factors can give you a sense of how rich their citizens are: GDP/capita. This variable has been shown to be a powerful predictor of many phenomena, from civil war to the survival of democracy and respect for human rights. I won't give you the exact figures - the point isn't to memorize numbers. Rather, I'll give you a sense of the "order of magnitude" - you should be able to remember the ball park range for the most important countries in the world:

GDP (in PPP terms):

The >14 Trillion PPP Dollar Club
The European Union
The United States
(In that order. See how powerful Europe would be if it could speak with one voice?)

The >10 Trillion PPP Dollar Club
Eurozone
(Still would be a powerful voice.)

The >4 Trillion PPP Dollar Club
China
Japan

The >2 Trillion PPP Dollar Club
India
Germany
United Kingdom
Russia
France
Brazil

The >1 Trillion PPP Dollar Club
Italy
Mexico
Korea
Spain
Canada

The >500 Billion PPP Dollar Club
Indonesia
Turkey
Australia
Iran
Taiwan
Poland
Netherlands
Saudi Arabia
Argentina
Thailand

Note: South Africa is the only G20 country not to make the >500 Billion PPP Dollar Club.


Population (here I list only countries that were discussed above - in most cases, rounded to the nearest 5 million):

The >1 Billion People Club
China (1.3 billion)
India (1.2 billion)

The >500 Million People Club
No one. See, China and India really dwarf the rest of the world when it comes to population.

The >300 Million People Club
United States (310 million)

The >200 Million People Club
Indonesia (230 million)

The >150 Million People Club
Brazil (190 million)
Pakistan (170 million)
Bangladesh (160 million)
Nigeria (155 million)

The >100 Million People Club
Russia (140 million)
Japan (130 million)
Mexico (110 million)

The >70 Million People Club
Germany (80 million)
Egypt (80 million)
Iran (75 million)
Turkey (75 million)

The >60 Million People Club
France (65 million)
Thailand (65 million)
United Kingdom (60 million)
Italy (60 million)

The >40 Million People Club
Korea (50 million)
South Africa (50 million)
Spain (45 million)
Argentina (40 million)

The >30 Million People Club
Poland (40 million)
Canada (35 million)

The >20 Million People Club
Venezuela (30 million)
Saudi Arabia (25 million)
North Korea (25 million)
Taiwan (25 million)
Australia (25 million)