LSE Comment

In this section you can read recent expert commentary from LSE academics on important issues around American Politics and Policy. This section also contains reviews of recent books by LSE academics and book reviews from LSE staff and alumni.

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    When it comes to harmful air pollution, denser cities aren’t greener cities. 

When it comes to harmful air pollution, denser cities aren’t greener cities. 

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Where urban planning is concerned, the conventional wisdom is that more compact cities are greener. While this may be the case for greenhouse gas emissions, new research on US cities from Sefi Roth and Felipe Carozzi find that denser cities are also more likely to have greater concentrations of harmful air pollution which can be detrimental to human health and well-being.

Air pollution is bad for us. We all […]

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    How the Panama Canal reshaped the economic geography of the United States

How the Panama Canal reshaped the economic geography of the United States

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More than a century ago, the opening of the Panama Canal revolutionized international trade by making it much quicker and easier to travel between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. But, write Stephan Maurer and Ferdinand Rauch, the canal’s opening also had a significant impact on the economic geography of the US. By examining county level data from 1900 to […]

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    Break up big tech? Make it fairer? Sure, but let’s support our right to refuse what technology companies offer us

Break up big tech? Make it fairer? Sure, but let’s support our right to refuse what technology companies offer us

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With billions of people now members of social media networks such as Facebook and the all-pervasiveness of big tech throughout many aspects of our lives, conversations about digital citizenship have never been more important. Seeta Peña Gangadharan writes that despite efforts by the Obama administration in the late 2000s to improve digital citizenship, the US information economy has now […]

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    Here are three strategies of deceptive communication to be on the lookout for as the 2020 presidential election rolls forward

Here are three strategies of deceptive communication to be on the lookout for as the 2020 presidential election rolls forward

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As we head into the 2020 presidential election, Gustav Meibauer and Jörg Meibauer reflect on how many candidates are often not always completely truthful or accurate in what they say to prospective voters. They give an overview of the different types of deceptive communication candidates may engage in in order to cultivate a favorable impression. From lying to bullshitting to […]

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    New US airstrikes obscure a dramatic development in the Afghan drugs industry – the proliferation of low cost methamphetamine 

New US airstrikes obscure a dramatic development in the Afghan drugs industry – the proliferation of low cost methamphetamine 

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Earlier this month US and Afghan forces bombed 68 drugs labs in South-western Afghanistan, claiming that they caused the Taliban losses of over $1 million per day. David Mansfield and Alexander Soderholm write that not only have the effects of these strikes been exaggerated, their promotion obscures a new reality on the ground: a dramatic growth in the methamphetamine […]

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    The US shows the unequal world we are heading for – and we don’t seem to care

The US shows the unequal world we are heading for – and we don’t seem to care

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Income inequality is on the rise, a fact which many academics and commentators suggest is an important part of the election of populist figures like Donald Trump. And yet, studies show that people are actually becoming less concerned about inequality as it increases. In new research, Jonathan Mijs describes how inequality has reshaped the social landscape and how, as […]

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    Will Dysfunctional Politics Finally End the American Century?

Will Dysfunctional Politics Finally End the American Century?

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The United States has dominated international politics since the end of the Second World War. And while it retains tremendous wealth and military strength, the domestic hyper-partisanship which has characterized the post-Cold War era is draining the country’s ‘usable power’ argue Peter Trubowitz and Peter Harris.

Can the United States continue to shape international politics as it has done for the […]

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    Despite claims to the contrary, US air raids against Afghanistan’s drugs labs have had little to no impact

Despite claims to the contrary, US air raids against Afghanistan’s drugs labs have had little to no impact

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In 2017 and 2018 US forces based in Afghanistan mounted air raids against drug processing facilities. While it was hoped that targeting these facilities would starve the Taliban of revenue – much as similar operations against Islamic State in Syria had done previously – new research from David Mansfield concludes that this has not been the case, despite their very high cost. Using a […]

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    Financial innovation in mortgage products spurred the rapid increase in credit and house price growth during the last housing boom

Financial innovation in mortgage products spurred the rapid increase in credit and house price growth during the last housing boom

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Ahead of the global financial crisis of 2007-08, house sales and prices boomed. In new research, Lindsay Relihan and coauthors examine whether this boom was the cause or result of the large increase in take-up of non-traditional mortgage products around the same time. Comparing house prices and the use of alternative mortgage products in housing markets across the US, […]

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    Five minutes with Peter Trubowitz: “Mueller has left a big question mark hanging over the president’s head“

Five minutes with Peter Trubowitz: “Mueller has left a big question mark hanging over the president’s head“

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Last Friday, Special Counsel Robert Mueller delivered his final report to the US Attorney General, William Barr, who then sent a short summary of the report to Congress. LSE US Centre Director, Peter Trubowitz writes that while Trump has avoided the worst – charges of collusion between his 2016 election campaign and Russia were found to be without merit […]

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