The Problem with Data….

Ph.D. candidates Andrea Mayer and Jacob Lupfer are working with me to create a website that parallels Gapminder.  Our site contains data from the American states (the site will be unveiled soon, we hope).

Ahh, but data are tricky.  I created a motion chart using State Per Capita Income and Poverty Rate 1976-2009 data. Watching the chart unfold, it became clear that the PCI data after 1990 were screwy — watch it and see for yourself.  I’m working on fixes now. This is harder than it may seem…..

Here’s the problem.  All the PCI data come from the Department of Commerces’ Bureau of Economic Analysis.  The BEA doesn’t have all the state PCI data in a single file, so I would have to go year-by-year to download.  Too much work for me.  I figured that someone else would have a data set with many years of data, and I found a couple of reputable (university) sources that did, with each citing the BEA as the source.  So I cut and paste from these files.  But…these data sets have data that are pretty unreliable, at least when closely examined over time and compared to other data sources….

Solution: I asked my research assistant, Rose Tutara-Baldauf, to do the hard work of collecting data year-by-year (oh! the BEA reports that they don’t even HAVE data from 2001-2009 yet — so I’m not sure where the other sources actually got data for those years).  Thanks, Rose.

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Deficit Supercommittee Members Have Close Ties to Many Lobbyists

“Mark Rom, an associate professor of government and public policy at Georgetown University, said having former lobbyists on staff could prove helpful.”

You can read the full article from the New York Times Global Edition here

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PM’s Question Time

Georgetown Ph.D. candidate Paul Musgrave has an insightful political blog. (Full disclosure: Paul and I are working on a series of studies about the politics of student grading schemes).

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S&P Downgrades the US Credit Rating

Two things:

S&P doesn’t exactly have a stellar record rating….

The real risk of the US defaulting should be zero: it is the only country that can literally print money to pay its debts.

To watch my presentation on the credit rating agencies, click here

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Making Education Worth It

“A new wave of portrayals of the graduate student have taken hold in today’s sluggish economy. It’s the stereotype of graduate students who leave their alma mater with fancy degrees only to find themselves jobless with sky-high debt and a crushed credit rating. As a result, students and faculty have come to ask themselves a vital question: Is grad school worth it?”

Read the article and interview with me from The Hill here….

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The Obama Presidency: Continuity and Change

Now in print…my chapter is on Obama’s health care reform….

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Thinking Politics

Greetings! I’m Mark Carl Rom, Associate Professor of Government and Public Policy at Georgetown University.  This website contains publications, course material, research interests, and links to my favorite blogs.  Enjoy!

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