Emergent Ventures winners, seventh cohort

Nicholas Whitaker of Brown, general career development grant in the area of Progress Studies.

Coleman Hughes, travel and career development grant.

Michael T. Foster, career development grant to study machine learning to predict which politicians will succeed and advance their careers.

Evan Horowitz, to start the Center for State Policy Analysis at Tufts, to impose greater rationality on policy discussions at the state level.

John Strider, a Progress Studies grant on how to reinvent the integrated corporate research lab.

Dryden Brown, to help build institutions and a financial center in Ghana, through his company Bluebook Cities.

Adaobi Adibe, to restructure credentialing, and build infrastructure for a more meritocratic world, helping workers create property rights in the evaluation of their own talent.

Shrirang Karandikar, and here (corrected link), to support an Indian project to get the kits to measure and understand local pollution.

Jassi Pannu, medical student at Stanford, to study best policy responses to pandemics.

Vasco Queirós, for his work on a Twitter browser app for superior threading and on-line communication.


Imposing greater rationality is clearly necessary to allow state capacity libertarianism to flourish at any level.

Why is there Progress studies but no Conservative studies? We need to teach the next generation that socialism doesn't work. Ignoring the ideas of half of the population is why things are so bad now.

Jassi Pannu did the research in record time and concluded that massive stockpiling of canned beans is the optimal strategy. A large-scale non-random uncontrolled trial is now underway.

How many of these cohort candidates are middle-aged white males? Yep, do as I say, not as I do...

Coleman Hughes isn’t. Do you even read before posting?

I have a hard time understanding how machine learning to predict candidate success would work. You would need a quite large dataset of potential candidates, with lots of measured variables, to make this interesting and useful.

The winner seems like a legit data scientist, so I assume he has a plan. I'm curious about what it is.

It's a tricky problem, so for the time being, I'm working on a rather narrow instance of it. Namely, I'm attempting to predict the viability of state legislators for future congressional runs. This hits something a sweet spot, where my dataset is large (there are thousands of state legislators) and yet they're politically prominent enough for structured data to be available on them. Other political pathways may well prove trickier, but I'm hoping to use this project as proof of concept/an opportunity to develop approaches that may generalize to other types of political trajectories.

The trickiest part so far actually hasn't been the availability of large datasets but the extreme imbalance in the target classes. Most state legislators never make it to Congress, so I've had to devote a great deal of effort to tuning my model to privilege recall as opposed to simple accuracy.

Would love to discuss further if you're interested.

Very cool, thanks for the response!

No problem at all. Thank you for your interest and kind remarks!

emerging technocrats stipends sounds like a waste of other peoples money

Michael T. Foster in his tweets about getting the grant mentions the "elevator effect", something new to me. My google result: "It happens whenever a group of primates, like humans, is brought into a situation where escape is temporarily impossible. It's thought to be a kind of safety mechanism: as long as nobody talks, nobody is going to risk getting in a fight when there's no way to spread out. The elevator effect keeps a lid on potential problems before they start." If you've ever been stuck in a crowded elevator, you've experienced the elevator effect.

But that's not what Foster is referring to. Based on his tweets, he is referring to advertising outside of an explicit campaign environment having the potential to benefit the electoral fortunes of incumbent politicians: non-campaign-specific advertising serving as a priming mechanism. How is this related to the "elevator effect"? Maybe a large elevator: advertising by a politician that is designed to create or strengthen the bond between the candidate and the electorate, a tribal bonding. The tribe is riding the same elevator. Compare Trump's message to that of the Democratic candidates. Trump appeals to "real Americans" (they know who they are) while the Democrats appeal to, what? Medicare for all? Free college tuition? Where's the bonding in that? It's true Democrats often promote rights of minority groups, but how large is that tribe as compared to the tribe of "real Americans"? Moreover, things like Medicare for all are disruptive, threatening the status quo (and the peace in the elevator). It is said that Trump appeals to some economists because of his penchant for "disruption". But is that true? Isn't Trump's appeal to his tribe of "real Americans" the opposite of disruption?

Those tweets referred to an article I read and shared months before I began work on my current project. I hadn't heard the term "elevator effect" before, and for all I know, the author of the article in question may have used it incorrectly.

For context, the article compares former Secretary of Labor Cherie Berry's electoral performance with that of other GOP politicians in NC. Around here, Cherie Berry is known as "the elevator lady," as her portrait appears on the Department of Labor inspection information in every elevator in the state.

Though interesting, neither your use of the term nor the author's is particularly relevant to what I'm working on, and I only shared the article because I found it amusing and because Secretary Berry had just announced her retirement.

Thanks for the clarification. I'm interested in the topic of your current research (for which you received the grant), but I used the elevator reference (because I've been stuck on an elevator) to make my point about Trump, tribe, the large elevator, and "disruption". I am shameless when it comes to finding the image of Jesus in my mashed potatoes. Is there anyone who isn't?

Give some to dr. mukwege next time

How can we find more information about past Emergent Ventures winners? Are they only posted on Marginal Revolution? I'd like to learn more about John Strider in particular, but I'm having a hard time finding an internet presence for him or the Emergent Ventures results.

Hi Celia,

John Strider here. You can find out more at https://refoundable.com

How excellent, thanks for the prompt response!

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