February 03, 2010

In Praise of Quants

A week ago, I spent some time on the blog whining about Quants and their work on counterinsurgency. Since then, two scholars -- distinguished veterans of the war in Iraq -- have told me that while they share some of my frustrations, I should make some exceptions -- especially for the work being done by Jason Lyall, Eli Berman and Jacob Shapiro. My friends are right, of course -- too often, when we don't back things up with hard quantitative analysis, we end up with faith-based policies. And I have spent the morning reading the latest article in International Security by Christine Fair and Shapiro and it is ... well, quite excellent.