with Spencer Greenberg
the podcast about ideas that matter

Episode 069: How broken is social science? (with Matt Grossman)

September 3, 2021

What makes studying humans harder than studying other parts of the universe? Is social science currently improving its rigor, relevance, and self-reflection? Is it improving its predictive power over time? Why have sample sizes historically been so small in social science studies? Is social science actually able to accumulate knowledge? Have social scientists been able to move the "needle" on real-world problems like vaccine adoption? Is social science becoming more diverse? Specifically, does social science have a political bias? Are universities in crisis? Do the incentive structures in universities make them difficult or even impossible to reform?

Matt Grossmann is Director of the Institute for Public Policy and Social Research and Professor of Political Science at Michigan State University. He is also Senior Fellow at the Niskanen Center and a Contributor at FiveThirtyEight. He has published analysis in The New York Times, The Washington Post, and Politico, and hosts the Science of Politics podcast. He is the author or co-author of How Social Science Got Better, Asymmetric Politics, Red State Blues, The Not-So-Special Interests, Artists of the Possible, and Campaigns & Elections, as well as dozens of journal articles. You can find more about him on his website.

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Host / Director
Spencer Greenberg

Josh Castle

Audio Engineer
Ryan Kessler

Uri Bram

Lee Rosevere
Josh Woodward
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