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Were Trump’s Tweets More Positive Than Clinton’s?

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Donald Trump is not exactly known for his sunny personality. Yet, surprisingly, his tweets may have appeared more positive than Hillary Clinton’s. A simple textual analysis may provide some insight into why Trump’s use of social media appears to be so effective, at least among his followers, and a window into why Clinton’s campaign failed. To do this, I downloaded the most recent 3200 tweets from Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton and created word clouds in which the size of a word in the cloud indicates its frequency.[1] The analysis (or, perhaps […]

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Don’t Be Disappointed by the FCC’s Incentive Auction

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After Stage 4 of the incentive auction, broadcasters asked for $10 billion to clear 84 MHz of spectrum—down from $86 billion to clear 126 MHz in Stage 1. Assuming that wireless providers will bid enough to allow the auction to close, FierceWireless noted, “that would bring a disappointing end to an auction that once was predicted to generate $60 billion or more…”[1] Disappointment, however, is all a matter of expectations, and expectations for this auction had become unrealistic by the time it began last year. In reality, spectrum bids in […]

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TPI Tech Policy 2016 Year In Review

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***SPOILER ALERT!*** For those of you who were cryogenically frozen during the year 2016 and want to watch it on your DVR later, proceed with caution.[1] Some people think that 2016 was the worst year ever, which can’t possibly be true considering 1348. The tech sector, however, was more balanced, with small rays of light to bolster our optimism and crushing disappointments to keep us off-balance. To start, consider Stanford drop-out Elizabeth Holmes and Theranos.[2] She claimed that her magic black boxes could, despite the limitations of biology and statistics, accurately diagnose […]

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Innovation, Productivity, and Growth in 10 Minutes

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Productivity growth has been falling since the 1970’s (except for a brief period in the 1990’s), which could mean continued slow future economic growth. Nobody fully understands why it’s falling; is it just a mirage caused by not properly measuring the innovations and technologies? Or is there a deeper problem with our economy that needs fixing? From our Aspen Forum 2016 Panel on Innovation, Productivity, and Growth, we bring you experts’ attempts to answer one of the greatest economic puzzles:

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Privacy Policy in 8 Minutes

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Living in a digital world means that simply by existing and interacting with digital devices, we generate a lot of data. Even though privacy and security of user data is generally of the upmost importance to reputable firms, breaches and hacks do happen, and not every firm is reputable. What should the government’s role be in data privacy and security?  Does the FTC or other agency need to take a more active approach, or do there exist adequate incentives to ensure private firms sufficiently protect user data? Is some sort of […]

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Trump’s Infrastructure Plan is Revenue-Neutral Only Under Unrealistic Assumptions

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President-elect Donald Trump wants $1 trillion to be spent on infrastructure projects, but he doesn’t want the government to be the one spending it. So he is proposing a scheme based on tax credits intended to stimulate private investment. The projects will then repay the cost of the tax credits through “incremental tax revenues that result from project construction in a design that results in revenue neutrality,” as Peter Navarro explains (p.4). He goes on to claim “Two identifiable revenue streams for repayment are critical here: (1) the tax revenues […]

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Election Predictions: A Failure of Bad Data, not Big Data

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Pollsters and other politically-minded data jockeys likely spent much of Wednesday questioning their life choices as their predictions made them seem more akin to numerologists than to data scientists. The failure of polling and modelling to correctly predict the outcome of the presidential election has caused some to question the overall use of data and algorithms to answer important societal questions, at least those involving human behavior. The lessons from these failures, however, are not about the limits of data, as a recent New York Times article concluded, but instead […]

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The FTC PAE Report: PAEs no longer the poster child for patent reform?

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Patent Assertion Entities—businesses that monetize patents acquired from third parties—have been a convenient poster child illustrating the need for patent reform. The narrative goes like this: PAEs, less charitably known as “patent trolls,” are a major source of excessive and wasteful litigation, often involving patents of dubious value. Some trolls send out hundreds or even thousands of “demand letters” to small businesses and others with the aim of collecting a large number of small settlements. PAEs make money by obtaining settlements from defendants whose principal motivation is to avoid potentially […]

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Research Roundup 6: Make Your Voice Heard

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It’s almost that most patriotic time of the year when Americans perform their civic duty, gather together, celebrate their support for one of two teams, and huddle around a TV anxiously awaiting the results: The Super Bowl[1] Election Day.[2] Regardless of what you believe, or who you believe in, The Super Bowl Election Day is your chance to make your voice heard and bond with your fellow citizens, because in the end, no matter the outcome, we all still live in this great nation called America. Unless some people decide […]

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The FCC’s Mad Men: Why Do Government Agencies Use Social Media?

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Like the rest of the world, government agencies find themselves with the ability to communicate with the public in real-time via Twitter, Facebook, and other platforms. For several years, federal agencies have struggled with various aspects of social media, including who is allowed to tweet, the type of content permitted, and so on. Even so, today most agencies, ranging from Agriculture to Veterans’ Affairs have official social media accounts. A perusal of agencies’ Twitter feeds shows that agencies typically use social media to convey information to the public. The Federal […]

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