Tax the Rich

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the recently-elected young representative from New York, sparked a flurry of debate after she mentioned raising taxes on the rich in order to raise money for a hypothetical Green New Deal.

While conservatives tried to paint her as an pie-in-the-sky radical, policy nerds came to her defence. Paul Krugman and Matt Yglesias both describe some of significant research on high-end tax rates.

You can see a delve into their arguments in a concise Thicket List we just built, which connects their claims to the research they cite. Green circles represent arguments, blue represent evidence. If we missed anything, you can also contribute your own ideas. Check out our introductory video if you need a quick demo about how you can use Thicket for research and debate.

December 2017 Update

We are still alive! We’ve been working hard to improve our data quality and also added a few new features.

  • We’ve got a snazzy new landing page and introductory video. The video does a far better job of explaining Thicket than anything else we’ve tried–go check it out.
  • Abstracts are back! You can now see abstracts over in the sidebar, for papers we have data for (if RePEc/Ideas has an abstract, we should have it too).
  • We’ve been trying to speed things up for large nodes (papers with thousands of citations). It should be working a bit faster.
  • We should be current with the RePEc archive as of a few weeks ago. We are still working on a better way to keep our paper data updated, stay tuned…
  • We now group similar versions of a paper, for papers where sufficient metadata exists. This should prevent Thicket from showing five different versions of a paper.
  • We’ve added “Recently-created Arguments” and “Recently-edited Arguments” to the Explore tab.
  • We failed to design a better process (than the one we had already built) to deduplicate Authors, despite working on it for way too long. The machines aren’t learning all that well, yet. If you are an economist publishing papers and you haven’t done it yet, go add yourself to the RePEc author service.
  • Unfortunately we’ve had to remove the Pick a Random Node feature because of some weirdness with a new version of our database. Hopefully that should be back soon.

That’s all for now. As always, sign up for our mailing list to keep abreast of updates, features, and new content.

Event - Demo in DC (Thursday, June 29)

Join us this Thursday, June 29th, for a short, in-person demo of Thicket at the Third Way Foundation. Thicket is a new tool for policy researchers, students, journalists, and anyone interested in political issues. We’ll show you how Thicket can help you find research and explore and contribute to policy debates.

Event details:
Thu Jun 29, 2017 12pm – 1pm
Third Way
1025 Connecticut Ave. NW, Suite 501
Washington, DC 20036

All are welcome! RSVP to:

Thinking About Things, Together

You don’t have to go far to find online commentary on policy issues, from newspaper headlines to your aunt’s Facebook comments. Sometimes these debates teach us things, other times we have ideas to contribute or hear claims we think are wrong. But too often our forums of debate – comment threads, rebuttal blog posts, tweet replies – are too limited or indirect. We end up talking past each other, misinterpreted, our comments get lost in the void.

Using Thicket

Thicket is a site designed to help you think about complex issues, by making it easy to browse social science research and connect that research to policy arguments. Here’s a quick animated introduction.

Thicket Open Beta

Today we are opening up Thicket to the public for anyone to use and sign up! We are excited to share our hard work with the world and hope that you find it useful. Please let us know if you have any ideas or find any bugs, or just want to discuss the site.

Thicket is still very much in beta and we are constantly adding new features and fixing bugs. Sign up for our mailing list for updates.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Something is broken with the website. Who can I tell?

    • If you’ve already registered for Thicket, you can head over to the forum and post a bug in the feedback section. Or, just send us an email. Thicket is very much a work in progress so please excuse the mess. Thanks for your help!
  • Can I download the full academic paper from Thicket? Where can I get it?

    • We don’t host any articles on Thicket, unfortunately. Your best bet is to follow the our link to the article’s IDEAS page, which usually has links to all available versions, or to search on Google Scholar.
  • Why can’t I find the economics paper or author I’m looking for?

    • Thicket article (Evidence) and author data is based on RePEc data. If you can find the paper on RePEc but not on Thicket, it may be because we are not using the most up-to-date version of RePEc data. Or it may be because we did something wrong importing. Feel free to email us if you have questions.
  • I’m an economist or other author. How can I update my author details?

    • We get our author details straight from RePEc/IDEAS, which gets its data from two places: authors who sign up and edit their details themselves, and institutions and publishers who submit article metadata to RePEc. In other words, you should sign up on the RePEc Author Service.
  • I found an error! You should fix it.

    • Is the error in the Evidence or Author details? We get that data from RePEc, so unfortunately there’s not much we can do. But if the error is in an Argument or Relation, you can edit it yourself once you’ve signed up for an account.
  • Are you going to include other topics besides economics?

    • We’d love to if we can find the resources and the data. What topics would you like to see? Drop us a line on email or make a suggestion over on our forum.

Announcing Thicket

Thicket is a platform for exploring economic research and policy debates. It provides new, visual ways to search and browse academic work, and connects it to policy questions. Users can add their own ideas and contradict or refine arguments that others have made. Thicket is a collaborative effort to organize knowledge and make it accessible.

Who is Thicket for?

Thicket is designed to bridge the gap between expert research and non-experts: students, policymakers, journalists, and regular people interested in the same questions researchers are. You might find Thicket useful if:

you are a student who…

  • is trying to make an argument or address counter-arguments for a paper
  • needs a better understanding of current research

you are an academic who…

  • thinks the public could benefit from a better understanding of your research
  • wants to explore research topics outside your area of expertise

you are a journalist or policymaker who…

  • is trying to understand expert consensus about an issue
  • wants to find research evidence about a specific policy
  • is hoping to find evidence to support your position in a debate, or better understand the other side

you are anybody else who…

  • is curious about economics, politics, and public policy
  • is looking for earnest, respectful, and informed debate about ideas and policies

…but what does Thicket actually do?

At its core, Thicket is two things: (1) a visual way to browse and organize social science research papers, and (2) a collaborative platform to construct arguments and map them to available evidence.

Think of it as a visual, collaborative Google Scholar that aims to also provide theoretical context for academic work: Have the ideas in this paper been discredited or have they spawned an entire sub-discipline? Are the findings conclusive or just suggestive? What other areas of research have addressed the same questions that this paper is asking? Is this paper ignoring important questions or counter-arguments?

Great! Where do I start?

You can get started using Thicket right now–check out the ‘tour’ link near the top of the main page if you’re not a fan of randomly clicking around to start off. You’ll need to sign up to edit arguments and relationships, store lists, or post in the forum. You can also sign up for our mailing list or for RSS blog updates if you are interested.