Shawn McGuire has worked as a research engineer in both academia and industry with a broad focus on machine learning, robotics, and hardware. The majority of his work has involved creating health technologies such as a recently commercialized microscope utilizing AI for malaria parasite identification and novel vaccine transport devices. He received his BS and MS degrees in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Washington and has published numerous journal articles related to medical research technologies.
Shawn K. McGuire
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Predicting United States Policy Outcomes with Random Forests
In this paper we analyze the Gilens dataset using the complementary tools of Random Forest classifiers (RFs), from Machine Learning.
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INET research into the influence of election spending is featured in Truthout
“Political scientist Thomas Ferguson, an authoritative scholar on money and electoral politics, has a valuable and established political science theory called “the investment theory of politics.” He demonstrates that the U.S. is essentially controlled by coalitions of investors who come together around some mutual interest. Thus, “to participate in the political arena, you must have enough resources and private power to become part of such a coalition…. McGuire and Delahunt advance the thesis by showing it is actually worse than what others have found. Their study reveals and confirms that the top wealthiest 10 percent ultimately always win on policy — effectively showing that anyone else’s opinion outside of the top 10 percent rarely matters.” — Rajko Kolundzic, Truthout
The FT cites INET working paper showing elites are thwarting democracy
“Anyone with a pulse knows that in the US today the system is rigged in favour of the wealthy and powerful. One particularly illuminating paper published this month by the Institute for New Economic Thinking quantifies the problem. Building on a persuasive 2014 data set, it shows that when opinion shifts among the wealthiest top 10 per cent of the US population, changes in policy become far more likely. Using AI and machine learning, INET academics Shawn McGuire and Charles Delahunt delved deep into the data. They found that considering the opinions of anyone outside that top 10 per cent was a far less accurate predictor of what happened to government policy. The numbers showed that: “not only do ordinary citizens not have uniquely substantial power over policy decisions; they have little or no independent influence on policy at all”.” — Rana Foroohar, The Financial Times
INET working paper along with Thomas Ferguson's article are the focus of this Inequality article.
“Their new working paper, just published by the Institute for New Economic Thinking in New York, gives a rigorously technical analysis of what these tools reveal, and the Institute’s research director, Thomas Ferguson, has helpfully fashioned an introduction to — and a historical context for — the McGuire-Delahunt analysis that lay readers will find easily accessible. Ferguson, himself a pioneer in social science research on political decision making, points out that “the idea that public opinion powers at least the broad direction of public policy in formally democratic countries like the United States has been an article of faith in both political science and public economics for generations.” —Sam Pizzigati