Serious Kudos

by Henry on August 23, 2006

… to “Scott Page”:http://www.cscs.umich.edu/~spage/ for somehow getting the Quarterly Journal of Political Science to publish an “article”:http://www.wcfia.harvard.edu/seminars/pegroup/Page2006.pdf discussing the concept of ‘phat dependence.’

{ 8 comments }

1

dsquared 08.23.06 at 10:19 am

I think that people should give up on the QWERTY keyboard as an example of path dependence and simply use the much clearer example “Glenn Reynolds is considered to be an important political commentator”.

2

aaron 08.23.06 at 11:49 am

‘phat dependence’
Could you please change the this to “path dependence”? “Phat” means something entirely different from path, and this typo sort of confused me until I clicked through to the article.

3

Henry 08.23.06 at 11:57 am

ummm no … that’s the point. Read the article past the opening pages.

4

peter ramus 08.23.06 at 12:09 pm

Your post would be improved by an advisory on pdf dependence, Henry. Thanks.

5

lemuel pitkin 08.23.06 at 12:32 pm

I now turn to formal definitions of path and phat dependence. If the history of outcomes matters, but not the order in which they occurred, I denote the process as phat-dependent. I chose the word phat for two reasons beyond the obvious desire to establish my hip-hop bona-fides. Phat is not only an acronym for Pretty Hot And Tempting (which assuredly the concept of phat dependence is) but also an anagram for path. As such, the word phat reminds us that the order does not matter, even though the outcomes do. Phat also sounds like “fat” which is a synonym for “thick.” This serves to remind us that logically consistent historical narratives, unlike the casual, potted histories that I present here, require thick description.

To steal a line from Scott McLemee, this stuff makes the reader groan, and not with jouissance.

6

lemuel pitkin 08.23.06 at 12:35 pm

er, from Scott McLemee.

7

Kieran Healy 08.23.06 at 1:53 pm

The next step is also obvious. We will naturally want to “bring the agent back in” to these theories of institutional lock-in and historical inertia. Hence I propose “ptah”:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ptah dependence. Ptah was of course the god of craftsmen and stone-masons, and this serves to remind us that institutional arrangements apparently _set_ in stone were in fact _actively created_ by specific individuals and maintained by them over time.

I should write this up as a comment. If anyone else does, I am hereby claiming credit for the phrase.

8

Toadmonster 08.23.06 at 2:37 pm

That the respected Quarterly Journal of Political Science would publish such an obvious hoax conclusively discredits the fraudulent field of “Political” “Science”, and reveals its defenders as the charlatans we always knew they were.

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