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Politicians want to assure the electorate that they share the political leanings of voters. This attention to the electoral process, says Kenneth Shotts, means that politicians are more rigid and less likely to change their positions based on new information, particularly when voters may not share that insight.

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Absentee ballots have made voting easier and more accessible to millions of Americans, but the process may have unintended effects on election outcomes, says Professor Neil Malhotra.

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Panel discussion ran the gamut from how the U.S. got into this mess; how this crisis fits in with past credit crises; and whether the financial sector is really sufficiently “different’’ than the rest of the economy to warrant a $700 billion rescue courtesy of the American taxpayer.

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