I’m shutting down the blog. Well, I won’t be publishing new posts, anyway; the archived material will remain online, in case anyone finds it useful.

I started Dart-Throwing Chimp in the spring of 2011, not long after I made the jump to freelancing, with a few goals in mind. I wanted to make myself more visible and appealing to potential clients. I wanted to practice and improve as a writer, a researcher, and a coder. And I wanted to participate in interesting conversations with colleagues and the wider world.

The blog succeeded on all of those counts. In so doing, though, it also became a larger and larger job of its own. Some of the more involved posts, like my annual coup forecasts, required several days of work. Even the shorter ones often take hours to write, and there were stretches when I was writing three or four of those each week.

I don’t get paid for any of that time. For a while, that strategy made sense to me. It doesn’t any more. The personal and professional opportunity costs have come to outweigh the benefits.

I’m shuttering the blog, but I continue to look for new work as a writer and a data scientist, for lack of a better term. If you think I might be useful to you or your organization—as a freelancer, or maybe as something else—please let me know (ulfelder at gmail dot com; CV here).

Meanwhile, thanks for reading, and I hope I’ll see you around.

Leave a comment


  1. Will miss ya here, but good luck in the next phase.

  2. McGuirk,Finn

     /  December 1, 2015

    Is there no way of making it commercially worthwhile? I’d pay £1 a post if it was easy hassle free to pay. I’m supposed to assess political and economic risk (which my Lloyd’s Syndicate takes risk on through insurance products) as a profession and reading your stuff is often the most thoughtful piece I read on any given day.

    Best regards,


    • Thank you for your kind words.

      I’ve thought a few times about trying to monetize the blog, but I decided against it each time for two reasons. First and most important, I suspect that there aren’t a lot of people who would pay for this content. When I do paid work, I get paid well, so blogging for money is only worth it if people pay a lot or a lot of people pay. I doubt that either of those conditions would hold.

      Second, I worry about the incentive structure that arrangement would create for me as the writer. One of the things that kept me going on this project for so long was the fact that I had total control over what to write and when. If I wasn’t pretty sure that people would be interested in what I had to show or say on some topic, I wouldn’t write, or I’d trash the draft I’d started. That approach helped me stick to my own high standards, and I think it made the blog more valuable to others. If I were getting paid on a per-post basis, though, it would be harder to resist the temptation to produce more for its own sake, especially when paid work was slower.

  3. OLIMBA@aol.com

     /  December 1, 2015

    Thank you for your efforts,I have appreciated your blog during the last 18 months that I have read it. I appreciate the effort that you put in. I hope life heads in the direction you wish going forward. Best, Rick Ohrstrom

    Rick Ohrstrom Co Chair C4 Recovery

    The mission of C4 Recovery Solutions is to improve the accessibility and quality of addiction treatment, and to promote long-term recovery solutions.

  4. It will be missed!

  5. Understandable decision but I’ll miss your posts all the same – always interesting. Best of luck! Here’s hoping some old media dinosaur hires you to write a column for them.

  6. We’ll miss you!

  7. Nick Jorgensen

     /  December 1, 2015

    Drat. Your blog was one of the best social science/quant/forecasting blogs out there, and I learned a great deal from reading it. Best of luck in your future endeavors, and thank you for all of your excellent work. A football-related gag: apparently the woeful 49ers are so bad this year that parking passes are more expensive than actual tickets. The punch line? “Come for the parking, stay for the game.”

  8. Sad to see you go, I have learnt a great deal from your posts. Your blog has been a great help for me in developing my methods skills and I have found your posts on democracy, instability and violence as insightful as anything on offer in academia. Good luck in present and future ventures!

  9. Finally! A chance to catch-up with all of your writing! Thanks for the effort, Jay. Really appreciate it!

  10. Danilo Freire

     /  December 1, 2015

    Best of luck in your future endeavours and thank you for all the time and effort. I’ve learned a lot from this blog!

  11. megadroughtresearch

     /  December 1, 2015

    Thanks Jay, I enjoyed reading many of your posts. I wish you the best of luck.

  12. Very sorry to hear this. Jay, you are a bit too modest in your characterization of this blog — it has more than “succeeded by all accounts,” it is by far the most impressive IR blog out there. Dart Throwing Chimp won consecutive Duckies Awards for Best Blog by an Individual in International Relations — and may very well win again this year. Congrats on a great run and thanks for all the great insights you’ve provided to all of us. Cheers!

  13. cmohamma

     /  December 1, 2015

    Sad to hear you go but wishing you the best of luck! Hopefully you’ll make a few contributions to the Monkey Cage in the future!

  14. This is sad news. Your contributions raised the bar for IR blogs and inspired a lot of people to put their thoughts and ideas out there (including my own). The DTC will be sorely missed.

  15. Bill U

     /  December 1, 2015

    Your thoughtfulness, great analysis and excellent writing made the blog an important and special one. Proud of you, bro!

  16. Monroe Thomas Clewis

     /  December 1, 2015

    Goodbye and good luck. I’ve enjoyed your blog.


    Sent from my iPad


  17. Good luck, man. And thanks for all the great posts.

  18. Jay, DTC is (argh… was) the most useful, perspective-giving blog I know. Heartfelt thanks!

  19. I understand, but am sorry to hear that. Your blog is one of my favorites!

  20. Ansil

     /  December 3, 2015

    I am very sorry to learn that you will no longer be writing Dart Throwing Chimp. I have followed it for several years. It was extremely well written, very fair in discussing conflicting points of view, always perceptive, and often funny, as with the recent entry about poking a spider with a stick. Dart Throwing Chimp was not only the best individual blog in International Studies, but also consistently the best in its analysis of a wide range of topics in comparative politics. Thank you for all I have learned.

  21. marcelo c.

     /  December 6, 2015

    Thank you so much !!The blog is best, every day I read in the Brazil.

  22. Good luck in your future endeavours. Your writing has been of consistently high quality. The blogosphere will be poorer for your absence.

  23. Thanks and all the best, Jay.

  24. Sean Marrett

     /  December 16, 2015

    Wow. So sorry to see you depart. You opened a world of quantitative social science I find fascinating. You must have considered the “wait-but-why” model – I would gladly have contributed to a Patreon fund for you. Anyways, will watch for your tweets and wish you all the best.

  25. Bruce Kay

     /  December 17, 2015

    I’ll miss this blog as I would an old friend, Jay.

    I’ve read it regularly for the last couple of years and learned a lot. I admire the spirit of inquiry, creativity and thoughtfulness behind all your analyses.

    Not to mention the consistently excellent writing and awesome data visualizations.

    Pity you can’t keep it going. Still, I have no doubt you will be on to bigger and better things.

    Thanks and good luck! Keep in touch.


  26. sbm62

     /  December 22, 2015

    Well, hello and goodbye. Dammit Janet….timing is everything. Darn the luck. My professor listed you as a resource for the next 10 weeks….Grrr…The topic isTurkey, specifically oil and gas sector. And of course, all the geopolitics you can stomach. Maybe the archives will be an invaluable resource!

  27. Although I read this blog only occasionally (and hadn’t checked in for quite a while), I often found it valuable and/or interesting when I did look in. Thanks.


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