Archive for the ‘scholarly publishing’ Category

Insider Trading in Commodities Markets

March 5, 2015 Comments off

Insider Trading in Commodities Markets
Source: Social Science Research Network

In securities markets, insider trading is a crime. In commodities, insider trading is almost completely legal. This divergent treatment has long been accepted as appropriate, given perceived differences between the markets. For example, it has been thought that futures traders are sophisticated enough to neither need nor want protections from informed traders, and that the assets traded – corn, copper – do not lend themselves to insider trading anyway.

This Article disagrees, showing that purported differences between these two markets do not withstand serious scrutiny, and that insider trading is harmful in the same ways in both markets and should be governed by the same restrictions. Understanding securities and commodities markets to be peer financial markets permits for the first time a serious dialogue between scholars of both fields, and this Article takes the first steps to applying theories from the securities literature to commodities markets and holding those theories up for verification or falsification against new data from commodities markets.

Europe-wide fertility trends since the 1990s: Turning the corner from declining first birth rates

March 5, 2015 Comments off

Europe-wide fertility trends since the 1990s: Turning the corner from declining first birth rates
Source: Demographic Research

In the period 1995-2002 there was a change in trajectory from decline to rise in first birth fertility rates across Europe.

A number of previous studies have looked at the demographic causes of the transition. This study evaluates their conclusions by analysing a comprehensive set of indicators for fifteen countries with data in the Human Fertility Database.

Comparisons are made between the four years before and after the fertility trough, to discover what changed between these two periods.

In the period before the trough, peak age-specific fertility rates were falling; these tended to stabilise after the year of minimum fertility. The width of the fertility curve, however, was already widening in the 1990s, and this trend continued. The transition from fall to rise in TFR1 occurred when the increase in the width of the curve more than compensated for any further falls in peak rates; this explanation is valid for countries in both Eastern and Western Europe. The increasing width of the fertility curve was caused by two factors: the decline in young (pre-modal) fertility slowed, whilst the rise in older (post-modal) fertility accelerated. For some countries, a rise in underlying cohort rates also contributed to the rise in period rates. The likelihood of childless women entering motherhood also rose in some but not all countries.

During the 1990s, women were postponing first births across Europe. A rebound took place for several reasons, with the overarching driver being the strong rise in late fertility.

In some countries the steep rise in late fertility had an unexpected and paradoxical effect on postponement rates (defined as the year-on-year increase in mean age at first birth). Recuperation at post-modal ages of postponed first births caused an acceleration in ‘postponement’ rates, as defined by this metric.

Transmission of Ebola Viruses: What We Know and What We Do Not Know

March 4, 2015 Comments off

Transmission of Ebola Viruses: What We Know and What We Do Not Know
Source: mBio

Available evidence demonstrates that direct patient contact and contact with infectious body fluids are the primary modes for Ebola virus transmission, but this is based on a limited number of studies. Key areas requiring further study include (i) the role of aerosol transmission (either via large droplets or small particles in the vicinity of source patients), (ii) the role of environmental contamination and fomite transmission, (iii) the degree to which minimally or mildly ill persons transmit infection, (iv) how long clinically relevant infectiousness persists, (v) the role that “superspreading events” may play in driving transmission dynamics, (vi) whether strain differences or repeated serial passage in outbreak settings can impact virus transmission, and (vii) what role sylvatic or domestic animals could play in outbreak propagation, particularly during major epidemics such as the 2013–2015 West Africa situation. In this review, we address what we know and what we do not know about Ebola virus transmission. We also hypothesize that Ebola viruses have the potential to be respiratory pathogens with primary respiratory spread.

Categories: ebola, mBio, science

The Rise of IPv6: Benefits and Costs of Transforming Military Cyberspace

March 4, 2015 Comments off

The Rise of IPv6: Benefits and Costs of Transforming Military Cyberspace
Source: Air & Space Power Journal

Unbeknownst to many people, the fundamental structure of the Internet is changing for the first time in its history with the exhaustion of Internet protocol version four (IPv4) and the transition towards IPv6. The Air Force has a tremendous opportunity and responsibility to lead the Department of Defense (DOD) and the nation in the transition to IPv6. It appears that only a clear leadership commitment and direction will spur the necessary transition. When this does occur, a strategy must be in place to assure that this transition is not a hastily executed solution but one that has clear goals and road maps for the secure implementation of IPv6 throughout the Air Force. Our cyber operators must begin training now in the operating environment in which they will certainly be immersed during the next decade. Protecting the network and developing the next generation of norms for cyber operations will allow for assured and rapid execution of core Air Force missions. Harnessing IPv6 is critical if the Air Force is to remain the best equipped, trained, and most lethal force on the planet.

The Impact of Right to Carry Laws and the National Research Council Report: The Latest Lessons for the Empirical Evaluation of Law and Policy

March 3, 2015 Comments off

The Impact of Right to Carry Laws and the NRC Report: The Latest Lessons for the Empirical Evaluation of Law and Policy
Source: Social Science Research Network

For over a decade, there has been a spirited academic debate over the impact on crime of laws that grant citizens the presumptive right to carry concealed handguns in public – so-called right-to-carry (RTC) laws. In 2004, the National Research Council (NRC) offered a critical evaluation of the “More Guns, Less Crime” hypothesis using county-level crime data for the period 1977-2000. 15 of the 16 academic members of the NRC panel essentially concluded that the existing research was inadequate to conclude that RTC laws increased or decreased crime. One member of the panel thought the NRC’s panel data regressions showed that RTC laws decreased murder, but the other 15 responded by saying that “the scientific evidence does not support” that position.

We evaluate the NRC evidence, and improve and expand on the report’s county data analysis by analyzing an additional six years of county data as well as state panel data for the period 1979-2010. We also present evidence using both a more plausible version of the Lott and Mustard specification, as well as our own preferred specification (which, unlike the Lott and Mustard model presented in the NRC report, does control for rates of incarceration and police). While we have considerable sympathy with the NRC’s majority view about the difficulty of drawing conclusions from simple panel data models and re-affirm its finding that the conclusion of the dissenting panel member that RTC laws reduce murder has no statistical support, we disagree with the NRC report’s judgment on one methodological point: the NRC report states that cluster adjustments to correct for serial correlation are not needed in these panel data regressions, but our randomization tests show that without such adjustments the Type 1 error soars to 22-73 percent.

Our paper highlights some important questions to consider when using panel data methods to resolve questions of law and policy effectiveness. We buttress the NRC’s cautious conclusion regarding the effects of RTC laws by showing how sensitive the estimated impact of RTC laws is to different data periods, the use of state versus county data, particular specifications (especially the Lott-Mustard inclusion of 36 highly collinear demographic variables), and the decision to control for state trends.

House Prices, Local Demand, and Retail Prices

March 2, 2015 Comments off

House Prices, Local Demand, and Retail Prices
Source: Social Science Research Network

We use detailed micro data to document a causal response of local retail prices to changes in house prices, with elasticities of 15%-20% across housing booms and busts. We provide evidence that our results are driven by changes in markups rather than by changes in local costs. We argue that this markup variation arises when increases in housing wealth reduce households’ demand elasticity, and firms raise markups in response. Consistent with this wealth channel, price effects are larger in zip codes with many homeowners, and non-existent in zip codes with mostly renters. In addition, shopping data confirms that house price changes have opposite effects on the price sensitivity of homeowners and renters. Our evidence has implications for monetary, labor and urban economics, and suggests a new source of markup variation in business cycle models.

Vaccine Hesitancy Collection: Multidisciplinary Perspectives on Vaccine Hesitancy and Contemporary Vaccination Coverage

February 27, 2015 Comments off

Vaccine Hesitancy Collection: Multidisciplinary Perspectives on Vaccine Hesitancy and Contemporary Vaccination Coverage
Source: PLoS Currents

The prevention of vaccine-preventable disease outbreaks, such as measles, rubella, or polio, is dependent on herd immunity. Yet ensuring widespread vaccination coverage is complicated by a wide range of factors, including vaccine hesitancy, which causes uncertainty in segments of the public about the safety and efficacy of vaccinations.

There is a broad continuum of public perspectives on vaccination, and although there are a few polarized individuals on the extremes, more people are somewhat uncertain or ambivalent about the vaccination decisions that they must make for themselves and their children. The debate also exists in the context of larger political issues surrounding vaccination, including individual freedoms and religious beliefs.

This series of articles investigates the social discourse surrounding vaccination, global perceptions and outcomes of vaccination, and the general issue of confidence or trust in healthcare or government establishments that can underpin medical decisions.


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