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EU — Public Perception of Security and Privacy: Results of the comprehensive analysis of PACT’s pan-European Survey

February 17, 2015 Comments off

Public Perception of Security and Privacy: Results of the comprehensive analysis of PACT’s pan-European Survey
Source: RAND Corporation

This study reports public preferences for security, surveillance and privacy across 27 European Member States measured using a stated preference survey. It focuses on three real life contexts: train/metro travel, internet use and storage of health records — each exploring different dimensions of privacy.

Over 26,000 responses were collected using internet and face-to-face surveys in autumn of 2013. The questionnaire included questions on respondent’s demographics, questions measuring trust in institutions, general distrust, and attitudes to risk taking. Depending on familiarity to travel by train/metro and internet, each respondent was presented with five stated preference questions from two out three of the above mentioned contexts. The stated preference experiments were designed to understand preferences relating to surveillance, amount of data collected, access to data, storage of data, and cost of security, surveillance and data handling. In the travel context experiment also collected preferences for presence and type of security personnel and physical security checks. Preferences in all three contexts were analysed using discrete choice modelling.

Clear differences in preferences for privacy, security and surveillance are found, depending on the context. The study finds that preferences for security and privacy are surprisingly consistent across the EU. Attitudes and demographic characteristics also influence preferences. This study which is one of the largest applications of discrete choice modelling in this domain, provides an important missing element on public perceptions to the debate on security and privacy.

Quantifying the Contribution of Public Parks to Physical Activity and Health: Introducing SOPARC

February 13, 2015 Comments off

Quantifying the Contribution of Public Parks to Physical Activity and Health: Introducing SOPARC
Source: RAND Corporation

As important venues for physical activity, public parks contribute to the health and well-being of the communities that surround them. It is therefore in the best interests of park administrators to have a method to measure this contribution. This paper introduces the System for Observing Play and Recreation in Communities (SOPARC), a reliable, valid, and easy-to-use tool for quantifying park use and park-based physical activity. Park administrators should understand how to use SOPARC to collect data that justify expenditures in parks and recreation departments. To that end, this paper lays out in some detail what SOPARC is and how it is used, as well as provides background information on the importance of physical activity to health.

The Changing Role of Criminal Law in Controlling Corporate Behavior

February 12, 2015 Comments off

The Changing Role of Criminal Law in Controlling Corporate Behavior
Source: RAND Corporation

What should be the role of the criminal law in controlling corporate behavior, and how can the execution of that role be improved? On the one hand, corporations have enormous power, and, when a corporation causes harm, there is a natural instinct to apply criminal sanctions, society’s most serious expression of moral disapproval. In the wake of a harm in which a corporation had a prominent role, there are often calls for an increased use of the criminal law to tame corporate excesses. On the other hand, criminal liability has historically usually required criminal intent, a concept that applies oddly to a legal construction, such as a corporation. And more recently, critics have decried what they have termed the overcriminalization of corporate behavior, suggesting that there has been an overreliance on the use of criminal law in this context.

To provide guidance to policymakers on the proper role of criminal sanctions in this context, RAND Corporation researchers (1) measure the current use of criminal sanctions in controlling corporate behavior, (2) describe how the current regime developed, and (3) offer suggestions about how the use of criminal sanctions to control corporate behavior might be improved.

Estimating the economic costs of antimicrobial resistance

February 11, 2015 Comments off

Estimating the economic costs of antimicrobial resistance
Source: RAND Corporation

The independent Review on AMR led by the economist Jim O’Neill commissioned RAND Europe to conduct a study estimating the global costs of antimicrobial resistance until 2050 in the absence of any progress in tackling the challenge. We developed a general equilibrium model, which calculated the extent of losses to the world economy caused by decreases in the supply of labour resulting from resistant hospital acquired infections and selected major infectious diseases (HIV, TB, malaria). Our approach incorporated a set of seven scenarios with varying rates of future resistance, time of onset of increases in resistance, and availability of effective second-line therapy.

How Does Enrollment of Young Invincibles Affect Premiums in the ACA Individual Market?

February 9, 2015 Comments off

How Does Enrollment of Young Invincibles Affect Premiums in the ACA Individual Market?
Source: RAND Corporation

The individual health insurance market involves people buying coverage directly from an insurance company. The ACA established online marketplaces (also known as exchanges) for people to buy insurance in this market. Collectively, the individual market includes non-employer plans offered both on and off of the exchanges.

To keep health insurance affordable in this market, insurers need to spread risk across a broad pool of enrollees, including younger, healthier people, to offset the costs of older, sicker people. Some have theorized that low enrollment among younger, healthier populations could cause insurers to raise premiums, which in turn could price increasing numbers of buyers out of the market, leading ultimately to a market collapse. Does the affordability of premiums in the individual market under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) depend on a given level of young adult enrollment? Will premiums spike if young adult enrollment declines?

To address these questions, a RAND team used the COMPARE microsimulation model to estimate the effects of changes in young adult enrollment in the individual market on premium prices.

UK — Road traffic demand elasticities A rapid evidence assessment

January 30, 2015 Comments off

Road traffic demand elasticities A rapid evidence assessment
Source: RAND Corporation

The aim of this review was to gain a better understanding of the factors driving road transport demand for both passengers and freight in the UK by reviewing the literature on elasticity of road traffic demand, with a particular focus on key economic and demographic factors: namely, population growth, income growth and changes in fuel costs. The primary aim was to identify, by means of a rapid evidence assessment, what elasticity estimates were available in the literature with respect to these variables and, where evidence exists, how these elasticity values have changed over time, if indeed they have changed at all. The range of estimated fuel price elasticity values reported in the studies in this review is quite small (-0.1 to -0.5), although a variety of data types and methodologies were used. Fuel price elasticities will be expected to vary by distance, area type and trip purpose.

For passenger transport, reported income elasticity values are predominately in the range 0.5 to 1.4. The evidence indicates that car ownership has a strong, positive, indirect effect on the income elasticity of demand. For freight transport, elasticity estimates of economic activity are mainly in the range 0.5 to 1.5 for an aggregate commodity sector but there the evidence suggests a much greater variation between sectors.

The evidence on changes in fuel price and income elasticities of car demand over time is limited and for freight transport, the evidence is mixed. Much of the data for the UK on car traffic is rather old. This has implications for the use of elasticities in forecasting and strategic planning.

See also: Evidence review of car traffic levels in Britain: A rapid evidence assessment

The Adoption of New Smart-Grid Technologies: Incentives, Outcomes, and Opportunities

January 26, 2015 Comments off

The Adoption of New Smart-Grid Technologies: Incentives, Outcomes, and Opportunities
Source: RAND Corporation

Studies in the academic and gray literatures have touted the potential large-scale benefits of a smart grid for the United States. Despite an overall lack of technological constraints, however, the empirical evidence shows a potential gap between ex ante expectations and ex post realizations of the benefits of modernization, as well as some reluctance on the part of utilities and consumers to adopt or use the technologies as expected. The surge in technological deployment during the early 2010s, in fact, was a result of federal funding via the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. In this report, RAND Corporation researchers review the current technical, regulatory, and economic context of the electricity market and theoretical benefits of developing a smart grid. They then discuss some of the entrepreneurial opportunities associated with smart-grid data once the grid is fully modernized. Next, they examine the existing empirical evidence related to smart-grid adoption and implementation and investigate the potential reasons for these experiences. Finally, they offer some policy suggestions that might help overcome the identified barriers and discuss their relative merits.

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