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Many years ago, Emmanuel Todd came up with a classification of family types and argued that the historically prevalent family types in a society have important consequences for its economic, political, and social development. Here, we evaluate Todd's most important predictions empirically. Relying on a parsimonious model with exogenous covariates, we find mixed results. On the one hand, authoritarian family types are, in stark contrast to Todd's predictions, associated with increased levels of the rule of law and innovation. On the other hand, and in line with Todd's expectations, communitarian family types are linked to racism, low levels of the rule of law, and late industrialization. Countries in which endogamy is frequently practiced also display an expectedly high level of state fragility and weak civil society organizations.
We summarize some of the past year's most important findings within climate change-related research. New research has improved our understanding of Earth's sensitivity to carbon dioxide, finds that permafrost thaw could release more carbon emissions than expected and that the uptake of carbon in tropical ecosystems is weakening. Adverse impacts on human society include increasing water shortages and impacts on mental health. Options for solutions emerge from rethinking economic models, rights-based litigation, strengthened governance systems and a new social contract. The disruption caused by COVID-19 could be seized as an opportunity for positive change, directing economic stimulus towards sustainable investments.
A synthesis is made of ten fields within climate science where there have been significant advances since mid-2019, through an expert elicitation process with broad disciplinary scope. Findings include: (1) a better understanding of equilibrium climate sensitivity; (2) abrupt thaw as an accelerator of carbon release from permafrost; (3) changes to global and regional land carbon sinks; (4) impacts of climate change on water crises, including equity perspectives; (5) adverse effects on mental health from climate change; (6) immediate effects on climate of the COVID-19 pandemic and requirements for recovery packages to deliver on the Paris Agreement; (7) suggested long-term changes to governance and a social contract to address climate change, learning from the current pandemic, (8) updated positive cost–benefit ratio and new perspectives on the potential for green growth in the short- and long-term perspective; (9) urban electrification as a strategy to move towards low-carbon energy systems and (10) rights-based litigation as an increasingly important method to address climate change, with recent clarifications on the legal standing and representation of future generations.
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Stronger permafrost thaw, COVID-19 effects and growing mental health impacts among highlights of latest climate science.
According to the World Health Organization, smoking is the most important risk factor for adverse pregnancy outcomes in industrialized nations. We aimed to establish how fetal gender and smoking interact with regard to perinatal outcomes, especially preterm delivery. Data from 220,339 singleton pregnancies, obtained from the German Perinatal Survey in Schleswig-Holstein and registered between 2004 and 2017 were analyzed in regard to smoking behavior, fetal gender, and preterm delivery. The rate of preterm births was directly proportional to the women’s consumption of nicotine. The rate of preterm deliveries was 6.8% among nonsmokers, and 13.2% in women who were very heavy smokers (≥22 cigarettes/day). Very heavy smoking (≥22 cigarettes/day) had a marked impact on extremely preterm births (<28 weeks of gestation) and very preterm births (28–31 weeks of gestation). Preterm births increased by 1.2% from heavy smokers to very heavy smokers; the differences between the other groups ranged between 0.1% and 0.4%. Fetal gender also had an impact on preterm birth: male infants were predominant in nearly all groups of women who delivered preterm infants. Smoking during pregnancy and male gender are both risk factors for preterm delivery. Fetal gender should be given greater attention as one of the several risk factors of preterm birth. Due to the high rate of morbidity among preterm infants and enormous costs for the healthcare system, women should be encouraged to cease or at least reduce smoking during pregnancy.
Fluid deformable surfaces show a solid–fluid duality which establishes a tight interplay between tangential flow and surface deformation. We derive the governing equations as a thin film limit and provide a general numerical approach for their solution. The simulation results demonstrate the rich dynamics resulting from this interplay, where, in the presence of curvature, any shape change is accompanied by a tangential flow and, vice versa, the surface deforms due to tangential flow. However, they also show that the only possible stable stationary state in the considered setting is a sphere with zero velocity.
The aims of this study were to evaluate changes in inflammatory and oxidative stress levels following treatment with N-acetylcysteine (NAC) or mitochondrial-enhancing agents (CT), and to assess the how these changes may predict and/or moderate clinical outcomes primarily the Montgomery-Åsberg Depression Rating Scale (MADRS).
This study involved secondary analysis of a placebo-controlled randomised trial (n = 163). Serum samples were collected at baseline and week 16 of the clinical trial to determine changes in Interleukin-6 (IL-6) and total antioxidant capacity (TAC) following adjunctive CT and/or NAC treatment, and to explore the predictability of the outcome or moderator effects of these markers.
In the NAC-treated group, no difference was observed in serum IL-6 and TAC levels after 16 weeks of treatment with NAC or CT. However, results from a moderator analysis showed that in the CT group, lower IL-6 levels at baseline was a significant moderator of MADRS χ2 (df) = 4.90, p = 0.027) and Clinical Global Impression-Improvement (CGI-I, χ2 (df) = 6.28 p = 0.012). In addition, IL-6 was a non-specific but significant predictor of functioning (based on the Social and Occupational Functioning Assessment Scale (SOFAS)), indicating that individuals with higher IL-6 levels at baseline had a greater improvement on SOFAS regardless of their treatment (p = 0.023).
Participants with lower IL-6 levels at baseline had a better response to the adjunctive treatment with the mitochondrial-enhancing agents in terms of improvements in MADRS and CGI-I outcomes.
This chapter compares the role that constitutions play in democracies with the role they play in autocracies. To be able to differentiate these roles, various attempts to delineate autocracy from democracy are discussed. To assess the performance of autocratic countries, it is proposed to distinguish different types of autocracies. The chapter also discusses the determinants that make countries either democratic or autocratic. Finally, the most relevant theories inquiring into the determinants of regime change – i.e., a change from autocracy to democracy or the inverse – are discussed and confronted with empirical evidence.
This chapter analyzes a number of single constitutional traits such as the form of government, the structure of the state (unitary or federal), whether direct democracy institutions can be used, and so on. With regard to each of these (and many other) traits, their effects (economic and otherwise) are discussed first, followed by a discussion of possible determinants. Hence, it is for instance discussed why some countries have a federal structure whereas others have a unitary one.
This chapter defines the key terms used in this primer. It summarizes various concepts that have been used to analyze constitutions (such as that of the social contract, a principal–agent relationship, and so forth). It discusses some of the methodological challenges that constitutional economics faces, presents some of the tools that are used to gain insights, and discusses some of the most relevant outcome variables used in later chapters. These include fiscal variables (such as government revenue, government spending, and budget deficits), governance variables such as corruption and government effectiveness, as well as traditional macroeconomic variables such as total factor productivity.
This chapter serves two purposes: it draws a number of conclusions from the previous chapters as well as pointing out a number of questions that deserve more attention. Among these are the relevance of rules for both choosing and amending constitutions. Another issue deals with the question why some constitutions are being complied with most of the time, whereas others seem to be pieces of prose not having much constraining effects on the governing. The last section deals with the relevance of emergency constitutions, i.e., those constitutionalized rules that deal with the conditions under which governments can declare a state of emergency and the extra competences that such declarations come with.