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This article contributes to the literature on direct democracy and public spending in two ways. First, we explore how direct democratic institutions interact with a specific aspect of the representative system, the size of the governing coalition, to influence public spending. Second, based on newly collected data, we examine the relationship between three different direct democratic institutions, coalition size and public spending over the period from 1860 to 2015. Empirically, we find that initiatives increase the size of the public sector under single-party governments, but this positive relationship disappears as coalition size increases. In contrast, we find that financial referendums slow down the growth of public spending, while law referendums are not systematically associated with public spending. Finally, we find that the relationship between direct democratic institutions, coalition size and public spending does not change over time despite the long period under investigation.
As the first country to introduce proportional representation (PR), Belgium has attracted considerable attention. Yet, we find the existing explanations for the 1899 breakthrough lacking. At the time of reform, the Catholic Party was politically dominant, advantaged by the electoral system, and facing reformist Socialists. Nevertheless, they single-handedly changed the electoral system and lost 26 seats in the first election under PR. We argue that the Catholics had good reasons to adopt PR. Majoritarian rules tend to create high levels of uncertainty because they provide incentives for non-dominant parties to cooperate. Such electoral coalitions are facilitated by multidimensional policy spaces that make electoral coalitions other than between nonsocialist parties possible. PR reduces the effectiveness of cooperation between non-dominant parties, but such certainty comes at a price. In addition, in the presence of dominant parties, divisions over electoral system reform often result in intra-party conflicts that may be more decisive than inter-party conflicts.
In their recent paper ‘On-farm trials for development impact? The organization of research and the scaling of agricultural technologies’, de Roo, Andersson and Krupnik report on three case studies, each undertaken by one of the authors, of projects conducting on-farm research. They reach conclusions on the limitations of the projects themselves and the effects of ‘donor dependency’, and propose a strategy to overcome these issues. However, the description of the philosophy, strategies and conduct of the projects reviewed in the southern African case study is incomplete and misleading, and shows that the case study author did not understand or overlooked important project components. Due to this the conclusions reached, insofar as this case study is concerned, are largely either invalid or already contemplated in the project activities. Here, we describe more fully the philosophy and strategies followed by the series of projects on which the case study was conducted, which were designed to facilitate, through the upscaling of project methodologies, the eventual outscaling and widespread adoption of more sustainable farming systems by smallholder farmers in eastern and southern Africa. We propose these methodologies as a valid comprehensive approach to the organization of agricultural research for development for the successful development, scaling-up and scaling-out of agricultural technologies.
Mass losses originating from supraglacial ice cliffs at the lower tongues of debris-covered glaciers are a potentially large component of the mass balance, but have rarely been quantified. In this study, we develop a method to estimate ice cliff volume losses based on high-resolution topographic data derived from terrestrial and aerial photogrammetry. We apply our method to six cliffs monitored in May and October 2013 and 2014 using four different topographic datasets collected over the debris-covered Lirung Glacier of the Nepalese Himalayas. During the monsoon, the cliff mean backwasting rate was relatively consistent in 2013 (3.8 ± 0.3 cm w.e. d−1) and more heterogeneous among cliffs in 2014 (3.1 ± 0.7 cm w.e. d−1), and the geometric variations between cliffs are larger. Their mean backwasting rate is significantly lower in winter (October 2013–May 2014), at 1.0 ± 0.3 cm w.e. d−1. These results are consistent with estimates of cliff ablation from an energy-balance model developed in a previous study. The ice cliffs lose mass at rates six times higher than estimates of glacier-wide melt under debris, which seems to confirm that ice cliffs provide a large contribution to total glacier melt.
Despite gradual understanding of the multidimensional health consequences
of betel-quid chewing, information on the effects of dependent use is
To investigate the 12-month prevalence patterns of betel-quid dependence
in six Asian populations and the impact of this dependence on oral
potentially malignant disorders (OPMD).
A multistage random sample of 8922 participants was recruited from
Taiwan, mainland China, Indonesia, Malaysia, Sri Lanka and Nepal.
Participants were evaluated for betel-quid dependency using DSM-IV and
ICD-10 criteria and assessed clinically for oral mucosal lesions.
The 12-month prevalence of dependence was 2.8-39.2% across the six Asian
samples, and 20.9-99.6% of those who chewed betel-quid were betel-quid
dependent. Men dominated the prevalence among the east Asian samples and
women dominated the prevalence in south-east Asian samples. ‘Time spent
chewing’ and ‘craving’ were the central dependence domains endorsed by
the Chinese and southern/south-east Asian samples respectively, whereas
the Nepalese samples endorsed ‘tolerance’ and ‘withdrawal’. Dependency
was linked to age, gender, schooling years, drinking, smoking,
tobacco-added betel-quid use and environmental accessibility of
betel-quid. Compared with non-users, those with betel-quid dependency had
higher pre-neoplastic risks (adjusted odds ratios 8.0-51.3) than people
with non-dependent betel-quid use (adjusted odds ratio 4.5-5.9) in the
six Asian populations.
By elucidating differences in domain-level symptoms of betel-quid
dependency and individual and environmental factors, this study draws
attention to the population-level psychiatric problems of betel-quid
chewing that undermine health consequences for OPMD in six Asian
The Public-Private Mix for Directly Observed Treatment, Short Course (PPM-DOTS) programme has been hailed as a success story in international cooperation. However, the evidence emerging from a range of sources suggests that this confidence may be motivated more by a desire to eulogize participation by private providers per se rather than on evidence of impact in terms of the cases treated.
This review of literature has therefore been triggered by the need for a sober assessment of the progress of the strategy of PPM-DOTS to date, and queries the extent to which tuberculosis control is embedded in sustainable national tuberculosis control programmes.
Our concerns over PPM-DOTS relate to three factors:
Firstly, there is growing doubt about the stewardship role of the state in LICs to adequately supervise the private for-profit sector. There is evidence from some regions that the current arrangements further weaken what remains of the public health system.
Secondly, the nature of the private for-profit sector, which in most settings is highly diverse, requires a coherent national health system absent in many cases; this fragments tuberculosis control, and undermines the long-term sustainability of PPM-DOTS.
Thirdly, the complex nature of partnerships and the frequent lack of adequate public sector supervision are leading to a rise in multidrug resistance as reported from many regions.
Walter G, Byrne S, Griffiths O, Hunt G, Soh N, Cleary M, Duffy P, Crawford G, Krabman P, Concannon P, Malhi G. Can young people reliably rate side effects of low-dose antipsychotic medication using a self-report survey?
Bioimpedance spectroscopy (BIS) has been used to track changes in total body water (TBW). Accurate TBW estimations can be influenced by both methodological and biological factors. One methodological variation that contributes to BIS TBW errors is the electrode placement. The purpose of the present study was to compare the reproducibility and validity of fixed-distance electrode placements (5 cm) with the standard single-site electrode placements. Twenty-nine subjects (fifteen men and fourteen women) participated in the reproducibility study, while sixty-nine subjects (thirty-three men and thirty-six women) participated in the validity study. The reproducibility study included two measurements that were taken 24 h apart, while the validity study consisted of a 12-week exercise intervention with measurements taken at weeks 1 and 12. TBW was estimated using BIS and 2H techniques. Reproducibility results indicated that fixed-distance electrodes reduced the day-to-day standard error of the measurement in men (from 1·13 to 0·81 litres) but not in women (0·47 litres). sem values were lower for women than for men, suggesting that BIS TBW estimates are sex dependent. Validity results produced similar accurate findings (mean difference < 0·21 litres). However, fixed-distance electrodes improved delta TBW errors (mean difference improvements>0·04 litres in men, women, and men and women combined). When tracking changes in TBW, fixed-distance electrodes may reduce reproducibility errors and allow for smaller changes to be detected. However, the reduction of reproducibility errors may be greater for men than for women. Therefore, reproducibility calculations should be based on the sex of the sample population.
In 2007 the European Commission produced a Staff Working Paper seeking consultation on the development of auditors' liability in Europe. The present article represents the views of the Working Group on the subject set up by the Max Planck Institute for Comparative and International Private Law in Hamburg.
There is evidence to suggest that among young people with mild intellectual disability there are those whose cognitive difficulties may predict the subsequent manifestation of a schizophrenic phenotype. It is suggested that they may be detectable by simple means.
To gain adequate cooperation from educational services, parents and students so as to recruit a sufficiently large sample to test the above hypothesis, and to examine the hypothesis in the light of the findings.
The sample was screened with appropriate instruments, and groups hypothesised as being likely or not likely to have the phenotype were compared in terms of psychopathology and neuropsychology.
Simple screening methods detect a sample whose psychopathological and neuropsychological profile is consistent with an extended phenotype of schizophrenia.
Difficulties experienced by some young people with mild and borderline intellectual disability are associated with enhanced liability to schizophrenia. Clinical methods can both identify those with this extended phenotype and predict those in whom psychosis will occur.
Large proportions of nonhybrid progeny result from controlled crosses between Palmer amaranth and common waterhemp, both dioecious weeds. Agamospermy was proposed as an explanation for this phenomenon, and here we provide evidence in support of this hypothesis. We evaluated 60 nonhybrid offspring from two interspecific crosses, and all plants were females and had DNA content values similar to the female (Palmer amaranth) parent. Among nine hybrids resulting from these crosses, eight were nonviable (lethal or neuter), and only one hybrid allowed for continued gene movement. Cytogenetic evaluation of this hybrid revealed triploidy, further supporting the occurrence of unreduced gametes in these species. In light of this new evidence, we examine earlier data regarding Palmer amaranth by common waterhemp hybridization and suggest some prior conclusions may be premature.
The long-term utility of DNA banks is predicated on the stability of DNA during storage. The quality and yield of DNA extracted from seeds from four garden species, which varied in age from 1 to 135 years old, was used to examine the early stages of DNA degradation. Seeds that were 70 years old yielded high molecular weight DNA, which permitted amplification of a 650 bp segment of the internal transcribed spacer (ITS) region of the nuclear ribosomal DNA and a 487 bp segment of the plastid-encoded large subunit of rubisco (rbcL). DNA extracted from seeds estimated to be about 135 years old was degraded, but still permitted amplification when routine extraction procedures were used. The rbcL sequences obtained from c. 135-year-old cucurbit seed DNA were consistent with species identifications based on seed morphological features; however, ITS sequences from the same samples were determined to be of fungal origin. A comparison of our results with studies of DNA stability in leaf specimens suggested that DNA degraded within both tissues, but perhaps more slowly within seeds. Evidence that high-quality DNA can be extracted from old, non-viable seeds expands the utility of seed banks in preserving genetic resources.