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With decades of behavioral economic research now achieving prominence, the last decade has seen the advent of behavioral policymaking. These efforts have been widely seen as successful in that they achieve policy goals without inducing backlash on the part of policy targets. Behavioral policies create a unique challenge to welfare analysis that has not been sufficiently addressed in the literature. The existence of behavioral effects creates a paradox, at once justifying the use of paternalistic policies and undermining the empirical foundations of welfare analysis. In this paper I explore the behavioral welfare paradox and its implications for economic policy prescription.
The current study examines the impact of a nutrition rating system on consumers’ food purchases in supermarkets.
Aggregate sales data for 102 categories of food (over 60 000 brands) on a weekly basis for 2005–2007 from a supermarket chain of over 150 stores are analysed. Change in weekly sales of nutritious and less nutritious foods, after the introduction of a nutrition rating system on store shelves, is calculated, controlling for seasonality and time trends in sales.
One hundred and sixty-eight supermarket stores in the north-east USA, from January 2005 to December 2007.
Consumers purchasing goods at the supermarket chain during the study period.
After the introduction of the nutrition ratings, overall weekly food sales declined by an average of 3637 units per category (95 % CI –5961, –1313; P<0·01). Sales of less nutritious foods fell by 8·31 % (95 % CI –13·50, –2·80 %; P=0·004), while sales of nutritious foods did not change significantly (P=0·21); as a result, the percentage of food purchases rated as nutritious rose by 1·39 % (95 % CI 0·58, 2·20 %; P<0·01). The decrease in sales of less nutritious foods was greatest in the categories of canned meat and fish, soda pop, bakery and canned vegetables.
The introduction of the nutrition ratings led shoppers to buy a more nutritious mix of products. Interestingly, it did so by reducing purchases of less nutritious foods rather than by increasing purchases of nutritious foods. In evaluating nutrition information systems, researchers should focus on the entire market basket, not just sales of nutritious foods.
We compare the performance of the very popular Tree-GPU code BONSAI with the older Particle-(Multi)Mesh code SUPERBOX. Both code we run on a same hardware using the GPU acceleration for the force calculation. SUPERBOX is a particle-mesh code with high resolution sub-grid and a higher order NGP (nearest grid point) force-calculation scheme. In our research, we are aiming to demonstrate that the new parallel version of SUPERBOX is capable to do the high resolution simulations of the interaction of the system of disc-bulge-halo composed galaxy. We describe the improvement of performance and scalability of SUPERBOX particularly for the Kepler cluster (NVIDIA K20 GPU). A comparison was made with the very popular and publicly available Tree-GPU code BONSAI†.
We present the first measurement of the evolution of the apparent projected shape of galaxy clusters from 0.2≲ z≲2. We measure the ellipticities (εcl) of homogeneously selected galaxy clusters over this wide redshift range. We confirm the predictions of N-body simulations that clusters are more elongated at higher redshift, finding the mean projected ellipticity changes linearly from 0.36±0.01 to 0.25±0.01 over that range. The fraction of relaxed clusters (defined as having εcl<0.2) is 9+5-3% at z∼1.8, steadily increasing to 42+7-6% by z∼0.3. Because more spherical clusters have a higher degree of virialization, our result shows significant evolution in the degree of cluster virialization over cosmic time.
Many colleges are removing trays from their dining facilities in hope of reducing waste. How does not having a tray impact food choice?
A field study was conducted in a university cafeteria (n 417) on two evenings with identical menus, one with tray service and one without.
A dining hall of a large north-eastern university, USA.
Trayless dining decreased the percentage of diners (average age 19·1 years) who took salad by 65·2 % but did not decrease the percentage who took dessert, leading to a markedly higher ratio of dessert to salad.
Cafeterias going trayless should consider complementary policies to encourage balanced diets.
We first present a recently developed three-dimensional chemodynamic code for galaxy evolution from the Kiev–Kiel collaboration. It follows the evolution of all components of a galaxy, such as dark matter, stars, molecular clouds and diffuse interstellar matter. Dark matter and stars are treated as collisionless N-body systems. The interstellar matter is numerically described by a smoothed particle hydrodynamics approach for the diffuse (hot) gas and a sticky particle scheme for the (cool) molecular clouds. Physical processes, such as star formation, stellar death, or condensation and evaporation processes of clouds interacting with the ISM are described locally. An example application of the model to a star forming dwarf galaxy will be shown for comparison with other codes. Secondly, we will discuss new kinds of exotic chemodynamic processes, as they occur in dense gas–star systems in galactic nuclei, such as non-standard ‘drag’-force interactions, destructive and gas-producing stellar collisions. Their implementation in one-dimensional dynamic models of galactic nuclei is presented. Future prospects to generalise these to three dimensions are in progress and will be discussed.
Snacks, stress and parties all contribute to the weight gain – the elusive ‘Freshman 15’ – that some college-goers unfortunately experience. The present study examines how à la carte snack choice changes on a university campus during each progressing week of the academic calendar.
How à la carte snack choices change on a university campus with each progressing week of the academic calendar was examined.
The data were collected from three large cafeterias (or dining halls) on Cornell University's campus during four semesters (Fall 2006, Spring 2007, Fall 2007 and Spring 2008), for 18 weeks in each semester.
After the à la carte snack items were divided into healthy snacks and unhealthy snacks, the percentage share for each food category was calculated.
Within each semester, the unhealthy snack food choices increased consistently by 0·4 % per week (β = 0·00418, P < 0·01). Furthermore, a sharp (8 %) increase occurred in the final two weeks of the semester. In contrast, healthy snack food choices decreased by almost 4 % (β = −0·0408, P < 0·01) in the final two weeks during the fall semester.
These results demonstrate an increased demand for hedonic, or unhealthy, snack foods as the college semester progresses and in particular at the very end of the semester. To counter this tendency towards unhealthy snacking, cafeterias and stores should make extra effort to promote healthy alternatives during the later weeks of the semester.
Rational choice theory commonly assumes that the presence of unselected choices cannot impact which among the remaining choices is selected—often referred to as “independence of irrelevant alternatives.” We show that such seemingly irrelevant alternatives influence choice in a school lunch setting. In these lunchrooms, we provide evidence that the presence of specific side dishes—trigger foods—can strongly increase the sales of unhealthy à la carte options, even when the trigger foods are not selected. This behavioral anomaly can be exploited to lead children to healthier choices. We also offer a method that can be used to identify such foods.
We use observational data from 22 elementary schools and over 48,000 child-day observations to examine the relationship between the number of fruit and vegetable items and the consumption patterns of children during school lunch. We find that each additional fruit or vegetable item that is offered increases the fraction of children who eat at least one serving of fruits and vegetables by 12 percent. We also use our observational data to provide practical information about which items are most likely to be eaten by children during lunch and compare this to the cost and nutritional quality of these items.
Pooling samples may provide a valuable alternative to individual testing for pathogen surveillance purposes. We studied the reliability of measuring the level of antibodies against Coxiella burnetii in bulk-tank milk (BTM) to estimate the seroprevalence of C. burnetii in dairy sheep in 34 flocks. We then estimated the seroprevalence of C. burnetii in 154 dairy sheep flocks according to the level of antibodies in BTM. We tested for the accuracy of our estimation at the population level by comparing predicted mean C. burnetii flock seroprevalence with that obtained in another survey performed on the same population. Our findings showed that testing BTM by ELISA is a cost-effective and relatively good index of the seroprevalence of C. burnetii in dairy sheep and may be a useful tool for epidemiological surveillance at the population level.
The primary objectives of U.S. biofuel policies are to enhance energy security (reducing dependence on oil), improve the environment (mitigating global climate change and local air pollutants), and increase the prosperity for agriculture (enhancing farm income and promoting rural development while reducing tax costs of farm subsidy programs). In order to achieve these policy goals, several policies have been implemented, but the centerpieces of U.S. policy are federal and state biofuel consumption mandates and consumption subsidies (called tax credits), policies that by themselves do not discriminate against international trade. This is the focus of our chapter.
The implications of mandates and tax credits are analyzed under three different second-best constraints: a suboptimal fuel tax; adding a tax credit with a binding mandate; and interaction effects with the fiscal system in which mandates and tax credits have differential effects on government tax revenues and the size of the fiscal base. In comparing mandates to tax credits under these three preexisting distortions, this chapter does not analyze the welfare economics of policies that discriminate against trade, namely, import barriers, production subsidies, and sustainability standards. Under each second-best constraint, we simply hold ethanol consumption (and hence ethanol and corn prices) the same.
The emerging literature on biofuels has shown that mandates are superior to tax credits (de Gorter and Just 2007, 2008a, 2009b; Lapan and Moschini 2009).
To assess the reliability of visually assessed thresholds of the electrically elicited stapedius reflex, recorded during cochlear implant surgery, compared with intra-operative tympanometric threshold assessment. Intra-operatively recorded electrically elicited stapedius reflex thresholds vary considerably, and differ from those measured post-operatively by means of impedance changes (i.e. using tympanometry). Thus, any confounding effect of different intra-operative techniques and visual assessment inaccuracies should be excluded.
Both techniques (i.e. visual observation and tympanometry) were performed intra-operatively in six patients, and threshold values were compared.
Recorded electrically elicited stapedius reflex thresholds were very similar for both techniques. Visually assessed thresholds were slightly higher in some cases and lower in others, compared with tympanometric thresholds.
There was almost no difference between reflex thresholds measured with the two different techniques under the same intra-operative conditions. Therefore, we conclude that differences between intra- and post-operative thresholds are not due to the use of different measuring techniques. The main reason for such differences is probably the influence of intra-operative narcotics on reflex thresholds.
To demonstrate the technique and clinical application of vibroplasty in which the floating mass transducer component of the Vibrant Soundbridge implant is coupled directly to the oval window niche, in patients with a mobile stapes footplate but a malformed or destroyed stapes suprastructure.
The underlying concept was to create a soft tissue casing for the floating mass transducer, while also firmly connecting the transducer to a small, solid cartilage ‘plunger’ attached to the stapes footplate. This was realised by removing almost all the cartilage from a larger piece of cartilage–perichondrium, leaving only a tiny cartilage island about half a millimetre in diameter, attached to a much wider ‘blanket’ of perichondrium.
By coupling the floating mass transducer directly to the oval window niche, patients' speech understanding was improved. Post-operative aided thresholds of 30–40 dB HL were achieved by all patients.
In patients with mixed hearing loss combined with a destroyed stapes suprastructure but a mobile stapes footplate, we describe the coupling of the floating mass transducer component of a Vibrant Soundbridge to the stapes footplate, as an alternative to coupling to the round window.
The eastern English Channel, the narrow channel of water separating northern
France and southeast England is an area of intense human use of the array of
resources concentrated into its relative small area. The vulnerability of
living resources and their habitats brought together French and British
maritime experts within a common project (called CHARM): to create an atlas
of marine resource habitats in the eastern English Channel so as to provide
planners and decision-makers with the necessary information to help managing
the use of its living and non-living resources. This multidisciplinary and
richly illustrated atlas provides abundant information on the legal
framework and physical environment; benthic invertebrates, fish and their
habitats; fishing activities; and a first attempt at developing a trophic
network model (using ECOPATH software) and a marine conservation planning
exercise (using MARXAN software, at a spatial resolution of 25 km
Although most of the data used were collected elsewhere, some were collected
especially for the project. Similarly, most of the analyses performed on the
data where entirely original for this geographical area. The CHARM atlas has
significantly improved the knowledge about the eastern Channel while
contributing to the recognition that such holistic or multidisciplinary
approaches to exploited marine systems are necessary to efficiently and
durably manage their resources use.
We determine how the U.S. ethanol tax credit and import tariff affect the corn-ethanol-gasoline markets and how farm subsidies interact with these policies. We show how the ethanol tax credit and import tariff each uniquely affect the ethanol and gasoline prices. The ethanol import tariff alone increases the terms of trade in ethanol imports and corn exports, but decreases the terms of trade in gasoline imports and the tax costs of farm price supports. With price-contingent farm subsidies in place, the optimal tariff and tax credit will depend on the price level. When farm subsidy expenditures are high, import subsidies for ethanol may increase social welfare due to the substantial size of the fuel market relative to the corn market.
While there is mixed evidence of the impact of food assistance programs on obesity, there is general agreement that the food-insecure are at higher risk of obesity and obesity-related diseases. Food assistance programs, originally designed to overcome a lack of available food, now need to confront a very different problem: how to provide for the food-insecure while encouraging healthy lifestyles. This paper examines the potential to address these competing needs using traditional economic policies (manipulating information or prices) versus policies engaging behavioral economics and psychology.