To send content items to your account,
please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies.
If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account.
Find out more about sending content to .
To send content items to your Kindle, first ensure firstname.lastname@example.org
is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings
on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part
of your Kindle email address below.
Find out more about sending to your Kindle.
Note you can select to send to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations.
‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be sent to your device when it is connected to wi-fi.
‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.
The available tools and approaches to inform conservation decisions commonly assume detailed distribution data. We examine how well-established ecological concepts about patterns in local richness and community turnover can help overcome data limitations when planning future protected areas. To inform our analyses, we surveyed tree species in protected areas in the southern Appalachian Mountains in the eastern USA. We used the survey data to construct predictive models for alpha and beta diversity based on readily observed biophysical variables and combined them to create a heuristic that could predict among-site richness in trees (gamma diversity). The predictive models suggest that site elevation and latitude in this montane system explain much of the variation in alpha and beta diversity in tree species. We tested how well resulting protected areas would represent species if a conservation planner lacking detailed species inventories for candidate sites were to rely only on our alpha, beta and gamma diversity predictions. Our approach selected sites that, when aggregated, covered a large proportion of the overall species pool. The combined gamma diversity models performed even better when we also accounted for the cost of protecting sites. Our results demonstrate that classic community biogeography concepts remain highly relevant to conservation practice today.
This paper argues that the expectation of having to provide care for aging parents in the future may be a major factor contributing to the current low fertility rate in Japan. Using data from the 1998 and 2008 National Family Research of Japan (NFRJ) surveys and a Poisson-logit hurdle model, this paper examines whether the expectation of having to look after parents in the future affects a couple's current family planning. The first-stage model of a couple's family planning decision is a logit model which examines the decision of whether or not to have any children, and then in the second stage a Poisson model is applied to explain the number of children a couple has conditional on the couple having at least one child. The empirical evidence presented suggests that there are strong generational effects, and that for the post-war cohort, an increase in the probability of having to look after a parent increases the probability of a couple being childless.
Gravitational waves from coalescing neutron stars encode information about nuclear matter at extreme densities, inaccessible by laboratory experiments. The late inspiral is influenced by the presence of tides, which depend on the neutron star equation of state. Neutron star mergers are expected to often produce rapidly rotating remnant neutron stars that emit gravitational waves. These will provide clues to the extremely hot post-merger environment. This signature of nuclear matter in gravitational waves contains most information in the 2–4 kHz frequency band, which is outside of the most sensitive band of current detectors. We present the design concept and science case for a Neutron Star Extreme Matter Observatory (NEMO): a gravitational-wave interferometer optimised to study nuclear physics with merging neutron stars. The concept uses high-circulating laser power, quantum squeezing, and a detector topology specifically designed to achieve the high-frequency sensitivity necessary to probe nuclear matter using gravitational waves. Above 1 kHz, the proposed strain sensitivity is comparable to full third-generation detectors at a fraction of the cost. Such sensitivity changes expected event rates for detection of post-merger remnants from approximately one per few decades with two A+ detectors to a few per year and potentially allow for the first gravitational-wave observations of supernovae, isolated neutron stars, and other exotica.
Diet has a major influence on the composition and metabolic output of the gut microbiome. Higher-protein diets are often recommended for older consumers; however, the effect of high-protein diets on the gut microbiota and faecal volatile organic compounds (VOC) of elderly participants is unknown. The purpose of the study was to establish if the faecal microbiota composition and VOC in older men are different after a diet containing the recommended dietary intake (RDA) of protein compared with a diet containing twice the RDA (2RDA). Healthy males (74⋅2 (sd 3⋅6) years; n 28) were randomised to consume the RDA of protein (0⋅8 g protein/kg body weight per d) or 2RDA, for 10 weeks. Dietary protein was provided via whole foods rather than supplementation or fortification. The diets were matched for dietary fibre from fruit and vegetables. Faecal samples were collected pre- and post-intervention for microbiota profiling by 16S ribosomal RNA amplicon sequencing and VOC analysis by head space/solid-phase microextraction/GC-MS. After correcting for multiple comparisons, no significant differences in the abundance of faecal microbiota or VOC associated with protein fermentation were evident between the RDA and 2RDA diets. Therefore, in the present study, a twofold difference in dietary protein intake did not alter gut microbiota or VOC indicative of altered protein fermentation.
Lateral memristors consisting of planar Ag electrodes (with sub-micrometer separation) supported on thin films of amorphous zinc-tin-oxide have been characterized. After an initial filament-forming process, each device exhibited volatile, resistive switching. In the low resistance state, the transport mechanism and conductance depended on prior activity and on the imposed current limit, mimicking biologic synaptic plasticity. Microscopic observations performed on each device revealed nanoscale filaments between the electrodes. These filaments were subject to Rayleigh instability and exhibited relaxation times determined by their effective radii. The relaxation times and on:off resistance ratios suggest suitability for threshold switching selector devices.
OBJECTIVES/SPECIFIC AIMS: Clostridium difficile infection (CDI) is the most common cause of antibiotic-associated diarrhea and an increasingly common infection in children in both hospital and community settings. Between 20% and 30% of pediatric patients will have a recurrence of symptoms in the days to weeks following an initial infection. Multiple recurrences have been successfully treated with fecal microbiota transplantation (FMT), though the body of evidence in pediatric patients is limited primarily to case reports and case series. The goal of our study was to better understand practices, success, and safety of FMT in children as well as identify risk factors associated with a failed FMT in our pediatric patients. METHODS/STUDY POPULATION: This multicenter retrospective analysis included 373 patients who underwent FMT for CDI between January 1, 2006 and January 1, 2017 from 18 pediatric centers. Demographics, baseline characteristics, FMT practices, C. difficile outcomes, and post-FMT complications were collected through chart abstraction. Successful FMT was defined as no recurrence of CDI within 60 days after FMT. Of the 373 patients in the cohort, 342 had known outcome data at two months post-FMT and were included in the primary analysis evaluating risk factors for recurrence post-FMT. An additional six patients who underwent FMT for refractory CDI were excluded from the primary analysis. Unadjusted analysis was performed using Wilcoxon rank-sum test, Pearson χ2 test, or Fisher exact test where appropriate. Stepwise logistic regression was utilized to determine independent predictors of success. RESULTS/ANTICIPATED RESULTS: The median age of included patients was 10 years (IQR; 3.0, 15.0) and 50% of patients were female. The majority of the cohort was White (89.0%). Comorbidities included 120 patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and 14 patients who had undergone a solid organ or stem cell transplantation. Of the 336 patients with known outcomes at two months, 272 (81%) had a successful outcome. In the 64 (19%) patients that did have a recurrence, 35 underwent repeat FMT which was successful in 20 of the 35 (57%). The overall success rate of FMT in preventing further episodes of CDI in the cohort with known outcome data was 87%. Unadjusted predictors of a primary FMT response are summarized. Based on stepwise logistic regression modeling, the use of fresh stool, FMT delivery via colonoscopy, the lack of a feeding tube, and a lower number of CDI episodes before undergoing FMT were independently associated with a successful outcome. There were 20 adverse events in the cohort assessed to be related to FMT, 6 of which were felt to be severe. There were no deaths assessed to be related to FMT in the cohort. DISCUSSION/SIGNIFICANCE OF IMPACT: The overall success of FMT in pediatric patients with recurrent or severe CDI is 81% after a single FMT. Children without a feeding tube, who receive an early FMT, FMT with fresh stool, or FMT via colonoscopy are less likely to have a recurrence of CDI in the 2 months following FMT. This is the first large study of FMT for CDI in a pediatric cohort. These findings, if confirmed by additional prospective studies, will support alterations in the practice of FMT in children.
Complete realism [in founding premises] is clearly unattainable, and the question whether a theory is realistic “enough” can be settled only by seeing whether it yields predictions that are good enough for the purpose at hand or that are better than predictions from alternative theories. (1953, 41)
Behavioral economists and psychologists feel confident, if not cocky, that they have substantively undermined the methodological approach to conventional (neoclassical) economics identified in modern times with the two branches of the Chicago school associated with Milton Friedman and, more pointedly, Gary Becker. Certainly, the behaviorists have contributed substantially to our understanding of people's decision making abilities, especially their limits, and have caused conventional economists (including us) to rethink their (our) methodologies. This in turn has led us to a new understanding of the role of the rationality premise in economics and of a budding economic theory of the human brain. There are, however, several good reasons for caution in siding with the behaviorists on all critical fronts, even if their research findings on people's decision biases and irrationalities are confirmed time and again. Let us count the ways in Part A. In Part B we cover the various ways behavioral economists have suggested people's decision making can be “improved,” or “nudged” to their benefit; at the same time, behaviorists insist, freedom of personal choice is maintained, even when their own surveys reveal that a sizable segment (but less than a majority) of the population opposes these “nudges” (Sunstein 2015).
Between Parts A and B, in Perspective 15, we take up an issue of growing prominence in both the hard and social sciences – the extent to which scientific findings, which focus on the environmental and physiological forces affecting individual thinking, decision making, and behavior, absolve people of personal responsibility for what they do and deny the deterrent effects of punishments (or even just price increases). We take up this issue by recounting the case of NBC News anchor Brian Williams who, in early 2015, was caught fabricating, or just exaggerating, his personal roles in life-threatening attacks in the combat zones where he was reporting.
In this chapter we combine our discussion of international economics with a discussion of environmental economics for one simple reason: both market and environmental forces are now global in scope. And each set of forces affects the other. The way business is done around the world obviously affects the global environment. Pollutants emitted from factory chimneys in one country can rain down on people a world away. Environmental quality (or lack thereof) can affect business costs and profitability through, for example, workers’ health care and health insurance costs. Although environmental regulations can directly impact people's health and welfare around the globe, they also can impact business production costs and, in turn, firms’ location decisions and international trade patterns.
Managers need to know how environmental degradation affects human welfare, but also, perhaps as important for business students, business costs. Managers also need to understand how different environmental remedies can achieve environmental goals at different costs. Surely, governments, consumers, and managers share a common goal, selecting environmental remedies that make the most economic sense and also contribute to human welfare around the globe.
Environmental economics is complex, as evident in the scientific debates over the contributions of humans to global warming (and other forms of environmental decay), as well as the issue of whether or not global warming slowed between about 1998 and 2014. Initial data showed that during that period, the Earth's measured temperature rose by 0.003, well below the 0.03 percent rise for prior decades, but then a new study in mid 2015 and published in Science based on new and reported-to-be improved data showed that global warming had not slowed as claimed (as reported by Naik 2015b). Stay tuned for the release of counter-studies, and counter-counter studies – because the political combatants in the debate (including some climate scientists) have economic and professional stakes in it.
We cannot hope to cover the field or resolve the debates in the space limitations of this book, but at least we can show you how the economic way of thinking can be used to explore the basic issues and can point the way to an alternative course of corrective policy action, to the extent that corrective action is needed (and we don't have space or time to consider the vast literature, much of which is highly technical, and heated political positions on the meaning of scientific findings on global warming).
Chapters 1–4 of Microeconomics for MBAs, which constitute Book I, develop the broad outlines of The Economic Way of Thinking for Managers. We explore in Chapters 1 and 2 what economists mean by markets and “rational behavior” and show how rationality-based thinking can illuminate many (hardly all) public and management policies. In Chapter 3 we will focus on how markets can be analyzed through the forces of supply and demand, developed with graphical analysis, in spite of serious limitations regarding the complete realism of having just two lines on a graph (supply and demand) to represent market forces. However, we show how supply and demand curves can be used to illuminate how and why competitive markets can work efficiently (to one degree or another) and under what conditions competitive markets can fail to work efficiently. In Book II, Chapters 5–6, supply and demand curve analysis is used to explore the market consequences of an array of governmental and organizational policies. Throughout Chapters 1–6, we will consider how management policies can affect the forces of supply and demand and how market forces can affect management policies. Our goal in Book I and II is to provide a broad overview of the market economy. In Book III, Chapters 7–9, and Book IV, Chapters 9–13, we will examine many of the theoretical details underpinning supply and demand. In these later chapters, we will develop a theory of firms and explain how firms can be pressed to minimize their production costs in markets with different levels of competitiveness and in markets dominated by firms with differing levels of monopoly power.
In the first thirteen chapters we have presented microeconomics as it is conventionally taught, with emphasis on the “economic way of thinking” and on applications focused on management decision making. In Chapter 14, we present key arguments of behavioral economists and psychologists who insist that conventional microeconomics is defective at its core, by assuming decisions are made “rationally.” We review many of the behaviorists’ research findings.
In Chapter 15, we explore problems with the conceptual approach and the findings of behavioral economics, which cause us to conclude that all methods of understanding complex human behavior (with the complexity multiplied in business) are necessarily defective, including both conventional microeconomics and behavioral economics. We are left with an unfortunate choice in how we undertake our study of economics, between two defective options. Different people can be expected to assess the merits of the two options differently. We suspect that as conventional microeconomics and behavioral economics advance over the coming decades, ways will be found to move between the two methodological approaches, taking advantage of the relevant merits of the different approaches when deemed productive. We expect economists in the two camps (who now seem to be at loggerheads, quick to criticize the approach of the other group) will seek to integrate aspects of the different approaches into what might be called a “unified field theory” in microeconomics. However, at this writing that seems to be a distant hope.At the moment, behavioral economists stress the various ways in which people are not as rational as conventional economists claim. Conventional economists can rightfully remind behavioral economists that the rationality premise is designed to facilitate analysis, and has never been intended to be a fully accurate description of people's thinking and decision making. Moreover, behavioral economics draws out ways in which students can become more rational in their thinking and decision making than they might naturally be, potentially increasing their own welfare and their firms’ profitability.
In Chapters 10, 11, and 12 of this book, we use the demand theory and cost structures developed in Chapters 7 through 9 to examine the organizational and production decisions under four market structures:
• perfect competition
• pure monopoly
• monopolistic competition
In Chapter 13, we revisit the market for a critical resource input, labor. We review and extend our analysis of how wage rates are determined in competitive labor markets, first briefly considered in Chapter 3. We then explain how a sole employer in a given market, called a “monopsony,” will determine the wage rate it will pay its workers.
We are not ready to suspect any person of being defective in selfishness.
The combined assumptions of maximizing behavior, market equilibrium, and stable preferences, used relentlessly and unflinchingly, form the heart of the economic approach.
Gary S. Becker
Our purpose in this chapter is to lay out in clear (if not stark) terms exactly how economists think about people's decision making and behavior. We fully recognize that the economic way of thinking is not the only way people think about business and life more generally (through methods used in the hard sciences, psychology, the arts, etc.). Most people operate on several different intellectual plains, probably often more or less simultaneously. At other times they shift from intellectual plain to intellectual plain and remain there for a time with concentrated focus on given disciplinary methods of thinking. Here, we ask you to shift to the microeconomic intellectual plain and to remain there for at least the remainder of the course. However, be forewarned, with enough work on the economics plain, we expect many students will come to recognize the benefits of remaining there, or shifting back to the economics plain more often than you might now expect. We have frequently told our students that “economics is as much a ‘discipline’ as it is a disease. Once you catch it, it can be terminal, pervading with ease much of your thinking.” At the same time, we understand many students will want to resist the economic way of thinking every step of the way – until they have come to see the full method of thinking and have experienced its varied applicability to so many dimensions of behavior.
We focus on the core founding assumptions in microeconomics, for two reasons:
• First, this is a course in economics – not psychology or literature. We need to use your time and textbook space at our disposal economically, which means we need to stay focused on one disciplinary approach.
• Second, we might wish we could fully integrate thinking methods and findings of other disciplines, but that is a tough order, primarily because economists have encountered difficulty doing that without undermining analytical progress through loss of precision, if not confusion, on students’ parts.
In economics in particular, education seems to be largely a matter of unlearning and “disteaching” rather than constructive action. A once famous American humorist observed that “it's not ignorance that does so much damage; it's knowin’ so darn much that ain't so” … It seems that the hardest things to learn and to teach are things that everyone already knows.
Frank H. Knight
The late Frank Knight was a wise professor at the University of Chicago who realized that students beginning a study of economics, no matter the level – even those who are in advanced business programs – face a difficult task. They must learn many things in a rigorous manner that, on reflection and with experience, amount to common sense. To do that, however, they must set aside – or “unlearn” – many preconceived notions of the economy and of the course itself. The problem of “unlearning” can be especially acute for MBA and other advanced business students who are returning to a university after years of experience in industry. People in business rightfully focus their attention on the immediate demands of their jobs and evaluate their firms’ successes and failures with reference to production schedules and accounting statements, a perspective that stands in stark contrast to the perspective developed in an economics class.
You are now one of the many students to whom Knight directed his comments. As all good teachers must do, we intend to challenge you in this course to rethink your views on the economy and the way firms operate, as well as using abstract, deductive thinking. We shall ask you to develop new methods of analysis, maintaining all the while that there is, indeed, a distinctive “economic way of thinking” that deserves to be mastered.
We will not tell you how you must think when you move into managerial roles. However, we will ask you to think differently while reading the materials for this course in the expectation that practicing the economic way of thinking will, to one degree or another, become more or less “natural.” We understand that you might never be as precisely rational as we assume people are in the economic models developed and refined throughout the chapters.