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.
This chapter sets out the first of two positive arguments for extending corporate voting rights to employees. The long-standing theory of the firm, in confronting the question why firms even exist, explains the separation of corporate insiders from outsiders in a way that allows firms to most efficiently carry out joint production. Those inside the corporation should have their preferences captured through more direct governance mechanisms such as voting, those outside the firm through processes like contract or regulation. Under this understanding of the firm, employees are, of course, the classic insiders, a conclusion that’s only reinforced by more recent work on the generation and flow of information within firms. The economic theory of the firm, then, provides a powerful argument for extending the corporate franchise to employees.
This chapter critically examines the argument for giving shareholders alone the right to vote based on their ownership of the corporate residual. The argument is that shareholders are only paid what's left over after all other contractual participants – employees, customers, creditors, and suppliers – have been satisfied. Because shareholders receive the marginal gains, they have the best incentives to exercise discretion on the part of the entire firm, and hence should be accorded ultimate control. Shareholders, though, are not the unidimensional profit maximizers used to get this argument up and running. Moreover, shareholders do not, by virtue of their relationship with the firm, have ready access to the information necessary to cast informed votes, and many shareholders – such as index fund shareholders – lack real incentives to seek out that information. Finally, this vision of shareholders as the sole owners of the residual is just descriptively wrong – employees, too, are invested in the long-term interest of the firm, cannot easily diversify that interest, and often possess firm-specific skills as well as contributions to the ongoing value of the business.
This chapter argues that, during the First World War, personal, partial, emotive and literary practices were fundamental to how transatlantic discourses about the war were managed, maintained, and ultimately resolved in favor of the Anglo-American alliance. It examines the different ways writers - for example, Rupert Brooke, John Masefield, Bertrand Russell, T. S. Eliot, Ezra Pound and Robert Frost - were mobilized by institutions like Wellington House, universities, newspapers and publishers. It considers writers’ and poets’ contributions to overlapping official and unofficial propaganda networks, and how this cultural exchange worked to “sell” particular interpretations and experiences of the conflict to reading publics.
The distinction between humans and the natural world is an artefact and more a matter of linguistic communication than a conceptual separation. This Element proposes ecosemiotics as an epistemological tool to better understand the relationship between human and natural processes. Ecosemiotics with its affinity to the humanities, is presented here as the best disciplinary approach for interpreting complex environmental conditions for a broad audience, across a multitude of temporal and spatial scales. It is proposed as an intellectual bridge between divergent sciences to incorporate within a unique framework different paradigms. The ecosemiotic paradigm helps to explain how organisms interact with their external environments using mechanisms common to all living beings that capture external information and matter for internal usage. This paradigm can be applied in all the circumstances where a living being (man, animal, plant, fungi, etc.) performs processes to stay alive.
This book explains how actions and inactions arise and change in social contexts, including social media and face-to-face communication. Its multidisciplinary perspective covers research from psychology, communication, public health, business studies, and environmental sciences. The reader can use this cutting-edge approach to design and interpret effects of behavioral change interventions as well as replicate the materials and methods implemented to study them. The author provides an organized set of principles that take the reader from the formation of attitudes and goals, to the structure of action and inaction. It also reflects on how cognitive processes explain excesses of action while inaction persists elsewhere. This practical guide summarises the best practices persuasion and behavioral interventions to promote changes in health, consumer, and social behaviors.
The legitimacy of a pension system or any social security program depends on its credibility and perceived fairness. In order to gauge this legitimacy, we need to understand the relation between people's knowledge and attitudes. This experimental survey into the role of knowledge and perceptions divided respondents into two groups: the ‘treatment’ group received an information letter about a forthcoming pension reform before they were interviewed, while the control group was interviewed without receiving this ‘treatment’. Comparisons of the responses from the two groups allow us to assess how the level of knowledge and the provision of information affect people's opinions on policy reform. We also consider the patterns of covariation between background factors, people's concerns, and attitudes toward pension reform. The results show that the information letter had a significant impact on subjective but not on the objective level of knowledge. Receiving the information letter improved acceptance and perceptions of the fairness of the reform.
Can corrective information change citizens’ misperceptions about immigrants and subsequently lead to favorable immigration opinions? While prior studies from the USA document how corrections about the size of minority populations fail to change citizens’ immigration-related opinions, they do not examine how other facts that speak to immigrants’ cultural or economic dependency rates can influence immigration policy opinions. To extend earlier work, we conducted a large-scale survey experiment fielded to a nationally representative sample of Danes. We randomly expose participants to information about non-Western immigrants’ (1) welfare dependency rate, (2) crime rate, and (3) proportion of the total population. We find that participants update their factual beliefs in light of correct information, but reinterpret the information in a highly selective fashion, ultimately failing to change their policy preferences.
The success of Islamic-based political and economic movements is contrasted with lower rates of political and economic activity in Muslim countries. The latter -- a significant “participation gap“ -- holds even after accounting for differences at the national-level and, within countries, across individuals. Based on these two trends, the argument is made that Islamic-based movements enjoy a comparative advantage when it comes to mobilizing individuals to participate in collective political and economic activities. This helps to clarify two key research questions: What are the obstacles to political and economic participation among individuals in the Muslim world? And how do references to Islam help to address these obstacles? Three existing explanations for the Islamic advantage are reviewed, each defined in terms of how it sees the obstacle to participation and the role of Islam in alleviating it. While grievance theory holds that Islam speaks to frustrations and resentments among the poor, the faith-based theory of transvaluation argues that religious beliefs create a sense of duty to serve God, regardless of the risks involved. A final theory suggests that individuals are better informed about what they can expect from Islamic-based groups,.
Observable implications of three existing theories of the Islamic advantage -- grievances, faith, information -- are tested using a variety of data sources. Contrary to the expectations of grievance theory, individuals in the Muslim world appear to be more dissatisfied and less apathetic. Moreover, participation rates are lowest among the most aggrieved, much as they are elsewhere in the world. In contrast to what the faith-based theory expects, participation rates are significantly lower among individuals with the strongest religious beliefs. Further, the popularity of Islamic-based political and economic movements does not appear to follow trends in religiosity in the aggregate, neither across space nor across time. Instead, support for these movements appears to come from both the religious and the secular, in Turkey and across the Muslim world. Finally, there is little evidence that voters in Muslim countries are uninformed, generally, or better informed about Islamic-based parties, in particular. The lack of support for the all three existing theories reopens the puzzle of Islamic-based movements yet again.
Chapter 2 introduces an “information economy” framework for approaching the epistemology of testimony. It is argued that, in a well-designed epistemic community, the norms governing information acquisition and information distribution will be different. This is because the dominant concern of information acquisition is quality control, whereas the dominant concern of information distribution is to provide access. The central idea, then, is to understand knowledge generation in terms of the norms governing information acquisition and to understand knowledge transmission in terms of the norms governing information distribution. The reason for adopting this approach is its explanatory power. In particular, the framework (a) explains a range of cases in the testimony literature; (b) provides a principled understanding of the transmission–generation distinction; and (c) explains the truth behind various and conflicting positions in the epistemology of testimony. Moreover, the framework nicely integrates with other plausible positions in epistemology, the philosophy of language, action theory, social science, and cognitive science.
Weather extremes which are accelerated by changing climate greatly decrease agricultural productivity, resulting in severe economic losses and losses of livelihood of the poorest marginal communities. The adoption of stress-tolerant rice varieties (STRVs) is recommended as a best technology fix for risk adaptation. Although STRVs provide better outcomes with no yield penalty, farmers' decisions to adopt new STRVs are influenced by a multitude of factors, most importantly information exposure. We used a sequential logit model to analyze the impact of information access and information quality on adoption decisions regarding STRVs in flood-risk areas. Over the years, we found that STRVs adoption has become scale neutral, but adopters have significantly higher access to information. The estimates showed that 48 per cent of the farmers having access to information decided to adopt STRVs. When information reaches 50 per cent of the rice farmers in flood-prone areas, the estimated additional annual income is US$235 million.
How do migrants decide when to leave? Conventional wisdom is that violence and economic deprivation force migrants to leave their homes. However, long-standing problems of violence and poverty often cannot explain sudden spikes in migration. We study the timing of migration decisions in the critical case of Syrian and Iraqi migration to Europe using an original survey and embedded experiment, as well as interviews, focus groups, and Internet search data. We find that violence and poverty lead individuals to invest in learning about the migration environment. Political shifts in receiving countries then can unleash migratory flows. The findings underscore the need for further research on what migrants know about law and politics, when policy changes create and end migrant waves, and whether politicians anticipate migratory responses when crafting policy.
This chapter explores the centrality of risk information to the construction of managerial agency. It is argued that this theme has been neglected by policy makers and others in the debate about risk culture in financial services. This debate is characterised by an underlying individualism in the approach to culture in general, and risk culture specifically, focusing ultimately on values and incentives as the core features of behaviour, from traders to board members. In contrast, drawing on a range of studies in the organisational sociology of risk, it is argued that information infrastructures are profoundly cultural and shape organisational values and the quality of decision making. Three illustrative themes – networking, technology and governance - are discussed and generate three indicative and testable propositions about the importance of information for risk culture. These three discussions also point to the fundamental role of an “appetite for knowledge” which varies between organisations and across fields. This revealed appetite is indicative and generative of organisational culture. Efforts to reform the culture of the financial services industry should therefore begin with understanding how information infrastructures do or don’t shape what counts as “doing the right thing”, rather conducting endless attitudinal surveys of individuals.
During the 2017 European hepatitis A (HA) outbreak we assessed HA incidence in our cohort of 2300 HIV-infected patients, implemented preventive measures and evaluated practices and knowledge on sexually transmitted diseases (STD). HA incidence was assessed between 1 January 2017 and 31 December 2017 and included all symptomatic patients with virologically confirmed HA. Preventive measures consisted in identifying at risk and not immunised patients to propose them a free HAV vaccination, and an anonymous survey related to transmission routes of STD and to sexual behaviours. Twenty HA were diagnosed. All were homosexual men recently diagnosed with HIV and another STD. None were vaccinated against hepatitis A virus (HAV). Hospitalisation was required for 52%. We identified 250 patients at risk to acquire HAV and invited them to a free immunisation program. A total of 110 (44%) were vaccinated, of whom 74 responded to our survey. A majority of them (84%) reported recent active anal and oral sexuality with multiple (52%) male partners (81%), and ChemSex consumption (14%). Internet was the meeting link for 58%. Another STD history was found in 69%. One third of these individuals had no idea about STD transmission modes. This HA outbreak pointed the insufficient vaccine coverage against HAV and knowledge on STD, which may be improved by Internet.
Following the discovery of the two laws of thermodynamics, theorists turned to the issue of finding an interpretation of the laws in terms of the atomic and molecular properties of the gases. Following Clausius's interpretation in terms of the kinetic theory of gases, Maxwell discovered the Maxwell velocity distribution and related it to Gaussian statistics. This marked the beginnings of statistical mechanics and the realisation that the law of increase of entropy has only a statistical validity. Out of these analysis Boltzmann and Gibbs created the discipline of statistical mechanics. The Gibbs entropy is also central to information theory.
Assessing urban sustainability is a crucial step towards solving the challenges we face today. Solutions to these challenges are likely to demand new and impressive levels of coordination: people will need to change their habits and learn to focus their actions in specific sustainable directions. The deeper nature of such challenges may be clarified through a classic concept from information theory and thermodynamics: entropy, both a measure of probability in the face of uncertainty and a measure of disorder. Arguing that the problem of entropy may throw light on issues of sustainability in social and urban systems, we propose in this chapter that sustainability can be stimulated by cities that enable us to coordinate better, reducing the entropy triggered by uncertainties and the unintended consequences of our actions. Investigating the role of cities in social entropy through a new agent-based model (ABM), we show that cities may play a crucial role in our conscious and unconscious efforts to cooperate.
Globalization, accountability, and technology are changing important aspects of global governance. While coercion, enforcement, and material sanctions have often taken pride of place as major movers of interstate relations, scholars and policy agents alike have come to appreciate the multifaceted nature of power exerted more subtly and gradually.
The proliferation of global performance indicators (GPIs) is one example of such power. They contain ideas and worldviews, and they attempt to “regulate” through non-coercive but nonetheless powerful means. They do not merely measure qualities and practices in order to understand or inform, they pressure their targets to perform and conform. In wielding such tools, a diverse set of actors insert themselves in the governing process, in some cases even shifting policy parameters. When promulgated by authoritative actors, GPIs can name and categorize information in new ways and have what anthropologists like Merry and others have referred to as “knowledge effects,” or the ability to influence how people think about socially legitimate or best practice. Their proliferation and evolution define and contest what is worth knowing, measuring and achieving.
In recent decades, intergovernmental organizations (IGOs), non-governmental organizations (NGOs), private firms, and even states have begun to regularly package and distribute information on the relative performance of states. From the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business Index to the Financial Action Task Force blacklist, Global Performance Indicators (GPIs) are increasingly deployed to influence governance globally. We argue that GPIs derive influence from their ability to frame issues, to extend the authority of the creator, and – most importantly – to invoke recurrent comparison that stimulates governments’ concerns for their own and their country’s reputation. Their public and ongoing ratings and rankings of states are particularly adept at capturing attention not only at elite policy levels but also among other domestic and transnational actors. GPIs thus raise new questions for research on politics and governance globally. What are the social and political effects of this form of information on discourse, policies, and behavior? What types of actors can effectively wield GPIs and on what types of issues? In this introduction, we define GPIs, describe their rise, and theorize and discuss these questions in light of the findings of the chapters’ contributions.
The government collects a barrage of information through censuses, registration, licenses, permits, and geographical information, so official information is a ubiquitous part of contemporary life. The sociology of official statistics analyzes this activity (Starr 1987: 7). The overall thrust of this work shows that official information gathering is socially constructed, that is, it is influenced by social and historical conditions, and it influences the reality that it supposedly describes.
Many think of the difference between sensation and perception in terms of information – perception carries information, but sensations, the raw feels that occur prior to perception, do not. A standard, biological account of information holds that it occurs only for information consumers. How is it that sensations become informational, and to whom do they become informational? In this chapter I argue that perception comes about due to attention directed by a subject. Attention is the process by which sensations are organized according to the subject’s interests, allowing them to have meaning for the subject, or to become informational for the subject. I compare this account to those that find attention to be necessary for the binding of features into objects, the creation of an objective spatial framework, or perceptual knowledge. I reject the first two accounts, ultimately arguing for a similar conclusion to those in the third, such as Campbell and Dickie. Experiential support for my account is the universal foreground/background structure of conscious perception, a structure that I argue depends on attention. Along the way I discuss at length the work of Treisman and Merleau-Ponty.