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Identifying important policy outputs has long been of interest to political scientists. In this work, we propose a novel approach to the classification of policies. Instead of obtaining and aggregating expert evaluations of significance for a finite set of policy outputs, we use experts to identify a small set of significant outputs and then employ positive unlabeled (PU) learning to search for other similar examples in a large unlabeled set. We further propose to automate the first step by harvesting “seed” sets of significant outputs from web data. We offer an application of the new approach by classifying over 9,000 government regulations in the United Kingdom. The obtained estimates are successfully validated against human experts, by forecasting web citations, and with a construct validity test.
Demoralization is prevalent in patients with life-limiting chronic illnesses, many of whom reside in rural areas. These patients also have an increased risk of disease-related psychosocial burden due to the unique health barriers in this population. However, the factors affecting demoralization in this cohort are currently unknown. This study aimed to examine demoralization amongst the chronically ill in Lithgow, a town in rural New South Wales, Australia, and identify any correlated demographic, physical, and psychosocial factors in this population.
A cross-sectional survey of 73 participants drawn from Lithgow Hospital, the adjoining retirement village and nursing home, assessing correlating demographic, physical, psychiatric, and psychosocial factors.
The total mean score of the DS-II was 7.8 (SD 26.4), and high demoralization scores were associated with the level of education (p = 0.01), comorbid condition (p = 0.04), severity of symptom burden (p = <0.001), depression (p = <0.001), and psychological distress (p = <0.001). Prevalence of serious demoralization in this population was 27.4% according to a cutoff of a DS-II score ≥11. Of those, 11 (15%) met the criteria for clinical depression, leaving 9 (12.3%) of the cohort demoralized but not depressed.
Significance of results
Prevalence of demoralization was high in this population. In line with the existing literature, demoralization was associated with the level of education, symptom burden, and psychological distress, demonstrating that demoralization is a relevant psychometric factor in rural populations. Further stratification of the unique biopsychosocial factors at play in this population would contribute to better understanding the burdens experienced by people with chronic illness in this population and the nature of demoralization.
Fluctuations in the volume and the value of financial remittances received from abroad affect the livelihood of households in developing economies across the world. Yet, political scientists have little to say about how changes in remittances, as opposed to the receipt of remittance payments alone, affect recipients’ political attitudes. Relying on a unique four-wave panel study of Kyrgyz citizens between 2010–2013 and a cross-sectional sample of 28 countries in Central Eastern Europe, the Caucasus and Central Asia, we show that when people experience a decrease (increase) in remittances, they become less (more) satisfied about their household economic situation and misattribute responsibility to the incumbent at home. Our findings advance the literature on the political consequences of remittance payments and suggest that far from exclusively being an international risk-sharing mechanism for developing countries, remittances can also drive fluctuations in incumbent approval and compromise rudimentary accountability mechanisms in the developing world.
Prenatal maternal stress (PNMS) has been associated with postnatal behavioral alterations that may be partly explained by interactions between the hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenal (HPA) and hypothalamic–pituitary–gonadal (HPG) axes. Yet it remains unclear whether PNMS leads to enduring HPA–HPG alterations in the offspring, and whether HPA–HPG interactions can impact behavior during development, in particular levels of aggression in childhood. Here we investigated the relationship between a marker for HPG axis function (baseline testosterone) and a marker for HPA axis response (cortisol area under the curve) in 11½-year-olds whose mothers were exposed to the 1998 Quebec ice storm during pregnancy (n = 59 children; 31 boys, 28 girls). We examined (a) whether the degree of objective or subjective PNMS regulates the testosterone–cortisol relationship at age 11½, and (b) whether this testosterone–cortisol relationship is associated with differences in aggressive behavior. We found that, at lower levels of subjective PNMS, baseline testosterone and cortisol reactivity were positively correlated; in contrast, there was no relationship between these hormones at higher levels of subjective PNMS. Cortisol response moderated the relationship between testosterone and aggression. These results support the notion PNMS may explain variance in fetal HPA–HPG interactions, and that these interactions may be associated with aggressive behavior in late childhood.
This is a cross institution project involving four Institutes of Technology in Ireland. The objective of this project is to assess the use of technology to enhance the assessment of laboratory sessions in Science and Health. In science, health and engineering, the laboratory sessions are at the core of the learning process for skill development. These laboratory sessions focus on the skills acquisition. The Irish Institute of Technology sector, in particular, develops these skills and considers them essential for ‘professionally ready’ graduates. In terms of student progression and retention, the assessment structure has been identified as having a significant impact on student engagement.
The Technology Enhanced Assessment Methods (TEAM) project led by Dundalk Institute of Technology and partnering with Institute of Technology Sligo, Athlone Institute of Technology and Institute of Technology Carlow is exploring the potential offered by digital technologies to address these concerns. It aims to develop a framework for applying the principles of effective assessment and feedback to practical assessment. The TEAM project also aims to facilitate dialogue among stakeholders about what it is we want student to learn in laboratory sessions and how our assessment can facilitate this. A peer network of discipline-specific academics and students in the Science and Health field has been established across all four Institutes. As the network focuses on authentic skills assessment in all core modules, including physics and chemistry, the best practice from this project will inform future assessment procedures across laboratory sessions and may be considered for application within a Science and Materials Engineering context.
Assessing the skills acquired in this environment takes many forms. Using student and stakeholder feedback along with an extensive literature review of the area, the team identified key technologies that cut across science and health disciplines, with the potential to influence and enable the learning process. The emphasis was on developing a powerful learning environment approach to enable students to deepen their learning through engagement with the process. The areas identified are: (i) Pre-practical preparation (videos and quizzes), (ii) Electronic laboratory notebooks and ePortfolios, (iii) Digital Feedback technologies and (iv) Rubrics).
This paper describes the student experience and perceptions of the adoption of digital technology in science practical assessments. It also describes the process involved in setting up the pilot structure and it presents the initial results from the student survey.
While videoconferencing, telementoring, and peer support have been shown to enhance services in some instances, there has been no research investigating the use of these technologies in supporting professionals managing clients with dementia. The objective of this research was to evaluate expansion of an old age psychiatry consultation service and pilot test a model to improve medical supervision and clinical governance for staff within regional and remote areas using remote information technology.
The design was a mixed methods (qualitative and quantitative) evaluation using before, mid-point and post-implementation semi-structured interviews and questionnaires to examine orientation, acceptance, and impact underpinned by theoretical approaches to evaluation. Education evaluations used a Likert style response template. Participants were 18 dementia service staff, including staff from linked services and old age psychiatrists. Qualitative interviews addressed the pilot implementation including: expectations, experiences, strategies for improving the pilot, and perceived impact on work practice and professional development opportunities.
There was high satisfaction with the program. The case conference process contributed to perceived improved outcomes for clients, family, and staff. Clinicians perceived improvement in family carer and staff carer stress and their confidence in managing clients with behavioral and psychological symptoms of dementia (BPSD). Thematic analysis indicated that the pilot enhanced professional development, decreased travel time, and improved team cohesion.
Given the increasing aging population in regional, rural, and remote areas, initiatives using videoconferencing and telementoring will help to develop a confident and skilled workforce. This pilot program was found to be acceptable and feasible. Potential benefits for clients and family carers should be examined in future resesarch.
Remittances are a significant source of foreign exchange for developing economies. I argue that remittances, due to their compensation and insurance functions, will increase the general income level and economic security of recipients, thereby reducing their perceived income risk. Over time, this will dampen demand from recipients for government taxation and social insurance. Therefore, I expect increases in income remitted to an economy to result in reduced levels of social welfare transfers at the macro-level. This dynamic can help us to understand spending patterns in developing democracies, and the absence of demand for social security transfers in countries with high levels of inequality and economic insecurity. I test this argument with a sample of 18 Latin American states, over the period 1990 to 2009, and subject the central causal mechanism to a battery of statistical tests. The results of these tests provide strong support for this argument.
This article examines the relationship between politically motivated murder, martyrdom, and the death penalty in Britain and Ireland in the period from 1939 to 1990. First, it investigates the nexus between historical experience and memory, political martyrdom, and capital punishment as it applied to Irish Republicans in Britain during the Second World War. Secondly, it examines the use of extraordinary legal powers to impose the death penalty in the Irish state during the “Emergency,” and charts the processes through which the threat of capital punishment continued to be perceived as an essential instrument of security in both Irish jurisdictions in the postwar period. Thirdly, it evaluates the effectiveness of the death penalty in deterring politically motivated murder and explores the anomalous, paradoxical decision to abolish capital punishment at the height of subversive killing in Northern Ireland. The essay concludes that the national security issue and the potential martyrdom of Irish Republicans were pivotal factors in dissuading successive British governments from reintroducing the death penalty for politically motivated offenses in Britain and Northern Ireland.
This article aims to maximize the reliability of presidential power scores for a larger number of countries and time periods than currently exists for any single measure, and in a way that is replicable and easy to update. It begins by identifying all of the studies that have estimated the effect of a presidential power variable, clarifying what scholars have attempted to capture when they have operationalized the concept of presidential power. It then identifies all the measures of presidential power that have been proposed over the years, noting the problems associated with each. To generate the new set of presidential power scores, the study draws upon the comparative and local knowledge embedded in existing measures of presidential power. Employing principal component analysis, together with the expectation maximization algorithm and maximum likelihood estimation, a set of presidential power scores is generated for a larger set of countries and country time periods than currently exists, reporting 95 per cent confidence intervals and standard errors for the scores. Finally, the implications of the new set of scores for future studies of presidential power is discussed.
Why are some Latin American states plagued by persistent policy volatility while the policies of others remain relatively stable? This article explores the political economy of natural resource rents and policy volatility across Latin America. It argues that, all else equal, resource rents will create incentives for political leaders, which will result in repeated episodes of policy volatility. This effect, however, will depend on the structure of political institutions. Where political institutions fail to provide a forum for intertemporal exchange among political actors, natural resource rents will result in increased levels of policy volatility. Alternatively, where political institutions facilitate agreement among actors, resource rents will be conducive to policy stability. This argument is tested on a measure of policy volatility for 18 Latin American economies between 1993 and 2008. The statistical tests provide support for the argument.
The causes of dementia continue to be the subject of huge research efforts, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) has recently gained attention as a possible contributor. PTSD is considered to be present if the sufferer develops persistent re-experiencing, avoidance and emotional numbing and symptoms of increased arousal not present before the sufferer was exposed to a traumatic incident. PTSD is now classified in DSM-5 as a trauma- and stressor-related disorder, unlike DSM-IV where it was previously categorized as an anxiety disorder, lending it more prominence now as a stress-related condition. However, it remains placed near the anxiety, obsessive compulsive and dissociative disorders in recognition of the close relationship with these other diagnoses. The nosology of PTSD is interesting as the symptoms can vary considerably. Some individuals with PTSD exhibit anxious or fear-based symptoms, while others can experience anhedonic, dysphoric, aggressive or dissociative symptoms (American Psychiatric Association, 2013).
The electoral success of the left across Latin America has largely been interpreted as a backlash against globalization and a manifestation of anti-market voting of citizens increasingly frustrated with their experience of representative democracy. However, studies trying to test these propositions show rather inconclusive results and face the problem of translating objective economic conditions into observable individual perceptions. This article contends that theories of subjective well-being in psychology and economics can shed light on this left turn. In particular, life satisfaction, as a manifestation of experienced utility, can help explain the electoral outcomes observed throughout the region. The findings show that support for the left is higher the more unsatisfied voters are under a right incumbent.