Wednesday, 21 March 2018

Labor market reforms and unemployment dynamics

an article by Fabrice Murtin (OECD, Statistics Directorate, France; Sciences Po, France) and Jean-Marc Robin (Sciences Po, France; University College London, UK) published in Labour Economics Volume 50 (March 2018)


We quantify the contribution of labor market reforms to unemployment dynamics in nine OECD countries (Australia, France, Germany, Japan, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, UK, US).
We estimate a dynamic stochastic search-matching model with heterogeneous workers and aggregate productivity shocks. The heterogeneous-worker mechanism proposed by Robin (2011) explains unemployment volatility by productivity shocks well in all countries.

Placement and employment services, UI benefit reduction and product market deregulation are found to be the most prominent policy levers for unemployment reduction.

Business cycle shocks and LMPs explain about the same share of unemployment volatility (except for Japan, Portugal and the US).

JEL classification: E24, E32, J21

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Hysteresis: Understanding the Housing Aspirations Gap

an article by Joe Crawford and Kim McKee (University of St Andrews, UK) Sociology Volume 52 Issue 1 (February 2018)


Drawing on qualitative research on housing aspirations in Scotland, the objectives of this article are threefold.

Firstly, this article will contextualise the subject of housing aspirations within relevant research literature and situate it within wider debates which revolve around the relationship between housing and social class.

Secondly, in order to understand the implications of the research, this article uses Bourdieu’s notion of ‘sociodicy’ to help explain the ‘social’ reasons which incline people to have housing aspirations.

Thirdly, the data will be analysed to understand the differences in ‘aspirations’ between groups, concluding that the generational differences, which correspond to the epochal changes in the economy, are more important than class differences when understanding the uneven distribution of housing outcomes and housing wealth in developed societies.

The article concludes that the Bourdieusian concept of hysteresis explains the gap between the subjective expectations of young ‘professionals’ and the objective chances of their realisation.

The return of regional inequality: Europe from 1900 to today

a column by Joan Ros├ęs and Nikolaus Wolf for VOX: CEPR’s Policy Portal

A recent literature has explored growing personal wealth inequality in countries around the world. This column explores the widening wealth gap between regions and across states in Europe.

Using data going back to 1900, it shows that regional convergence ended around 1980 and the gap has been growing since then, with capital regions and declining industrial regions at the two extremes. This rise in regional inequality, combined with rising personal inequality, has played a significant role in the recent populist backlash.

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Take on Your Fears: 5 Strategies that Anyone Can Employ at Home in Their Spare Time

a post by Marie Hartwell-Walker for the World of Psychology blog

Interesting Person, Boring Life

Being afraid isn’t popular.

Real men aren’t supposed to quake in their boots during a crisis. Our collective vision of the successful woman does not include her hiding in her office, hyperventilating.

Once we’re grown up, we’re supposed to be confident, competent and fearless. Right? Right. Yeah. But life doesn’t always cooperate. Life keeps handing us situations that, if we’re at all sane and paying attention, make us a little scared — or terrified.

Inability to manage fear is the stuff of situation comedies and chick flicks: We find it funny when a goofy guy awkwardly tries to look more on top of things than he really is. We find it hilarious when a nervous gal gets tongue-tied in her efforts to impress. But there is nothing funny when we find ourselves in such situations. Admitting to the fear or, worse, showing it gnaws at our self-esteem and our self-confidence.

Continue reading all good stuff, particularly “fake it until you make it”.

Social entrepreneur and gender: what’s personality got to do with it?

an article by Susana Bernardino and J. Freitas Santos (Polytechnic Institute of Oporto, Porto, Portugal) and J. Cadima Ribeiro (University of Minho, Braga, Portugal) published in International Journal of Gender and Entrepreneurship Volume 10 Issue 1 (2018)


Research on economic entrepreneurship identifies a gender gap that is favorable to men. In the social entrepreneurship arena, the existing evidence is slightly fuzzy, as this gender gap is less preeminent. This paper aims to identify how gender differences in social entrepreneurial ventures creation are explained by different personality traits, by analyzing the extent to which female and male social entrepreneurs exhibit the same personality traits and whether potential differences are able to explain the differences in predisposition for the creation of new social entrepreneurial ventures.

A review of the literature on gender differences and personality traits in social entrepreneurship details the main theoretical developments and builds the hypotheses. Based on the Big Five model, the investigation uses a hypothesis testing quantitative approach. Primary data were collected through a questionnaire that was e-mailed and applied to the social entrepreneurs engaged in the creation of social ventures in Portugal.

The data gathered suggest that both female and male social entrepreneurs have personalities characterized by high levels of openness to experience, agreeableness, conscientiousness, extraversion and emotional stability. Based on the analysis of variance (ANOVA) between the two groups and logistic regression, the investigation reveals that women and men who launch a new social venture only differ in one personality dimension – agreeableness – wherein women scored more highly. No significant differences are found in the other personality traits.

Research limitations/implications
The research assumes that most aspects of human personality structure are represented in the Big Five model.

Practical implications
The knowledge about whether gender differences are explained by different personality traits is critical to public entities that might design appropriate public policies to stimulate social entrepreneurship. Also, social entrepreneurs’ capacity building programs should be delineated in accordance with a deeper understanding about gender and personality traits differences.

Social implications
The knowledge of the factors that affects the creation of new social ventures has an important potential contribution on social value creation and the promotion of gender equality.

This paper links two important topics – gender and entrepreneurs’ personality traits – scarcely explored in the social entrepreneurship literature. Thus, the paper adds new empirical evidence to support (or not) the belief that personality and gender matter in the decision to launch a new social venture.

Tuesday, 20 March 2018

A Different Kind of More: The Beauty of Living with Less Stuff

a post by Courtney Carver for the Tiny Buddha blog

She was all that mattered. I was deeper in debt, legal fees, and uncertainty than ever before, but I held on tight to my vow to give her more.

I would give her everything. I’d work harder, make more, buy her more, take her to see more, do more, and prove to her that everything would be okay. I had no idea that this new goal would be just as damaging, and just as hard on my heart.

My desire to give my daughter more wasn’t wrong, just misguided. While I could never have articulated it then, I did want more for both of us, but not more stuff and money.

What I wanted was more love, connection, laughter, and adventure, but that was too hard to measure. Instead, I made more money, worked more, spent more, and accumulated more. Living with less opened the door to a different kind of more: more space, more time, more light, more freedom, and yes … more love. It has always been about love.

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Casting for a sovereign role: Socialising an aspirant state in the Scottish independence referendum

an article by Ryan K. Beasley (University of St Andrews, UK) and Juliet Kaarbo (University of Edinburgh, UK) published in European Journal of International Relations Volume 24 Issue 1 (March 2018)


This article examines international reactions to Scotland’s 2014 bid for independence as an instance of socialisation of an aspirant state, what we term ‘pre-socialisation’. Building on and contributing to research on state socialisation and role theory, this study proposes a nexus between roles and sovereignty.

This nexus has three components:
  • sovereignty itself is a role casted for by an actor;
  • the sovereign role is entangled with the substantive foreign policy roles the actor might play; and
  • the sovereign role implicates the substantive foreign policy roles of other actors.
The Scottish debate on independence provides an effective laboratory to develop and explore these theoretical dimensions of pre-socialisation, revealing the contested value and meaning of sovereignty, the possible roles that an independent Scotland could play, and the projected implications for the role of the UK and other international actors.

Our analysis of the Scottish case can provide insights for other cases of pre-socialisation and is more empirically significant following the UK’s 2016 referendum to leave the European Union.