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Academic Insights for the Thinking World

9780199343836

Analyzing the advancement of sports analytics

The biggest story heading into the 2014-15 National Hockey League (NHL) season appears to not be what is happening with players on the ice. Rather, it is the people working off the ice who evaluate players’ performance on the ice that have a leading role in the NHL’s narrative. The analytics movement has come full force to professional hockey.

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9780199364954

Does political development involve inherent tradeoffs?

For years, social scientists have wondered about what causes political development and what can be done to stimulate it in the developing world. By political development, they mean the creation of democratic governments and public bureaucracies that can effectively respond to citizens’ demands.

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14682672 european sociological review

Falling out of love and down the housing ladder?

Since World War II, homeownership has developed into the major tenure in almost all European countries. This democratization of homeownership has turned own homes from luxury items available to a lucky few into inherent and attainable life goals for many.

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Childhood obesity and maternal employment

It is well known that obesity rates have been increasing around the Western world. The American obesity prevalence was less than 20% in 1994. By 2010, the obesity prevalence was greater than 20% in all states and 12 states had an obesity prevalence of 30%. For American children aged 2 – 19, approximately 17% are obese in 2011-2012. In the UK, the rifeness of obesity was similar to the US numbers.

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The Hunger Games and a dystopian Eurozone economy

The latest resounding dystopian success is The Hunger Games—a box-office hit located in a nation known as Panem, which consists of 12 poor districts, starved for resources, under the absolute control of a wealthy centre called the Capitol. In the story, competitive struggle is carried to its brutal extreme, as poor young adults in a reality TV show must fight to death in an outdoor arena controlled by an authoritarian Gamemaker, until only one individual remains.

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9780198714675_450

China’s economic foes

China has all but overtaken the US based on GDP at newly-computed PPP exchange rates, twenty years after Paul Krugman predicted: “Although China is still a very poor country, its population is so huge that it will become a major economic power if it achieves even a fraction of Western productivity levels.” But will it eclipse the US, as Arvind Subramanian has claimed, with the yuan eventually vying with the dollar for international reserve currency status?

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Out with the old?

Innovation is a primary driver of economic growth and of the rise in living standards, and a substantial body of research has been devoted to documenting the welfare benefits from it (an example being Trajtenberg’s 1989 study). Few areas have experienced more rapid innovation than the Personal Computers (PC) industry, with much of this progress being associated with a particular component, the Central Processing Unit (CPU). The past few decades had seen a consistent process of CPU innovation, in line with Moore’s Law.

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Increasing income inequality

Quite abruptly income inequality has returned to the political agenda as a prominent societal issue. At least part of this can be attributed to Piketty’s provoking premise of rising concentration at the top end of the income and wealth distribution in Capital in the Twenty-First Century (2014), providing some academic ground for the ‘We are the 99 percent’ Occupy movement slogan. Yet, this revitalisation of inequality is based on broader concerns than the concentration at the very top alone.

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9780199343836

Dallas Cowboys: seven strategies that will guarantee a successful 2014 season

As a football team, the Dallas Cowboys are mired in mediocrity. In the 19 years since they last won the Super Bowl, their regular season record is a middling 146-142. The team made the playoffs seven times during that span, with only two wins to show for its efforts. The prognosis for the 2014 season is more of the same.

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9780199322190_450

The economics of Scottish Independence

On September 18, Scots will go to the polls to vote on the question “Should Scotland be an independent country?” A “yes” vote would end the political union between England and Scotland that was enacted in 1707. The main economic reasons for independence, according to the “Yes Scotland” campaign, is that an independent Scotland would have more affordable daycare, free university tuition, more generous retirement and health benefits, less burdensome regulation, and a more sensible tax system.

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Does industry sponsorship restrict the disclosure of academic research?

Long-run trends suggest a broad shift is taking place in the institutional financing structure that supports academic research. According to data compiled by the OECD reported in Figure 1, industry sources are financing a growing share of academic research while “core” public funding is generally shrinking. This ongoing shift from public to private sponsorship is a cause for concern because these sponsorship relationships are fundamentally different.

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9780199978380

United Airlines and Rhapsody in Blue

As anyone who has flown United in the past quarter-century knows, the company has a long-standing history with George Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue. The piece appears in its television advertisements, its airport terminals, and even its pre-flight announcements. However, the history of United’s use of the piece is far from straight forward.

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9780198714675_450

What can old Europe learn from new Europe’s transition?

I was not that young when New Europe’s transition began in 1989, but I was there: in Poland at the start of the 1990s and in Russia during its 1998 crisis and after, in both cases as the resident economist for the World Bank. This year is the 25th anniversary of New Europe’s transition and the sixth year of Old Europe’s growth-cum-sovereign debt crisis.

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The road to egalitaria

In 1985, Nobel Laureate Gary Becker observed that the gap in employment between mothers and fathers of young children had been shrinking since the 1960s in OECD countries. This led Becker to predict that such sex differences “may only be a legacy of powerful forces from the past and may disappear or be greatly attenuated in the near future.”

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