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Using Consumers’ Digital Footprints for More Persuasive Mass Communication

Abstract

Powered by better hardware and software, and fueled by the emergence of computational social science, digital traces of human activity can be used to make highly personal inferences about their owner’s preferences, habits and psychological characteristics. The gained insights allow the application of psychological targeting and make it possible to influence the behavior of large groups of people by tailoring persuasive appeals to the psychological needs of the target audiences. On the one hand, this method holds potential benefits for helping individuals make better decisions and lead healthier and happier lives. On the other hand, there are also several potential pitfalls related to manipulation, data protection and privacy violations. Even the most progressive data protection regulations of today might not adequately address the potential abuse of online information in the context of psychological targeting, highlighting the need for further policy interventions and regulations.

Open access
When Humanizing Customer Service Chatbots Might Backfire

Abstract

More and more companies are using chatbots in customer service. Instead of with a human employee, customers interact with a machine. Many companies give these chatbots human traits through names, human-like appearances, a human voice or even character descriptions. Intuitively such a humanization strategy seems to be a good idea.

Studies show, however, that the humanization of chatbots is perceived in a nuanced way and can also backfire. Especially in the context of customer complaints, human-like chatbots can intensify negative reactions of angry customers, because their performance is judged more critically compared to non-humanized chatbot variants. Service managers should therefore consider very carefully whether and in which situations they should use humanized service chatbots.

Open access
Empowerment Rights and Happiness Gap in Post-socialist Countries

Abstract

In this paper, we contribute to the debate on life-satisfaction gap between the citizens of post-socialist countries of Europe and Asia and their highly developed OECD counterparts, by examining the influence of de jure and de facto respect for empowerment rights. We mainly focus on the measure of rights protection called de jure - de facto rights protection gap. The empowerment rights included in the analysis are: the freedom of association, the freedom of expression, the freedom of religion, the freedom of foreign movement. Our results imply that government’s respect for these rights plays the role in diminishing happiness gap. We base the conclusions on an empirical study conducted on the sample of more than 59,000 observations. The data used for the study consist of World Values Survey database (waves 3–6) and a number of socio-economic indicators for 44 countries.

Open access
The relations between the quality of financial statements and corporate governance

Abstract

Business entities operated in the form of capital companies, to maintain reliability and transparency of the activities conducted, should observe general supervisory framework of legal nature. The primary objective of the information policy is to provide stock market participants with appropriate standards of company transparency which through the corporate governance regulations should lead to the improvement in the quality of financial reporting. Financial statements should be reliable as it is only then that their aims and targets are met, and the image of business they depict should be created according to the true and fair principle, invoking the responsibility of individuals supervising the process of drawing up a financial statement. The aim of the paper is to indicate the essence of the relationship between the quality of financial statements and the application of corporate governance principles. The paper uses the analysis of regulations and review of literature in the field of corporate governance and reporting of listed companies. The results of the analysis confirm that the quality of reported information determines the effectiveness of corporate supervision; that integrated reporting (IR) is a tool enabling organizations to communicate their value to investors; and that corporate supervision allows said organizations to adopt the comprehensive approach in developing sustainable value.

Open access
Hypothetical bias and framing effect in the valuation of private consumer goods

Abstract

In a laboratory experiment, I examined two behavioural effects: hypothetical bias and the framing effect. I elicited willingness to pay (WTP) for a cosmetic product, and manipulated framing conditions (positive vs. negative attribute framing) and incentives to reveal the actual valuation (hypothetical vs. real). I demonstrated that hypothetical bias has a significant impact on WTP values; however, the framing effect has no effect on the valuation of the product. Similarly, I found no interaction between the two effects. This observation contributes to claims that hypothetical research methods lead to equally reliable data as those based on consequential choices.

Open access
The Impact of Parental Leave Policy on Child-Rearing and Employment Behavior: The Case of Germany

Abstract

Parental leave and child care are important instruments of family policies to improve work–family balance. This paper studies the impact of the substantial change in Germany’s parental leave system on maternal employment. The aim of the reform was to decrease birth-related maternal employment breaks by providing more generous parental benefits for a shorter period of time. Using the German Socio-Economic Panel data for 2002–2015, I exploited quasi-experimental variation in the benefits to estimate the impact of the reform. I incorporated the mother’s decision to substitute her care time with the public child care. To control for the availability of child care, I used spatial and temporal variation in the availability of childcare slots. Overall, I did not find significant changes in maternal employment during the first three years of motherhood after the reform implementation. Only for high-income mothers, the reform produced a significant decrease in the employment participation during the first year of leave and an increase in employment probability after the benefits expired. The empirical findings suggest that the restriction in the childcare availability became an important constraint for the employment effect of the reform.

Open access
The Marginal Benefit of an Active Labor Market Program Relative to a Public Works Program: Evidence from Papua New Guinea

Abstract

Policymakers typically try to address youth unemployment in developing countries through either active labor market programs (ALMPs) or labor-intensive public works programs (LIPWs). We examine whether there is any additional benefit for unemployed youth from participating in a comprehensive ALMP compared to a LIPW. We exploit an unanticipated intervention in the largest employment program in Papua New Guinea, which resulted in one intake of the program completing a LIPW and missing out on a comprehensive ALMP. We conduct a difference-in-difference analysis between participants in the intake that missed out on the ALMP component of the program and participants in the intakes immediately before and after. In contrast to most impact evaluations of ALMPs, we show youth that completed the comprehensive ALMP were around twice as likely to be employed in the formal sector 9–12 months after the program compared to similar youth in the intake that only completed a LIWP. This effect was entirely driven by 20% of youth who participated in the ALMP staying with the employer they were placed with following the end of the program. Surveys of these employers illustrate that they use the ALMP as a low-cost, low-risk, and relatively low-effort way of hiring new employees.

Open access
Analysis of the investments intervention effect from operational programmes upon the R&D infrastructure of the Czech public universities

Abstract

An analysis of the investments intervention effect from operational programmes in the programming period 2007–2013 upon the R&D infrastructure of the Czech public universities is presented. The analysis was based upon publicly available data, universities´ annual economic reports, and evaluations and analyses. A few indicators have been selected to quantify the effect of significant extension and upgrade of the universities´ R&D infrastructure where investments from structural funds amounted to 36 % of the universities´ total R&D expenditure. The effect of the financial intervention upon the performance in basic research was evaluated firstly by making use of the increase of publications number in impacted journals in the time windows 2009–2011 and 2015–2017, i.e. before the effective launch of the interventions, and after their termination. The share of foreign public funds (structural funds excluded) in the total R&D expenditure was the second indicator used. The effect upon the applied research performance was evaluated by comparing the difference of the number of patents and by the change in the share of private sources in the R&D expenditure. The analyses show an increase of the number of publications whereas the change in the share of the foreign public funds in the total R&D expenditure did not induce any positive trend. In parallel with the number of publications, the number of patents increased, too. The change in the share of the private sources in the R&D expenditure was unequivocally associated with a positive trend, especially in the out-of-Prague technical universities. For a more robust evaluation of the effect of the interventions financed by the structural funds an analogous analysis should be carried out after a longer time than the mere three years after the termination of the interventions.

Open access
in ERGO
Formation of research and development consortia in the Competence Centres programme

Abstract

This paper aims to find out how the research consortia supported in the Competence Centres programme were created, what motives and factors decide on the involvement of various actors in these consortia. It is based on a combination of a questionnaire survey, structured interviews and analysis of quantitative data from the Research, Development and Innovation Information System. The most frequent motives of consortium members for involvement in competence centres were the development of their own research activities and access to knowledge / facilities shared by partners. The main beneficiary, or a narrow group of beneficiaries forming the core of the consortium, played a decisive role in shaping the consortium. The main factor for the involvement of individual members was the combination of previous experiences with partners and their competences. Furthermore, participating enterprises have developed and extensive research and development activities, do not compete, and their activities are complementary or linked. The differences in motives and factors for each type of partner can indicate the hierarchical arrangement of consortium members.

Open access
in ERGO
Research and development in the field of Artificial Intelligence in EU framework programmes

Abstract

The aim of this contribution is to evaluate the cooperation of the European countries in projects related to the AI in the 7th Framework Programme (FP7) and in the current Horizon 2020 Programme. The analysis is based on the information obtained from European Commission database eCORDA (External COmmon Research DAtawarehouse). Dynamic scientometric maps were constructed to describe in more detail the collaboration of European subjects in the EC funded AI research. Within the FP7, 1223 projects in the AI field received roughly 2,8 billion €. In the current H2020 programme the EC has already provided 2,1 billion € for 1081 projects in AI. In the FP7, higher education institutions dominated in both the number of awarded project and the received financial support. In the H2020 programme, a profound shift favouring business enterprise sector occurred. Approximately one third of AI projects in the FP7 was in the thematic area Information and Communication Technologies. In the H2020 programme the EC extended the support further to other thematic areas including global societal challenges especially in the field of transport and security. The extent of the involvement of the member countries varies extensively. The countries above average participating in the AI projects are Germany, Italy, Austria, Spain, Portugal, and Slovenia. The Czech Republic falls in the group of less participating countries. The Czech Republic also exhibits a smaller increase of the participation between RP7 and H2020. Universities involved in approximately two thirds of AI project have dominated in the Czech participation in the FP7. In the H2020 program their share in the AI project decreased by approximately 10 percent points. On the other side, their share of financial support was conserved. The most participating universities were the Czech Technical University Prague (24 projects, and 30% share of the EC contribution for the Czech AI projects) and the Brno University of Technology (14 projects, and 12,4% financial share). In the business enterprise sector Honeywell International s. r. o. attained the highest participation. The Czech subjects collaborate most frequently with German, British, Italian and French research teams.

Open access
in ERGO