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Conservatives would gain most from changing the voting system for European Elections
The Conservatives could beat UKIP and be neck-and-neck with Labour in next year’s European elections if the voting system were changed from “closed-list” to “open-list”, according to new research from LSE.
A YouGov poll, commissioned by LSE and the Electoral Reform Society, showed that if the elections were held today under the existing “closed-list system” Labour would win 30 per cent, UKIP 25 per cent, Conservatives 23 per cent, Greens 12 per cent, and Liberal Democrats 10 per cent.
However, one group of respondents was asked to vote under an “open-list” system, in which respondents could vote for individual candidates rather than lists of candidates presented by parties. Under this alternative system, Labour received 31 per cent (1 percentage point better), Conservatives 28 per cent (+5), UKIP 19 per cent (-6), Lib Dems 12 per cent (+2), and Greens 10 per cent (-2). More
Schizophrenia is costing Japanese economy £15 billion a year
Schizophrenia is costing the Japanese economy more than £15 billion a year in health care, unemployment and suicides, according to new research published this month.
Researchers from Tokyo and LSE say Japan’s ageing population and the high cost of treating schizophrenia patients is imposing “a tremendous societal burden” on the world’s third-largest economy.
As an illness, schizophrenia is often overshadowed by depression and anxiety-related disorders, which are far more prevalent in Japan but actually have lower direct costs, according to a new paper recently published in Neuropsychiatric Disease and Treatment. More
Parental responses to children's online risks differ across Europe
New research on children’s online risk and parenting practices across Europe reveals that a potentially negative pattern is developing in some countries that either limits children’s engagement or does not prevent risk of harm.
The report, published on Monday 22 July by EU Kids Online at LSE, explores how parental responses to children's online use differs according to country and how this translates to children's online safety.
Researchers found that European countries divide into four main groups, based on children’s risk profiles: supported risky explorers; semi-supported risky gamers; protected by restrictions; and unprotected networkers. More
Complaints about nuisance calls tripled in two years
Nuisance calls in the UK have been growing at an alarming rate and the regulations designed to protect consumers from them are failing to halt the rise, according to a new report from LSE.
The report, part of the LSE Media Policy Project, examined official complaints mechanisms and public surveys about nuisance calls. It found that while the costs to offending companies for making such calls is dropping, the negative impact on society, the economy and individuals is increasing.
Comparing regulator data, the report shows that complaints to both Ofcom and the Telephone Preference Service more than tripled between April 2011 and April 2013. While some forms of “cold” or unsolicited calls are legal, the data also indicates that illegal forms of nuisance communication, such as excessive automated calls or unsolicited text messages make up a significant part of the problem.
Claire Milne, Visiting Senior Fellow in the LSE Department of Media and Communications, and the report’s author, said: “The elderly and disabled may suffer more than the average person because they are more likely to be at home and may have difficulty reaching the phone or be susceptible to those calls that are forms of fraud.” More
How can we get clean and affordable energy for all?
"Only general prosperity can produce widespread consent for emissions reductions, and only affordable energy for all can deliver prosperity."
How to square this circle is the vital topic of a new paper published on Thursday 11 July. THE VITAL SPARK: innovating clean and affordable energy for all was coordinated by LSE and is co-authored by 20 leading experts in energy and climate change issues from England, Japan, Brazil, Sweden, Canada, Germany and the USA, all members of the Hartwell group.
It is now known that Kyoto Protocol-type policy had no noticeable effect on reducing humanity's carbon footprint. Despite this failure, the report argues, we can still hope for a transition towards a high energy, low-carbon economy in which clean, safe and affordable energy is available to all.
THE VITAL SPARK does not describe ‘how to do energy innovation successfully’, because no single prescription can fit all circumstances. Instead, the authors propose 11 building blocks that are the necessary conditions for success in the energy transition that humanity needs so badly for so many reasons. Some may be tough for today’s policy-makers to accept but the co-authors argue that all are essential. More
Statin use linked to few side effects
Statins - the popular class of cholesterol-lowering drugs used widely to prevent recurrent heart disease and a first event - appear to cause few side effects, according to new research conducted by Huseyin Naci from LSE Health, Jasper Brugts from Erasmus Medical Center and Professor Tony Ades from the University of Bristol.
In their paper, published in Circulation: cardiovascular quality and outcomes, Naci and colleagues conducted the largest meta-analysis on statin side effects to date, reviewing data from 135 previous drug studies to evaluate the safety of the seven statins on the market. They concluded that "as a class, adverse events associated with statin therapy are not common".
The researchers noted that simvastatin and pravastatin, the generic names of the brands Zocor and Pravachol, were found to have the best safety profile in the class. This is particularly true when patients were prescribed low to moderate doses of those statins, said the study’s lead author Huseyin Naci, a doctoral candidate at LSE and research fellow at Harvard Medical School’s Department of Population Medicine. More
Social housing tenants fear being displaced as house values skyrocket
Long-established social housing tenants living in some of the wealthiest areas of inner London fear the city’s escalating house prices could push them out of the areas they have lived in for generations.
The gentrification of their boroughs, rising living costs and changing communities are troubling low-income residents, according to an LSE report.
The report, commissioned by Octavia Housing, documents how social housing tenants feel about living in Westminster, and Kensington and Chelsea.
The changing face of their neighbourhoods is fuelling their fears about the impact of welfare reforms, public spending cuts and job losses.
LSE’s findings endorse the social value of mixing high and low-income residents in expensive neighbourhoods, but also expose tenants’ fears for the future. More
Anti-depressant use in Europe increases by 20 per cent
The increasing uptake of anti-depressants across Europe in recent decades has coincided with a gradual decline in suicide rates over the same period, according to a new report published in the Public Library of Science.
Between 1995 and 2009, the use of antidepressants across Europe increased by almost 20 per cent per year on average, with a corresponding 0.8 per cent annual reduction in the suicide rate.
Researchers, including David McDaid from LSE, say that data collected from 29 European countries over three decades provides “strong evidence” that anti-depressants are playing a key role in treatment strategies for depression.
However, other factors can also come into play, such as a country’s GDP, cultural mores and access to psychological services. The report finds no consistent relationship between suicide rates and alcohol consumption, divorce, or employment rates. More
Did Labour's social policy programme work?
Labour’s increased social spending delivered major improvements to services and social outcomes but wider inequalities persisted, according to a new LSE report.
The report, Labour’s Social Policy Record: policy, spending and outcomes 1997-2010, assesses Labour’s record on social policy, including health, education, early years, neighbourhood renewal, benefits and pensions. It is a comprehensive analysis of Labour’s social policy record and the first phase in the Social Policy in a Cold Climate series of papers looking at the effect of political and economic change on social policy, poverty and equality.
The next phase will look specifically at the longer term effects of the financial crash and include up-to-date data on social policy under the coalition government. This will be published in 2015.
The report found that where Labour targeted investment, outcomes improved. Increases in spending facilitated a reduction in rates of child and pensioner poverty, shorter hospital waiting times, improved teacher-pupil ratios and improvements in neighbourhood facilities. But some issues which were not targeted saw little progress. Poverty for working age people without children rose and there was no real change in overall levels of income inequality, while wage inequalities grew at the top. More
Museums out of touch when catering for people with disabilities of sight
British museums are putting too much focus on touch based exhibitions which do not provide a truly inclusive experience for many visitors with disabilities of sight, and should, instead, be using a mix of visual, non-visual and enhanced visual media, an academic from LSE has argued.
In a paper published in a special issue of the Disability Studies Quarterly, Dr Simon Hayhoe, a Centre Research Associate in the Centre for Philosophy of Natural and Social Sciences at LSE, examines the philosophical, political and religious roots behind touch focused exhibitions which are favoured by British museums as a way to cater for people who have disabilities of sight.
He argues that the theories behind these exhibitions can be traced back to the Enlightenment, when discussions stereotyped people with disabilities of sight as completely blind, having no visual memory and being entirely disinterested in visual culture and visual elements of society. Although understanding has moved on since then, museums are still too focused on touch based exhibitions as the primary way to communicate the artworks to these visitors. More
Surrogacy in the EU
The European Parliament commissioned a study via LSE Enterprise to analyse the existing and possible legal approaches to surrogacy, a practice on the rise around the world and increasingly carried out across national borders.
The issues arising from surrogacy arrangements include contractual law, parental status and the welfare and civil status of the child, with accompanying health policy implications, financial, gender and power dynamics. What medical services are the surrogate mother entitled to in a country where surrogacy is illegal? How can the child’s rights to know its parents be balanced with the biological mother’s or donor’s right to anonymity? Who are the child’s legal parents? What is its nationality?
The report was written by Laurence Brunet of Université Paris, Janeen Carruthers from the University of Glasgow and four LSE researchers: Konstantina Davaki of LSE Health, Derek King from PSSRU, Claire Marzo from the European Institute and Julie McCandless from the Department of Law. More
Making Sense of Uncertainty
Dr David Stainforth (pictured) and Professor Leonard Smith of LSE's Centre for the Analysis of Time Series, have contributed to a report by Sense About Science which challenges the idea that uncertainty in research is a reason for people to worry about the reliability of findings.
The report, entitled Making Sense of Uncertainty, was launched on Thursday 27 June at the World Conference of Science Journalists. The researchers say that if policy makers and the public are discouraged by the existence of uncertainty, we miss out on important discussions about the development of new drugs, taking action to mitigate the impact of natural hazards, how to respond to the changing climate and to pandemic threats.
Dr David Stainforth said: "Uncertainty is simply part of our understanding. Sometimes the details matter, sometimes they don’t, but uncertainty is not a barrier to taking good decisions. Nor is it unfamiliar. We all take decisions under uncertainty every day." The full report can be found here.
How experts gain influence
A paper co-authored by Dr Matthew Hall (pictured), a lecturer in the Department of Accounting, has been published in the latest edition of the Harvard Business Review.
The paper, which was written alongside Professor Anette Mikes of the Harvard Business School and Professor Yuval Millo of the University of Leicester, argues that functional leaders should develop four specific competencies in order to increase their impact.
The authors studied three sets of risk managers at two UK banks from 2006-11 and noted differences in how the managers used and shared their expertise. They found that influence comes from four competencies: trailblazing, toolmaking, teamwork, and translation. The managers who combined all four had the greatest visibility and impact. The paper can be found here.