In 1641 Massachusetts legalized slavery, the first North American colony to do so. Slavery was to persist in the colonies and territories, and then the United States for another two centuries, until formally abolished by the Thirteenth Amendment in 1865. Numerous theories have been advanced about why the US, a nation that values individual liberty so highly, introduced and institutionalized the practice of slavery. And why the slavery of African slaves in the southern states, in particular, became the prevalent form of slavery. Now, Elena Esposito publishes new research showing how the spread of malaria in North America may explain the pattern of growth of slavery in the US.
In the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis it became clear that regulators had allowed many financial services firms to become “too big to fail”. Yet this system-critical firm problem is not confined to financial services. In their paper “Can electricity companies be too big to fail?” Ann van Ackere, Erik R. Larsen and Sebastian Osorio explain how a similar challenge faces the electricity sector, and offer some suggestions to help regulators prevent the lights from going out.
Privacy issues associated with the online sharing of data, from photos to genetic information, have been the subject of much discussion recently. One particular problem is how to protect the privacy of people who are featured in shared data, such as group photos, for example, but are not the uploaders of that data, and may not even be aware of the data being shared.
Many executives spend significant sums improving their personal performance. However, new research by Elizabeth Demers and her co-authors, suggests that there is one relatively simple, effective and low cost way of upping your game as an executive. They show that, for a combination of reasons, cognitive function, mood and the ability to communicate tend to decline throughout the day. For executives with packed diaries and little time to replenish reserves, it is best to get critical tasks scheduled for the morning.
There has long been an association between politics and violence. Factional disagreements can often lead to prolonged violence. At the same time, there is apparent evidence that the prospect or reality of power sharing can reduce violence – as with the Good Friday agreement and paramilitaries in Northern Ireland, for example. At a time when factional violence, within a country or region, is evident in numerous parts of the world, research that examines how to prevent that violence is particularly relevant.
Organizational life, and indeed the world, is full of complex, poorly defined, so called “ill-structured” problems that need solving. While teams have a variety of tools to choose from to help tackle these problems, those tools invariably fail to address both the challenges of working collaboratively and of addressing the specific problem at hand.
Two researchers look at the controversial issue of whether Early Child Care for very young children (under the age of three) provides benefits over care at home. And if so, whether it benefits children to a different degree depending on their circumstances.
Making accurate predictions about population trends is difficult. However a good grasp of demographic trends is also essential both for policymakers and many companies. Changes in Iife expectancy is a relatively blunt tool for measuring the impact of interventions, such as a new drug, or safety law, on different causes of death. Séverine Arnold and her co-authors offer a more sophisticated approach which enables interventions to be measured in terms of their relative impact on the age distribution of future populations, including old age dependency ratios.
Interpersonal skills training is about to get a little less personal, it seems. A new paper from Marianne Schmid Mast and co-authors suggests that our role-playing training partners of the future may not be our colleagues or managers, but virtual humans instead.
Research suggests that, perhaps instinctively, people tend to prefer stability and the status quo to transformation and new ideas, even when they are personally disadvantaged as a result. The tacit approval of inequality despite its proven negative impact on society is a good example. Patrick Haack, Assistant Professor at HEC Lausanne and Jost Sieweke, Assistant Professor at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam investigate why we think and behave this way. In doing so they provide persuasive new insights on how to change prevailing attitudes and behavior.