Discover the most talked about and latest scientific content & concepts.

Concept: Economics


Is existing provision of health services in Europe affordable during the recession or could cuts damage economic growth? This debate centres on whether government spending has positive or negative effects on economic growth. In this study, we evaluate the economic effects of alternative types of government spending by estimating “fiscal multipliers” (the return on investment for each $1 dollar of government spending).

Concepts: Medicine, Economics, Investment, Gross domestic product, Macroeconomics, Late-2000s recession, Rate of return, Government spending


Physical activity (PA) has an established favorable impact on cardiovascular disease (CVD) outcomes and quality of life. In this study, we aimed to estimate the economic effect of moderate-vigorous PA on medical expenditures and utilization from a nationally representative cohort with and without CVD.

Concepts: Medicine, Disease, Life, Cardiovascular disease, Economics, Non-infectious disease, Cost


The usefulness of aspirin to defend against cardiovascular disease in both primary and secondary settings is well recognized by the medical profession. Multiple studies also have found that daily aspirin significantly reduces cancer incidence and mortality. Despite these proven health benefits, aspirin use remains low among populations targeted by cardiovascular prevention guidelines. This article seeks to determine the long-term economic and population-health impact of broader use of aspirin by older Americans at higher risk for cardiovascular disease.

Concepts: Medicine, Epidemiology, Disease, Death, Demography, United States, Economics, Aspirin


The emergence in the United States of large-scale “megaregions” centered on major metropolitan areas is a phenomenon often taken for granted in both scholarly studies and popular accounts of contemporary economic geography. This paper uses a data set of more than 4,000,000 commuter flows as the basis for an empirical approach to the identification of such megaregions. We compare a method which uses a visual heuristic for understanding areal aggregation to a method which uses a computational partitioning algorithm, and we reflect upon the strengths and limitations of both. We discuss how choices about input parameters and scale of analysis can lead to different results, and stress the importance of comparing computational results with “common sense” interpretations of geographic coherence. The results provide a new perspective on the functional economic geography of the United States from a megaregion perspective, and shed light on the old geographic problem of the division of space into areal units.

Concepts: Algorithm, United States, Geography, Economics, Space, New York City, Philadelphia, Economic geography


Private-sector incentives help drive decoupling of emissions and economic growth.

Concepts: Economics, Economic growth


Crises in financial markets affect humans worldwide. Detailed market data on trading decisions reflect some of the complex human behavior that has led to these crises. We suggest that massive new data sources resulting from human interaction with the Internet may offer a new perspective on the behavior of market participants in periods of large market movements. By analyzing changes in Google query volumes for search terms related to finance, we find patterns that may be interpreted as “early warning signs” of stock market moves. Our results illustrate the potential that combining extensive behavioral data sets offers for a better understanding of collective human behavior.

Concepts: Psychology, Economics, Behavior, Motivation, Human behavior, World Wide Web, Stock market, Market


Interoception is the sensing of physiological signals originating inside the body, such as hunger, pain and heart rate. People with greater sensitivity to interoceptive signals, as measured by, for example, tests of heart beat detection, perform better in laboratory studies of risky decision-making. However, there has been little field work to determine if interoceptive sensitivity contributes to success in real-world, high-stakes risk taking. Here, we report on a study in which we quantified heartbeat detection skills in a group of financial traders working on a London trading floor. We found that traders are better able to perceive their own heartbeats than matched controls from the non-trading population. Moreover, the interoceptive ability of traders predicted their relative profitability, and strikingly, how long they survived in the financial markets. Our results suggest that signals from the body - the gut feelings of financial lore - contribute to success in the markets.

Concepts: Risk, Economics, Decision theory, Sense, Heart rate, Investment, Stock market, Finance


The detrimental impact of smoking on health has been widely documented since the 1960s. Numerous studies have also quantified the economic cost that smoking imposes on society. However, these studies have mostly been in high income countries, with limited documentation from developing countries. The aim of this paper is to measure the economic cost of smoking-attributable diseases in countries throughout the world, including in low- and middle-income settings.

Concepts: Costs, Economics, World, Developing country, Income, Generally Accepted Accounting Principles


Julian Elliott and colleagues discuss how the current inability to keep systematic reviews up-to-date hampers the translation of knowledge into action. They propose living systematic reviews as a contribution to evidence synthesis to enhance the accuracy and utility of health evidence.

Concepts: Economics, The Current


The ability to infer intentions of other agents, called theory of mind (ToM), confers strong advantages for individuals in social situations. Here, we show that ToM can also be maladaptive when people interact with complex modern institutions like financial markets. We tested participants who were investing in an experimental bubble market, a situation in which the price of an asset is much higher than its underlying fundamental value. We describe a mechanism by which social signals computed in the dorsomedial prefrontal cortex affect value computations in ventromedial prefrontal cortex, thereby increasing an individual’s propensity to ‘ride’ financial bubbles and lose money. These regions compute a financial metric that signals variations in order flow intensity, prompting inference about other traders' intentions. Our results suggest that incorporating inferences about the intentions of others when making value judgments in a complex financial market could lead to the formation of market bubbles.

Concepts: Brain, Economics, Cerebrum, Consciousness, Computer, Prefrontal cortex, Ventromedial prefrontal cortex, Bank