SciCombinator

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Concept: National accounts

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Domestic public debate continues over the economic impacts of environmental regulations that require environmental restoration. This debate has occurred in the absence of broad-scale empirical research on economic output and employment resulting from environmental restoration, restoration-related conservation, and mitigation actions - the activities that are part of what we term the “restoration economy.” In this article, we provide a high-level accounting of the size and scope of the restoration economy in terms of employment, value added, and overall economic output on a national scale. We conducted a national survey of businesses that participate in restoration work in order to estimate the total sales and number of jobs directly associated with the restoration economy, and to provide a profile of this nascent sector in terms of type of restoration work, industrial classification, workforce needs, and growth potential. We use survey results as inputs into a national input-output model (IMPLAN 3.1) in order to estimate the indirect and induced economic impacts of restoration activities. Based on this analysis we conclude that the domestic ecological restoration sector directly employs ~ 126,000 workers and generates ~ $9.5 billion in economic output (sales) annually. This activity supports an additional 95,000 jobs and $15 billion in economic output through indirect (business-to-business) linkages and increased household spending.

Concepts: Economics, Value added, Employment, Sustainability, Ecological economics, Macroeconomics, National accounts, Consumer spending

31

Crop pests and pathogens pose a significant and growing threat to food security, but their geographical distributions are poorly understood. We present a global analysis of pest and pathogen distributions, to determine the roles of socioeconomic and biophysical factors in determining pest diversity, controlling for variation in observational capacity among countries. Known distributions of 1901 pests and pathogens were obtained from CABI. Linear models were used to partition the variation in pest species per country amongst predictors. Reported pest numbers increased with per capita gross domestic product (GDP), research expenditure and research capacity, and the influence of economics was greater in micro-organisms than in arthropods. Total crop production and crop diversity were the strongest physical predictors of pest numbers per country, but trade and tourism were insignificant once other factors were controlled. Islands reported more pests than mainland countries, but no latitudinal gradient in species richness was evident. Country wealth is likely to be a strong indicator of observational capacity, not just trade flow, as has been interpreted in invasive species studies. If every country had US levels of per capita GDP, then 205 ± 9 additional pests per country would be reported, suggesting that enhanced investment in pest observations will reveal the hidden threat of crop pests and pathogens.

Concepts: National accounts

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PURPOSE: The aim was to determine the extent of daily disposable contact lens prescribing worldwide and to characterise the associated demographics and fitting patterns. METHODS: Up to 1,000 survey forms were sent to contact lens fitters in up to 40 countries between January and March every year for five consecutive years (2007 to 2011). Practitioners were asked to record data relating to the first 10 contact lens fits or refits performed after receiving the survey form. Survey data collected since 1996 were also analysed for seven nations to assess daily disposable lens fitting trends since that time. RESULTS: Data were collected in relation to 97,289 soft lens fits, of which 23,445 (24.1 per cent) were with daily disposable lenses and 73,170 (75.9 per cent) were with reusable lenses. Daily disposable lens prescribing ranged from 0.6 per cent of all soft lenses in Nepal to 66.2 per cent in Qatar. Compared with reusable lens fittings, daily disposable lens fittings can be characterised as follows: older age (30.0 ± 12.5 versus 29.3 ± 12.3 years for reusable lenses); males are over-represented; a greater proportion of new fits versus refits; 85.9 per cent hydrogel; lower proportion of toric and presbyopia designs and a higher proportion of part-time wear. There has been a continuous increase in daily disposable lens prescribing between 1996 and 2011. The proportion of daily disposable lens fits (as a function of all soft lens fits) is positively related to the gross domestic product at purchasing power parity per capita (r(2) = 0.55, F = 46.8, p < 0.0001). CONCLUSIONS: The greater convenience and other benefits of daily disposable lenses have resulted in this modality capturing significant market share. The contact lens field appears to be heading toward a true single-use-only, disposable lens market.

Concepts: Cornea, Myopia, Lens, Contact lens, Corrective lens, Intraocular lens, Purchasing power parity, National accounts

14

Information about weather and climate is vital for many areas of decision-making, particularly under conditions of increasing vulnerability and uncertainty related to climate change. We have quantified the global commercial supply of weather and climate information services. Although government data are sometimes freely available, the interpretation and analysis of those data, alongside additional data collection, are required to formulate responses to specific challenges in areas such as health, agriculture, and the built environment. Using transactional data, we analyzed annual spending by private and public organizations on commercial weather and climate information in more than 180 countries by industrial sector, region, per capita, and percentage of GDP (gross domestic product) and against the country’s climate and extreme weather risk. There are major imbalances regarding access to these essential services between different countries based on region and development status. There is also no relationship between the level of climate and weather risks that a country faces and the level of per capita spending on commercial weather and climate information in that country. At the international level, action is being taken to improve access to information services. With a better understanding of the flows of commercial weather and climate information, as explored in this study, it will be possible to tackle these regional and development-related disparities and thus to increase resilience to climate and weather risks.

Concepts: Risk, Climate, Weather, Climate change, Global warming, Extreme weather, National accounts, Government spending

11

Bushmeat is an important resource in the livelihoods of many rural communities in sub-Saharan Africa and may be a crucial safety-net for the most vulnerable households, especially during times of economic hardship. However, little is known about the impacts of wildlife depletion on these functions. This study quantifies the role of bushmeat in diversified rural household economies in a wildlife depleted forest-farm landscape in Ghana, assessing its importance overall, as well as differentiated by the relative vulnerability of households. Using repeat socioeconomic questionnaires (N=787) among 63 households over a one-year period, the following hypotheses were tested: (a) vulnerable households harvest more bushmeat; (b) bushmeat contributes a greater proportion of household production in vulnerable households; © bushmeat is more important for cash income than consumption in vulnerable households; and (d) bushmeat sales are more important for vulnerable households. The bushmeat harvest value averaged less than US$1.0 per day for 89% of households and comprised less than 7% of household production value. Household wealth and gender of the household head had little effect on the importance of bushmeat. However, bushmeat harvest and sales were highest during the agricultural lean season. Overall, most harvested bushmeat (64%) was consumed, enabling households to spend 30% less on meat/fish purchases. These findings suggest that, despite heavily depleted wildlife and diversified livelihoods, bushmeat continues to have an important role in rural livelihoods by acting as a safety net for income smoothing and reducing household expenditure during times of economic hardship.

Concepts: Africa, Sub-Saharan Africa, Economics, Harvest, Democratic Republic of the Congo, West Africa, Household income in the United States, National accounts

5

Background: In January 2014, Mexico implemented a tax on sugar-sweetened beverage (SSB) purchases of 1 peso/L.Objective: We examined the heterogeneity of changes in nonalcoholic beverage (SSB and bottled water) purchases after the tax was implemented by household income, urban and rural strata, and household composition.Methods: We used 4 rounds of the National Income and Expenditure Surveys: 2008, 2010, 2012, and 2014. Changes in purchases in per capita liters per week were estimated with the use of 2-part models to adjust for nonpurchases. We compared absolute and relative differences between adjusted changes in observed purchases in 2014 with expected purchases in 2014 based on prior trends (2008-2012). The models were adjusted for sociodemographic characteristics of the households, place of residence, and lagged gross domestic product per capita.Results: We found a 6.3% reduction in the observed purchases of SSBs in 2014 compared with the expected purchases in that same year based on trends from 2008 to 2012. These reductions were higher among lower-income households, residents living in urban areas, and households with children. We also found a 16.2% increase in water purchases that was higher in low- and middle-income households, in urban areas, and among households with adults only.Conclusions: SSB purchases decreased and water purchases increased after an SSB tax was imposed in Mexico. The magnitude of these changes was greater in lower-income and urban households.

Concepts: City, Urban area, Household, São Paulo, Household income in the United States, Income quintiles, Home, National accounts

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Past studies have shown that personal subjective happiness is associated with various macro- and micro-level background factors, including environmental conditions, such as weather and the economic situation, and personal health behaviors, such as smoking and exercise. We contribute to this literature of happiness studies by using a geospatial approach to examine both macro and micro links to personal happiness. Our geospatial approach incorporates two major global datasets: representative national survey data from the International Social Survey Program (ISSP) and corresponding world weather data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). After processing and filtering 55,081 records of ISSP 2011 survey data from 32 countries, we extracted 5,420 records from China and 25,441 records from 28 other countries. Sensitivity analyses of different intervals for average weather variables showed that macro-level conditions, including temperature, wind speed, elevation, and GDP, are positively correlated with happiness. To distinguish the effects of weather conditions on happiness in different seasons, we also adopted climate zone and seasonal variables. The micro-level analysis indicated that better health status and eating more vegetables or fruits are highly associated with happiness. Never engaging in physical activity appears to make people less happy. The findings suggest that weather conditions, economic situations, and personal health behaviors are all correlated with levels of happiness.

Concepts: Climate, Season, Quantitative marketing research, Wind, Happiness, Social research, National accounts, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

3

The impact of legislated minimum wages on the early-life health of children living in low and middle-income countries has not been examined. For our analyses, we used data from the Demographic and Household Surveys (DHS) from 57 countries conducted between 1999 and 2013. Our analyses focus on height-for-age z scores (HAZ) for children under 5 years of age who were surveyed as part of the DHS. To identify the causal effect of minimum wages, we utilized plausibly exogenous variation in the legislated minimum wages during each child’s year of birth, the identifying assumption being that mothers do not time their births around changes in the minimum wage. As a sensitivity exercise, we also made within family comparisons (mother fixed effect models). Our final analysis on 49 countries reveal that a 1% increase in minimum wages was associated with 0.1% (95% CI = -0.2, 0) decrease in HAZ scores. Adverse effects of an increase in the minimum wage were observed among girls and for children of fathers who were less than 35 years old, mothers aged 20-29, parents who were married, parents who were less educated, and parents involved in manual work. We also explored heterogeneity by region and GDP per capita at baseline (1999). Adverse effects were concentrated in lower-income countries and were most pronounced in South Asia. By contrast, increases in the minimum wage improved children’s HAZ in Latin America, and among children of parents working in a skilled sector. Our findings are inconsistent with the hypothesis that increases in the minimum wage unconditionally improve child health in lower-income countries, and highlight heterogeneity in the impact of minimum wages around the globe. Future work should involve country and occupation specific studies which can explore not only different outcomes such as infant mortality rates, but also explore the role of parental investments in shaping these effects.

Concepts: Family, United States, Infant mortality, Employment, Mother, Minimum wage, Wage, National accounts

2

The purpose of this study was to estimate the economic burden of violence against children in South Africa. We assembled summative estimates of lifetime prevalence, calculated the magnitude of associations with negative outcomes, and thereby estimated the economic burden of violence against children. According to our calculations, 2.3 million and 84,287 disability-adjusted life-years (DALYs) lost in South Africa in 2015 were attributable to nonfatal and fatal violence against children, respectively. The estimated economic value of DALYs lost to violence against children (including both fatal and nonfatal) in South Africa in 2015 totalled ZAR173 billion (US $13.5 billion)-or 4.3% of South Africa’s gross domestic product (GDP) in 2015. In addition, the reduced earnings attributable to childhood physical violence and emotional violence in South Africa in 2015 were ZAR25.2 billion (US $2.0 billion) and ZAR9.6 billion (US $750 million), respectively. In addition, South Africa spent ZAR1.6 billion (US $124 million) on child care and protection in fiscal year 2015/2016, many of which costs are directly related to violence against children. This study confirms the importance of prioritising violence against children as a key social and economic concern for South Africa’s future.

Concepts: Mathematics, Value added, Child, Childhood, South Africa, Violence, Gross domestic product, National accounts

2

The level of alcohol consumption and related burden in a country are strongly impacted by the prevalence of abstinence from alcohol use. The objective of this study was to characterize the association of lifetime abstinence from alcohol use with economic wealth (as measured in the gross domestic product [GDP]) and Muslim religion on a country level.

Concepts: Alcoholism, Economics, Islam, National accounts