The Centre is busy with a wide range of projects. Expand a project to see the publications currently being written therewithin.
Decline of Democracy [Internal Project]
“Media and Democratic Capacity ” - Daniel Waters, Frank Bohn
The behaviour of media producers and a media-consuming public is modelled analytically, creating a structure for media-related threats to democracy, such as polarisation and a lacking ‘sense of belonging’, to be linked with media market characteristics. In the Model, consumers make purchasing decisions based on the quality and style (entertaining vs informative) of the product they purchase, as well as to what extent a publications’ ideological views diverge from their own, represented by a Hotelling-inspired ‘transportation cost’. The Model allows for media producers to alter these characteristics to attract consumers. There is a wealth of literature that analyses the way media shapes the political views of consumers, however this analytical model allows the bidirectional relationship between media consumers and producers to be investigated, which is currently not well understood.
The paper incorporates several different frameworks active in the Political Science field, including Receive-Accept-Sample (Zaller, 1992) and Motivated Reasoning methods of opinion change, summarising the distinct outcomes resulting from the frameworks’ differing assumptions. The Model allows media regulation to be simplified, amalgamating anti-monopolistic, political influence, labour, and cultural protection policies into one streamlined framework (Harcourt & Picard, 2009).
“Political Parties and Democratic Capacity” - Daniel Waters
This forthcoming work will investigate how political parties strengthen (or erode) democratic capacity. We are seeing issues arise at both ends of the party-system spectrum - staunch two-party systems, such as in the US, are experiencing headwinds distinct (and yet as problematic) to multi-party systems, such as the Netherlands. What characteristics of political parties threaten democratic capacity, and what steps can be taken to improve the efficacy of political party systems?
“Grand Scale Opinion Dynamics” - Rein van Alebeek, Frank Bohn, Eric Cator
Rapid-frequency interaction on large scale social networks yields highly complex behaviour. Expanding upon concepts from the field of opinion dynamics and incorporating literature from the field of social sciences, we simulate and analytically evaluate the possibility of macro-level stability of public opinion for a wide class of interaction types. In contrast to much of the existing literature in opinion dynamics, we allow for the agents to have differing characteristics, nonlinear interaction, and random interaction times. Finally, we derive an integro-differential equation that describes the evolution of public opinion for sufficiently large populations in a hugely more computationally efficient manner.
“Balancing Techniques for Interacting Agent Systems” - Rein van Alebeek, Eric Cator
This paper explains a novel method to describe and simulate equilibrium (steady) states of public opinion formation in large populations. By balancing the inflow and outflow of different types of opinions, a so-called stochastic partial differential equation is derived. This master equation provides us with a significantly deeper insight in the dynamics of the system, and furthermore hands us tools to simulate the system in a much more efficient manner.
Unconditional Basic Income (UBI) [Internal Project]
“UBI and Human Capital Investment” - Daniel Waters, Sascha Füllbrunn, Frank bohn, Jörn Sickmann, Thomas Pitz
The extent to which individuals invest in human development (as opposed to shirking) in an environment with a universal basic income (UBI) is not well understood. We are constructing an analytical model incorporating such factors to better understand in what circumstances a UBI may be feasible. We are planning experimental work, in partnership with colleagues from Hochschule Rhein-Waal, utilising ‘real-effort’ methods, the findings of which will complement our theoretical results.
Multi-Municipality Collaborative Outsourcing [External Project]
[Working Title] “Multi-Municipality Collaborative Outsourcing” - Frank Bohn and Bart Voorn
Based on the paper ‘Multiple Principals, Multiple Problems’ (Voorn et al., 2019), the process of municipalities collectively outsourcing a service to a single agent is formulated in a game-theoretic setup. Borrowing concepts from fuzzy logic and Bayesian updating, we capture the most prominent complexities occurring in these collaborations, such as asymmetric information, misaligned objectives, and unequal power structures. Proving that these issues lead to loss of market efficiency, we make policy recommendations in order to address these inefficiencies.
Measuring Efficiency of Financial Markets [External Project]
[Working Title] “Measuring Randomness in Financial Data: Benchmarking the Pincus Index” - Rein van Alebeek, Sascha Füllbrunn, Sven Nolte
Fama’s infamous characterisation of market efficiency (Fama, 1970) implies that an efficient market should be devoid of predictable patterns. Although there are a multitude of randomness metrics, the concept of randomness in datasets remains rather elusive. Based on the works of Pincus et al. (1991) and the follow-up work by Delgado-Bonal (2019), we construct specific artificial datasets and use these to construct a benchmark for a wide range of randomness measures.
Academic Capacity in Sub-Saharan Africa [External Project]
“Capacity Building in Sub-Saharan Academia: The Impact of International Collaboration” - Daniel Waters, Lili Wang
The impact of international collaboration and funding on capacity building in Sub-Saharan African (SSA) academia is investigated using Web of Science publication data and qualitative interviews conducted in Nigeria. Evidence supports collaborations with South Africa, Germany, and China, as well as intra-SSA and domestic collaboration, having a significant and positive effect on local research capacity.
Partnerships with USA and China increase the quantity of high quality (first-quartile) publications in Africa, and only USA collaborations significantly increase the rate of Q1 publications. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has the strongest positive impact on research output of funders analysed, closely followed by the National Science Foundation, while the National Institutes of Health (US) is found to have a negative impact on output.