A statistical evaluation of the effects of a structured postdoctoral programme
Postdoctoral programmes have recently become an important step leading from doctoral education to permanent academic careers in the social sciences. This paper investigates the effects of a large and structured postdoctoral programme in the social sciences on a number of academic and non-academic outcomes of fellows. Propensity score matching is employed to match fellows with applicants with similar characteristics who did not receive the fellowship; then the outcomes in the treatment and control groups are compared. The programme has a statistically significant positive effect on the general life satisfaction of former fellows and their publication activity. It is argued that an active and collegial research environment, with training in academic skills during postdoctoral employment, may improve the academic outcomes of postdoctoral fellows.
Imagine There Were No Humanities
The article analyzes the characteristics of the program of Assistance to Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) in the United States. This program is aimed at support and subsequent commercialization of high technology developed by small firms. The government agencies involved in the implementation of the program determine the research areas manage the allocated funds themselves. The program has been in operation for over 30 years and has proven to be effective. It provides business with funds necessary at the primary, the most risky phase of production of innovative goods and services, and also gives signals to the market about popular areas of innovation development. Participation in the program is a guarantee of a high level for innovative product or service produced by the firm and allows companies to raise additional funds. Conclusions drawn from the analysis of the SBIR may be useful for the policy support of science and technology in Russia. The implementation of programs similar to SBIR in Russia will solve the actual problem of innovation development, to reduce information asymmetry in the market of innovative products and services and help in attracting venture capital in high-technology projects.
IX International students’conference: INNOVATIONS IN SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY Allowed languages: English, German, French, Spanish. List of the sections possible: 1. Engineering Innovations 2. Modern Information Technologies 3. Electronics 4. Natural Sciences 5. Social Sciences
The notion of humanities has various meanings – a discipline / an art / a space for speculative thinking / secular humanism etc. I will focus on the ‘discipline’. Humanities as well as social sciences are concerned with human aspects of the world. It is difficult to define a boundary between them, both in their subject, and in method, still social sciences are interpreted as more empirical and formalized, closer to the ‘ideal’ of sciences. It is remarkable that historical studies traditionally have been considered part of the humanities, although in modern Academia, history is occasionally classified as a social science. My aim is to demonstrate why history has not become a real social science, although in 1960-80s historians who represented the most advanced trends within the discipline aspired to this. I then extrapolate my conclusions to other disciplines of the humanities.
I think two topics are central here: uneasy relationship between social theories and methods, and indispensability of the cognitive potential of the humanities.
Since mid-20th c. as a result of the ‘socialization’ of the humanities historians have barely produced theories of their own; instead they borrowed theories from social sciences. However, while the borrowing of the theories of other disciplines proved to be workable, the adoption of the methods of social sciences – psychometric testing, sociometric monitoring, ethnographic description, in-depth interview, long-term observation and s.o. – was impossible. In the end, the impossibility of using the social sciences’ methods ensures resistibility of the humanities and enables to preserve their disciplinary core. At the same time the humanities dealing with meanings can catch things more ephemeral than trends, patterns, mechanisms and statistical rules.
To bring what is hidden into the open is the task of any discipline; the question is what the nature of the hidden. The mystery of the humanities is in its ‘softness’, which they cannot be rid of, and which makes them flexible. Flexibility is not only a generic quality of the humanities, it also implies a very different cognitive mechanism. The area of the humanities still contains a large pool of vague ideas, which have powerful heuristic potential (Die Sattelzeit, longue durée, the Carnival, archeology of knowledge, la mort de l'auteur, etc). Moreover, flexibility of the humanities often leads to metaphorization of even highly formalized concepts of social sciences (path dependence, thick description, symbolic power, social interaction, actor, etc) that expands the field of their application.
The general trend towards ‘scientization’ of social sciences and the humanities, especially in the late 20th c. is balanced or compensated by a reverse tendency – the growth of fictional moment linked wither to social imagination, fantasy and fiction (when a wave or yet another ‘turn’ in the humanities does not work linearly but overlaps with similar tendencies). In contemporary sociology the turn to ‘imagination’ is actual since Wright Mills, but is also relevant for classical texts (the juxtaposition of Max Weber and Thomas Mann, a non-fiction novel and the sociology of the Chicago School etc.). At the same time, the interpretation of the humanities as arts, and not only sciences, following the well-known formula of Art and Science does not show their weakness or immaturity but rather their flexibility at the moments of social crisis or the rise of anti-scientist mood. In the history of knowledge the closeness of art history or philology to contemporary artistic trends (as in Russian formalism, for example) went well with aiming to scientific innovation – against stagnating academism.
Randomized controlled trials (RCTs) are considered gold standard in generating judicious evidence to support treatment decisions. Ideal-typical trials are called explanatory trials to distinguish it from trials completed under real-world conditions. The four most prevalent types of bias (selection-, performance-, attrition-, and detection-bias) can be avoided and internal validity of a study can be increased if all requested quality criteria will be met. The external validity can be neither investigated not can it be confirmed by randomized trials. But the confirmation of external validity is as important as the confirmation of internal validity because knowledge that has been generated in RCTs will be valuable only if it can be successfully applied to patients under real-world conditions. For confirmation of external validity the mentioned four types of bias have to be avoided. In addition, it has to be confirmed that the individuals from whom the evidence was derived are comparable to the individuals to whom the evidence should be applied. Violation of this simple appearing requirement is called 'sampling bias'. A two-step procedure seems to be useful to confirm internal as well as external evidence. As first step the efficacy of a therapeutic principle may be confirmed under ideal study conditions by using an explanatory trial without demanding the confirmation of external validity. In a second step the benefit for the investigated group of patients is examined under real-world conditions (pragmatic trial). The design and established methods for evaluation of these studies are discussed. The two-step approach offers three advantages: it reduces the risk to over-interpret the results of RCTs as explanatory trials can only demonstrate efficacy under ideal conditions. The benefit which is requested by our authorities can be demonstrated only by pragmatic trials which consider the external validity. Progress may possibly achieved only if controlled pragmatic trials will be used which can compare the influence of the intended (specific treatment effect) intervention with not-intended (confounder) interventions. Examples for these methods are the propensity score matching or structural equation models.
This volume consists of articles prepared after two conferences organized by the European Humanities University in Vilnius, Lithuania in 2011 and in 2012. The focus of both conferences was concentrated on the development of reforms and changes in higher education in the social sciences and humanities in Eastern Europe during the last two decades. The collapse of the communist system in Eastern Europe was followed by the enormous expansion of institutions of higher learning, especially in the field of social sciences and humanities. While responding to the great need of society for the education of urgently needed specialists in this area, most of the old and the newly established universities were confronted with a lack of professionals in this field. As a consequence, the overproduction of alleged specialists especially in subjects like law, business, management, and economics, has contributed to discrediting not only knowledge in these field, but also the value of education, consequently putting at risk the processes of transformation of post-totalitarian reality. The book addresses itself to the issues of possible steps of reforming the educational and institutional space in the Eastern European Universities.
The research is aimed to elaboration of the tools to measure the parental evaluation of the municipal preschool service, as a part of complex evaluation of preschool sector of education. The research needs are related to increasing number of types of preschool service providers, appearing nongovernmental providers, competition growing, including municipal sector. On the qualitative part, the individual interviews with parents (N=30) are conducting, the gathered data will be analyzed: coded, classified, and conceptualized to identify scope of parent’s evaluation criteria and parent’s meanings of that criteria.
This paper is the first to analyze the costs of job loss in Russia, using unique new data from the Russian Longitudinal Monitoring Survey over the years 2003–2008, including a special supplement on displacement that was initiated by us. We employ fixed effects regression models and propensity score matching techniques in order to establish the causal effect of displacement for displaced individuals. The paper is innovative insofar as we investigate fringe and in-kind benefits and the propensity to have an informal employment relationship as well as a permanent contract as relevant labor market outcomes upon displacement. We also analyze monthly earnings, hourly wages, employment and hours worked, which are traditionally investigated in the literature. Compared to the control group of non-displaced workers (i.e. stayers and quitters), displaced individuals face a significant income loss following displacement, which is mainly due to the reduction in employment and hours worked. This effect is robust to the definition of displacement. The losses seem to be more pronounced and are especially large for older workers with labor market experience and human capital acquired in Soviet times and for workers with primary and secondary education. Workers displaced from state firms experience particularly large relative losses in the short run, while such losses for workers laid off from private firms are more persistent. Turning to the additional non-conventional labor market outcomes, there is a loss in terms of the number of fringe and in-kind benefits for reemployed individuals but not in terms of their value. There is also some evidence of an increased probability of working in informal jobs if displaced. These results point towards the importance of both firm-specific human capital and of obsolete skills obtained under the centrally planned economy as well as to a wider occurrence of job insecurity among displaced workers.
Institutions affect investment decisions, including investments in human capital. Hence institutions are relevant for the allocation of talent. Good market-supporting institutions attract talent to productive value-creating activities, whereas poor ones raise the appeal of rent-seeking. We propose a theoretical model that predicts that more talented individuals are particularly sensitive in their career choices to the quality of institutions, and test these predictions on a sample of around 95 countries of the world. We find a strong positive association between the quality of institutions and graduation of college and university students in science, and an even stronger negative correlation with graduation in law. Our findings are robust to various specifications of empirical models, including smaller samples of former colonies and transition countries. The quality of human capital makes the distinction between educational choices under strong and weak institutions particularly sharp. We show that the allocation of talent is an important link between institutions and growth.