Genocide and State-Sponsored Killing

May 13, 2018

The chapter gives an account of genocide, linking this with the wider phenomenon of state sponsored killing. Firstly some of the key dimensions of genocide in legal and extra-legal scholarship are introduced, identifying points where differing interpretations of the crime emerge. The prevalence and distribution of genocide is examined in terms of a snapshot of the current situation, historical surveys and attempts to calculate the number dying in state sponsored killings. An account of different ways of thinking about victims and perpetrators leads in to a summary of explanatory frameworks, concluding with recent attempts to create multi-level, integrated explanations for genocide. Finally, the record of preventive action since 1948 is examined, suggesting some reasons for changes in the willingness to intervene during, or to prosecute after, genocidal episodes.

via Genocide and State-Sponsored Killing by Andy Aydın-Aitchison :: SSRN

Should Government Reduce Inequality in Life Spans?

May 7, 2018

When I talk to people, I find that they generally agree with, and rarely strongly oppose, forcible government transfers of income from the rich to the poor to reduce income inequality. But when I suggest that the government transfer medical expenditures from women to men to reduce life-expectancy inequality, I get a very different reaction. Often, the listener will simply give me a strange look and quickly depart. Those who do respond verbally, however, typically say that I couldn’t possibly be serious because my idea is outrageously silly. I agree. It is silly. But I am completely serious in suggesting it.

via Dwight R. Lee, Should Government Reduce Inequality in Life Spans? | Library of Economics and Liberty

Testing Rational Addiction: When Lifetime is Uncertain, One Lag is Enough

May 5, 2018

The rational addiction model is usually tested by estimating a linear second-order difference Euler equation, which may produce unreliable estimates. We show that a linear first-order difference equation is a better alternative. This empirical specification is appropriate under the reasonable assumption that people are uncertain about the time of their death, it is based on the same structural assumptions used in the literature, and it retains all policy implications of the deterministic rational addiction model. It is also empirically convenient because it is simple, it allows using efficient estimation strategies that do not require instrumental variables, and it is robust to the possible non-stationarity of the data. As an application, we estimate the demand for smoking in the US from 1970 to 2016, and we show that it is consistent with the rational addiction model.

via Testing Rational Addiction: When Lifetime is Uncertain, One Lag is Enough by Davide Dragone, Davide Raggi :: SSRN

Public Mass Murderers and Federal Mental Health Background Checks

May 5, 2018

The litany of public mass murders, from Aurora, Newtown, Charleston, Las Vegas, and Parkland to less well‐known incidents that occur yearly, has focused national attention on federally mandated mental health background checks of prospective gun purchasers. The call has been to put more gun‐disqualifying mental health records into the National Instant Criminal Background Check System database to prevent “deranged” murderers from buying guns and running amok. Our study examines whether increasing the robustness of the mental health background database will likely prevent potential public mass murderers from buying guns. Building on research that shows that serious mental illness contributes little to the risk of interpersonal violence and, further, that few persons with serious mental illness acquire gun‐disqualifying mental health records, we examine whether public mass murderers are among the small percentage of those with serious mental illness who do have gun‐disqualifying mental health records. Using a large sample of 106 US offenders who used a firearm to commit a public mass murder from 1990 to 2014, we find that half of the offenders had a history of mental illness or mental health treatment but that less than 5 percent had gun‐disqualifying mental health records. Implications of these findings and recommendations for further research are discussed.

via Public Mass Murderers and Federal Mental Health Background Checks by James Silver, William Fisher, John Horgan :: SSRN

‘How Long Do I Have Left?’ AI Can Help Answer That Question

April 30, 2018

A new algorithm developed at Stanford Medicine could help. Analyzing data from hundreds of thousands of anonymized medical records, the model predicts which patients are likely to die in the next 3 to 12 months. In early tests, the algorithm analyzed medical data of patients who had already passed away and correctly predicted their remaining life expectancy in 9 out of 10 cases.

via ‘How Long Do I Have Left?’ AI Can Help Answer That Question – The Experts – WSJ

The Mortality Effects of Retirement: Evidence from Social Security Eligibility at Age 62

January 17, 2018

Social Security eligibility begins at age 62, and approximately one third of Americans immediately claim at that age. We examine whether age 62 is associated with a discontinuous change in aggregate mortality, a key measure of population health. Using mortality data that covers the entire U.S. population and includes exact dates of birth and death, we document a robust two percent increase in male mortality immediately after age 62. The change in female mortality is smaller and imprecisely estimated. Additional analysis suggests that the increase in male mortality is connected to retirement from the labor force and associated lifestyle changes.

via The Mortality Effects of Retirement: Evidence from Social Security Eligibility at Age 62 by Maria Fitzpatrick, Timothy Moore :: SSRN

Finding Purpose for a Good Life. But Also a Healthy One

January 1, 2018

Another study followed more than 6,000 individuals over 14 years and found that those with greater purpose were 15 percent less likely to die than those who were aimless, and that having purpose was protective across the life span — for people in their 20s as well as those in their 70s.

via Finding Purpose for a Good Life. But Also a Healthy One. – The New York Times