Sep 262015

Good govedownload (1)rnance and sound policy are under continuous threat from political corruption.  No country is totally free of it. This week’s guest, Elizabeth David-Barrett, has made this area her specialty and discusses with Charles not only the different forms it can take, but also various anti-corruption “counter-measures” in areas ranging from political donations, ministerial diaries, and lobbying to the “revolving door” between public office and business.

Elizabeth has recently made a special study of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, which aims to reduce bribery by mining and oil and gas companies in their dealings with the governments of resource-rich countries.  Here she describes how even countries with a history of serious corruption can be motivated to sign up. Elizabeth lectures at the University of Sussex, and has prepared reports on corruption issues in the UK  for Transparency International.

 Posted by at 11:48 pm
Sep 192015

WhySpiteri150 did “pink slime” in human food take so long to appear in the news?  How is our generosity affected by disaster stories? Would voters be influenced by sensational stories even if they are not about the candidates?

This week’s guest, Jonathan Spiteri,  shares his explorations of media bias and advertising, how coverage of stories can influence charitable giving, and how sensational news stories can change the way people vote.

Jonathan uses an interesting mix of economic modelling and survey data to tackle these questions. He’s just completing his PhD in economics at the University of Edinburgh. Read more about his work here.

 Posted by at 11:29 pm
Sep 122015

In this week’s episode Luzia Helfer outlines her clever experiments on the relationship between politicians and journalists  – one of mutual dependence and wariness.LH2

Luzia has taken a novel approach to the topic by running carefully designed experiments with real politicians and political journalists. She has focussed on discovering what features of politician’s messages secure media coverage, and what aspects of news stories prompt politicians to take action. Some of the results may surprise you.

Luzia is in the final stages of her doctorate in political science at the University of Leiden, and is a regular visitor with the University of Antwerp’s Media, Movements and Politics research group.

 Posted by at 9:39 pm
Sep 052015

What role did CLDhina’s 2008 milk contamination scandal play in transforming agriculture and food production in that country? How big is China’s organic food industry today? How tough are its standards?

Dairy products were never traditionally a major part of the Chinese diet, but have Chinese consumers stopped buying dairy products since 2008?

How is the question of public trust shaping food production and oversight in China, and does this hold any more general lessons?

Our guest Leonie Dendler joins us from Shanghai to discuss what she has learned from looking at this microcosm of the Chinese economy.  Leonie conducted her research as part of a research fellowship with Manchester University’s Sustainable Consumption Institute  in collaboration with the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research  at Fudan University, Shanghai.  You can learn more about Leonie’s research here.

 Posted by at 4:40 pm