64 results for Working or discussion paper, 2008

  • Vector opinion dynamics: An extended model for consensus in social networks

    Alaali, Alya; Savarimuthu, Bastin Tony Roy; Purvis, Maryam A. (2008-10)

    Working or discussion paper
    University of Otago

    Most people hold a variety of opinions on different topics ranging from sports, entertainment, spiritual beliefs to moral principles. These can be based on a personal reflection and evaluation or on their interactions with others. How do we influence others in our social network and how do they influence us and how do we reach consensus? In this paper, we present our investigations based on the use of multiple opinions (a vector of opinions) that should be considered to determine consensus in a society. We have extended Deffuant model and have tested our model on top of two well-known network topologies the Barabasi-Albert network and the Erdos-Renyi network. We have implemented a two phase filtering process determining the consensus.

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  • VoIP application development using SIP protocol

    Milic, Dee; Zhou, Dong; Situ, Hailing (2008-03)

    Working or discussion paper
    University of Otago

    This aim of this project was to the explore JAIN SLEE standard 1.1 programming model and SIMPLE (Sip for Instant Messaging and Presence Leveraging Extensions) protocols, developing a Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) application with functions that include making a phone call, instant messaging to peers, and at the same time providing users with buddy list information of their peers. The JAIN SLEE platform RhinoSDK 2.0 (developed by OpenCloud) was to be used and an example application that is included with RhinoSDK 2.0 was to be extended. During the project the phone call functionality was scoped out of the project and the focus was set on implementing the instant messaging and presence functionality. This report describes the functions that have been implemented on the server side and client side of this VoIP application.

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  • Meta-analysis of empirical evidence on the labour market impacts of immigration

    Longhi, Simonetta; Nijkamp, Peter; Poot, Jacques (2008-02)

    Working or discussion paper
    University of Waikato

    The increasing proportion of immigrants in the population of many countries has raised concerns about the ‘absorption capacity’ of the labour market, and fuelled extensive empirical research in countries that attract migrants. In previous papers we synthesized the conclusions of this empirical literature by means of meta-analyses of the impact of immigration on wages and employment of native-born workers. While we have shown that the labour market impacts in terms of wages and employment are rather small, the sample of studies available to generate comparable effect sizes was severely limited by the heterogeneity in study approaches. In the present paper, we take an encompassing approach and consider a broad range of labour market outcomes: wages, employment, unemployment and labour force participation. We compare 45 primary studies published between 1982 and 2007 for a total of 1,572 effect sizes. We trichotomise the various labour market outcomes as benefiting, harming or not affecting the native born, and use an ordered probit model to assess the relationship between this observed impact and key study characteristics such as type of country, methodology, period of investigation and type of migrant.

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  • Which households are most distant from health centers in rural China? Evidence from a GIS network analysis

    Gibson, John; Deng, Xiangzheng; Boe-Gibson, Geua; Rozelle, Scott; Huang, Jikun (2008-12)

    Working or discussion paper
    University of Waikato

    In this paper we have two objectives - one empirical; one methodological. Although China’s leaders are beginning to pay attention to health care in rural China, there are still concerns about access to health services. To examine this issue, we use measures of travel distances to health services to examine the nature of coverage in Shaanxi Province, our case study. The mean distance by road to the nearest health center is still more than 6 kilometers. When we use thresholds for access of 5 and 10 kilometers we find that more than 40 (15) percent of the rural population lives outside of these 5 (10) kilometer service areas for health centers. The nature of the access differs by geographical region and demographic composition of the household. The methodological contribution of our paper originates from a key feature of our analysis in which we use Geographic Information System (GIS) network analysis methods to measure traveling distance along the road network. We compare these measures to straight-line distance measures. Road distances (produced by network analysis) produce measures (using means) that are nearly twice as great as straight-line distances. Moreover, the errors in the measures (that is, the difference between road distances and straight-line distances) are not random. Therefore, traditional econometric methods of ameliorating the effects of measurement errors, such as instrument variables regression, will not produce consistent results when used with straight-line distances.

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  • Mapping poverty in rural China: How much does the environment matter?

    Olivia, Susan; Gibson, John; Rozelle, Scott; Huang, Jikun; Deng, Xiangzheng (2008-09)

    Working or discussion paper
    University of Waikato

    In this paper, we apply a recently developed small-area estimation technique to derive geographically detailed estimates of consumption-based poverty and inequality in rural Shaanxi, China. We also investigate whether using environmental variables derived mainly from satellite remote sensing improves upon traditional approaches that only use household survey and census data. According to our results, ignoring environmental variables in statistical analyses that predict small-area poverty rates leads to targeting errors. In other words, using environmental variables both helps more accurately identify poor areas (so they should be able to receive more transfers of poor area funds) and identify non-poor areas (which would allow policy makers to reduce poverty funds in these better off areas and redirect them to poor areas). Using area-based targeting may be an efficient way to reach the poor since many counties and townships in rural Shaanxi have low levels of inequality, even though, on average, there is more within-group than between-group inequality. Using information on locations that are, in fact, receiving poverty assistance, our analysis also produces evidence that official poverty policy in Shaanxi targets particular areas which in reality are no poorer than other areas that do not get targeted.

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  • How pro-poor is the selection of seasonal migrant workers from Tonga under New Zealand’s Recognised Seasonal Employer (RSE) Program?

    Gibson, John; McKenzie, David; Rohorua, Halahingano Tu'akolo Siufanga (2008-06)

    Working or discussion paper
    University of Waikato

    Temporary migration programs for unskilled workers are increasingly being proposed as a way to both relieve labour shortages in developed countries and aid development in sending countries without entailing many of the costs associated with permanent migration. New Zealand’s new Recognised Seasonal Employer (RSE) program is designed with both these goals in mind, enabling unskilled workers from the Pacific Islands to work in horticulture and viticulture in New Zealand for a period of up to seven months. However, the development impact on a sending country will depend not only on how many workers participate, but also on who participates. This paper uses new survey data from Tonga to examine the process of selecting Tongans to work in the RSE, and to analyze how pro-poor the recruitment process has been to date. We find that the workers recruited come from largely agricultural backgrounds and have lower average incomes and schooling levels than Tongans not participating in the program. We also compare the characteristics of RSE workers to those of Tongans applying to permanently migrate to New Zealand through the Pacific Access Category, and find the RSE workers to be more rural and less educated. The RSE therefore does seem to have succeeded in creating new opportunities for relatively poor and unskilled Tongans to work in New Zealand.

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  • Agglomeration externalities, innovation and regional growth: Theoretical perspectives and meta-analysis

    de Groot, Henri L. F.; Poot, Jacques; Smit, Martijn J. (2008-02)

    Working or discussion paper
    University of Waikato

    Technological change and innovation and are central to the quest for regional development. In the globally-connected knowledge-driven economy, the relevance of agglomeration forces that rely on proximity continues to increase, paradoxically despite declining real costs of information, communication and transportation. Globally, the proportion of the population living in cities continues to grow and sprawling cities remain the engines of regional economic transformation. The growth of cities results from a complex chain that starts with scale, density and geography, which then combine with industrial structure characterised by its extent of specialisation, competition and diversity, to yield innovation and productivity growth that encourages employment expansion, and further urban growth through inward migration. This paper revisits the central part of this virtuous circle, namely the Marshall-Arrow-Romer externalities (specialisation), Jacobs externalities (diversity) and Porter externalities (competition) that have provided alternative explanations for innovation and urban growth. The paper evaluates the statistical robustness of evidence for such externalities presented in 31 scientific articles, all building on the seminal work of Glaeser et al. (1992). We aim to explain variation in estimation results using study characteristics by means of ordered probit analysis. Among the results, we find that the impact of diversity depends on how it is measured and that diversity is important for the high-tech sector. High population density increases the chance of finding positive effects of specialisation on growth. More recent data find more positive results for both specialization and diversity, suggesting that agglomeration externalities become more important over time. Finally, primary study results depend on whether or not the externalities are considered jointly and on other features of the regression model specification.

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  • Partner selection mechanisms for agent cooperation

    Ebadi, Toktam; Purvis, Martin; Purvis, Maryam A. (2008-10)

    Working or discussion paper
    University of Otago

    In a multi-agent system, a single agent may not be capable of completing complex tasks. Therefore agents are required to form a team to fulfill the task requirements. In this paper an agent model is introduced that facilitates cooperation among agents. A multi-threaded multi-agent simulation framework is designed to test the model. The experimental results demonstrate that the model is significantly useful in achieving cooperation under various environmental constraints. It also allows agents to adjust their teammate selection strategies according to environmental constraints.

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  • Dairy disaggregation and joint production in an economy-wide model

    Charteris, Angus; Winchester, Niven (2008-11-01)

    Working or discussion paper
    University of Otago

    We examine the impact of dairy disaggregation and joint production on trade liberalisation outcomes in an economy-wide model. Depending on parameterisation, our model includes either (a) a single dairy commodity, (b) several dairy commodities without joint production, or (c) several dairy commodities with joint production. In a numerical application, we consider the removal of US tariffs on dairy exports from New Zealand (the world’s largest dairy exporter). We show that failing to account for joint production when dairy commodities are disaggregated leads to misleading results. Our preferred dairy production function differs from those used in other applied trade models.

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  • The determinants of international students' return intention

    Soon, Jan-Jan (2008-07-01)

    Working or discussion paper
    University of Otago

    Students’ non-return is a specific type of brain drain. This paper is an empirical study of the determinants of students’ return intention in New Zealand. Applying a binary logit model on a comprehensive set of survey data, this study finds that initial intention prior to leaving for abroad is the most important factor determining whether or not a student intends to return home after completing his tertiary education. Students’ perceptions on comparative aspects of the home and host country, such as wage competitiveness, working environment, opportunities for knowledge application and lifestyle, also contribute significantly to return intention.

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  • Is there a dirty little secret? Non-tariff barriers and the gains from trade

    Winchester, Niven (2008-01-01)

    Working or discussion paper
    University of Otago

    We estimate tariff equivalents (TEs) of non-tariff barriers (NTBs) using a series of gravity equations. Our analysis focuses on New Zealand, a nation that has a comprehensive free trade agreement (with Australia) that can be used to benchmark other trade negotiations. We estimate reductions in TEs following trade negotiations as differences between New Zealand-Australia TEs and those applying to trade between New Zealand and other nations. Simulating reductions in tariffs and NTBs in a computable general equilibrium (CGE) model indicates that gains from trade liberalisation are much larger when tariffs and NTBs are consider than when only tariffs are reduced

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  • On the testability of BDI agent systems

    Winikoff, Michael; Cranefield, Stephen (2008-11)

    Working or discussion paper
    University of Otago

    Before deploying a software system we need to assure ourselves (and stake-holders) that the system will behave correctly. This assurance is usually done by testing the system. However, it is intuitively obvious that adaptive systems, including agent-based systems, can exhibit complex behaviour, and are thus harder to test. In this paper we examine this “obvious intuition” in the case of Belief-Desire-Intention (BDI) agents. We analyse the size of the behaviour space of BDI agents and show that although the intuition is correct, the factors that influence the size are not what we expected them to be; specifically, we found that the introduction of failure handling had a much larger effect on the size of the behaviour space than we expected. We also discuss the implications of these findings on the testability of BDI agents.

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  • Health Aid and Governance in Developing Countries

    Fielding, David (2008-11-01)

    Working or discussion paper
    University of Otago

    Despite anecdotal evidence that the quality of governance in recipient countries affects the allocation of international health aid, there is no quantitative evidence on the magnitude of this effect, or on which dimensions of governance influence donor decisions. We measure health aid flows over 2001-2005 for 87 aid recipients, matching aid data with measures of different dimensions of governance and a range of country-specific economic and health characteristics. Both corruption and political rights, but not civil rights, have a significant impact on aid. The sensitivity of aid to corruption might be explained by a perception that poor institutions make health aid inefficient. However, even when we allow for variations in the level of corruption, political rights still have a significant impact on aid allocation. This suggests that health aid is sometimes used as an incentive to reward political reforms, even though (as we find) such aid is not fungibile.

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  • Which Institutions are Good for Your Health? The Deep Determinants of Comparative Cross-country Health Status

    Knowles, Stephen; Owen, P. Dorian (2008-12-01)

    Working or discussion paper
    University of Otago

    We extend the literature on the deep determinants of economic development by focusing on life expectancy, instead of income per capita, as an indicator of economic development, and by examining the role of informal, as well as formal, institutions. Our empirical results suggest that formal and informal institutions are substitutes. Improving informal institutions has positive effects on life expectancy that are statistically significant for most countries and stronger than the effects of improving formal institutions. The gains from improving informal institutions are greatest for countries in which institutions are weakest. Geographical factors also help explain cross-country variation in life expectancy.

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  • The Union Threat Effect in Construction: An Illustration with Data from Plumber and Pipefitter Union Locals

    Duncan, Kevin; Philips, Peter; Prus, Mark (2008-05-01)

    Working or discussion paper
    University of Otago

    Data from plumbing and pipefitting union locals are used to measure the effect of union organizing strength on the wages of high-skilled and semi-skilled nonunion workers. We find that increases in union strength are associated with higher wages for nonunion journeymen. However, the wages of lower skilled, nonunion journeymen helpers are not related to our measures of union recruitment power. These results are consistent with the organizing tactic of labor stripping where skilled nonunion workers are convinced to leave their nonunion employers and join the union. Greater union strength is not associated with higher wages for union journeymen. Rather, these workers derive increased employment opportunities where the union is strong. Our results suggest that the union threat effect is different in the construction industry where unions develop unique strategies due to the nature of the industry.

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  • Estimating quarterly GDP Data for the South Pacific Island Nations

    Lahari, Willie; Haug, Alfred A.; Garces-Ozanne, Arlene (2008-05-01)

    Working or discussion paper
    University of Otago

    Time series analyses generally rely on having a relatively high frequency of consistent and reliable data to work with. However for many of the South Pacific Island Nations (SPINS), data on major macroeconomic series, like GDP, are typically available only annually from the early 1980s. This paper empirically estimates quarterly GDP data from annual series using the approach of Abeysinghe and Rajaguru (2004), following the basic framework of Chow and Lin (1971), Fernandez (1981) and Litterman (1983). We link the available annual GDP series for a select group of SPINS with GDP-related series (predictor variables) that are available quarterly. We deem that our quarterly estimates of GDP are more consistent and reliable compared to estimates obtained through less sophisticated methods of univariate interpolation.

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  • Modelling the Effects of Socio-Economic Characteristics on Survey Trust: Empirical Evidence from Cameroon

    Etang, Alvin (2008-10)

    Working or discussion paper
    University of Otago

    A large number of studies have used both an economic experiment and surveys to measure trust. There is some evidence in the literature on how behaviour in the experiment is related to socio-economic characteristics (for example, age, gender, income levels, educational attainment, marital status and group memberships). However, the relationship between survey trust and such characteristics has not been explored in the current literature. This paper explores this relationship. Generally, the extent of trust declines as the radius of trust widens, suggesting that social distance is important. The results show some evidence that survey trust is correlated with socioeconomic characteristics. However, the correlates of context-specific and non-context specific trust are different. The number of years lived in the village is the key determinant of non-context specific trust. ROSCA membership is important for noncontext specific trust in fellow ROSCA members only. Age and marital status are significantly negatively correlated with non-context specific trust in other village members. Income is what really matters for context-specific trust; however, years lived in the village and whether someone has ever lived in an urban area are also correlated with trust in fellow villagers.

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  • Report of Otago contributions to Telecom LifeLink Project

    Lewis, Nathan D; Situ, Hailing; Middlemiss, Melanie (2008-07)

    Working or discussion paper
    University of Otago

    Gartner has for some time been reporting the potential for virtual world technology to become the next wave of the Internet, delivering what is known as the Web3.D environment. This is characterised by a high level of user participation through immersion in the virtual world. Gartner has predicted that by 2011, 80% of internet users will be regular users of Web3.D technology. Project LifeLink was initiated to discover what opportunities for Telecom might exist in the growth of business and consumer interest in virtual worlds. This has focused on a number of technologies, in particular Second Life, OpenSimulator (OpenSIM) and JAIN SLEE. The project has been run by Telecom with coordination and support from MediaLab, and with researchers at Canterbury and Otago Universities. This report describes the work undertaken at Otago University to implement a gateway to enable demonstration of communications between an object in Second Life and the JAIN SLEE environment in order to interoperate with external network services.

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  • Governance regulatory changes, IFRS adoption, and New Zealand audit and non-audit fees: Empirical evidence

    Griffin, Paul A; Lont, David H; Sun, Yuan (2008)

    Working or discussion paper
    University of Otago

    This study examines the association between overseas and New Zealand governance regulatory reforms in New Zealand public companies’ audit and non-audit fees. We state audit and non-audit fee models, and use temporal and IFRS indicator variables to relate the timing of the fee changes with the incidence of the overseas and local governance reforms. We find that audit fees increased in New Zealand over 2002-2006. Such increases associate reliably with the transition to and adoption of NZ IFRS and not with the overseas governance reforms in the United States and Australia, enacted earlier. Our results also show a decrease in non-audit fees over the same period but we find no IFRS effect for non-audit fees. JEL Classification: C30, K22, L80, M40, M41.

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  • Governance regulatory changes, IFRS adoption, and New Zealand audit and non-audit fees: Empirical evidence

    Griffin, Paul A; Lont, David H; Sun, Yuan (2008)

    Working or discussion paper
    University of Otago

    This study examines the association between overseas and New Zealand governance regulatory reforms in New Zealand public companies’ audit and non-audit fees. We state audit and non-audit fee models, and use temporal and IFRS indicator variables to relate the timing of the fee changes with the incidence of the overseas and local governance reforms. We find that audit fees increased in New Zealand over 2002-2006. Such increases associate reliably with the transition to and adoption of NZ IFRS and not with the overseas governance reforms in the United States and Australia, enacted earlier. Our results also show a decrease in non-audit fees over the same period but we find no IFRS effect for non-audit fees. JEL Classification: C30, K22, L80, M40, M41.

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