70 results for Working or discussion paper, 2007

  • Bringing nature back into cities: urban land environments, indigenous cover and urban restoration

    Clarkson, Bruce D.; Wehi, Priscilla M.; Brabyn, Lars (2007)

    Working or discussion paper
    University of Waikato

    1. The restoration of urban ecosystems is an increasingly important strategy to maintain and enhance indigenous biodiversity as well as reconnecting people to the environment. High levels of endemism, the sensitivity of species that have evolved without humans, and the invasion of exotic species have all contributed to severe depletion of indigenous biodiversity in New Zealand. In this work, we analysed national patterns of urban biodiversity in New Zealand and the contribution that urban restoration can make to maximising and enhancing indigenous biodiversity. 2. We analysed data from two national databases in relation to the 20 largest New Zealand cities. We quantified existing indigenous biodiversity within cities, both within the core built up matrix and in centroid buffer zones of 5, 10 and 20 km around this urban centre. We analysed the type and frequency of land environments underlying cities as indicators of the range of native ecosystems that are (or can potentially be) represented within the broader environmental profile of New Zealand. We identified acutely threatened land environments that are represented within urban and periurban areas and the potential role of cities in enhancing biodiversity from these land environments. 3. New Zealand cities are highly variable in both landform and level of indigenous resource. Thirteen of 20 major land environments in New Zealand are represented in cities, and nearly three-quarters of all acutely threatened land environments are represented within 20 km of city cores nationally. Indigenous land cover is low within urban cores, with less than 2% on average remaining, and fragmentation is high. However, indigenous cover increases to more than 10% on average in the periurban zone, and the size of indigenous remnants also increases. The number of remaining indigenous landcover types also increases from only 5 types within the urban centre, to 14 types within 20 km of the inner urban cores. 4. In New Zealand, ecosystem restoration alone is not enough to prevent biodiversity loss from urban environments, with remnant indigenous cover in the urban core too small (and currently too degraded) to support biodiversity long-term. For some cities, indigenous cover in the periurban zone is also extremely low. This has significant ramifications for the threatened lowland and coastal environments that are most commonly represented in cities. Reconstruction of ecosystems is required to achieve a target of 10% indigenous cover in cities: the addition of land to land banks for this purpose is crucial. Future planning that protects indigenous remnants within the periurban zone is critical to the survival of many species within urban areas, mitigating the homogenisation and depletion of indigenous flora and fauna typical of urbanisation. A national urban biodiversity plan would help city councils address biodiversity issues beyond a local and regional focus, while encouraging predominantly local solutions to restoration challenges, based on the highly variable land environments, ecosystems and patch connectivity present within different urban areas.

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  • Demographic change and regional competitiveness: The effects of immigration and ageing

    Poot, Jacques (2007-02)

    Working or discussion paper
    University of Waikato

    The demographic profile of a region is usually seen as a slowly changing background phenomenon in the analysis of regional competitiveness and regional growth. However, regional demographic change can have a significant impact on regional competitiveness and such change is often more rapid and profound than at the national level. In turn, regional population size, growth, composition and distribution are endogenous to regional economic development. This paper focuses on the impact of population ageing and immigration on aspects of regional competitiveness such as innovation, entrepreneurship and productivity. Immigration and ageing trends have generated huge separate literatures but it is argued here that it is fruitful to consider these trends jointly. Theoretically, there are many channels through which immigration and population ageing can affect regional competitiveness. There is empirical evidence that population ageing reduces regional competitiveness, while immigration – particularly of entrepreneurs and highly skilled workers to metropolitan areas – enhances competitiveness. Much of the available literature is based on smallscale case studies and rigorous econometric research on the impact of demographic change at the regional level is still remarkably rare. Some directions for further research are suggested.

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  • The business of social responsibility: Evidence from the garment industry in Northeast Thailand

    Lim, Steven; Cameron, Michael Patrick (2007-12)

    Working or discussion paper
    University of Waikato

    Many business managers demonstrate a reluctance to engage fully with corporate social responsibility (CSR). They often perceive CSR as a cost and their CSR activities tend to be piecemeal and defensive. Such suboptimal outcomes can stem from a failure to appreciate a firm’s social assets. We suggest that firms have the potential to engage much more fully with CSR, in a manner that is consistent with a profit-maximizing approach to business. But managers need help in both gaining an awareness of the social contributions that they can make and in navigating their way through CSR issues. To this end, we outline a program of four-Ds, namely dialogue, data, design and delivery, to assist managers integrate CSR issues into their overall business strategies. Our case study of the garment industry in Thailand illustrates how CSR issues can be leveraged to increase worker productivity and deliver positive social and community health outcomes, despite operating in an area that is often subject to criticism.

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  • Using flexible taste distributions to value collective reputation for environmentally-friendly production methods

    Scarpa, Riccardo; Thiene, Mara; Marangon, Francesco (2007-11)

    Working or discussion paper
    University of Waikato

    In this paper we investigate consumer preferences for various environmentally-friendly production systems for carrots. We use discrete-choice multi-attribute stated-preference data to explore the effect of the collective reputation of growers from an Alpine valley with an established reputation for its environmentally-friendly production: Val di Gresta “the valley of organic orchards”. Data analysis of the panel of discrete responses identifies unobserved taste heterogeneity for organic, biodynamic and place of origin along with extra variance associated with experimentally designed alternatives. The assumed parametric taste distributions are each tested using the semi-nonparametric specification proposed by Fosgerau and Bierlaire (2007), while the null of normality cannot be rejected for organic and biodynamic production methods, it is rejected for the place of origin. The latter is found to be bi-modal, with modes at each side of zero. The use of a flexible taste distribution increases the plausibility of this form of heterogeneity and it appears promising for future applied studies.

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  • Moving to opportunity, leaving behind what? Evaluating the initial effects of a migration policy on incomes and poverty in source areas

    McKenzie, David; Gibson, John; Stillman, Steven (2007-11)

    Working or discussion paper
    University of Waikato

    Migration to New Zealand and consequent remittance inflows are dominant features of many Pacific Island countries. Evaluating the effect of these people and money flows on incomes and poverty in the Pacific is potentially complicated by the non-random selection of emigrants. This paper uses the randomization provided by an immigration ballot under the Pacific Access Category (PAC) of New Zealand’s immigration policy to address this problem. We survey applicants to the 2002-05 PAC ballots in Tonga and compare outcomes for the remaining family of emigrants with those for similar families who were unsuccessful in the ballots. We then contrast these estimates with more conventional ones that construct no-emigration counterfactuals by deducting remittance income from the remaining family of PAC emigrants and adding back the potential home earnings of emigrants. The results suggest that the economic welfare of remaining family may fall in the initial period after members of their household move to New Zealand. We also find that non-experimental methods of constructing counterfactual income are likely to work well only in rare situations where there is random selection of emigrants.

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  • Designs efficiency for non-market valuation with choice modelling: how to measure it, what to report and why

    Rose, John M.; Scarpa, Riccardo (2007-10)

    Working or discussion paper
    University of Waikato

    We review the basic principles for the evaluation of design efficiency in discrete choice modelling with a focus on efficiency of WTP estimates from the multinomial logit model. The discussion is developed under the realistic assumption that researchers can plausibly define a prior on the utility coefficients. Some new measures of design performance in applied studies are proposed and their rationale discussed. An empirical example based on the generation and comparison of fifteen separate designs from a common set of assumptions illustrates the relevant considerations to the context of non-market valuation, with particular emphasis placed on C-efficiency. Conclusions are drawn for the practice of reporting in non-market valuation and for future work on design research.

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  • The public sector pay premium and compensating differentials in the New Zealand labour market

    Gibson, John (2007-10)

    Working or discussion paper
    University of Waikato

    In this note, propensity score matching (PSM) methods are applied to data from the 2005 International Social Survey Program Work Orientations (ISSP-WO) survey to examine the public sector pay premium in New Zealand. Taking account of a wide range of worker characteristics and attitudes, job attributes, and the effects that jobs have on workers and their family life, there appears to be a pay premium from working in the public sector of 17 to 21 percent.

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  • Business confidence and cyclical turning points: A Markov-Switching approach

    Holmes, Mark J.; Silverstone, Brian (2007-09)

    Working or discussion paper
    University of Waikato

    Markov regime-switching analysis is used to consider the relationship between business confidence and the probability of turning points in cyclical GDP. We find, in an application to New Zealand, that confidence is related to both the deepness and duration of the business cycle and is asymmetric regarding the probability of the economy remaining in a given regime. Overall, the New Zealand business confidence series is a useful indicator of cyclical turning points.

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  • Incorporating discontinuous preferences into the analysis of discrete choice experiments

    Campbell, Danny; Hutchinson, W. George; Scarpa, Riccardo (2007-09)

    Working or discussion paper
    University of Waikato

    Data from a discrete choice experiment on improvements of rural landscape attributes are used to investigate the implications of discontinuous preferences on willingness to pay estimates. Using a multinomial error component logit model, we explore differences in scale and unexplained variance between respondents with discontinuous and continuous preferences and condition taste intensities on whether or not each attribute was considered by the respondent during the evaluation of alternatives. Results suggest that significant improvements in model performance can be achieved when discontinuous preferences are accommodated in the econometric specification, and that the magnitude and robustness of the willingness to pay estimates are sensitive to discontinuous preferences.

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  • Social values of biodiversity conservation for the endangered loggerhead turtle and monk seal

    Kaval, Pamela; Stithou, Mavra; Scarpa, Riccardo (2007-08)

    Working or discussion paper
    University of Waikato

    The Mediterranean monk seal (Monachus monachus) and the loggerhead turtle (Caretta caretta) are two species on the priority list for conservation in Greece due to their dwindling populations worldwide. Hence the issue of estimating willingness to pay for their conservation is germane to any protection initiative. Zakynthos Island in Greece has created a marine park for the conservation of such species. We report the results of a survey of visitors and residents of this island who were asked about making one-time donations in the form of either a tax for residents or a plane landing fee for tourists. We find that all people were willing to pay to protect these species; however, residents were willing to pay more than tourists. We then tested whether there was a sequence or ordering effect if the seal questions came before the turtles as well as if the turtle questions came before the seals. Such effect was found when turtle questions were presented first, but not when seal questions were presented first. Due to the extensive interest, it is recommended that an increase in the airplane landing fee to Zakynthos could be used to contribute towards funds for loggerhead turtle and monk seal protection.

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  • The value of collective reputation for environmentally friendly production methods: the case of Val di Gresta

    Scarpa, Riccardo; Thiene, Mara; Marangon, Francesco (2007-09)

    Working or discussion paper
    University of Waikato

    This paper investigates preferences for various environment-friendly production systems using 1949 choices from a sample of 240 respondents that chose amongst different types of carrots. The and multi-attribute stated-preference data collection was based on an experimental designed tailored to identify interaction effects between production methods and place of origin we estimate the effect of collective reputations for growers of an Alpine valley known to be completely dedicated to organic production. The implied WTP distributions are positve for organic and integrated pest management and provide evidence of recognition of a collective reputation for environmentally friendly production methods. Marginal utility of income is found to be systematically linked to socio-economic covariates, while unobserved heterogeneity is found for organic and bio-dynamic production methods and for place of origin, but not for integrated pest management. WTP for organic produce from Val di Gresta is found to be around 1-2 euro/kg depending on budget constraints, and not statistically significant for bio-dynamic production. The study confirms the existence of the growers' reputation for EFPMs and provides an empirical estimate of the premium the market awards to such a reputation.

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  • Testing the stability of the benefit transfer function for discrete choice contingent valuation data

    Matthews, David I.; Hutchinson, W. George; Scarpa, Riccardo (2007-05)

    Working or discussion paper
    University of Waikato

    We examine the stability of the benefit transfer function across 42 recreational forests in the British Isles. A working definition of reliable function transfer is put forward, and a suitable statistical test is provided. The test is based on the sensitivity of the model log-likelihood to removal of individual forest recreation sites. We apply the proposed methodology on discrete choice contingent valuation data and find that a stable function improves our measure of transfer reliability, but not by much. We conclude that, in empirical studies on transferability, function stability considerations are secondary to the availability and quality of site attribute data. Modellers’ can study the advantages of transfer function stability vis-à-vis the value of additional information on recreation site attributes.

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  • Using choice experiments to explore the spatial distribution of willingness to pay for rural landscape improvements

    Campbell, Danny; Hutchinson, W. George; Scarpa, Riccardo (2007-03)

    Working or discussion paper
    University of Waikato

    We report findings from a choice experiment survey designed to estimate the economic benefits from policy measures which improve the rural landscape under an agri-environment scheme in the Republic of Ireland. Using a panel mixed logit specification to account for unobserved taste heterogeneity we derive individual- specific willingness to pay estimates for each respondent in the sample. We subsequently investigate the existence of spatial dependence of these estimates. Results suggest the existence of positive spatial autocorrelation for all rural landscape attributes. As a means of benefit transfer, kriging methods are employed to interpolate willingness to pay estimates across the whole of the Republic of Ireland. The kriged WTP surfaces confirm the existence of spatial dependence and illustrate the implied spatial variation and regional disparities in WTP for all the rural landscape improvements.

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  • Valuing animal genetic resources: a choice modelling application to indigenous cattle in Kenya

    Ruto, Eric; Garrod, Guy; Scarpa, Riccardo (2007-03)

    Working or discussion paper
    University of Waikato

    In an effort to improve productivity and profits many farmers have replaced traditional livestock breeds with higher yielding alternatives. While such changes may bring about short-term economic gains, the loss of traditional livestock breeds could result in the loss of an important genetic resource as a variety of important genetic traits adapted to local conditions gradually become less common in the population. This is a particular problem in Africa, where livestock make a substantial contribution to human livelihoods. Using the example of cattle in Kenya’s pastoral livestock markets this study uses a choice experiment approach to investigate buyers’ preferences for indigenous breeds such as the Maasai Zebu. The analysis employs a latent class approach to characterize heterogeneity in valuations both within and across respondents buying cattle for breeding, slaughter or resale. The results show that there are at least three classes of buyers with distinct preferences for cattle traits and that most buyers favor exotic rather than indigenous breeds. Such preferences have implications for the conservation of indigenous cattle in Kenya and in other developing countries and suggest that some form of intervention may be required to ensure the preservation of this important animal genetic resource.

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  • Using the Global Positioning System (GPS) in household surveys for better economics and better policy

    Gibson, John; McKenzie, David (2007-03)

    Working or discussion paper
    University of Waikato

    Distance and location are important determinants of many choices that economists study. While these variables can sometimes be obtained from secondary data, economists often rely on information that is self-reported by respondents in surveys. These self-reports are used especially for the distance from households or community centers to various features such as roads, markets, schools, clinics and other public services. There is growing evidence that self-reported distance is measured with error and that these errors are correlated with outcomes of interest. In contrast to self-reports, the Global Positioning System (GPS) can determine almost exact location (typically within 15 meters). The falling cost of GPS receivers (typically below US$100) makes it increasingly feasible for field surveys to use GPS as a better method of measuring location and distance. In this paper we review four ways that GPS can lead to better economics and better policy: (i) through constructing instrumental variables that can be used to understand the causal impact of policies, (ii) by helping to understand policy externalities and spillovers, (iii) through better understanding of the access to services, and (iv) by improving the collection of household survey data. We also discuss several pitfalls and unresolved problems with using GPS in household surveys.

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  • Voices from the other side: User reports of New Zealand library reference encounters.

    Bidwell, P. (2007)

    Working or discussion paper
    Open Polytechnic

    This research examines user satisfaction with the quality of reference service in New Zealand libraries, and reminds library staff of how it feels on the 'public' side of the library desk. It analyses the experiences of Open Polytechnic of New Zealand students asking reference questions in libraries, including whether users were given skills to research their own questions. A strongly positive or negative experience can be a powerful learning tool for library staff. Understanding what users feel went wrong provides important insights, making staff more empathetic when responding to information requests. The paper combines student comments with behavioural guidelines from the Reference and User Services Association (RUSA) and key examples from international research. The research identified issues that inhibited appropriate responses, as well as useful strategies that were appreciated by users. Significant recommendations include Library and Information Association of New Zealand Aotearoa (LIANZA) endorsement of RUSA guidelines, and the formation of a reference services special interest group. All libraries, particularly major reference libraries, should actively encourage staff awareness, library qualifications and training. Collaboration and information sharing should be encouraged, and could be assisted by a New Zealand-based reference discussion forum or web log. The active promotion of key staff as 'reference exemplars' who model good behaviours is a key recommendation. Libraries need to recognise the value of a checklist of essential elements for all reference encounters, and reference policies should include minimum standards for reference service that emphasise information literacy and user education.

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  • The anthropomorphic bias: How human thinking is prone to be self-referential.

    Strongman, L. (2007)

    Working or discussion paper
    Open Polytechnic

    This working paper attempts a synthesis of contemporary research into anthropomorphic bias. It provides an explanatory distinction between the concept of anthropocentrism and the more specific applications of anthropomorphism, as well as a critique of existing anthropocentric concepts and theories. The paper enters into analysis of some of the philosophical assumptions behind the related concepts of anthropocentrism and anthropomorphism. It provides a critical survey of the current literature and makes the argument that anthropomorphic bias can be understood as an innate existential tendency of human embodied thought, thereby presenting a potential problem to the fields of the philosophy of science and embodied cognition, and to social scientific experimental design and interpretation. The paper is divided into eight sections dealing with selected areas of discussion of anthropomorphic bias, involving summary explanations of experimental situations and everyday life behaviours: (1) Anthropocentrism and anthropomorphism: Definitions, ontologies, problematics and reflections; (2) Anthropocentrism and ecology; (3) Deep anthropocentrism and counterenvironmentalism; (4) Anthropomorphism and human and animal differences; (5) Anthropomorphism and quantum physics; (6) Anthropomorphism and robotics; (7) The problem of anthropomorphism; and (8) Attitudinal solutions to anthropocentric bias involving new attitudes in scientific and everyday life behaviours. These areas of focus are chosen as they comprise the clearest categories of research for the concept of anthropocentrism at the current time.

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  • IFRS for SMEs: A New Zealand perspective

    Samujh, Helen (2007-07)

    Working or discussion paper
    University of Waikato

    The International Accounting Standards Board (IASB) in its concern to reduce the burden of compliance with the International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) has released its draft IFRS for small and Medium-sized Enterprises (IFSME). The draft proposes reporting standards for non-publicly accountable entities that produce general purpose financial reports. This paper presents the background to the introduction of IFSME, introduces the IASB proposal, outlines the New Zealand (NZ) financial reporting concessions (viz. The exempt company system and the differential reporting framework), and examines the implications of adoption for NZ. It is considered that few entities would be affected by the IFSME, the production and maintenance of a ‘small book’ would be costly, and report preparers need to be cognisance of both the IFRS and the IFSME. The users of financial information, identified by the IASB, rely on other forms of information in NZ to make investment and monitoring decisions. The IFSME appears redundant in the light of the existing frameworks for concessions. Further, it appears that second-class accountants and entities could emerge if the IFSME were adopted. The author concludes that the IFSME is not appropriate for NZ application and should be rejected.

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  • Understanding stakeholder values using cluster analysis

    Kaval, Pamela (2007-08)

    Working or discussion paper
    University of Waikato

    The K-Means and Ward’s Clustering procedures were used to categorize value similarities among respondents of a public land management survey. The clustering procedures resulted in two respondent groupings: an anthropocentrically focused group and an ecocentrically focused group. While previous studies have suggested that anthropocentric and ecocentric groups are very different, this study revealed many similarities. Similarities between groups included a strong feeling towards public land and national forest existence as well as the importance of considering both current and future generations when making management decisions for public land. It is recommended that land managers take these similarities into account when making management decisions. It is important to note that using the Ward’s procedure for clustering produced more consistent groupings than the K-Means procedure and is therefore recommended when clustering survey data. K-Means only showed consistency with datasets of over 500 observations.

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  • Three cases of corporate fraud: An audit perspective

    Van Peursem, Karen A.; Zhou, Maiqing; Flood, Tracey; Buttimore, James (2007-06)

    Working or discussion paper
    University of Waikato

    In this paper we examine three cases in order to evaluate, in some detail and form an audit perspective, what can occur when management fraud and distortions in the financial accounts lead to adverse social, political and economic consequences. The cases analysed here are, for the most part, well known: Adelphia (U.S.), HIH Insurance (Australia) and Bond Corp (Australia). They are also significant in terms of the dollars misappropriated and in terms of the number of people involved or damaged as a result of the frauds. We attempt here to bring a fresh perspective to the stories around these corporate failures by examining the fraudulent activities in light of the auditor’s role, and how the auditor could have enabled a better quality and more timely information to be disclosed about them. Audit implications inform the analysis of each case, and some common themes are found in a cross-case analysis evaluated using Birchfield’s (2004) ‘perfect storm’ conceptual scenario. Recommendations for further research conclude the paper.

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