Archive for the ‘Cornell University’ Category

Who Says They Have Ever Used A Government Social Program? The Role of Policy Visibility

September 18, 2012 Comments off

Who Says They Have Ever Used A Government Social Program? The Role of Policy Visibility (PDF)

Source: Cornell University

When asked by pollsters if they had ―ever used a government social program,‖ the majority of respondents said they had not, yet when later asked about usage of 21 specific policies, nearly all reported that they had used at least one or more. What explains such widespread denials of government‘s role in people‘s lives? And, what are the political implications of such attitudes? This paper explores the significance of policy visibility— the extent to people have utilized policies designed in a way that makes government‘s role fairly obvious, versus those that obscure it by channeling benefits through the tax code or private organizations. In addition, it examines whether perceptions of government‘s role in one‘s social provision is influenced by such factors as political knowledge, ideology, or views about welfare. Finally, it assesses how individuals‘ perceptions of government‘s role in their lives affect their attitudes toward social policy reform.

Hat tip: Journalist’s Resource

How have agricultural policies influenced caloric consumption in the United States?

April 9, 2012 Comments off

How have agricultural policies influenced caloric consumption in the United States? (PDF)
Source: Cornell University

Many commentators have speculated that agricultural policies have contributed to increased obesity rates in the United States, yet such claims are often made without any analysis of the complex links between real-world farm commodity support programs, prices and consumption of foods, and caloric intake. This article carefully studies the effects of US agricultural policies on prices and quantities of 10 agricultural commodities and nine food categories in the United States over time. Using a detailed multimarket model, we simulate the counterfactual removal of measures of support applied to US agricultural commodities in 1992, 1997, and 2002 and quantify the effects on US food consumption and caloric intake. To parameterize the simulations, we calculate three alternative measures of consumer support (the implicit consumer subsidy from policies that support producers) for the 10 agricultural commodities using information about government expenditures on agricultural commodities from various sources. Our results indicate that—holding all other policies constant—removing US subsidies on grains and oilseeds in the three periods would have caused caloric consumption to decrease minimally whereas removal of all US agricultural policies (including barriers against imports of sugar and dairy products) would have caused total caloric intake to increase. Our results also indicate that the influence of agricultural policies on caloric intake has diminished over time.

Finding Deceptive Opinion Spam by Any Stretch of the Imagination

July 28, 2011 Comments off

Finding Deceptive Opinion Spam by Any Stretch of the Imagination (PDF)
Source: Cornell University School of Computer Science (Myle Ott)

Consumers increasingly rate, review and research products online. Consequently, websites containing consumer reviews are becoming targets of opinion spam. While recent work has focused primarily on manually identifiable instances of opinion spam, in this work we study deceptive opinion spam—fictitious opinions that have been deliberately written to sound authentic. Integrating work from psychology and computational linguistics, we develop and compare three approaches to detecting deceptive opinion spam, and ultimately develop a classifier that is nearly 90% accurate on our gold-standard opinion spam dataset. Based on feature analysis of our learned models, we additionally make several theoretical contributions, including revealing a relationship between deceptive opinions and imaginative writing.


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