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    ABSTRACT: Training through apprenticeship provided the main mechanism for occupational human capital formation in pre-industrial England. This paper demonstrates how training premiums (fees) complemented the formal legal framework surrounding apprenticeship to secure training contracts. Premiums varied in response to scarcity rents, the expected productivity of masters and apprentices, and served as compensation for the anticipated risk of default. In most trades premiums were small enough to allow access to apprenticeship training for youths from modest families.
    Explorations in Economic History 01/2013; 50(3):335–350.
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    ABSTRACT: Cross-sectional studies of growth in post-colonial Africa have overwhelmingly focussed on explaining the failure of growth in Africa. This prompting stylised fact has its qualifications and when these are taken into consideration the explanations of African economic growth appear incoherent. The notion of a chronic African growth failure has diverted attention from the process of economic growth and left important questions unaddressed. The quest for the African dummy has delivered transferable conclusions with a strong impact on the writing of African economic history. This critical survey of the literature argues that African economic performance needs to be evaluated from a different perspective. Copyright © 2009 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
    Journal of International Development 02/2011; 23(2):288 - 307.
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    ABSTRACT: A heated ethical and professional debate occurred in the United States in the late 1980s over whether doctors had an ethical obligation to treat people with AIDS. Sparked by public refusals to treat by physicians, the debate was linked to changes in the epidemic and general tensions about the character of the profession. Despite widespread public consensus on the existence of a duty, the outcome of the debate was limited. Physicians' obligations for HIV/AIDS were defined by law; no general and durable obligation in the face of epidemics was secured. The professional system proved weak in the face of potential crisis.
    Bulletin of the history of medicine 01/2011; 85(4):620-49.
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    ABSTRACT: This article seeks to revise and re-apply the factor endowments perspective on African history. The propositions that sub-Saharan Africa was characterized historically by land abundance and labour scarcity, and that the natural environment posed severe constraints on the exploitation of the land surplus, are broadly upheld. Important alterations are suggested, however, centred on the seasonality of labour supply, Ruf's concept of ‘forest rent’, and, for precolonial economies, the role of fixed capital. This revised endowments framework is then applied in order to explore the long-term dynamics of economic development in Africa, focusing on how the economic strategies of producers and political authorities created specific paths of change which shifted the production possibility frontiers of the economies concerned, and ultimately altered the very factor ratios to which the strategies had been responses.
    The Economic History Review 07/2008; 61(3):587 - 624.
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    ABSTRACT: Acemoglu, Johnson and Robinson have dramatically challenged the tendency of economists to confine their empirical search for the causes of economic growth to the recent past. They argue that the kind of institutions established by European colonialists, either protecting private property or extracting rents, resulted in the poorer parts of the pre-colonial world becoming some of the richest economies of today; while transforming some of the more prosperous parts of the non-European world of 1500 into the poorest economies today. This view has been further elaborated for Africa by Nunn, with reference to slave trading. Drawing on African and comparative economic historiography, the present paper endorses the importance of examining growth theories against long-term history: revealing relationships that recur because the situations are similar, as well as because of path dependence as such. But it also argues that the causal relationships involved are more differentiated than is recognised in AJR's formulations. By compressing different historical periods and paths, the 'reversal' thesis over-simplifies the causation. Relatively low labour productivity was a premise of the external slave trades; though the latter greatly reinforced the relative poverty of many Sub-Saharan economies. Again, it is important to distinguish settler and non-settler economies within colonial Africa itself. In the latter case it was in the interests of colonial regimes to support, rather than simply extract from, African economic enterprise. Finally, economic rent and economic growth have often been joint products, including in pre-colonial and colonial Africa; the kinds of institutions that favoured economic growth in certain historical contexts were not necessarily optimal for that purpose in others. AJR have done much to bring development economics and economic history together. The next step is a more flexible conceptual framework, and a more complex explanation. Copyright © 2008 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
    Journal of International Development. 02/2008; 20(8):996-1027.
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    ABSTRACT: The small flowering plant Arabidopsis thaliana is the best-studied model organism in plant biology. More resources are allocated to research on this little weed than to the study of well-known favourites such as worms, fruit flies and mice. Yet, up to the early 1980s plant biologists had every good reason to ignore Arabidopsis: neither did it seem to possess the characteristics of a good model organism, nor did it have any agricultural promise. The sudden prestige acquired by Arabidopsis research thus constitutes a remarkable historical puzzle. What made the mouse cress into the most successful model organism to date?
    Endeavour 04/2007; 31(1):34-8.
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    ABSTRACT: Since the emergence of "literary criticism" as a university subject in the 1880s, there have been those prepared to challenge its disciplinary status. How can something as subjective as literature be taught, let alone examined? Throughout the 20th century, the success of the sciences fostered methodological anxieties, resulting in several efforts from within the humanities to set the study of literary texts on a more scientific footing. In recent years, this scientisation of the study of literature has increasingly come from outside the humanities, as cognitive scientists and evolutionary psychologists expand their efforts to explain culture in terms of biology. So where does this leave "lit crit"?
    Endeavour 04/2007; 31(1):30-3.
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    ABSTRACT: Arabidopsis is currently the most popular and well-researched model organism in plant biology. This paper documents this plant's rise to scientific fame by focusing on two interrelated aspects of Arabidopsis research. One is the extent to which the material features of the plant have constrained research directions and enabled scientific achievements. The other is the crucial role played by the international community of Arabidopsis researchers in making it possible to grow, distribute and use plant specimen that embody these material features. I argue that at least part of the explosive development of this research community is due to its successful standardisation and to the subsequent use of Arabidopsis specimen as material models of plants. I conclude that model organisms have a double identity as both samples of nature and artifacts representing nature. It is the resulting ambivalence in their representational value that makes them attractive research tools for biologists.
    History & Philosophy of the Life Sciences 02/2007; 29(2):193-223.
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    ABSTRACT: In 1947, the Scottish Council for Research in Education and the Population Investigation Committee conducted a survey of Scottish schoolchildren, exploring the relations between tested intelligence and fertility. The survey was not only significant for its size, measuring the IQ of all 11-year-olds at school on the day of testing, some 80,805 children, but also because it was a repeat survey. Its purpose was to establish whether the intelligence of the population had declined because of the negative correlation between IQ and family size. The paper will explore how the impetus for the 1947 survey came from attempts to revive the fortunes of the eugenics movement, based upon the interdisciplinary study of population. While most expected the study to provide evidence of a decline in intelligence, it revealed an increase. This was in spite of a continuing process of differential fertility. This paper will explore the influence of these results, described as a "paradox," upon the future development of the eugenics movement and the sciences of population. While for many, the results were seen to have completely, and thankfully, undermined eugenic fears of degeneration, the supposed "resolution" of the paradox in 1962 provided the basis of a meritocratic and optimistic "new eugenics" that sought to reunite social and biological scientists concerned with human betterment in Britain and the United States.
    Journal of the History of the Behavioral Sciences 02/2007; 43(2):109-34.
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    ABSTRACT: Since the emergence of HIV/AIDS in the 1980s, social scientists and sociologists of health and illness have been exploring the metaphorical framing of this infectious disease in its social context. Many have focused on the militaristic language used to report and explain this illness, a type of language that has permeated discourses of immunology, bacteriology and infection for at least a century. In this article, we examine how language and metaphor were used in the UK media's coverage of another previously unknown and severe infectious disease: Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). SARS offers an opportunity to explore the cultural framing of a less extraordinary epidemic disease. It therefore provides an analytical counter-weight to the very extensive body of interpretation that has developed around HIV/AIDS. By analysing the total reporting on SARS of five major national newspapers during the epidemic of spring 2003, we investigate how the reporting of SARS in the UK press was framed, and how this related to media, public and governmental responses to the disease. We found that, surprisingly, militaristic language was largely absent, as was the judgemental discourse of plague. Rather, the main conceptual metaphor used was SARS as a killer. SARS as a killer was a single unified entity, not an army or force. We provide some tentative explanations for this shift in linguistic framing by relating it to local political concerns, media cultures, and spatial factors.
    Social Science [?] Medicine 07/2005; 60(11):2629-39.
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