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    ABSTRACT: We consider the problem of helping a decision maker (DM) choose from a set of multiattributed objects when her preferences are "concavifiable," i.e. representable by a concave value function. We establish conditions under which preferences or preference intensities are concavifiable. We also derive a characterization for the family of concave value functions compatible with a set of such preference statements expressed by the DM. This can be used to validate dominance relations over discrete sets of alternatives and forms the basis of an interactive procedure. We report on the practical use of this procedure with several DMs for a flat-choice problem and its computational performance on a set of project-portfolio selection problem instances. The use of preference intensities is found to provide significant improvements to the performance of the procedure.
    Operations Research 06/2014; 62(3). DOI:10.1287/opre.2014.1274
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    ABSTRACT: Is political agreement in social networks the product of selection or influence? We investigate this question using the first large, general population sample survey to track changes in the political discussion partners named by respondents over the course of an election campaign. We identify two social processes at work during the nine months prior to the election: “selection”, or the likelihood that people choose discussion partners based on their political views, and “influence”, or the likelihood that respondents exposed to political disagreement change their intended vote choice. We find evidence of both positive and negative selection for political agreement, as well as evidence that people are influenced by their friends and family.
    Social Networks 01/2014; 36:134–146. DOI:10.1016/j.socnet.2013.06.001
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    ABSTRACT: We propose a simple algorithm for linear programming feasibility, that can be considered as a polynomial-time implementation of the relaxation method. It can be seen as an alternative variant of Chubanov's recent algorithm. The key idea of both algorithms is unfolding the recursion in the "Divide-and-Conquer algorithm" in Chubanov's earlier paper, although the details are somewhat different.
    Operations Research Letters 07/2013; 42(1). DOI:10.1016/j.orl.2013.12.007
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    ABSTRACT: PURPOSE: Although information on variations in health service performance is now more widely available, relatively little is known about how healthcare payers use this information to improve resource allocation. We explore to what extent and how Primary Care Trusts (PCTs) in England have used the NHS Atlas of Variation in Healthcare, which has highlighted small area variation in rates of expenditure, activity and outcome. METHODS: Data collection involved an email survey among PCT Chief Executives and a telephone follow-up to reach non-respondents (total response: 53 of 151 of PCTs, 35%). 45 senior to mid-level staff were interviewed to probe themes emerging from the survey. The data were analysed using a matrix-based Framework approach. FINDINGS: Just under half of the respondents (25 of 53 PCTs) reported not using the Atlas, either because they had not been aware of it, lacked staff capacity to analyse it, or did not perceive it as applicable to local decision-making. Among the 28 users, the Atlas served as a prompt to understand variations and as a visual tool to facilitate communication with clinicians. Achieving clarity on which variations are unwarranted and agreeing on responsibilities for action appeared to be important factors in moving beyond initial information gathering towards decisions about resource allocation and behaviour change. CONCLUSIONS: Many payers were unable to use information on small area variations in expenditure, activity and outcome. To change this what is additionally required are appropriate tools to understand causes of unexplained variation, in particular unwarranted variation, and enable remedial actions to be prioritised in terms of their contribution to population health.
    Health Policy 05/2013; 114(1). DOI:10.1016/j.healthpol.2013.04.014
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    ABSTRACT: One of the least explored aspects of scenario planning is how to assess systematically the value and robustness of strategic options after scenario development. In this context, there is growing research interest on the use of multi-criteria decision analysis (MCDA) to evaluate such options, but with very limited evidence about its performance in practice. This paper examines effects of applying in practice one of those recently proposed scenario-based MCDA methods for identifying robust options. Three public sector decision-making instances in Trinidad and Tobago are examined within an action research framework to provide insights on differences in decision-making behaviour and areas for improvement of the method. Findings from these in-depth case studies indicate that the method's main benefit was that it stimulated curiosity on how options might be improved in order to mitigate negative consequences and capitalise on opportunities across scenarios. We conclude the paper by discussing these findings and their implications to the development of the method and the evaluation of strategic options under deep uncertainty.
    Technological Forecasting and Social Change 05/2013; 80(4):657–672. DOI:10.1016/j.techfore.2012.09.019
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    ABSTRACT: Centrally planned Beveridge healthcare systems typically rely heavily on local or regional “health authorities” as responsible organisations for the care of geographically defined populations. The frequency of reorganisations in the English NHS suggests that there is no compelling unitary definition of what constitutes a good healthcare geography. In this paper we propose a set of desirable objectives for an administrative healthcare geography, specifically: geographical compactness, co-extensiveness with current local authorities and size and population homogeneity, and we show how these might be operationally measured. Based on these objectives, we represent the problem of how to partition a territory into health authorities as a multi-objective optimisation problem. We use a state-of-the-art multi-objective genetic algorithm customised for the needs of our study to partition the territory of the East England into 14 Primary Care Trusts and 50 GP consortia and study the tradeoffs between objectives which this reveals.
    Socio-Economic Planning Sciences 04/2013; 47(3). DOI:10.1016/j.seps.2013.03.002
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    ABSTRACT: Recent theoretical and empirical developments in evolutionary psychology suggest that more intelligent children may be more likely than less intelligent children to grow up to acquire and espouse evolutionarily novel preferences and values that our ancestors did not possess. Voluntary control of caloric intake and exercise for its own sake are evolutionarily novel values, so less intelligent children may be more likely to grow up to be obese and that the effect of childhood general intelligence may be direct and not medicated by education or income. The analysis of the prospectively longitudinal National Child Development Study in the United Kingdom shows that childhood general intelligence has a significant and direct effect on adult BMI, obesity, and weight gain, only slightly mediated by education. General intelligence decreases BMI only in adulthood, when individuals have complete control over what they eat.
    Obesity 03/2013; 21(3). DOI:10.1002/oby.20018
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    ABSTRACT: The paper examines government IT outsourcing polices. The paper critiques the concept of ‘the Contract State’, and suggests how more disciplined uses of outsourcing can assist the creation of public value, more broadly conceived. Within the context of international developments, we study the United Kingdom Inland Revenue (IR), Customs and Excise (HMRC) and Department of Social Security (DSS) and their IT outsourcing contracts. The evidence suggests that outsourcing and marketization initiatives have adverse public value impacts, and may need to be rethought. Major IT operations and innovations, for example e-government, National Health Service (NHS) and identity card IT policies in the UK, are managed and generate legacies that do not always make efficient and effective use of the market. Moreover, their objectives, implementation and management over time may truncate their value to the public at large. Applying a revised Public Value policy approach offers a richer perspective to guide central government decisions worldwide about future IT outsourcing.
    The Journal of Strategic Information Systems 12/2012; 21(4):295–307. DOI:10.1016/j.jsis.2012.10.007
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    ABSTRACT: The analysis of the National Child Development Study in the United Kingdom (n = 17,419) replicates some earlier findings and shows that genuine within-family data are not necessary to make the apparent birth-order effect on intelligence disappear. Birth order is not associated with intelligence in between-family data once the number of siblings is statistically controlled. The analyses support the admixture hypothesis, which avers that the apparent birth-order effect on intelligence is an artifact of family size, and cast doubt on the confluence and resource dilution models, both of which claim that birth order has a causal influence on children's cognitive development. The analyses suggest that birth order has no genuine causal effect on general intelligence.
    Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin 05/2012; 38(9):1157-64. DOI:10.1177/0146167212445911
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    ABSTRACT: The origin of preferences and values is an unresolved theoretical problem in behavioural sciences. The Savanna-IQ Interaction Hypothesis, derived from the Savanna Principle and a theory of the evolution of general intelligence, suggests that more intelligent individuals are more likely to acquire and espouse evolutionarily novel preferences and values than less intelligent individuals, but general intelligence has no effect on the acquisition and espousal of evolutionarily familiar preferences and values. Ethnographies of traditional societies suggest that exclusively homosexual behaviour was probably rare in the ancestral environment, so the Hypothesis would predict that more intelligent individuals are more likely to identify themselves as homosexual and engage in homosexual behaviour. Analyses of three large, nationally representative samples (two of which are prospectively longitudinal) from two different nations confirm the prediction.
    Journal of Biosocial Science 01/2012; 44(5):595-623. DOI:10.1017/S0021932011000769
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