This dissertation will explore conspiracy theories from a psychological viewpoint—both theoretically and empirically. Conspiracy theories are introduced here as a phenomenon relevant for many aspects of entertainment, history, popular culture, society, politics, and ideology. The phenomenon is defined and discussed, with its epistemic characteristics and ramifications, from a philosophical viewpoint. It is argued that there is no standard practice for the judgement of conspiracy theories, and that a case-by-case consideration is a pragmatic resolution for this epistemic problem. Along with proposing and implementing a new means of measurement for the belief in conspiracy theories in Raab, Ortlieb, Auer, Guthmann, and Carbon (2013) called narrative construction, it is argued that nearly everyone will construct a conspiracy theory for an important event (exemplified with the 9/11 attacks), which is probably
not a sign of delusion, but of identity construction and management. However, the genesis of such beliefs is prone to distortions. The mere presence of extreme (in terms of conspiratorial value) information might foster the construction of narrations significantly more extreme—without people noticing it. In Raab, Auer, Ortlieb, and Carbon (2013), we have called this the Sarrazin effect. To better understand why conspiratorial narrations are so widespread, powerful and possibly dangerous, psychological and philosophical theories are applied; for example, narrations (and thus conspiracy theories) can be considered cognitive simulations of possible states of the world. Here, it would also be desirable to understand why a given person adheres to a specific narrative content, so the link between personal values (in a psychological sense) and conspiracy belief was analysed empirically. The results were reported in a conference paper (Raab, Kammerl, & Carbon, 2015). Also, a current research question is if people automatically begin to elaborate conspiracy beliefs for a new event, or if it takes psychological triggers to start this process. We found empirical evidence in Gebauer, Raab, and Carbon (2016) that
information has to include testimony of causation (someone causing an event directly) and purpose (someone causing this deliberately), so that people begin to assume a conspiracy at work. To make the knowledge presented here, as well as the results gathered by researchers in the past years and decades, available to a larger audience, a work-in-progress project for a popular science book on conspiracy theories is presented. The conspiracy theory is the message then (speaking with Marshall McLuhan), as those theories extend our realm of human affairs. To integrate the findings of this thesis, a construction kit for conspiracy theories is proposed; and dangers as well as chances of such narrations are discussed with regard to societal progress.
In this book, I study how and with what consequences the creation of sanctions committees within Security Council sanctions regimes affects the Council’s dominant logic of decision-making and the content of decisions taken. Security Council sanctions regimes increasingly involve complex governance projects that require the adoption of numerous detailed implementation decisions over extended periods of time. The Security Council increasingly delegates these decisions to its sanctions committees with identical membership. In a first step, I develop a theoretical model of committee governance. I argue that the establishment of sanctions committees creates a two-stage decision process which affects collective decision processes in ways that favor rule-based decisions even though the same group of actors adopts all relevant decisions. This effect occurs if a group of actors separates a comprehensive decision-process into a stage of rule-making and a stage of subsequently applying these rules to a stream of implementation decisions. While rulemaking actors are subject to constraints of consistency, in rule-application, actors face coordination situations that create the demand for externally provided rules or internally produced precedents as focal points. Subsequently, based on previously neglected documents, I analyze the effects of committee governance for five Security Council sanctions regimes (Iraq, Al-Qaida, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Sudan and Iran). I conclude that delegating implementation decisions to sanctions committees may commit even the most powerful member states to rule-based decision-making.
Innovation is proven to be an absolute requirement for growth in both developed and developing countries, but the type and motivation of innovations differ depending on various surrounding factors like socio-cultural attributes, geography, infrastructure, political environment and income-levels of customers. In developed countries innovations are often technology-driven and associated with delighting the end customers. On the contrary, in the developing or emerging markets due to the unique setting and infrastructural gaps innovations are focused towards meeting customer’s fundamental needs. Innovations in emerging markets are also seen as one of the drivers, utilized to address urgent developmental challenges such as poverty, illiteracy and lack of access to healthcare services. Considering these vast differences in driving factors, this research focuses on the comparison of the ongoing innovation fostering in both developed and developing world individually. This thesis is an attempt to understand the innovation landscape across these two worlds and focus on specific innovation approaches based on their potential and relevance.
In developed world, information technology (IT) is emerging out as the key enabling technology across different innovation approaches. This thesis focuses on one such innovative application of IT called technology convergence, which is an integration of information and operational technologies (Gartner, 2011). Significant financial and productivity benefits are expected from this convergence and therefore many industrial companies are investing heavily into this alignment and undergoing huge business transformations. This study analyses the case of General Electric undergoing such a strategic business transformation. Study conceptualizes a theoretical framework around this new concept by expanding the Venkatraman’s (1994) IT-enablement model and exhibiting evidences of non–linearity and overlap across different transformation stages. Study discloses, IT localized exploitation stage as a default stage for initiating technology convergence and illustrates that each stage of the transformation has an impact on a unique set of organizational dimensions. Business scope redefinition stage influences the dimension of strategy and vision while internal integration stage influences the organization’s structure dimension. The two dimensions that are impacted most during the business process and network redesign stages, are business process and products and markets respectively.
In contrast to the developed world where innovation approaches are focused on IT enabled performance enhancements, emerging markets are observing innovations centred on frugal products that are cost effective and provide value for money. Past two decades have seen a tremendous growth in emerging markets as they are developing their own innovative capabilities (Jiatao and Rajiv, 2009). Country like India, which is also a focus of this thesis, initially playing secondary roles has now become a breeding ground for frugal and social global innovations. This thesis discusses various types of innovation approaches adopted by local firms and multi-national companies in emerging markets such as frugal innovation, jugaad, disruptive innovation, gandhian innovation, catalytic innovation, indigenous innovation, resource-constrained innovation and bottom-up innovation. It identifies the increasing complexity and terminology confusion across these approaches in the growing and fragmented literature revolving around emerging markets. Targeting this shortcoming of the literature, this study attempts to consolidate the research insights into a unified framework defining eight main requirements of emerging markets namely cost-effective, easy-to-use, sustainable, problem-centric, no-frills, fast-to-market, resourceful and breakthrough. Additionally, study also analyses the priorities of these requirements during the buying and designing process from end customers and manufacturers point of view respectively. Research confirms “cost-effective” and “easy to use” as the absolute requirements of bottom-of-pyramid (BOP) customers and reveals the growing awareness towards eco-friendly products. It also introduces two additional important features from customer perspective namely – low/no maintenance or consumables and customized solutions to the framework.
Furthermore, research also touches upon the topic of social enterprises, medium to diffuse social innovations into emerging markets to address social challenges and developmental issues like poverty and access to healthcare services. Study uses event structure analysis and four growth stages identified by Perrini et al. (2010); opportunity identification, opportunity evaluation, opportunity exploitation and opportunity scaling-up to analyze two social healthcare enterprises in India. It proposes an abstract model of a social enterprise with the contributing generalized actions and their causal interactions. Thesis ends with a conclusion giving an overview and a consolidated view of innovation approaches existing in developed world and emerging markets. Additionally it reemphasises some of the limitations experienced during the research work and suggests related future research propositions.
The present dissertation traces how trends relating to globalization and demographic change impact on the labor market situation and retirement processes of older workers. The work focuses on Denmark, which is often cited as a role model for other OECD countries due to its specific institutional context and its traditionally high labor market participation of older people. In addition, the results from this Danish country study are compared to findings from Germany and the Netherlands, enabling an assessment of Denmark’s performance from a cross-country comparative perspective. In that context, the empirical analyses combine an examination of observed experiences in both the late career and the retirement process with how people themselves view their transition into the state of retirement.
To reach the Millennium Development Goal of Universal Primary Education (UPE), developing countries have implemented numerous educational policies (United Nations, 2014). Despite the remarkable upsurge in schooling in these countries, gender-related inequalities are persistent, particularly in levels of attainment. A recent report of United Nations specified that only 23% of girls in poor rural households do complete the primary level of education in Sub-Saharan Africa in 2011 (UNESCO, 2014). This dissertation provides three potential explanations for these issues: the schooling costs; the school infrastructure; and the household wealth. The first explanation relates to the remaining schooling costs. Indeed, policies of removal of school fees often neglect that parents also support other kinds of schooling costs. These residual costs are the indirect costs and the opportunity costs, which are reasonably high in some developing countries. In the case of Benin, a West African country, despite the removal of school fees, the residual schooling costs remain high. Thus, the dilemma of which child to send to school is still relevant for poor households. The evaluation of the elimination of school fees in Benin provides evidence for this argument. The poor quality of schools' infrastructure in developing countries could be a second explanation for the gender gap in schooling. The long distances to the closest primary school, the large numbers of pupils in the classrooms, the lack of teachers and pedagogical materials are all factors that could discourage children―especially girls―in their school attendance. The evaluation of a demand-and-supply policy indicates the importance of a removal of school costs and the upgrading of the schools’ infrastructure to reduce the gender gap in schooling. The third explanation relates to the importance of the household wealth on schooling decisions. A policy that eliminates school fees could maintain the dependence of schooling decisions on household wealth by neglecting the remaining schooling costs. In such a case, a wealth shock could be detrimental to the gender gap in schooling and on the efforts already engaged in to reach the goal of UPE. The assessment of the impact of a negative wealth shock on children’s schooling and labor in Benin provides empirical evidence for this argument.
The contributions of this dissertation are both theoretical and empirical. On one hand, this research meaningfully extends the literature on impact evaluation in Benin. Crucially, the country lacks research studies that evaluate economic policies. On the other hand, the relevance of the dissertation also lies in the analysis of the relationship between price and wealth effects. These effects are observed through the reactions of households to wealth or price changes. They indicate which policy―based on the schooling price or the household wealth―should be prioritized to enhance education in Benin. On the other hand again, the theory of the determinants of gender-related differences in schooling is also tested in the articles. Finally, this research uses novel methods in the field of impact evaluation with three natural experiments in the case of Benin to support the arguments.