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  • Public defence: 2019-08-23 14:00 Nordenskiöldsalen, Geovetenskapens hus, Stockholm
    Cocciolo, Serena
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Economics.
    Participatory Governance and Public Service Provision2019Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    How do Community Contribution Requirements Affect Local Public Good Provision? Experimental Evidence from Safe Water Sources in Bangladesh We exploit the random assignment of communities selected to receive a safe drinking water program to various contribution requirements: cash, labor or no requirement to contribute. Imposing a cash contribution requirement greatly decreases program take-up, while imposing a labour contribution does not. Program impact is correspondingly lower under the cash contribution requirement than under the labour contribution requirement or contribution waiver. The cash contribution requirement screens out communities with low arsenic contamination, but screening does not lead to increased treatment effects on the treated. Our results suggest that there are substantial welfare gains to be made in such projects in poor communities by allowing households to contribute in labour rather than cash.

  • Public defence: 2019-09-05 14:00 Magnélisalen, Kemiska övningslaboratoriet, Stockholm
    Agosta, Lorenzo
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Materials and Environmental Chemistry (MMK).
    Atomistic simulations of structural and dynamical properties of liquids under geometric constraints2019Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    The statistical-mechanical description of liquids represents a formidable problem in physic due to the absence of the analytical theory of the liquid state. Atomistic simulations represent a unique source of information in this respect and can be implemented in order address macroscopically measurable liquid properties, including its structure and dynamics, based on the information of the interactions between its constituent molecules. A particularly intriguing challenge is represented by the problem of studying liquids under geometric constraints like surfaces, or where the dimensionality is strongly suppressed like for liquids in 2 dimensions. Experimental measurements cannot access to these regions due to the resolution limitations. In this thesis the study of confined liquids is achieved by particle-based simulations at different level of theory. In particular 3 study cases are considered: the first is the characterization of solid-liquid interfaces. The problem of adsorbing surfaces is treated as a specific case of inorganic surfaces in contact with liquid water. TiO2, chosen as reference material, is studied in its polymorphic structures in aqueous conditions. The surface reactivity and its influence on the liquid structure is solved considering the quantum nature of the system. The mechanism of a solute adsorbing at the interface, considering the interfacial liquid properties, is also addressed. New advanced analysis tools for determining the structural and dynamical properties of water under a surface confinement and the thermodynamic associated to relative adsorption processes are developed. We are confident that this study will represent a mile stone for a systematic study of complex environments as bio-inorganic interfaces. As second case a liquid confined in a 2D surface is studied. Simple liquids having spherically symmetric interaction are very powerful in order to understand the relevant degrees of freedom that governs a certain physical process. Here we expand the definition of 2D hexatic phases to smectic systems in 3D. Finally the self-assembly of a triply periodic mesophase having a Fddd space symmetry group is fully characterized for a simple liquid. This phase can be thought as a geometrical reduction to a two-dimensional separation surface. The possibility of generating such complex network with simple particles, like in colloids, opens the frontiers for the exploration of new materials and applications.

  • Public defence: 2019-09-06 10:00 Vivi Täckholmsalen (Q-salen), NPQ-huset, Stockholm
    Eckerström-Liedholm, Simon
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Zoology.
    Behavioural, physiological and morphological correlates of life-history in killifishes − a macroevolutionary approach2019Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    Life-histories commonly evolve along a continuum from short-lived and fecund, to long-lived and less fecund. Because life-history traits are mostly components of reproduction and survival, understanding the causes and consequences of life-history variation is at the core of evolutionary biology. This thesis aims to identify what other key traits (e.g. behavioural, physiological and morphological traits) covary with life-history, and why. Numerous hypotheses describe how life-history might be associated with other traits, with life-history trade-offs often considered to be a primary driver of any such relationships. For example, since resources are limited, increased investment in one trait must lead to decreased investment in one or several other traits, all else equal. Hypotheses on the relationship between life-history and other traits have been tested in many studies, but empirical studies in controlled experimental settings are rare. In this thesis I explore how behaviour, physiology and morphology relate to variation along the life-history continuum from fast to slow, in a system with substantial variation in life-history traits - the killifishes.

    I began by exploring the patterns of egg to body size allometry in killifishes (Paper I), where species with faster life-histories showed indications of constraints on the independent evolution of egg size and body size. Furthermore, I found evidence of differences in variance and in the rates of evolution of egg size and body size across species, potentially caused by the colonisation of ephemeral habitats, which could have selected for adaptations that lead to differences in size.

    I then performed a comparative common garden study (Paper II) of the pace-of-life syndrome hypothesis, which predicts that species with fast life-histories should take larger risks in order to maintain their increased reproductive rate. I obtained data on risk taking behaviours, including movement, tendency to enter an open environment, and aggressiveness, in addition to metabolic rate, for 20 species of killifish, with multiple replicates per species. The results indicated trait dependent associations with life-history, where aggression seemed to correlate positively with speed of life-history, in congruence with our prediction.

    Next, my colleagues and I assessed the association between life-history and sexual selection (Paper III), in order to determine if investment in secondary sexual traits might be traded off against survival in killifish. Fin size was found to be negatively associated with escape performance in a simulated predator attack, suggesting survival costs for individuals with large fins. Importantly, fin size was also positively associated with the speed of life-history, supporting the hypothesis that costs to survival probability is lower in fast-living species.

    Lastly, I tested the hypothesized negative covariation between relative brain size and speed of life-history, by collecting and analysing brain size measurements for 21 species of killifish (Paper IV). Surprisingly, a positive relationship between speed of life-history and relative brain size was found for adults, although juveniles did not differ in relative brain size. This implies at least one of two things: either there is no need to trade off brain size with life-history since resource acquisition is higher, or brain size and life-history are traded-off with other traits.

    In conclusion, I show that previously found trade-offs between life-history and investment in other costly traits are only sometimes present, when tested in a system with substantial divergences in the speed of life-history. I also provide evidence for a trait dependent association between life-history and among species differences in risk-taking and metabolic rate.

  • Public defence: 2019-09-06 13:00 FB53, AlbaNova Universitetscentrum, Stockholm
    Niblaeus, Carl
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Physics.
    Studies of dark matter annihilation and production in the Universe2019Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    In this PhD thesis we investigate various aspects of particle dark matter. The proper identification of dark matter developed during the second half of the twentieth century to become one of the biggest endeavours in modern physics and astronomy. Although observations currently favour the explanation that dark matter consists of a new form of particle, no experimental search has yet provided unequivocal evidence of such a particle. 

    Of particular importance in this thesis is the field of indirect detection of dark matter, where one searches for the particles emerging from annihilations of dark matter particles out in the Universe. Specifically, we consider dark matter annihilations in the centre of the Sun. As the Sun moves through the galaxy, some dark matter particles scatter in the Sun and lose enough energy to become bound to the Sun. They settle in the solar core and begin to annihilate, which leads to an annihilation signal from the solar direction.

    The thesis is built on novel research consisting of three papers and a monograph-type chapter. In the first paper we calculate the flux of high energy neutrinos coming from cosmic ray cascades in the solar atmosphere and investigate the role it plays as a background in solar dark matter searches. In the second paper we consider dark matter annihilating into long-lived mediators in the Sun, which leads to interesting new detection possibilities. A third paper explores more generally the fluxes of secondary particles from dark matter annihilations that are searched for in indirect detection. We look at the effects of changing the Monte Carlo event generator that generates the fluxes and of having polarized final states in the annihilations. Finally, we consider in a monograph-type chapter the production of dark matter in the early Universe through the freeze-out mechanism, looking at effects of higher order corrections in the calculation of the relic abundance in the minimal supersymmetric standard model.

  • Public defence: 2019-09-06 14:00 L70, NOD-huset, Kista
    Byungura, Jean Claude
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Computer and Systems Sciences.
    Improving IT Integration for Higher Education Institutional Performance: Towards a Contextualised IT-Institutional Alignment Model2019Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    The integration of information technology (IT) into service delivery is currently seen as an innovative strategy to support the modernising of universities worldwide. However, in some institutions in developing countries, including Rwanda, IT has failed to add the intended value to university services, despite huge associated investments in IT. Consequently, IT-organisational alignment continues to be a primary concern for university managers. This alignment is viewed in terms of its strategic, socio-cultural, and technological dimensions. For effective IT-institutional alignment, several antecedents (alignment practices) for creating an appropriate fit between IT and organisations have been suggested in the literature. However, several studies exploring IT alignment focused mainly on general business companies, and similar research with an emphasis on higher education institutions is still scarce. Therefore, the aim of this research was twofold: firstly, it attempted to understand the process of IT integration into universities; and secondly, to propose a contextual model for IT-institutional alignment within a higher education context. A design science research methodology (DSRM) was applied in this research, using surveys and case studies as research strategies. Preliminary findings at the exploration phase of this research indicated a strong misalignment between IT and the university services caused by the lack of clearly defined alignment practices. Furthermore, as the research main outcome, an IT-Institutional Alignment Model (ITIAM) was proposed after reaching an understanding of the current state and challenges related to IT integration into teaching, learning, research and university administration. This model includes 44 alignment practices, related to both technical and non-technical dimensions. These alignment practices were clustered under six categories: (1) Communication, (2) Structure/Governance, (3) Technology Scope, (4) Competence/Value Measurement, (5) Skills, and (6) Partnership. Alignment practices related to institutional structure and governance, skills and communication were found to have a strong positive influence on the institutional performance, as compared to those related to competence and value measurement, partnership, and technology scope. Based on the research findings, the proposed ITIAM, which was iteratively tested and evaluated using case study institutions, was found to be a relevant tool for guiding the implementation of IT systems towards the improvement of institutional performance. Hence, this thesis makes a theoretical contribution by applying the concept of IT alignment within a higher education context and by documenting the empirically tested contextual alignment practices as conveyed in the ITIAM Model. Additionally, as a practical implication, the results can serve as a reference for an effective IT integration process in university services and for how to improve performance through effective use of IT in teaching, learning, research and educational management.

  • Public defence: 2019-09-06 14:00 Nordenskiöldsalen, Geovetenskapens hus, Stockholm
    Mitrunen, Matti
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Economics.
    Essays on the Political Economy of Development2019Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    Structural Change and Intergenerational Mobility: Evidence from the Finnish War Reparations

    This paper presents evidence that government industrial policy can promote new industries, move labor out of agriculture into manufacturing, and have long-term effects via increased human capital accumulation and upward mobility. I use plausibly exogenous variation generated by the Finnish war reparations (1944-1952) that forced the largely agrarian Finland to give 5% of its yearly GDP to the Soviet Union in the form of industrial products. To meet these terms, the Finnish government provided short-term industrial support that persistently raised the employment and production of treated, skill-intensive industries. I trace the impact of the policy using individual-level registry data and show that the likelihood of leaving agriculture for manufacturing and services increased substantially in municipalities more strongly affected by the war reparations shock. These effects were persistent: 20 years after the intervention, the reallocated workers remained in their new sectors and had higher wages. Younger cohorts affected by the new skill-intensive opportunities obtained higher education and were more likely to work in white-collar occupations by 1970. This result is consistent with higher returns to education. Finally, I link parents to children to study how the policy affected upward mobility. I show that mobility in both income and education increased in the exposed locations, as people in lower socioeconomic groups benefited from the structural change.

    Tracing Out the Finnish Kuznets Curve: Famine, Threat of Revolution, and Democratization

    We study the long-run development of Finland with a particular focus on some causes and consequences of inequality broadly defined. We show that the Finnish famine of 1866-1868 led to increased inequality in the long-run and tighter coercion in the labor markets of the early 1900s. Economic inequality at the time meant political exclusion, as voting rights and vote counts in municipal elections were tied to taxable income. We provide evidence consistent with discontent theories of conflict that these factors contributed to the emergence of the Finnish Civil War in 1918. The threat of revolution became real with the civil war and further led to the successful extension of the franchise. Municipalities with higher levels of inequality and more insurgents experienced a more drastic shift towards equality and higher levels of redistribution after the conflict.

    Can You Make an American? Compulsory Patriotism and Assimilation of Immigrants

    This paper investigates the success of assimilation efforts in the U.S. during the Age of Mass Migration. I focus on a largely overlooked case of American nation-building, the introduction of compulsory patriotic acts, such as the Pledge of Allegiance, to American schools in the late 19th century. Using a legislative change in the State of New York as an experiment, I show that immigrant children exposed to compulsory patriotism in school were more assimilated as adults, measured by naturalization, the naming of children, military service, and intermarriage. These positive effects on assimilation hold for immigrants from all the large origin countries. Overall, this paper provides evidence that even softer, hearts and minds types of interventions that do not provide any new information can have long-lasting effects.

  • Public defence: 2019-09-10 13:00 Gröjersalen, hus 3, Kräftriket, Stockholm
    Hasselgren, Anton
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Stockholm Business School.
    Essays on Investor Behavior and Trading Strategies in International Financial Markets2019Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    This dissertation contains four articles that in different ways inform on investor behavior in international financial markets, their impact on the underlying market, and the trading strategies that they pursue.

    Article I studies how hedge funds herd in currency future contracts and how it is affecting the underlying market. The results indicate that hedge funds herd, and that they herd in a pattern that is consistent with them following the carry trade strategy. Hedge fund herding has an impact on the underlying market, in the direction of the herd, and the results give no indication that their herding in destabilizing.

    Article II examines if limits to arbitrage can help explain the returns to technical analysis strategies in the foreign exchange market. The findings show that returns to technical analysis strategies are higher when limits to arbitrage are more severe, supporting the argument that profit opportunities can persist as arbitrage activity is costly and risky. However, investor sentiment seem to be unrelated to technical analysis returns. The main takeaway is that limits to arbitrage are an important determinant of technical analysis profitability.

    Article III investigates whether the trading activity of speculators is beneficial for the speed of information diffusion in the foreign exchange market. The findings show that predictive ability of the equity market on foreign exchange strategies dissipates when speculator activity is high. However, the same results are not found for the commodity markets ability to predict foreign exchange strategies. Overall, the results indicate that speculators play a vital role for informational efficiency in the foreign exchange market.

    Article IV examines the impact of investor attention on stock and foreign exchange market volatility in emerging economies using a newly constructed innovative attention proxies that capture the full spectrum of the dynamics of the information processing stages. The results show that investor attention significantly effects emerging stock market volatility, but not FX market volatility.

  • Public defence: 2019-09-20 10:00 Ahlmannsalen, Geovetenskapens hus, Stockholm
    Ratcovich, Martin
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Law, Department of Law.
    International Law and the Rescue of Refugees at Sea2019Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    International law provides a duty to rescue everyone in distress at sea. Rescue at sea often entails recovering survivors and bringing them on board ships or other rescue units. While their subsequent delivery and disembarkation may not always be controversial, they frequently are if those assisted are refugees and migrants. Coastal states are especially likely to be reluctant to accept disembarkation within their territories if the distress situation and rescue operation occurred in the course of attempts to enter the coastal state in a clandestine or otherwise irregular way. The controversial but unavoidable question in such situations is where refugees and migrants rescued at sea shall be brought for disembarkation.

    Until recently, international law was strikingly silent in this regard. However, following amendments to the two main treaties on maritime search and rescue — the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea and the International Convention on Maritime Search and Rescue — international maritime rescue law now requires that everyone rescued at sea be delivered to a ‘place of safety’. The responsibility to provide such a place or to ensure that it is provided lies with the state party responsible for the search and rescue region in which the survivors were recovered. However, ‘place of safety’ is not defined in these or any other treaty. Instead, the application is guided by a set of guidelines from the International Maritime Organization (IMO). However, the guidelines are not legally binding and many questions remain unanswered.

    This thesis examines the meaning of the concept of ‘place of safety’ against the background that many of those rescued at sea are refugees and migrants. Using a legal perspective, it asks how the meaning of this concept can be understood in the wider context of international law. The emphasis on the legal context links to the applicable standard of interpretation, which requires the meaning to be determined with reference to not only the text but also the context and the object and purpose of the treaty.

    Drawing on an explorative survey of the international legal framework for irregular maritime migration covering norms under the international law of the sea, international refugee law, international human rights law and international law against transnational organised crime and on a dedicated discussion of the applicable standard of interpretation, this thesis analyses the interpretation of the concept of ‘place of safety’. In keeping with the general legal framework of the interpretation of treaties, it explains that this concept cannot be understood with reference to the law of the sea exclusively, as it imports norms from other areas of international law. Due to the contribution of these other norms, including some of a primarily humanitarian character such as those dealing with non-refoulement, right to life and non-discrimination, this thesis argues that the meaning of the concept is broader than it first may seem. To conclude, this thesis summarises a ‘place of safety’ as a location where not only the maritime safety but also the basic security of survivors is no longer threatened.

  • Public defence: 2019-09-27 11:00 William-Olssonsalen, Geovetenskapens Hus, Stockholm
    Abdollahian Barough, Somaje
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of English.
    Event conceptualisation and aspect in L2 English and Persian: An application of the Heidelberg-Paris model2019Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    The present project investigates the impact of the grammaticalised progressive on event conceptualisation in English and Persian. It applies the Heidelberg-Paris framework using single event descriptions for analysis at the sentence level and story re-narrations at the discourse level. The empirical data test the hypothesis that the progressive has an impact on information selection and discourse structuring in event conceptualisation in terms of infrequent endpoint encodings and language-specific patterns of perspective-taking in structuring discourse. Languages lacking the grammaticalised progressive clearly show different effects.

    There are system-based similarities/differences in aspect between English and Persian. They have the progressive in common but differ with respect to the imperfective-perfective distinction. This difference is manifested as an increase in the use of the progressive in English. In contrast, the Persian system with two aspectual non-past forms which are possible for expressions of ongoingness leads to decreased use of the particular dāštan-progressive.

    The key finding for the single, motion event descriptions is that the dāštan-progressive in Persian shows less frequent endpoint encodings, like in English, as compared to languages lacking the progressive. However, the imperfective bare mi-form is associated with frequent endpoints while English shows no such association because the progressive must always be used.

    In narratives, differences emerge again due to the different typology. When the uses of the progressives in re-narrations are differentiated for clause type, the progressive in English is used equally in main and sub-clauses, though more dominantly in sub-clauses in Persian. These sub-results speak about differences in perspective-taking between these L1s.

    The analysis of the complexities involved in aspect establishes that the bare mi-form in Persian can denote ongoingness in cases where the progressive is obligatory in English as it has no optional verb form. Consequently, the typological difference of the absence/presence of the imperfective-perfective categories leads to a significant increase in the use of the progressive in English, which results in a cross-linguistically different, and L1-specific, patterns of perspective-taking in the narrative discourse in English and Persian. Thus, despite the fact that the L1s have the progressive aspect, their principles of use differ as they are dependent on the relevant aspectual system.

    Relating the results to linguistic relativity and cross-linguistic influence, the study shows that owing to the grammatical category of the progressive in common, event conceptualisation is similar in English and Persian in terms of infrequent endpoint encodings in single motion event descriptions, despite the overall typological difference. However, L1-related influence on the principles of use of the progressive in L2 English is considerable in the narrative discourse of the advanced L2 users of English as they seemingly proceed from the principles of use in L1 Persian towards those in L1 English.