Behavioural insights in the Commission

first_imgIn 2010, the Commission also ran the first large behavioural study to find out how consumers search for information, and choose between retail investment products. The financial environment has evolved so much that consumers are often ill-prepared to make sound decisions about increasingly complex investment products. Via a series of online and face-to-face experiments, we found that people struggle to make good investment choices even in simplified tasks. Only 2% of the subjects made all five investment choices optimally. The study led to clear policy recommendations. It suggested that standardisation and simpler product information is needed. The Commission used the results of the study in the review of the legislation on packaged retail investment products. I can only agree and am convinced that behavioural insights are highly relevant to any policy intervention where the way in which people respond helps to determine its effectiveness. For example, the UK government aims to increase loft insulation to curb carbon dioxide emissions and improve energy efficiency. They discovered that take-up increased threefold when they offered a service (payable) to clear lofts. Such insights are also important where individual behaviour influences the achievement of common objectives, in areas like sustainable development, prevention of child obesity, or energy efficiency. Behavioural insights are currently being used to increase tax compliance, reduce energy consumption or discourage behaviours (such as smoking, binge drinking) that incur significant costs for society. The Commission continues to study and harness this extraordinary science in order to deliver policy options that take account of citizens’ everyday needs, experiences and behaviour. We currently have six studies under way on topics ranging from energy labelling to package travel, from bank-account transparency to car-emissions labelling. The results will help to design policy that delivers maximum benefit for Europeans at minimum cost. By ‘road-testing’ policy interventions, we can avoid time-consuming and sometimes expensive mistakes. Behavioural insights may identify a non-legislative approach as more effective than new regulation or tell us why legislation failed to achieve its desired result. It may reveal unexpected or paradoxical impacts (eg, when financial advisers disclosed the commission they would receive, their clients trusted them less, and rejected advice even when they would have been better off following it). As such, behavioural economics can play an important role in achieving the Commission’s aim of smarter legislation. Paola Testori Coggi Director-general for health and consumersEuropean CommissionBrussels In response to the call from Alberto Alemanno in his article “Nudging Europe” (16-22 May), I am happy to confirm that the European Commission supports the study and application of behavioural insights for policymaking. Indeed, it has been using this approach since 2008. In fact, the European Commission was one of the first public administrations to apply behavioural evidence on default choices, when it limited the use of pre-checked boxes in consumer contracts (October 2008). For instance, once the consumer-rights directive is transposed into national law, 500 million European consumers will be better protected against their default bias. This means that in future when you make a hotel booking online, you should not be offered breakfast or cancellation insurance by default. Your money should stay in your pocket by default, unless you consciously decide otherwise. This represents a significant change of approach and is just one of the ways in which the Commission has been using behavioural insights for better policymaking in recent years. In 2010, the Commission used behavioural insights in the competition case concerning the bundling of Microsoft’s Internet Explorer with the Windows operating system. The result was an unusual but effective remedy that was simple and user-friendly. Users of Windows-based personal computers were given the option to choose an alternative browser, via an on-screen ballot box. One in four users who viewed the ballot box downloaded an alternative browser. A simple device, at minimal programming cost to Microsoft, made the EU market for browsers more competitive and innovative (in Europe, both Chrome and Firefox now have larger market shares than Internet Explorer). last_img read more

New study provides evidence that art courses can improve mental wellbeing

first_imgResearchers at the University of Gloucestershire have recently evaluated data from nearly 1,300 primary care patients in South West England, finding a course of arts-on-prescription to provide a significant improvement in overall wellbeing, including in those with very complex care needs.The group’s findings have been published recently in European Journal of Public Health.“Social prescribing”, or the provision of non-medical interventions in primary care settings, has been on the rise in recent years. It is based on the knowledge that health is determined by a wide variety of factors, and these wider factors (social, emotional, and economic) cannot be remedied by medicine alone. They are a response to the biggest public health challenges we face today; mental health, loneliness, ageing, and long-term health conditions. Patients can be referred to participate in these schemes for very general reasons, like increasing overall wellbeing, self-esteem, or confidence; or for more specific reasons, like providing support during bereavement, or reducing anxiety or depression. Share on Twitter Unlike art therapy, arts-on-prescription schemes provide art courses where patients can choose to learn how to draw, paint, create mosaics, or playwright. The courses are led by local artists, and are community-based rather than being based on specific medical needs. The groups that are referred are usually quite small, with between three and ten individuals, and may be based in local surgeries or community facilities. Those who take part are then provided with materials, and a dedicated space to carry out their activities. What makes these interventions unique is that they provide the participants with anonymity from what has brought them there, eliminating a shared “elephant in the room” that is their diagnosis, or specific medical need.Well received by patients, health professionals, and arts providers alike, the benefits of art for health schemes have long been recognised as valuable. Despite this, they have still been struggling to gain traction in mainstream primary care, even with recognition from a recent inquiry report by the All Party Parliamentary Group on Arts, Health and Wellbeing. Until recently, the evidence base for these interventions has been from studies using small groups of patients, making it difficult to draw solid conclusions from something that will ultimately involve investment from the public purse.The researchers have evaluated evidence from patients referred for arts activities through Artlift, a charity based in South West England that provides courses with local artists across the region. Through using the largest database available of patients referred through such schemes they have found that patients experience quantifiable improvements in overall wellbeing from participating in these arts courses.Diane Crone, Professor in the School of Health and Social Care at the University, said: “We’ve worked with Artlift for a long time now, and have known through some previous research how the patients feel about it. One comment that’s really stuck with me from speaking with patients was that ‘Artlift lifts your heart’. For me, this captures the personal significance of it brilliantly”.“It’s great to be able to finally provide substantial, and significant evidence from data collected over 7 years for these interventions,” she added.Even in recent years, where tightening budgets, and challenges to health commissioning have been on the increase, the evidence supports the benefits of these interventions to those who need it the most. Since beginning to provide arts-on-prescription in the region, Artlift has had to change the services it has offered, from an initial 10-week course with the possibility of multiple re-referrals, to an eight-week course with only one additional re-referral available.Despite this, the evidence shows that the benefits in improved wellbeing experienced by the patients being referred are not only still significant, but they actually seem to be greater in these shorter courses.Paul Flynn, executive director of Artlift, comments: “Artlift has been providing arts for wellbeing benefits for nine years, so the results of this research are welcome, but not surprising. We are told almost on a daily basis that the interventions have significantly improved the lives of participants who have felt better able to cope with serious life issues. We hear of people developing friendships, returning to work and even being able to repair marriages and other relationships, such is the impact that Artlift can have.”The work carried out by Professor Diane Crone and her team at the University of Gloucestershire also shows that this intervention is effective in increasing wellbeing in what is perhaps the most complicated, but increasingly important group in primary care; those with multiple health conditions. The team have been able to identify just over 200 people within the dataset that have multiple medical conditions across different categories like cancers, diabetes, pain conditions, mental health problems, and cardiovascular diseases.Professor Crone says: “These complex multiple care needs are becoming more and more common in primary care in the UK, and beyond; so understanding how they can be supported will be vital in helping to navigate the key public health issues we see today.”Whilst these findings are important for primary care providers, the researchers note that the most important message here is for health commissioners.“These non-medical interventions can potentially offer solutions to some of the most challenging issues arising in public health. While wellbeing is often viewed as something intangible, it is a critical issue that is central to supporting physical health,” Professor Crone says.Artlift executive director Paul also confirms the importance of using this important evidence to support improvements in policy: “We welcome the findings of this report and thank the University of Gloucestershire for their rigorous efforts in its production. We hope it will convince those responsible for health budgets to seriously consider arts interventions to benefit their communities – there is enough evidence now that arts are not a ‘nice to have’ but a genuinely beneficial intervention – and cost effective for the NHS.”By providing community-based arts activities, like those supported by Artlift, patients are given the tools and space to express themselves, a new skill that can be sustained well beyond the scheme itself; and they are introduced to others in their community, increasing connectedness in a society where loneliness is becoming the norm. LinkedIn Emailcenter_img Share Share on Facebook Pinterestlast_img read more

FCI opens Saudi Arabian operation

first_imgGet instant access to must-read content today!To access hundreds of features, subscribe today! At a time when the world is forced to go digital more than ever before just to stay connected, discover the in-depth content our subscribers receive every month by subscribing to gasworld.Don’t just stay connected, stay at the forefront – join gasworld and become a subscriber to access all of our must-read content online from just $270. Subscribelast_img

Progress of Costa Concordia Removal Operations Presented to Civil Protection and Observatory

first_imgCosta Crociere and Titan-Micoperi representatives presented the progress of removal operations to the Commissioner for the Concordia Emergency Franco Gabrielli, the Observatory for Concordia Removal and the Mayor of Giglio at Civil Protection headquarters in Rome.Costa Crociere is now in the process of completing the technical documentation that will be delivered in the next days to the Observatory to allow the authorities to evaluate the parbuckling project – the vertical rotation of the wreck – and give their approval for the operations to take place in the month of September.Once the parbuckling is completed, it will be essential to assess the conditions of the wreck and evaluate any technical adjustments required, particularly on the submerged starboard side which is currently inaccessible in that it rests upon two cliffs of rocks.Following the completion of such assessment, it will be possible to more accurately determine the timing of the subsequent phases, that is refloating and towing.The Concordia wreck removal is a unique and extremely complex technical-engineering operation, a naval salvage operation like no other in history, involving the best international expertise, advanced technologies and unprecedented financial. Activities continue with about 500 workers and 30 vessels at work 24/7. Protection of marine ecosystem, safety of workplace and rapidity of removal project completion are the key priorities of the project.[mappress]Press Release, July 17, 2013last_img read more

Edwards gains Faktor 5

first_imgWith a hauling capacity of up to 500 tonnes, deadweight to payload ratio of 5:1, and adjustable loading lengths and widths, Edwards says that its new investment offers the flexibility to solve some of the toughest specialised transport challenges.The new trailer configuration is available for use on certain projects, as well as for rent, said the Shelbyville, Kentucky based heavy transport and lifting company. Edwards’ new girder bridge is the sixth of its type in use around the world. Goldhofer delivered its fifth Faktor 5 high girder bridge to UK based heavy haulage company Allelys back in June 2014.  www.edwardsmoving.comwww.goldhofer.comlast_img

Micciche Says The House Has Not Held Up The Senate

first_imgThe 40-member House remains unorganized 31 days into the session. The House has 23 Republicans, but only 20 of them have been aligned with the GOP caucus. The House has voted four times for Speaker, but always ended with a 20-20 split. They are scheduled to convene for a floor session at 10am on Thursday. Sen. Micciche: “So far, the House has not held up the Senate. We arrived on the first day of the session and have been working hard and moving through our bills, budget, and finance work. They will reach a point when they are the bottleneck in moving forward. They are a month late to work.” Micciche: “They must organize, people need to put their egos aside. They need to organize the way people elected them to be organized. We are hoping that comes together in the next few days.” center_img FacebookTwitterEmailPrintFriendly分享With over a third of the Legislative session behind us, Senator Peter Micciche (R-K-Pen) said the lack of organization in the House has not slowed down the momentum of the Senate. Micciche: “There are many dedicated House members that have been ready to go to work. They have been sitting through our meetings trying to understand what needs to occur in the next two months. I don’t want the public to hold the entire House responsible when they problem with organizing has been limited to a few that have been focused on something different.”last_img read more

Brown receives Miss Soccer award

first_imgWESTERN BUREAU:Reggae Girl Jody Brown was officially presented with another major award to add to her growing list of accolades, this time the Florida Dairy Farmers Miss Soccer title.The 17-year-old, who was instrumental in Jamaica becoming the first Caribbean team to qualify for the FIFA Women’s World Cup, was honoured earlier this year in her absence while on World Cup preparation duties for Jamaica, and was only able to officially collect the award last week. Brown’s honour came in light of her outstanding performance during the season which enabled her school, Montverde Academy to become back-to-back high school state champions. Brown will also be honoured with an image in the school gym on a banner, much like NBA stars R.J. Barrett and D’Angelo Russell.“I am really excited to receive this award and to be recognised,” the teenager said.Brown, who was also the recipient of the 2018 Female Athlete of the Year for Montverde, began her final year at the institution earlier this month, and is expected to play a key role in the upcoming football season. She will head back to Jamaica late September to play in the Women’s Olympic Qualifiers. Girls football coach and director of Montverde International Football Club Robbie Aristodemo said he was looking forward to Brown playing a leadership role and mentoring in the upcoming schoolgirl football season.“Jody has proven over the last two seasons that she has the ability to score goals in the big games,” he said. Both years, she has scored the decisive goal that has propelled our programme to state championships. She is a dynamic player that has speed, quickness and a good understanding of positions, movement and integrating within a system.” Start developing He added that his expectations for Brown in her senior year was to see her start developing more as a leader and mentor to the younger players, to continue to grow as a footballer, developing on the field and constantly trying to raise her own bar. “The sky is the limit if she continues to push the envelope,” he said.The Florida’s Dairy Farmers High School Sports Awards is the longest-running sports awards programme in the United States (US). Since 1992, the programme, which recognises all 30 Florida High School Athletic Association-sanctioned and recognised sports, has honoured more than 5,000 of the state’s top student athletes and coaches. Some of the past winners have gone on to excel at the collegiate and professional levels, as well as represent the US in the Olympic Games. [email protected]last_img read more