Author Interviews, Education, Genetic Research, PNAS / 20.01.2020 Interview with: Per Engzell PhD Postdoctoral Prize Research Fellow Nuffield College, University of Oxford
Felix C. Tropf, PhD Assistant Professor in Social Science Genetics, CREST-ENSAE, Paris What is the background for this study? Response: We know that parents and offspring often resemble each other in their socio-economic outcomes: higher-educated parents tend to have children who reach a similar level of education while children of disadvantaged families struggle in school. To the extent that this compromises equality of opportunity – that is, some children end up better educated only because of their social background – social policies aim to compensate for it and promote social mobility. At the same time, not all similarity between parents and offspring can be seen as equally troubling. A society that blocked entry to university for any child born to academics would achieve high mobility, but few of us would see it as a model of equal opportunity. So some channels of transmission then, it seems, are more fair than others. Although we may disagree where to draw the line, things like parents’ ability to pay for good neighborhoods, schools, or access to college appear clearly more troubling than the inheritance of traits that make for educational success. In this study, we ask whether societies that have achieved a high degree of intergenerational mobility have done so by limiting the reach of "nature" (inherited traits), "nurture" (other family advantages), or both. We do so by combining the rich literatures of social mobility research and behavior genetics, comparing variation across several cohorts of men and women in 10 countries.  (more…)
Author Interviews, Education, Outcomes & Safety / 08.05.2019 Interview with: Veronica Toffolutti PhD Postdoctoral researcher working with Professor David Stuckler Department of Sociology Bocconi University What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Openness has been linked with better patient safety and better understanding of patients’ care goals. In addition, more open environments appear to be linked with positively ranked quality of teamwork, which in turns lead to better health care. Yet if the expected benefits are to be achieved, it is necessary to show that greater openness actually corresponds to improvements in performance or lower mortality rates. To the best of our knowledge our is the first study to show an association between hospital mortality and openness and more precisely one point increase in the standardized openness score leads to a decrease of 6.48% in the hospital mortality rates. With the term openness we refer to an environment in which communication among patients, staff members and managers is open and transparent.  (more…)