86 research outputs found

    Spatial inequality during the COVID-19 pandemic in Africa using night-time lights data

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    In this paper, we study the evolution of spatial inequality during the recent COVID-19 pandemic in Africa and assess if there is any association between the outbreak of the health crisis, the strictness of policy restrictions and the changes observed in spatial inequality. Using remotely sensed night time lights data, we find that spatial inequality decreased after the COVID-19 outbreak. Yet, there are huge differences within and between countries. Spatial inequality decreased in Southern and Northern African countries while it increased in Central African countries. Spatial inequality mainly decreased in countries implementing more stringent measures but also in those areas that were richer before the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic

    Efficiency and Capital Structure in the Italian Cereal Sector

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    Farm capital structure may have contrasting effects on farm efficiency as a strand of the farm efficiency literature as pointed out ( for a review see for example Davidova and Latruffe 2007). Farmers often use external funding both to cover productions costs and to finance investments (machinery, equipment, buildings) to enhance farm economic performance. The debt is necessary to maintain or improve farm productivity and competitiveness by adopting technological innovation needed to increase farm efficiency. At the same time leverage may affects farm efficiency by influencing farm production decision constrained by lower farm expenditure capacity. In this case, farms response may rely on reducing the necessary expenditures to maintain the production assets with negative consequences on farm productivity, growth and efficiency. Finally, farm leverage may affects the farms capacity to react to market shocks adopting the needed strategic adjustments to maintain productivity, efficiency and competitiveness. A relevant case study for assessing this last effect would be the recent surge in price volatility that affected European and world cereal markets starting from 2008.The objective of this paper is to provide new empirical evidence on the relationship between farm capital structure and farm efficiency. In particular we will try to answer the following research question: does higher leverage lead to better performance? The food price volatility that has affected the cereal market from 2008 onwards is a possible stress for cereal farms that must adapt to the rapid drop in prices such as the one observed in 2010. Our research provide a first insight on the evolution of the cereal farms debt-technical efficiency relationship in times of high price volatility

    Spatial inequality during the COVID-19 pandemic in Africa using night-time lights data

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    In this paper, we study the evolution of spatial inequality during the recent COVID-19 pandemic in Africa and assess if there is any association between the outbreak of the health crisis, the strictness of policy restrictions and the changes observed in spatial inequality. Using remotely sensed night time lights data, we find that spatial inequality decreased after the COVID-19 outbreak. Yet, there are huge differences within and between countries. Spatial inequality decreased in Southern and Northern African countries while it increased in Central African countries. Spatial inequality mainly decreased in countries implementing more stringent measures but also in those areas that were richer before the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic

    The impact of financial leverage on farm technical efficiency during periods of price instability

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    The main purpose of this work is to provide empirical evidence on the relationship between capital structure and technical efficiency for Italian cereal farms during the 2008 – 2014 period. Emphasis is given in the understanding of the relationship between the level of financial leverage for cereal farms and their production performance. The methods employed in this research article are based on non-parametric techniques in order to derive technical efficiency estimates for a sample of Italian cereal farms based on available Farm Accountancy Data Network data to explore in depth the relationship amongst the financial exposure of the sector and the capacity to utilise an efficient and effective production technology. Furthermore, subsidies are considered in the model as a non-discretionary variable and therefore, as an input that farmers cannot directly influence within the production function. Hence, the non-discretionary Data Envelopment Analysis model is a more appropriate framework since it is not penalising farms at a lower level of Pillar I payments when benchmarked with farms that receive higher level of payments. The results show that significant improvements could be achieved for most of the farms in the sample by improving production and management practices. Furthermore, results provide an empirical support of the adjustment theory by showing a negative impact of debt to asset ratio to technical efficiency. This research article provides a first insight on the evolution of the Italian cereal farms debt-technical efficiency relationship in periods where high price instability has been observed

    Public Food Procurement: A Systematic Literature Review

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    Public food procurement (PFP) is a policy instrument that has been used to “link” different objectives at once. We undertake a first systematic review of the scientific literature that deals with PFP in order to 1.) assess the progress of the scientific literature concerning PFP in different areas of the world, 2.) look for differences among them and try to identify the topics on which these studies focuses the most. Accordingly, our research questions deal with the definition of the main conceptual dimensions developed by the academic literature on PFP as well as with the geographical and temporal differences among the dimensions identified. The first evidence is the increase in the number of papers per year during the last decade. Furthermore, the literature on PFP is centred on the concepts of localisation and structured demand and its impacts on food chain actors, on citizen-consumers and on sustainability at large. As a main research result, we provide a conceptual framework of the PFP literature largely based on the concept of linkage that has been first proposed in law and regulation studies

    GADA titer-related risk for organ-specific autoimmunity in LADA subjects subdivided according to gender (NIRAD study 6).

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    CONTEXT: Latent autoimmune diabetes in adults (LADA) includes a heterogeneous population wherein, based on glutamic acid decarboxylase antibody (GADA) titer, different subgroups of subjects can be identified. OBJECTIVE: The aim of the present study was to evaluate GADA titer-related risk for β-cell and other organ-specific autoimmunity in LADA subjects. METHODS: Adult-onset autoimmune diabetes subjects (n=236) and type 2 diabetes (T2DM) subjects (n=450) were characterized for protein tyrosine phosphatase (IA-2IC and IA-2(256-760)), zinc transporter 8 (ZnT8), thyroid peroxidase, (TPO), steroid 21-hydroxylase (21-OH), tissue transglutaminase (tTG), and antiparietal cell (APC) antibodies. RESULTS: High GADA titer compared to low GADA titer showed a significantly higher prevalence of IA-2IC, IA-2(256-760), ZnT8, TPO, and APC antibodies (P≤0.04 for all comparison). 21-OH antibodies were detected in 3.4% of high GADA titer. A significant decreasing trend was observed from high GADA to low GADA and to T2DM subjects for IA-2(256-760), ZnT8, TPO, tTG, and APC antibodies (P for trend≤0.001). TPO was the only antibody showing a different prevalence between gender; low GADA titer and T2DM female patients had a higher frequency of TPO antibody compared to males (P=0.0004 and P=0.0006, respectively), where the presence of high GADA titer conferred an odds ratio of 8.6 for TPO compared to low GADA titer. After subdividing high and low GADA titer subjects according to the number of antibodies, we observed that 73.3% of high GADA titer subjects were positive for at least one or more antibodies, compared to 38.3% of low GADA titer (P<0.0001). CONCLUSIONS: In LADA subjects, high GADA titer was associated with a profile of more severe autoimmunity and, in male gender, specifically predisposed to thyroid autoimmunity. A regular screening for other antibodies is recommended in LADA patients according to GADA titer and gender

    No effects of oral vitamin D supplementation on non-alcoholic fatty liver disease in patients with type 2 diabetes: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial

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    Background: Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is the most common hepatic disorder worldwide, reaching prevalence up to 90 % in obese patients with type 2 diabetes (T2D), and representing an independent risk factor for cardiovascular mortality. Furthermore, the coexistence of T2D and NAFLD leads to higher incidence of diabetes’ complications and additive detrimental liver outcomes. The existence of a close association between NAFLD and hypovitaminosis D, along with the anti-inflammatory and insulin-sensitizing properties of vitamin D, have been largely described, but vitamin D effects on hepatic fat content have never been tested in a randomized controlled trial. We assessed the efficacy and safety of 24-week oral high-dose vitamin D supplementation in T2D patients with NAFLD. Methods: This randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial was carried out at the Diabetes Centre of Sapienza University, Rome, Italy, to assess oral treatment with cholecalciferol (2000 IU/day) or placebo in T2D patients with NAFLD. The primary endpoint was reduction of hepatic fat fraction (HFF) measured by magnetic resonance; as hepatic outcomes, we also investigated changes in serum transaminases, CK18-M30, N-terminal Procollagen III Propeptide (P3NP) levels, and Fatty Liver Index (FLI). Secondary endpoints were improvement in metabolic (fasting glycaemia, HbA1c, lipids, HOMA-IR, HOMA-β, ADIPO-IR, body fat distribution) and cardiovascular (ankle-brachial index, intima-media thickness, flow-mediated dilatation) parameters from baseline to end of treatment. Results: Sixty-five patients were randomized, 26 (cholecalciferol) and 29 (placebo) subjects completed the study. 25(OH) vitamin D significantly increased in the active treated group (48.15 ± 23.7 to 89.80 ± 23.6 nmol/L, P &lt; 0.001); however, no group differences were found in HFF, transaminases, CK18-M30, P3NP levels or FLI after 24 weeks. Vitamin D neither changed the metabolic profile nor the cardiovascular parameters. Conclusions: Oral high-dose vitamin D supplementation over 24 weeks did not improve hepatic steatosis or metabolic/cardiovascular parameters in T2D patients with NAFLD. Studies with a longer intervention period are warranted for exploring the effect of long time exposure to vitamin D
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