14,424 research outputs found

    Developing a strong and sustainable food economy in Kirklees

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    Executive Summary Kirklees Public Health Directorate commissioned the research on which this report is based. Between October 2014 and July 2015, fifteen interviews were conducted in Kirklees with key actors in the community food sector and the local authority. These interviews were complimented with five more at the national level. The overall aim of the research was to provide evidence of how the current Kirklees food system contributes to the aim of making local people and the economy more resilient. The research had three main objectives: ‱ To explore the potential impact of local food on economic development. ‱ To examine possible frameworks for an independent Kirklees food partnership. ‱ To develop awareness and promote the significance of these issues. A number of key findings emerge. Key findings 1. Many community food enterprises exist in isolation and there is little to bind them together beyond small reciprocal exchanges. 2. The community food sector needs more support and Kirklees should focus on the many good things that are already happening across the borough. 3. Redefining what is meant by ‘local food’ would improve the effectiveness of local supply chains and enable better procurement. 4. Better local procurement and sourcing would enable local producers and entrepreneurs to make a more effective contribution to the local economy. 5. A system of local/ sub regional food hubs is already in place across Kirklees comprised of community retailers, farms shops and schools. 6. There is a wide support for the development of an independent Kirklees food partnership and central food hub to coordinate these initiatives more effectively. 7. The Brighton and Hove partnership provides a good model for Kirklees to follow, but the right people must be involved from the outset if any new approach is to be successful. 8. Any new agenda must ensure that all the diverse communities across Kirklees, deprived as well as affluent benefit from any new ways of working. 9. Better planning and public policies are needed if the joint Kirklees Health/Well-Being and Economic Strategies are to bring about outcomes that cut across different areas of service delivery. 10. More commitment and support for partnership working is needed across all sectors in West Yorkshire. Five recommendations are made. Recommendations 1. Provide more support for the community food sector in Kirklees 2. Initiative better partnership working and collaboration across all sectors in West Yorkshire 3. Link the local food system with local supply chains to enhance local sourcing and procurement 4. Initiative better planning and policy to link the food system to population needs across different areas of service delivery more effectively. 5. Develop a local food partnership and food hub infrastructure to drive the food strategy to the next level

    The postliberal politics of halal: new directions in the civilizing process?

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    This paper examines the emergence of postliberal halal politics in European societies. Building on research undertaken during the EU funded Dialrel project, it examines how the Malaysian state is inserting hegemonic claims into transnational space in order to dominate the international halal market. Moving beyond the idea of horizontally aligned networks of transnational power as the dominant framework for understanding social and economic change, the paper explores the complex interweaving of the large-scale macro processes and everyday micro practices underpinning the rise of Malaysia’s postliberal halal strategy. It is argued that the processes of social and economic differentiation emerging as a result of these processes have the potential to be an important step in the global civilizing process. In conclusion, the paper discusses the implication of these developments for figurational sociology

    Convergence Analysis of the Approximate Newton Method for Markov Decision Processes

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    Recently two approximate Newton methods were proposed for the optimisation of Markov Decision Processes. While these methods were shown to have desirable properties, such as a guarantee that the preconditioner is negative-semidefinite when the policy is log⁥\log-concave with respect to the policy parameters, and were demonstrated to have strong empirical performance in challenging domains, such as the game of Tetris, no convergence analysis was provided. The purpose of this paper is to provide such an analysis. We start by providing a detailed analysis of the Hessian of a Markov Decision Process, which is formed of a negative-semidefinite component, a positive-semidefinite component and a remainder term. The first part of our analysis details how the negative-semidefinite and positive-semidefinite components relate to each other, and how these two terms contribute to the Hessian. The next part of our analysis shows that under certain conditions, relating to the richness of the policy class, the remainder term in the Hessian vanishes in the vicinity of a local optimum. Finally, we bound the behaviour of this remainder term in terms of the mixing time of the Markov chain induced by the policy parameters, where this part of the analysis is applicable over the entire parameter space. Given this analysis of the Hessian we then provide our local convergence analysis of the approximate Newton framework.Comment: This work has been removed because a more recent piece (A Gauss-Newton method for Markov Decision Processes, T. Furmston & G. Lever) of work has subsumed i

    Price Competition on Network

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    We present a model of imperfect price competition where not all firms can sell to all consumers. A network structure models the local interaction of firms and consumers. We find that aggregate surplus is maximized with a fully connected network, which corresponds to perfect competition, and decreases monotonically as the network becomes less connected until firms become local monopolists. When we study which networks are likely to form in equilibrium, we find that stable networks are not fully connected but are connected enough to rule out local monopolists. Our results extend to oligopolistic competition when consumers can either buy from a single firm or from all firms.Network markets, price competition, oligopoly competition, Bertrand competition.

    Sociology Still Lagging on Climate Change

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    This note responds to the discussion pieces by Elizabeth Shove and John Urry in the debates section of Sociological Research Online, 31 August 2010.[No keywords]

    The Labour Market Mobility of Polish Migrants: A Comparative Study of Three Regions in South Wales, UK

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    Since Polish migrants began entering the UK labour market in the post-accession period, there has been a significant amount of case study research focusing on the impact of this large migrant group on the UK economy. However, ten years after enlargement, there is still insufficient information regarding the labour market mobility of Polish migrants residing in the UK for the longer term. The available research on this topic is largely concentrated in urban settings such as London or Birmingham, and does not necessarily capture the same patterns of labour market mobility as in non-urban settings. Using qualitative data collected in three case study locations – urban, semi-urban and rural – in the South Wales region from 2008–2012, this article has two main aims. First, given the proximity of the case study locations, the article highlights the diversity of the Polish migrant characteristics through the samples used. Second, using trajectories created from the data, this article compares the variations among the labour market movements of the Polish migrants in each sample to determine what characteristics influence labour market ascent. Through this comparative trajectory analysis, the findings from this article point to the relative English language competency of migrants as the primary catalyst for progression in the Welsh labour market across all three case study regions. The secondary catalyst, which is intertwined with the first, is the composition of the migrants’ social networks, which enable, or in some cases disable, labour market progression. These findings have significant implications in the national and in the supranational policy sphere regarding the employment of migrants as well as their potential for cultural integration in the future

    The development of halal and kosher meat markets in the UK

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    Over the last decade recognisable markets have emerged for halal and kosher meat in a number of European countries, notably in the UK. Growing segments of these markets are now channeled through product ranges in supermarkets, with the halal market in particular experiencing a rapid increase in demand. A number of factors underpin these developments, including an increase in the Muslim population, changes in consumer behaviour, identity reinforcement, and a general increase in meat consumption. Although the expansion of the kosher market is perceptibly smaller, and the Jewish population is more or less stable, the market is far from being extinct. Kosher products have an increasing presence in supermarkets and there are a growing number of kosher labels