Abstracts

Faculty Research Abstracts and Publications

 

Media effects on cyber intrusions

McCarthy, M.J.

In this current hyper‒connected era, many could argue that multifaced daily news events, arranged into univocal storylines, generate effects well beyond the media environment.  Empirically speaking, most explorations of media and cyberspace focus discretely on one or the other, parochially missing their potential interaction.  More specifically, could negative media events, laced with dueling narratives, aimed at the United States (US) and its interests by other countries on a given day, impact the level of cyber intrusions on US networks the next day?  The purpose of this study is to relate today’s recorded cyber intrusions on a US network to yesterday’s media events using statistical regression models as the method of testing for the relationship’s existence.  The analysis begins with a broad investigation of all regimes, and then proceeds through specific regime‒types, before narrowing down to case studies of specific countries.  The evidence provided from these models bears out that negative media narratives projected by other countries toward the US, generate measurable impacts on the level of ensuing intrusions on US networks.  Further, these effects vary in important ways across countries and regime‒types contingent upon their unique culture, political context, and evolutionary setting.

McCarthy, M.J. (2021). Media effects on cyber intrusions. Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey, CA.


Is scientific reasoning the key to Lean Six Sigma's success?

McCarthy, M.J.

The Lean Six Sigma (LSS) processes continue to be used throughout the public and private sectors to map processes seeking to make them lean and, thereby, more efficient and effective. We make the argument that the LSS process (i.e. Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve, and Control (DMAIC)) is inherently scientific. In Ronald N. Giere’s (1979) book entitled Scientific Reasoning, he developed a scientific reasoning methodology and then applied it the process used to discover deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA). The article overlays a real-world LSS project conducted by an element of the United States Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD) between 2006 and 2008 and its DMAIC process atop Giere’s Scientific Reasoning Methodology. Ultimately, this article uses the scientific reasoning methodology to bound the evidence necessary to form the scientific explanation that the DMAIC process is indeed – scientific and the key to Lean Six Sigma’s success.

McCarthy, M.J. (2020). Is scientific reasoning the key to Lean Six Sigma’s Success? Journal of Defense Resources Management (JoDRM), 11(1), 17-29.


911 and the area code from which you call:  How to improve the disparity in California’s emergency medical services

Richter, A., MacKinnon, D. J. 

Thirty-three separate local emergency medical services (EMS) authority agencies serve the 58 counties in California. Each local emergency medical services agency dictates widely different treatment and transport protocols for its paramedics. Although previous research has established the problem of geographic EMS disparities, nothing definitively explains their cause. We analyze California’s most recently available EMS performance-measure data to determine if there is still disparity in EMS patient care and patient outcomes in California. If there is a disparity, we determine whether the differences are accounted for by socioeconomic factors, geographical differences, or population size, by combining California EMS data with other state and county level data. If none of these factors are significantly correlated, this supports the hypothesis that something different, such as system structure, could be a potential cause of California’s EMS disparities. As a secondary analysis, we attempt to replicate these types of analyses at national and international levels, which could potentially permit a structural comparison as well. There is still disparity in EMS patient care and patient outcomes in California. Regression analyses did not identify a single factor to explain the disparity in performance measures. Most notably, the regression found that basic socioeconomic factors and geographical differences frequently speculated as common drivers for disparity of services, including median income, population density, and availability of specialty care facilities, did not account for the disparity in services. Conclusions: Unfortunately, the striking lack of performance-measure data—a data desert—for EMS throughout the United States meant that the secondary analyses were inconclusive. Based on these results, we propose three recommendations (1) most importantly, the lack of data must be addressed. Data collection should be standardized and mandatory for all EMS providers. (2) Treatment protocols for the state should be standardized and based on the latest evidence-based research. Providers should be required to offer the same level of care, to all geographic regions. (3) It may be beneficial to consider restructuring the California EMS system. While the research is limited due to imperfect information, consolidated systems seem to perform better. An existing framework for this already exists

Richter, A., MacKinnon, D. J. (2020). 911 and the Area Code from which You Call:  How to Improve the Disparity in California’s Emergency Medical Services. Journal of Emergency Management Decisions, JEM19-0915R(18-3). 


Revisiting the justification for an all-volunteer force

Amara, J. H. (2019) Revisiting the justification for an all-volunteer force. Defense & Security Analysis, 35(3), 326-342.


What goes up must come down: Military expenditures and civil wars

Armey, L., McNab, R. M.

This paper examines the impact of civil war on military expenditure. We employ two measures of military expenditure: the share of military expenditure in general government expenditure and the logarithm of military expenditures. We would reasonably expect a priori that military expenditure as a share of general government expenditure increases during a civil war and that such increases would taper off over the duration of a civil war. We also explore whether the termination of a civil war induces a decline in the share of military expenditure as a share of the general government expenditure in the short-run. We find evidence the of share of military expenditure increases during a civil war and falls in the year succeeding the end of a civil war, and, in particular, if a war ends in a peace treaty. The level of military expenditures, however, rises during civil wars and does not appear to decline in the short-term after the end of a civil war.

Armey, L., McNab, R. M. (2019). What goes up must come down: Military expenditures and civil wars. Defence and Peace Economics, 30(5), 570-591. 


Racial Selection in Deployment to Iraq and Afghanistan

Armey, L. E., Berck, P., and Lipow, J. (2019). Racial Selection in Deployment to Iraq and Afghanistan. Defence and Peace Economics


Terrain Ruggedness and Limits of Political Repression: Evidence from China’s Great Leap Forward and Famine (1959-61)

Gooch, E.

Chairman Mao Zedong’s Great Leap Forward development plan strongly affected food security in rural China at the time, given that many of the associated policies exploited rural labor and extracted resources. A few months after the plan’s initial implementation in August 1958, food shortages were reported; by the spring of 1961, more than 30 million citizens had died of starvation and famine-related illnesses. However, as the national plan was rolled out and then upheld over three years, on-the-ground implementation was nonuniform. Using georeferenced terrain ruggedness data which captures smallscale topological irregularities and information on provincial leadership attitudes towards Mao’s plan, I provide evidence on forces underlying the famine’s intensity and distribution. The analysis is based on a differential effect, in which a fear-based incentive structure characterizing the plan’s implementation is implicitly embedded. The baseline results indicate that rugged terrain protected more than 4.6 million rural Chinese from dying in the famine. By identifying an additional benefit of ruggedness to health and well-being in some rural communities, I show that not only does a causal relationship exist at a local level between Great Leap policies and famine mortality, but also that the lethality of the policies varied per state power at the time.

Gooch, E. (2019). Terrain Ruggedness and Limits of Political Repression: Evidence from China’s Great Leap Forward and Famine (1959-61). Journal of Comparative Economics, 47(4): 827-52.


Expenditure decentralization and natural resources

Armey, L., McNab, R. M. (2018). Expenditure decentralization and natural resources. Quarterly Review of Economics and Finance, 70, 52-61.


Women at War: Understanding The Impacts of Combat on Women's Educational Attainment

Armey, L. (2018). Women at War: Understanding The Impacts of Combat on Women's Educational Attainment. Defence and Peace Economics.


Trade Agreements and National Security: An Economic Approach

Lipow, J., Garcia, R. J.B. (2018) Trade Agreements and National Security: An Economic Approach. Handbook of International Trade Agreements. Routledge. 


Between reality and fantasy: Transforming the Arab states’ military force structure

Amara, J. H. (2017). Between reality and fantasy: Transforming the Arab states’ military force structure. Middle East Policy, 24(3), 104-116.


Military and veteran’s health, health care, and wellbeing

Amara, J. H. (2017). Military and veteran’s health, health care, and wellbeing. Defence and Peace Economics.


Taking technology to the field: hardware challenges in developing countries

Armey, L., Hosman, L. J.

A great deal has been written about the various socio-political, economic, and cultural reasons that information and communications technologies (ICTs) fail to achieve the potential they represent. Far less attention has been paid to the technology itself, and the role that the hardware plays in the success or failure of ICT4D. Along these lines, we find a disconnect between much of the scholarly ICT4D research and many of the needs and concerns of practitioners and intended beneficiaries. Using interviews and surveys, this article asks ICT4D practitioners and end-users about the technology and hardware needs and challenges they face in the field. These practitioners consistently suggest that electricity is the most important hardware-related concern, followed closely by cost, robustness/ruggedness, and ease of maintenance/repair. We argue for the inclusion of hardware and technology considerations in the planning and implementation of ICT4D projects. Failure to address these concerns may account for the underperformance of many technologies in the development context.

Armey, L., Hosman, L. J. (2017). Taking technology to the field: hardware challenges in developing countries. Information Technology for Development


Defender- Attacker Decision Tree Analysis to Combat Terrorism

Garcia, R. J.B. (2017). Defender- Attacker Decision Tree Analysis to Combat Terrorism. Improving Homeland Security Decisions.


Minimizing Public Sector Corruption: The Economics of Crime, Identity Economics, and Money Laundering

Melese, F., Armey, L. (2017). Minimizing Public Sector Corruption: The Economics of Crime, Identity Economics, and Money Laundering. Defense and Peace Economics.


Military Cost-Benefit Analysis: Theory and Practice (Routledge Studies in Defence and Peace Economics) 1st Edition (2015)

 F. Melese, A. Richter, and B. Solomon

This is the first comprehensive book on Military Cost-Benefit Analysis and provides novel approaches to structuring cost-benefit and affordability analysis amidst an uncertain defense environment and cloudy fiscal prospects. Lifting the veil on military Cost-Benefit Analysis, this volume offers several new practical tools designed to guide defense investments (and divestments), combined with a selection of real-world applications.

The widespread employment of Cost-Benefit Analysis offers a unique opportunity to transform legacy defense forces into efficient, effective, and accountable 21st century organizations. A synthesis of economics, statistics and decision theory, CBA is currently used in a wide range of defense applications in countries around the world: i) to shape national security strategy, ii) to set acquisition policy, and iii) to inform critical investments in people, equipment, infrastructure, services and supplies. As sovereign debt challenges squeeze national budgets, and emerging threats disrupt traditional notions of security, this volume offers valuable tools to navigate the political landscape, meet calls for fiscal accountability, and boost the effectiveness of defense investments to help guarantee future peace and stability. 

A valuable resource for scholars, practitioners, novices and experts, this book offers a comprehensive overview of Military Cost-Benefit Analysis and will appeal to anyone interested or involved in improving national security, and will also be of general interest to those responsible for major government programs, projects or policies.



Modeling a severe supply chain disruption and post-disaster decision making with application to the Japanese earthquake and tsunami

MacKenzie, C.A., Barker, K., & Santos, J.R.

Modern supply chains are increasingly vulnerable to disruptions, and a disruption in one part of the world can cause supply difficulties for companies around the globe. This paper develops a model of severe supply chain disruptions in which several suppliers suffer from disabled production facilities and firms that purchase goods from those suppliers may consequently suffer a supply shortage. Suppliers and firms can choose disruption management strategies to maintain operations. A supplier with a disabled facility may choose to move production to an alternate facility, and a firm encountering a supply shortage may be able to use inventory or buy supplies from an alternate supplier. The supplier’s and firm’s optimal decisions are expressed in terms of model parameters such as the cost of each strategy, the chances of losing business, and the probability of facilities reopening. The model is applied to a simulation based on the 2011 Japanese earthquake and tsunami, which closed several facilities of key suppliers in the automobile industry and caused supply difficulties for both Japanese and U.S. automakers.

MacKenzie, C.A., Barker, K., & Santos, J.R. (2013). Modeling a severe supply chain disruption and post-disaster decision making with application to the Japanese earthquake and tsunami. IIE Transactions. In press.


Empirical data and regression analysis for estimation of infrastructure resilience, with application to electric power outages

MacKenzie, C.A., & Barker, K.

Recent natural disasters have highlighted the need for increased planning for disruptive events. Forecasting damage and time that a system will be inoperable is important for disruption planning. The resilience of critical infrastructure systems, or their ability to recover quickly from a disruption, can mitigate adverse consequences of the disruption. This paper quantifies the resilience of a critical infrastructure sector through the dynamic inoperability input-output model (DIIM). The DIIM, which describes how inoperability propagates through a set of interdependent industry and infrastructure sectors following a disruptive event, includes a resilience parameter that has not yet been adequately assessed. This paper provides a data-driven approach to derive the resilience parameter through regression models. Data may contain different disruption scenarios, and regression models can incorporate these scenarios through the use of categorical or dummy variables. A mixed-effects model offers an alternate approach of accounting for these scenarios, and these models estimate parameters based on the combination of all scenarios (fixed effects) and an individual scenario (random effects). These regression models are illustrated with electric power outage data and a regional disruption that uses the DIIM to model production losses in Oklahoma following an electric power outage.

MacKenzie, C.A., & Barker, K. (2013). Empirical data and regression analysis for estimation of infrastructure resilience, with application to electric power outages. Journal of Infrastructure Systems, 19(1), 25-35.


Measuring changes in international production from a disruption: Case study of the Japanese earthquake and tsunami

MacKenzie, C.A., Santos, J.R., & Barker, K.

The earthquake and tsunami that struck Japan on March 11, 2011 caused a tremendous loss of life and property. The disaster also disrupted global supply chains, which was blamed for anemic growth in the global economy. A multiregional input–output model can quantify the international impacts on production due to changes in demand from companies reducing their orders because of a disruption. Using the input–output model to conceptualize a supply chain, we present a unique method for calculating indirect production losses caused by disabled production facilities. Methods for calculating the possible transfer of demand to industries in other countries are also discussed. We apply the multiregional input–output model to the Japanese earthquake and tsunami. Comparing results generated by Japanese consumer sales with those generated by Japanese production data reveals that Japanese demand was satisfied by other countries and that inventory in the production pipeline likely allowed consumer sales to remain strong.

MacKenzie, C.A., Santos, J.R., & Barker, K. (2012). Measuring changes in international production from a disruption: Case study of the Japanese earthquake and tsunami. International Journal of Production Economics, 138(2), 293-302.


Advancing the field of organizations through the study of military organizations

Augier, M., Knudsen, T., & McNab, R.M.

This paper argues that the field of organization studies and military organizations might benefit from closer interaction, one that might help “bring back public organization and organizing”. It describes some of the intellectual roots of the organizational studies perspective within military / strategic context; discusses some recent characteristics of the strategic competition that organization scholars may find fruitful issues to study; and view some of the key contemporary issues in military organizations through the lens of strategic organization design, a framework the builds on an integrates several streams of research in organizational behavior that have implications for, and influence, how organizations make strategic decisions.

Augier, M., Knudsen, T., & McNab, R.M. (2014). Advancing the field of organizations through the study of military organizations. In Press. Industrial and Corporate Change.


Decision Analysis with Geographically Varying Outcomes: Preference Models and Illustrative Applications

Jay Simon, Craig W. Kirkwood, and L. Robin Keller

This paper presents decision analysis methodology for decisions based on data from geographic information systems. The consequences of a decision alternative are modeled as distributions of outcomes across a geographic region. We discuss conditions that may conform with the decision maker's preferences over a specified set of alternatives; then we present specific forms for value or utility functions that are implied by these conditions. Decisions in which there is certainty about the consequences resulting from each alternative are considered first; then probabilistic uncertainty about the consequences is included as an extension. The methodology is applied to two hypothetical urban planning decisions involving water use and temperature reduction in regional urban development, and fire coverage across a city. These examples illustrate the applicability of the approach and the insights that can be gained from using it.

Simon, J., Kirkwood, C. W., & Keller, L. R. (2014). Decision Analysis with Geographically Varying Outcomes: Preference Models and Illustrative Applications. Operations Research 62(1) 182-194.


Implementing Program Budgeting in the Serbian Ministry of Defense

Robert M. McNab

The Republic of Serbia’s Ministry of Defense (MoD) is attempting to implement a program-oriented, multi-year budgeting system in 2010. This paper reveals several challenges that threaten the success of this initiative. First, we find that the proposed budget system confuses organizations and programs. Second, there does not appear to be a centrally coordinated effort to implement program budgeting, leading to significant disparities in comprehension, organization, and implementation amongst the subordinate commands in MoD. Finally, there is a distinct lack of communication within the MoD regarding the necessity of a program budget and how the process should move forward. These issues inhibit the implementation of program budgeting in the MoD and diminish the possible gains associated with the multi-year, programmatic allocation of defense resources.

McNab, R.M. (2011). Implementing program budgeting in the Serbian Ministry of Defense. Public Budgeting and Finance 31 (2), 117-131.


Is Iraq Different?: An Examination of Whether Civilian Fatalities Adhere to the "Law of War" in the 2003-2008 Iraq Conflict

Jomana Amara and Robert M. McNab

The Republic of Serbia’s Ministry of Defense (MoD) is attempting to implement a program-oriented, multi-year budgeting system in 2010. This paper reveals several challenges that threaten the success of this initiative. First, we find that the proposed budget system confuses organizations and programs. Second, there does not appear to be a centrally coordinated effort to implement program budgeting, leading to significant disparities in comprehension, organization, and implementation amongst the subordinate commands in MoD. Finally, there is a distinct lack of communication within the MoD regarding the necessity of a program budget and how the process should move forward. These issues inhibit the implementation of program budgeting in the MoD and diminish the possible gains associated with the multi-year, programmatic allocation of defense resources.

Amara, J., & McNab, R.M. (2010). Is Iraq different? An examination of whether civilian fatalities adhere to the “Law of War” in the 2003-2008 Iraq conflict. Defense and Security Analysis 26 (1), 65-80


The Washington Consensus and Latin America¹s Left Turn: Has U.S. National Security Suffered as a Result?

Kathleen Bailey and Robert McNab

In this paper, we examine whether the 1990s neoliberal reforms, commonly known as the Washington Consensus, which many Latin American nations implemented, ultimately impacted U.S. national security. Given the rise of leftist regimes in Argentina and Venezuela coupled with the distancing of former allies in Brazil and Chile, we ask whether these reforms, meant to strengthen U.S national security, harmed it instead. We briefly review the literature on the causes of the Latin American economic crises, which led to the Washington Consensus and explore the various methods of reform implementation in four countries of strategic interest to the United States: Argentina, Brazil, Chile, and Venezuela. Examining whether the reforms, in general, were successful, we consider competing theories on the success (or the failure) of the reforms in these countries. Reviewing evidence on the reforms' impact on these nations, we discuss whether or not the reforms should be abandoned. We find that while stakeholders held competing objectives and divergent opinions existed on the scope, type, and speed of the reforms, the reforms appear to have improved economic growth and reduced poverty. We argue that, despite associating neoliberal reforms with increasing anti-American sentiment, Latin American support for free trade and other aspects of the neoliberal reforms remains strong. For this reason, we argue that the United States should reinvigorate support for these reforms.

K. Bailey and R. McNab (2008). The Washington Consensus and Latin America¹s Left Turn: Has U.S. National Security Suffered as a Result? In Press. Security and Defense Studies Review 8 (1).


Applying a New Management Model in the Joint Staff

Francois Melese and Dennis Savage, CDFM

Ministries of Defense all face the same basic set of management challenges: accountability (tracking defense spending on inputs), efficiency (minimizing the costs of defense activities), and effectiveness (measuring capabilities/outputs/outcomes and tying budgets to performance). A key objective in shifting government's focus from inputs (buying things) to activities and outputs (doing things) is to improve national security and promote better internal management of defense programs. The challenge is that most defense accounting systems were neither designed nor intended to report expenditures by activities or outputs. This challenge is especially acute for activities that cut across the services like the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff's "Joint Exercise Program" (JEP)-the principal vehicle for joint and combined (multinational) training and the integration of coalition forces. This article describes a project sponsored by the Joint Staff Comptroller to apply a new management model called SUCCESS. Resting on fundamental economic and accounting principles, SUCCESS integrates three widely used business management frameworks (Quality Management, The Balanced Scorecard, and Activity-Based Costing) with the spirit of the Planning Programming and Budgeting System (PPBS).

Melese F. and D. Savage (2008) "Applying a New Management Model in the Joint Staff," Armed Forces Comptroller, Vol. 53, No. 1 pp.33-38


Health Costs of the Afghan and Iraq Wars: Short- and Long-Term Impacts on US Veterans Health Care

Jomana H. Amara and Ann Hendricks

Public information about the use of health care through the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) by veterans of the Iraq and Afghan wars (OEF/OIF) underscores the potential for overestimating the impact on the taxpayer. Pressing needs of newly discharged veterans require immediate attention, especially for PTSD, TBI, and physical disability services, but the demand for immediate post-deployment VHA services is overshadowed nationally by the demands of the aging Korean and Vietnam War cohorts in terms of the number of patients and the total cost of their care. In addition, the long-run care needs for aging OEF/OIF veterans will be significant.

For additional information, please contact Dr Amara at jhamara@nps.edu


Fiscal Decentralization, Macrostabilty, and Growth

Jorge Martinez-Vazquez and Robert M. McNab

This paper examines how fiscal decentralization may influence economic growth. Previous research on this question has primarily focused on the potential direct relationship between decentralization and growth. In this paper, we also examine the potential indirect influence of decentralization on growth through its impact on macroeconomic stability. We find that decentralization may positively influence price stability in developed countries, though this impact is much less clear in developing and transitional countries. We also find evidence to suggest that decentralization directly and negatively affects economic growth in higher-income countries.

Martinez-Vazquez, J. and R. McNab. (2006). Fiscal Decentralization, Macrostability, and Growth. Hacienda Public Espanola, Revista De Economia Publica 179 (4), 1-38.


The Interaction of Fiscal Decentralization and Democratic Governance

Jorge Martinez-Vazquez and Robert M. McNab

Fiscal decentralization has come to be seen by some not only as the means for improving resource allocation and a potential engine for economic growth in developing and transitional economies, but also as a mechanism for improving democratic governance and even preserving markets. Others have argued that Western-based models of expenditure assignment and democratic institutions are ill-suited for conditions in developing and transitional countries and that decentralization may, in fact, destabilize institutions and encourage rent-seeking behavior. The reality is that at the present time we have a far from good understanding of whether democratic governance is necessary to realize the gains from decentralization; whether decentralization promotes democratic governance; or both. This chapter studies the causal relationship between fiscal decentralization and democratic governance; whether this relationship is uni-directional or bi-directional; to what extent there appears to exist synergies or obstacles between fiscal decentralization and democratic governance; and in what time sequence these two processes seem to interact.

Martinez-Vazquez, J. and R. McNab. (2006). Fiscal Decentralization and Governance. In Smoke, P., G. Peterson and E. Gomez (Eds.), 2006, Decentralization in Asia and Latin America: A Comparative Interdisciplinary Perspective. London: Edward-Elgar, 42-62.


Human Capital, Natural Resource Scarcity, and the Rwandan Genocide

Robert M. McNab and Abdul Latif Mohamed

Many authors contend that ethnic extremism coupled with political manipulation were the primary factors behind the Rwandan genocide. Yet, to oversimplify the cause of this tragedy makes one blind to the complicated nexus that generated the outcome. Even though this genocide was quick in its execution, the events that lead to this massacre took years to unfold. We argue that the evolution of human capital and the competition for scarce resources contributed to the genocide.

McNab, R. and Mohamed, A.L. (2006). Human Capital, Natural Resource Scarcity, and the Rwandan Genocide. Small Wars and Insurgencies 17 (3), 311-332.


The Biggest Gun in the World

Stephen F. Hurst

In the spring of 1916, General Ludendorff, Head of the Supreme War Council was approached by a group of naval officers commanding the long-range guns along the Western Front. They asked if the General would approve the construction of a gun with a range of 60 miles. Design of the cannon included some remarkable new ideas, but its construction proved fairly straightforward for the “Kannon Königs” of Krupp. The engineers knew that they needed to double the muzzle velocity if they were to achieve the desired range. The first gun was deployed to an area near Crépy and began firing the morning of 23 March 1918. From then until 9 August 1918, a total of 367 rounds were fired at the city of Paris from three different locations. A total of 367 rounds were fired resulting in 256 Parisians killed and 620 injured. The largest number of casualties occurred on the afternoon of 29 March 1918, when a shell struck the roof of the Church of Saint Gervais during Good Friday services. Hundreds of kneeling worshipers heard the explosion and looked up to see tons of stones crashing down on them. 191 persons were killed or injured. Although seven guns were constructed, no more than two or three were ever employed at any one time. None of the guns were captured and none were destroyed by counter battery fire. On 9 August 1918, the last round was fired and, in the face of the successful Allied offensive, the guns were dismantled, returned to Germany, and destroyed. No trace of them was ever found by the allied inspectors sent to the Krupp factory after the war specifically for that purpose.

Hurst, Stephen F. (2007). The World's Biggest Gun. Military History, 23(10): 50-53.


A Dynamic Decision Model Applied to Hurricane Landfall

Eva D. Regnier
Patrick A. Harr

The decision to prepare for an oncoming hurricane is typically framed as a static cost:loss problem, based on a strike-probability forecast. The value of waiting for updated forecasts is therefore neglected. In this paper, the problem is reframed as a sequence of interrelated decisions that more accurately represents the situation faced by a decision maker monitoring an evolving tropical cyclone. A key feature of the decision model is that the decision maker explicitly anticipates and plans for future forecasts whose accuracy improves as lead time declines. A discrete Markov model of hurricane travel is derived from historical tropical cyclone tracks and combined with the dynamic decision model to estimate the additional value that can be extracted from existing forecasts by anticipating updated forecasts, rather than incurring an irreversible preparation cost based on the instantaneous strike probability. The value of anticipating forecasts depends on the specific alternatives and cost profile of each decision maker, but conceptual examples for targets at Norfolk, Virginia, and Galveston, Texas, yield expected savings ranging up to 8% relative to repeated static decisions. In real-time decision making, forecasts of improving information quality could be used in combination with strike-probability forecasts to evaluate the trade-off between lead time and forecast accuracy, estimate the value of waiting for improving forecasts, and thereby reduce the frequency of false alarms.

Regnier, E.D. and P.A. Harr (2006) A dynamic decision model applied to hurricane landfall. Weather and Forecasting 21(5):764–780.


Evaluating NATO Long Run Defense Burdens using Unit Root Tests

Jomana Amara

This study evaluates NATO long run defense burdens by analyzing the time series properties of burden measures, namely growth of defense spending, defense share in national output, defense share in government spending, defense spending per capita, and defense share in total NATO spending for the time period 1949-2002. The study also compares the effect of using government Purchasing Power Parity conversion factors and Market Exchange Rates for defense share in total NATO expenditure conversions and the implications of NATO expansion in light of the defense burden measures of the newer NATO members.

Jomana Amara. "Evaluating NATO Long Run Defense Burdens using Unit Root Tests". In press. Defence and Peace Economics.


Testing for Purchasing Power Parity using Stationary Covariates

Jomana Amara

Purchasing Power Parity is tested for in post-Bretton Woods real exchange rate data from 20 developed countries using univariate tests and covariate augmented versions of the Augmented Dickey-Fuller (CADF) and feasible point optimal (CPT) unit root tests. The covariates are a combination of stationary variables- inflation, monetary, income, and current account. A cross method comparison of the results is performed. Very strong evidence is found of PPP using the CPT test, rejecting the unit root null for 12 out of the 20 countries at the 5% significance level or better, and six more at the 10% level. Much less evidence is found of PPP with the CADF and univariate tests.

Jomana Amara. "Testing for Purchasing Power Parity using Stationary Covariates". Applied Financial Economics 2006 Vol: 16 page:29-39.


Utilization of Infertility Services: How Much Does Money Really Matter?

J. Farley Ordovensky Staniec
Natalie J. Webb

This paper estimates the effects of "financial access," and other individual characteristics on the likelihood that a woman pursues infertility treatment and the choice of treatment type. We extend the literature on infertility access and treatment by separating treatment options into five groups: advice; testing; ovulation stimulation with medication; surgery; and assisted reproductive technologies (ARTs) rather than examining "no help" versus "seeking help to get pregnant" as has typically been done. Using data from the 1995 National Survey of Family Growth, we find that income, insurance coverage, age and parity (number of previous births) all significantly affect the probability of seeking treatment; however, the effect of these variables on choice of treatment type varies significantly. Neither income nor insurance influences the probability of seeking advice, a relatively low cost, low yield treatment. At the other end of the spectrum, the choice to pursue ARTs - a much more expensive but potentially more productive option - is highly influenced by income, but merely having private insurance has no significant effect. In the middle of the spectrum are treatment options such as testing, surgery and medications, for which "financial access" increases their probability of selection.

Staniec, F.O. and Webb, N.J. (2006). "Utilization of Infertility Services: How much does money matter?" In press. Health Services Review.


Evaluating Executive Performance in the Public Sector

Natalie J. Webb
James S. Blandin

The ability of a government organization to evaluate and reward executive performance is of critical importance if performance management systems are realistically expected to promote successful execution of the organization's strategic goals and objectives. Government organizations must move away from evaluating performance based on equity, time in grade, personal attributes and effort (all inputs) and toward systems based on output, results, and outcome achievement. We provide a model that can be used to evaluate executive performance in government. The model allows executives to focus on what is important to their organization and customers, and ties their performance evaluations not only to the organization's objectives, but to the importance of each objective; thus it gives leaders an open and explicit linkage between performance of the individual and organizational objectives. We measure individual achievement by defining results or measures of performance and then aggregating them into higher-level objectives. We discuss how to use the model to rank performance among executives, how the model results might be used to reward performance and limitations of using the model for performance evaluation.

Webb, N.J., & Blandin. J. (2006). Evaluating executive performance in the public sector. International Public Management Review, 7(2): 98-117.


Workplace Drug Prevention Programs: Does Zero Tolerance Work?

Stephan Mehay
Natalie J. Webb

Current drug policy in the U.S. military mandates frequent random drug testing of service members and dismissal of those who test positive for illegal drugs. This paper analyzes the economic costs and benefits of this zero tolerance policy as applied in the U.S. Navy. Program effects consist of the actual number of detected users and the predicted number of deterred potential users. Productivity losses imposed by drug users are based on reported annual work-days lost due to drug use in the Navy. The productivity losses avoided by deterring and detecting users constitute program benefits. Program costs include the cost of replacing service members who are dismissed under the zero tolerance policy. Net benefits are sensitive to three key parameters -- the deterrence effect, replacement cost, and productivity losses due to drug use. The results show that net benefits are negative for most plausible values of the key parameters.

Mehay, S., & Webb, N.J. (2006). Workplace drug abuse programs: Does 'Zero Tolerance' work? In press. Applied Economics.
 


Economic and Security Implications of Military Stabilization Efforts: The Iraq Surge as a Case Study.

Jomana Amara

The United States and its allies have used a combination of economic and military means to effect change in conflict zones. Most recently, the United States has used a massive buildup of security forces in Iraq the "surge" in an attempt to economically and politically stabilize the nation. The results of the surge have been controversial with the debate still ongoing as to whether the policy has proved effective. There is no doubt that the level of U.S. troop and Iraqi civilian casualties has declined recently. However, there is much discussion as to the cause of the decline in violence and whether economic order was enhanced. It is unclear that the surge resulted in the improved situation or the surge in conjunction with ethnic cleansing, separation of communities; deals between the U.S. military and Iraqi tribes and militias stabilized Iraq. We develop a model to understand the effects of the surge on Iraq by determining the timing of structural breaks in U.S., coalition, Iraq security force troop levels and the resulting timing of structural changes in casualty levels and economic indicators of progress. .