Thursday, March 28, 2013

A demographic projection of engineering workforce

 shameless  self-promotion alert! The Scientific Programme of the XXVII IUSSP International Population Conference is out. Here is my self-recommending paper.

A demographic projection of engineering workforce in Brazil through 2020

One major hurdle for the Brazilian economy relates to the availability of qualified workforce in key occupations. This paper contributes in this matter presenting a demographic projection of engineering workforce availability in Brazil up to 2020. The projection method we have used adapts the cohort-component method to a simplified model of entries and exits in the labor market. Data from five different public databases available in Brazil were used to run the projections on yearly basis. The method is rather flexible and can be used to project almost any population group with higher education degree from different backgrounds, by sex and age. We draw four scenarios that differ in terms of possible growth rates to be observed in the number of student entries, including a constant enrollment number (CER) variant. The results suggest that Brazilian labor market would have between 1.6 and 2.3 million people holding a degree in engineering fields in the year 2020. Finally, our findings suggest that the claimed lack of engineering workforce in the country might not be a matter of purely quantitative supply, but rather of education quality and geographical concentration of engineering schools and engineering workforce.

See extended abstract.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Academic Impacts on Governments

It has become much easier to assess the academic impact of published papers and authors (Google Citations Page* and T. Reuters). However, the assessment of academic impact on public policy is not that straightforward, although it's a crucial issue for Research Institutes, Think-thanks and Funding Agencies.

A team at LSE leads a project on the subject and they are developing quantitative metrics for measuring the impact of research in the 'public sphere'. It's the Impact of Social Sciences Project self-recommending  Some podcasts of their latest events should be available here:

*I encourage you to register at Google Scholar Citations. This is one of the best ways for academics to compute citation metrics and track them over time. You only need a gmail account and Google does the rest for you. Besides, anyone can register!

Monday, March 25, 2013

Assorted Links

There's no such thing as a free parking spot

In a recent Freakonomics podcast, Donald Shoup (UCLA) talked about his studies on the costs of free parking. Shoup's main argument is that most parking spaces are underpriced, especially in great urban areas. Ok, it's hard to disagree on that. But still, I would like to see some more evidence that reducing parking actually reduces traffic congestion.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Quote of the Day

"Old demographers never die. They just get broken down by age and sex."

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Manufactured landscapes

Amazing photography work by Edward Burtynsky.

Some of my favorites: 1, 2, 3 and 4.

Related Link:

The United States public debt (1789-1870)

click on the image to enlarge it, or go to the Source

Monday, March 18, 2013

Educational Attainment and the Demographic Dividend

The Economist Magazine has published a short piece where they highlight Wolfgang Lutz's arguments on the importance of educational attainment to the potential benefits countries may get from their demographic dividend. 

Related Links:

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Assorted Links

Crowdsourcing road congestion data

Nathan Yau points out to this interactive map showing county-level commute time estimates for 2011 in the US. The data source is the American Community Survey organized by the United States Census Bureau. Pretty good job!

Now imagine if you could have acess to real time data on traffic conditions on arterial roads in several cities around the globe. There is one company that generates these data. I know what you're thinking: "Damn these guys from Google are awesome!"

Acutally this is not a new project. Google has started it aroud 2009 and now it covers. several cities around the globe. They basically track anonymous locations from smartphones to gauge traffic conditions in real time:

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Urban Picture

Beautiful aerial images by Alex Maclean (HT Joao Meirelles). Hard to pic one.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

The Demography of Adaptation to Climate Change

"The Demography of Adaptation to Climate Change", a new publication by UNFPA, IIED and El Colegio de Mexico. (ht Ricardo Ojima)

*In Chapter 8 G. Martine and R. Ojima discuss Brazilian rapid urbanization. 'The Challenges of Adaptation in an Early but Unassisted Urban Transition'

A short and acid review on this publication by Matthew Kahn, here.

Related Links:

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Wealth Inequality in the USA

A friend of mine pointed me out to this study by Michael I. Norton (Harvard) and Dan Ariely (Duke) where they contrast the current distribution of wealth in the USA to the ideal level of wealth inequality expected by americans.

Here are the results condensed in 6 min.

Urban Primacy in Latin America

I have bumped into this chart showing the National GDP and Population share of large Latin American cities. It was published in a report by McKinsey Global Institute in 2011: 'Building globally competitive cities: The key to Latin American growth'. A nice way to visualize urban primacy.

Related Links:

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Can maths predict a riot ?

Hannah Fry (UCL) and colleagues have published a paper where they model the spatial development of the riots that took place in London back in 2011.

Here is a ten-minute talk summarizing the paper. 

Paper: 'A mathematical model of the London Riots and their policing'

In August 2011, several areas of London experienced episodes of large-scale disorder, comprising looting, rioting and violence. Much subsequent discourse has questioned the adequacy of the police response, in terms of the resources available and strategies used. In this article, we present a mathematical model of the spatial development of the disorder, which can be used to examine the effect of varying policing arrangements. The model is capable of simulating the general emergent patterns of the events and focusses on three fundamental aspects: the apparently-contagious nature of participation; the distances travelled to riot locations; and the deterrent effect of policing. We demonstrate that the spatial configuration of London places some areas at naturally higher risk than others, highlighting the importance of spatial considerations when planning for such events. We also investigate the consequences of varying police numbers and reaction time, which has the potential to guide policy in this area.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Log Scale

Online Complexity Lectures

Prof. Michael Batty (UCL) points us to some of his lectures on Complexity and Urban Modelling available on his website. He also points out to an introductory online course on Complexity by the Santa Fe Institute.

[image credit: ?]

Sounds very interesting for those with sufficient leisure-time! Not my case though. I have to listen to podcasts while doing the dishes and that takes too much of my concentration effort already.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Wage differentials between public and private sector workers and income inequality in Brazil

The paper is published in Portuguese only  the title translation is my bad  but you may read the abstract:

We estimate the contribution of the wage differential between workers with the same attributes in the public and private sectors to the household per capita income inequality in Brazil. The estimate is based on counterfactual simulations and the contribution to inequality on a factor decomposition of the Gini coefficient. Data comes from the Brazilian National Household Survey PNAD 2009. The differential corresponds approximately to 17% of the wage bill of workers in the public sector, is regressive and highly concentrated. However, because it amounts to a small share of the total income (1%) its contribution to the total inequality is of 3%. The sector composition effects on inequality are times higher than the segmentation (price) effects. These conclusions are robust to changes in the definition of the sectors and to different estimation techniques.