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Guest Contribution: “Has the Fed Pivoted Too Far?”

Today, we present a guest post written by David Papell and Ruxandra Prodan, Professor and Instructional Associate Professor of Economics at the University…

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Today, we present a guest post written by David Papell and Ruxandra Prodan, Professor and Instructional Associate Professor of Economics at the University of Houston.


The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC or Committee) raised the target range for the federal funds rate (FFR) by 3/4 percent (75 basis points) from 2.25 – 2.5 percent to 3.0 – 3.25 percent at last week’s meeting and projected a range between 4.25 and 4.5 percent by the end of 2022. Following two years at the effective lower bound (ELB) of 0.0 – 0.25 percent and a liftoff of 25 basis points in its March 2022 meeting, the Committee has now implemented one 50 and three 75 basis point rate increases.

There is widespread agreement that the Fed fell “behind the curve” by not raising rates when inflation rose in 2021, forcing it to play “catch-up” in 2022 with headline-grabbing rate increases and market gyrations. Why did this occur? The “we didn’t know” explanation is that the Fed did not predict that inflation would rise so much in 2021 and, if they had, they would have raised rates earlier. The “they should have known” explanation is that the Fed should have known that inflation would not be transitory and raised rates sooner.

Most of the discussion of the Fed being behind the curve depends on subjective analysis of when liftoff from the ELB should have occurred. We propose a different explanation. If the Fed had followed its own policy rule, it would have started to raise rates in 2021:Q3 instead of 2022:Q1. With about twice as many meetings to implement the same total rate increase, each individual rate increase would have only needed to be about half as large. Since the policy rule uses inflation and unemployment data rather than forecasts, it makes the “we didn’t know” explanation irrelevant and the “they should have known” explanation unnecessary.

In an earlier paper, “Policy Rules and Forward Guidance Following the Covid-19 Recession,” and Econbrowser post, “The Fed Fell Behind the Curve by Not Following its Own Policy Rules,” we use data from the Summary of Economic Projections (SEP) from September 2020 to June 2022 to compare policy rule prescriptions with actual and FOMC projections of the FFR. This provides a precise definition of “behind the curve” as the difference between the FFR prescribed by the policy rule and the actual FFR.

The Taylor (1993) rule with an unemployment gap is as follows,

where  is the level of the short-term federal funds interest rate prescribed by the rule,  is the inflation rate, is the 2 percent target level of inflation,  is the 4 percent rate of unemployment in the longer run, is the current unemployment rate, and  is the ½ percent neutral real interest rate from the current SEP. We use real-time inflation and unemployment data that was available at the time of the FOMC meetings.

Yellen (2012) analyzed the balanced approach rule where the coefficient on the inflation gap is 0.5 but the coefficient on the unemployment gap is raised to 2.0.

The balanced approach rule received considerable attention following the Great Recession and became the standard policy rule used by the Fed.

The FOMC adopted a far-reaching Revised Statement on Longer-Run Goals and Monetary Policy Strategy in August 2020. The framework contains two major changes from the original 2012 statement. First, policy decisions will attempt to mitigate shortfalls, rather than deviations, of employment from its maximum level. Second, the FOMC will implement Flexible Average Inflation Targeting (FAIT) where, “following periods when inflation has been running persistently below 2 percent, appropriate monetary policy will likely aim to achieve inflation moderately above 2 percent for some time.”

We analyze Fed policy by using an inertial version of the balanced approach (shortfalls) rule introduced in the February 2021 Monetary Policy Report (MPR) in response to the Revised Statement. The rule mitigates employment shortfalls instead of deviations by having the FFR only respond to unemployment if it exceeds longer-run unemployment,

If unemployment exceeds longer-run unemployment, the FFR prescriptions are the same as with the balanced approach rule. If unemployment is below longer-run unemployment, the FOMC will not raise the FFR solely because of low unemployment.

While most of the attention following the Revised Statement focused on FAIT, the large rise in inflation in 2021 and 2022 has made that part irrelevant. With unemployment below 4.0 percent, however, mitigating shortfalls rather than deviations of employment remains an important aspect of policy.

 

These rules are non-inertial because the FFR fully adjusts whenever the target FFR changes. This is not in accord with FOMC practice to smooth rate increases when inflation rises. We also specify an inertial version of the balanced approach (shortfalls) rule based on Clarida, Gali, and Gertler (1999),

where  is the degree of inertia and  is the target level of the federal funds rate prescribed by Equation (3). We set  as in Bernanke, Kiley, and Roberts (2019).  equals the rate prescribed by the rule if it is positive and zero if the prescribed rate is negative.

At its September 2020 meeting, the Committee approved outcome-based forward guidance, saying that it expected to maintain the target range of the FFR at the ELB “until labor market conditions have reached levels consistent with the Committee’s assessment of maximum employment and inflation has risen to 2 percent and is on track to moderately exceed 2 percent for some time.” The key word is “and”. While the Fed’s inflation goals were met by December 2021, liftoff from the ELB did not occur until its maximum employment goals were met in March 2022.

If the Fed had followed a policy rule using inflation and unemployment data from the FOMC’s quarterly SEP’s instead of the FOMC’s forward guidance,  they could have avoided the pattern of falling behind the curve, pivot, and getting back on track that characterized Fed policy during 2021 and 2022. The rules prescribe liftoff from the ELB in 2021:Q2 or 2021:Q3 and a much smoother path of rate increases through the end of 2022 than that adopted/projected by the FOMC.

Figure 1 depicts the actual FFR for September 2020 to September 2022 and the projected FFR for December 2022 to December 2024 from the September 2022 SEP. Following the exit from the ELB to 0.375 in March 2022, the FFR rose to 1.625 in June 2022 and 3.125 in September 2022 and is projected to rise further to 4.375 in December 2022 and 4.625 in March 2023 before starting to fall in June 2024.

Figure 1: Balanced Approach (shortfalls) Rule: Non-Inertial and Inertial

The prescribed FFR with the non-inertial balance approach (shortfalls) rule is also illustrated in the figure. The prescribed exit from the ELB is in 2021:Q2, three quarters before the actual exit. Following liftoff from the ELB to 0.875 in 2021:Q2, the prescribed FFR sharply increases to 7.375 in 2022:Q1 before starting to fall in 2022:Q2. These prescribed rate increases are a completely unrealistic guide to policy as the prescribed FFR rises by over 100 basis points per meeting for the six meetings between June 2021 and March 2022.

Figure 1 also shows the prescribed FFR with the inertial balance approach (shortfalls) rule. The prescribed exit from the ELB is in 2021:Q3, one quarter after the prescribed exit with the non-inertial rule and two quarters before the actual exit. Following liftoff from the ELB to 0.375 in 2021:Q3, the prescribed FFR slowly increases to 3.375 in 2022:Q3, only 25 basis points above the actual FFR.

The Fed’s pivot can be seen by comparing the prescriptions from the balanced approach (shortfalls) rule with the FFR through September 2022 and the projected FFR thereafter. At the time of liftoff from the ELB in March 2022, the FFR was 175 basis points above the prescribed FFR. With the subsequent series of rate increases, the FFR is now only 25 basis points above the prescribed FFR. Starting in December 2022, however, the projected FFR rises to 50 basis points above the prescribed FFR and, with occasional exceptions, remains 50 basis points above the prescribed FFR through June 2025.

Policy rules provide a framework for monetary policy evaluation. Using the rule most in accord with the Fed’s objectives, the inertial balanced approach (shortfalls) rule, the Fed fell behind the curve in September 2021 and has just gotten back on track. Instead of staying on track, the Fed now projects that the FFR will be above the policy rule prescriptions for the next three years. Has the Fed pivoted too far by completely switching focus from unemployment to inflation? While it is obviously far too early to answer that question, following its own policy rule starting in 2021 would have enabled the Fed to balance both parts of its dual mandate and provided predictability for its future actions.


 This post written by David Papell and Ruxandra Prodan.

 

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Nonprofit Blood Donation Service Starts Matching Unvaccinated Patients With Donors

Nonprofit Blood Donation Service Starts Matching Unvaccinated Patients With Donors

Authored by Allan Stein via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours),

Swiss…

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Nonprofit Blood Donation Service Starts Matching Unvaccinated Patients With Donors

Authored by Allan Stein via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours),

Swiss naturopathic physician George Della Pietra believes people worldwide should be free to choose whether to get a COVID-19 vaccine injection or not.

He believes the same should hold for those receiving transfusions with “vaccinated” blood.

“The problem is right now we have no choice,” said Della Pietra, founder of the nonprofit Safe Blood Donation service in 2021, matching unvaccinated blood recipients with donors in 65 countries.

“It was very clear from the beginning that the COVID hype was way out of control,” Della Pietra said. “It was not as dangerous as they say it was.

“As a naturopath, I can make no sense of this pandemic, which was never really a pandemic. It leaves space for so many explanations.”

Della Pietra believes that an mRNA injection is more dangerous than the pharmaceutical companies are willing to admit. He said the growing numbers of adverse reactions are reason to question their safety and effectiveness.

Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) showed that vaccinated and boosted people made up 58.6 percent (6,512) of the COVID-19 deaths in August—up from 41 percent in January.

We can no longer say this is a pandemic of the unvaccinated,” Cynthia Cox, the Vice President of the Kaiser Family Foundation told The Washington Post in an article on Nov. 23.

Nearly 70 percent of the world’s 8 billion people have received at least one mRNA injection for COVID-19 since the vaccines began rolling out in 2021 at the height of the virus’s spread.

Each of the three primary mRNA COVID-19 vaccines contains COVID-19 “spike protein” fragments, which bind at the cellular level to stimulate an immune response to the virus.

Della Pietra believes these spike proteins produce “classic symptoms”—namely blood clots—that “horrified” him.

“I’ve never seen anything similar—and I’m not talking only about spike proteins,” Della Pietra told The Epoch Times in a phone interview.

It’s unbelievable because we never had this problem before. It’s been only two years. They want to keep the narrative [that an mRNA vaccine] is not dangerous.”

A man looks at his phone while donating blood at Vitalant blood donation center in San Francisco on Jan. 11, 2022. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Although donated blood and plasma must undergo a cleansing process before transfusion, Safe Blood Donation says this is not enough to remove all mRNA ingredients.

“I’m talking about graphene oxide and non-declared inorganic components in the vaccine, which we can see in the blood. When I see them, I have no idea how we can get rid of them again,” Della Pietra said.

Looking at the abnormalities in vaccinated blood, he said, “OK, we have a problem.” People are receiving the vaccine “more or less through the back door.”

“You can not avoid it anymore.”

In the United States alone, there are approximately 16 million units of donated blood annually. Of those units, about 643,000 are “autologous”—self-donated—and the number is increasing yearly, according to BloodBook.com.

Della Pietra said that, to his knowledge, Safe Blood Donation, based in Switzerland, is the first unvaccinated blood donation service of its kind.

“So, there is no blood bank with mRNA-free blood yet, not even with us,” Safe Blood Donation states on its website.

“And, although we have already asked hundreds of clinics, at the moment—at least in Europe—all of them still refuse to allow the human right of free blood choice with them—or at least do not want to be mentioned because otherwise, they fear reprisals.”

A nurse works as employees donate blood during a blood drive held in a bloodmobile in Los Angeles on March 19, 2020. (Mario Tama/Getty Images)

Della Pietra said the main goal of Safe Blood Donation is not to start an mRNA-free blood bank. Rather, it is to make it possible to match unvaccinated blood donors and unvaccinated recipients, “which we bring together in a clinic (medical partner) that allows the choice of blood donor.”

Medical website Seed Scientific said that blood banks and biotech companies will offer as much as $1,000 monthly for blood donations.

While Della Pietra said there are no unvaccinated blood banks, he sees the demand for unvaccinated blood rising.

This is why I decided to do [SafeBlood Donation]. I wanted to make a network for unvaccinated people looking for a blood donor because they need it—whether they have scheduled surgery or an emergency,” he said.

Safe Blood Donation began working in the United States about a month ago, building an infrastructure of medical partners.

However, in the current medical environment, central blood banks such as the Red Cross do not segregate their blood donations based on their vaccinated or unvaccinated status.

Rendering of SARS-CoV-2 spike proteins binding to ACE2 receptors. (Shutterstock)

“The American Red Cross does not facilitate designated donations for standard blood needs, as this process often takes longer and is more resource intensive than obtaining a blood product through our normal process,” the Red Cross told The Epoch Times in an email.

In a small number of situations, there is an exception for rare blood types where compatible blood types are extremely difficult to find. A rare blood type is defined as one that is present in less than 1/1000 people.

“We want to emphasize that the Red Cross adheres to all donor and product requirements as determined by the FDA to ensure the safety of the blood supply and is committed to continuing to provide life-saving blood products for patients across the country.”

The National Library of Medicine said that “across study sites, the average hospital cost per unit transfused was $155 and the average charge per patient was $219.”

Still, the Red Cross, which provides 40 percent of the nation’s blood donations, said “no studies” demonstrate adverse outcomes from transfusions of blood products collected from vaccinated donors.

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Tyler Durden Sun, 12/04/2022 - 20:55

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Wokeism Is Costume Elites Wear To ‘Signal Virtue’ And ‘Hide Greed, Corruption’: Former Levi’s Executive

Wokeism Is Costume Elites Wear To ‘Signal Virtue’ And ‘Hide Greed, Corruption’: Former Levi’s Executive

Authored by Ella Kietlinska and Jan…

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Wokeism Is Costume Elites Wear To 'Signal Virtue' And 'Hide Greed, Corruption': Former Levi's Executive

Authored by Ella Kietlinska and Jan Jekielek via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours),

The pose of wokeness is a costume that the left liberal elite puts on to virtue signal that they care about social justice and to hide their greed and corruption, said the former executive of a major brand-name apparel manufacturer.

Jennifer Sey, former Levi Strauss and Co. chief marketing officer and brand president, as well as author of “Levi's Unbuttoned: The Woke Mob Took My Job but Gave Me My Voice," in Denver on Nov. 20, 2022. (Jack Wang/The Epoch Times)

Jennifer Sey, former chief marketing officer and brand president of Levi Strauss & Co., told EpochTV’s “American Thought Leaders” program that she had “pushed back” on the public school closures due to COVID-19 for two years, and in the end, she was pushed out of the company for her advocacy.

Sey, who was sending her children to public schools, believed that prolonged school lockdowns were harmful to children and started speaking out against them at the beginning of the pandemic.

Sey said she and her husband were reading the data that was coming out of Italy at the start of the pandemic, a country heavily hit by the disease, and the data showed that the median age of death due to the disease was over 80.

Nobody was bothering to look at actual data or adhere to the pre-pandemic playbook, which said you never shut schools down for more than a couple of weeks,” Sey pointed out. “It was from day one that me and my husband, we both said, ‘Hell no, this is wrong. People are going to be harmed.’”

An aerial view of the schoolyard at Frank McCoppin Elementary School in San Francisco on March 18, 2020. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

In September 2020, Sey’s company warned her that her advocacy against school closures could be considered speaking on behalf of the company, “the implication being, there would be reputational harm to the company caused,” she said.

At the same time, her peers began sending their kids back to private in-person schools, Sey continued.

“I was so angry that these people would dare to say to me while sending their own kids to in-person school: ‘You can’t advocate for poor children to be in school.’”

Sey said it was atypical for her peers—and even for employees two or three levels below her in the corporate hierarchy—to send their kids to public school in her city of San Francisco.

I thought the lightbulb would go off, and people would see the hypocrisy if I just made it clear in a calm, nice way. But they didn’t, because the hypocrisy, in a sense, is the point.”

“This pose of wokeness, it’s a cloak they wrap themselves in to signal virtue … to hide greed, corruption, keeping all the good stuff for themselves,” she said.

It’s this costume that the left, liberal elite wraps around themselves to say, ‘I care about social justice. I care about all these causes. I am a good person.’ If you threaten to expose that, you need to be banished.”

Sacrificed Career for Speaking Out

Around the time of the new year in 2022, Sey was told that there was no longer a place for her at the company.

“You can’t be the CEO because of the things you’ve been saying and doing. Therefore, you can’t sit in your current chair because that is the role that ultimately becomes the CEO, so you need to leave,” Sey said she was told.

She was offered a $1 million severance package, which she decided to turn down because it would come with the signing of a nondisclosure agreement.

“What the nondisclosure agreement would require is that I never speak about the terms of my ousting. I was not OK with that,” she said.

In February, Sey resigned from her post at Levi Strauss & Co. after almost 23 years with the company.

The Epoch Times reached out to Levi Strauss & Co. for comment.

Sey said the illiberalism that has traveled from college campuses into companies and taken hold of corporations across the country is “incredibly dangerous.”

“If you insist on a culture where free speech is not tolerated, not only is it non-inclusive, which is problematic in and of itself, but I actually think it’s fraught and rife with the potential for corruption and fraud, like we’ve seen with Theranos and FTX and Enron,” she said,

Theranos, a company that claimed to provide blood testing lab services with a single drop of blood, defrauded its investors in a multimillion-dollar scheme. Its founder, Elizabeth Holmes, was recently sentenced to 11 years in prison.

FTX, a Bahamas-based cryptocurrency exchange, recently went bankrupt along with more than 130 affiliate companies due to insufficient liquidity. FTX users are potentially facing $8 billion in cumulative losses, while investors in the company are likely to lose their entire investment as a result of the bankruptcy.

Enron, a Texas-based energy-trading company, went bankrupt in 2001 due to fraudulent accounting practices and conflicts of interest. Within a year, Enron’s stock price plummeted from about $90 per share to 26 cents per share, which caused billion-dollar losses to investors, thousands of job losses, and the liquidation of more than $2 billion in pension plans.

There were people in those companies who knew what was going on, but they didn’t feel they could say anything,” Sey said.

“If you cannot have a conversation in the company about what is working and what is not working, what is true and what is not, you can’t innovate. You can’t move forward,” she said. “It stands in the way of progress when we can’t have these conversations because we’re all just adhering to propaganda.”

 “It is a violation of the spirit of the First Amendment,” Sey added.

Jennifer Sey (R) is seen at the Levi’s Times Square Store Opening in New York City on Nov. 15, 2018. (Dave Kotinsky/Getty Images for Levi’s)

Wokeism Is an Ideology

Being “woke” during the 1940s through the beginning of the 1960s meant “being awake or alert to the fact that there was racial inequality, and being part of the movement to change that,” Sey said. “It’s admirable, I have no issue with that.”

However, in the last 10 or 15 years, and especially in the last three to five years, those beliefs have been corrupted and commodified “into an ideology which can never be questioned,” such as gender ideology, race ideology, or body positivity, Sey explained.

Sey said that she was very supportive of transgender people working in her team. “I would never want a person to be discriminated against for anything, including being unvaccinated.”

But someone who questions whether an 11-year-old should be on puberty blockers, when there is no research on the mid- to long-term impacts of this therapy, is considered evil and must be banished for violating this ideology, Sey said.

“[Wokeism] has become religious in nature. Woke capitalism is really just an attempt to profit off of this ideology and the passion behind this ideology amongst primarily Gen Z and millennial consumers,” she said.

Another example of ideology that cannot be questioned is the idea of “body positivity,” which touts that the size of the body does not affect its health, Sey said.

We couldn’t say during COVID that it was dangerous to be overweight. I said it, and that made me a fat-phobe,” she said.

“We can’t say that, because the mantra is ‘healthy at any size.’ It’s ideological. And you have to be pure in the belief of that ideology, or you are evil and must be shunned.”

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Tyler Durden Sun, 12/04/2022 - 20:20

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Pedestrians choose healthy obstacles over boring pavements, study finds

Up to 78% of walkers would take a more challenging route featuring obstacles such as balancing beams, steppingstones and high steps, research has found….

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Up to 78% of walkers would take a more challenging route featuring obstacles such as balancing beams, steppingstones and high steps, research has found. The findings suggest that providing ‘Active Landscape’ routes in urban areas could help tackle an “inactivity pandemic” and improve health outcomes.

Credit: Anna Boldina

Up to 78% of walkers would take a more challenging route featuring obstacles such as balancing beams, steppingstones and high steps, research has found. The findings suggest that providing ‘Active Landscape’ routes in urban areas could help tackle an “inactivity pandemic” and improve health outcomes.

[A copy of the paper and images can be downloaded here]

Millions of people in the UK are failing to meet recommended targets for physical activity. Exercising “on the go” is key to changing this but while walking along a pavement is better than nothing it causes no significant increase in heart rate so only qualifies as mild exercise. Walking also fails to significantly improve balance or bone density, unless it includes jumping, balancing, and stepping down.

But would adults opt for such ‘fun’ routes if given the choice? A University of Cambridge-led study published today in the journal Landscape Research suggests that with the right design, most would.

Previous research on ‘healthy route choices’ has focused on people’s likelihood of walking instead of using transport. But this study examined how likely people are to pick a more challenging route over a conventional one and which design characteristics influenced their choices.

Lead author, Anna Boldina, from the University of Cambridge’s Department of Architecture, said: “Even when the increase in level and extent of activity level is modest, when millions of people are using cityscapes every day, those differences can have a major positive impact on public health.”

“Our findings show that pedestrians can be nudged into a wider range of physical activities through minor changes to the urban landscape. We want to help policy makers and designers to make modifications that will improve physical health and wellbeing.”

Boldina began this research after moving from Coimbra in Portugal – where she found herself climbing hills and ancient walls – to London, which she found far less physically challenging.

Working with Dr Paul Hanel from the Department of Psychology at the University of Essex, and Prof. Koen Steemers from Cambridge, Boldina invited almost 600 UK residents to compare photorealistic images of challenging routes – variously incorporating steppingstones, balancing beams, and high steps – with conventional pavements.

Participants were shown images of challenging and conventional tarmac routes and asked which route they would choose. The researchers tested out a range of encouraging / discouraging parameters in different scenarios, including crossing water, shortcuts, unusual sculptures and the presence / absence of a handrail and other people. Participants were asked to score how challenging they thought the route would be from 1 (as easy as walking on level tarmac) to 7 (I would not be able to do it).

Eighty per cent of the study’s participants opted for a challenging route in at least one of the scenarios, depending on perceived level of difficulty and design characteristics. Where a challenging option was shorter than a conventional route, this increased the likelihood of being chosen by 10%. The presence of handrails achieved a 12% rise.

Importance for health

The WHO and NHS recommend at least 150 minutes of ‘moderate’ or 75 minutes of ‘vigorous’ activity spread over a week, including a variety of activities aimed at enhancing bones, muscles, and agility to stay healthy. In addition, adults over 65 are advised to perform strength, flexibility, and balance exercises.

Boldina said: “The human body is a very complex machine that needs a lot of things to keep working effectively. Cycling and swimming are great for your heart and for your leg muscles but do very little for your bone density.”

“To improve cardiovascular health, bone density and balance all at once, we need to add a wider range of exercises into our routine daily walks.”

Psychology of choice

Co-author Dr Paul Hanel said: “Children don’t need much encouragement to try out a balance beam but we wanted to see how adults would respond, and then identify design modifications which made them more likely to choose a challenging route.”

“We found that while embarrassment, anxiety, caution and peer pressure can put some adults off, the vast majority of people can be persuaded to take a more challenging route by paying careful attention to design, safety, difficulty level, location and signage.”

The proportion of participants who were willing to pick a more challenging route varied from 14% for a particular balance beam route to 78% for a route involving wide, low stepping stones and a log with a handrail. The least intimidating routes were found to be those with wide, steady-looking balancing beams and wide steppingstones, especially with the presence of handrails.

The researchers suggest that routes that incorporate more difficult challenges, such as obstacle courses and narrow balancing beams, should be placed in areas more likely to be frequented by younger users.

The participants expressed a range of reasons for picking challenging routes. Unsurprisingly, the study found that challenging routes which also acted as short cuts appealed. Up to 55% of participants chose such routes. The researchers also found that the design of pavements, lighting and flowerbeds, as well as signage helped to nudge participants to choose more challenging routes. Many participants (40%) said the sight of other people taking a challenging route encouraged them to do the same.

The participants who picked conventional routes often had concerns about safety but the introduction of safety measures, such as handrails, increased uptake of some routes. Handrails next to one steppingstones route increased uptake by 12%.

To test whether tendency to choose challenging routes was linked to demographic and personality factors, participants were asked to answer questions about their age, gender, habits, health, occupation, and personality traits (such as sensation seeking or general anxiety).

The researchers found that people of all levels of activity are equally likely to pick a challenging route. But for the most difficult routes, participants who regularly engaged in strength and balancing exercises were more likely to choose them.

Older participants were as supportive of the concept as younger ones but were less likely to opt for the more challenging routes for themselves. Nevertheless, across all age groups, only a small percentage of participants said they would avoid adventurous options completely.

The study applies the idea of “Choice Architecture” (making good choices easier and less beneficial choices harder) plus “Fun theory”, a strategy whereby physical activity is made more exciting; as well as some of the key principles of persuasion: social proof, liking, authority, and consistency.

Future work

The researchers hope to run experiments in physical test sites to see how intentions convert into behaviour, and to measure how changes in habits improve health. In the meantime, Dr Boldina continues to present her findings to policy makers.

Critics might question the affordability and cost effectiveness of introducing ‘Active landscape routes’ in the current economic environment.

In response, the researchers argue that installing stepping stones in a turfed area can be cheaper than laying and maintaining conventional tarmac pavements. They also point out that these measures could save governments far greater sums by reducing demand for health care related to lack of exercise.

Reference

A. Boldina et al., ‘Active Landscape and Choice Architecture: Encouraging the use of challenging city routes for fitness’, Landscape Research (2022). DOI: 10.1080/01426397.2022.2142204

Media contact

Tom Almeroth-Williams, Communications Manager (Research), University of Cambridge: researchcommunications@admin.cam.ac.uk / tel: +44 (0) 7540 139 444


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