Faculty of Social Sciences


Recent Submissions

  • Vihma, Peeter (Helsingin yliopisto, 2022)
    Contemporary environmental governance is concerned with the ability of government organizations and governance to produce and react to new knowledge. This dissertation studies how temporary organizations (TOs), that is projects, contribute to such concerns. Optimists see great potential in projects because they engage diverse organizations in collaborative efforts, experimenting with new ideas and adapting to changing circumstances with the overall aim of producing reflexive institutional innovations. Potential problems and frictions emerge when projects are viewed relationally from the perspective of how they interact with permanent organizations (POs). This dissertation addresses the following crucial questions: How do projects engage with permanent actors in the policy network, and what are the institutional outcomes of this engagement? To answer these questions, it employs the concept of interfaces based on prior studies on collaborative, experimental and adaptive governance and contemporary understandings of projects as embedded networks. The concept of interfaces is applied to projects in the context of Estonian forest governance. Already after the re-independence of the country in the 1990s, collaborative governance was established as a means for developing Estonian forest policy. In addition to national-level efforts, numerous projects, often funded by the European Union, support experimental and adaptive efforts of organizations. At the same time, however, tensions in the field are so high that colloquially they are referred to as a “Forest War.” After first mapping the Estonian forest policy network, the dissertation studies two project portfolios in relation to this policy network: projects from the European Commission’s LIFE program with explicit aim of experimental policy development, and a research and development project from the Estonian Research Council’s RITA program. The empirical study relies on a mixed methods approach combining a quantitative network study and qualitative analysis of interviews and documents. The analysis reveals that structural embeddedness of projects in permanent organizations is central to the potential of projects to produce institutional innovations. Interfaces contribute to the legitimacy of information, actors, and processes, the relative proximity of project partners, and the flexibility of interactions and uses of knowledge. Central actors in the network use their position to legitimize certain existing problem definitions and institutional pathways. When projects break with these pathways and produce fresh and promising solutions, permanent organizations are able to distance themselves from TOs if new knowledge does not align with their goals. While project intermediaries contribute to flexibility in the use of new knowledge, their position in and the structure of permanent organizations limits the potential for change. The dissertation argues that interfaces is a useful concept for analyzing projects as mechanisms of reflexive governance. It allows for a critical reflection on the potential of projects to induce institutional change, whether incremental or disruptive.
  • Khan, Jawaria (Helsingin yliopisto, 2022)
    In my doctoral thesis in social policy, I investigated the impact of higher education policies implemented in Finland on the retention of social scientists in Finnish academia. The project explores the tension between Finland’s efforts to attract talent due to an emerging demographic crisis, and the professional dilemma of social scientists in Finland. The work reflects on the unseen, unexpected and underdiscussed structural inequalities in Finnish academia missing from the policy discourse. Therefore, through a case study involving six social science units across Finnish higher education, the thesis cross examines the experiences of Finnish Social Scientists at the micro level and situates them with the macro level Finnish higher education policies. The aim is to focus on the reasons that push social sciences researchers from Finland to migrate to other countries. It is argued that academics are considered to be a ‘machine-like’ workforce which should comply with the (research output) demands of higher education institutions while expecting job insecurity, low salaries, unfair recruitment and an ambiguous future from them in return. Thus, the two key objectives of this project are: 1) to understand the important personal and structural factors described by Finnish social scientists that determine their intention to stay in Finland or emigrate and 2) to analyse how the national policies in Finnish higher education impacted the career prospects of academic researchers. To achieve these objectives, in this project I used a combination of meta synthesis to analyse the literature. It was followed by an interpretive biographical analysis of 20 social science scholars in Finland to know the lived experience of the consequences of internationalisation policies in Finnish academia. Lastly, my autoethnography in the field of higher education research confirms the findings previously gathered through several qualitative methods. Examining the labour market integration of academic scholars in Finnish academia, this doctoral thesis revealed that researchers pass through the journey from attraction to alienation. The attractive migration policies pull the academic nomads to migrate to the countries where they anticipate better career prospects. However, if the host country fails to integrate the scholars due to precarious employment relations and job insecurity, the feelings of precariousness and alienation arise. These feelings eventually cause loss of personal agency due to lack to academic freedom and academic capitalism. This multidisciplinary research advances the literature on internationalisation, brain drain and the global war for talent. Along with its contribution to scholarly research, the findings will provide actionable knowledge and guidelines to all academic stakeholders to devise inclusive policies to attract, retain and regain talent.
  • Korhonen, Kaarina (Helsingin yliopisto, 2022)
    Social inequalities in health in older age are well recognised in terms of various aspects of disease and disability. Despite improvements in population health, population ageing is projected to be accompanied by increasing prevalence of chronic diseases, especially Alzheimer’s disease and other types of dementia. Although dementia is already one of the leading causes of death and the single most important cause of residential long-term care (LTC), no comprehensive understanding exists about the social patterning of dementia mortality and residential LTC. To tackle the increasing burden of dementia and to address the inequalities in the way disease and disability are distributed in the ageing populations, better insight is needed about how social factors along the life course affect the risk of dementia and care needs at older ages. This study investigates social inequalities in dementia morbidity, mortality and residential LTC among Finnish older cohorts between 2000 and 2018. The aim of the study was to analyse the association between several indicators of socioeconomic position and dementia mortality, and estimate the contribution of dementia to overall socioeconomic inequalities in mortality in older age. A further aim of the study was to analyse how social factors are associated with the use of residential LTC over the years before dementia-related death. Given the long induction times in dementia, the study also focussed on childhood and adulthood social determinants of dementia morbidity and their interplay with health-related risk factors, including depression and cardiovascular health. The study used large individual-level register data on population-representative samples compiled by Statistics Finland and linked with several administrative health registers. Records of causes of death, medication reimbursements and hospital care episodes were used to identify dementia. Dates in residential LTC were obtained from records of health and social care. The results showed that people with a lower midlife socioeconomic position were at an increased risk of dementia-related death. The findings support the idea that educational and occupational social class inequalities relate to differences in cognitive reserve. Inequalities in terms of household income, by contrast, reflected the accumulation of health-related risk factors among the economically more disadvantaged. The inequalities endured with age and, consequently, dementia substantially contributed to the overall socioeconomic inequalities in mortality in older age. Social differentials were also present in living arrangements among people who eventually died with dementia; in the eight years preceding death, older and non-married individuals in particular, but also those with lower income, were more likely than others to live in residential LTC. These differences, however, diminished as death approached, demonstrating that social and economic resources cannot compensate for the intensifying need for care of people with dementia at the end of life. People with a history of clinical depression in earlier life experienced an increased risk of dementia. The increased risk affected people at all levels of education and was not explained by family background shared by siblings. The results indicated that men were at particular risk because of comorbidities – especially alcohol-related conditions. The findings further showed that disadvantaged circumstances already in childhood were associated with dementia morbidity in older age. An excess risk of dementia was related to having lived in crowded households, with a single father, and in the eastern and northern parts of Finland. These associations were only partly attributable to attained socioeconomic position and cardiovascular health in adulthood, suggesting that the accumulation of risk begins already in early life and preventive interventions in midlife may not suffice to reduce the excess risk associated with disadvantaged childhood circumstances. The findings demonstrate that social factors across the life course structure the life chances of individuals and generate important inequalities in health and the ability to continue independent living in older age. The increasing individual and societal burden of dementia in particular highlights the need to address social inequalities in dementia morbidity, mortality and LTC. Further investigations should also assess the effectiveness of socioeconomic and mental health interventions as part of dementia prevention strategies.
  • Haukio, Jenni (Helsingin yliopisto, 2022)
    This dissertation “From the ideal of open interactivity to the reality of internal mobilisation? The strategic dimensions and dilemmas of parties’ digital election campaigning” examines parties’ strategic digital election campaigning in the context of a hybrid media system, i.e. it identifies and analyses the communicational-structural and campaign organisational factors that explain parties’ online campaigning strategies. The infrastructure of parties’ online campaigning consists of campaign websites and digital marketing, social media pages and groups, as well as discussion platforms and voting advice application communication. Based on a comprehensive empirical analysis of these elements, the research concludes by presenting a set of strategic dilemmas of the parties’ digital campaigning. The parties studied in this research are the Centre Party, the Christian Democrats, the Finns Party, the Greens and the Social Democratic Party, and the research focuses on their online campaigns in the 2011 and 2015 Finnish parliamentary elections. In addition, the research monitors the development of digital campaigning up to the summer 2021 municipal elections, with a particular emphasis on the 2019 parliamentary election. The data include semi-structured interviews of personnel responsible for the target parties’ online communication, the parties’ candidate guidance materials and parliamentary election programmes, an archive of digital clips collected from the parties’ campaign websites and social media platforms, and a collection of media articles reporting and analysing online campaigning. The research methods are qualitative and based on content analysis, and they focus on the analysis of features common to the parties’ campaigning, as earlier research has shown the campaigning of professionalised parties to be largely homogeneous. In the research, an overall picture of the strategic dimensions of parties’ online campaigning is formed mainly based on the data, but also by combining theoretical reflection and empirical observation. Similar research has not been done in Finland earlier, so the analysis is accordingly explorative and opens up new research questions for the future. The central theoretical approach in the research is a communicational-holistic understanding of election campaigning, i.e. the idea that campaigns are fundamentally nothing more than political communication. Understanding campaign communication, however, also requires an understanding of parties as goal-oriented organisations, and therefore the research focuses on the analysis of both communicational-structural and campaign organizational factors. As the dissertation is located in the subject area of party and campaign research as well as political communication, the research approach is synthesizing and multidisciplinary. There is no unequivocal theoretical frame of reference in the research of parties’ strategic online campaigning, as earlier research is fragmented in its approach and focused on the candidate and voter perspectives. The central theoretical concepts of the research are professionalisation, digitalisation, personalisation, mediatisation and the hybrid media system. Rachel Gibson’s and Andrea Römmele’s (2001) theory of party-centred professionalised campaigning forms a top-level theoretical perspective for the research, and the approaches also reflect the questions raised by equalisation and normalisation theories, such as the importance of campaign resources for room for manoeuvre in parties’ strategic online campaigning. Andreas Schäfer’s (2021) concept of hybridity based and algorithm-based digital heuristics is applied in the research to describe the building of parties’ communication strategies in the present hybrid, data-intensive campaign environment. In an election campaign, the primary strategic goal of all parties is the maximisation of votes, in pursuit of which there are comprehensive strategic goals in their online campaigning as well as more differentiated strategic practices. The research shows that the strategic goals for parties include information transmission and content communication, maximising voter contacts, open interactivity, internal and external mobilisation, pursuit of journalistic media attention, strategic monitoring and combating disinformation. In addition, the research identifies four structural strategic dilemmas, i.e. conflict situations linked to permanent, system-level characteristics of politics, parties and the digital campaign environment, whose theoretical points of reference are the concepts of professionalisation, personalisation, digitalisation and modernisation of politics produced by earlier research: 1) Emphasis on individual vs. communal subjectivity: How to campaign effectively in an environment that favours individual subjects and their communication instead of communal subjects? 2) Scarcity of resources vs. room for manoeuvre in campaign strategy: How to campaign effectively in circumstances where the resources are insufficient for the campaigning considered to be strategically optimal? 3) Open interactivity vs. internal mobilisation: How to promote effectively open interactivity, defined as an important value, in an environment whose characteristics do not serve this goal, but are more favourable for effective internal communication and mobilisation? 4) Swing voting vs. party loyalty: How to target effectively the attention of both swing and party faithful voters in a situation where the values and policy issues relevant to these groups vary? Since strategic dilemmas arise from contextual challenges within the macrotrends of politics and election campaigning that the parties are fundamentally unable to influence, they are difficult or impossible-to-resolve conflicts. Due to the structural nature of the dilemmas, the parties must endeavour to adapt to the limitations they pose for their campaign competence, which happens, applying Schäfer’s (2021) theorisation, by developing various adaptation heuristics, such as “humanising” the party’s campaign communication as a means of adapting to the individual subjectivity on social media, or downplaying ideology as a means of adapting to the need to reach swing voters. The construct also includes election-independent conditions, which show the generalisability and utility of the model in future research on parties’ strategic online campaigning. In the 1990s, the early research literature on the internet and political activity presented expectations about the potential of new digital media to promote interaction between citizens and political actors in line with the ideals of deliberative and direct democracy. The empirical research of recent years, however, has repeatedly shown that parties are reluctant to promote in their online campaigning two-way communication they consider to be fundamentally valuable. This doctoral research comes to similar conclusions: the ideal of open interactivity is not realised; the campaign strategy reality of the parties is an emphasis on internal communication and mobilisation due to the strategic dilemma described above. Keywords: political parties, strategic online campaigning, strategic campaign communication, professionalisation, digitalisation, personalisation, mediatisation, hybrid media system.
  • Virta, Mikko (Helsingin yliopisto, 2022)
    In this research, I examine the relations between Finnish president Urho Kekkonen and the leading Western powers, Britain and the United States, during the two decades after the Second World War. I examine the relationships between political decision-makers through their public interaction and behind-the-scenes informal communication, and the role of propaganda and political intelligence in these. The main source material of my research consists of archive documents of the Foreign Office, the US administration, the CIA, and Urho Kekkonen. I have roughly divided Kekkonen's Western relationship into four time periods. In the years 1943–49, Kekkonen was an interesting rising politician in the eyes of the West. Kekkonen established connections with the intelligence services of the Western powers, first with the American Wilho Tikander and later with the British James H. Magill and Rex Bosley. Kekkonen’s ascent to the position of prime minister in 1950 caught the attention of Western powers, but he was met with suspicion. Kekkonen was considered to be too close to the communists and the Soviet Union. However, Western trust in Kekkonen slowly improved, until the Night Frost Crisis of 1958. Kekkonen himself had a harsh attitude toward Western diplomats. The experiences of the Winter War and the lack of aid from the West were reflected in his thinking. During the Continuation War, Kekkonen had formed his new foreign policy doctrine, according to which the survival of the Finnish State was dependent on good relations with the Soviet Union. The third period, the years 1958–62, was marked by crises and mistrust. Kekkonen, who submitted in the Night Frost Crisis, looked like a weak man who could not stand the pressure of the Soviet Union, was too much under Khrushchev's sphere of influence and believed that the Soviet Union had the upper hand in the Cold War. The situation looked so bad that the Western powers launched a large influence operation with four separate prongs. Western ambassadors began to keep in close contact with Kekkonen, the president was invited to Western capitals, and high-ranking Western guests were sent to Finland. In addition, the Western powers began to supply Kekkonen with confidential information through secret channels. At the beginning of 1961, Kekkonen started intensively studying English, which he barely knew before. The British John Haycraft was hired as a teacher who lived in the presidential residence of Tamminiemi with Kekkonen for months. Haycraft also served in an intelligence role, reporting the president's life and thoughts in detail to London. During his 1961 visits to London and Washington, Kekkonen was able to meet the heads of state of the Western powers. British Prime Minister Harold Macmillan and US President John F. Kennedy questioned Kekkonen's about his views on the Soviet Union and tried to convince him that the West was not losing the Cold War. One part of the influence campaign was the Operation Thread carried out by the Information Research Department. In this operation personally tailored material was delivered to a number of state leaders. The goal was to build such a deep relationship of trust with the target persons that their thinking could be influenced if necessary. Kekkonen was one of the most important targets of the operation. The secret channel to Kekkonen was also used when, in the early 1960s, the Western powers tried to sabotage the preparations for the communist World Festival of Youth and Students planned for Helsinki. The British and Americans worked closely with the Finnish opponents of the festival. The visits and close contact improved Kekkonen's relations with the West, but the 1961 Note Crisis and KGB defector Anatoli Golitsyn's claims about Kekkonen as a Soviet agent of influence tore trust to pieces again. The Western powers became wary of using the secret channel, as it was feared that the information would leak to Moscow. The fourth period of Western relations began in the mid-1960s. Confidence in Kekkonen grew again when the worst threat scenarios did not materialize. After that, there were no more dramatic changes in relations with the West. In my research, the role of intelligence services in Kekkonen's relations with the West rises to the forefront. In his youth, Kekkonen had worked for years in the Finnish Security Police (Etsivä keskuspoliisi, EK). He adopted the practices of the secret police so well that he used them throughout his long political career. Whereas relations with Soviet intelligence were an important tool in the management of foreign policy, the role of Western intelligence seems to have been mainly in the exchange of information. Kekkonen's relations with the West formed a network where information moved directly and through intermediaries. The most important contact persons seem to have been Kustaa Vilkuna, adjutant Urpo Levo, Anne-Marie Snellman, Kaarlo Hillilä and the chiefs of the Finnish Security and Intelligence Service (Suojelupoliisi, Supo). From the western intelligence services, Kekkonen had direct connections with the British through Rex Bosley and James H. Magill. After Wilho Tikander, the connection with the Americans was broken, and later it was managed through intermediaries. The most important contact to Western intelligence seems to have been Bosley. After his retirement, Kekkonen received intelligence information through the Finnish Security and Intelligence Service.
  • Virolainen, Savi (Helsingin yliopisto, 2022)
    This dissertation complements a family of mixture autoregressive models based on Gaussian and Student's t distributions by filling the gaps in the previous literature with four self contained essays. This includes univariate models as well as reduced form and structural multivariate models. Empirical applications to macroeconomics and finance demonstrate their usefulness. I have also accompanied this dissertation with open source software, in the form of R packages uGMAR and gmvarkit, which provide a comprehensive set of tools for estimation and other numerical analysis of the models. The software is distributed through the Comprehensive R Archive Network. The first essay introduces a new mixture autoregressive model that combines linear Gaussian autoregressions and linear Student's t autoregressions as its mixture components. The model has attractive properties analogous to the Gaussian and Student's t mixture autoregressive models, but it is more flexible as it enables to model series which consist of both conditionally homoskedastic Gaussian regimes and conditionally heteroskedastic Student's t regimes. The usefulness of the model is demonstrated in an empirical application to the monthly U.S. interest rate spread between the 3-month Treasury bill rate and the effective federal funds rate. The second essay describes the R package uGMAR, which provides tools for estimating and analysing the Gaussian mixture autoregressive model, the Student's t mixture autoregressive model, and the Gaussian and Student's t mixture autoregressive model. The model parameters are estimated with the method of maximum likelihood by running multiple rounds of a two-phase estimation procedure in which a genetic algorithm is used to find starting values for a gradient based method. For evaluating the adequacy of the estimated models, uGMAR utilizes so-called quantile residuals and provides functions for graphical diagnostics as well as for calculating formal diagnostic tests. uGMAR also facilitates simulation from the processes and forecasting future values of the process by a simulation-based Monte Carlo method. I illustrate the use of uGMAR with the monthly U.S. interest rate spread between the 10-year and 1-year Treasury rates. In the third essay, I proceed to multivariate models and introduce a structural Gaussian mixture vector autoregressive model. The shocks are identified by combining simultaneous diagonalization of the reduced form error covariance matrices with constraints on the time-varying impact matrix. This leads to flexible identification conditions, and some the constraints are also testable. In an empirical application to quarterly U.S. data covering the period from 1953Q3 to 2021Q4, my model identifies two regimes: a stable inflation regime and an unstable inflation regime. The unstable inflation regime is characterized by high or volatile inflation, and it mainly prevails in the 1970's, early 1980's, during the Financial crisis, and in the COVID-19 crisis from 2020Q3 onwards. The stable inflation regime, in turn, is characterized by moderate inflation, and it prevails when the unstable inflation regime does not. While the effects of the monetary policy shock are relatively symmetric in the unstable inflation regime, I find strong asymmetries with respect to the sign and size of the shock as well as to the initial state of the economy in the stable inflation regime. On average, the real effects of the monetary policy shock are somewhat stronger in the stable inflation regime than in the unstable inflation regime. The last essay introduces a new mixture vector autoregressive model based on Gaussian and Student's t distributions. The model incorporates conditionally homoskedastic linear Gaussian vector autoregressions and conditionally heteroskedastic linear Student's t vector autoregressions as its mixture components. For a pth order model, the mixing weights depend on the full distribution of the preceding p observations. The specific formulation of the mixing weights leads to attractive practical and theoretical properties such as ergodicity and full knowledge of the stationary distribution of p+1 consecutive observations. The empirical application studies asymmetries in the effects of Euro area monetary policy shocks. My model identifies two regimes: a low-growth regime and a high-growth regime. The low-growth regime is characterized by negative (but volatile) output gap, and it mainly prevails after the Financial crisis. The high-growth regime is characterized by positive output gap, and it mainly dominates before the Financial crisis. I find the real effects less enduring for an expansionary than for a contractionary monetary policy shock. On average, the inflationary effects of the monetary policy shock are stronger in the high-growth regime than in the low-growth regime.
  • Savonen, Jenni (Helsingin yliopisto, 2022)
    This dissertation study explores lay knowledge related to illicit drug use. It is a current social concern in Finland as well as in many other countries, as the variety of substances and the prevalence of use continue to increase, bringing about shifting and more diverse views related to the issue of illicit drug use overall. The study argues that lay understandings regarding social phenomena create what we believe to be true and are thus inherently bound to action. In this study context, lay knowledge related to illicit drug use is conceptualized as social representations, and a social representations approach is used as a critical social psychological framework to analyse shared meanings and their significance for behaviour. Within the social representations approach, different actors in society are examined: the media, lay people and people who use illicit drugs. These viewpoints on different levels of social space contribute to a pattern of correlations comprising the process of social representation in regard to illicit drug use. Both qualitative and quantitative methods are used to study two broader research aims: 1) how illicit drug use is socially represented in the media and among lay people, and 2) the consequences of representational action for people in relation to views on drug policy and for the identity construction of people who use illicit drugs. Thematic analysis and latent class analysis are used as the main research methodologies. The findings of the three sub-studies of this research show that illicit drug use is socially represented through notions of the self and other, morality, risk and self-control. From a social psychological – and specifically a social representational – viewpoint, the findings of the study show illicit drug use to be a normified phenomenon and a naturalized social representation. These claims suggest that although illicit drug use is a salient and in ways unremarkable part of our current society, it has not become normalized to the point of being insignificant or non-stigmatized. Although social representations of illicit drug use are often negative, alternative voices grounded in differences between substances and modes of use are salient and retain possibilities for social change. In regard to the second research aim, this study shows that social representations are related to views on drug policy and to identity construction. The amount of risk that people perceive in regard to illicit drug use is associated with their views on control policy and harm reduction measures. People who use illicit drugs construct their identities by positioning themselves in relation to salient social representations. These findings illustrate possibilities for the material, discursive and social consequences of representational action. Overall, this dissertation study highlights the process of social representation as generative and functional in constructing social realities.
  • Lauronen, Juha-Pekka (Helsingin yliopisto, 2022)
    This article-based dissertation explores the vocabularies of research impact and their logic in evaluating the impact of social science research. The motive for this study stems from the increasing emphasis on social impact in Finnish research evaluation culture and practices. In practice, impact has become a criterion for quality judgements in competitive funding and formal approval for completed research projects, as well as a developmental tool for university faculties and the legitimation of research policies. Broad academic literature have welcomed the cause of impact thinking with practical frameworks for research evaluation, while a small body of literature has taken a conceptual distance from the practical discussion. This dissertation continues the exploration of the latter discussion by collating its crucial arguments and developing them further. This dissertation brings together the previous notions of critical academic discussions and literature by elaborating on their conceptual contributions to the discussion about impact. The dissertation attempts to develop the critical discussion further by trying to understand why the vocabularies of impact appear in such discordant and often simplistic ways in policies, public discussions and evaluations. It also seeks to understand why impact is construed as a diminished version of the complex social relations of knowledge within official evaluation frameworks for funding and research development. This dissertation presents discursive notions of the policy frames used to approach impact and the academic discussion on the concept of impact. In addition, this dissertation investigates the logical aspects of a practical impact evaluation. Conceptually and methodologically, the dissertation contributes to the discussion by developing a critical approach that recognises the discursive accounts behind impact thinking, the in-betweenness in the operationalisation of impact via formalised methodical choices and the logical prospects and limitations to constructing and construing impact evaluation. The conceptual framework of the dissertation relies on previous conceptualisations of research utilisation, public engagement and transdisciplinarity. The dissertation uses these conceptualisations to show which aspects are familiar in the vocabularies of impact and how they construct the concept in various contexts of talk and practice. The dissertation also uses a constructive understanding of evaluation studies to comprehend liminal spaces in impact evaluation. The liminality perspective provides insights into institutional purposes and tensions in evaluation approaches. The methodological approach of the dissertation underlines contextual vocabularies that represent a broader social and cultural understanding of knowledge practices, research evaluation and higher education. The preoccupation with impact is considered a political, social and cultural phenomenon that shapes the understanding of how research knowledge interacts with social agents and how to operationalise it in evaluation. These premises counter purely prescriptive research agendas that attempt to develop ways to construct simulacrums of real research impacts for policy purposes. The three articles in this dissertation investigate the discursive and logical characteristics of research impact and its evaluation. They are based on research material from policy documents/recommendations, expert interviews, funding proposals, mid-term research reports and funding calls in Finland. Article I illuminates the vocabularies of impact in policy and academic discussions. Article II clarifies the guiding principles of impact evaluation and their dilemmas. Article III explores the relationship between researchers’ pre-evaluative strategies of impact depictions and guidance for proposals and evaluation. Each of the articles contributes original typographies, identifying new usages of the concept of impact. They also highlight what the concept of impact means for formal evaluation practices and possibilities for social scientists in expressing the social opportunities of knowledge. This dissertation concludes that it is not possible to comprehensively understand research impact evaluation without a critical meta-evaluative perspective. Although practical-prescriptive studies of impact evaluation have achieved conceptual sophistication, they have not been able to solve the logical problems that lead to profound methodical and practical problems. This is because of their lack of understanding of the notion that impact evaluation is based on divergent ideals of knowledge and knowledge use, which have unbalanced representations in research policy and evaluation. This dissertation contributes to the debate by arguing that impact has become an amorphic concept. This is realised by absorbing divergent vocabularies that construct conceptually entangled understandings of the social capabilities of research knowledge and possible ways to operationalise this understanding in evaluation. However, because the emphasis of impact thinking is on incumbent public policy rationales for rating research productivity and legitimising research as socially responsible, it often relies on a reduced understanding of social science research and its possibilities for social change. This is why impact evaluation is often premised on a formalised logic that identifies similar threads of impact that have been preconstructed in its vocabularies for research priorities and evaluation guidance. The dissertation suggests that the only way to solve the contradictory ideals within impact thinking requires a shift from research impact evaluation towards more open organisational and institutional learning of knowledge use in local communities.
  • Duh, Abdalla Ali (Helsingin yliopisto, 2022)
    The aim of this study was to examine how development is understood by different local actors and how transnational Islamic ideas and practices are used by the case study schools as both drivers and obstacles to what is perceived as development in north-eastern Kenya and the Puntland region of Somalia. Using a case study of seven Islamic schools supported by four leading transnational Islamic non-governmental organisations (TINGOs), the study explores how development is practised and understood in the two regions. The thesis is based on long term field research (30 months) that was undertaken in north-eastern Kenya and the Puntland region of Somalia between 2010 and 2018. The qualitative research materials gathered consisted of 95 interviews, 64 observations of classroom activities, 22 focus group discussions, Arabic and Somali materials from the Islamic schools and organisations, Muslim texts cited by the interviewees and documents from the two governments. The primary data were supplemented by studying the recent academic literature on the religion- development nexus. Thematic analysis was applied to analyse the various types of primary data. To discuss the findings, the research utilises concepts of social capital and religious resources. The findings indicate that there were several ways in which the core beliefs and practices of the case study schools and TINGOs were used to promote local conceptions of development, including campaigns against Somali clannism, female genital mutilation and khat chewing. Also, the findings show how different interpretations of transnational Islamic ideas and practices led to destabilising activities of al-Shahab, discrimination against women and insecurity in the two regions. The research concludes that to broaden our understanding of Islam and development, there are areas arising from the study that deserve further research including how ‘Islamisation’ of development takes place in other Muslim contexts.
  • Koivukoski, Joonas (Helsingin yliopisto, 2022)
    This article-based dissertation investigates the relationship between politics and humor in the contemporary media environment. Previous research has characterized the contemporary media environment as a hybrid: a mixture of old and new media technologies and logics and a combination of informative and entertaining styles and genres. This thesis explores how politics and humor intertwine in this hybrid media environment. The aim is to synthesize the previous literature from different disciplines and to clarify how the political aspects of humor can be analyzed in this changing media landscape. The thesis also scrutinizes how mediated political humor poses threats and opportunities to the functioning of liberal democracies. The dissertation consists of four sub-studies and a theoretical introduction. The sub-studies investigate political humor by different types of actors in various fields of society. Two of the sub-studies examine the hybrids and hybridization between satire and journalism, and the other two study the entanglement of humor and political advocacy on new media platforms. The satire-related articles investigate Nordic news satire and North American and Finnish gonzo journalism. The articles related to amusing online advocacy, in turn, examine political blogging by a Finnish populist leader, Timo Soini, and humorous performances by a Finnish activist group, Loldiers of Odin, which parodies the anti-immigration group, Soldiers of Odin. The contributions of this dissertation are twofold. The individual sub-studies contribute to particular theoretical and empirical research topics, whereas this introductory essay provides more general theoretical approaches to the study of mediated political humor. The sub-study on popular news satire illuminates producers’ perspectives, which is an understudied dimension of research. The sub-study on gonzo journalism, in turn, contributes to the literature on the satire–journalism relationship by clarifying the role of satirical style in Hunter S. Thompson’s original gonzo and contemporary examples of Finnish gonzo. The sub-study on the entanglement of populist and humorist communication illustrates how humor can be a consistent communication strategy for a populist leader, amplifying populist antagonisms in changing political contexts. Finally, the sub-study on parody performances by “Loldiers” contributes to the research on contemporary political activism by examining both the rhetoric and online commentary of humorous political stunts. The theoretical introduction of this dissertation contributes to the existing literature by proposing two frameworks for analyzing mediated political humor. The first framework takes a bird’s-eye view of mediated political humor, describing how humor and politics are intertwined on the “levels” of content, practices, identities, and the public sphere. This framework introduces key concepts and studies, providing a descriptive account of contemporary mediated political humor. This framework helps to focus on future empirical research and provides a contextualization of the research program, which is furthered in the following chapters. The second framework combines established and new approaches to evaluating the key political aspects of humor in the hybrid media environment. The framework suggests that content, style, identity, and circulation are essential points of departure in the analysis of mediated political humor. Thus far, studies assessing the political aspects of humor in the hybrid media environment have been scattered across different disciplines. The framework thus combines these insights and offers resources for examining how the political aspects cohere in particular cases and data and whether any of them stand out more than others. With guiding questions and examples related to sub-aspects of political humor—such as advocacy, focus, polysemy, tone, representation, popularity, and participation—the framework provides an analytical toolkit or a “checklist” for analyzing mediated political humor. Finally, this dissertation argues that prior to normative assessments of political humor in liberal democracy; we first need to scrutinize the types of humor we are assessing. This is because the content and the practices of production, dissemination, and consumption of mediated political humor are so diverse and thus may serve various functions and have different consequences. This thesis applies its own theoretical framework to analyze how journalistic satire and amusing online advocacy may enhance or hinder the functioning of liberal democracy.
  • Soria Ruiz-Ogarrio, Jorge Jesús (Helsingin yliopisto, 2022)
    This dissertation consists of an introduction and four chapters examining various incentive structures behind mining in proof-of-work blockchain protocols. Chapter 2 presents an overview of the Bitcoin protocol, including a literature review, an analysis of the main mathematical tools used in proof-of-work blockchains, a presentation of the main elements of a cryptocurrency, and a discussion of security implications. Chapter 3 studies incentives for pools to get involved in double-spending attacks. Double-spending is done by using units of a cryptocurrency and then deleting the block containing the transaction, thus allowing the use of the same units again. This is feasible when one party controls over 50\% of a protocol. Pools are a core part of the cryptocurrency market, and they hold most of the processing power (hashrate) in the top blockchain protocols. This generates considerable concerns, because it is an indication of high centralization even though proof-of-work protocols were designed to work as decentralized peer-to-peer networks. Chapter 4 applies a standard Auction Theory model to the mining market. Mining is modeled as a Tullock competition, a special kind of all-pay-auction where rewards are raffled between all bidders. This model allows us to study the level of processing power that miners use when acting in a decentralized competition environment, where each miner's investment imposes a negative externality on the value of other miners' investments. Later, the model is compared against real data. Chapter 5 analyzes block-level mining decisions to illustrate one of the main limitations of proof-of-work protocols, namely their bottleneck effect. We present two alternative and complementary approaches to this problem: using discriminatory auctions (pay-as-bid auctions) and using various Machine Learning algorithms. The idea behind this double approach is to show that even though the assumptions are significantly different, both tools lead to the same conclusion. Both the Auction Theory and the Machine Learning analysis show that miners have incentives to exacerbate the bottleneck effect to induce higher transaction fees.
  • Kundu, Anustup (Helsingin yliopisto, 2022)
    This dissertation is a collection of three essays in the fields of behavioural economics and development economics. The first two essays lie at the intersection of behavioural and development economics. The third essay examines the socio-economic determinants of development. In the first essay, I examine why the demand for microinsurance, which is one of the key instruments in addressing the risk and vulnerability of economic shocks for low-income households in the Global South, is so puzzlingly low. In order to examine the determinants, I look into the behavioural factors. I study two sets of questions: (1) I examine the nature of risk and time preferences of the individuals. (2) Drawing on these risk and time preference measures, I examine their linkages to microinsurance take-up. In order to answer these questions, I conducted a primary panel survey with incentivized lab-in-the-field experiments between 2018 and 2020 in five rural villages in India. I find that the majority of the individuals are not only risk averse, but they are loss averse and underweight large probability events. They are also biased towards the present, i.e. they value payoffs now more than those later. On microinsurance take-up, I find that impatience is associated with a lower probability to purchase any insurance while risk-seeking individuals and individuals who experienced a prior shock such as a death in the family are associated with a higher probability to purchase any insurance. Finally, I find that individuals who are loss averse and underweight large probability incidents are associated with a lower probability to purchase any insurance. In the second essay, I examine the temporal stability of risk and time preferences. The proclamation in general economic theory is that preferences are stable and any changes can be explained by changes in prices, incentives, or constraints. However, recent empirical literature using experiments has questioned this claim. In light of this ongoing discussion, I provide empirical evidence from India. In order to examine the temporal stability of risk and time preferences of individuals, this essay draws from three waves of a primary survey supplemented with incentivised lab-in-the-field experiments that I conducted in 2016, 2018, and 2020 from five rural villages in India. The findings highlight key insights. First, I find a positive association between responses across time for risk preference but none for time preference. Second, below poverty line (BPL) households are risk seeking in comparison to households above the line. Third, various household-level shocks such as illness, injury, death of a family member, job loss, and marriage are associated with risk aversion, while crop failure and loss of employment are linked with more patience. The third essay examines multigenerational educational and occupational mobility in India. While studies have examined the association in socio-economic status between parent and offspring, there has been relatively little research on multigenerational mobility, especially in the developing country context. We examine multigenerational educational and occupational mobility in India using a nationally representative data set, the India Human Development Survey (IHDS), which contains information about education and occupation for three generations. We find that mobility has increased over generations for education but not for occupation. We also find that there are stark differences across social groups, with individuals belonging to socially disadvantaged communities lagging behind in social progress. Multigenerational mobility for Muslims in education and occupation has decreased in comparison to Hindus over the three generations. While we find that there is an increase in educational mobility for other disadvantaged groups such as Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, and Other Backward Classes compared to General Castes, we do not find evidence of increased occupational mobility over the three generations.
  • Pekkarinen, Teemu (Helsingin yliopisto, 2022)
    This dissertation consists of an introduction and three independent studies in pricing under asymmetric information. The introduction gives a broad motivation and a brief literature review for this dissertation. In the first study, we consider an economy where many sellers sell identical goods to many buyers. Each seller has a unit supply and each buyer has a unit demand. The only possible information flow about prices is through costly advertising. We show that in equilibrium the sellers use mixed strategies in pricing which leads to price and advertisement distributions. With convex advertising costs, each seller sends only one advertisement in the market. We also delineate a class of advertising costs which ensures that sellers may send multiple advertisements in equilibrium. Higher prices are advertised more than lower prices. In the second study, we consider a principal-agent model in which the principal can monitor and punish the agent with a fine if the agent is caught being untruthful. To reduce the probability of being verified, the agent can engage in costly avoidance. We design the optimal regulatory policies with and without avoidance. The optimal mechanism with enforcement allocates the object more often than the optimal mechanism without enforcement. Moreover, enforcement increases the expected transfers to the principal. Avoidance has two implications to the optimal regulatory mechanism: (i) the expected optimal transfers to the principal decrease and (ii) the principal allocates the object to a smaller share of types. If the latter effect dominates the former, it is possible that the agent's capability to engage in avoidance is disadvantageous not only for the principal, but also for the agent ex ante. In the third study, we derive the seller's utility maximizing selling mechanism in bilateral trade with interdependent values. Due to the interdependencies in valuations, finding the optimal mechanism is an informed seller problem. It turns out that the optimal mechanism is no longer a take-it-or-leave-it offer for the whole capacity; the seller finds it optimal to decrease the quantity of allocation (or the probability of trade) in order to credibly signal her private information to the buyer.
  • Rinne, Hanna (Helsingin yliopisto, 2022)
    Health inequalities and their determinants have a long research tradition at occupational class level. By studying the differences by more detailed occupations, we can identify the risk groups and factors that affect high mortality more accurately. The aim of this study was to identify specific manual occupations with high mortality and to examine whether the contributions of socioeconomic and occupational factors to mortality differ in these occupations. We also examined the role of alcohol-related mortality in the excess mortality in these occupations and the use of outpatient and inpatient health services by occupational groups. The mortality of seafarers in comparison to all other employees was explored in more detail. The study was based on longitudinal, individual-level, register-based data of employees in Finland. Cox proportional hazard models, negative binomial models, and logistic regression models were used in the analyses. In comparison to all employees, men had 31 and women had 11 manual occupations with high mortality. High-mortality occupations were identified from every field, including clerks, service workers, craft and metalworkers, plant and machine operators, and elementary occupations. High mortality was largely explained by education, income, unemployment, and industry. However, the magnitude varied. High income did not always protect from high mortality. An example of such an occupation was male seafarers. Alcohol-related mortality mostly increased the total excess mortality among high-mortality manual occupations, but these deaths alone did not explain the differences in mortality compare to all employees. High alcohol-related mortality did not always mean a high role of alcohol-related mortality in total mortality. Compared to all employees, manual workers typically had more outpatient visits to health care, and non-manual workers had fewer visits. Some occupations differed from the gradient, indicating that the use of health care services seems to be affected not only by occupational hazards but also by differences in disease identification, knowledge and attitudes towards health care, and access to occupational health services. The differences in inpatient care services were smaller than those in outpatient care. In addition to broader socioeconomic characteristics, occupation is an important factor for understanding health inequalities.
  • Junna, Liina (Helsingin yliopisto, 2022)
    It is a well-established finding that compared to the employed, the unemployed have poorer health and higher mortality. Even so, it is unclear whether unemployment causes poor health. The association may also be due to direct health-related selection if poor health increases the risk of becoming or remaining unemployed. The association could also be a product of indirect selection if some other characteristics such as prior life experiences increase both the risk of unemployment and poor health. It is widely recognised that adequately controlling for selection is challenging. Additionally, the role of causality and selection in the association between unemployment and health may vary depending on which aspect of health is considered. While the causal evidence is stronger for self-reported mental well-being, it is less consistent for objective mental health outcomes and physical health. The purpose of this study was to contribute to our current understanding of the role of causality and selection in the health and mortality differences between the employed and the unemployed. Quasi-experimental designs that more strongly control for selection were utilised to explore various aspects of health among working-age Finnish men and women. The specific aims of the study were 1) to assess differences in cause-specific mortality between the unemployed and the employed using a workplace downsizing and closure design; 2) to evaluate the causes of mental health-related morbidity among the unemployed by adjusting for time-invariant confounding in a fixed effects regression; and 3) to quantify the contribution of direct selection in transitions from unemployment to employment. Two of the four sub-studies were based on large-scale, general population samples, and two on full population data. The longitudinal data combined individual-level information from various administrative registers. Health was measured using a wide range of objective health outcomes: reimbursement rights for drugs for specific health conditions, visits to specialised care, hospitalisations, and causes of death. Differences in pre-existing health conditions and other individual and contextual factors fully explained the small increase in non-alcoholic disease mortality associated with unemployment, and some of the increase in psychiatric, alcohol-related and external-cause mortality. Moreover, mental health and alcohol-related conditions may be particularly important predictors of both becoming unemployed and remaining there. Having an alcohol-related condition halved the chances of finding employment among the unemployed, while mental health conditions decreased the chances by 30%. And while currently unemployed men and women were approximately two percentage points more likely to have a mental health-related visit to specialised care than those in employment, 70% of that association was due to confounding from time-invariant characteristics such as past experiences and personality. Controlling for all time-invariant confounding also explained a substantial share of the poorer mental health of those exposed to repeated or extended periods of unemployment, particularly among women. Even with the extensive controls for unmeasured confounding with the quasi-experimental designs, unemployment was associated with certain aspects of health. It is therefore possible that these associations are causal. Most notably, men who are unemployed following workplace closures (that is, the unemployment estimate the least affected by confounding) had a 2.2-fold risk of alcohol-related mortality when compared to the employed. The risk was 1.5-fold among the respective women. Furthermore, unemployment was associated with an elevated mental health-related morbidity among both men and women as well as an increased risk in external-cause mortality among men. This study suggests that health-related selection is likely to contribute both to the health differentials between employed and unemployed people, and to the differences in labour-market attachments between those people with and without health problems. Controlling for both measured and unmeasured confounders using a strong study design, unemployment does not appear to be a risk factor for non-alcoholic disease mortality, but may be harmful to certain aspects of health, in particular mental health, and alcohol-related conditions.
  • Palmén, Olli (Helsingin yliopisto, 2022)
    This dissertation consists of three self-contained essays that empirically study the dynamic macroeconomic effects of financial shocks. In Chapter 2, I study the macroeconomic effects of unanticipated changes in sovereign spreads during the European sovereign debt crisis, with a focus on the role of bank lending. I study this question by applying an SVAR model for a panel of countries that includes Italy, Spain, Portugal, and Ireland and identify the sovereign risk shock using sign and exclusion restrictions on the impulse response functions. The results imply that sovereign risk shocks contributed negatively to economic activity in Portugal, Italy and Spain by reducing bank lending, whereas the effect of sovereign shocks on bank lending was negligible Ireland. Chapter 3 is premised on the notion that financial and uncertainty shocks are independent sources of business cycle fluctuations. Due to the close link between these shocks, distinguishing them is empirically difficult. In this essay, I apply a statistical identification method based on non-Gaussianity of the structural shocks to estimate their effects on macroeconomic variables. The results suggest that macroeconomic uncertainty and financial shocks affect business cycles independently and by interacting dynamically. Uncertainty shocks appear to tighten financial conditions, whereas there appears to be no causal relationship between financial conditions and uncertainty. Moreover, the results suggest that uncertainty shocks may have persistent effects on output and investment. Chapter 4 examines the inflationary effects of financial shocks. In macroeconomic models the dynamic response of consumer prices depends on the type of the financial shock, whereas empirical studies typically assume negative co-movement between output and inflation. I study the plausibility of this assumption based on data by applying a Bayesian SVAR model that exploits the non-normalities of the error process, which uniquely identifies the structural shocks. Financial shocks are then selected from the set of identified shocks, based on the characteristics of the impulse response functions that comply with theoretical models. The results support the notion that financial shocks may have distinct and opposite effects on inflation.
  • Nurmi, Johanna (Helsingin yliopisto, 2022)
    Physical activity provides significant benefits for health, but most people move too little. Modern sensor technology enables timely and personally relevant interventions to promote physical activity, but many fundamental questions about optimal interventions remain unanswered. This work examined factors that support motivation and self-regulation and how motivation turns into behaviour (Studies I & II). Evidence and theory guided the development of The Precious app, a smartphone-based digital intervention that was presented and tested in Studies III and IV. Study I used a structural equation model to analyse prospective survey data on 411 Finnish adolescents and discovered that autonomous motivation is associated with the use of the self-regulatory behaviour change techniques (BCTs), and these BCTs partially explained the relationship between autonomous motivation and physical activity. Study II, a systematic literature review and meta-analysis, analysed increases and identified moderators of autonomous motivation, stage of change, and intention in physical activity interventions targeting adults. In 89 intervention studies (k=200; N=19,212), interventions had largest effects on autonomous motivation (d=0.32), and slightly smaller effects on stage of change (d=0.19) and intention (d=0.17). Most effective BCTs were related to self-regulation (such as goal setting and self-monitoring) and to guided exercise sessions: instructions, demonstrations and behavioural practice. Study III. feasibility tested the Precious app among 12 adults who individually participated in think-aloud tasks and semi-structured interviews. The users expressed engagement in behaviour change by eliciting change talk and discussed autonomy support from several angles. Study IV described a series of six-week factorial N-of-1 RCTs that individually examined data on 15 healthy adults (600 observation days) using dynamic regressions and aggregated longitudinal multilevel models. Biofeedback or Motivational interviewing-based digital interventions delivered through the Precious app had no effects on the participants’ steps on the same day, but associations between daily self-efficacy, motivation, and steps were identified within and between individuals. The Precious app is an example of how social psychological support for behaviour change can be automated to a wide-reaching and affordable service. The novel framework of engaging smartphone users in the behaviour change process by using spontaneous and reflective techniques may help intervention developers to promote autonomous motivation for self-regulation and physical activity. The method of identifying change talk during app usage could allow app developers to assess whether their products engage users in the behaviour change process. The novel smartphone-delivered factorial N-of-1 RCT presented in this work serves as an example for future studies that may wish to quickly and automatically collect data on the impact of specific intervention elements on individuals. The finding that daily self-efficacy and motivation explain the daily steps of some individuals and in the aggregated data suggest that changes in these constructs may have a close-to-immediate association with physical activity. Intervention design needs to focus more on strategies supporting autonomous motivation, self-regulatory BCTs, and guided exercise sessions.
  • Beattie, Marguerite (Helsingin yliopisto, 2022)
    Background Adolescents may be able to strengthen their mental health through the practice of mindfulness exercises. School-based mindfulness interventions have introduced these exercises, but many adolescents have not started to use them. This lack of use impedes both assessments of their effectiveness and realization of any potential benefits. Therefore, it is important to understand the motivation and behavior change aspect of school-based mindfulness interventions. Aims Using the reasoned action approach (RAA), a behavioral and social cognitive theory including attitudes toward the behavior, perceived norms, perceived behavioral control, and intention, this dissertation evaluates predictors and differences in uptake of mindfulness practice. This dissertation investigates (1) whether theoretical constructs of the RAA or initial mental health are predictive of adolescent mindfulness practice during and after an intervention, (2) whether participants “cluster” in different response classes post-intervention, (3) whether there are differences by gender, linguocultural group, or type of mental health-fortifying technique in the uptake of practice, and (4) how mindfulness practice predictors can be targeted to increase mindfulness practice. Methods The Healthy Learning Mind project provided data on the mindfulness arm (n=1646) and the relaxation arm (n=1488) of its cluster-randomized controlled trial. The mindfulness arm participated in nine 45-minute sessions over the course of nine weeks. To explore how to increase mindfulness practice (Aim 4), a small within-trial cRCT was developed with a brief booster intervention based on the RAA. Participants were students aged 12-15. There were three linguocultural groups: Finnish, Swedish, and other native languages. Surveys provide data from trial baseline, 10 weeks, 26 weeks, and 52 weeks. The mental health concepts were self-reported externalization, internalization, depressive symptoms, and resilience. Path models were used to analyze predictors of mindfulness practice in the complete dataset. Latent profile analyses were used to distinguish subgroups by social cognitive responses post-intervention and longitudinal practice trajectories across all measurement points. Chi-square analyses and t-tests were used to compare groups. Multiple regression was used to examine predictors in the first batch of the trial while the trial was still ongoing in order to inform the design of a booster intervention during the third batch. Analyses were conducted with IBM SPSS Statistics 23-26 and Mplus Version 7. Results (1) Attitudes toward the behavior, perceived norms, and perceived behavioral control explained 36% of the variance in intention to practice and descriptive norms, perceived behavioral control and intention explained 16% of the variance in a measure of self-reported practice at 26 weeks. Descriptive norms were the strongest predictor of intention in the RAA (𝛽 = .41). Attitudes toward the behavior and perceived norms predicted intention with small-medium effect sizes (𝛽 = |.13|-|.41|). Intention and descriptive norms predicted practice with small effect sizes (𝛽 = .19-.27). Perceived behavioral control predicted neither intention nor practice. Initial mental health did not predict mindfulness practice. (2) Five latent classes were found for patterns in both social cognition and practice. (3) Overall, not many significant differences were found between genders or types of practice. A few linguocultural associations were found among the classes, e.g., those who had a native language other than Finnish or Swedish were more inclined towards mindfulness practice and practiced sometimes before the intervention. (4) We demonstrated how a theory and a statistical analysis of preliminary data can be applied to target the most relevant determinants of practice. Significant increases in practice were not detected, but some promising trends were found. Discussion This dissertation constitutes the most extensive study to date examining uptake of mindfulness practice behavior in a RCT to my knowledge. It utilizes social psychological theory to suggest ways in which social cognition can be taken into account in the design of mental health-promoting interventions for adolescents. In sum, it reveals that perceived norms about peers’ practice, in particular, as well as social acceptance and perceived benefits are important factors with regards to two mental health-promoting techniques. It also shows how distinct response groups can be found. Lastly, it demonstrates how booster interventions based on theory and data can be designed and emphasizes that a large dose is likely necessary to see effects. Methodological limitations in the operationalization of the theoretical constructs are discussed and suggestions for future research are made.
  • Sarkia, Matti (Helsingin yliopisto, 2022)
    This dissertation deals with topics of interdisciplinary exchange and integration that arise at the intersection of analytic philosophy, behavioral and cognitive science, and the social sciences. Thematically, most of this dissertation is concerned with the phenomenon of social coordination, how it is studied in different scientific fields, and how their theoretical insights can be brought together and negotiated with one another. Methodologically, I draw on approaches in contemporary philosophy of science that are related to theoretical modeling and mechanistic explanation, understood as distinctive methodological strategies that scientists use to study complex phenomena. My focus is on studies of shared intentionality (which serves as a prerequisite for many central forms of social coordination) in analytic philosophy, and how philosophical studies of shared intentionality relate to studies of social coordination in other scientific disciplines, such as cognitive science, developmental psychology, evolutionary anthropology, and economics. In this respect, I compare the methodological status of philosophical studies of shared intentionality to the methodological status of theoretical models in science, and the activity of conceptual analysis to the activities of scientific modeling and model-construction (articles 1-3 of my dissertation). Moreover, I argue that the mechanistic approach to explanation can play an important role in bringing together different disciplinary perspectives on social coordination (articles 4-6 of my dissertation).
  • Eklund, Andreas (Helsingin yliopisto, 2022)
    There has traditionally in political science research been a strong focus on democracy and how democratic countries function. In recent years there has also been a growing interest towards autocratic countries and their internal differences. The purpose of this dissertation is to study the impact of political structures on regime transitions in autocratic countries. The empirical investigation covers seventeen countries from the Middle East and North Africa and their political development from 2011 to 2019. The countries are compared on the basis of their differences in regime type, stateness and resources. The dependent variable is regime transitions and it is analyzed in two different phases and from two different perspectives. In the first phase, the countries are analyzed based on whether regime breakdown or regime survival took place after the large protests in 2011 that often are referred to as the Arab Spring. This analysis is conducted with qualitative comparative analysis (QCA). In the second phase, the results from the QCA analysis are placed within a longer timeframe from 2011 to 2019. To the extent that changes have occurred they are described as three different patterns: democratic transition, new autocratic regime type and state failure. The analysis shows that the countries with regime breakdown have developed in very different directions, where all of the previously mentioned patterns have occurred. The countries with regime survival have been less diverse in their development, although there also in the group are some deviating cases. The development over the period 2011 to 2019 is in all of the countries largely in line with the theoretical expectations concerning the impact of regime type, stateness and resources on regime transitions. There are however a few examples where deviating patterns concerning regime type and stateness occur. The dissertation provides a broader understanding of the link between regime breakdown and the subsequent political development. The dissertation further discuss the development in the Middle East and North Africa in the light of the global development of democracy.

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