Deficiency of immunity to poliovirus type 3: a lurking danger?
Hans W. Doerr
- Background: Europe was certified to be polio-free in 2002 by the WHO. However, wild polioviruses remain endemic in India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Nigeria, occasionally causing polio outbreaks, as in Tajikistan in 2010. Therefore, effective surveillance measures and vaccination campaigns remain important. To determine the poliovirus immune status of a German study population, we retrospectively evaluated the seroprevalence of neutralizing antibodies (NA) to the poliovirus types 1, 2 and 3 (PV1, 2, 3) in serum samples collected from 1,632 patients admitted the University Hospital of Frankfurt am Main, Germany, in 2001, 2005 and 2010.
Methods: Testing was done by using a standardized microneutralization assay.
Results: Level of immunity to PV1 ranged between 84.2% (95%CI: 80.3-87.5), 90.4% (88.3-92.3) and 87.5% (85.4-88.8) in 2001, 2005 and 2010. For PV2, we found 90.8% (87.5-90.6), 91.3% (89.3-93.1) and 89.8% (88.7-90.9), in the same period. Seroprevalence to PV3 was 76.6% (72.2-80.6), 69.8% (66.6-72.8) and 72.9% (67.8-77.5) in 2001 and 2005 and 2010, respectively. In 2005 and 2010 significant lower levels of immunity to PV3 in comparison to PV1 and 2 were observed. Since 2001, immunity to PV3 is gradually, but not significantly decreasing.
Conclusion: Immunity to PV3 is insufficient in our cohort. Due to increasing globalization and worldwide tourism, the danger of polio-outbreaks is not averted - even not in developed countries, such as Germany. Therefore, vaccination remains necessary.
African studies – striving for integrated information services: Recent developments in Germany and Europe
- New projects, services and collaborations have recently brought the infrastructural services for African Studies a big step forward. This report gives an account of new subject gateways and digitisation projects. It discusses recent European cooperation ventures in the field of librarianship. Additionally, new developments and services of the Africa Collection at Frankfurt University Library are presented, which help to address the changing needs of researchers and to handle information overload, while keeping up with the latest developments. Nevertheless, the fragmentation and compartmentalisation of the different services still hinder more integrated information services.
The other-race effect in 3-year-old German and Cameroonian children
Isabel A. Vöhringer
- Recognizing individual faces is an important human ability that highly depends on experience. This is reflected in the so called other-race effect; adults are better at recognizing faces from their own ethnic group, while very young infants do not show this specialization yet. Two experiments examined whether 3-year-old children from two different cultural backgrounds show the other-race effect. In Experiment 1, German children (N = 41) were presented with a forced choice paradigm where they were asked to recognize female Caucasian or African faces. In Experiment 2, 3-year-olds from Cameroon (N = 66) participated in a similar task using the same stimulus material. In both cultures the other-race effect was present; children were better at recognizing individual faces from their own ethnic group. In addition, German children performed at a higher overall level of accuracy than Cameroonians. The results are discussed in relation to cultural aspects in particular.
Taxes and the financial structure of German inward FDI
Alfons J. Weichenrieder
- The paper analyses the financial structure of German inward FDI. From a tax perspective, intra-company loans granted by the parent should be all the more strongly preferred over equity the lower the tax rate of the parent and the higher the tax rate of the German affiliate. From our study of a panel of more than 8,000 non-financial affiliates in Germany, we find only small effects of the tax rate of the foreign parent. However, our empirical results show that subsidiaries that on average are profitable react more strongly to changes in the German corporate tax rate than this is the case for less profitable firms. This gives support to the frequent concern that high German taxes are partly responsible for the high levels of intracompany loans. Taxation, however, does not fully explain the high levels of intra-company borrowing. Roughly 60% of the cross-border intra-company loans turn out to be held by firms that are running losses. JEL - Klassifikation H25 , F23 .
Industry-level wage bargaining : a partial rehabilitation - the German experience
Compulsory education - in schools only? : divergent developments in Germany
- Germany is the focus of this paper, owing to the fact that since 1938 it has had the strictest laws on compulsory schooling worldwide. As a result, homeschooling in Germany has become virtually impossible. There are interesting divergences between policy and practice in the German setting, both in the country’s educational history and present educational problems. The Länder (federal states) have the responsibility for education, and they are taking a much stricter line against homeschoolers than a decade ago, especially by depriving parents of the custody of their homeschooled children at an early stage. The laws relied upon, however, were never intended to deal with such educational matters; they were designed to punish parents who abuse or neglect their children. The present, highly questionable legal action succeeds only because of the consent of state schools, state social welfare offices, and courts. The same laws are not used against the parents of the approximately 250,000 teens who are truant. The functioning of the legal and sociological machinery in Germany is being employed aggressively to stamp out homeschooling, while at the same time it ignores the crucial issue of parents who allow their children to skip school—thus depriving them of an adequate education at home or elsewhere. At the same time, the number of specialists in law and education, as well as politicians and governmental experts who argue in favor of homeschooling is growing, and media reports on homeschooling are much more positive than they were a decade ago.
The role of accounting in the German financial system
- This chapter analyzes the role of financial accounting in the German financial system. It starts from the common perception that German accounting is rather "uninformative". This characterization is appropriate from the perspective of an arm´s length or outside investor and when confined to the financial statements per se. But it is no longer accurate when a broader perspective is adopted. The German accounting system exhibits several arrangements that privately communicate information to insiders, notably the supervisory board. Due to these features, the key financing and contracting parties seem reasonably well informed. The same cannot be said about outside investors relying primarily on public disclosure. A descriptive analysis of the main elements of the Germany system and a survey of extant empirical accounting research generally support these arguments.
Economic impact of the spread of alien species in Germany : research report 20186211
- The European Strategy on Invasive Alien Species T-PWS(2002) 8 mandates intensified research by member nations on invasive species. This research will not be restricted solely to the biology and remediation of invasive species, but will also evaluate their adverse health effects and economic impact. Previous studies of these issues have only been carried out in the Unites States of America, or in a limited, regional manner. Consequently, 20 plant and animal species from various problem areas (species which pose a threat to public health; losses to agriculture, fisheries, and forestry; damage to public roads and waterways; costs associated with the protection of native species threatened by non-native species as mandated by Recommendation 77 of the Bern Convention were assessed in Germany nation-wide. The accruing costs were sorted into 3 categories: a) direct economic losses, such as those caused by destructive pest species; b) ecological costs, in the form of extra care and protection of native taxa, biotopes, or ecosystems threatened by invasive species; c) costs of measures to combat invasive species. Because of the nature of available data, as well as the different biology and ecology of the invasive species, each had to be treated individually, and the associated costs vary greatly from species to species. Moreover, not all of the species investigated cause economic losses. Accordingly, a nuanced approach to alien species is essential. Cost assessment of losses deriving from ecological damage was only possible in a few cases. Ongoing, multi-year studies incorporating cost/benefit analysis will be necessary to resolve remaining issues.
Structural change in the German banking system?
Reinhard H. Schmidt
- This paper starts out by pointing out the challenges and weaknesses which the German banking systems faces according to the prevailing views among national and international observers. These challenges include a generalproblem of profitability and, possibly as its main reason, the strong role of public banks. These concerns raise the questions whether the facts support this assessment of a general profitability problem and whether there are reasons to expect a fundamental or structural transformation of the German banking system. The paper contains four sections. The first one presents the evidence concerning the profitability problem in a comparative, international perspective. The second section presents information about the so-called three-pillar system of German banking. What might be surprising in this context is that the group of pub lic banks is not only the largest segment of the German banking system, but that the primary savings banks also are its financially most successful part. The German banking system is highly fragmented. This fact suggests to discuss past, present and possible future consolidations in the banking system in the third section. The authors provide evidence to the effect that within- group consolidation has been going on at a rapid pace in the public and the cooperative banking groups in recent years and that this development has not yet come to an end, while within-group consolidation among the large private banks, consolidation across group boundaries at a national level and cross-border or international consolidation has so far only happened at a limited scale, and do not appear to gain momentum in the near future. In the last section, the authors develop their explanation for the fact that large-scale and cross border consolidation has so far not materialized to any great extent. Drawing on the concept of complementarity, they argue that it would be difficult to expect these kinds of mergers and acquisitions happening within a financial system which is itself surprisingly stable, or, as one cal also call it, resistant to change.
Corporate governance in Germany : an economic perspective
Reinhard H. Schmidt
- A financial system can only perform its function of channelling funds from savers to investors if it offers sufficient assurance to the providers of the funds that they will reap the rewards which have been promised to them. To the extent that this assurance is not provided by contracts alone, potential financiers will want to monitor and influence managerial decisions. This is why corporate governance is an essential part of any financial system. It is almost obvious that providers of equity have a genuine interest in the functioning of corporate governance. However, corporate governance encompasses more than investor protection. Similar considerations also apply to other stakeholders who invest their resources in a firm and whose expectations of later receiving an appropriate return on their investment also depend on decisions at the level of the individual firm which would be extremely difficult to anticipate and prescribe in a set of complete contingent contracts. Lenders, especially long-term lenders, are one such group of stakeholders who may also want to play a role in corporate governance; employees, especially those with high skill levels and firm-specific knowledge, are another. The German corporate governance system is different from that of the Anglo-Saxon countries because it foresees the possibility, and even the necessity, to integrate lenders and employees in the governance of large corporations. The German corporate governance system is generally regarded as the standard example of an insider-controlled and stakeholder-oriented system. Moreover, only a few years ago it was a consistent system in the sense of being composed of complementary elements which fit together well. The first objective of this paper is to show why and in which respect these characterisations were once appropriate. However, the past decade has seen a wave of developments in the German corporate governance system, which make it worthwhile and indeed necessary to investigate whether German corporate governance has recently changed in a fundamental way. More specifically one can ask which elements and features of German corporate governance have in fact changed, why they have changed and whether those changes which did occur constitute a structural change which would have converted the old insider-controlled system into an outsider-controlled and shareholder-oriented system and/or would have deprived it of its former consistency. It is the second purpose of this paper to answer these questions.