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2017年12月11日 23:30:31|来源:国际在线|编辑:时空诊疗
Bengt Holmstr#246;m and Oliver Hart, two academics who developed modern ways to think about writing contracts in areas as diverse as car insurance, bonuses for chief executives and the provision of public services, have won the 2016 Nobel Prize for economics.本特#8226;霍姆斯特姆(Bengt Holmstr#246;m,图右)和奥利弗#8226;哈特(Oliver Hart,图左)赢得了2016年诺贝尔经济学奖。他们发展了思考如何写合同的现代化方式,这些合同涉及多个领域,包括汽车保险、首席执行官的奖金,以及公共务的提供。Professor Hart, a Briton based at Harvard University, and Professor Holmstr#246;m, a Finn who teaches at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, share the 5,000 award from the Swedish Riksbank in memory of Alfred Nobel, for their contribution to contract theory in the 1970s and 1980s.哈特教授是在哈佛大学(Harvard University)工作的英国人,霍姆斯特姆教授是在麻省理工学院(MIT)执教的芬兰人。他们两人将分享来自瑞典央行(Swedish Riksbank)的92.5万美元奖金,以表彰他们在20世纪70年代和80年代对契约理论作出的贡献。诺贝尔经济学奖是为了纪念阿尔弗雷德#8226;诺贝尔(Alfred Nobel)而设立的。Their work does not prescribe what a good contract is, since that depends on circumstances, but instead helps parties think clearly about important design issues.他们的研究并没有说明一份好的合同应该是什么样的(因为这要视乎具体情况而定),而是帮助当事人想清楚重要的设计问题。Some contracts are straightforward to write. 有些合同写起来直截了当。But in instances where it is difficult to monitor whether people have stuck to their side of a deal or where it is difficult to specify all future eventualities, the work gives practical advice on how to achieve the best outcome for both sides and how to avoid common pitfalls in contract design.但在很难监测人们是否履行他们的义务,或者很难列举所有未来可能事态的情况下,他们的研究给出了实用建议,阐明如何实现对双方都是最好的结果,以及如何避免常见的合同设计陷阱。The theory has been relevant in understanding the design of performance bonuses, why gig economy companies can enforce rigid contracts and why the US justice department has decided to phase out the use of private contractors in the prison service.契约理论有助于理解绩效奖金的设计,为什么零工经济企业可以采用硬性合同,以及美国司法部为什么决定逐步淘汰在监狱系统使用私营部门的承包商。Many contract design elements were aly widesp before being formalised in contract theory. 许多合同设计要素在被契约理论正式纳入之前就已广泛存在。Car insurance contracts, for example, have for decades avoided providing full cover in the event of accidents, forcing drivers to pay a proportion of the costs from a crash. 例如,汽车保险合同几十年来一直避免完全覆盖事故,而是迫使驾车者为碰撞事故付一定比例的代价。Contract theory formalises the common sense that excess payments help prevent careless driving, which insurance companies cannot perfectly monitor.契约理论正式确立了这种常识:自掏腰包的额外费用有助于阻止粗心驾驶,而后者是保险公司无法完美监测的。Similarly, employers have long offered bonuses as well as fixed payments in an attempt to motivate better performance. 同样,雇主早就会提供固定报酬以外的奖金以激励更好的绩效。But the contribution of Prof Holmstr#246;m was to determine that an optimal contract should link payments to outcomes that reveal the performance of either party to a contract.霍姆斯特姆教授的贡献是确定一份最优化的合同应该把报酬与结果(揭示任何一方履行合同的表现)联系起来。Even today, many chief executives are rewarded for the strong performance of their company’s share price, despite wide acknowledgment that this can sometimes be the result of their luck in being in post at a time of rising financial markets. 即使在当今,许多首席执行官们也会因为公司股价表现强劲而获得奖励,尽管人们广泛承认,有时这可能只是由于他们的运气较好,在金融市场上涨期间执掌公司。Prof Holmstr#246;m’s work showed it was much better for shareholders to reward managers based on the relative performance of their company compared with others.霍姆斯特罗姆教授的研究显示,对股东来说更好的做法是根据其公司相比业内同行的相对表现来奖励管理人员。The more difficult it is to observe the effect of an individual’s actions, the less remuneration should be performance-based, according to Prof Holmstr#246;m’s findings. 霍姆斯特姆教授的研究发现,越难观察一个人行动的效果,与绩效挂钩的薪酬比例就应该越低。Where there is significant uncertainty, it is better to pay fixed salaries, modern contract theory now states. 现代契约理论认为,若存在显著不确定性,最好付固定薪酬。But for Uber drivers or couriers, the theory demonstrates why their pay can be based so heavily on performance. 但是,对于优步(Uber)司机或快递员,该理论展示了为什么他们的报酬可以如此大幅度取决于绩效。With the technology underpinning the gig economy enabling employers in the sector to have almost complete information about their workers, those companies can perform more strongly by using heavily performance-based remuneration.撑零工经济的技术使雇主能够几乎完全掌握有关工人的信息,这些企业通过采用在很大程度上基于绩效的薪酬,就可以实现更为强劲的业绩。However, while Uber drivers’ performance might be easy to monitor, this is trickier in occupations where output is more difficult to measure, where people work in teams and where certain incentives may lead to distorted outcomes.然而,尽管优步司机的绩效也许容易监测,但在某些职业(产出更难衡量、人们在团队中工作、某些激励可能导致扭曲结果),要做到这一点就比较棘手。Prof Hart’s contribution to contract theory since the mid 1980s has revolved around how best to write contracts that cover eventualities that cannot be precisely specified in advance. 哈特教授自20世纪80年代中期以来对契约理论作出的贡献,围绕着如何写合同最好,以覆盖不能预先精确列举的各种可能事态。His insight was that where it was futile to try to specify what should happen, it was important to write down who had the right to decide when both parties to a contract could not agree.他的高见是,在试图罗列未来情形徒劳无益的情况下,重要的是写明若合同双方意见不同,哪一方将有权做出决定。This is most useful in financial contracts, such as providing finance to entrepreneurs. 这在财务契约中(比如为创业家提供资金)最为有用。Rather than paying people as employees to innovate, Mr Hart found it was best to allow them to take control as entrepreneurs so they gained most of the profits of their efforts. 哈特教授发现,与其把人才当作雇员,付工资让他们创新,不如让他们成为拥有控制权的创业家,获益于自己努力所取得的大部分利润。The outcome is that entrepreneurs get to control their companies if performance is good but progressively lose control as it worsens.结果是,如果绩效良好,创业家能控制自己的企业,而如果绩效恶化,他们将逐渐失去控制。Some contracts are particularly difficult to specify, such as in the provision of public services. 有些合同特别难写,比如提供公共务的合同。Public providers run by a manager on a fixed salary often have little incentive to improve efficiency or service quality, while private providers often make efforts to cut costs at the expense of quality.公共部门提供商由一名拿固定工资的管理人执掌,往往毫无提高效率或务质量的动力,而私营部门提供商往往以牺牲质量为代价削减成本。For many years the latter was thought to be a better solution than the former, but Prof Hart’s work highlighted difficulties with contracts relating to prison services. 多年来,私营部门提供商被认为是比公共部门提供商更好的解决方案,但哈特教授的研究突显了监狱务合同的困难。His work was instrumental in the US decision to shift prison provision back into the public sector after his findings on such incomplete contracts demonstrated the efficiency incentive was too strong and that jail conditions had as a result deteriorated unacceptably.他对此类不完全合同的研究发现,效率激励太强大了,其结果是监狱条件出现了不可接受的恶化。这些发现对美国政府决定把监狱务转回公共部门起到了重要作用。 /201610/470807

Where the steel industry is involved, especially in rich countries, shuttered plants, job losses and complaints about unfair competition are rarely far away.但凡涉及钢铁行业,尤其是在富裕国家,工厂倒闭、工作岗位流失和对不公平竞争的抱怨几乎从未远去。Having seen global steel prices halve over the past year, European steel-makers are ratcheting up their choruses of complaint. Yesterday they demanded blocks on cheap steel imports, particularly from China, and lower energy input prices.过去一年,全球钢铁价格下跌了一半,欧洲钢铁制造商正一同加大抗议的声音。昨日,它们要求阻止进口廉价的钢铁(尤其是来自中国的钢铁),并降低能源投入的价格。The impact of steel plant closures can be devastating for local communities. The recent closure of the Sahaviriya Steel Industries (SSI) plant at Redcar in north-east England was a severe blow to a town with few other job opportunities. But resorting to wide-scale protectionism is only likely to displace job losses elsewhere. And while there is certainly a case for the EU to revisit the cost of power to energy- intensive industries, it is not clear that would do much to mitigate the damage the steel industry is sustaining.钢铁厂倒闭对当地社区的影响可能是毁灭性的。近来,泰国伟成发钢铁工业(SSI)在英格兰东北部雷德卡(Redcar)的工厂倒闭,对这个几乎没有其他工作机会的小城造成了重创。但诉诸大规模贸易保护主义只有可能将失业转至别处。尽管欧盟的确有理由重新考虑能源密集型产业的能源成本,但目前还不清楚这能否大大减轻钢铁行业正在遭受的损害。Steel has long been a battleground for trade disputes. With high fixed costs of production, and exposed to large swings in demand from the economic cycle, the industry goes through repeated phases of overcapacity, glut and falling prices, with governments implored to intervene to keep production going and preserve jobs.长期以来,钢铁一直是贸易争端的战场。钢铁行业固定生产成本高,经济周期导致的需求大幅波动还容易对它造成冲击,因此这个行业一次次重复经历产能过剩、供过于求、价格下跌的阶段,政府被恳求进行干预,以维持生产并保留工作机会。European steelmakers have frequently had recourse to antidumping and antisubsidy tariffs to tackle low-cost products entering the EU market. A larger-scale use of such “trade defence” measures is likely to do more harm than good. Not only does it risk inflaming EU-China trade tensions more generally, but raising the price of steel in Europe will merely disadvantage other manufacturers.欧洲钢铁制造商时常诉诸反倾销和反补贴关税,以应对进入欧盟市场的低成本产品。更大规模地使用这种“贸易防卫”措施,可能会弊大于利。这不仅有可能在更大范围内激化欧盟和中国紧张的贸易关系,且抬高欧洲钢铁的价格只会对欧洲其他行业的制造商不利。Steelmaking is of great importance to local communities, but it employs only about 1 per cent of the 30m total manufacturing workers in Europe. Since steel is a vital input to large parts of manufacturing, holding prices in the EU above the global level merely sps international uncompetitiveness more widely through the sector. The future for European manufacturing is in high value-added production, such as Germany’s successful machine tools sector, not in churning out basic commodities in a fickle global market.钢铁制造对当地社区十分重要,但这个行业雇佣的劳动者仅占欧洲3000万制造业工人的1%左右。由于钢铁对于更广泛的制造业是一种重要原料,将欧洲钢铁价格维持在高于全球价格的水平,只会让欧洲更多制造业行业在国际上失去竞争力。欧洲制造业的未来在于高附加值制造(比如德国成功的机床业),而不在于在变化无常的全球市场中生产基础大宗商品。The industry, or at least parts of it, is on somewhat firmer ground when it complains about energy costs. Successive iterations of energy taxes and levies aimed at combating climate change have undoubtedly made industrial electricity more expensive. But that is often a bigger problem between different EU states than it is between the EU and the rest of the world.这个行业(或者至少这个行业的一部分)在抱怨能源成本的时候理由更充分一些。为对抗气候变化而不断增收的能源税费无疑使工业用电更加昂贵。但这个问题往往在不同欧盟国家之间(而非欧盟和世界其他地区之间)更为突出。UK producers, for example, complain their electricity is more than 50 per cent more costly than for competitors in France or Germany. But the European Commission last year found that while electricity prices for EU companies as a whole were twice those in the US and 20 per cent higher than in China, the differential with the US disappeared once tax and levy exemptions for European energy-intensive industries were taken into account.比如,英国钢铁制造商抱怨,它们的电力价格比法国或者德国竞争对手高50%以上。但欧盟委员会(European Commission)去年发现,尽管欧盟境内企业的整体电力价格是美国的两倍,也比中国高出20%,但一旦算上欧洲能源密集型工业税费的减免,欧盟和美国之间的差距就不复存在了。Moreover, energy inputs are on average only about 5 per cent of total production costs for the EU iron and steel industry. Electricity prices relative to those elsewhere would have to change spectacularly to have a decisive effect. 此外,能源投入平均只占欧盟钢铁产业总生产成本的约5%。只有用电价格相对于欧盟以外地区出现明显变化,才会有决定性效果。 /201511/409334

China is likely to encounter a peak in births at the end of 2016, one year after the implementation of the country#39;s two-child policy.在距离二孩政策执行一年之后,中国很有可能在今年年底迎来生育高峰。According to Yuan Xin, professor with the Population and Development Institute under Nankai University, many women who currently intend to have a second child are now pregnant.据南开大学人口和发展研究所的袁欣教授表示,目前许多想要生二胎的女性正处于妊娠期。Vice Minister Wang Pei#39;an of the National Health and Family Planning Commission remarked that the situation is generally within expectations.国家卫生和计划生育委员会副主任王培安表示,目前形势总体符合预期。A total of 8.31 million babies were born in the first half of this year, increasing 6.9 percent from the same period last year.今年上半年总共有831万个婴儿出生,同比去年增长6.9%。Of those babies, 44.6 percent were second children, up 6.7 percent from the year before, Wang added.王培安表示,在新生婴儿中44.6%是二胎,比前一年增长了6.7个百分点。With the implementation of the two-child policy, large numbers of eligible families are choosing to have a second baby.随着二孩政策的实施,大量符合资格的家庭正在选择生育二胎。As a result, high-risk pregnancies and a shortage of pediatricians are positioned to become new challenges for the country.因此,高危妊娠、以及儿科医生的缺乏将成为中国面临的新挑战。 /201611/477956

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