Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Asia Foundation Releases New Human Trafficking Research

As demonstrated this week in Washington with the State Department's expected release of the 2006 Trafficking in Persons Report, human trafficking is one of the most urgent human rights problems in Asia. With Cambodia being a known source, destination, and transit country for men, women, and children trafficked for the purposes of sexual exploitation or forced labor, The Asia Foundation released a comprehensive assessment of research on human trafficking in Cambodia titled, The Review of a Decade of Research on Trafficking in Persons, Cambodia.

The Review provides a comprehensive assessment of more than 70 research studies, highlighting what is and what is not known about human trafficking in Cambodia. It analyzes past studies, identifies gaps in information, offers suggestions for future research, and calls upon the counter-trafficking community to work together to create a solid base of knowledge that will inform and strengthen future efforts to counter trafficking in Cambodia. Later this month, a companion e-database, featuring 72 studies analyzed in the review, will launch and allow counter-trafficking stakeholders in Cambodia to share their own research and findings.

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Thursday, May 25, 2006

The Impact of Group Diversity on Performance and Knowledge Spillover -- An Experiment in a College Classroom.

"An important yet under-explored question in the teamwork literature concerns how group characteristics affect productivity. Within a given teamwork setting, it is not obvious how group member diversity affects the performance of the individual and the group. The group may gain from knowledge transfer and sharing while it may be crippled by communication and coordination problems that are prevalent in heterogeneous groups. In this study, we combine class performance data from an undergraduate management class with students’ personal records to explore diversity and knowledge spillover effects. A major advantage of our dataset is the exogenous assignment of groups, which rules out the troublesome yet common self-selection issue in team literature. Our results indicate that male-dominant groups performed worse both in group work and in individually taken exams than female-dominant and equally-mixed gender groups after controlling for other group characteristics. Individual members from a group with more diversity in age and gender scored higher in exams. However, we did not find any significance of a group’s racial composition over group and individual performances. Another novel aspect of this natural experiment is that each group chooses their own group contract form – members of “autonomous” groups receive equal grade for their group work while those in "democratic" groups can adopt differentiated point allocation, thus, providing a proper mechanism to punish free riders. Our estimation results show a significant correlation between the choice of a democratic contract and the group and individual performance. To address the endogeneity problem in groups’ contract choices, we use a maximum likelihood treatment effect model and found that the democratic group contract has a positive and significant effect on group performance." Source : National Bureau of Economic Research

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Division of Labor and the Rise of Cities: Evidence from U.S. Industrialization, 1850-1880.

Industrial revolution in the United States first took hold in rural New England as factories arose and grew in a handful of industries such as textiles and shoes. However, as factory scale economies rose and factory production techniques were adopted by an ever growing number of industries, industrialization became concentrated in cities throughout the Northeastern region which came to be known as the manufacturing belt. While it is extremely difficult to rule out other types of agglomeration economies such as spillovers, this paper suggests that these geographic developments associated with industrial revolution in the U.S. are most consistent with explanations based on division of labor, job search and matching costs. Source : National Bureau of Economic Research

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Are Elite Universities Losing Their Competitive Edge?

We study the location-specific component in research productivity of economics and finance faculty who have ever been affiliated with the top 25 universities in the last three decades. We find that there was a positive effect of being affiliated with an elite university in the 1970s; this effect weakened in the 1980s and disappeared in the 1990s. We decompose this university fixed effect and find that its decline is due to the reduced importance of physical access to productive research colleagues. We also find that salaries increased the most where the estimated externality dropped the most, consistent with the hypothesis that the de-localization of this externality makes it more difficult for universities to appropriate any rent. Our results shed some light on the potential effects of the internet revolution on knowledge-based industries. Source: National Bureau of Economic Research

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An Evaluation of Process Rights Applying the U.N. Standard Minimum Rules for the Administration of Juvenile Justice and U.N. Convention on the Rights

The aim of this study was to analyze and compare process rights of minors applying the Beijing Rules and the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child and Juvenile Justice Law for minors in the (Mexico- U.S.) border state of Sonora. In order to determine what due process rights were enforced during juvenile process, a study was undertaken of the minors subject to process in January 2001. In this study, a checklist was used to determine variables regarding: the type and severity of the crime committed by the juvenile; the number and type of acts charged by the prosecuting attorney; the number of hours that the juvenile was kept under arrest before (s)he was transferred to the jurisdiction of the Council; the process in the Council; the actions of the defense attorney in the tutelary process; the existence of legal, psychological, social, and family foundations determining the initial and final resolutions; and the resolution issued by the Council. Results of this study show that under the State Juvenile Law, minors are not accorded basic procedural safeguards. Secondly, they are not afforded the care or treatment provided for by the parens patriae principle during the process, sentencing, or placement. Investigating, processing, and sentencing minors for offenses committed are all the responsibility of one organ, and any appeal must be filed to this same organ.

Thus minors are denied the essential elements for a fair and just trial. In all the reviewed cases, a defense attorney was named in the initial transcripts, but signatures and promotions were nonexistent in most of the cases. This could mean that the right to counsel was formally satisfied but practically nonexistent. Upon initial contact with the prosecuting attorney, interviews were extracted from the minors without the presence of a parent or guardian. Minors are submitted to process for committing any antisocial behavior even when it is not punishable under the state or federal criminal code.

In brief, these results show that despite the signed agreement with the United Nations, minors’ rights in this Mexican state are not respected in accordance with the U. N. Convention on the Rights of the Child and the Beijing Rules.

Source: Center for U.S.-Mexican Studies. Project on Reforming the Administration of Justice in Mexico. U. C. San Diego

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Neighborhood Organizations, Local Accountability and the Rule of Law in Two Mexican Municipalities

Abstract : "Little is known about the way that residents interact with local government authorities as they express their concerns about public safety and policing, as well as their ideas and demands for responses to these issues. The proposed paper draws from fieldwork in two metropolitan municipalities of the State of Mexico to understand these processes. It focuses in particular on the role of neighborhood associations as the primary intermediaries between residents and the municipality, including its department of public security. The findings from this field research have important implications for all three of the aspects of the rule of law suggested for this project. It touches on the ways in which leaders of neighborhood associations perceive and act on issues of public order within their jurisdictions; it considers the everyday aspects of accountability of local officials to their constituents; and, by comparing conditions and patterns in two sharply contrasting localities (Huixquilucan and Nezahuacoyotl), it encompasses questions of access to justice, both on individual and neighborhood bases." Source : Center for U.S.-Mexican Studies. Project on Reforming the Administration of Justice in Mexico. U. C. San Diego

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Social Unrest in China

"In the past few years, the People's Republic of China (PRC) has experienced rising social unrest, including protests, demonstrations, picketing, and group petitioning. According to PRC official sources, "public order disturbances" have grown by nearly 50% in the past two years, from 58,000 incidents in 2003 to 87,000 in 2005. Although political observers have described social unrest among farmers and workers since the early 1990s, recent protest activities have been broader in scope, larger in average size, greater in frequency, and more brash than those of a decade ago. Fears of greater unrest have triggered debates with the Communist Party leadership about the pace of economic reforms and the proper way to respond to protesters. Workers in state-owned enterprises and the special economic zones producing goods for export, peasants and urban residents who have lost their farmland or homes to development projects, and others have engaged in mass protests, some of them violent, often after having exhausted legal channels for resolving grievances." Source : Congressional Research Service

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The Overstayers

"Nearly half of all the unauthorized migrants now living in the United States entered the country legally through a port of entry such as an airport or a border crossing point where they were subject to inspection by immigration officials, according to new estimates from the Pew Hispanic Center.

As much as 45% of the total unauthorized migrant population entered the country with visas that allowed them to visit or reside in the U.S. for a limited amount of time. Known as "overstayers," these migrants became part of the unauthorized population when they remained in the country after their visas had expired.

Another smaller share of the unauthorized migrant population entered the county legally from Mexico using a Border Crossing Card, a document that allows short visits limited to the border region, and then violated the terms of admission." Source : Pew Hispanic Center

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Gambling: As the Take Rises, So Does Public Concern

"A modest backlash in attitudes towards legalized gambling has taken hold among an American public that spends more money on more forms of legal gambling now than at any time in the nation's history.

Seven-in-ten (70%) Americans say that legalized gambling encourages people to gamble more than they can afford, according to a new Pew Research Center survey. By contrast, 62% expressed that concern in 1989 when the same question was posed in a Gallup survey.

Similarly, 71% of the public today - down from 78% in 1989 - approves of lotteries as a way for states to raise revenue. Public support for other forms of legalized gambling, such as casino, off-track betting on horse racing and pro sports betting, has either been stable or declined since 1989.

These findings come at a time when gambling has become more pervasive in the popular culture, with a record number of casinos operating across the country, with online gambling gaining fast in popularity (albeit from a small base), with several celebrities going public with their gambling problems and exploits, and with poker tournaments having become a new form of television entertainment."
Source: Pew Research Center

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Tuesday, May 23, 2006

National Indian Education Study : A report from NCES

"The National Indian Education Study (NIES) is a two-part study designed to describe the condition of education for American Indian/Alaska Native students in the United States. The study was conducted by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) for the U.S. Department of Education, with the support of the Office of Indian Education (OIE). The study was designed in consultation with a Technical Review Panel whose members include American Indian and Alaska Native educators and researchers from across the country.

Part I of the study presents the performance results of American Indian/Alaska Native students at grades 4 and 8 on the 2005 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) in reading and mathematics. Part II, the survey portion of the report, presents findings on the educational experiences of American Indian/Alaska Native students, based on responses to a combination of student, teacher, and school questionnaires. The questionnaires used in the Part II survey are not linked to the NAEP student performance results. Part II will be released on this website in the summer of 2006. To read all of the study results, download a copy of the report." Source : National Center for Education Statistics

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Friday, May 19, 2006

The State of American Public Opinion on Immigration in Spring 2006: A Review of Major Surveys

"This fact sheet reviews findings on attitudes towards immigration and immigration policy options from a variety of major surveys of the American public taken this spring by several different media and research organizations. Looking at this body of data as a whole indicates that the American public has generally consistent views. The polls do not suggest major shifts in public opinion over the spring as a result of either the immigrant marches or the policy debate with one important exception: The share of Americans who see immigration as a major problem has been increasing rapidly, and the growing concern is especially notable among Republicans." Source: Pew Hispanic Center.

Download Fact Sheet: The State of American Public Opinion on Immigration in Spring 2006: A Review of Major Surveys

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Jumping into the Political Fray: Academics and Policy-Making

"Daniel Cohn examines the role academics can play in the policy-making process. Through an examination of the impact academics have had on areas such as environmental, social and economic policy Cohn reaches several conclusions: He argues that academics have substantial opportunities to influence public policy but that this influence is usually indirect, and it is achieved by convincing those with power to advocate for and/or act on their ideas. He then examines how such opportunities arise and can be generated by academics. Finally the study looks at the ways in which state actors can best make use of scholarly advice." Source: Canadian Institute for Research on Public Policy

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Cost Estimate for S. 2611, Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of 2006

"The Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of 2006 would amend laws governing immigration, authorize numerous initiatives to improve enforcement of those laws, and increase the limits on legal immigration. Implementing those changes would increase both direct spending (i.e., mandatory spending) and discretionary spending (i.e., spending subject to annual appropriation action). S. 2611 also would affect federal revenues, directly through enactment of the bill's provisions, by increasing the size of the labor force, and through other effects of the legislation on the U.S. economy." Source: Congressional Budget Office

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Government Access to Phone Calling Activity and Related Records

"Recent media disclosures regarding an alleged National Security Agency (NSA) program designed to collect and analyze information on telephone calling patterns within the United States have raised interest in the means by which the Government may collect such information. The factual information available in the public domain with respect to any such alleged program is limited and in some instances inconsistent, and the application, if at all, of any possibly relevant statutory provisions to any such program is likely to be a very fact specific inquiry. It is possible that any information provided to the NSA from the telephone service providers was provided in response to a request for information, not founded on a statutory basis. If this were the case, such a request would not necessarily be limited by the statutory structures discussed below, but in some instances, depending upon the facts involved, might expose the telephone companies to some civil remedies or criminal sanctions. In addition, a request, not founded upon a statutory scheme, would appear to lack a means of compelling production of the information requested. This would seem to be consistent with the statement in the USA Today article that one of the companies refused to comply with NSA’s request for calling detail records, while at least one other company appears to have complied. This report will summarize statutory authorities regarding access by the Government, for either foreign intelligence or law enforcement purposes, to information related to telephone calling patterns or practices. Where pertinent, we will also discuss statutory prohibitions against accessing or disclosing such information, along with relevant exceptions to those prohibitions. Source: Congressional Research Service

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The State of the World's Refugees 2006

"The State of the World's Refugees: Human Displacement in the New Millennium presents the challenges to refugee protection and assesses the response of the international community. The fifth edition in the series, it provides an overview of key developments related to forced displacement from 2001 to September 2005. The period covers the tenure of Ruud Lubbers as UN High Commissioner for Refugees and the start of António Guterres' term. Produced by UNHCR with input from other international organizations, NGOs, academics and independent experts, the book is divided into eight chapters, each focusing on a particular theme. Besides the main text, boxes in each chapter highlight specific issues." Source: United Nations

Report is available for download in individual chapters

Link to Table of Contents

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

New Digest of Education Statistics Available

"The primary purpose of the Digest of Education Statistics is to provide a compilation of statistical information covering the broad field of American education from prekindergarten through graduate school. The Digest includes a selection of data from many sources, both government and private, and draws especially on the results of surveys and activities carried out by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). To qualify for inclusion in the Digest, material must be nationwide in scope and of current interest and value. The publication contains information on a variety of subjects in the field of education statistics, including the number of schools and colleges, teachers, enrollments, and graduates, in addition to educational attainment, finances, federal funds for education, libraries, and international education. Supplemental information on population trends, attitudes on education, education characteristics of the labor force, government finances, and economic trends provides background for evaluating education data." Source : National Center for Education Statistics

Link to tables

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Corresponding Lives: Women Educators of the Alliance Israélite Universelle School for Girls in the City of Tunis, 1882-1914

The multiple roles of women educators as cross-cultural intermediaries in the realm of language, literacy, dress, employment, and social action are examined in the hybrid Muslim-Jewish culture of Tunisia. Educated in Paris, the women served as catalysts of change at the Alliance Israélite Universelle (AIU) School for Girls in Tunis for the students, parents, and the community. Sources are based on the correspondence of the women educators, supplemented by that of their male colleagues at the School for Boys. The pioneering initiatives of the women in education, apprenticeships, health, and post-graduate voluntary associations, were closely followed by the Director of Public Education for the schools of the French Protectorate and by the French patroness of the first Muslim School for Girls in Tunis. The model of female secular education advocated by the Alliance, with its emphasis on academic skills and productivity, set important precedents for similar ventures by other religious and ethnic communities.

Discussion of female educators and the education of females in the AIU School for Girls is intertwined with the themes of the “civilizing mission,” the educator-mother, and colonialism in an emerging modernity. Parallels are drawn to the education of girls in Muslim Tunisia, France, or other regions, as appropriate. Evidence has revealed that the work of the women educators extended beyond the classroom to the local community. The goal of the teachers was to form a new role for women in the private realm of the household and the public place of employment. The Middle East and North Africa continue to be confronted by these issues today, as first recognized by the women educators of the Alliance more than a century ago. Source: G E von Grunebaum Center for Near Eastern Studies, University of California

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Rural Latino families in California are missing earned income tax benefits

Abstract: "When properly accessed, the federal Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) can boost a family’s yearly income by more than $4,000. A study in Kern and Madera counties indicated that many, perhaps most, qualified low-income Latino families living in rural California communities may not be receiving the EITC. About 80% to 86% of eligible households nationwide receive the EITC, compared with about 36% of eligible California families in the study. The primary reason appears to be lack of accurate information and limited access to tax-preparation assistance. UC Cooperative Extension advisors and staff are well situated to provide information about the EITC." Source: California Agriculture (University of California)

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Public Worried about Iran but Wary of Military Action

"Most Americans believe that Iran wants to possess nuclear technology in order to develop nuclear weapons, not energy. But there is broad public opposition to launching U.S. air strikes against military targets in Iran, with multilateral sanctions by far the preferred option approach for dealing with the situation." Source: Pew Research Center

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| Link to online summary

Boomers' Financial Help to Parents

Nearly three-in-ten baby boom generation members with a living parent say they provided financial assistance to a parent in the past year. But the flows go both ways: 19% report that they received financial help from a parent. Thanks to advances in life expectancy, 71% of today's boomers have at least one living parent, a Pew Research Center survey found. Source: Pew Research Center

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Increasingly, Americans Prefer Going to the Movies at Home

"The start of the summer blockbuster movie season has Hollywood hoping for the usual stampede to the theaters, but now more than ever, the place that most Americans would rather watch movies is under their own roof.

Three-quarters of all adults say they would prefer watching movies at home rather than in a theater, according to a Pew Research Center survey, up from 67% in 1994.

The survey finds that more than seven-in-ten adults (71%) watch at least one movie a week, but the great bulk of this viewing occurs at home rather than in a theater.

While the most popular way to watch movies at home is on broadcast, cable or satellite television programming, fully half of the public says that at least once a week they a watch a movie on a DVD or by pay-per-view."

Source: Pew Research Center

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Bush immigration reform address [White House]

Address to the Nation on Immigration Reform, President George W. Bush, May 15, 2006 [announcing the deployment of up to 6000 National Guard troops to the Mexican border as a prime element in a wide-ranging plan to 'fix' problems created by illegal immigration].

Link to full text. Site includes link to video, and other government immigration resources.

Health Savings Accounts: Some Current Policy Issues

President Bush is urging Congress to expand the availability and attractiveness of health savings accounts (HSAs). Among other things, his FY2007 budget proposes (1) new tax deductions and refundable income tax credits for purchasing individual insurance policies that allow one to have an HSA, (2) increases in allowable HSA contributions, (3) a refundable income tax credit for contributions not made by employers, and (4) permission for employers to make larger contributions on behalf of employees and family members who are critically ill. The Administration argues that the proposed changes, which would have a 10-year revenue cost of $156 billion, would slow rising health care costs by enabling additional consumers to play a more direct role in their health care decisions. In considering the proposals, Congress might review three important issues in light of recent developments and the likelihood, given the initial market response, that HSAs are here to stay. One is the tax treatment of contributions, which now favors higher income individuals and families. A second is the purpose of health care savings, for which it appears there are multiple and sometimes competing objectives. Finally, there is the question whether HSA policies should favor or be neutral towards employmentbased and individual market insurance. This report may be updated to reflect further analysis and debate. Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) are one way that people can pay for their unreimbursed medical expenses (deductibles, copayments, and services not covered by insurance) on a tax-advantaged basis. The basic rules for 2006 are straight-forward, though some aspects are complex. Source: Congressional Research Service [via OpenCRS]

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Friday, May 12, 2006

Business Behaving Badly : The impact of corporate courtesy on business success

"Many organisations already understand the importance of corporate courtesy, of clear standards of behaviour in how we treat clients and customers, suppliers and colleagues. But our research indicates that others are letting go of the courtesies that make our working lives pleasant: punctuality reliability, support, clear communication, discreet advice in preference to a public dressing-down. Rude companies inevitably experience poor engagement and motivation, high stress levels and absenteeism, so discourtesy is costly to the organisations that fail to contain it. For those yet to be persuaded of their moral duty to contribute to a civilised society, this may prove the most powerful argument. Source: CHA Corporate Communications Survey

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Bridging the Gender Gap: Opportunities and Challenges

"A new World Bank report finds concern about family honor is a major factor behind why many parents don't send their girls to school – particularly in rural areas where villages may have no school facilities and the girls would be forced to travel outside of their communities. The Bank's Country Gender Assessment (CGA) on Pakistan finds overall concern about security and reputation is restricting women's movement outside the home in Pakistan – and limiting their access not only to education, but also to medical care, opportunities for paid work, voting and other forms of political and community participation. The net primary enrollment rate for girls is only about 42 to 45 percent, and among rural women that participate in the workforce – 60 percent are in unpaid work." Source : World Bank

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Financial Access for Immigrants: Lessons from Diverse Perspectives

"Financial access—knowing what one's financial options are and having products and services to choose from—is closely linked to economic prosperity. The success of today's immigrants—who come to the United States largely seeking to improve their own prospects for prosperity—depends on their access to mainstream financial institutions that can help them save money, buy homes, access credit, start businesses, and otherwise build wealth. As immigrant settlement has become a widespread phenomenon across the United States, more communities are concerned with the prospects for their full social and economic integration. Strategies that help immigrants participate fully in the financial mainstream benefit not just immigrants, but all residents of the communities where they live. This monograph presents new research on the financial practices of immigrants, and describes both industry approaches to reaching the immigrant market and community innovations in moving immigrants into the financial mainstream." Source: Brookings Institution, Metropolitan Policy Program

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Berkeley and Stanford iTunes

Download talks, lectures, and classes from U.C. Berkeley and Stanford through iTunes. Berkeley's selections cover various subjects including Journalism, Politics & Public Policy, and Global Affairs. Stanford's itunes U has many interviews, speeches, performances and discussions from around the campus. Many former fellows can be heard in downloads from both universities and current fellow Sepp Gumbrecht can be heard in Stanford's Aurora Forum "True colors" download.

iTunes Berkeley
iTunes Stanford

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Do High School Exit Exams Influence Educational Attainment or Labor Market Performance?.

State requirements that high school graduates pass exit exams were the leading edge of the movement towards standards-based reform and continue to be adopted and refined by states today. In this study, we present new empirical evidence on how exit exams influenced educational attainment and labor market experiences using data from the 2000 Census and the National Center for Education Statistics' Common Core of Data (CCD). Our results suggest that the effects of these reforms have been heterogeneous. For example, our analysis of the Census data suggests that exit exams significantly reduced the probability of completing high school, particularly for black students. Similarly, our analysis of grade-level dropout data from the CCD indicates that Minnesota's recent exit exam increased the dropout rate in urban and high-poverty school districts as well as in those with a relatively large concentration of minority students. This increased risk of dropping out was concentrated among 12th grade students. However, we also found that Minnesota's exit exam lowered the dropout rate in low-poverty and suburban school districts, particularly among students in the 10th and 11th grades. These results suggest that exit exams have the capacity to improve student and school performance but also appear to have exacerbated the inequality in educational attainment. Source: National Bureau of Economic Research

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NHES Early Childhood Program Participation Survey

Abstract: This report presents selected data on the nonparental care arrangements and educational programs of preschool children, consisting of care by relatives, care by persons to whom they were not related, and participation in day care centers and preschool programs including Head Start or Early Head Start. It focuses on children under age 6 who have not yet entered kindergarten. For example, the report shows that 60 percent of such children were in some type of nonparental care arrangement on a weekly basis in 2005. The data are drawn from the Early Childhood Program Participation Survey (ECPP) of the 2005 National Household Education Surveys Program (NHES:2005). Source: National Bureau of Education Statistics

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Are Levels of Democracy Influenced by Mass Attitudes? Testing a Central Premise of the Political Culture Approach

Abstract: "Most research on political culture is driven by the assumption that mass attitudes impact on democracy. Despite the centrality of this premise, evidence showing that attitudes affect the level of democracy a society attains and sustains is rare and inconclusive in major points. This article presents the most comprehensive such evidence to date, testing attitudinal variables from three main schools in the political culture literature, as predictors of six different measures of democracy, using data from almost 70 societies. The results are remarkably consistent. Regardless of which measure of democracy is used, emancipative attitudes outperform other types of attitudes, giving the best predictions of later measures of democracy. This finding holds controlling for the impact of structural societal factors, such as economic development, world market integration, ethnic fractionalization, and prior democracy. Further specifications of the causal mechanism show that emancipative attitudes help both to attain and to sustain high levels of democracy. I conclude that a pro-democratic political culture is most firmly rooted in emancipative attitudes." Author: Christian Welzel Source: Center for the Study of Democracy. World Values Survey Research Papers. U.C. Irvine

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Wednesday, May 10, 2006

The Effects of Health on Health Insurance Status in Fragile Families

"We use data from the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing study to estimate the effects of poor infant health, pre-pregnancy health conditions of the mother, and the father's health status on health insurance status of urban, mostly unmarried, mothers and their one-year-old children. Virtually all births were covered by health insurance, but one year later about one third of mothers and over 10 percent of children were uninsured. We separately examine births that were covered by public insurance and those that were covered by private insurance. The child's health status had no effect, for the most part, on whether the mother or child became uninsured. For publicly insured births, a maternal physical health condition made it less likely that both the mother and child became uninsured, while maternal mental illness made it more likely that both the mother and child lost insurance coverage. For privately insured births, the father's suboptimal physical health made it more likely that the mother, but not the child, became uninsured." Source: National Bureau of Economic Research

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Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Essays on Indian Economic Policy and Institutional Reform

Abstract: "These essays first appeared as columns in the Financial Express, one of India’s leading financial dailies. Together, they provide what I hope is an integrated perspective on where Indian policy and institutional reform is going, and what remains to be accomplished. Each piece is self-contained, but several themes of institutional reform, especially of governance, run through them. Many of the issues raised are long run problems that transcend the specific time at which the pieces may have been written. These articles also draw on academic empirical and theoretical research wherever possible. Thus, I hope these essays together have some lasting value."

Author: Nirvikar Singh, University of California, Santa Cruz
Center for Global, International and Regional Studies

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Monday, May 08, 2006

How London has changed in the past 108 years - and how it hasn't

"In many ways, London has changed dramatically in the past century. It has sprawled far beyond its 1898 boundaries. The network of underground transport has expanded, and cars have appeared. The city has been bombed in two world wars. The middle classes fled, then returned. Yet when Booth's maps are updated using data from the last census, the changes are less striking than what has stayed the same. Not only do the broad patterns found in the 19th century hold—the East End is still poor, the West End still rich—but so do many local ones." Source: The Economist

Link to online article | link to survey methodology

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Once Again, the Future Ain't What It Used to Be

"The idea that each generation of children will grow up to be better off than the one that preceded it has always been a part of the American dream. But barely a third of adults expect things to work out that way for today s children, according to a new Pew Research Center survey.

About hald of adults (50%) say that today's children will grow up to be worse of than people are now. A third (34%) say they'll be better off and most of the rest say they aren't sure.

The only major racial or ethnic group which doesn't buy into this pessimistic view of the next generation's future is one that has been much in the news lately - Hispanics."

Source: Pew Research Center

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Tax-Exempt Organizations: Political Activity Restrictions and Disclosure

"Recently, significant attention has been paid to the political activities of tax exempt organizations. In particular, the activities of IRC § 501(c)(3) charitable organizations, § 501(c)(4) social welfare organizations, § 501(c)(5) labor unions, § 501(c)(6) trade associations, and § 527 political organizations have been scrutinized. This report discusses the limitations that the Internal Revenue Code places on political activity, including lobbying and campaign intervention, by tax exempt organizations. It focuses on the above organizations, but also discusses the restrictions on the other types of tax-exempt organizations. The report ends with a summary of the information that tax-exempt organizations must report to the Internal Revenue Service about their political activities and whether the information must be made publicly available." Source: Congressional Research Service

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Public Preschool and Maternal Labor Supply: Evidence from the Introduction of Kindergartens into American Public Schools.

Abstract: Beginning in the mid-1960s, many state governments, particularly in the South and West, began to subsidize kindergartens for the first time. These initiatives generated wide variation across states over time in the supply of seats for five year olds in public schools. This paper uses the staggered timing and age-targeting of these preschool expansions to examine how the provision of universal child care through public schools affects maternal labor supply. I find that single women with five year olds but no younger children were more likely to be employed once kindergartens were available. The estimated effect is large, implying that three mothers entered the labor force for every ten children enrolled in public school. By contrast, I detect no significant labor supply response among other single women with eligible children or among married mothers of five year olds. These findings complement other research suggesting that preschools targeted toward at-risk populations, such as children in single-parent families, are more cost effective than universal programs. Source: National Bureau of Economic Research

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The Diffusion of the Internet and the Geography of the Digital Divide in the United States.

Abstract: "This paper analyses the rapid diffusion of the Internet across the United States over the past decade for both households and firms. We put the Internet's diffusion into the context of economic diffusion theory where we consider costs and benefits on the demand and supply side. We also discuss several pictures of the Internet's physical presence using some of the current main techniques for Internet measurement. We highlight different economic perspectives and explanations for the digital divide, that is, unequal availability and use of the Internet." Source: National Bureau of Economic Research

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Federal Research Public Access Act of 2006

From the FAQ (pdf):"This bill requires that federal agencies with extramural research expenditures of over $100 million make publicly available via the Internet an electronic version of published articles whose research has been funded by that agency. The manuscript will be maintained and preserved in a digital archive. Through this process, taxpayer funded research will be publicly available via the Internet." Source: U.S. Senator Cornyn [via Online Insider]

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A Comparable Wage Approach to Geographic Cost Adjustment

"In this report, NCES extends the analysis of comparable wages to the labor market level using a Comparable Wage Index (CWI). The basic premise of a CWI is that all types of workers—including teachers—demand higher wages in areas with a higher cost of living (e.g., San Diego) or a lack of amenities (e.g., Detroit, which has a particularly high crime rate) (Federal Bureau of Investigation 2003). This report develops a CWI by combining baseline estimates from the 2000 U.S. census with annual data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Combining the Census with the OES makes it possible to have yearly CWI estimates for states and local labor markets for each year after 1997. OES data are available each May and permit the construction of an up-to-date, annual CWI. The CWI methodology offers many advantages over the previous NCES geographic cost adjustment methodologies, including relative simplicity, timeliness, and intrastate variations in labor costs that are undeniably outside of school district control. However, the CWI is not designed to detect cost variations within labor markets. Thus, all the school districts in the Washington, DC metro area would have the same CWI cost index. Furthermore, as with other geographic cost indices, the CWI methodology does not address possible differences in the level of wages between college graduates outside the education sector and education sector employees. Nor does the report explore the use of these geographic cost adjustments as inflation adjustments (deflators.) These could be areas for fruitful new research on cost adjustments by NCES." Source: National Center for Education Statistics

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Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Immigration Statistics on the Web

"As immigration legislation is considered by Congress, the need for accurate information relating to immigration and immigrants has increased. This report identifies selected websites that provide general and statistical information on immigration topics. Selected government and organizational website addresses are included. As with all statistics, it is important to note the source and methodology when consulting immigration statistics, taking into account any organizational bias. This report will be updated periodically as new information becomes available and to ensure the currency of the Web addresses." Source: Congressional Research Service.

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Finding Answers Online in Sickness and in Health

"Recent research from the Pew Internet & American Life Project shows that, as more Americans come online, more rely on the internet for important health information. Many Americans are deepening their connections to the internet, whether for entertainment or to help a loved one through a crisis. And though the audience for the latest DVD may be larger than the audience for clinical trial information, the impact on someone’s life in the latter case may be dramatically different in scale. Fully 58% of those who found the internet to be crucial or important during a loved one’s recent health crisis say the single most important source of information was something they found online." Source: Pew Internet and American Life Project

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Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Trafficking In Persons: Global Patterns

The report on "Trafficking In Persons: Global Patterns," published on Monday, April 22, 2006 identifies 127 countries of origin, 98 transit countries and 137 destination countries. It shows that global efforts to combat trafficking are being hampered by a lack of accurate data, reflecting the unwillingness of some countries to acknowledge that the problem affects them.

"It is extremely difficult to establish how many victims there are world-wide as the level of reporting varies considerably, but the number certainly runs into millions," said UNODC Executive Director Antonio Maria Costa. "It is difficult to name a country that is not affected in some way."

The absence of reliable global data, such as UNODC compiles every year on the illegal drugs trade, makes it more difficult for governments and international organizations to fight trafficking effectively.

"Our experience in compiling this report has been that some countries of destination have great difficulty in acknowledging the level of trafficking within and across their borders," Mr Costa said.

"Efforts to counter trafficking have so far been uncoordinated and inefficient. The lack of systematic reporting by authorities is a real problem. Governments need to try harder."

Source: United Nations

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Uniting against terrorism: recommendations for a global counter-terrorism strategy

Report from United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan on recommendations for a global counter-terrorism strategy.

"These recommendations stem from a fundamental conviction which we all share: that terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, committed by whomever, wherever and for whatever purposes, is unacceptable and can never be justified."

"I promote a comprehensive global strategy against terrorism, one that would strengthen the ability of responsible States to counter terrorism and promote the rule of law, all while protecting human rights." Source: United Nations

Link to Uniting against terrorism website

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