Friday, June 30, 2006

The Effect of Female Education on Fertility and Infant Health: Evidence from School Entry Policies Using Exact Date of Birth.

"This paper uses age-at-school-entry policies to identify the effect of female education on fertility and infant health. We focus on sharp contrasts in schooling, fertility, and infant health between women born just before and after the school entry date. School entry policies affect female education and the quality of a woman’s mate and have generally small, but possibly heterogeneous, effects on fertility and infant health. We argue that school entry policies manipulate primarily the education of young women at risk of dropping out of school." Source: National Bureau of Economic Research

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New Evidence on Gender Difference in Promotion Rates: An Empirical Analysis of a Sample of New Hires.

Using a large sample of establishments drawn from the Multi-City Study of Urban Inequality (MCSUI) employer survey, we study gender differences in promotion rates and in the wage gains attached to promotions. Several unique features of our data distinguish our analysis from the previous literature on this topic. First, we have information on the wage increases attached to promotions, and relatively few studies on gender differences have considered promotions and wage increases together. Second, our data include job-specific worker performance ratings, allowing us to control for performance and ability more precisely than through commonly-used skill indicators such as educational attainment or tenure. Third, in addition to standard information on occupation and industry, we have data on a number of other firm characteristics, enabling us to control for these variables while still relying on a broad, representative sample, as opposed to a single firm or a similarly narrowly-defined population. Our results indicate that women have lower probabilities of promotion and expected promotion than do men but that there is essentially no gender difference in wage growth with or without promotions. Source : National Bureau of Economic Research

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Full text of UN torture treaty protocol [UN]

Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, UN General Assembly, June 22, 2006 [protocol strengthening provisions for international visitation of prisoners in detention]. Source: United Nations [via The Jurist]

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Reflections on Compassion & Social Healing: An Interview with Judith Thompson

"Judith Thompson has been engaged in projects promoting social healing for over twenty years, working primarily with survivors of war and political violence. As part of her doctoral research for the Union Institute, she recently convened a three day dialogue hosted by the BRC which brought together 25 people from all over the world to explore the question, 'How does compassion arise in the process of social healing?'" Source: Boston Research Center [thanks Mark Brady]

Link to online transcript

Transcript: Imperialism, Anti-Americanism and Anti-Semitism

In his new book, Überpower: The Imperial Temptation of America, Josef Joffe offers an analysis of the danger and burden of America's standing as a singular global power. He also investigates similarities between classical anti-Semitism and the recent rise of anti-Americanism throughout the world. Joffe was interviewed following an event on Capitol Hill co-sponsored by the Pew Forum and the Council on Foreign Relations.

Josef Joffe, Marc and Anita Abramowitz Fellow in International Relations, Hoover Institution; Publisher-Editor, Die Zeit

Mark O'Keefe, Associate Director, Editorial, Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life

Link to online transcript

Democrats More Eager to Vote, But Unhappy with Party

"With less than five months to go before Election Day, Democrats hold two distinct advantages in the midterm campaign that they have not enjoyed for some time. First, Americans continue to say they favor the Democratic candidate in their district, by a 51% to 39% margin. Second, the level of enthusiasm about voting among Democrats is unusually high, and is atypically low among Republicans. In fact, Democrats now hold a voter enthusiasm advantage that is the mirror image of the GOP's edge in voter zeal leading up to the 1994 midterm election." Source: Pew Research Center

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Also available: Summary | Detailed Demographic Tables (PDF) | Topline Questionnaire (PDF)

What is Indonesian Islam?

"This paper is a preliminary essay thinking about the concept of an Indonesian Islam. After considering the impact of the ideas of Geertz and Benda in shaping the current contours of what is assumed to fit within this category, and how their notions were built on the principle that the region was far more multivocal in the past than the present, it turns to consider whether, prior to the existance of Indonesia, there was ever such a notion as Jawi Islam and questions what modern Indonesians make of their own Islamic history and its impact on the making of their religious subjectivities." Source: UCLA Center for Southeast Asian Studies. CSEAS Occasional Papers

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Getting the Offer: Sex Discrimation in Hiring

"The hiring process is currently the least understood aspect of the employment relationship. It may be the most important for understanding the broad processes of stratifications with allocation of demographic groups to jobs and firms. The lack of knowledge is due to difficulty of assembling data on the processes that occur at the point of hire. Against this background we analyze data on all applicants to positions in one of the largest Scandinavian banks in 1997-1998, providing what we believe to be the first study using applicant pool data and information about the extended offers in a private-sector European firm, adding to the record about half a dozen such U.S. studies. The hiring agents in the organizations are fully conscious and concerned about the nonconscious biases and gender schemas they carry when making hiring decisions. Their effects on hiring are considered to be beyond dispute: Women are at a clear disadvantage. For actual hiring practices we found that the opposite is true: Women are not a disadvantage and may even be at an advantage in getting offers. Two organizational practices may lead to female advantage. The hiring agents had been educated about the role of nonconscious biases, which perhaps mitigated their effects. But they had also been instructed to search actively for qualified females in the applicant pool. With no qualified females in the first pass, they go through the pool a second and third time hoping to find one. We discuss reasons why the interpretations and meanings the hiring agents attribute to the hiring process are at odds with what actually occurs." Source: Institute of Industrial Relations. Institute of Industrial Relations Working Paper Series. U.C. Berkeley

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United Nations Peacekeeping: Issues for Congress

"A major issue facing the United Nations, the United States, and Congress concerning United Nations peacekeeping is the extent to which the United Nations has the capacity to restore or keep the peace in the changing world environment. Associated with this issue is the expressed need for a reliable source of funding and other resources for peacekeeping and improved efficiencies of operation. For the United States, major congressional considerations on U.N. peacekeeping stem from executive branch commitments made in the U.N. Security Council. The concern with these commitments, made through votes in the Council, is the extent to which they bind the United States, both militarily and financially, to fund and to participate in some way in an operation." Source: Congressional Research Service.

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Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Social Isolation in America

Abstract : Have the core discussion networks of Americans changed in the past two decades? In 1985, the General Social Survey (GSS) collected the first nationally representative data on the confidants with whom Americans discuss important matters. In the 2004 GSS the authors replicated those questions to assess social change in core network structures. Discussion networks are smaller in 2004 than in 1985. The number of people saying there is no one with whom they discuss important matters nearly tripled. The mean network size decreases by about a third (one confidant), from 2.94 in 1985 to 2.08 in 2004. The modal respondent now reports having no confidant; the modal respondent in 1985 had three confidants. Both kin and non-kin confidants were lost in the past two decades, but the greater decrease of non-kin ties leads to more confidant networks centered on spouses and parents, with fewer contacts through voluntary associations and neighborhoods. Most people have densely interconnected confidants similar to them. Some changes reflect the changing demographics of the U.S. population. Educational heterogeneity of social ties has decreased, racial heterogeneity has increased. The data may overestimate the number of social isolates, but these shrinking networks reflect an important social change in America. Source: American Sociological Review [via Crooked Timber]

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Friday, June 23, 2006

Dictatorship or Reform? The Rule of Law in Russia

“The Foreign Policy Centre launched the publication of ‘Dictatorship or Reform? the Rule of Law in Russia’, a collection of essays by international experts in the field, including Alena Ledeneva and Mary McAuley. Rule of law is a cornerstone of democracy and essential to a well-functioning market economy that protects individual human rights. Yet it is ironic that in the six years since he pledged to uphold democracy in Russia as a ‘dictatorship of the law’, President Putin has increased the role of the federal security service in governing Russia and arbitrarily wielded the power of state institutions such as the courts, the tax inspectors, and the police for political ends." Source: Foreign Policy Centre (UK)

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The Great Divide : How Westerners and Muslims View Each Other

"There is a considerable divide between people in the West and those in predominantly Muslim countries. Many in the West see Muslims as fanatical, violent, and as lacking tolerance. Meanwhile, Muslims in the Middle East and Asia generally see Westerners as selfish, immoral and greedy - as well as violent and fanatical.

The latest survey by the Pew Global Attitudes Project, conducted among roughly 14,000 people in 13 nations, finds that publics of predominantly Muslim nations have an aggrieved view of the West - they are much more likely than Americans or Western Europeans to blame Western policies for their own lack of prosperity. Generally, Muslim publics feel much more embittered toward people in the West than vice versa." Source: Pew Research Center

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Empathy and Emotions: Do Women Judge Better?

"The legal profession was one of the traditionally male dominated professions: Women gained access very late, only about a hundred years ago. Male gatekeepers watched the doors to the profession jealously. One of the arguments used to keep women out had been that women were - due to their female character, implying emotionality and (resulting from it: moodiness) unable to judge objectively, particularly over men. Initially women made slow, from the 70ies onward steady progress in the profession. Meanwhile in most Western countries half or even more of law students are female and the participation in all fields of legal occupation is rising constantly. In Germany 30% of the judiciary are female, in other countries like France and Italy considerably more. The question is whether this growing participation of women has changed judicial decision making according to the historical assumptions? Do women indeed judge differently or do they even judge better? This latter conclusion would be in line with positions of gender difference cherished by parts of the second women´s movement especially in the eighties. On the other hand it has to be taken into account that obviously no open complaints on women judges and their professional competence have been reported. In my paper I will look deeper into theoretical assumptions of gender difference and compare them to empirical results presented in contributions to a big international comparative project on women in the legal profession and what I found in my own ongoing research. One intriguing outcome is that the perception of women law professionals and their abilities is still influenced by gender prejudice and that this may in a more unexpected and not openly visible way influence judgments and lead to unbalanced results." NOTE: Document in German. Source: Social Science Research Network.

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National Women's Health Report: Women & HIV

"Women & HIV," spotlights the growing prevalence of HIV in women in the United States and the unique burden the disease presents for women. No longer can HIV be ignored as a major women's health issue—especially for African-American and Hispanic women. Here, you'll learn how HIV affects women differently than men; that women are at greater risk for HIV; which major study is now looking specifically at HIV in women; what HIV-infected women can expect during pregnancy..." Source: National Women's Health Resource Center

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Beyond the Ivory Tower: What Do Sociologists Do in Applied and Research Settings?

"The survey examines the skills, graduate school training, productivity, and career satisfaction of sociologists employed outside the professorate."

Source: American Sociological Association, the Rural Sociological Society, and the newly-merged Society for Applied Sociology and Sociological Practice Association.

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The Relativity of Judgment as a Challenge for Behavioral Law and Economics

From the introduction: "The impact of the law and economics movement on legal scholarship and legal policy analysis has been astonishing. Yale Law Professor Bruce Ackerman has referred to it as the most important development in legal scholarship of the twentieth century. But while economic theory and research was making inroads into legal scholarship, psychological theory and research was making inroads into economics. Psychologists working in the judgment and decision making (JDM) tradition have has challenged two core aspects of the rational choice model its assumptions about human rationality and human motivation. Psychologists have conclusively demonstrated persuasively that human cognition routinely operates via processes that systematically violate the axiomatic assumptions of rational choice theory. Less conclusively, psychologists have argued that human motivation is more volatile and more complex than can be captured in a simple self-interested utility function." Source: JSP/Center for the Study of Law and Society Faculty Working Papers. Paper 42.

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Europe and United States, 1944-2006: Two Destinies in an Uncertain World

An Atlantic partnership is acceptable if the European cultural, linguistic, social and economic diversities are preserved. And yet, Europe feels a threat through the now Globalisation which is so often seen as a form or aspect of Americanisation. The European Union is weak but not drifting away. If the Union do wants to behave as “a global power in the Economic, Social, Environmental governance of the world” (Josaiane Tercinet), it must talk as a united power. This short overview of the period 1945-2006, made by an historian who is aware of the long term influence, shows that it is European integration that has recreated the conditions of the European renewal. Of course, Atlantic economic integration represents a mighty trend ever since 1944. But the Atlantic economic and financial interactions do not necessarily create the political unity of action between the two sides of the Atlantic ocean. It seems that trouble between the two banks of Atlantic is rising because the political, even mental, position of now US leaders and not because economic or commercial tensions. However, it doesn’t only depend on the short term situation. We will conclude on the specificity of the two sides of Atlantic. Beyond an economic integration which seems inevitable in an open world and which will spread to another part of industrial countries, beyond the necessary bilateral cooperation due to the old friendship, to hope overcoming the political and cultural differences between the two is both an unrealizable dream and a mistake. Source: Institute of European Studies. Paper 060530. U.C. Berkeley

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Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Media Markets and Localism: Does Local News en Español Boost Hispanic Voter Turnout?

"Since the dawn of broadcasting, and especially in the past decade, Americans have turned their attention from local to more distant sources of news and entertainment. While the integration of media markets will raise the private welfare of many consumers, a globalized information and entertainment industry can undermine civic engagement, transforming locally engaged citizens into viewers consuming programming from distant sources. In response to such concerns, many regulatory agencies, including the Federal Communication Commission in the United States, curtail the integration of media markets to promote “localism.” Determining the right balance between the private benefits of integrated markets and the public value of civic engagement requires evidence on the size of the positive spillovers from local media. In this paper, we exploit the rapid growth of Hispanic communities in the United States to test whether the presence of local television news affects local civic behavior. We find that Hispanic voter turnout increased by 5 to 10 percentage points, relative to non-Hispanic voter turnout, in markets where local Spanish-language television news became available. Thus, the tradeoff between integrated media markets and civic engagement is real, and our results provide a basis for the continued pursuit of regulatory policies that promote localism." Source: National Bureau of Economic Research

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What Do We Know About Competition and Quality in Health Care Markets?

"The goal of this paper is to identify key issues concerning the nature of competition in health care markets and its impacts on quality and social welfare and to identify pertinent findings from the theoretical and empirical literature on this topic. The theoretical literature in economics on competition and quality, the theoretical literature in health economics on this topic, and the empirical findings on competition and quality in health care markets are surveyed and their findings assessed. Theory is clear that competition increases quality and improves consumer welfare when prices are regulated (for prices above marginal cost), although the impacts on social welfare are ambiguous. When firms set both price and quality, both the positive and normative impacts of competition are ambiguous. The body of empirical work in this area is growing rapidly. At present it consists entirely of work on hospital markets. The bulk of the empirical evidence for Medicare patients shows that quality is higher in more competitive markets. The empirical results for privately insured patients are mixed across studies." Source: National Bureau of Economic Research

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Monday, June 19, 2006

Lobbying Database

From, this database contains "totals spent on lobbying, beginning in 1998, for everyone from AAI Corp. to Zurich Financial." Search options include: "name for a company, lobbying firm or individual lobbyist; search for the total spending by a particular industry; search for the total spending by lobbyists on a specific issue; or view the amount spent to lobby a particular government agency."

Link to Lobbying Database

Friday, June 16, 2006

America's Image Slips, But Allies Share U.S. Concerns Over Iran, Hamas

"America's global image has again slipped and support for the war on terrorism has declined even among close U.S. allies like Japan. The war in Iraq is a continuing drag on opinions of the United States, not only in predominantly Muslim countries but in Europe and Asia as well. And despite growing concern over Iran's nuclear ambitions, the U.S. presence in Iraq is cited at least as often as Iran - and in many countries much more often - as a danger to world peace.

A year ago, anti-Americanism had shown some signs of abating, in part because of the positive feelings generated by U.S. aid for tsunami victims in Indonesia and elsewhere. But favorable opinions of the United States have fallen in most of the 15 countries surveyed. Only about a quarter of the Spanish public (23%) expresses positive views of the U.S., down from 41% last year; America's image also has declined significantly in India (from 71% to 56%) and Indonesia (from 38% to 30%)." Source: Pew Global Attitudes Project.

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Housing instability and food insecurity as barriers to health care among low-income Americans

BACKGROUND: Homelessness and hunger are associated with poor health outcomes. Housing instability and food insecurity describe less severe problems securing housing and food. OBJECTIVE: To determine the association between housing instability and food insecurity and access to ambulatory health care and rates of acute health care utilization. DESIGN. Secondary data analysis of the National Survey of American Families. Source: Journal of General Internal Medicine. 21 (1), pp. 71-77. [via California Digital Library]

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Calibration Trumps Confidence as a Basis for Witness Credibility

Abstract: "Confident witnesses are deemed more credible than unconfident ones, and accurate witnesses are deemed more credible than inaccurate ones. But are those effects independent? Two experiments show that errors in testimony damage the overall credibility of witnesses who were confident about the erroneous testimony more than that of witnesses who were not confident about it. Furthermore, erroneous statements expressed with low confidence can actually enhance credibility. Our interpretation of these results is that people make inferences about source calibration when evaluating testimony and other social communication." Source: Center for the Study of Law and Society Jurisprudence and Social Policy Program. JSP/Center for the Study of Law and Society Faculty Working Papers.

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Hospital-Based Emergency Care: At the Breaking Point

Today our emergency care system faces an epidemic of crowded emergency departments, patients boarding in hallways waiting to be admitted, and daily ambulance diversions. Hospital-Based Emergency Care addresses the difficulty of balancing the roles of hospital-based emergency and trauma care not simply urgent and lifesaving care, but also safety net care for uninsured patients, public health surveillance, disaster preparation, and adjunct care in the face of increasing patient volume and limited resources. Source: Committee on the Future of Emergency Care in the United States Health System via National Academies Press

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Also Available:
Report Brief. The Future of Emergency Care in the United States Health Care System:
The Future of Emergency Care series includes: Hospital-Based Emergency Care: At the Breaking Point; Emergency Medical Services At the Crossroads; and Emergency Care for Children: Growing Pains. In these three volumes, the committee has identified what it believes are the most important issues facing the nation’s emergency care system and has made a series of recommendations for how best to deal with those issues.

Over-Represented and De-Minoritized: The Racialization of Asian Americans in Higher Education

Abstracts: "Two predominant representations of Asian Americans in higher education are the yellow peril foreigner and the model minority. Using Omi and Winant's (1994) framework of racial formation and racist projects, this essay describes the construction of these representations, articulates their dialectical inter-connection, and demonstrates how their manifestations in higher education reinforce white dominance. The author discusses racist projects of the yellow peril foreigner (which depicts Asian Americans as overrepresented in institutions of higher education) and the model minority (which depicts Asian Americans as no longer needing minority services, essentially de-minoritizing them) in the contexts of the removal of Asian Americans from affirmative action, anti-Asian campus backlash, the Asian admissions controversy, and the representation of Asian Americans as victims of affirmative action." Source: InterActions: UCLA Journal of Education and Information Studies.

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Thursday, June 15, 2006

A Profile of the Working Poor

"In 2004, 37.0 million people, or 12.7 percent of the population, lived at or below the official poverty threshold, according to the Census Bureau. Although the majority of the Nation’s poor were children and adults who had not participated in the labor force during the year, 7.8 million individuals spent 27 weeks or more in the labor force (working or looking for work) and still earned incomes below the official poverty level. These individuals, classified as “working poor,” represented 5.6 percent of all persons 16 years and older who were in the labor force for 27 weeks or more -- a 0.3-percentage-point increase (408,000 persons) from the prior year." Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

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How Many Ward Churchills? A Study by the American Council of Trustees and Alumni

"Any institution that fails to guarantee the free exchange of ideas and students’ rights to learn has failed to do its job. Faced with substantial evidence of academic bias and pedagogical malfeasance, with course catalogs and professorial websites that openly declare war on impartial, objective teaching, institutions that do not take action deserve the criticism of public officials, taxpayers, students, and parents. Colleges and universities must ensure that they provide education, not indoctrination.This report aims to inform elected officials, trustees, administrators, alumni, parents, students, and citizens about what is happening, virtually unrecognized and unchallenged, on campuses across the nation. And it is designed to induce the public to demand better information and more accountability from the colleges and universities they support. Likewise, colleges and universities must amend their questionable practices and begin fulfilling their professional obligations. They must also recognize that if they do not take swift and decisive action, they risk losing the independence and the privilege they have traditionally enjoyed." Source: American Council of Trustees and Alumni

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Snapshot: Employer-Based Insurance Coverage and Cost

"The cost of health insurance remains a perennial preoccupation of employers, employees, and policymakers. About two-thirds of California businesses offer health insurance to at least some workers as a benefit of employment. These businesses account for 89 percent of California workers. This report, Employer-Based Insurance: Coverage and Cost, provides an overview of the employment-based insurance landscape. It addresses a range of issues, including how costs are distributed; which types of employers offer coverage; the number of workers enrolled; and how employer premiums vary among offering businesses. It also examines how employer costs would change if every business provided coverage for all full-time workers." Source: Calfornia Healthcare Foundation

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| Summary

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Economic, Neurobiological and Behavioral Perspectives on Building America's Future Workforce.

A growing proportion of the U.S. workforce will have been raised in disadvantaged environments that are associated with relatively high proportions of individuals with diminished cognitive and social skills. A cross-disciplinary examination of research in economics, developmental psychology, and neurobiology reveals a striking convergence on a set of common principles that account for the potent effects of early environment on the capacity for human skill development. Central to these principles are the findings that early experiences have a uniquely powerful influence on the development of cognitive and social skills, as well as on brain architecture and neurochemistry; that both skill development and brain maturation are hierarchical processes in which higher level functions depend on, and build on, lower level functions; and that the capacity for change in the foundations of human skill development and neural circuitry is highest earlier in life and decreases over time. These findings lead to the conclusion that the most efficient strategy for strengthening the future workforce, both economically and neurobiologically, and for improving its quality of life is to invest in the environments of disadvantaged children during the early childhood years. Source: National Bureau of Economic Research

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Would Higher Salaries Keep Teachers in High-Poverty Schools? Evidence from a Policy Intervention in North Carolina.

For a three-year time period beginning in 2001, North Carolina awarded an annual bonus of $1,800 to certified math, science and special education teachers working in high poverty or academically failing public secondary schools. Using longitudinal data on teachers, we estimate hazard models that identify the impact of this differential pay by comparing turnover patterns before and after the program’s implementation, across eligible and ineligible categories of teachers, and across eligible and barely-ineligible schools. Results suggest that this bonus payment was sufficient to reduce mean turnover rates of the targeted teachers by 12%. Experienced teachers exhibited the strongest response to the program. Finally, the effect of the program may have been at least partly undermined by the state’s failure to fully educate teachers regarding the eligibility criteria. Our estimates most likely underpredict the potential outcome of a program of permanent salary differentials operating under complete information. Source: National Bureau of Economic Research

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Friday, June 09, 2006

China Human Rights And Rule Of Law Update

Seventeen years after the world witnessed the devastating events in and around Tiananmen Square, we remember the courage of the students and workers who peacefully exercised their rights to freedom of expression and assembly. Today, Chinese citizens are turning to the law to assert their rights and speak out against government abuses. They do so in the tradition of those who gathered at Tiananmen, appealing to their leaders through peaceful means for the ability to enjoy rights protected by the Chinese Constitution.

The Congressional-Executive Commission on China remains hopeful that this type of positive change will continue to grow. But developments over the past year undermine the government's stated commitment to build a fair and just society based on the rule of law. New government rules published this year punish lawyers who defend politically sensitive cases. Chinese citizens, like Chen Guangcheng and Guo Feixiong, have faced harassment and imprisonment for legal challenges against government abuses. Political change is complex and imperfect, but China's leaders must take steps to build a more open and participatory society, and the United States must continue to assist in that effort. Source: United States Congressional-Executive Commission on China (CECC)

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Nationality and Multinationals in Historical Perspective

"This paper provides a historical perspective to current debates whether large global firms are becoming 'stateless.' Robert Reich among others suggested that historically the nationality of multinationals was clear, while for contemporary multinationals corporate nationality is both unclear and increasingly irrelevant. However the historical evidence shows that a great deal of international business in the nineteenth century was not easily fitted into national categories. The place of registration, the nationality of shareholders, and the nationality of management often pointed in different directions. During the twentieth century such cosmopolitan capitalism was replaced by sharper national identities. The interwar disintegration of the international economy also led to the national subsidiaries of multinationals taking on strong local identities. Over the past two decades, as the pace of globalization quickened, ambiguities increased again. Yet in the early twenty first century, ownership, location and geography still mattered enormously in international business. They may matter more than in the past." Source: Harvard Business School Working Papers

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Trafficking in Persons Report 2006

The Department of State is required by law to submit a Report each year to the U.S. Congress on foreign governments’ efforts to eliminate severe forms of trafficking in persons. This Report is the sixth annual TIP Report. It is intended to raise global awareness, to highlight the growing efforts of the international community to combat human trafficking, and to encourage foreign governments to take effective actions to counter all forms of trafficking in persons. The Report has increasingly focused the efforts of a growing community of nations on sharing information and partnering in new and important ways. A country that fails to make significant efforts to bring itself into compliance with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking in persons, per U.S. law, receives a "Tier 3" assessment in this Report. Such an assessment could trigger the withholding of non-humanitarian, non-trade-related assistance from the United States to that country.

In assessing foreign governments’ efforts, the TIP Report highlights the "three P’s"— prosecution, protection, and prevention. But a victim-centered approach to trafficking requires us equally to address the "three R’s"— rescue, rehabilitation, and reintegration. The U.S. law that guides these efforts, the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA) of 2000, as amended, makes clear from the outset that the purpose of combating human trafficking is to ensure just and effective punishment of traffickers, to protect their victims, and to prevent trafficking from occurring.

More than 150 years ago, the United States fought a devastating war that culminated in the elimination of slavery in this country. Although most nations have eliminated servitude as a state-sanctioned practice, a modern form of human slavery has emerged. It is a growing global threat to the lives and freedom of millions of men, women, and children. Today, only in the most brutal and repressive regimes, such as Burma and North Korea, is slavery still state sponsored. Instead, human trafficking often involves organized crime groups who make huge sums of money at the expense of trafficking victims and our societies. Source: U. S. Department of State

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Rebuilding Housing Along the Mississippi Coast: Ideas for Ensuring an Adequate Supply of Affordable Housing

In October 2005, RAND Corporation researchers traveled to Mississippi to assist the Governor’s Commission on Recovery, Rebuilding, and Renewal and, more specifically, to provide assistance to the Affordable Housing Subcommittee of the Infrastructure Issues Committee. RAND researchers provided support in identifying and developing a list of policy and implementation options that could be useful to local communities in considering how to address affordable-housing issues. In developing this list of options, RAND researchers considered how affordable housing is defined, what affordable-housing issues different U.S. regions face, what the critical challenges are in providing affordable housing, and what strategies are available to deal with those challenges. They investigated how affordable-housing issues have been addressed in the wake of other natural disasters in this country, what lessons have been learned, and what best practices can be taken away from previous natural disaster experiences. They examined the extent and scope of damage to affordable housing that Mississippi sustained, what types of affordable-housing needs that Mississippi might consider addressing during rebuilding, and on what scale. Finally, they studied options available to deal with affordable-housing issues. This report describes affordable-housing issues and myriad rebuilding options. Source: RAND Corporation

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Strategic Intersectionality: Gender, Ethnicity, and Political Incorporation

"We examine whether Latina elected officials, relative to their co-ethnic male counterparts, are more effective advocates for working class communities of color. Building upon the literature on political incorporation, gender politics, and ethnic politics, we hypothesize that Latina legislators are better positioned to be such advocates due to their unique capacity to leverage three primary resources: substantive policy focus, a multiple identity advantage, and a gender inclusive advantage. We refer to the combination of these three factors as strategic intersectionality. We test our model of strategic intersectionality using the National Latina/o State Legislator Survey (NLSLS), an original data set of thirty-minute telephone interviews with over half of all Latinos and Latinas who served in state legislatures during 2004. We find evidence for the presence of strategic intersectionality. However, its presence is not the same in all policy contexts. We conclude that strategic intersectionality is comprised of complex, multi-layered patterns of advocacy, representation, and policy influence." Source: Institute of Governmental Studies. Paper WP2006-32. University of California, Berkeley

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Islam and the West: A Conversation with Bernard Lewis

Event Transcript of The Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life interview of Professor Bernard Lewis, Cleveland E. Dodge Professor Emeritus of Near Eastern Studies, Princeton University.

"The relationship between Islam and the West will be a defining feature of the 21st century, particularly in the Middle East. How should U.S. policymakers engage with the Muslim world? Will the spread of democracy throughout the Muslim world blunt the militant forces generating terrorism? How will European governments and populations deal with their burgeoning Muslim populations, and how will this affect U.S. foreign policy priorities and alliances?

The Pew Forum hosted a discussion of these and other issues with Professor Bernard Lewis, who for 60 years has helped interpret the world of Islam to the West. In addition to authoring more than two dozen books, including What Went Wrong and The Crisis of Islam, Professor Lewis has advised government officials and policymakers in the United States, the United Kingdom and the Middle East on the intricacies of the relationships between Islam and the West. "

Link to full transcript

Tobacco industry litigation strategies to oppose tobacco control media campaigns

"Objective: To document the tobacco industry's litigation strategy to impede tobacco control media campaigns. Methods: Data were collected from news and reports, tobacco industry documents, and interviews with health advocates and media campaign staff. Results: RJ Reynolds and Lorillard attempted to halt California's Media Campaign alleging that the campaign polluted jury pools and violated First Amendment rights because they were compelled to pay for anti-industry ads. The American Legacy Foundation was accused of violating the Master Settlement Agreement's vilification clause because its ads attacked the tobacco industry. The tobacco companies lost these legal challenges. Conclusion: The tobacco industry has expanded its efforts to oppose tobacco control media campaigns through litigation strategies. While litigation is a part of tobacco industry business, it imposes a financial burden and impediment to media campaigns' productivity. Tobacco control professionals need to anticipate these challenges and be prepared to defend against them." Source: Tobacco Control. 15 (1), pp. 50-58.[via California Digital Library Postprints]

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Thursday, June 08, 2006

The Waning of America's Higher Education Advantage

"The United States has long enjoyed being on the cutting edge in its devotion to building a vibrant higher education sector. After a century of leading the world in participation rates in higher education, however, there are strong indications that America's advantage is waning. The academic research enterprise remains relatively vibrant. However, participation and degree attainment rates have leveled off and are showing signs of actual decline in a number of major states with large populations--and this seems to be more than just a bump or short-term market correction. Other competitive nations, and in particular key members of the European Union, along with China, India and other developing economies, are aggressively nurturing their higher education systems, expanding access, and better positioning themselves in the global economy. They have been trying harder, while in the US public funding for higher education has declined. The nation's international and domestic concerns lie elsewhere. In addition to outlining these reasons that America's higher education advantage is waning, this article also discusses the possible consequences." Source: Center for Studies in Higher Education. Paper CSHE-9-06. U.C. Berkeley.

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The Power of Work

"Ex-prisoners face a daunting set of obstacles to reentry, but securing employment may be the biggest challenge of all. The unemployment rate of formerly incarcerated people one year after release may be as high as 60 percent, and there is an increasing reluctance among employers to hire people with criminal histories. Further, studies show that inmates reentering communities are most vulnerable to failure in the early stages after release from jail or prison. Since the late 1970s, New York City’s Center for Employment Opportunities (CEO) has addressed the relationship between work and crime. Through a highly structured program of pre-employment training, immediate short-term transitional employment, and full-time job placement services, CEO helps close to 2,000 men and women each year to take the crucial first steps toward staying out of prison and returning to their families and communities. MDRC is conducting a rigorous evaluation of CEO’s program as part of a multi-site project, Enhanced Services for the Hard-to-Employ Demonstration, funded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the U.S. Department of Labor. Results from this study are expected by 2007.

With generous support from the JEHT Foundation, MDRC and CEO have written this overview of the CEO program. First, it discusses the link between unemployment and recidivism. Second, it lays out the “what” of the program: CEO’s company philosophy and the four phases of the CEO program. Then it discusses the “how” of the program: how it came to be, how it appeals to key stakeholders (including government agencies and private employers), and how its financial and organizational structures keep it strong. The document concludes with case studies to illustrate early examples of how CEO’s model is being replicated and adapted for use in other jurisdictions or with other populations." Source: MDRC

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Affirmative Action in Higher Education in India and the US: A Study in Contrasts

Abstract: The 21st century has brought new challenges and opportunities for higher education. In the wake of the transition from elitist to mass education, universities worldwide are under pressure to enhance access and equity, on the one hand, and to maintain high standards of quality and excellence, on the other. Today the notion of equity not only implies greater access to higher education, but also opportunities for progress. In recent debates on higher education, the notions of equity and access go beyond minority to diversity. Affirmative action, too, has become race-exclusive and gender-neutral. The following paper makes an attempt to understand the nuances of a caste-based reservation policy in higher education in light of recent controversies, court verdicts, a subsequent amendment to the constitution in India; and affirmative action policies, court verdicts, and alternatives to affirmative action in certain universities in the US. The objective is to bring out commonalities and contrasts between the two countries in terms of legal, political, socio-cultural, economic, and psychological perspectives. Source: Center for Studies in Higher Education. Paper CSHE-10-06. University of California, Berkeley

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Friday, June 02, 2006

There Goes the Neighborhood? Estimates of the Impact of Crime Risk on Property Values From Megan's Laws.

Abstract: We combine data from the housing market with data from the North Carolina Sex Offender Registry to estimate how individuals value living in close proximity to a convicted criminal. We use the exact location of these offenders to exploit variation in the threat of crime within small homogenous groupings of homes, and we use the timing of sex offenders’ arrivals to control for baseline property values in the area. We find statistically and economically significant negative effects of sex offenders’ locations that are extremely localized. Houses within a one-tenth mile area around the home of a sex offender fall by four percent on average (about $5,500) while those further away show no decline. These results suggest that individuals have a significant distaste for living in close proximity to a known sex offender. Using data on crimes committed by sexual offenders against neighbors, we estimate costs to victims of sexual offenses under the assumptions that all of the decline in property value is due to increased crime risk and that neighbors’ perceptions of risk are in line with objective data. We estimate victimization costs of over $1 million—far in excess of estimates taken from the criminal justice literature. However, we cannot reject the alternative hypotheses that individuals overestimate the risk posed by offenders or view living near an offender as having costs exclusive of crime risk. Source: National Bureau of Economic Research

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After-School Programs and Activities

This report presents data on participation in after-school activities and programs in the United States. The data are from the After-School Programs and Activities Survey (ASPA) of the 2005 National Household Education Surveys Program (NHES:2005). The data presented in the report are based on a nationally representative sample of students in kindergarten through grade 8. In 2005, 40 percent of students in kindergarten through eighth grade participated in after-school care arrangements that occurred at least once each week. Source: National Center for Education Statistics

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Political Support: Social Capital, Civil Society, and Political and Economic Performance

This paper assesses two main theories of the decline of political support that is found in many western democracies. The first is society-centred and built on the concepts of social capital, trust and civil society. The second is politics-centred and focuses on the performance of government and the economy. The two theories are not necessarily incompatible, but they are usually treated in a mutually exclusive way. In this article they are tested against a combination of aggregate cross-national comparative data and detailed case studies of four countries that have suffered exceptional decline of political support for politicians, political institutions, and the systems of government. The puzzle is that cross-national comparative evidence about a large and diverse number of nations supports social capital theory, whereas in-depth study of four countries that have experienced substantial decline of political support does not. The erosion of support coincides in all four with poor economic and/or political performance. A way of reconciling the two theories and their supporting evidence is suggested that argues that while social capital is a necessary foundation for democratic support, it is not a sufficient cause. Source: Center for the Study of Democracy. World Values Survey Research Papers. Paper 06-04. University of California, Irvine

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The Condition of Education 2006

"The Condition of Education 2006 summarizes important developments and trends in education using the latest available data. The report presents 50 indicators on the status and condition of education and a special analysis on international assessments. The indicators represent a consensus of professional judgment on the most significant national measures of the condition and progress of education for which accurate data are available. The 2006 print edition includes 50 indicators in five main areas: (1) participation in education; (2) learner outcomes; (3) student effort and educational progress; (4) the contexts of elementary and secondary education; and (5) the contexts of postsecondary education." Source: National Center for Education Statistics

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En-Gendering Choice in Congressional Leadership Elections

Abstract: Women today serve in the U.S. Congress in greater numbers than ever before and congresswomen are climbing the leadership ladder with greater frequency. In spite of this apparent progress, signs of resistance and the problem of invisibility persist both in the institution and the political science literature. Women in congressional leadership are exceptional, in three senses of the word being a rare occurrence, deviating from the norm, and being held to higher standards and expectations.

The goals of this paper are: 1) to recount the status of and obstacles for women in congressional leadership, 2) to analyze the media coverage of recent elections involving contested Democrat and Republican Party congressional leadership elections, 3) to pose some questions and implications for the study of women in congressional leadership, and 4) to argue for more analyses of gender in congressional leadership elections. Institute of Governmental Studies. Paper WP2006-26. University of California, Berkeley

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The Committee Assignments of State Legislators: An Underexplored Link in Understanding Gender Differences

Abstract : "This paper examines gender differences in committee assignments of state legislators serving throughout the country in 1988 and 2001. Fewer gender differences in committee assignments were apparent in 2001 than in 1988. Nevertheless, in 2001 women continued to be significantly more likely than men to serve on two types of committees–education committees and health and human services committees. However, women seem largely to serve on these committees by choice; they want to be on these committees. And once on these committees, they work on legislation relevant to the substantive focus of these committees. This cluster of findings suggests that women legislators are, in fact, using their committee appointments as a means to pursue their interests in education and in health care and human services. And the end result is that women legislators give more attention and priority to these issues than their male colleagues do." Source : Institute of Governmental Studies. Paper WP2006-27. University of California, Berkeley

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Parties, Money, and Sex

Abstract: "This paper reflects on the fundraising abilities of women candidates for the U.S. Congress in the most recent elections and party activities on behalf of these candidates. It speculates about the likelihood of 2006 being another Year of the Woman. Women have become formidable fundraisers and party organizations are often very supportive of their campaigns and even engage in recruiting women in winnable races. At the same time, this paper reflects on the implications of the contemporary stress on fundraising prowess in the recruitment and support of candidates for women expanding their presence as candidates for public office up and down the ballot." Institute of Governmental Studies. Paper WP2006-25. University of California, Berkeley

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Female Candidates, Issues, and Political Proselytizing: Understanding Why Women Talk About Politics

Abstract: "Previous research has demonstrated that the presence of a woman on a major party ballot is linked to increased attempts at political persuasion among women (Hansen 1997). Yet, this type of political engagement is enhanced when certain contextual conditions are met (e.g. Atkenson 2003). In this study, we hypothesize that female citizens are more likely to engage in political persuasion when female candidates are on the ballot and when female candidates on the ballot stress women s issues. Using 2002 and 2004 NES, we find that the presence of a woman on the ballot increases proselytizing overall but does not significantly increase political influence attempts among women. We also find that while the combined effect of candidate gender and candidate issues is positively related to proselytizing among women, economic issues, not women s issues increase women s attempts to influence others votes." Source: Institute of Governmental Studies. Paper WP2006-24. University of California, Berkeley.

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Thursday, June 01, 2006

Copyright and the Role of Institutions in a Peer-to-Peer World

Today's technology turns every computer every hard drive into a type of library. But the institutions traditionally known as libraries have been given special consideration under copyright law, even as commercial endeavors and filesharing programs have begun to emulate some of their functions. This Article explores how recent technological and legal trends are affecting public and school affiliated libraries, which have special concerns that are not necessarily captured by an end-consumer-oriented analysis. Despite the promise that technology will empower individuals, we must recognize the crucial structural role of intermediaries that select and distribute copyrighted works. By exploring how traditional libraries are being affected by developments such as filesharing services, the iTunes Music Store, and Google's massive digitization project, this Article examines the implications of legal and technological changes that are mainly not directed at libraries, but are nonetheless vital to their continued existence. Source: My Library: Copyright and the Role of Institutions in a Peer-to-Peer World, 53 UCLA L. REV. 977 (2006) [via]

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