Tuesday, May 29, 2007

United Nations Human Rights Report Released

From the Press Release: "The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) has released its 2006 Annual Report, providing a detailed account of the increasing range and impact of its human rights work around the world. The document uses charts, personal stories and photographs to portray the work of the Office.

The 2006 report reviews the implementation of the 2006-2007 Strategic Management Plan during the first half of the biennium, using the performance indicators set out in the document to gauge progress. For the first time, this year's report covers the entirety of the Office's work—including both those elements funded under the United Nations regular budget and those funded from voluntary contributions, mostly from governments. The document uses charts, personal stories and photographs to portray the work of the Office while providing examples of OHCHR's work in a plain and friendly style." Source: United Nations

Download full PDF Report | Link to Press Release

Foreign Students in the United States: Policies and Legislation

"Five years after the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks by foreign nationals -- including several terrorists on students visas -- the security concerns over foreign student visas are being weighed against competitiveness concerns. Potential foreign students, as well as all aliens, must satisfy Department of State (DOS) consular officers abroad and immigration inspectors upon entry to the United States that they are not ineligible for visas under the so-called "grounds for inadmissibility" of the Immigration and Nationality Act, which include security and terrorist concerns. The consular officers who process visa applicants are required to check the consolidated Terrorist Screening Database (TSDB) before issuing any visa. In part because of these security measures, student visa debates have expanded to include both security and market-based discussions. Higher education institutions in the United States are concerned over their ability to attract the numbers and quality of foreign students, and whether the postSeptember 11 security measures impede the entry of potential students into the U.S. education system. The fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) increasingly rely on foreign students, and these fields hold a top priority with most research institutions. Furthermore, the U.S. economy has a high demand for the skill-sets produced in these fields of study, and the STEM students often provide a major link between the academic community and the labor market. Consequently many groups in higher education and the private sector are seeking to expand pathways for foreign students to emigrate. All nonimmigrant students are issued visas from one of three categories, and are monitored and tracked by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). " Source: Congressional Research Service, Library of Congress

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Social Security: The Chilean Approach to Retirement

Over the past few years, there has been intense debate about Social Security reform in the United States. A number of options, ranging from changing the benefit formula to adding individual accounts, has been discussed. The policy debate takes place against the backdrop of an aging population, rising longevity, and relatively low fertility rates, which pose long-range financial challenges to the Social Security system. According to the 2007 Social Security Trustees Report's intermediate assumptions, the Social Security trust funds are projected to experience cash-flow deficits in 2017 and to become exhausted in 2041. As policymakers consider how to address Social Security's financing challenges, efforts of Social Security reform across the world have gained attention. One of the most oft-cited international cases of reform is Chile. Chile initiated sweeping retirement reforms in 1981 that replaced a state-run, pay-as-you-go defined benefit retirement system with a private, mandatory system of individual retirement accounts where benefits are dependent on the account balance. As a pioneer of individual retirement accounts, Chile has become a case study of pension reform around the world. Although Chile's experience is not directly comparable to the situation in the United States because of large differences between the countries, knowledge of the case may be useful for American policymakers. This CRS report focuses on the Chilean individual retirement accounts system. It begins with a description of the U.S. Social Security policy debate, along with a brief comparison of Chile and the United States. Next, the report explains what Chile's individual retirement accounts system is and how it works. The pension reform bill sent to the Chilean Congress for debate in 2007 is also discussed. Source: Congressional Research Service, Library of Congress

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U.S.-Funded Assistance Programs in China

United States foreign operations appropriations for the People's Republic of China (PRC) primarily support democracy-related programs, particularly rule of law training, and support Tibetan communities. The U.S. Congress has played a leading role in providing funding for such programs, which has grown from $10 million in 2002 to $23 million in 2006. Major funding areas include legal training, legal aid, criminal defense, labor rights, and non-governmental organization (NGO) development in China, monitoring human rights conditions in the PRC from outside China, and preserving Tibetan culture. Source: Congressional Research Service, Library of Congress

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U.S. Food and Agricultural Imports: Safeguards and Selected Issues

U.S. food and agricultural imports have increased significantly in recent years, leading to concerns about whether current federal programs and funding for them are sufficient to ensure their safety. The discovery of adulterated pet food ingredients from China has heightened interest in the issue in the 110th Congress, where bills include H.R. 357, H.R. 1148, H.R. 1600, H.R. 2108, S. 404, S. 654, S. 887, S. 1082, and S. 1274.1 Source: Congressional Research Service, Library of Congress

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Access to Firearms Among Orange County Youth: A School-based Study

Objective: School-associated firearm violence among children and adolescents is a national public concern. The objective of this study was to determine the accessibility of firearms, methods of firearm access and firearm safety knowledge among middle and high school students in Orange County, California.

Methods: After permission from school officials and parents was obtained, a 24-question survey was distributed to 176 students in grades 6 through 12 at four schools in Orange County. Data was collected over a 12-month period beginning in February 2003. Data analysis was presented in proportions. In addition, cross tabulations were performed to determine which factors were associated with access to guns, having fired a gun, and firearm possession at school.

Results: The mean age of participants was 16.1 years. Seventy-seven (45%) were male, 121 (69%) Hispanic, and 171 (94%) were of middle income. Four participants (2.3%) admitted to gang involvement, 47 (26.7%) had fired a gun. Those more likely to have fired a gun appeared to be non-Hispanic males (p= 0.001). Seventy-five (43%) reported access to a gun. Older students and those in grades 9 to 12 were more likely to have access to a gun (p= 0.01), which they stated could be obtained from their homes, friends or relatives (4.5% to 22%). No students admitted to bringing a gun to school. Two (1.1%) students stated that they had thought of using a gun at school. One hundred one students (62%) were taught firearm safety by their parent(s). Conclusion: Almost half of the students in this study acknowledged that they could gain access to a gun and two students had thought about using a gun at school. Firearm education, safety and counseling are of paramount importance to ensure safety among school youths. Source: Western Journal of Emergency Medicine via eScholarship Repository.

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Drowning in Data: Digital Library Architecture to Support Scientific of Embedded Sensor Networks

"New technologies for scientific research are producing a deluge of data that is overwhelming traditional tools for data capture, analysis, storage, and access. We report on a study of scientific practices associated with dynamic deployments of embedded sensor networks to identify requirements for data digital libraries. As part of continuing research on scientific data management, we interviewed 22 participants in 5 environmental science projects to identify data types and uses, stages in their data life cycle, and requirements for digital library architecture. We found that scientists need continuous access to their data from the time that field experiments are designed through final analysis and publication, thus reflecting a broader notion of “digital library.” Six categories of requirements are discussed: the ability to obtain and maintain data in the field, verify data in the field, document data context for subsequent interpretation, integrate data from multiple sources, analyze data, and preserve data. Three digital library efforts currently underway within the Center for Embedded Networked Sensing are addressing these requirements, with the goal of a tightly coupled interoperable framework that, in turn, will be a component of cyberinfrastructure for science." Source: Center for Embedded Network Sensing. Statistics and Data Practices, University of California multi-campus project (via eScholarship Repository)

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Growing Up With the News : Most Parents Encourage their Kids to Follow the News

In an era where the news is often dominated by war, tragedy and scandal, America's parents are more likely to encourage their children to follow the news than they are to shield them from it. Among parents with school-aged children (kindergarten through 12th grade), six-in-ten (61%) say they often or sometimes encourage their children to follow the news. Fewer parents (47%) often or sometimes try to shield their kids from the news, while nearly four-in-ten (38%) say they never do so.

Even so, most school-aged children are not regular news consumers. According to their parents, only 6% of today's kids follow news about national and international issues very closely and 23% follow the news fairly closely. The vast majority don't follow the news too closely or at all. Source: Pew Research for people and the press

Download full PDF Report | Download pdf topline questionnaire | Link to online Summary

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Which countries filter internet content : reports from the Open Net Initiative

"... a synopsis of the findings and conclusions of OpenNet Initiative (ONI) research into each of the countries. The summaries also provide a basic framework for considering the factors influencing countries’ decision to filter or abstain from filtering the Internet, as well as the impact, relevance, and efficacy of technical filtering in a broader context of Internet censorship.

These summaries cover the countries where ONI conducted both testing and analysis in 2006. Countries selected for in-depth analysis are those in which it was believed that there was the most to learn about the extent and processes of Internet filtering. Many countries known to filter the Internet, including many in Europe and North America, were not subject to testing because their practices are well documented elsewhere. ONI plans to conduct in-depth analysis on an expanded number of countries in future years."

Link to online database of reports

Muslim Americans: Middle Class and Mostly Mainstream

War on Terror Concerns

"The first-ever, nationwide, random sample survey of Muslim Americans finds them to be largely assimilated, happy with their lives, and moderate with respect to many of the issues that have divided Muslims and Westerners around the world.

The Pew Research Center conducted more than 55,000 interviews to obtain a national sample of 1,050 Muslims living in the United States. Interviews were conducted in English, Arabic, Farsi and Urdu. The resulting study, which draws on Pew's survey research among Muslims around the world, finds that Muslim Americans are a highly diverse population, one largely composed of immigrants. Nonetheless, they are decidedly American in their outlook, values and attitudes. This belief is reflected in Muslim American income and education levels, which generally mirror those of the public." Source: Pew Research Center for People and the Press

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Monday, May 21, 2007

Measuring the Cost of Corruption

"Corruption - the theft of public resources for private gain – imposes large costs on businesses and society. The first type of costs is redistributive. Redistribution costs are incurred whenever business or individuals with more financial or political power abuse their privileged position to gain contracts or services (including regulatory services) at the expense of their competitors. The second type is a welfare cost to the overall economy as a result of corruption, making everyone worse off. Research has only recently started to quantify the various ways in which corruption retards private sector development." Source: World Bank

Link to database listing of various papers

Reflecting, Writing, and Responding: Reasons Students Blog

"Faculty and students are recognizing blogging's learning potential, including the chance to practice writing, reflect on others' thinking, and respond to critical analyses of one's own work. In this paper, a graduate student explores the campus "blogosphere" to discover who is blogging and what they are posting, as well as how faculty are using blogs in their courses and the results they are seeing." Source: Educause

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7 Things You Should Know About Facebook II

"...the social networking site originally developed for college and university students has become available to anyone. It now offers new ways of organizing social networks as well as extensive new features and access to other Web applications. Users can now manage online identities and engage other users much more easily. They also enjoy privacy policies that give them unprecedented control over how their personal information is handled on the site.

The "7 Things You Should Know About..." series from the EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative (ELI) provides concise information on emerging learning technologies. Each brief focuses on a single technology and describes what it is, where it is going, and why it matters to teaching and learning. Use these briefs for a no-jargon, quick overview of a topic and share them with time-pressed colleagues. Source: Educause

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The Nation’s Report Card: Civics 2006

"This report presents results of the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) 2006 civics assessment. National results for a representative sample of students at grades 4, 8, and 12 are reported in terms of students’ average civics score on a 0–300 scale, and in terms of the percentage of students attaining each of three achievement levels: Basic, Proficient, and Advanced. National scores at selected percentiles on the scale (indicating the percentage of students whose scores fell at or below a particular point) are also discussed. This report also provides results for groups of students defined by various background characteristics (e.g., gender, race/ethnicity, and students’ eligibility for free/reduced-price school lunch). Comparisons are made to results from 1998—the previous year in which the same assessment was administered. The national results show an increase in the average civics score since 1998 at grade 4, but no significant change in average scores at grades 8 and 12. The report also includes sample assessment questions and examples of student responses. The technical notes section provides information about sampling, statistical significance, use of accommodations, and school participation." Source: National Center for Education Statistics

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The Nation’s Report Card: U.S. History 2006

"This report presents results of the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) 2006 U.S. history assessment. National results for a representative sample of students at grades 4, 8, and 12 are reported in terms of students’ average U.S. history score on a 0–500 scale, and in terms of the percentage of students attaining each of three achievement levels: Basic, Proficient, and Advanced. National scores at selected percentiles on the scale (indicating the percentage of students whose scores fell at or below a particular point) are also discussed. This report also provides results by four U.S. history subscales, and for groups of students defined by various background characteristics (e.g., gender, race/ethnicity, and students’ eligibility for free/reduced-price school lunch). Comparisons are made to results from 1994 and 2001—the previous years in which the NAEP U.S. history assessment was administered. The national results show an increase in the average U.S. history score at all three grades, compared to the scores of both earlier assessments. The report also includes sample assessment questions and examples of student responses. The technical notes section provides information about sampling, statistical significance, use of accommodations, and school participation." Source: National Center for Education Statistics

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The Corporate Welfare State: How the Federal Government Subsidizes U.S. Businesses

"Supporters of corporate welfare programs often justify them as remedying some sort of market failure. Often the market failures on which the programs are predicated are either overblown or don't exist. Yet the federal government continues to subsidize some of the biggest companies in America. Boeing, Xerox, IBM, Motorola, Dow Chemical, General Electric, and others have received millions in taxpayer-funded benefits through programs like the Advanced Technology Program and the Export-Import Bank. In addition, the federal crop subsidy programs continue to fund the wealthiest farmers."

Source: CATO Institute

Download full text of policy analysis | Link to online press release

Violent Design: People’s Park, Architectural Modernism and Urban Renewal

"The events surrounding the 1969 struggle over People’s Park in Berkeley, California were among the most violent confrontations of the 1960s era. Typically, these events are seen as an episode of increased student radicalism and the anti-Vietnam war movement. Instead, this paper argues that conflict over competing visions of urban space was at the center of the People’s Park violence. The park movement was a reaction to the University’s plan to raze existing older housing in order to expand the campus, build modernist high-rise residential towers, and pursue a joint urban renewal program with the city. Park supporters, which included many design professors and students, drew on emergent new paradigms in planning and architecture. The park became an inspirational test case for theories of community-based development in architecture and planning, exposing the profound divisions in the design professions that characterized this time." Source: Institute for the Study of Social Change. U.C. Berkeley

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The Pediatric Emergency Department: A Substitute for Primary Care?

Objectives: Pediatric emergency department (PED) patients often present with non-urgent complaints. We attempted to estimate the perceived degree of urgency of the visit and to identify reasons for seeking non-urgent care in the PED by patients and parents. Methods: A prospective survey was completed by parents (for children 17 and younger) and patients (18-21) presenting to a suburban academic PED that sees approximately 15,000 patients per year. A convenience sample of participants was enrolled. Results: Three hundred and five of 334 surveys were completed (91% response rate) over a 3-month period. Twenty-four percent of the chief complaints were perceived by those surveyed as emergent or possibly life-threatening, 23% were felt to be very urgent, and 52% were deemed somewhat urgent or minor. Twenty-five percent of those with minor or somewhat urgent complaints arrived by ambulance. Weekend visits and minority race correlated with a lower degree of perceived urgency. Overall, 79% of those surveyed identified a primary care provider (PCP) for themselves or their child. Of those, 54% had attempted to contact the PCP prior to coming to the PED. Six percent of those who attempted to reach their primary care providers were able to contact them and 52% were told to come to the PED. Conclusions: More than half of patients and parents presenting to the PED believed they had minor or somewhat urgent complaints. While the majority of patients have a regular provider, limited access to timely primary care and convenience may make the PED a more attractive care option than primary care for many parents and patients.
Source: Western Journal of Emergency Medicine, U.C. Irvine

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Popular Conceptions of the Meaning of Democracy: Democratic Understanding in Unlikely Places

"This paper addresses the question of whether ordinary people express a reasonable understanding of the meaning of democracy, and what are the contents of their definitions? Do people focus on the procedural aspects of democracy—elections, democratic institutions, and processes—which are the main focus of democratization efforts. Alternatively, do they see democracy in terms of rights and liberties, or economic or social welfare terms? We draw on a wide range of recent public opinion surveys from Africa, Asia, Europe, and Latin America. Our research yields three generalizations about popular conceptions of democracy. First, even in new democracies, most people can define democracy in their own words. Second, and most important, most people think of democracy in terms of the freedoms, liberties and rights that it conveys, rather than procedural conceptions of liberal democracy. Third, equating democracy with social benefits emerges as a minor theme, even in the poorest of nations. Our findings thus suggest that democratic aspirations are shaped by perceptions of the liberties and freedom that democracy can produce, and that are seen as lacking in other political systems." Source: Center for the Study of Democracy, U.C. Irvine

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Prescription Drug Importation: How S. 242 / H.R. 380 Would Change Current Law

"Current law prohibits the importation of a prescription drug by anyone other than its manufacturer. S. 242/H.R. 380 would amend the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act to allow commercial and personal-use importation. The legislation would create a detailed set of procedures to address concerns relating to the safety and effectiveness of imported drugs, cost savings to U.S. consumers, and administration of the program. Senator Dorgan offered S. 242 as an amendment to S. 1082, the Food and Drug Revitalization Act, during Senate Floor consideration. The amendment was agreed to, but only after Senators voted to approve a second-degree amendment offered by Senator Cochran, which effectively nullified the language in S. 242. Drug importation is likely to be taken up by the House when it considers legislation to reauthorize Food and Drug Administration (FDA) user fees." Source: Congressional Research Service, Library of Congress

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Friday, May 11, 2007

Cities, Citizenship and Undocumented Aliens: Dilemmas of Law and Political Community in Contemporary America

This paper argues that cities are important political and legal communities that construct and govern the “rights in action” of undocumented aliens in the United States today. However, it also challenges the proposition that large U.S. cities are likely to be sites for expansive citizenship for all non-citizens. Through close examination of case law and publicly available documents related to New York City's changing police department policies concerning the immigration statuses of its residents, the paper reveals how limited U.S. cities may actually be in attempts to formulate positive laws expanding the “rights” or “citizenship” of undocumented aliens in particular. On a theoretical level, this paper argues that attention must be given to the prominent role of positive law in U.S. immigration and alienage law as well as to the complexities created for positive law by overlapping jurisdictions and modern administrative modes of governance. While this paper concedes that a formal, legal conception of citizenship need not dominate all discussions of citizenship, it nonetheless seeks to build a particularly sociolegal framework for institutional analysis of cities, citizenship, and alienage in the U.S. today. Source: Institute for the Study of Social Change. ISSC Fellows Working Papers.

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Thursday, May 10, 2007

Educating Researchers

"This is the third in a series of policy reports on the results of a four-year study of America's education schools. This report focuses on the need for quality education research and on the preparation of the scholars and researchers who conduct it."

"Hand in hand with our need to find answers to the educational challenges that face us, we need to agree on what constitutes "good" research and on howbest to prepare education researchers, the next generation of scholars, to study education and to teach in the nation's universities and colleges. Today, researchers, policymakers and practitioners disagree about both subjects." Source: Education Schools Project

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Related Reports:
Educating Leaders
Educating Teachers

How to understand politics: What the Humanities can say to Science

"Tonight I want to suggest two improvements for today’s understanding of politics arising from the humanities. The first is to recapture the notion of thumos in Plato and Aristotle, referring to a part of the soul that makes us want to insist on our own importance. Thumos is psychology or biology, hence science as conceived by those philosophers, but I say it is proper to the humanities now because, having been expelled from modern science, thumos lingers, unnoticed and unemployed, in the history of science, which is a museum of rejected science. The second improvement is the use of names—proper to literature and foreign to science. Literature tells stories of characters with names, in places with names, in times with dates. While science ignores names or explains them away, literature uses and respects them." Source: 2007 Jefferson Lecture in the Humanities by Harvey Mansfield

Link to lecture text as prepared for delivery

Prediction Markets as an Aggregation Mechanism for Collective Intelligence

"Collective intelligence is the result of the proper aggregation of local information from many individuals to generate an optimal global solution to a problem. Often, these solutions are more optimal than what any individual could have provided. In this article, we focus on prediction markets as the aggregation mechanism for collective intelligence. Prediction markets, like commodity markets, channel inputs from all traders into a single dynamic stock price. Instead of determining the value of a particular good, a prediction market is used to determine the probability of a particular event occurring. We present and discuss five features of prediction markets that urge a collective toward optimal solutions. Through the combination of these features, prediction markets lend themselves to the systematic study of the promising phenomenon of collective intelligence." Source: Human Complex Systems. Lake Arrowhead Conference, 2007. Paper JHW2007 [via eScholarship Repository]

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Modest Coverage, Broad Interest in Pet Food Recall

"A story which received relatively little media coverage last week attracted a great deal of public interest. The recall of more than 100 brands of pet food due to possible contamination was the second most closely followed news story last week. Only the war in Iraq attracted more public interest. Nearly three-in-ten Americans (28%) followed the pet food recall very closely, and 17% said it was the single news story they followed more closely than any other last week. The national news media devoted 1% of its overall coverage to the pet food recall. The story was covered more heavily in newspapers (3%) than in other sectors." Pew Research Center for People and the Press

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Literacy Behind Bars: Results From the 2003 National Assessment of Adult Literacy Prison Survey

Abstract: "The 2003 National Assessment of Adult Literacy (NAAL) included the first assessment of the English literacy of incarcerated adults since 1992. The assessment was administered to approximately 1,200 adults (age 16 and older) incarcerated in state and federal prisons, as well as approximately 18,000 adults living in households. Three types of literacy were measured: Prose, Document, and Quantitative. Results were reported in terms of scale scores (on a 500-point scale) and four literacy levels—Below Basic, Basic, Intermediate, and Proficient. The findings in this report—Literacy Behind Bars—indicate the changes in literacy among incarcerated adults between 1992 and 2003. The report also compares the literacy of adults in the prison and household populations and across groups of prison inmates with different characteristics, including race/ethnicity, gender, educational attainment, age, language spoken before starting school, and parents’ educational attainment. The report looks at the relationship between literacy, education, and job training, including traditional academic education, vocational education, and skill certification. Additionally, the report examines the relationship between literacy and experiences in prison other than education, including prison work assignments, library use, computer use, and reading frequency. Finally, the report looks at the relationship between literacy, criminal history, and current offense. The results show how the relationship between literacy, type of offense, expected length of incarceration, expected date of release, and previous criminal history has changed since 1992. Source: National Center for Education Statistics

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Shareholder Value and the Transformation of American Industries

"There is now a solid set of results from economic sociologists concerning the spread and implementation of "shareholder value" strategies across publicly held corporations in the United States during the 1980s. Corporations were financially reorganized and used the tactics of selling off unrelated product lines, engaging in mergers with firms in similar industries, various financial ploys such as stock buybacks, and downsizing their labor forces. Using data from 62 industries for 1984-2000, this paper explores empirically the connections between shareholder value strategies such as mergers and layoffs, and related industry-level changes such as de-unionization, computer technology, and subsequent profitability. Mergers occurred in industries where economic conditions were not good in line with shareholder value arguments. Mergers subsequently led to layoffs, consistent with the shareholder value perspective that emphasizes that firms needed to deploy their resources more efficiently as they reorganized. There is also evidence that managers who engaged in mergers invested in computer technology. This technology displaced workers through layoffs and was focused on reducing unionized work forces. There is no evidence that mergers or layoffs returned industries to profitability. This suggests that shareholder value strategies were not, successful in righting the problems of American business." Authors: Neil Fligstein (CASBS Fellow 1995) and Taek-Jin Shin Source: Institute for Research on Labor and Employment. U.C. Berkeley

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Tuesday, May 08, 2007

May Day 2006: It's a Family Affair: Inter-generational Mobilization in the Spring 2006 Protests

"Among those participating in immigration marches, demonstrations, boycotts and other events that occurred across the United States in the spring of 2006 were hundreds of thousands of children and teenagers. Data collected from newspaper reports throughout the country indicate that from March 10 to May 1, 2006 between 3.5 and 5 million individuals participated in immigrant rights rallies across the United States (Fox, Selee and Bada 2006). Newspaper reports at the time and early analyses of the marches repeatedly note that significant proportions of participants were under the age of 18 (e.g.,Bada, Fox & Selee 2006; Flores-Gonzalez, et al. 2006; Wang & Winn 2006). One
account of the May 1st march in Oakland, California, claims that a quarter of participants were school-age children and teenagers (Rauh 2006). If this estimate is accurate and representative of other rallies, one million youths might have participated in the 2006 spring immigration protests." Source: Institute for the Study of Social Change. U.C. Berkeley

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Dropout Rates for Public School Students in Grades 9-12

"The report summarizes and compares event dropout rates for public high school students, by state, for 2002-03 and 2003-04. Among reporting states in 2003-04, the rates ranged from a low of 1.8 percent in Connecticut and New Jersey to a high of 7.9 percent in Louisiana. The event dropout rate measures the percentage of high school students who drop out in a given year. A dropout is a student who was enrolled at the beginning of the year, not enrolled at the beginning of the next year, and who did not graduate from high school or complete some other district- or state-approved educational program." Source: National Center for Education Statistics

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Monday, May 07, 2007

Genetic Nondiscrimination in Health Insurance: A Side-by-Side Comparison of the Title I Provisions in H.R. 493 and S. 358

"On April 25, the House passed the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2007, H.R. 493, on a vote of 420-3. The Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee approved similar legislation (S. 358). S. 358 is awaiting Senate floor action. The Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act would restrict health insurers' (Title I) and employers' (Title II) acquisition and use of genetic information in several ways. These restrictions build upon those already imposed in federal law. This report provides a comparison of the Title I provisions in H.R. 493 and S. 358. Those provisions would extend the current Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) protections against discrimination by group health plans and issuers of health insurance in both the group and individual markets, and restrict their collection, use and disclosure of genetic information." Source: Congressional Research Service, Library of Congress

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Just The Facts About Online Youth Victimization

Researchers Present the Facts and Debunk Myths

"The nation's foremost academic researchers on child online safety presented their research and answered questions over a luncheon panel on May 3. This was the first time these prominent academics have appeared together to present their research, which, altogether, represents volumes of data on the state of online youth victimization and online youth habits. More than likely you have heard pieces of their research quoted (or misquoted) on Capitol Hill during the last 12 months as Congress struggles to understand these issues. The discussion covered issues related to online youth safety including recent trends and the latest research."

Source: Advisory Committee to the Congressional Internet Caucus

Link to resources
| Link to video | Link to Overview

A Typology of Information and Communication Technology Users

The advent of Web 2.0 - the ability of people to use a range of information and communication technology as a platform to express themselves online and participate in the commons of cyberspace - is often heralded as the next phase of the information society. Yet little is known about which segments of the population are inclined to make robust use of information technology and which aren't.

With that in mind, the Pew Internet & American Life Project conducted a survey designed to classify Americans into different groups of technology users. We developed our typology along three dimensions of people's relationship to information and communications technology (ICT) Source: Pew Internet and American Life Project

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| Link to online summary | Link to self-test (Where do you fit?)

Democratic Institutions and Provision of Public Good

"This paper aims to test empirically the predictions of a theory that deals with the effect of different democratic regimes on public good provision. The theory predicts higher provision of public good in proportional electoral systems and parliamentary political regimes in comparison to majoritarian systems and presidential regimes respectively. The tests are performed using cross-country data from the 1990s on health and education quantity indicators of public good. Use of quantity indicators instead of expenditure data, previously used by other researchers, enables a cleaner test of the theory as a higher amount of any quantity measure clearly indicates a higher supply of public good. Overall, the robust results in this paper do not provide enough support for the theory. Electoral system has no effect on any of the public good indicators while except for two indicators under education, the nature of the political regime has no significant effect either." Source: Department of Economics, UCSB. Departmental Working Papers. Paper wp2-07. via eScholarship Repository

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National Clearinghouse on Academic Worklife

"The National Clearinghouse on Academic Worklife combines into a single website information resources and community discussions to support those who study or participate in academic work.

Up to date articles, policy examples, and discussions are available on topics ranging from family-friendly benefits, tenure attainment, and faculty satisfaction to policy development, productivity, and demographics. This one-stop website was developed at the University of Michigan Center for the Education of Women through a grant from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.

Search for articles, reports, or policies from a wide range of disciplines and institutions.

Source: University of Michigan Center for the Education of Women.

Link to National Clearinghouse on Academic Worklife

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Intellectual Property as Information: A law and economics approach

Abstract: "Intellectual property has held great economical importance since the mid XIX century, though protection for the intellectual property has remained fragmented in isolated juridical systems interlinked only for creation or immateriality of the intellectual goods. However, creation may be substituted by information as central element of the intellectual property. Such substitution allows harmonizing it around a single aspect and, through this central aspect, to apply the theory of systems and the economical valuation of the system of intellectual property toward better understanding of the institute and additionally for future investigations. The attribution of values furthermore allows the identification of the economical characteristics of information as intellectual property and with this defines balancing protection strategies (procedure, scope and duration) seeking the efficiency of the intellectual property institutes. Instruments of Law and Economics allow a better understanding - in this context - of intellectual property. Ultimately, the conclusion drawn is the need of protection of intellectual goods as incentive element to innovation, keeping all of the exceptions to protection inside the system of intellectual property as information." Source: Berkeley Program in Law & Economics. U.C. Berkeley

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Disarming fears of diversity : ethnic heterogeneity and state militarization, 1988-2002

Summary: The authors address the question of state militarization under conditions of ethnic and other diversity. "Primordialist" claims about ancient hatreds, fear, and insecurity in such societies would lead one to expect that fractionalization, polarization, and ethno-nationalist exclusion would prompt governments to militarize heavily. But contrary to such expectations, the authors find that higher levels of ethnic diversity predict lower levels of militarization, whereas higher polarization and ethno-nationalist exclusion trigger neither lower nor higher levels of militarization. If fractionalization lowers the hazard of civil war, as many find, then it does not happen by way of a "garrison state" effect. The authors discuss two potential explanations for their findings, one drawing from the empirical conflict literature, the other stemming from economists' study of public goods provision under conditions of diversity. They argue that their findings are best seen as consistent with and complementary to the empirical literature on conflict onset and duration. Source: World Bank Working Papers

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Where Are the Scientists and Engineers?

"PhDs are an important and vital asset in Canada's labour force because not only do they represent the highest educational attainment level in a knowledge-based economy, but they are also highly skilled industrial researchers and innovators, teachers and professors, along with being scientists and engineers. The study examines what industries are employing scientists and engineers and in what occupations, along with other labour market characteristics such as income and unemployment, age, gender and geographic location. The report also examines the differences between Canadian born and non-Canadian born scientists and engineers." Source: Statistics Canada

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Motherhood Today: Tougher Challenges, Less Success

Mom's Biggest Critics are Middle-Aged Women

"From managing busy schedules to dealing with outside influences, mothers have their hands full these days. There is broad agreement among the public that it is harder to be a parent today - especially a mother - than it was in the 1970s or 1980s. Fully 70% of the public says it is more difficult to be a mother today than it was 20 or 30 years ago, while somewhat fewer (60%) say the same about being a father." Source: Pew Research Center for People and the Press

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Changing Faiths: Latinos and the Transformation of American Religion

"Hispanics are transforming the nation's religious landscape, especially the Catholic Church, not only because of their growing numbers but also because they are practicing a distinctive form of Christianity.

Religious expressions associated with the pentecostal and charismatic movements are a key attribute of worship for Hispanics in all the major religious traditions -- far more so than among non-Latinos. Moreover, the growth of the Hispanic population is leading to the emergence of Latino-oriented churches across the country." Source: Pew Hispanic Center and Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life

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