Thursday, December 18, 2008

Social Capital’s Influence on the Likelihood of Mexican Immigrants Having Type 2 Diabetes or Being Obese in Los Angeles County

"Most social capital research in the United States has tended to address issues concerning a middle class white population and little has addressed specific health outcomes. Even though it is frequently presented positively, social capital might have a negative relationship for more socially and economically vulnerable populations like Mexican immigrants. For example, social capital is negatively related to Mexican women’s wages, while positively related for non-Latino white women. It is clear that social capital does not guarantee positive outcomes. The currency of social capital is found in the relationships that people have, as the resources embedded in the community remain dormant until they are activated by individuals who pass along information through social interactions. Often overlooked is that negative information and resources can be transferred as well as positive. This paper examines two health outcomes--diabetes and obesity--to explore how social capital is related to an individual’s health, controlling for the influence that might be experienced by a vulnerable lower socioeconomic group like Mexican immigrants." Source: Chicano Studies Institute, U.C. Santa Barbara

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Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Mathematics Achievement of Language-Minority Students During the Elementary Years

"This Issue Brief uses data from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study, Kindergarten Class of 1998-99 (ECLS-K) to examine the scores of public-school language-minority students on a mathematics assessment in 1st grade, as well as the gain in their scores between 1st and 5th grades. Scores are reported by three background characteristics--student's race/ethnicity, poverty status, and mother's education--that have been found to be related to achievement. The findings indicate that language-minority students (English Proficient students and English Language Learners) scored lower on a 1st-grade mathematics assessment than did students whose primary home language was English. Between 1st and 5th grades, there was no measurable difference in gain scores on the mathematics assessment among the three language groups. However, gain score differences within and between the language groups were found by student background characteristics. For example, Asian language-minority students made greater gains than their Hispanic peers." Source: National Center for Education Statistics

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Monday, December 15, 2008

Future of the Internet III: How the Experts See It

A survey of internet leaders, activists and analysts shows they expect major technology advances as the phone becomes a primary device for online access, voice-recognition improves, artificial and virtual reality become more embedded in everyday life, and the architecture of the internet itself improves.

They disagree about whether this will lead to more social tolerance, more forgiving human relations, or better home lives.

The full report, "Future of the Internet III," the third in a series, is built around respondents' responses to scenarios stretching to the year 2020. Their written elaborations, numbering in the hundreds, address such topics as: the methods by which people will access information in the future; the fact that technology is expanding the potential for hate, bigotry and terrorism; the changes that will occur in human relationship as a result of hyper-connected communication; the future of work and employer-employee relationships; the evolution of the tools for and use of augmented reality and virtual reality; the strength of respondents' concerns that the global corporations and governments currently in control of most resources might impede or even halt the open development of the internet; and the challenges to come as issues tied to security, privacy, digital identities, tracking and massive databases collide.

Source: Pew Internet and American Life Project

Download full pdf report | Link to online summary

Psychology of Bad Times Fueling Consumer Cutbacks

Job Worries Mount, 73% Spending Less on Holidays

"Americans continue to render extremely bleak assessments of economic conditions, both with respect to the national economy and their own financial situations. Fully 92% of the public rates the national economy as only fair or poor, and a substantial majority (61%) judges their personal finances that way. Both measures are among the most negative recorded in Pew Research Center surveys over the past 15 years." Source: Pew Research Center for People and the Press

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| Link to online summary

Latino Workers in the Ongoing Recession: 2007 to 2008

A small but significant decline has occurred during the current recession in the share of Latino immigrants active in the U.S. labor force. The decrease is sharpest among immigrants from Mexico and among immigrants who arrived in the U.S. since 2000. But the increase in the unemployment rate for immigrant Hispanics is not as high as the increase for native-born Hispanic workers. Also, median weekly wages fell for native-born Hispanics but not for the foreign-born. These developments, however, could be an artifact, a consequence of the withdrawal of low-wage foreign-born Hispanics from the labor force. Source: Pew Hispanic Center

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IP Rights and Technological Platforms

This paper is about intellectual property rights (IPRs) and platform technologies. After a brief introduction explaining some basics of networks, standards and platforms, I turn to three policy issues. The first is the role of IP in what might be termed platform policies, the decisions by courts and regulators concerning whether and how to promote multi-party access to important digital platforms such as media player hardware, cell phones, PCs, and the like. I argue that for the most part there is no need for IP law to directly promote interoperability, since market competition among competing platform technology owners will usually protect consumers quite well. Voluntary interoperability at various levels is the norm, an arrangement facilitated by the fact that property rights can and often are waived for strategic reasons. The apparent potential of IP law, and individual IP rights, to restrict access and harm consumers must therefore be seen in the context of competitive battles in which IP owners very selectively enforce their rights. Where coerced access through IP rules does prove necessary, it should be promoted sparingly and strictly ex post, only after rights have issued and their deployment and enforcement are shown to create anticompetitive effects. Second, I discuss optimal policy with respect to platform-content combinations, e.g., the question of whether to regulate or prohibit exclusive content licensing for a single platform, for example, the Apple iTunes/iPod system. Again I argue that competition, together with the divergent interests of content and platform owners, will usually protect consumers without the need for excessive regulation of platform-content deals. Finally, I consider ways to better accommodate traditional IP doctrines and policies to the need for flexibility and openness in platform battles, in particular, the need for a robust set of rules that permit an IP owner to credibly commit to open access to IPRs with a binding full or partial dedication of IP rights to members of the public or specific sub-groups. The idea is to more fully institutionalize the right of an IP owner to implement an “owned but open” platform strategy. I characterize this new sort of binding commitment to openness as “the right to include” – by analogy with the traditional notion of property as involving at its core a “right to exclude.” Source: Berkeley Center for Law and Technology. Law and Technology Scholarship (Selected by the Berkeley Center for Law & Technology). Paper 64.

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Thursday, December 11, 2008

Employees in Postsecondary Institutions, Fall 2007, and Salaries of Full-Time Instructional Faculty 2007-08

"This report presents information from the Winter 2007-08 Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) web-based data collection. Tabulations represent data requested from all postsecondary institutions participating in Title IV federal student financial aid programs. The tables in this publication include data on the number of staff employed in Title IV postsecondary institutions in fall 2007 by primary function/occupational activity, length of contract/teaching period, employment status, salary class interval, faculty and tenure status, academic rank, race/ethnicity, and gender. Also included are tables on the number of full-time instructional faculty employed in Title IV postsecondary institutions in 2007-08 by length of contract/teaching period, academic rank, gender, and average salaries." Source: National Center for Education Statistics

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| Link to online summary

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Policy and Research Recommendations for a New Administration and Congress

"At a time when limited government resources demand that the nation make the most of investments in social and education programs, policymakers will increasingly need to make decisions on the basis of reliable evidence. To assist the incoming Obama Administration and the new Congress, MDRC has developed a series of 15 two-page, evidence-based framing memos on pressing education and social issues — from preschool to prisoner reentry, from disability insurance to after-school programs." Source: MDRC

Link to collection

Rand Research Brief: The Evolution of Corporate Governance in China

Abstract: "Although China's economy has grown rapidly in recent years and investment in its stock markets has soared, corporate governance institutions remain nascent. A RAND report analyzes the evolution of Chinese corporate governance, describing recent reforms that have created Western-style oversight mechanisms. It also identifies obstacles to reform that stem from the continued prevalence of state ownership, and recommends policies that will help address those obstacles so that China can move toward international standards of corporate governance." Source Rand Corporation

Download full pdf research brief | Link to online summary

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study

"The Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) 2007 is the fourth comparison of mathematics and science achievement carried out since 1995 by the International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement (IEA), an international organization of national research institutions and governmental research agencies. In 2007, 36 countries participated at grade four and 48 participated at grade eight." Source: National Center for Education Statistics

Download full pdf report | Link to online summary and report download links

High Birth Weight and Cognitive Outcomes

"While the effects of low birth weight have long been explored, those of high birth weight have been essentially ignored. Economists have analyzed the negative effects that low birth weight might have on subsequent school outcomes, while taking into account unobserved characteristics that may be common to families with low birth weight babies and negative outcomes in terms of school test scores when children, in addition to labor market income when adults. Today, however, with increasing obesity rates in the United States, high birth weight has become a potential concern, and has been associated in the medical literature with an increased likelihood of becoming an overweight child, adolescent, and subsequently an obese adult. Overweight and obesity, in turn, are associated with a host of negative effects, including lower test scores in school and lower labor market prospects when adults. If studies only focus on low birth weight, they may underestimate the effects of ensuring that mothers receive adequate support during pregnancy. In this study we find that cognitive outcomes are adversely affected not only by low birth weight (<2500 grams) but also by high birth weight (>4500 grams). Our results have policy implications in terms of provision of support for pregnant women." Source: National Bureau of Economic Research

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Monday, December 08, 2008

RAND Report: Mental Health Consumer Providers

"Consumer providers (CPs) are individuals with serious mental illness who are trained to use their experiences to provide recovery-oriented services and support to others. There are several demonstrated benefits to employing CPs: They can serve as role models, voice and broker the needs of consumers, provide information and motivation, and mentor others (including potential CPs). CPs can have a variety of roles, including, among other things, assisting clients, providing support services (such as skills assistance and transportation), providing liaison services, dispelling possible stigma or bias toward clients, and augmenting overburdened mental health systems. Despite these roles and benefits, there are also challenges to and misconceptions about employing CPs, such as staff concerns, organizational issues, and perceived barriers related to the abilities and competence of CPs. As mental health providers turn to CPs to augment current services, it is useful to review these issues through the lens of hiring and integrating CPs into provider teams." Source: RAND Corporation

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| Link to online summary

Colleges and Universities Increasingly Rely on Underpaid Contingent Faculty to Teach Courses

From Press Release
Report Offers Model Approach for Solving Academic Staffing Crisis
"More than half of the undergraduate courses at U.S. public colleges and universities are taught by “contingent” faculty and graduate instructors rather than full-time tenured faculty, resulting in an unstable and financially exploited workforce, according to a report released today by the American Federation of Teachers. The report, “Reversing Course: The Troubled State of Academic Staffing and a Path Forward,” also includes a novel formula to track staffing and wage trends and correct inequities. “Reversing Course” was prepared for the AFT by the research firm JBL Associates." Source: American Federation of Teachers

Download full pdf report : Reversing Course | Link to Press Release

When giants fall : Shutdown of one or more U.S. automakers could eliminate up to 3.3 million U.S. jobs

From Press Release : "If these giants fall, they would take down more than auto worker jobs. When the wages from those auto sector jobs dry up, an additional 576,700 to 2.1 million “re-spending” jobs would be lost. These are jobs that would have been supported by the spending of auto and related workers. Tax losses and increased government payments would exceed $150 billion in the first three years following bankruptcy of all three domestic auto companies. Without cars to export, the U.S. trade deficit would rise by $109.3 billion." Source: Economic Policy Institute (Author: Robert E. Scott)

Download full pdf report : When Giants Fall
| Link to EPI

Video Games: Adults are Players Too

"More than half of American adults age 18 and older (53%) play video games,1 and about one-in-five adults (21%) play everyday or almost everyday. While the number of video gamers among adults is substantial, it is still well under the number of teens who play. Fully 97% of teens play video games.2

Independent of all other factors, younger adults are considerably more likely than older adults to play games, and the likelihood that an adult is a video gamer decreases significantly with age. Fully 81% of respondents 18-29 years old play games, while only 23% of respondents 65 years old and older report playing games." Source: Pew Internet and American Life Project

Download full report including questionnaire | Link to online summary

Pew Research : Some Final Thoughts on Campaign '08

"A wrapup of possibly overlooked polling trends and end-of-campaign happenings.
From the beginning of the campaign to its conclusion, Democrats consistently expressed more interest in election news than did Republicans. That represents a change from previous campaigns. There were only a few weeks when Republican news interest matched or surpassed Democratic interest, including the weeks just before and after the nominating conventions. Despite signs of less Republican engagement, it is not clear whether core GOP groups turned out to vote at lower rates than in the past. What is evident from the national exit polls is that African American turnout increased markedly. More will be learned about this when the results of the Current Population Survey of voter turnout is available." Source: Pew Research Center for People and the Press

Read report online

13th report on the situation of Human Rights in Iraq covering the first half of 2008

From Press Release: 13th report on the human rights situation in the country covering the period 1 January – 30 June 2008. During the reporting period, Iraq has witnessed substantial improvements in general security conditions, with a marked drop in violent, high-visibility, high-casualty attacks by militias or criminal gangs, but the human rights situation in the country still remains serious.

“Human rights violations that are less visible need to be documented, reported and exposed publicly”, said Staffan de Mistura, the Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-general for Iraq (SRSG). “With the support of the international community, we hope the government of Iraq will continue to address these violations and combat impunity”.

The targeted killings of journalists, educators, medical doctors, judges and lawyers has continued, as did criminal abductions for ransom during the first six months of 2008. As Iraqi security institutions slowly and progressively asserted their control of more territory, politicians, security officials, policemen and members of pro-government militias frequently came under attack by armed groups.

During the reporting period, minorities continued to be the victims of targeted violence, threats, assassination and the destruction of property and cultural sites.

The report highlights the situation of detainees across the country that remains of serious concern, including in the Iraqi Kurdistan Region. Many detainees have been deprived of their liberty for month or even years, often under harsh physical conditions, without access to defense counsel, or without being formally charged with a crime or produced before a judge. Continuing allegations of widespread torture and ill-treatment of inmates are of particular concern. Slow bureaucratic procedures, insufficient resources, degraded infrastructure and lack of effective accountability measures result in inordinate delays in processing detainees’ cases. Source: The United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI)

Download full pdf report
| Link to press release

The Plum Book (United States Government Policy and Supporting Positions)

Every four years, just after the Presidential election, the United States Government Policy and Supporting Positions, commonly known as the Plum Book, is published, alternately, by the Senate Committee on Governmental Affairs and the House Committee on Government Reform. The Plum Book is used to identify presidentially appointed positions within the Federal Government.

Link to the Plum Book online | Download the 2008 Plum book (pdf)

Global Terrorism Database (GTD)

The Global Terrorism Database (GTD) is an open-source database including information on terrorist events around the world since 1970 (currently updated through 2004). Unlike many other event databases, the GTD includes systematic data on international as well as domestic terrorist incidents that have occurred during this time period and now includes almost 80,000 cases. For each GTD incident, information is available on the date and location of the incident, the weapons used and nature of the target, the number of casualties, and -- when identifiable -- the identity of the perpetrator.

The START Center is making the GTD available to government policy makers and academics in an effort to increase understanding of terrorist violence so that it can be more readily defeated.

Source: Univeristy of Maryland | Study of Terrorism and responses to Terrorism

Link to Global Terrorism Database (GTD)

Measuring Primary and Secondary School Characteristics: A Group-Based Modeling

"In this paper we introduce a new way to conceptualize and measure the educational resources that young people encounter as they make their way from kindergarten to high school graduation. Using recent methodological advances in group-based modeling and a unique data set, we empirically test for and identify a series of categorically distinct school quality trajectories. We find that these trajectories vary significantly in terms of their intercept and slope, their prevalence within the sampled population, and in the sociodemographic makeup of their constituent members. We then present an extended empirical example illustrating relationships between school quality trajectories and important post-secondary educational outcomes, both before and after controlling for static, single-year measures of primary and secondary school characteristics. Our results suggest that the chronology of students’ exposures to different educational resources is significantly associated with college enrollment, college selectivity, and, in some instances, college completion." Source: California Center for Population Research. On-Line Working Paper Series. Paper CCPR-014-08. UCLA

Download full pdf publication | Link to online abstract

Monday, December 01, 2008

UNAIDS launches “AIDS Outlook”

"...a new report from UNAIDS that provides perspectives on some of the most pressing issues that will confront policymakers and leaders as they respond to the challenges presented by AIDS in 2009. In many ways the year ahead will be a year of transition—and acceleration. Many countries are reviewing their national strategies on AIDS. Even though political commitment for AIDS is at an all-time high, recent developments in the financial world will test the resilience of many." source: United Nations

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n | Link to online summary

Pew report: How the Media Cover Health

"Even as the news media environment in this country changes rapidly, it continues to hold a critically important role in society: millions of Americans turn to various news media every day for information, and what they learn there makes a difference in which issues rise or fall on the national agenda, how the public perceives key issues, and how well they understand important policy debates. The purpose of this study is to take a broad look at how the news media covered one vital area -- health and health policy -- in 2007 and 2008. While there have been many studies that have taken a narrow look at news coverage of specific health issues (breast cancer, diabetes) or at coverage in one particular news medium (local television, print) this report takes a wider look at the broad spectrum of health issues, across a wide range of news media." Source: Pew Project for excellence in Journalism.

Download full pdf report | Link to online summary

Public Elementary and Secondary School Student Enrollment and Staff From the Common Core of Data: School Year 2006-07

"This report presents 2006-07 school year information at the national and state level on student enrollment by grade and by race/ethnicity within grade, the numbers of teachers and other education staff, and several student/staff ratios." Source: National Center for Education Statistics.

Download full pdf report | Link to National Center for Education Statistics

Risky Business: Sex-work and Young Southeast Asian American Women in Oakland

Abstract: "This paper seeks to analyze why many young Southeast Asian American women in Oakland, California, are going into sex-work. I investigate the cultural and social factors that contribute to their popularity as sex-workers, as well as examine the existing structural problems that have led them to sex-work. I also begin to illuminate how these young Southeast Asian American women understand their own reasons for going into sex-work. The number of minors entering sex-work continues to increase, globally, nationally and locally, yet past and current literature tend to overlook the unique problems that exist at the local level that are tempting young women into sex-work. Research on young women and sex-work has identified sexual abuse, drug use and homelessness as risk factors that often lead minors into sex-work, but these risk factors do not apply to the population of young SEA American women in Oakland. Through studying this population who have been in or are at risk of entering sex-work, I attempt to complicate previous arguments that victimize and/or criminalize young sex-workers, by looking at the ways in which these young Southeast Asian American women demonstrate agency within societal and structural constraints." Source: Institute for the Study of Social Change. ISSC Fellows Working Papers. U.C. Berkeley

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| Link to online abstract

Recent Developments in US Copyright Law

"The 1976 Act announces broad exclusive rights, offset by a myriad of specific exemptions, and one wide exception for “fair use.” In words and intent, the exclusive rights are capacious, but new technologies may have caused some of the general phrases to become more constraining than might have been expected from a text whose drafters took pains to make forward-looking. Thus, the scope of the reproduction right turns on the meaning of “copy;” the reach of the distribution right on “distribute copies” and “transfer of ownership;” the range of the public performance right on “public” and “perform.” Entrepreneurs and users of new technological means of exploiting copyrighted works have urged narrow constructions of each of these terms, arguing that broad interpretations will chill future innovation (and suppress present markets for copyright-exploiting devices or services). Copyright owners, concerned that unfettered new uses will supplant traditional copyright-controlled markets, have contended that the literal language, or, failing that, congressional intent, encompass the contested use. In addition, new technologies have called into question the identification of the person who “does” the copyright-implicating acts. Who makes a copy when the act is decomposed into steps taken by different actors? Who performs or displays a work when the work resides on one person’s server, but the public perceives it through another person’s website?

Several US courts have narrowly construed the reach of the exclusive rights of reproduction, distribution, public performance and public display, thus putting into doubt their efficacy in the digital environment. In particular, the Second Circuit’s recent decision in Cartoon Networks v. CSC Holdings, if followed, could substantially eviscerate the reproduction and public performance rights. The growing number of decisions rejecting a “making available” right attests to some difficulties in adapting the distribution right to online exploitation. By contrast, one bright spot for authors appears in the area of moral rights, in which digital media may provide a means to make at least some authors’ attribution interests enforceable. Because the decisions emanate from lower courts, including first-level courts, it is too soon to discern whether US copyright law is adopting a constricted conception of the scope of the economic rights under copyright, and if so, whether the decisions betoken an evolving (if often unarticulated) determination that copyright prerogatives should yield to technological preferences. In either event, the analyses and results contrast with solutions adopted in the European Union, and, in some instances, may be in tension with the US’ international obligations." Source: Columbia Law School. Columbia Public Law & Legal Theory Working Papers. Paper 08158.

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Police and National Security: American Local Law Enforcement and Counter-Terrorism After 9/11

Abstract: "What makes the issue of American policing and national security so interesting and complex is the decentralized and localized nature of most law enforcement in the United States. These attributes give rise to three challenges for policing and national security. First, the decentralized and localized nature of American policing creates enormous organizational problems in coordinating national security activities, and combating terrorism in particular. Second, the counter-terrorism agenda may influence or disrupt systems and patterns of political accountability of local police agencies. Third, some of the same attributes of local policing that makes it a useful counter-terrorism tool also create difficulties in effectively carrying out more traditional functions. The tension that sometimes exists between law enforcement efforts to prosecute criminals and secret intelligence activities to monitor them is exacerbated when stretched across local-federal lines, and some actions that may be important from a national security perspective may also be disruptive to more traditional law and order police efforts within localized communities. Whether and how these challenges are resolved depend heavily not only responses generated through the political system but on the evolutionary trajectory of the national security threats that spawn them." Source: Columbia Law School. Columbia Public Law & Legal Theory Working Papers. Paper 08157. Forthcoming in POLICE, COMMUNITY AND THE RULE OF LAW, Ben Bowling and Jeffrey Fagan (eds.), London: Hart Publishing.

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| Link to online abstract

Federal Evidence Blog

"Highlighting recent cases and issues involving the Federal Rules of Evidence and other topical evidence matters. Topics range from the new Attorney-Client Privilege Rule (FRE 502), electronic, Internet and expert evidence issues, Confrontation Clause, pending rule amendments, legislation with an evidence impact, privilege issues, recent noteworthy cases and other issues, practical tips, and more." Source: Federal Evidence Review

Link to online resource: Federal Evidence Blog

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Detention as Targeting: Standards of Certainty and Detention of Suspected Terrorists

To the extent that a state can detain terrorists pursuant to the law of war, how certain must the state be in distinguishing suspected terrorists from nonterrorists? This Article shows that the law of war can and should be interpreted or supplemented to account for the exceptional aspects of an indefinite conflict against a transnational terrorist organization by analogizing detention to military targeting and extrapolating from targeting rules. A targeting approach to the detention standard-of-certainty question provides a methodology for balancing security and liberty interests that helps fill a gap in detention law and helps answer important substantive questions left open by recent Supreme Court detention cases, including Boumediene v. Bush. Targeting rules include a reasonable care standard for dealing with the practical and moral problems of protecting innocent civilians from injury amid clouds of doubt and misinformation, though the application of this standard in the detention context must account for differences such as a temporal dimension, available procedural mechanisms, and political and strategic context. Applying a targeting law methodology, this Article offers a law of war critique of past and current U.S. government detention policies. It recommends several ways to remedy them, including through an escalating standard of certainty as time in detention elapses, comparative consideration of accuracy-enhancing adjudication procedures, and greater decisionmaking transparency. Source: Columbia Law School Forthcoming Columbia Law Review Vol. 108:1365 2008.

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| Link to online abstract

The Big Curve: Trends in University Fees and Financing in the EU and US

Globally, fees and tuition are growing as an important source of income for most universities, with potentially significant influence on the market for students and the behavior of institutions. Thus far, however, there is no single source on the fee rates of comparative research universities, nor information on how these funds are being used by institutions. Furthermore, research on tuition pricing has also focused largely on bachelor’s degree programs, and not on the rapid changes in tuition and fees for professional degrees. This paper offers a brief scan of pricing trends among a sample group of 24 public and private research universities in the US, all with a wide array of graduate and professional programs, and a small sample group of EU universities. We trace a pattern of convergence not only between US public and private institutions, but also find indications that these trends occur among EU universities. We theorize that pricing among major research universities is increasingly influenced by levels of market tolerance, and a convergence in pricing driven in part by the perception that price confers quality and a corresponding level of prestige to consumers. This study focuses on pricing, and hence does not delve into the complex moderating effects of bursaries and student costs such as room and board. The recent implosion in credit markets may seriously shake this emerging pricing model, in large part because it is increasingly dependent on students taking out sizable loans. But it is our sense that the long-term trends in pricing, including some level of convergence, will continue as institutions that are globally competitive look over their shoulder at what their perceived peer (or near peer) institutions are charging for specific degrees and programs. This in turn will influence the entire higher education market. Source: Center for Studies in Higher Education. Paper CSHE. U.C. Berkeley.

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| Link to online abstract & eScholarship repository

Digital Youth Research Final Report

Social network sites, online games, video-sharing sites, and gadgets such as iPods and mobile phones are now fixtures of youth culture. They have so permeated young lives that it is hard to believe that less than a decade ago these technologies barely existed. Today’s youth may be coming of age and struggling for autonomy and identity as did their predecessors, but they are doing so amid new worlds for communication, friendship, play, and self-expression.

We include here the findings of three years of research on kids' informal learning with digital media. The two page summary incorporates a short, accessible version of our findings. The White Paper is a 30-page document prepared for the MacArthur Foundation’s Digital Media and Learning Series. The book is an online version of our forthcoming book with MIT Press and incorporates the insights from 800 youth and young adults and over 5000 hours of online observations. Source: U.C. Berkeley iSchool

Download Summary (pdf) | Download white paper (pdf) | Link to site - Full Chapters available online

Monday, November 10, 2008

Still Working Hard, Still Falling Short: New Findings on the Challenges Confronting America's Working Families

The Working Poor Families Project presents an important new report examining the state of America's working families: "Still Working Hard, Still Falling Short: New Findings on the Challenges Confronting America's Working Families." The report is a follow-up to the 2004 report, "Working Hard, Falling Short."

The new report finds that more than one in four working families - a total of 42 million adults and children - are low-income, an increase from the findings of the 2004 report. Source: Working Poor Families Project

The Working Poor Families Project (WPFP) was launched in 2002 by national philanthropic leaders who saw the need to strengthen state policies affecting these working families. The national initiative is now supported by the Annie E. Casey, Ford, Joyce and Mott foundations. The WPFP focuses on the states because many of their policies and investments critically affect the lives of working families.

Download full pdf report
| Link to project homepage

Promoting Engagement for All Students: The Imperative to Look Within.

"The 2008 report from the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) is
based on information from nearly 380,000 randomly selected first­year and senior
students at 722 four ­year colleges and universities in the U.S. The report, Promoting
Engagement for All Students: The Imperative to Look Within, provides an overview of
survey findings and points to accomplishments as well as areas where improvement is
needed." Source: Indiana University for Postsecondary Research

Download full pdf report
| Link to NSSE site

UN Offices on Drugs and Crime releases UNODC Toolkit to Combat Trafficking in Persons

"Human trafficking is the acquisition of people by improper means such as force, fraud or deception, with the aim of exploiting them. Human trafficking is a crime against humanity. Virtually every country in the world is affected by trafficking for sexual exploitation or forced labour. The challenges for all countries, rich and poor, are to target the criminals who exploit desperate people and to protect trafficking victims. As the only U.N. entity focusing on the criminal justice element, the GPAT brings special expertise to the fight against trafficking.

The UNODC Global Programme against Trafficking in Human Beings (GPAT) assists countries in their efforts to combat this crime."

The 123 tools contained in the Toolkit offer guidance, recommended resources, and promising practices to policymakers, law enforcers, judges, prosecutors, victim service providers and members of civil society who are working in interrelated spheres towards preventing trafficking, protecting and assisting victims and promoting international cooperation.

Download full pdf toolkit | Link to UNDOC website

The Hispanic Vote in the 2008 Election

Updated November 7, 2008 to reflect updated exit poll results

Hispanics voted for Democrats Barack Obama and Joe Biden over Republicans John McCain and Sarah Palin by a margin of more than two-to-one in the 2008 presidential election, 67% versus 31%, according to an analysis by the Pew Hispanic Center of exit polls from Edison Media Research as published by CNN. The Center's analysis also finds that 9% of the electorate was Latino, up from 8% in 2004. This report contains an analysis of exit poll results for the Latino vote in 9 states and for the U.S. Source: Pew Hispanic Center

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Election Weekend News Interest Hits 20-Year High Top Events of Campaign 2008

"As the long presidential campaign wound down last week, the public remained highly engaged. Fully 60% of registered voters said they were following campaign news very closely, while 28% said they were following fairly closely. That is the highest level of voter interest just before a presidential election since the Pew Research Center began tracking campaign news interest in 1988." Source: Pew Research Center for People and the Press

Download full pdf report | Download topline questionnaire | Link to online Summary

The Impact of Urbanization on Zinacantec Maya Women and Girls: A Controlled Case Study in Historical Perspective

In recent decades, ecocultural environments of the Maya in Chiapas, Mexico have undergone continuous change from more subsistence-based to more commerce-based and from more rural to more urban. Comparing ethnographic observations of one family over a ten-year period and across rural and urban environments, we used activity-setting analysis to investigate changes on the micro level that would reflect these shifts in the macro-environment. The development of commerce between 1997 and 2007 led to increased reliance on technology, increases in individuation and individual choice, specialization for economic tasks, and, for women, more formal education. Other changes in this same period of time were greatly intensified by urban dwelling: contact with strangers and people of different ethnicities, women's economic achievement, and greater freedom for young women to have unchaperoned contact with young men. Author: Patricia Greenfield (CASBS Fellow Class of 2005) Source: UCLA Center for the Study of Women.

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The Influence of Agriculture on Aboriginal Socio-Political Organization in the Lower Colorado River Valley

The Yuman-speaking peoples of the Southwest and California were for the most part non-agricultural in pre-contact times, but the tribes of the lower Colorado River Valley did regularly farm. These tribes were, from north to south, the Mohave, Halchidhoma, Yuma (Cuchan), Kahwan, Halyikwamai, and Cocopa. Castetter and Bell (1951:74) estimated that, on the average, they obtained from 30% to 50% of their food supply from agriculture. These percentages are low—and in many years they must have been much lower—yet River Yuman culture differed from that of the Yuman-speaking peoples of California and upland Arizona in many ways, the most fundamental of which represent, we believe, an adaptation to agriculture and to the distinctive environment in which it was practiced. In this paper, we will suggest that the successful practice of agriculture in the Colorado River Valley necessitated a settlement pattern to which the distinctive River Yuman sib system is an adaptation. This in turn gave rise to a form of chieftainship, a type of warfare, and a supporting ideology that was quite unlike that of the non-agricultural Yuman-speaking peoples of California and Arizona.

The Journal of California Anthropology: Vol. 1: No. 2, Article 5. [via eScholarship repository]

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Crisis Averted, Transition Ended?: Russia’s Response to the 2008 Financial Crisis as the End of Russia’s “Transition”

Transitologists—scholars who study economic and legal transitions from planned to market economies in formerly socialist countries—have long had difficulty applying dominant paradigms to the ever-enigmatic and unique Russian example. A central question in transition studies is what constitutes the “end” of transition, the theoretical point of arrival. In the case of Russia, this debate is wide-open, with some claiming that recent political developments and the general sliding back of “rule of law” reforms signal a return to totalitarianism, while more moderate Western observers voice hope that Russia’s posture towards Europe (at least) resembles that of a dependable trading partner and member of the civilized family of nations. This short article analyzes Russia’s response to the 2008 global financial crisis and posits that the response of Russia’s ruling elites’ to the crisis is meant to signal to the West the end of transition in Russia; in short, that Russia has learned to manage its own economic affairs. Part one provides an overview of liberalization reforms in Russia during the active transition period (1989-1998). Part two examines the consolidation of power, latent transition, and Russia’s economic growth under Putin’s reign (1999-2008). Lastly, part three analyzes the impact of Russia’s immediate response to the crisis both on Russia’s standing in the world, as well as the consequences for America’s continuing liberalization policies in Russia and beyond.

Source: Cornell Law School. Cornell Law School Working Papers Series. Paper 46.

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"Think Global, Act Local": Workplace Representation in a World of Global Labor and Product Market Competition

The decline of unionization rates in private companies, while at an especially low point below 10% in the U.S., is a worldwide phenomenon, hastened by the emergence of global labor and product market competition. The dilemma for public policy is that while strong unions can promote worker voice and economic participation, they do so in a manner that harms firm performance where all companies competing in the same product market are subject to the same union standards. Global markets make it increasingly difficult for unions to pursue traditional redistributive goals, bringing to the fore an alternative model of workplace representation that emphasizes pursuit of objectives that do not undermine firm profits. Although global labor standards are often suggested as a means of improving the ability of U.S. workers to compete on a “level playing field” with workers in other countries, this approach is not likely to succeed if developing countries are to pursue their competitive advantage as lower-cost producers. Rather, the path for U.S. public policy should be two-pronged: (1) strengthening the protections for workers seeking collective representation, while (2) removing disincentives in current institutional arrangements that retard the evolution of unions as integrative bargaining agents. Source: NY University School of Law New York University Public Law and Legal Theory Working Papers. Paper 90.

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Sunday, November 02, 2008

Authorʹs Rights Tout de Suite

Authorʹs Rights Tout de Suite is designed to give journal article authors a quick
introduction to key aspects of authorʹs rights and to foster further exploration of
this topic though liberal use of relevant references to online documents and links
to pertinent Web sites.

Download dpf article: Authorʹs Rights Tout de Suite

Fundraising, Campaigns and Endowments in a Challenging Economy

Tactics for Troubled Times
"In difficult economic times, fund raising consultants frequently suggest colleges go back to basics. That means connecting with donors who have given before, including the widowed spouses of once-great contributors." Source: Inside Higher Ed
Link to online Article

Donations rise, markets fall

"By all accounts, September was not a good month for the American economy.

Stock prices plummeted, and 159,000 jobs were lost, the worst such decline in five years. But at Yale, it was a record month for fundraising. Figures obtained by the News show that the University raked in over $28.25 million in donations last month, more than double the $14 million raised in September last year." Source: Yale Daily News

Link to online article

From the Council for Advancement and Support of Education
CASE has pulled together a number of resources with
the guidance of senior advancement professionals to help educational institutions maximize the effectiveness of their fundraising initiatives during challenging economic times.
Link to CASE

Obama Leads McCain 52% to 46% in Campaign's Final Days

"Barack Obama holds a significant lead over John McCain in the final days of Campaign 2008. The Pew Research Center's final pre-election poll of 2,587 likely voters, conducted Oct. 29-Nov. 1, finds 49% supporting or leaning to Obama, compared with 42% for McCain; minor party candidates draw 2%, and 7% are undecided."

"Pew's final survey indicates that the remaining undecided vote breaks slightly in McCain's favor. When both turnout and the probable decisions of undecided voters are taken into account in Pew's final estimate, Obama holds a 52% to 46% advantage, with 1% each going to Ralph Nader and Bob Barr."

Source: Pew Research Center for People and the Press

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Internet Now Major Source of Campaign News

Many more Americans are turning to the internet for campaign news this year as the web becomes a key source of election news. Television remains the dominant source, but the percent who say they get most of their campaign news from the internet has tripled since October 2004 (from 10% then to 33% now).

While use of the web has seen considerable growth, the percentage of Americans relying on TV and newspapers for campaign news has remained relatively flat since 2004. The internet now rivals newspapers as a main source for campaign news. And with so much interest in the election next week, the public’s use of the internet as a campaign news source is up even since the primaries earlier this year. In March, 26% cited the internet as a main source for election news, while the percentages citing television and newspapers remain largely unchanged. Source: Pew Research Center for People and the Press

Download full pdf Report | Link to summary of findings

Female Genital Mutilation as Persecution: When Can It Constitute a Basis for Asylum and Withholding of Removal?

"Female genital mutilation (FGM) encompasses a wide range of procedures which involve the removal or alteration of a woman's and girl's genitalia. The federal courts and the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) have classified FGM as a form of persecution, a showing of which can act as a basis for a successful asylum or withholding of removal claim. However, there was a split between the federal courts and the BIA over the treatment of applicants who have already been subjected to FGM. The federal courts that have addressed this issue have held that a past infliction of FGM creates a presumption of a well-founded fear of future persecution, which is a prerequisite for refugee status, and also a clear probability of future harm, a requirement for obtaining withholding of removal. The BIA, on the other hand, has rejected this position in In re A-T-, arguing that FGM can be inflicted only once, which means that an applicant cannot have a well-founded fear or present a clear probability of FGM happening again in the future. Thus, under the BIA interpretation, the past infliction of FGM, a form of past persecution, rather than creating a presumption of a well-founded fear of future persecution, rebuts the presumption." Source: Congressional Research Service

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The America COMPETES Act and the FY2009 Budget

"The America COMPETES Act (P.L. 110-69) responds to concerns that the United States may not be able to compete economically with other nations in the future due to insufficient investment today in science and engineering research and in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education. A similar concern led President Bush to announce the American Competitiveness Initiative (ACI) in January 2006. FY2008 appropriations met neither the Administration's ACI target nor America COMPETES Act authorized levels. An issue for Congress is whether FY2009 appropriations will.

The Presidents's Office of Science and Technology Policy reports that the FY2009 budget request includes funding for America COMPETES Act initiatives at 88% of the FY2009 authorization level. In June 2008, the House and Senate approved the Concurrent Budget Resolution Conference Report (S.Con.Res. 70), which provides a sense of the Congress on the America COMPETES Act, stating "the Congress should provide sufficient funding so that our Nation may continue to be the world leader in education, innovation and economic growth." For FY2009, the federal agencies that manage America COMPETES Act programs are funded through an interim continuing resolution until March 6, 2009. Funding for the remainder of FY2009 and all of FY2010 remains to be determined. The act authorizes increases in the nation's investment in science and engineering research at the National Science Foundation (NSF), the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) laboratories, and the Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Science." Source: Congressional Research Service, Library of Congress

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Congress and U.S. Policy on North Korean Human Rights and Refugees: Recent Legislation and Implementation

"The passage of the reauthorization of the North Korean Human Rights Act in October 2008 (P.L.110-346) reasserted congressional interest in influencing the Bush Administration's policy toward North Korea. In addition to reauthorizing funding at original levels, the bill expresses congressional criticism of the implementation of the original 2004 law and adjusts some of the provisions relating to the Special Envoy on Human Rights in North Korea and the U.S. resettlement of North Korean refugees. Some outside analysts have pointed to the challenges of highlighting North Korea's human rights violations in the midst of the ongoing nuclear negotiations, as well as the difficulty in effectively reaching North Korean refugees as outlined in the law. Further, the law may complicate coordination on North Korea with China and South Korea. For more information, please see CRS Report RL34189, North Korean Refugees in China and Human Rights Issues: International Response and U.S. Policy Options, coordinated by Rhoda Margesson." Source: Congressional Research Service, Library Of Congress

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| Link to online abstract

Among Hispanics in Florida, 2008 Voter Registration Rolls Swing Democratic

"Unlike in the rest of the country, the Latino vote in the Sunshine State has tended to be heavily Republican; but changing politics and demographics have produced a substantial shift in electoral rolls." Source: Pew Hispanic Center

Download full pdf fact sheet | Link to Pew Hispanic Center

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Record Label Promotional Decisions and Artistic Personas: The Importance of Gender and Sexualization

"Many scholars and commentators have acknowledged sexism in the music industry, but very little systematic research explores patterns of gender preference or discrimination in popular music worlds. Interviews and interpretive or ethnographic work suggests a gendered glass ceiling exists, supported by gendered stereotypes and practices, but little direct research exists on the behaviors of record label personnel. This paper fills these holes by examining the degree to which record label promoters favor men or women as a group, and whether or not it matters if these artists are sexualized. The analysis suggests that, counter to expectations, promoters favor women as a group, and that both male and female artists receive a promotional boost for emphasizing a sexualized persona that counts double for women, but that these patterns differ significantly within genres and by race." Source: UCLA Center for the Study of Women. Thinking Gender Papers. Paper TG08_LynneDonze. [via eScholarship Repository]

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Monday, October 27, 2008

The 14th Biannual Youth Survey on Politics and Public Service by Harvard University’s Institute of Politics

"Eight years after our first national survey during the Spring of 2000 which came on the heels of the lowest national turnout for a presidential election in more than 50 years, we sought to understand the drivers behind political engagement and civic participation of a new generation. We found that while more than half of college students were engaged in some form of community service, far fewer were engaged in politics -or even voting.

Through the attitudinal and opinion data that we have collected over the course of fourteen in-depth editions of the Harvard University Institute of Politics’ Survey on Politics and Public Service we have seen dramatic changes in theway young Americans think about, relate to and engage in politics. More importantly we have seen record turnout by this generation during the 2008 primary season. " Source: Harvard Institute Of Politics

Link to Executive Summary
| Download topline data (pdf)

Sunday, October 26, 2008

What’s Next? Report on the Forum on the Future of Higher Education in Canada

"Universities and colleges play a central role in delivering the skills and knowledge that underpin personal development, success in the labour market, an innovative and productive economy, and a citizenry engaged in their communities. There has been a great deal of research in recent years on post-secondary education, particularly on how best to promote equitable access, but also on issues of quality and accountability in post-secondary institutions. The Forum on the Future of Higher Education in Canada examined key trends in post-secondary education and discussed policy options in five areas: access, connections between PSE and the labour market, integration of the system, new ways to deliver programs, and the need for a pan-Canadian framework."
Source: Canadian Policy Research Networks

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Incarceration and the Family : A Review of Research and Promising Approaches for Serving Fathers and Families

Summary Points:

# The number of individuals involved in the criminal justice system is at a historic high. There are almost 2.3 million individuals in U.S. jails and prisons and more than 798,000 people on parole. It is estimated that 7,476,500 children have a parent who is in prison, in jail or under correctional supervision.
# Minority children are disproportionately affected by father imprisonment: In state prisons, 42% of fathers are African American, and African American children are seven and a half times more likely to have a parent in prison than white children (6.7% vs. 0.9%).
# Only 23% of state prisoners are married, but many are involved in intimate or co-parenting relationships.
# Father incarceration negatively affects family life. Spouses/partners face serious financial strains, social isolation and stigma, loneliness, and negative emotions such as anger and resentment.
# Children of incarcerated fathers also may experience numerous life stressors, including caregiver changes, increased poverty, and involvement with the child welfare system, in addition to the pain of parental separation. These stressors have been linked to increased rates of anxiety, depression, learning problems, and aggression.
# Fathers in prison face a host of problems that limit their ability to be successful at reentry including substance abuse, mental illness, low educational attainment, and poor employment histories.

Source: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Link to more summary points

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Eurostat Regional Yearbook

"Eurostat regional yearbook 2008, which this year includes candidate and EFTA countries, uses text and graphics to paint a statistical picture of life in the regions. Th e 13 chapters are written by specialists and presented in a language accessible to all.

The 2008 publication is an ideal opportunity to assess the progress made so far in regional policy programmes recently launched as part of the EU’s new cohesion policy. Th e latest results from the Urban Audit also provide us with a snapshot of city life across the regions.

Download pdf report | Eurostat regional yearbook 2008">

Europe @ Risk

"Ahead of the World Economic Forum on Europe and Central Asia, held 30 October - 1 November, the Global Risk Network has launched a new edition of Europe@Risk. This report examines the global risks most pertinent to Europe, Russia, Eastern Europe, Turkey and Central Asia relating to four areas: economic slowdown, energy security, demographic shifts and education. It considers how interrelated these areas are, and how they might impact all or parts of the wider region. As the report was being prepared, the financial crisis that began with the collapse of the sub-prime mortgage market in the US in 2007 had reached a critical point.

Figures for Western Europe show that it is officially in recession and the level of uncertainty about the full extent, duration and longer term consequences of this crisis remains very high. This economic situation puts a number of the region’s challenges in new light; slower or no growth, combined with tighter credit conditions, will impact consumer, corporate and government spending. The mitigation of many of the risks considered in this report will require even greater collaboration across the region and considerable investment over the long term, be it in infrastructure, education or alternative energy." Source: World Economic Forum

Download full pdf report
| Link to World Economic Forum

Most States Are Setting Low Expectations for the Improvement of High School Graduation Rates

"Among industrialized nations, the United States is the only country in which today’s young people are less likely than their parents to have earned a high school diploma. Reversing this trend could hardly be more urgent.

Yet policymakers in many states are setting graduation improvement targets that won’t get our young people—or our nation—ready to compete in the knowledge-driven world of the 21st century. According to “Counting on Graduation,” a new report released today by The Education Trust, states must ratchet up expectations for high school graduation, substantially and immediately.

Federal law requires states to set benchmarks for improvements in reading and math achievement and for graduating high school students on time. However, the various methods states use to compute graduation rates obscure the reality that too few students are completing high school on time. Nationally, one of every four high school students fails to graduate on time. For African-American and Latino students, that rate increases to more than one in three." Source: The Education Trust

Download full pdf Report
| Link to online press release

Republicans: Still Happy Campers

"Chin up, Republicans. Despite the imploding stock market, the looming recession, the unpopular president and the dismal political polls, there's very good news in the one realm of life that's always been a special sanctuary for you.

Personal happiness.
Some 37% of you say you're "very happy" with your lives, compared with just 25% of Democrats who feel the same way, according to a new nationwide Pew Research Center survey conducted from Oct. 3 through Oct. 19 -- a period that's witnessed a race to the bottom between John McCain's poll numbers and the public's 401(k) account balances." Source: Paul Taylor, Pew Research Center

Link to online report : Social and Demographic Trends

Most Voters Say News Media Wants Obama to Win

Voters overwhelmingly believe that the media wants Barack Obama to win the presidential election. By a margin of 70%-9%, Americans say most journalists want to see Obama, not John McCain, win on Nov. 4. Another 8% say journalists don't favor either candidate, and 13% say they don't know which candidate most reporters support.

A separate study released Wednesday by the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism looks at the media’s recent campaign coverage and finds that McCain received significantly more negative than positive coverage between the GOP convention and the final debate. The study says that press treatment of Obama has been somewhat more positive than negative, but not markedly so. [See "Winning the Media Campaign" released October 22, 2008.] Source: Pew research center for people and the press

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| Link to online summary

Latinos Account for Half of U.S. Population Growth Since 2000

"Since 2000 Hispanics have accounted for more than half (50.5%) of the overall population growth in the United States -- a significant new demographic milestone for the nation's largest minority group. During the 1990s, the Hispanic population also expanded rapidly, but in that decade its growth accounted for less than 40% of the nation's total population increase. In a reversal of past trends, Latino population growth in the new century has been more a product of the natural increase (births minus deaths) of the existing population than it has been of new international migration. As of mid-2007, Hispanics accounted for 15.1% of the total U.S. population." Source: Pew Hispanic Center

Download full pdf report | Link to online summary | Link to State demographic data

Monday, October 20, 2008

Being Online is Not Enough: State Elections Web Sites

"In this report, Make Voting Work (MVW) examined the state elections Web sites in all 50 states and the District of Columbia to determine whether citizens can find the official election information they need to register to vote, check their registration status and locate their polling places. More importantly, MVW measured if potential voters can use the information on state elections Web sites and if it helps them. We found that every state has room for improvement. However, states can still take steps to help voters; as the election approaches, many states have updated their Web sites and developed tools to help voters this November." Source: Pew Charitable Trust

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| Link to online summary

How Engaged Are Consumers in Their Health and Health Care, and Why Does It Matter

"Patient activation refers to a person’s ability to manage their health and health care. Engaging or activating consumers has become a priority for employers, health plans and policy makers. The level of patient activation varies considerably in the U.S. population, with less than half of the adult population at the highest level of activation, according to a new study by the Center for Studying Health System Change (HSC). Activation levels are especially low for people with low incomes, less education, Medicaid enrollees, and people with poor self-reported health. Higher activation levels are associated with much lower levels of unmet need for medical care and greater support from health care providers for self-management of chronic conditions."

Download full pdf report | Link to online summary

University Libraries in Google Project to Offer Backup Digital Library

"The project is called HathiTrust, and so far it consists of the members of the Committee on Institutional Cooperation, a consortium of the 11 universities in the Big Ten Conference and the University of Chicago, and the 10 campuses in the University of California system. The University of Virginia is joining the project, it will be announced today, and officials hope to bring in other colleges as well.

All of the member universities participate in Google's ambitious effort to work with major libraries and with publishers to scan all the world's books. As part of the partnership, Google employees borrow and scan millions of volumes from each participating library to add them to their Google Book Search, and in return each library gets a digital copy of each of its scanned volumes." Source: Chronicle of Higher Education

"But there is an important catch. Because most of the millions of books are still under copyright protection, the libraries cannot offer the full text of the books to people off their campuses, though they can reveal details like how many pages of a given volume contain any passage that a user searches for."

Link to online article

Census Bureau Releases Comprehensive Health Insurance Coverage Estimates by County

“The Small Area Health Insurance Estimates (SAHIE) provide new and important detail on how health insurance coverage varies across counties,” said Lynn Blewett, director of the State Health Access Data Assistance Center in Minneapolis. “Analysts and policymakers can use this information to target outreach activities and other intervention strategies to increase coverage and access to needed health care services.”

"Currently, SAHIE are the only source for county-level estimates of health insurance coverage status. Starting next year the Census Bureau will also release such estimates from its American Community Survey. Single-year estimates will be available for all geographic areas with total populations of 65,000 or more, with three-year estimates being released in 2011 for all areas with total populations of at least 20,000. A health insurance question was added to the 2008 American Community Survey to permit the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to more accurately distribute resources and better understand state and local health insurance needs."

Link to SAHIE (datasets available for download)

Auction Basics: Background for Assessing Proposed Treasury Purchases of MortgageBacked Securities

"To address the turmoil in financial markets, the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act (EESA; H.R. 1424, P.L. 110-343), enacted on October 3, 2008, authorizes purchases of "troubled assets." The act passed the Senate on October 1, 2008, passed the House on October 3, 2008, and was signed into law the same day. The Administration proposed using reverse Dutch auctions to purchase troubled assets -- primarily mortgage-related securities from financial institutions. In reverse Dutch auctions, a buyer purchases multiple objects from private parties at a price set by the last accepted bid. The government has used reverse auctions since the Revolutionary War. Designing efficient reverse Dutch auctions may present some tradeoffs between enhancing competition among bidders and overpaying for assets relative to their quality. Careful auction design, however, can help minimize these problems. Auctions are especially useful for selling assets whose value to potential owners is unknown to the seller. Reverse auctions are useful when a buyer does not know what value sellers place on assets. Auction results could clarify the market value of troubled assets." Source: Congressional Research Service

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| Link to online abstract

Campaign Seen As Increasingly Negative : McCain Ads Seen as Less Truthful

"With less than three weeks to go before the election, there is a growing sense among the public that the tone of the presidential campaign has changed. A majority of Americans (55%) now say that the campaign is too negative. This is up significantly from 43% a month ago and represents a dramatic change from the beginning of the primary season when only 28% said the campaign was too negative. Perceptions of the tone of the current campaign are nearly identical to views of the 2004 presidential campaign. In October, 2004, 57% of registered voters said the campaign was too negative." Pew Center for People and the Press

Download full pdf publication
| Download pdf questionnaire | Link to online abstract

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Tobacco industry targeting of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community: A white paper

Smoking prevalence in the lesbian and gay community exceeds that in nearly all other demographic groups. In 2001, we undertook a four-year research project to study tobacco industry targeting of the lesbian and gay community. We researched formerly-secret tobacco industry documents, analyzed tobacco content in the gay press, interviewed leaders of LGBT organizations, and conducted focus groups with LGBT smokers and nonsmokers.

We found that tobacco companies began to advertise in the gay press in the early 1990s, initially wary of unfavorable publicity and quick to deny doing so when confronted. At the same time, the tobacco industry began to sponsor community organizations and events, especially those for AIDS-related causes, which helped burnish the industry's reputation. Many leaders and members of the community viewed this attention from major corporations as a sign that the community was becoming visible and more acceptable.

Our study found that most LGBT leaders did not consider tobacco a "gay issue". Focused on gay-specific concerns, such as homophobia, they saw tobacco as irrelevant or even a distraction from their missions. Twenty two percent of organizations we studied reported accepting financial support from the tobacco industry. Only 24% thought tobacco was one of the top three health concerns of the community. Many believed that smoking was solely a personal choice, not an issue of concern for the community as a whole.

The queer press normalized smoking. Images of tobacco, most conveying positive or neutral messages, were common. We found that many ads for products other than cigarettes glamorized smoking, and many articles having nothing to do with smoking were illustrated with tobacco use images. Only 11% of all non-advertising items we found (images and text) imparted a negative message about tobacco use. Very few LGBT publications had policies against accepting tobacco ads.

By the time the study ended, an increasing number of LGBT advocates were working in tobacco control. We recommend activities that promote a community dialogue about the real costs of accepting tobacco industry advertising and funding. For example, some groups are urging LGBT politicians and organizations to sign pledges not to take tobacco industry money. As mainstream tobacco control has begun to recognize the need of the LGBT community for services, we recommend that LGBT organizations apply for funding, perhaps using the infrastructures the community has developed to provide services for breast cancer and HIV.

Additional research to develop models for getting tobacco on the community's agenda would be useful. For example, understanding how alcohol and other drugs became seen as gay-specific community concerns—even though, like tobacco, they affect everyone—could be helpful. Finding ways to challenge the views of some young gay people—that most queers smoke—might make it easier to help them remain smokefree. Perhaps a greater

understanding of the coming out process—in which one's authentic self challenges societal norms—could help arm young people with the strength to resist tobacco. Finally, one of the lessons of the larger LGBT movement itself—the importance of holding institutions accountable for the harm they cause—might help the community stop thinking of smoking as a personal issue, and think of it instead as a systemic issue, with a culpable industry at the heart of the problem.

* Many community organizations define themselves as lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT). When possible, we included bisexual and transgender people in our study. Throughout this paper, the terms LGBT, queer, and gay are used interchangeably to acknowledge the diversity of the community and to respect the variety of ways in which LGBT people identify themselves.

Naphtali Offen, Elizabeth A. Smith, and Ruth E. Malone, "Tobacco industry targeting of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community: A white paper" (September 8, 2008). Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education. Tobacco Control Policy Making: United States. Paper LGBT2008.

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| Link to online abstract

Untold Truths: The Exclusion of Enforced Sterilizations from the Peruvian Truth Commission's Final Report

"This Article argues that the exclusion of enforced sterilization cases from the Peruvian Truth Commission’s (CVR’s) investigation and Final Report effectively erases state responsibility and greatly decreases the likelihood for justice and reparations for women victims-survivors of state-sponsored violence in Peru. In a context of deep cultural and economic divides and violent conflict, this note recounts how healthcare providers violated Peruvian women’s reproductive rights by sterilizing low-income, indigenous Quechua-speaking women without informed consent through the State’s Family Planning Program. It challenges the reasons given by Commissioners themselves for excluding these cases in the Commission’s investigation and Final Report and also examines the effects of these omissions. Additionally, this Article argues that these systematic reproductive injustices constitute an act of genocide, proposes an independent inquiry and advocates for a more inclusive ! investigation and final report for future truth commissions whose goals include truth, accountability and justice for all victims-survivors of state-sponsored violence. Addressing these systematic violations of the fundamental human rights of Peruvian women is particularly important today as the State prosecutes former President Alberto Ken’ya Fujimori, holding him accountable for his alleged acts and omissions in violation of the fundamental human rights of Peruvians during the internal armed conflict. Leaders responsible for the enforced sterilization of more than 200,000 Peruvian women, including Fujimori, must be held accountable for past violations in order to fully realize future reconciliation and justice in Peru." Source: Cornell Law School. Cornell Law School Working Papers Series. Paper 43.

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Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Making Space for Urban Girls: A Politics of Geography and Gender

"This paper presents a multi-year case study of an after-school literacy initiative at an inner city high school. In order to understand the lived experiences and practices of urban girls, this study explores how African American girls, in particular, navigate public and private spaces of their everyday worlds. Spatial limitations, institutional pressures, and teens’ subjectivities shaped an extracurricular literacy program, built on a theoretical framework of participatory research and youth-led digital media production. By considering the politics of after-school programming and the landscape of urban contexts, I problematize programs such as Girlspace, as well as complicate understandings of youth literacies, geography, and participatory research. This paper argues that for youth development programs to succeed, the complexity of socio-cultural and spatial realities facing urban girls-- as well as their perspectives-- must be understood." Source: Institute for the Study of Social Change. U.C. Berkeley ISSC Fellows Working Papers. Paper ISSC_WP_31. [via escholarship repository]

Download full pdf publication | Link to online abstract

Monday, October 13, 2008

Digital Quality of Life: Understanding the Personal and Social Benefits of the Information Technology Revolution

In the new global economy information technology (IT) is the major driver of both economic growth and improved quality of life. The Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF) in its 2007 report Digital Prosperity: Understanding the Economic Benefits of the Information Technology Revolution documented how IT, since the mid-1990s, has been the principal driver of increased economic growth not only in the United States but also in many other nations. However, IT is also at the core of dramatic improvements in the quality of life for individuals around the world. In our new report, we show how IT is the key enabler of many, if not most, of today’s key innovations and improvements in our lives and society—from better education and health care, to a cleaner and more energy-efficient environment, to safer and more secure communities and nations. Source: Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF)

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Sexually Assaulted Children: National Estimates and Characteristics

"Provides information on the estimated number and characteristics of children who were sexually assaulted in the United States in 1999. This Bulletin is the seventh in the Second National Incidence Studies of Missing, Abducted, Runaway, and Thrownaway Children (NISMART–2) series. Information on sexual assault was gathered from NISMART–2 interviews with victims and their families." Source: Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention

Download full pdf report | Link to Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention

Status and Trends in the Education of American Indians and Alaska Natives: 2008

"This report examines both the educational progress of American Indian/Alaska Native children and adults and challenges in their education. It shows that over time more American Indian/Alaska Native students have gone on to college and that their attainment expectations have increased. Despite these gains, progress has been uneven and differences persist between American Indian/Alaska Native students and students of other racial/ethnic groups on key indicators of educational performance." Source: National Center for Education Statistics

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| Link to online Summary

Ashamed Not to Vote for an African-American; Ashamed to Vote for a Woman: An Analysis of the Bradley Effect from 1982-2006

"By systematically analyzing the universe of black, Latino, Asian American Senate and Gubernatorial candidates, a representative sample of female candidates, and a large sample of white male comparison cases, we demonstrate that there is a Bradley Effect for black candidates that continues to the present day. We also show that women are susceptible to a reverse Bradley Effect. In addition to this contribution, the article also introduces a model of preference falsification which fills a gap in the survey response bias literature and is consistent with our overall findings, though to our knowledge no data exists to test it directly."Source: Center for the Study of Democracy. U.C. Irvine Paper 08-08.

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| Link to online abstract

Untapped Potential: Latinos and California Community Colleges

"Latinos are now the largest group of students who begin their postsecondary studies at a California community college after graduating from a public high school. This represents an opportunity to improve bachelor degree attainment among Latinos via the community college transfer function. This research brief describes current transfer rates among Latinos, reviews the literature on the barriers to transfer, and concludes with a cohort analysis of Latino community college students that describes their demographic profiles, coursework patterns, transfer readiness and outcomes. The author concludes that California’s community college system is not close to reaching its potential as a stepping-stone to four-year colleges and universities for Latino students." Source: Center for Latino Policy Research. Policy Reports and Research Briefs: Paper Chavez2008.

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Middle Class, By the Numbers

"With the economy in turmoil, the closing weeks of the presidential campaign are likely to focus increased attention on America's beleaguered middle class.

But just who is in the middle class? And how are things going for them?

The Pew Research Center surveyed 2,413 adults earlier this year, including 1,276 who identified themselves as "middle class." Pew researchers also analyzed U.S. Census data and other demographic and economic statistics." Source: Pew Research Center: Social and Demographic Trends

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Trends in Unauthorized Immigration: Undocumented Inflow Now Trails Legal Inflow

"There were 11.9 million unauthorized immigrants living in the United States in March 2008, according to new Pew Hispanic Center estimates. The size of the unauthorized population appears to have declined since 2007, but this finding is inconclusive because of the margin of error in these estimates.

However, it is clear from the estimates that the unauthorized immigrant population grew more slowly in the period from 2005 to 2008 than it did earlier in the decade.

It also is clear that from 2005 to 2008, the inflow of immigrants who are undocumented fell below that of immigrants who are legal permanent residents. That reverses a trend that began a decade ago. The turnaround appears to have occurred in 2007." Source: Pew Hispanic Center

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Many Say Press Has Been Too Tough on Palin

"Strong majorities of the public say the press has been fair to John McCain, Barack Obama and Joe Biden. But fewer than four-in-ten (38%) say the press has been fair to Sarah Palin. Many more believe the press has been too tough on Palin (38%) than say it has been too easy (21%).

While opinions about Palin coverage are highly partisan, many independents share the view that the press has been too tough on the Alaska governor. Among independents, 41% say the press has been too hard on Palin, 20% say the press has been too easy and 36% say the press has been fair. Republicans overwhelmingly believe the press has been too hard on Palin (63%). Just 7% say the press has been too easy on her. Nearly one-in-five Democrats (18%) agree that coverage of Palin has been too tough." Source: PewResearch Center for People and the Press

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Thursday, October 09, 2008

Resolving the Foreclosure Crisis: Modification of Mortgages in Bankruptcy

Abstract: For over a century, bankruptcy has been the primary legal mechanism for resolving consumer financial distress. In the current foreclosure crisis, however, the bankruptcy system has been ineffective because of the special protection it gives most home mortgages. Debtors may modify the terms of all debts in bankruptcy except those secured by mortgages on their principal residences. A bankrupt debtor who wishes to keep her house must pay the mortgage according to its original terms down to the last penny. As a result, many homeowners who are unable to meet their mortgage payments are losing their homes in foreclosure, thereby creating significant economic and social deadweight costs and further depressing the housing market.

This Article empirically tests the economic assumption underlying the policy against bankruptcy modification of home mortgage debt - namely that protecting lenders from losses in bankruptcy encourages them to lend more and at lower rates, and thus encourages homeownership. The data show that the assumption is mistaken; permitting modification would have little or no impact on mortgage credit cost or availability. Because lenders face smaller losses from bankruptcy modification than from foreclosure, the market is unlikely to price against bankruptcy modification.

In light of market neutrality, the Article argues that permitting modification of home mortgages in bankruptcy presents the best solution to the foreclosure crisis. Unlike any other proposed response, bankruptcy modification offers immediate relief, solves the market problems created by securitization, addresses both problems of payment reset shock and negative equity, screens out speculators, spreads burdens between borrowers and lenders, and avoids both the costs and moral hazard of a government bailout. As the foreclosure crisis deepens, bankruptcy modification presents the best and least invasive method of stabilizing the housing market. Source: Georgetown Law. Georgetown Law Faculty Working Papers. Paper 86.

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Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Gender, Source Country Characteristics and Labor Market Assimilation Among Immigrants: 1980-2000

"We use 1980, 1990 and 2000 Census data to study the impact of source country characteristics on the labor supply assimilation profiles of married adult immigrant women and men. Women migrating from countries where women have high relative labor force participation rates work substantially more than women coming from countries with lower relative female labor supply rates, and this gap is roughly constant with time in the United States. These differences are substantial and hold up even when we control for wage offers and family formation decisions, as well as when we control for the emigration rate from the United States to the source country. Men's labor supply assimilation profiles are unaffected by source country female labor supply, a result that suggests that the female findings reflect notions of gender roles rather than overall work orientation. Findings for another indicator of traditional gender roles, source country fertility rates, are broadly similar, with substantial and persistent negative effects of source country fertility on the labor supply of female immigrants except when we control for presence of children, in which case the negative effects only become evident after ten years in the United States." Source: National Bureau of Economic Research.

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Monday, October 06, 2008

Headed for a Crunch: An Update on Medicaid Spending, Coverage and Policy Heading into an Economic Downturn

"This annual 50-state survey of state officials on Medicaid and state budget actions by the Kaiser Family Foundation’s Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured (KCMU) finds enrollment in Medicaid began to rise in fiscal year 2008 with states expecting even larger increases for fiscal year 2009 as they confront a weakening economy. With the increased enrollment, Medicaid spending is also rising more rapidly than in the recent past, raising the potential for program cutbacks as states confront the combined impact of more enrollees and fewer available resources.

The survey finds that Medicaid enrollment across the country grew 2.1 percent in fiscal year 2008, more than erasing a slight decline in enrollment experienced the previous year. States also experienced spending growth of 5.3 percent, up significantly from the previous two years. For fiscal year 2009, states expect to see even larger increases in Medicaid enrollment and spending.

Conducted by Kaiser researchers with the KCMU and researchers with Health Management Associates, the eighth annual budget survey of state officials found that more states made restorations, enhancements or expansions to their Medicaid programs than made cuts for fiscal years 2008 and 2009. These include changes to provider reimbursement levels, in Medicaid eligibility requirements and enrollment processes, in benefits, and in home- and community-based services for long-term care." Source: Kaiser Family Foundation

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Economy seems better to the educated, whites and Republicans, the National Annenberg Election Survey shows

"As widely reported, polls have shown that the percentage of the American public reporting that the economy is faltering has increased over the past year. Some groups see the situation as more dire than others do. Results from the University of Pennsylvania’s National Annenberg Election Survey show that college-educated adults, whites, and Republicans are less likely than their demographic counterparts to believe that economic conditions in the country today are worse than they were one year ago, even when controlling for gender, age, education, income, race, ethnicity, and party identification." Source: Annenberg Public Policy Center

Note: This is the work of Kathleen Hall Jameson (CASBS Fellow 2004)

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American public has much to learn about presidential candidates’ issue positions, National Annenberg Election Survey shows

From Press Release:
"Many Americans are unable to identify where the major party candidates’ stand on various issues ranging from health care to abortion to free trade, according to recent data collected by the University of Pennsylvania’s National Annenberg Election Survey. Only a little over a quarter (28 percent) of adults were able to identify Senator John McCain as the presidential candidate more likely to support free trade agreements like NAFTA." Source: Annenberg Public Policy Center

Note: This is the work of Kathleen Hall Jameson (CASBS Fellow 2004)

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2008 State of College Admission report

"As the number of high school graduates grows, so, too, does the number of applications they are submitting to the nation’s four-year colleges and universities, according to the 2008 State of College Admission report by the National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC). The association released the sixth annual report during its national conference in Seattle, WA.

While the number of students and applications reached another all-time high, the average (mean) acceptance rate for four-year colleges and universities is much the same as it was when such statistics were first measured nationally in the 1980s. The increasing number of applications students submit may contribute to a more complicated admission environment, including increased uncertainty for colleges about who will attend if accepted, more admission strategies aimed at identifying students likely to attend, and greater attention to factors like a student’s interest in attending a college in the admission decision. Source: National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC)."

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