Thursday, December 17, 2009

Alternative Welfare-to-Work Strategies for the Hard-to-Employ

From the Overview:
This report presents interim results from an evaluation of two different welfare-to-work strategies for hard-to-employ recipients of Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) in Philadelphia. The study is part of the Enhanced Services for the Hard-to-Employ Demonstration and Evaluation Project, which is testing innovative employment strategies for groups facing serious obstacles to finding and keeping a steady job. The project is sponsored by the Administration for Children and Families and the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), with additional funding from the U.S. Department of Labor. It is being conducted by MDRC, a nonprofit, nonpartisan research organization, along with the Urban Institute and other partners.

Source: MDRC

Download full pdf report | Download pdf executive summary | Link to MDRC

Monday, December 14, 2009

The Millennials

Generations, like people, have personalities. Their collective identities typically begin to reveal themselves when their oldest members move into their teens and twenties and begin to act upon their values, attitudes and worldviews.

America's newest generation, the Millennials,1 is in the middle of this coming-of-age phase of its life cycle. Its oldest members are approaching age 30; its youngest are approaching adolescence.

Source: Pew Research

Link to various demographic and social trends of the Millennial Generation

Staying Safe Survey 2009 - Young People and Parents' Attitudes around Internet Safety

The Saying Safe Survey is the Department’s new tracking survey of young people and parents’ attitudes and confidence around a number of safety issues. The results in this report were commissioned specifically to inform the Department's work on child internet safety.

The survey was conducted through face-to-face in-home interviews with 1,433 parents and carers of children aged 0-17 and 833 with children and young people aged 12-17. Fieldwork took place between 12 June and 17 July 2009.

Source: United Kingdom Dept. for children, schools and family

Download full pdf publication
| Link to DCSF

Indicators of School Crime and Safety: 2009

Presents data on crime and safety at school from the perspectives of students, teachers, and principals. A joint effort by the Bureau of Justice Statistics and the National Center for Education Statistics, this annual report examines crime occurring in school as well as on the way to and from school. It also provides the most current detailed statistical information on the nature of crime in schools and school environments and responses to violence and crime at school. Data are drawn from several federally funded collections including the National Crime Victimization Survey, Youth Risk Behavior Survey, School Survey on Crime and Safety, and the Schools and Staffing Survey.

Source: U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics.

Download full pdf publication | Link to Bureau of Justice Statistics

Federal Student Aid FY2009 Annual Report

In FY 2009, Federal Student Aid delivered or supported the delivery of approximately $113 billion in grant, work-study and loan assistance to almost 13 million postsecondary students and their families. These students attend approximately 6,200 active institutions of postsecondary education accredited by dozens of agencies. Many of these students also receive loans from approximately 2,900 lenders with 35 agencies administering the guarantee on those loans.

Source: U.S. Dept. of Education

Download full pdf report
| Link to Federal Student Aid gov site

Transcript : Berkeley Endowed Lecture on Law and Economics: "Transitions into--and out of--Liberal Democracy"

"I believe a society can be expected to evolve into a liberal democracy, including private property and the rule of law, only if producer groups can organize and exert enough influence to prevent government predation."

Williams, Honorable Stephen F.(2009). Berkeley Endowed Lecture on Law and Economics

UC Berkeley: Berkeley Program in Law and Economics. Retrieved from:

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Together We Must! End Violence against Women and Girls and HIV & AIDS

Violence against women and girls (VAWG) and HIV & AIDS are mutually reinforcing pandemics; the need and the opportunity for integrated approaches addressing their intersection are increasingly evident. To date, however, such strategies have not been implemented on a widespread scale. Advocates and communities working on HIV & AIDS and VAWG are just beginning to come together to explore common strategies.

This publication profiles ten organizations that are working on innovative strategies to address the intertwined pandemics. It highlights key elements to consider when implementing such strategies.

Source: United Nations Development fund for women

Download full pdf publication | Link to online summary

Between Two Worlds: How Young Latinos Come of Age in America

Hispanics are the largest and youngest minority group in the United States. One- in-five schoolchildren is Hispanic. One-in-four newborns is Hispanic. Never before in this country's history has a minority ethnic group made up so large a share of the youngest Americans. By force of numbers alone, the kinds of adults these young Latinos become will help shape the kind of society America becomes in the 21st century.

This report takes an in-depth look at Hispanics who are ages 16 to 25, a phase of life when young people make choices that-for better and worse-set their path to adulthood. For this particular ethnic group, it is also a time when they navigate the intricate, often porous borders between the two cultures they inhabit-American and Latin American.

Source: Pew Hispanic Center

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| Link to online summary

Unemployment and Economic Recovery

From Summary

Even though the economy seems to be growing again, it may be a while before the unemployment rate begins to decline, and it may even continue rising for some time after the resumption of sustained economic growth. The unemployment rate is generally a lagging indicator, meaning that its ups and downs happen some time after the ups and downs of other broad indicators of economic activity. Unemployment may not fall appreciably when economic growth first picks up because some firms may have underutilized labor.

Source: Congressional Research Service

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The Copyright Registration Requirement and Federal Court Jurisdiction: A Legal Analysis of Reed Elsevier, Inc. v. Muchnick

From the online overview:
Although an author need not register his or her work with the U.S. Copyright Office to obtain copyright protection, registration is a statutory prerequisite to bringing suit for infringement of the copyright, as mandated by 17 U.S.C. §411(a). The question in Reed Elsevier, Inc. v. Muchnick, currently pending before the U.S. Supreme Court, is whether this section of the Copyright Act restricts the subject matter jurisdiction of the federal courts over copyright infringement actions.

Oral argument was heard in Reed Elsevier on October 7, 2009. The outcome of this case will not only affect the particular settlement at issue, but may well have broader implications for authors, publishers, and the general public.

Source: Congressional Research Service

Download pdf publication | Link to online overview

Does the Globalization of Anti-corruption Law Help Developing Countries?

What role do foreign institutions play in combating political corruption in developing countries? This chapter begins by describing the recently developed transnational anti-corruption regime, which encompasses legal instruments ranging from the dedicated multilateral agreements sponsored by the OECD and the United Nations, to the anti-corruption policies of international financial institutions, to components of the international antimony laundering regime, international norms governing government procurement, and private law norms concerning enforcement of corruptly procured contracts. It also surveys the evidence concerning a variety of claims about the potential advantages and disadvantages of having foreign institutions play a role in preventing, sanctioning, or providing redress for corruption on the part of local public officials. One of the main conclusions is that more attention ought to be paid to whether foreign institutions displace and undermine, or alternatively complement and enhance, local anti-corruption institutions. The analysis not only sheds light on the transnational anti-corruption regime, but also has implications for other efforts to rely on foreign legal institutions to address the problems of developing countries.

Source: New York University Law and Economics Working Papers

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| Link to online abstract

Monday, December 07, 2009

Educators See More Hungry Students in Their Classrooms

Educators across the nation report that, with increasing frequency, they are witnessing hunger among their students—which affects the ability to concentrate and learn—despite government and private nutrition programs intended to ensure children have enough to eat in and out of school, according to a new survey of classroom instructors released on Nov. 23.

AFT members—who include paraprofessionals, classified staff and food service workers, as well as teachers—will continue to track hunger in their schools by responding to an online question—giving examples of how the problem affects their students and identifying steps they believe would alleviate it. In addition to what the Share Our Strength survey found about teachers' responses to hungry students, AFT members have related other stories of cafeteria workers handing out extra food and classified staff keeping a snack drawer in the school office.

The survey of 740 elementary and middle school teachers was commissioned by Share Our Strength. It was conducted by Lake Research Partners through an online questionnaire Oct. 21-28. The results were released during an SOS-organized webinar that featured the stories of teachers who participated in the survey.

Download full pdf publication | Link to online summary

New Report Shows Paid Parental Leave Can Save Government Money in Turnover Costs

From Press Release:
The federal government could save an estimated $50 million in recruitment and retention costs by putting in place a paid parental leave benefit, according to new research by the Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR). The report, and its conclusion, was presented today at a Capitol Hill briefing co-hosted by the National Treasury Employees Union (NTEU).

“NTEU has long believed that commonsense benefits which assist employees in balancing competing work and home responsibilities help agencies hold on to talented workers,” said NTEU President Colleen M. Kelley. “This report shows that is true, with an added benefit of saving the government money.”

The IWPR report calculates that an additional 2,650 employees would remain with the government each year, if this benefit were in place. That would save $50 million in recruitment and retention costs, according to the report.

Source: IWPR via NTEU

Download full pdf report | Link to online press release

The Devil Wears Prada? Effects of Exposure to Luxury Goods on Cognition and Decision Making

Although the concept of luxury has been widely discussed in social theories and marketing research, relatively little research has directly examined the psychological consequences of exposure to luxury goods. This paper demonstrates that exposure to luxury goods increases individuals' propensity to prioritize self-interests over others' interests, influencing the decisions they make. Experiment 1 found that participants primed with luxury goods were more likely than those primed with non-luxury goods to endorse business decisions that benefit themselves but could potentially harm others. Using a word recognition task, Experiment 2 further demonstrates that exposure to luxury is likely to activate self-interest but not necessarily the tendency to harm others. Implications of these findings were discussed.

Source: Harvard Business School Working Papers

Download full pdf publication | Link to online Executive Summary

Transcript: Workplace Challenges: Managing Layoffs, and Motivating Those Left Behind

The current downturn has left many companies scrambling to manage workplace issues -- ranging from how to avoid a brain drain to how they can provide better value to customers and clients. Employees, for their part, face the challenges that arise from working in a leaner organization that demands increased productivity with fewer resources.

Knowledge@Wharton talked about these issues with Peter Cappelli, Wharton management professor and director of the school's Center for Human Resources, and Philip Miscimarra, a partner in the labor and employment practice in the Chicago office of law firm Morgan, Lewis & Bockius, co-chair of the Morgan Lewis/Workforce Change practice, and managing director of Wharton's Center for Human Resources research advisory group.

Link to online transcript

U.S. Seen as Less Important, China as More Powerful

Isolationist Sentiment Surges to Four-Decade High

The general public and members of the Council on Foreign Relations are apprehensive and uncertain about America’s place in the world. Growing numbers in both groups see the United States playing a less important role globally, while acknowledging the increasing stature of China. And the general public, which is in a decidedly inward-looking frame of mind when it comes to global affairs, is less supportive of increasing the number of U.S. troops in Afghanistan than are CFR members.

Source : Pew Research Center for People and the Press

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| Download topline questionnaire in pdf format | Link to online summary

Hispanics in the News: An Event-Driven Narrative

A study of more than 34,000 news stories that appeared in major media outlets finds that most of what the public learns about Hispanics comes not through focused coverage of the life and times of this population group but through event-driven news stories in which Hispanics are one of many elements.

Source: Pew Hispanic Center

Download Complete pdf report | Link to online summary

Lobbying the Executive Branch: Current Practices and Options for Change

Under the Lobbying Disclosure Act (LDA) of 1995, as amended, individuals are required to register with the Clerk of the House of Representatives and the Secretary of the Senate if they lobby either legislative or executive branch officials. In January 2009, Secretary of the Treasury Timothy Geithner placed further restrictions on the ability of lobbyists to contact executive branch officials responsible for dispersing Emergency Economic Stabilization Act (EESA, P.L. 110-243) funds. Subsequently, President Barack Obama and Peter Orszag, Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), issued a series of memoranda between March and July 2009 that govern communication between federally registered lobbyists and executive branch employees administering American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (P.L. 111-5) funds. Most recently, in October 2009, the White House directed executive agencies to prohibit, when possible, the appointment of federally registered lobbyists to federal advisory bodies and committees. The Recovery and Reinvestment Act lobbying restrictions focus on both written and oral communications between lobbyists and executive branch officials. Pursuant to the President's memoranda, restrictions have been placed on certain kinds of oral and written interactions between federally registered lobbyists and executive branch officials responsible for Recovery Act fund disbursement. The President's memoranda require each agency to post summaries of oral and written contacts with lobbyists on dedicated agency websites. EESA regulations are virtually identical. This report outlines the development of registration requirements for lobbyists engaging executive branch officials since 1995. It also summarizes steps taken by the Obama Administration to limit and monitor lobbying of the executive branch; discusses the development and implementation of restrictions placed on lobbying for Recovery Act and EESA funds; examines the Obama Administration's decision to stop appointing lobbyists to federal advisory bodies and committees; considers third-party criticism of current executive branch lobbying policies; and provides options for possible modifications in current lobbying laws and practices.

Source: Congressional Research Service

Download full pdf publication | Link to online Summary

Parenting in Poverty and the Politics of Commitment: Promoting Marriage for Poor Families through Relationship Education

The federal government has recently taken an unprecedented role in actively promoting marriage through social policies to address family instability and poverty in America. In 1996, Congress overhauled welfare policy to encourage work and marriage as routes to economic self-sufficiency for poor American families. This policy focus eventually led to the creation of the federal Healthy Marriage Initiative, a program that primarily funds relationship skills classes to promote marriage. Using ethnographic data from a community-based marriage education program for poor parents funded through a healthy marriage grant, I analyze how government-sponsored relationships skills classes intended to promote marriage tailor their messages for poor families. In doing so, this study addresses a broader sociological question: how does policy co-opt and transform ideas about love, family, and interpersonal commitment in the service of a particular political agenda? Moreover, how do parents accept, contest, and transform these ideologies on the ground when such ideas come up against the lived experience of families trying to create and maintain love while raising children in poverty? Ultimately, without addressing the structural issues that undermine poor couples’ aspirations to marry, relationship education frames healthy marriage as an emotional and economic partnership, one in which communication, conflict resolution, and financial management skills can be a social and psychological bulwark against the stresses of parenting in poverty.

Source: U.C. Berkeley Institute for the Study of Social Change

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| Link to online article

Drug Industry Document Archive

The Drug Industry Document Archive (DIDA) contains over 2500 documents about pharmaceutical industry clinical trials, publication of study results, pricing, marketing, relations with physicians and involvement in continuing medical education.

Most of these previously secret documents were made public as a result of lawsuits against the following pharmaceutical companies: Merck & Co., Parke-Davis, Warner-Lambert, Wyeth, and Pfizer.

About the Project

The Drug Industry Document Archive (DIDA) was created by the Center for Knowledge Management at the University of California San Francisco Library in collaboration with faculty members C. Seth Landefeld, MD (CASBS Fellow 2009) and Michael Steinman, MD to house material pertaining to United States of America ex rel. David Franklin vs. Parke-Davis, Division of Warner-Lambert (now owned by Pfizer, Inc). Filed by former Parke-Davis employee David Franklin, the lawsuit alleged that the company violated federal regulations by engaging in systematic efforts to promote the drug gabapentin (Neurontin) for uses not approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Drs. Steinman and Landefeld were unpaid expert witnesses on behalf of the plaintiff and wrote an expert report for the court regarding marketing practices for gabapentin and its potential impact on physician prescribing.

Documents were obtained from public-access files of the United States District Court for Massachusetts and other sources including the plaintiff's law firm. These include materials written by Parke-Davis and companies with whom it worked which were entered as evidence, and legal documents outlining the progress of the litigation.

Source: UCSF

Users can search or browse by document type
Link to Drug Industry Document Archive

Monday, November 23, 2009

Ending Social Promotion Without Leaving Children Behind : the case of New York City

Online Overview
Many states and school districts are implementing test-based requirements for promotion at key transitional points in students' schooling careers, thus ending the practice of “social promotion” — promoting students who have failed to meet academic standards and requirements for that grade. In 2003–2004, the New York City Department of Education (NYCDOE), which oversees the largest public school system in the country, implemented a new test-based promotion policy for 3rd-grade students and later extended it to 5th, 7th, and 8th graders. The policy emphasized early identification of children at risk of being retained in grade and provision of instructional support services to these students. NYCDOE asked RAND to conduct an independent longitudinal evaluation of the 5th-grade promotion policy and to examine the outcomes for two cohorts of 3rd-grade students. The findings of that study, conducted between March 2006 and August 2009, provide a comprehensive picture of how the policy was implemented and factors affecting implementation; the impact of the policy on student academic and socioemotional outcomes; and the links between the policy's implementation and the outcomes of at-risk students. Two other publications in this series provide a review of the prevailing literature on retention and lessons learned about policy design from top-level administrators across the country.

Source: RAND Corporation

Download full pdf publication | Download pdf Summary | Link to Rand Record

Thursday, November 19, 2009

APA Exposed : Everything you always wanted to know about the APA format but were afraid to ask

Developed at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, the online tutorial reflects 6th edition changes to APA's Publication Manual. The online tutorial is presented in the following short sections:

Introduction (7:08)

* Tutorial Features
* Tutorial Outline
* Why Use the APA format

Module 1: APA Formatting Basics (6:58)

* Spacing
* Margins
* Typeface and Font
* Unbiased Language
* Five-Heading System

Module 2: Citing Sources (10:49)

* Author-Date Method
* Direct Quotes
* Quotes from Electronic Sources
* Block Quotes

Module 3: Reference Citations in the Text (7:27)

* The Paragraph
* Two Authors
* Three to Five Authors
* Six or More Authors
* Studies I Didn't Read
* Lectures

Module 4: References (18:34)
* Two Entries by the Same Author
* APA Reference Style: Periodical (Journal)
* DOIs
* APA Reference Style: Book
* APA Reference Style: Book Chapter
* Online Documents
* PowerPoint Presentations

Source: Harvard School of Education

Link to tutorial site

United Nations Rule of Law Website

From About page:

The United Nations Rule of Law Website is a promotional and educational tool for practitioners and the general public. It seeks to inform users about the UN’s work in the field of rule of law, and its efforts to coordinate and strengthen system-wide approaches in this field. It is the central UN rule of law web-based resource, serving as a gateway to the rest of the UN’s related sites, and making information more widely accessible about UN rule of law issues and activities, and the various tools, documents and materials on the subject. The website is also an avenue for users to access other web resources on or related to rule of law, developed by the UN or external organizations.

The website features focus articles that describe UN rule of law engagement in countries, and major developments in the rule of law field. The UN’s approach to the emerging and critical rule of law issues that span the work of the Organization are explained in the crosscutting themes section. The interactive map provides highlights of current UN rule of law activities by region.

A key component of the website is the knowledge resources section. Its main feature is the United Nations Rule of Law Document Repository. The repository comprises core official and unofficial UN rule of law tools and materials: including UN norms and standards, resolutions, reports, guidance materials, training materials, and programming materials, lessons learned and evaluation. Users are also able to access additional practical rule of law resources, such as other databases, jobs, trainings, and practitioner networks.

Source: United Nations Rule of Law Resource and Coordination Group

Link to U.N. Rule of Law Website

2009 State of the World Population Report : Facing a Changing World: Women, Population and Climates

From the introduction:

Climate—the average of weather over time—is always changing, but never in known human experience more dramatically than it is likely to change in the coming century. For millennia, since civilizations arose from ancient farming societies, the earth's climate as a whole was relatively stable, with temperatures and patterns of rainfall that have supported human life and its expansion around the globe.

A growing body of evidence shows that recent climate change is primarily the result of human activity. The influence of human activity on climate change is complex. It is about what we consume, the types of energy we produce and use, whether we live in a city or on a farm, whether we live in a rich or poor country, whether we are young or old, what we eat, and even the extent to which women and men enjoy equal rights and opportunities. It is also about our growing numbers—approaching 7 billion.

As the growth of population, economies and consumption outpaces the earth's capacity to adjust, climate change could become much more extreme—and conceivably catastrophic. Population dynamics tell one part of a larger, more intricate story about the way some countries and people have pursued development and defined progress and about how others have had little say in the decisions that affect their lives.

Source: United Nations

Download full pdf report
| Link to UNFPA Online Overview

Diabetes Awareness and Knowledge Among Latinos: Does a Usual Source of Healthcare Matter?

To provide national prevalence estimates of usual source of healthcare (USHC), and examine the relationship between USHC and diabetes awareness and knowledge among Latinos using a modified Andersen model of healthcare access. Three thousand eight hundred and ninety-nine Latino (18-years or older) participants of the Pew Hispanic Center/Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Hispanic/Latino Health survey from the 48 contiguous United States. Cross- sectional, stratified, random sample telephone interviews. Self-reported healthcare service use was examined in regression models that included a past-year USHC as the main predictor of diabetes awareness and knowledge. Anderson model predisposing and enabling factors were included in additional statistical models. Significant differences in USHC between Latino groups
were found with Mexican Americans having the lowest rates (59.7%). USHC was associated with significantly higher diabetes awareness and knowledge (OR=1.24; 95%CI=1.05-1.46) after accounting for important healthcare access factors. Men were significantly(OR=0.64; 95%CI=0.52-0.75) less informed about diabetes than women. We found important and previously unreported differences between Latinos with a current USHC provider, where the predominant group, Mexican Americans, are the least likely to have access to a USHC. USHC was associated with Latinos being better informed about diabetes; however, socioeconomic barriers limit the availability of this potentially valuable tool for reducing the risks and burden of diabetes, which is a major public health problem facing Latinos.

Source: Journal of General Internal Medicine [via eScholarship repository]

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| Link to eScholarship repository record

Who Benefits From Student Aid? The Economic Incidence of Tax-Based Federal Student Aid.

Federal student aid is designed to lower the costs of postsecondary attendance, working to ensure that higher education is widely accessible. The effectiveness of these programs depends crucially on the existence of offsetting price changes. Contrary to the intention of policymakers, I find that schools fully counteract the cost reduction of tax-based aid by lowering institutional aid dollar-for-dollar. This finding implies that colleges and universities capture the financial benefits of tax-based aid at the expense of eligible students and families.

Author: Nick Turner
Source: U.C. San Diego, Department of Economics [via eScholarship repository]

Download full pdf publication | Link to eScholarship Repository

Noncitizen Eligibility and Verification Issues in the Health Care Reform Legislation

From the Summary:

Health care reform legislation raises a significant set of complex issues, and among the thornier for policy makers are the noncitizen eligibility and verification issues. That the treatment of foreign nationals complicates health care reform legislation is not surprising given that reform of immigration policy poses its own constellation of controversial policy options. This report focuses on this nexus of immigration law and health care reform in the major health care reform bills that have received committee action.

Source: Congressional Research Service

Download full pdf publication | Link to online summary

Social Isolation and New Technology

From the online description:
This report adds new insights to an ongoing debate about the extent of social isolation in America. A widely-reported 2006 study argued that since 1985 Americans have become more socially isolated, the size of their discussion networks has declined, and the diversity of those people with whom they discuss important matters has decreased. In particular, the study found that Americans have fewer close ties to those from their neighborhoods and from voluntary associations. Sociologists Miller McPherson, Lynn Smith-Lovin and Matthew Brashears suggest that new technologies, such as the internet and mobile phone, may play a role in advancing this trend. Specifically, they argue that the type of social ties supported by these technologies are relatively weak and geographically dispersed, not the strong, often locally-based ties that tend to be a part of peoples’ core discussion network. They depicted the rise of internet and mobile phones as one of the major trends that pulls people away from traditional social settings, neighborhoods, voluntary associations, and public spaces that have been associated with large and diverse core networks.

Source: Pew Internet and American Life Project

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| Link to online description

Religious Landscape Survey Data Release

From the Press Release:
Data files from the U.S. Religious Landscape Survey, conducted in 2007 by the Pew Research Center's Forum on Religion & Public Life, are now available to the public.

The U.S. Religious Landscape Survey included interviews with a representative sample of more than 35,000 U.S. adults. The survey examined religious affiliation, beliefs and practices as well as basic social and political attitudes. The large sample presents scholars and analysts with opportunities to analyze small population groups that most smaller surveys do not afford.

Source: Pew Research Center Forum on Religion & Public Life

Link to Pew data site

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Employees in Postsecondary Institutions, Fall 2008, and Salaries of Full-Time Instructional Staff, 2008-09

This First Look presents data from the Winter 2008-09 Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS), including data on the number of staff employed in Title IV postsecondary institutions in fall 2008 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.

Source: National Center for Education Statistics

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| Link to online overview

Monday, November 02, 2009

Preliminary Analysis of the Affordable Health Care for America Act As Introduced in the House of Representatives on October 29

From the Congressional Budget office Director's blog:
Among other things, H.R. 3962 would establish a mandate for most legal residents of the United States to obtain health insurance; set up insurance “exchanges” through which certain individuals and families could receive federal subsidies to substantially reduce the cost of purchasing that coverage; significantly expand eligibility for Medicaid; substantially reduce the growth of Medicare’s payment rates for most services (relative to the growth rates projected under current law); impose an income tax surcharge on high-income individuals; and make various other changes to the federal tax code, Medicaid, Medicare, and other programs.

Download full pdf report | Link to CBO

Equality in higher education: statistical report 2009

ECU's second annual report into equality across the higher education sector presents a selection of statistics relating to the gender, ethnicity, disability status and age of all staff and students in higher education. In a time of economic difficulties, it has never been more important for higher education institutions to be clear about ongoing, and in some cases growing, patterns of disadvantage across the sector.

The report reveals that much progress has been made with equality over the past five years, but there are still significant challenges ahead.

Building on last year's publication, this report provides further analysis of the challenges facing the sector, including combinations of equality characteristics, analysis of key trends over the past five years and pay gaps. The report aims to enable individual institutions to compare themselves against national trends to assess their own progress on equality.

Source: Equality Challenge Unit

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| Link to online abstract

Asia-Pacific Trade and Investment Report 2009 : Trade-led Recovery and Beyond

The Asia-Pacific Trade and Investment Report is an annual publication prepared by staff of the Trade and Investment Division as a full in-house publication. The Report replaces the Asia-Pacific Trade and Investment Review with its first issue in 2009. The theme of APTIR 2009 is: "trade-led recovery and beyond". This issue analyses the impact of the global economic crisis on trade and investment flows in and to the region and implications for trade policy. It provides a conceptual framework for trade policy which should contribute to achieving inclusive and sustainable development. It makes a case for the multilateral trading system as the prime international trade governance system and gives an overview of the latest developments in the Doha Round. This issue of the Report also calls for an expansion of intraregional trade and deeper regional integration for that purpose and discusses the role of regional trade agreements in that regard. The Report also emphasizes the role of trade facilitation and needs for trade finance and explores issues related to business survival and development in time of crisis and beyond, including the development of regional value chains and the need for business to adopt principles related to corporate social responsibility (CSR).

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The Global Financial Crisis: Analysis and Policy Implications

From the summary:

Although recent data indicate the large industrialized economies may have reached bottom and are beginning to recover, for the most part, unemployment is still rising. Numerous small banks and households still face huge problems in restoring their balance sheets, and unemployment has combined with sub-prime loans to keep home foreclosures at a high rate. Nearly all industrialized countries and many emerging and developing nations have announced economic stimulus and/or financial sector rescue packages, such as the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (P.L. 111-5). Several countries have resorted to borrowing from the International Monetary Fund as a last resort. The crisis has exposed fundamental weaknesses in financial systems worldwide, demonstrated how interconnected and interdependent economies are today, and has posed vexing policy dilemmas.

Source: Congressional Research Service

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| Link to online abstract.

The Impact of Inequality for Same-Sex Partners in Employer-Sponsored Retirement Plans.

From Executive Summary:
This report analyzes the impact of unequal treatment of same-sex partners in the context of retirement plans and estimates the cost for employers of adopting a policy of equal treatment. The focus of this report is retirement income rather than health care provision for retirees and their families. Our goal is to address several key issues for same-sex couples as they plan for retirement. We find that same-sex couples face inequalities when it comes to their ability to accumulate wealth, plan for their futures, and pass on wealth.

Source: UC Los Angeles: The Williams Institute. Retrieved from:

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Social Movements and the Journalistic Field: A Multi-Institutional Approach to Tactical Dominance in the LGBT Movement

Social movements typically consist of several diverse organizations, with each using subtly different tactics to advance a similar, but not equivalent, vision of social change. The landscape of powerful social institutions in which a movement is situated affects which tactics become dominant among these organizations (and thus, within the movement) and which tactics are sidelined, discredited, or not even considered. The mainstream media is one example of a social institution that may have such a constitutive effect on social movements. When the mainstream news media – conceptualized here as a journalistic field – produce more substantial coverage of a given movement tactic, they may increase the tactic’s legitimacy, permitting organizations that perform the tactic to occupy a more dominant position within the movement. In this paper, I analyze media coverage of LGBT movement activity in a sample of mainstream newspapers from 1985-2008 to examine whether, in its coverage of the movement for LGBT rights, the mainstream media have focused on the LGBT movement’s legal tactics, organizations, and framing, and have downplayed other types of movement tactics and framing. This paper expands upon empirical studies from the communications and sociolegal literatures, which find that litigation oftenattracts publicity,
whereas protest activity rarely receives any substantive news coverage. The data presented here will likely have implications for the new, multi-institutional approach to social movement theory. They should help to clarify the ways in which tactics, when amplified by media coverage, influence the ascendancy of specific strategies and organizations within a social movement.

Source: Institute for Social Change, UC Berkeley

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Divided Fates: The State, Race, and Adaptation of Korean Immigrants in Japan and the United States

From the Introduction:

The content of this paper is based on a book manuscript that I am currently completing, which compares Korean diasporic groups in Japan and the United States. In my book project, I highlight the contrasting adaptation of Koreans in Japan and the United States, and illuminate how the destinies of immigrants who originally belonged to the same national collectivity diverged, depending upon destinations and how they were received in a certain state and society within particular historical contexts.

Source: Institute of Advanced Study| Kazuko Suzuki

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Incentives and Creativity: Evidence from the Academic Life Sciences

Despite its presumed role as an engine of economic growth, we know surprisingly little about the drivers of scientific creativity. In this paper, we exploit key differences across funding streams within the academic life sciences to estimate the impact of incentives on the rate and direction of scientific exploration. Specifically, we study the careers of investigators of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI), which tolerates early failure, rewards long-term success, and gives its appointees great freedom to experiment; and grantees from the National Institute of Health, which are subject to short review cycles, pre-defined deliverables, and renewal policies unforgiving of failure. Using a combination of propensity-score weighting and difference-in-differences estimation strategies, we find that HHMI investigators produce high-impact papers at a much higher rate than two control groups of similarly-accomplished NIH-funded scientists. Moreover, the direction of their research changes in ways that suggest the program induces them to explore novel lines of inquiry.

Source: National Bureau of Economic Research

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Moral Freaks: Lawyers' Ethics in Academic Perspective

Much recent academic discussion exaggerates the distance between plausible legal ethics and ordinary morality. This essay criticizes three prominent strands of discussion: one drawing on the moral philosophy of personal virtue, one drawing on legal philosophy, and a third drawing on utilitarianism of the law-and-economics variety. The discussion uses as a central reference point the “Mistake-of-Law” scenario in which a lawyer must decide whether to rescue an opposing party from the unjust consequences of his own lawyer’s error. I argue that academic efforts to shore up the professional inclination against rescue are not plausible. I conclude by recommending an older jurisprudential tradition in which legal ethics is more convergent with ordinary morality.

Source: Forthcoming Georgetown Journal of Legal Ethics (2010) [via nellco legal scholarship repository]

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| Link to online abstract

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Mapping State Proficiency Standards Onto NAEP Scales

From Summary:
States vary widely in where they set their student proficiency standards in 4th and 8th grade reading and mathematics, according to a new report released today by the National Center for Education Statistics. The report compares proficiency standards of states using the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) as the common yardstick.

The report, "Mapping State Proficiency Standards onto NAEP Scales: 2005-2007," uses NAEP to provide context for understanding the relative stringency of state standards given that each state has its own assessment system and standards for proficiency. The study compared the range of state standards in both 2005 and 2007 and measured changes in the rigor of state proficiency standards when new state standards were set after key aspects of the state assessment system changed.

Source: National Center for Education Statistics

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| Link to NAEP Studies

Monday, October 26, 2009

New Study Details Complex Health Care Needs of Medicaid's Highest-Need, Highest-Cost Populations

While creating better systems of care for aged, blind, and disabled beneficiaries is a priority within Medicaid, it is a challenge given the vast heterogeneity of this complex population. The Faces of Medicaid III: Refining the Portrait of People with Multiple Chronic Conditions provides insights for targeting efforts to improve care and control spending for the program's highest-need, highest-cost beneficiaries.

Source: Kaiser Permanente

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| Download pdf executive summary | Link to online summary

Community Colleges Pave the Way to Upward Economic Mobility for Millions of Americans, Particularly Low-Income Students

Community colleges are an important avenue to upward mobility no matter the students' background, income level, or high school accomplishments. This report finds that an associate degree is particularly meaningful for low-income, high-achieving high school students--over half of whom transfer to a four-year college, and, of those who transfer, three-quarters earn a bachelor's degree. In a time of high unemployment, community colleges are a critical stepping stone for people to increase their skills and earnings potential. The colleges also provide resources, including career counseling, to educate students about the classes and fields of study that have the potential for higher returns, such as health care and computer science.

Source: Pew Economic Mobility Project

Download full pdf publication | Link to Economic Mobility Project

Profile of Intimate Partner Violence Cases in Large Urban Counties

Examines the characteristics and processing of 3,750 cases of intimate partner violence, filed in the state courts of 16 large urban counties in May 2002. Topics covered include the types of charges filed against defendants, incident-specific information such as victim injury, defendant weapon use, evidence obtained, adjudication outcomes, and sentences imposed on convicted defendants. The report also examines the impact of various case characteristics on the likelihood of conviction.

Source: Bureau of Justice Statistics

Download pdf publication | Download spreadsheets | Link to Bureau of Justice Statistics

Women are Taking the Risk of Swine Flu More Seriously Than Men

"A new American Red Cross poll shows that while concerns about exposure to the H1N1 (swine flu) virus remain high, women are more likely than men to make extra efforts to cover coughs and sneezes with tissue, wash their hands more carefully and use hand sanitizer more often. "

Source: American Red Cross

Link to online report

Reducing child imprisonment in England and Wales – lessons from abroad

"...examines policies and programmes in countries with effective youth justice systems. The report also looks at how policymakers in Canada and New York responded to costly and damaging levels of youth custody by completely rethinking their approach to dealing with youth crime. "

Source: Prison Reform Trust, UK

Download full pdf publication | Link to Prison Reform Trust, UK

Iran Sanctions

From summary:
Iran is subject to a wide range of U.S. sanctions, restricting trade with, investment, and U.S. foreign aid to Iran, and requiring the United States to vote against international lending to Iran. Several laws and Executive Orders authorize the imposition of U.S. penalties against foreign companies that do business with Iran, as part of an effort to persuade foreign firms to choose between the Iranian market and the much larger U.S. market. Most notable among these sanctions is a ban, imposed in 1995, on U.S. trade with and investment in Iran. That ban has since been modified slightly to allow for some bilateral trade in luxury and humanitarian-related goods. Foreign subsidiaries of U.S. firms remain generally exempt from the trade ban since they are under the laws of the countries where they are incorporated.

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| Link to online summary

Updated Demographic Profiles of U.S. Hispanics by Country of Origin

The Pew Hispanic Center, a project of the Pew Research Center,... released five additional demographic profiles of Hispanic populations in the United States by country of origin: Guatemalan, Colombian, Honduran, Ecuadorian and Peruvian.These five follow the release earlier this year of demographic profiles for the five largest Hispanic populations: Mexican, Puerto Rican, Cuban, Salvadoran, and Dominican.

More than six-in-ten Hispanics in the U.S. self-identify as being of Mexican origin. Nine of the other 10 largest Hispanic origin groups -- Puerto Rican, Cuban, Salvadoran, Dominican, Guatemalan, Colombian, Honduran, Ecuadorian and Peruvian -- account for about a third of the U.S. Hispanic population. There are differences across these 10 population groups in the share of each that is foreign born, citizen (by birth or naturalization), and proficient in English. They are also of varying age, tend to live in different areas within the U.S, and have varying levels of education, homeownership rates, and poverty rates.

Source: Pew Hispanic Center

Link to download site for each country of origin
| Link to online overview

A System of Excuses: How Criminal Law’s Excuse Defenses Do, and Don’t, Work Together to Exculpate Blameless (And Only Blameless) Offenders

Criminal law excuses are analyzed as a group of analogous doctrines working together to exculpate blameless offenders. The analysis reveals that current law doctrine, although it often is not explicit about the parallel and integrated operation of its excuse defenses, does much to perform this exculpatory function. However, the systematic perspective of excuses also reveals some serious shortcomings of current doctrines.

Source: Scholarship at Penn Law. Paper 292.

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Thursday, October 22, 2009

Executive Compensation: Facts

In this paper we describe the important features of executive compensation in the US from 1993 to 2006. Some confirm what has been found for earlier periods and some are novel. Important facts about compensation are that: the compensation distribution is highly skewed; each year, a sizeable fraction of chief executives lose money; the use of equity grants has increased; the income accruing to CEOs from the sale of stock has increased; regardless of the measure we adopt, compensation responds strongly to innovations in shareholder wealth; measured as dollar changes in compensation, incentives have strengthened over time, measured as percentage changes in wealth, they have not changed in any appreciable way.

Source: National Bureau of Economic Research

Download pdf publication | Link to online abstract at NBER

Numbers and Types of Public Elementary and Secondary Local Education Agencies From the Common Core of Data: School Year 2007-08 - First Look

From Press Release:
While the largest school districts represented less than 1 percent of all districts during the 2007-08 school year, they served 12.5 percent of public school students. The National Center for Education Statistics has released "Numbers and Types of Public Elementary and Secondary Local Education Agencies From the Common Core of Data: School Year 2007-08." This report presents selected findings on the numbers and types of public elementary and secondary local education agencies in the United States and the territories in the 2007-08 school year, using data from Public Elementary/Secondary Local Education Agency Universe Survey of the Common Core of Data survey system.

Source: National Center for Education Statistics

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Monday, October 19, 2009

Census Data online

USA Counties features over 6,500 data items for the United States, States and counties from a variety of sources. Files include data published for 2008 estimates and many items from the 2000 Census of Population and Housing, the 1990 census, the 1980 census and the 2002, 1997, 1992, 1987, 1982 and 1977 economic censuses.

Information in USA Counties is derived from the following general topics: age, agriculture, ancestry, banking, building permits, business patterns, crime, earnings, education, elections, employment, government, health, households, housing, income, labor force, manufactures, population, poverty, retail trade, social programs, veterans, vital statistics, water use, and wholesale trade.

Files contain a collection of data from the U. S. Census Bureau and other Federal agencies, such as the Bureau of Economic Analysis, the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the Social Security Administration.

Link to Census Bureau Database

A National Report Card on Legal Representation For Abused & Neglected Children

From the Press Release:
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, approximately 900,000 children are determined to have been abused and neglected each year. Most of them will go through court proceedings that will determine their lives and futures. Yet while the state and the allegedly abusive or neglectful parent stands in court with an attorney by their side, the child often stands alone and silent, or is excluded entirely from these critical hearings.

This Second Edition of our groundbreaking report evaluates whether and how each state’s laws provide for the legal representation of abused and neglected children.

Source: Source: First Star and Children’s Advocacy Institute at the University of San Diego School of Law

Download full pdf publication | Link to Press Release

Fiscal Stimulus, Job Creation, and the Economy: What Are the Lessons of the New Deal?

As the nation watches the impact of the recent stimulus bill on job creation and economic growth, a group of academics continues to dispute the notion that the fiscal and job creation programs of the New Deal helped end the Depression. The work of these revisionist scholars has led to a public discourse that has obvious implications for the controversy surrounding fiscal stimulus bills. Since we support a new stimulus package—one that emphasizes jobs for the 9.8 percent of the workforce currently unemployed—we have been concerned about this debate. With Congress, the White House, pundits, and the press riveted on the all-important health care debate, we worry that they are also distracted by skirmishes over economic theory and history, while millions wait for a new chance to do meaningful work and effective, if imperfect, policy tools are readily at hand.

Source: Levy Economics Institute of Bard College

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| Link to online abstract

Economic Crisis Is Devastating For World's Hungry

From Press Release:

The sharp spike in hunger triggered by the global economic crisis has hit the poorest people in developing countries hardest, revealing a fragile world food system in urgent need of reform, according to a report released today by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the World Food Programme (WFP).

Download full pdf report | Link to WFP

Reducing Disproportionate Minority Contact: Preparation at the Local Level

Describes strategies that States and communities can use to reduce disproportionate minority contact with the juvenile justice system. This bulletin is a companion to the latest edition of OJJDP's Disproportionate Minority Contact Technical Assistance Manual. It includes useful "how to" information drawn from the manual and presents important background on the context in which local preparation takes place—media coverage and public attitudes about crime, race, and youth.

Source: Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention

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| Link to online abstract

Is Posner Right? An Empirical Test of the Posner Argument for Transferring Health Spending from Old Women to Old Men

Posner (1995) proposes the redistribution of health spending from old women to old men to equalize life expectancy. His argument is based on the assumption that women's utility is higher if they are married. Thus, extending the lifespan of men would benefit women. Using life satisfaction data from the German Socio-Economic Panel Study (SOEP), we conduct an empirical test of this assumption. We apply a two-step estimation strategy: first, we use a propensity score matching approach to generate a control group of non-widowed women. The average level of life satisfaction in the control group serves as a reference to measure the degree of adaptation to widowhood. In the second step, the life satisfaction trajectories of both groups are estimated using penalized spline regressions. The results suggest bereavement has no enduring effect on life satisfaction, and that falsifies Posner's assumption.

Source: Institute for the Study of Labor

Download full pdf publication | link to Institute for the Study of Labor

Income and Poverty Among Older Americans in 2008

From the Summary

Older Americans are an economically diverse group. In 2008, the median income of individuals aged 65 and older was $18,208 but incomes varied widely around this average. One-fourth of Americans 65 and older had incomes of less than $11,139 in 2008, while another one-fourth had incomes of $33,677 or more. Older Americans receive income from a variety of sources, including earnings, pensions, personal savings, and public programs such as Social Security and Supplemental Security Income. This report provides information from the March 2009 Current Population Survey on the number of elderly individuals and households who received income from each of these sources in 2008 and the amount of income received by individuals and households.

Source: Congressional Research Service

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"Gang of Four" Congressional Intelligence Notifications

"Gang of Four" intelligence notifications generally are oral briefings of certain particularly sensitive non-covert action intelligence activities, including principally, but not exclusively, intelligence collection programs, that the Intelligence Community typically limits to the chairmen and ranking members of the two congressional intelligence committees, and at times, but not always, to their respective staff directors. Gang of Four notifications are not based in statute but have constituted a practice generally accepted by the leadership of the intelligence committees and that is employed when the Intelligence Community believes a particular intelligence activity to be of such sensitivity that a restricted notification is warranted in order to reduce the risk of disclosure, inadvertent or otherwise. Intelligence activities viewed as being less sensitive typically are briefed to the full membership of each committee. In either case--whether a given briefing about non-covert action intelligence activities is limited to the Gang of Four, or provided to the full membership of the intelligence committees--the current statute conditions the provision of any such information on the need to protect from unauthorized disclosure classified information relating to sensitive intelligence sources and methods or other exceptionally sensitive matters. Congress has said that its intent in this regard is that in extremely rare circumstances a need to preserve essential secrecy may result in a decision not to impart certain sensitive aspects of operations or collection programs to the intelligence oversight committees in order to protect extremely sensitive intelligence sources and methods. With regard to the phrase "other exceptionally sensitive matters," Congress has said its intent in using this phrase is to refer to other extremely sensitive categories of classified information such as information concerning the operational details of military deployment and extraordinarily sensitive diplomatic contacts, which the intelligence committees do not routinely require to satisfy their responsibilities. This report reviews the history of Gang of Four notification process and compares this procedure with that of the "Gang of Eight" notification procedure. The "Gang of Eight" procedure is statutorily based and provides that that the Chairmen and Ranking Members of the intelligence committee, along with the Speaker and minority leader of the House, and Senate majority and minority leaders--rather than the full membership of the intelligence committees--are to receive prior notice of particularly sensitive covert action programs, if the President determines that limited access to such programs is essential to meet extraordinary circumstances affecting vital U.S. interests.

Source: Congressional Research Service

Download full pdf report | Link to online summary

2009 Nation's Report Card in Mathematics

The Nation's Report Card presents results from the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) for 4th and 8th graders in all fifty states, the District of Columbia, Department of Defense Schools, and the nation as a whole. Significant results for mathematics in 2009 include:

* For the first time since the assessment began, 4th graders showed no overall increase at the national level, although they scored significantly higher in 2009 than when the assessment began in 1990. For 8th graders, scores in 2009 were higher when compared to both 2007 and 1990. These nationwide patterns also held for most student subgroups. Findings regarding students performing at or above the NAEP achievement levels mirror those of the scale scores at both grades.

* Compared to 2007, five states and jurisdictions made gains at both grades 4 and 8, three states increased at grade 4 only, and ten increased at grade 8 only. Scores declined in four states at grade 4, while no state declined at grade 8.

The NAEP reading results, traditionally released with the mathematics results, will be released later, after planned analyses are completed to transition to the new 2009 Reading frameworks and assessments.

Source: National Center for Education Statistics

Download full pdf report
| Link to Nation's Reportcard site

Thursday, October 15, 2009

When the Boss Feels Inadequate: Power, Incompetence and Aggression (PDF)

From the Press Release:
Bosses who are in over their heads are more likely to bully subordinates. That's because feelings of inadequacy trigger them to lash out at those around them, according to new research from the University of California, Berkeley, and the University of Southern California.

In a new twist on the adage "power corrupts," researchers at UC Berkeley and USC have found a direct link among supervisors and upper management between self-perceived incompetence and aggression. The findings, gleaned from four separate studies, are published in the November issue of the journal Psychological Science.

With more than one-third of American workers reporting that their bosses have sabotaged, yelled at or belittled them, the new study challenges previous assumptions that abusive bosses are solely driven by ambition and the need to hold onto their power.

Download full pdf publication | Link to press release [via UC Berkeley]

Monday, October 12, 2009

A Report on the Size and Distribution of the World's Muslim Population

From Executive Summary

A comprehensive demographic study of more than 200 countries finds that there are 1.57 billion Muslims of all ages living in the world today, representing 23% of an estimated 2009 world population of 6.8 billion.

While Muslims are found on all five inhabited continents, more than 60% of the global Muslim population is in Asia and about 20% is in the Middle East and North Africa. However, the Middle East-North Africa region has the highest percentage of Muslim-majority countries.

Source: Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life.

Download full pdf report | Link to online summary

The Global Consumer In A Post-Recession World

From Nielsen Blog Post
With hopes for a full economic recovery accelerating in 26 out of the 28 major global markets surveyed as part of the Nielsen Global Consumer Confidence Index in late June, consumers around the world might be expected to return to their previous spending patterns. But according to a new report from Nielsen, some consumers may find it hard to shake recessionary habits. The severity of the recession has brought about a change in consumer values, spending habits and lifestyle choices in some parts of the world, and the indication is some consumers in the West will continue to refrain from excessive or unnecessary spending across all aspects, at least in the short term.

Download full pdf publication | Link to Nielsen

Children’s Exposure to Violence: A Comprehensive National Survey

Presents findings from the National Survey of Children’s Exposure to Violence, the most comprehensive survey to date of children’s exposure to violence in the United States. The survey was conducted between January and May 2008, and surveyed more than 4,500 children or their parents or adult caregivers regarding their past-year and lifetime exposure to violence. This Bulletin discusses the survey’s findings regard children’s direct and indirect exposure to specific categories of violence, how exposure to violence changes as children grow up, and the prevalence and incidence of multiple and cumulative exposures to violence. It also discusses the implications of the survey findings for policymakers, researchers, and practitioners who work with juvenile victims of violence.

Source: Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, USDOJ.

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| Link to download site

Letter Report to the U.S. Department of Education on the Race to the Top Fund

This report examines the Race to the Top initiative--a $4.35 billion grant program included in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to encourage state-level education reforms. The report strongly supports rigorous evaluations of programs funded by the Race to the Top initiative. The initiative should support research based on data that links student test scores with their teachers, but should not prematurely promote the use of value-added approaches, which evaluate teachers based on gains in their students' performance, to reward or punish teachers. The report also cautions against using the National Assessment of Educational Progress, a federal assessment that helps measure overall U.S. progress in education, to evaluate programs funded by the Race to the Top initiative.

Source: National Academies Board on Testing and Assessment; National Research Council

Download full pdf publication | Link to the National Academies Press

Cyberdeterrence and Cyberwar

The protection of cyberspace, the information medium, has become a vital national interest because of its importance both to the economy and to military power. An attacker may tamper with networks to steal information for the money or to disrupt operations. Future wars are likely to be carried out, in part or perhaps entirely, in cyberspace. It might therefore seem obvious that maneuvering in cyberspace is like maneuvering in other media, but nothing would be more misleading. Cyberspace has its own laws; for instance, it is easy to hide identities and difficult to predict or even understand battle damage, and attacks deplete themselves quickly. Cyberwar is nothing so much as the manipulation of ambiguity. The author explores these in detail and uses the results to address such issues as the pros and cons of counterattack, the value of deterrence and vigilance, and other actions the United States and the U.S. Air Force can take to protect itself in the face of deliberate cyberattack.

Source: RAND Corporation

Download full pdf publication | Download pdf executive summary | Link to online abstract

Brookings Inst. Report : Customer-Driven Medicine: How to Create a New Health Care System

Health care today is dominated by physicians, hospitals, the pharmaceutical industry, insurance companies, and government agencies. Patients seek to navigate their health care by moving across a variety of providers, ordering prescription drugs from pharmacies, and seeking reimbursement from either public or private insurance plans. They spend hours connecting the dots and working out the best health care for themselves and their families. If they are fortunate to have good providers and effective follow-through, they receive high-quality health care.

Source: Brookings Institution

Download full pdf report | Link to online summary

U.S.-Latin America Trade: Recent Trends and Policy Issues

From Online Summary

Trade is one of the more enduring issues in contemporary U.S.-Latin America relations. Latin America is far from the largest U.S. regional trade partner, but it is the fastest growing one, with the current exception of Africa, which has had strong export growth based largely on the rise of petroleum prices through mid-2008. Latin American countries have made noted progress in trade liberalization, reducing tariffs significantly and entering into their own regional agreements over the past two decades, although the pace has slowed of late. Over the last 15 years, the United States has implemented multiple free trade agreements (FTAs) with the region, which are more comprehensive than FTAs that include only Latin American countries. Many of the largest economies in South America, however, are not part of U.S. FTAs and have resisted a region-wide agreement, the Free Trade Areas of the Americas (FTAA). The main problems involve disagreements over what trade disciplines should be included. The inability to consummate an FTAA, the growing skepticism of U.S. bilateral free trade agreements (FTAs), both abroad and in the United States, trade disputes, and the anxiety over the global economic downturn all contribute to a sense of uncertainty over the future path of hemispheric economic integration. The result in the Western Hemisphere has been the expanding system of disparate bilateral and plurilateral agreements, which are widely understood to be a second best solution for reaping the benefits of trade liberalization. The bilateral option may also have run its course for the United States. The United States has implemented FTAs with Mexico, Central America, the Dominican Republic, Chile, and Peru, and signed agreements with Panama and Colombia that await congressional action. The prospects for an FTA with Brazil, Argentina, Ecuador, Bolivia, and Venezuela, by contrast, seem unlikely. Alternatives to a new round of currently unpopular FTAs are being debated. In the United States, it has been suggested, for example, that FTAs be revised, enhancing controversial environment, labor, and other chapters.

Source: Congressional Research Service

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Online privacy and behavioral profiling are of growing concern among both consumers and government officials. In this report, we examine both the data handling practices of popular websites and the concerns of consumers in an effort to identify problematic practices. We analyze the policies of the 50 most visited websites to better understand disclosures about the types of data collected about users, how that information is used, and with whom it is shared. We also look at specific practices such as sharing information with affiliates and third-party tracking. To understand user concerns and knowledge of data collection we look at surveys and polls conducted by previous privacy researchers. We look at records of complaints and inquiries filed with privacy watchdog organizations such as the Federal Trade Commission, the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse, The California Office of Privacy Protection, and TRUSTe. Finally, to gain some insight into what aspects of data collection users are being made aware of, we look at news articles from three major newspapers for topics related to Internet privacy. Based on our findings we make recommendations for website operators, government regulators, as well as technology developers.

Source: U.C. Berkeley iSchool Papers

Download full pdf publication | Link to online abstract

Majority Continues to Support Civil Unions

Most Still Oppose Same-Sex Marriage

A clear majority of Americans (57%) favors allowing gay and lesbian couples to enter into legal agreements with each other that would give them many of the same rights as married couples, a status commonly known as civil unions. This finding marks a slight uptick in support for civil unions and appears to continue a significant long-term trend since the question was first asked in Pew Research Center surveys in 2003, when support for civil unions stood at 45%.

Source: Pew Research Center for People and the Press

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

Latinos and Education: Explaining the Attainment Gap

From overview:
Nearly nine-in-ten (89%) Latino young adults ages 16 to 25 say that a college education is important for success in life, yet only about half that number-48%-say that they themselves plan to get a college degree, according to a new national survey of 2,012 Latinos ages 16 and older by the Pew Hispanic Center conducted from Aug. 5 to Sept. 16, 2009.

The biggest reason for the gap between the high value Latinos place on education and their more modest aspirations to finish college appears to come from financial pressure to support a family, the survey finds.

Source: Pew Hispanic Center

Download full pdf publication | Link to online overview

Monday, October 05, 2009

Health Information Technology Strengthens Care in Rural Communities

A Success Story in American Health Care: Using Health Information Technology to Improve Patient Care in a Community Health Center in Washington

HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius today released a report on how health information technology can improve health care for Americans living in rural communities. The report examines how the Columbia Basin Health Association in Othello, Wash., uses health information technology to improve health care quality and patient safety as well as promote care coordination and continuity.

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

Download report in pdf format
| Link to online report

U.S. Census Bureau : America’s Families and Living Arrangements

From Wall Street Journal Article:
New government data on at-home mothers has stirred up an old hornet’s nest, showing such mothers are younger, poorer and less educated, on average, than other mothers.

Source: U.S. Census Bureau

Download full pdf publication

FTC Publishes Final Guides Governing Endorsements, Testimonials

The Federal Trade Commission today announced that it has approved final revisions to the guidance it gives to advertisers on how to keep their endorsement and testimonial ads in line with the FTC Act.

The notice incorporates several changes to the FTC’s Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising, which address endorsements by consumers, experts, organizations, and celebrities, as well as the disclosure of important connections between advertisers and endorsers. The Guides were last updated in 1980.

Under the revised Guides, advertisements that feature a consumer and convey his or her experience with a product or service as typical when that is not the case will be required to clearly disclose the results that consumers can generally expect. In contrast to the 1980 version of the Guides – which allowed advertisers to describe unusual results in a testimonial as long as they included a disclaimer such as “results not typical” – the revised Guides no longer contain this safe harbor

Source: Federal Trade Commission

Download pdf report | Link to online press release

Pew Reports : Support for Abortion Slips

Broad-based Decline in Support for Legal Abortion

Recently, Americans have become more opposed to legal abortion. New analysis of combined Pew Research Center surveys conducted over the past three years shows that in 2007 and 2008, supporters of abortion rights clearly outnumbered opponents of abortion (those saying it should be illegal in most or all cases) by a 54%-40% margin. By contrast, in two major surveys conducted in 2009 among a total sample of more than 5,500 adults, views of abortion are about evenly divided, with 47% expressing support for legal abortion and 44% expressing opposition.

Republicans and Republican-leaning political independents have each become less pro-choice and more pro-life in recent polling. Democrats have also become less pro-choice, though by a somewhat smaller margin (four points less supportive of legal abortion). Democrats have not become more opposed to abortion; rather, they are now more likely to be undecided about the issue as compared with 2007/2008.

Source: Pew Forum

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| Download pdf topline questionnaire | Link to online overview

What is Good for Goldman Sachs is Good for America The Origins of the Present Crisis

Robert Brenner outlines the long-term causes of the present economic crisis. Rather than understanding the current downturn as merely a function of financial incompetence and miscalculation, he demonstrates that the US economy and that of the G7 has been slower growth in most of the major indices with each passing business cycle since the 1970s. In the last two cycles, asset bubbles inclined US consumers to take on more debt in order to spend and achieve limited GDP growth. Brenner outlines in detail how and why the financial sector played a key role in the creation and inflation of debt bubbles with new financial instruments. The implications for the US and the global economy are also outlined including the US current account deficit, trade imbalances, the rise of China and the East Asian economies as well as declining investment in the real economy and overcapacity in manufacturing worldwide.

Source: UCLA Center for Social Theory and Comparative History. Paper 2009-1.

Download full pdf publication | Link to online abstract via eScholarship repository

Friday, October 02, 2009

Travel In the ’Hood: Ethnic Neighborhoods and Mode Choice

Many urban planners promote mixed-use developments as one component of a broader sustainable development strategy. Scholars and advocates argue that these neighborhoods have the potential to reduce traffic congestion by promoting fewer trips, shorter travel distances, and alternative modes of travel.

With their mix of ethnic residents, businesses, services, and community institutions, many ethnic neighborhoods are mixed-use neighborhoods. We hypothesize, therefore, that residents of these ethnic neighborhoods will exhibit different travel behavior than those living outside of ethnic neighborhoods. Drawing on data from the 2000 U.S. Census, we examine whether residents of ethnic neighborhoods are more likely to commute by carpool and public transit than other workers. We find a significant relationship between residential location in ethnic clusters and travel behavior. The findings provide insight into the relationship among social networks, land use, and travel behavior.

Source: University of California Transportation Center. Paper 891_fall_2009 [via eScholarship repository]

Download full pdf publication | Link to eScholarship repository

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Teacher Strategies to Help Fourth-Graders Having Difficulty in Reading: An International Perspective

The Progress in International Reading Literacy Study (PIRLS) assesses the reading achievement of fourth-graders and collects data on their teachers’ reading instruction practices and strategies. Presenting data from the United States and the 44 other jurisdictions that participated in PIRLS 2006, this Statistics in Brief describes international patterns in the strategies reported by teachers to help fourth-graders falling behind in reading. These strategies include: (a) waiting to see if performance improves with maturation, (b) spending more time working on reading individually with that student, (c) having other students work on reading with the student having difficulty, (d) having the student work in the regular classroom with a teacher-aide, (e) having the student work in the regular classroom with a reading specialist, (f) having the student work in a remedial reading classroom with a reading specialist, (g) assigning homework to help the student catch up, (h) and asking the parents to help the student with reading. Asking the parents to help the student was among the most commonly cited strategies in 44 of the 45 jurisdictions. Working with a reading specialist in a regular classroom was among the least commonly cited strategies in 40 jurisdictions.

Source: National Center for Education Statistics

Download full pdf Report | Link to online abstract

Barriers to the Broad Dissemination of Creative Works in the Arab World


Many analysts have examined the media that violent extremists use to communicate their core messages. Far less research, however, has been devoted to the growing body of creative works produced by Arab authors and artists that counter the intellectual and ideological underpinnings of violent extremism. Unfortunately, many of these works are not widely disseminated, marginalizing the influence of these alternative voices. This monograph examines the barriers to the broad dissemination of such works, with a focus on Arabic literature, and suggests ways in which nongovernmental organizations, international allies, and the U.S. government can assist Arab writers and artists in overcoming these barriers.

Source: RAND Corporation

Download full pdf publication
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How to Deal with Missing Data and Galton’s Problem in Cross-Cultural Survey Research: A Primer for R

Multiple imputation (MI) has become the preferred method for dealing with missing data in survey research. MI involves three steps: creating m multiply imputed complete datasets; estimating models on each of the m datasets using any standard statistical procedure; combining the resulting multiple estimates of each statistic of interest. This paper provides R programs for MI, and offers some advice for employing MI with data drawn from the Standard Cross-Cultural Sample (SCCS). A second set of R programs combines estimates from the m imputed data sets, and also deals with the problem of network autocorrelation effects, i.e., Galton’s Problem or the non-independence of cases, using two-stage instrumental variables (IV) regression. The objective of the paper is to provide programs, advice and explanations that will help researchers employing cross-cultural survey data, especially the SCCS, to deal with the twin problems of missing data and network autocorrelation effects, using the open source statistical package R. The paper is intended to complement a recent suite of publications by Dow and Eff where both theoretical and empirical issues underlying these two problems are discussed in detail.

Source: Structure and Dynamics: eJournal of Anthropological and Related Sciences: Vol. 3: No. 3, Article 1. [via eScholarship repository]

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Between Two Worlds: Hmong Youth, Culture, and Socio-Structural Barriers to Integration

Studies on the children of post 1965 immigrants recognize that there are various paths to incorporation due to race and class barriers and suggest that a strong adherence to traditional immigrant culture and values helps contemporary immigrants achieve integration. These studies acknowledge that there is not a single core culture of American society into which these immigrants are assimilating. The concept of segmented assimilation has been used to suggest that the process of assimilation is not as linear, simple or inevitable as classical assimilation suggests. Despite its important contribution to the theoretical debates on immigrant integration, segmented assimilation continues to use a cultural argument, suggesting that immigrant culture can explain and account for immigrant integration. Regardless of whether immigrant culture is present to buffer and mediate youth behaviors, some youth still take a path toward downward assimilation due to race, class and gender barriers. Based on data from a survey distributed to Hmong youth at a youth conference and interviews with community members, this study examines the role of race, class and gender and their impact on the incorporation of Hmong youth into American society. The Hmong community, whose migration to the United States was a direct consequence of their participation and involvement in the Vietnam War as U.S. allies, provides an important lens to understand the broader conditions that contribute to the incorporation of other racialized, poor immigrants into American society.

Source: Institute for the Study of Social Change. ISSC Fellows Working Papers. Paper ISSC_WP_38.

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Monday, September 28, 2009

Women, Power & Money — The Female-Driven Economy

In an effort to shed some light on the American woman and how to reach her, Fleishman-Hillard, in conjunction with The Harrison Group, conducted a pre- and post-economic meltdown survey, “Women, Power & Money — The Shift to the Female Driven Economy.” The objective? To define the female consumer’s role in purchasing decisions, her influence on the economy and what it means to marketers. Central to the eye-opening results was a clear revelation that this “new world of women calls for a new world of communication.”

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Nonprofit Pay In 2008

How Much the Leaders of America's Biggest Charities and Foundations Make

Leaders of nonprofit groups saw their pay increase by a median of 7 percent last year, The Chronicle's survey found, but now many chief executives are taking pay cuts in response to the recession.

Data available to search and download tables

Source: Chronicle of Philanthropy (Subscribers only)

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Social Networking and Constituent Communication: Member Use of Twitter During a Two-Week Period in the 111th Congress

During the past 15 years, the development of new electronic technologies have altered the traditional patterns of communication between Members of Congress and constituents. Many Members now use e-mail, official websites, blogs, Youtube channels, and Facebook pages to communicate with their constituents--technologies that were either non-existent or not widely available 15 years ago. These technologies have arguably served to potentially enhance the ability of Members of Congress to fulfill their representational duties by providing greater opportunities for communication between the Member and individual constituents, supporting the fundamental democratic role of spreading information about public policy and government operations. In addition, electronic technology has reduced the marginal cost of constituent communications; unlike postal letters, Members can reach large numbers of constituents for a fixed cost. Despite these advantages, electronic communications have raised some concerns. Existing law and chamber regulations on the use of communication media such as the franking privilege have proven difficult to adapt to the new electronic technologies. This report examines Member use of one specific new electronic communication medium: Twitter. After providing an overview and background of Twitter, the report analyzes patterns of Member use of Twitter during two one-week periods in July and August 2009. This report is inherently a snapshot in time of a dynamic process. As with any new technology, the number of Members using Twitter and the patterns of use may change rapidly in short periods of time. Thus, the conclusions drawn from this data can not be easily generalized nor can these results be used to predict future behavior. The data show that 158 Representatives and Senators are registered with Twitter (as of August 2009) and issued a total of approximately 1,187 "tweets" during the data collection periods in July and August 2009. With approximately 29% of House Members and 31% of Senators registered with Twitter, Members sent an average of 85 tweets per day collectively. House Republicans sent the most tweets (54%), followed by House Democrats (27%), Senate Republicans (10%), and Senate Democrats (9%). The data also suggest that more tweets were sent on Thursday than any other day of the week. Members' use of Twitter can be divided into six categories: position taking, press or web links, district or state activities, official congressional action, personal, and replies. The data suggest that the most frequent type of tweets were press and web link tweets, which comprised 43% of in- session and 46% of recess tweets. This is followed by official congressional action tweets during session (33%) and position-taking tweets during recess (14%).

Source: Congressional Research Service

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The 2009 Influenza Pandemic: An Overview

From Online Overview:
On June 11, 2009, in response to the global spread of a new strain of H1N1 influenza ("flu"), the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the outbreak to be an influenza pandemic, the first since 1968. WHO said that the pandemic declaration was based on the geographic spread of the new virus, not on increasing severity of the illnesses it causes. Officials now believe the outbreak began in Mexico in March, or perhaps earlier. The novel "H1N1 swine flu" was first identified in California in late April. Health officials quickly linked the new virus to many of the illnesses in Mexico. Since then, cases have been reported around the world. On July 16, WHO said it was suspending worldwide case counts of illnesses caused by the virus, and that it no longer wanted member nations to report individual cases. WHO said that tracking in this way was no longer helpful in monitoring the pandemic, but was unnecessarily burdensome for reporting countries. In the final WHO case count of July 6, almost 100,000 cases, and more than 400 deaths, had been reported around the world, on all continents but Antarctica. Early in the outbreak, most of the cases were in North America, and then Europe and Asia. This was followed by increasing spread in countries in the Southern Hemisphere during their winter, when flu transmission is more efficient. Transmission continued at low levels in North America throughout the summer. U.S. health officials and others are preparing for a resurgence of infections in the fall, with the onset of cooler temperatures. When the outbreak began in late April, U.S. federal agencies adopted a response posture under the overall coordination of the Secretary of Homeland Security. Among other things, officials have released antiviral drugs from the national stockpile, developed and released diagnostic tests for the H1N1 virus, and developed guidance for the clinical management of patients and the management of community and school outbreaks. The Obama Administration requested about $9 billion in emergency supplemental appropriations to address the situation. On June 26, the President signed P.L. 111-32, the Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2009, which provided $1.9 billion immediately, and an additional $5.8 billion contingent upon a presidential request documenting the need for, and proposed use of, the additional funds. U.S. health officials have procured millions of doses of pandemic flu vaccine, which is expected to become available in stages over a period of a few months, beginning in October. Plans for a voluntary nationwide vaccination campaign are underway, to be coordinated by state health officials and carried out through public clinics, private health care providers, schools, and others. The Secretary of Health and Human Services has implemented waivers of liability and an injury compensation program in the event of unforeseen vaccine safety problems. Allocation schemes have been developed to give priority for limited vaccine doses to high-risk groups. This report first provides a synopsis of key events, actions taken, and authorities invoked by WHO, the U.S. federal government, and state and local governments. It then discusses the WHO process to determine the phase of a flu pandemic, selected activities by the Departments of Homeland Security and Health and Human Services, and selected activities by state and local authorities. Next, it lists congressional hearings held to date, and provides information about appropriations and funding for pandemic flu activities. Finally, it summarizes U.S. government pandemic flu planning documents and lists sources for additional information about the situation. This report will be continually updated to reflect unfolding events.

Source: Congressional Research Service

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