Monday, January 31, 2011

Egypt, Democracy and Islam

With massive protests threatening to upend the three-decades-long reign of President Hosni Mubarak, the world has been captivated by the events in Egypt. In a survey conducted April 12 to May 7, 2010, the Pew Research Center's Global Attitudes Project examined the views of Egypt and six other Muslim publics about politics and the role Islam should play in it.

A 59%-majority of Muslims in Egypt believed that democracy was preferable to any other kind of government. About one-in-five (22%), however, said that in some circumstances, a non-democratic government could be preferable, and another 16% said it did not matter what kind of government is in place for a person in their situation.

Source: Pew Research Center's Global Attitudes Project

Link to rest of article including graphs

Related: "Muslim Publics Divided on Hamas and Hezbollah; Most Embrace a Role for Islam in Politics"

U.S.-China Relations: Policy Issues

As China's economy has expanded to become the second largest in the world, and as China's geopolitical clout has grown commensurately, the United States has sought to broaden the U.S.-China relationship to encompass a wide range of global and regional issues. Among the global issues on which the Obama Administration has sought to work with China are the international financial crisis, climate change, and nuclear non-proliferation. In remarks in July 2009, President Obama declared that partnership between the United States and China was "a prerequisite for progress on many of the most pressing global challenges." Continuing major bilateral issues in the relationship include trade and investment concerns, human rights, and Taiwan. Two years into the Obama Administration, U.S. officials point to some successes in their efforts to work with China on global issues, including coordination of stimulus spending to address the global financial crisis and cooperation in negotiating new sanctions against Iran and North Korea over their nuclear programs. U.S. officials continue, however, to urge China to shoulder more responsibility for addressing challenges that affect the broad international community.

Download full pdf publication | Link to online introduction

World Bank Report: Global Economic Prospects 2011

The world economy is moving from a post-crisis bounce-back phase of the recovery to slower but still solid growth this year and next, with developing countries contributing almost half of global growth, says the World Bank's latest Global Economic Prospects 2011.

The World Bank estimates that global GDP, which expanded by 3.9% in 2010, will slow to 3.3% in 2011, before it reaches 3.6% in 2012. Developing countries are expected to grow 7% in 2010, 6% in 2011 and 6.1% in 2012. They will continue to outstrip growth in high-income countries, which is projected at 2.8% in 2010, 2.4% in 2011 and 2.7% in 2012.

Source: World Bank

Download full pdf publication | Link to online introduction

The Dark Side of Creativity: Original Thinkers Can Be More Dishonest

Creativity is a common aspiration for individuals, organizations, and societies. Here, however, we test whether creativity increases dishonesty. We propose that a creative personality and creativity primes promote individuals’ motivation to think outside the box and that this increased motivation leads to unethical behavior. In four studies, we show that participants with creative personalities who scored high on a test measuring divergent thinking tended to cheat more (Study 1); that dispositional creativity is a better predictor of unethical behavior than intelligence (Study 2); and that participants who were primed to think creatively were more likely to behave dishonestly because of their creativity motivation (Study 3) and greater ability to justify their dishonest behavior (Study 4). Finally, a field study constructively replicates these effects and demonstrates that individuals who work in more creative positions are also more morally flexible (Study 5). The results provide evidence for an association between creativity and dishonesty, thus highlighting a dark side of creativity.

Source: SSRN (Social Science Resource Network)
Harvard Business School NOM Unit Working Paper No. 11-064

Download full pdf publication
| Link to online abstract

Poverty in Numbers: The Changing State of Global Poverty from 2005 to 2015

From the introduction:

Poverty reduction lies at the core of the global development challenge. For the international development community, this objective serves not only as a source of motivation, but as a defining theme across its work. Many of the world’s most prominent aid organizations cite poverty reduction as their overarching goal.

But while our common goal of poverty reduction is never disputed, we find it remarkably difficult to measure whether it is happening, and if so how fast. This is especially the case when it comes to producing global poverty data, as the challenges of national poverty data collection are multiplied several times over and then further compounded by the tricky—and unsatisfactory—business of converting national results into internationally comparable terms. Official global poverty estimates are only rarely produced, and when they do appear, they are out of date by the time they are published. Thus, when world leaders met in September 2010 to assess progress toward reaching the Millennium Development Goal of halving global poverty, they had to rely on poverty data from 2005. This, somewhat ironically, was the year of the last summit on the MDGs; the purpose of the 2010 meeting was ostensibly to review what had been accomplished in the intervening five years.

Source: Brookings Institution

Download full pdf publication | Link to online introduction

Thursday, January 20, 2011

The gender dividend : Making the business case for investing in women

Acknowledging and investing in women can yield a significant return—a return known as the gender dividend. To fully capitalize on the gender dividend, however, countries and organizations must go beyond policies that focus on discrimination and develop solid strategies aimed at integrating women at every level. This will require building a strong, dual-focused business case that considers women as both workers and consumers.

Source: Deloitte

Download full pdf publication | Link to online introduction

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Do Competitive Work Places Deter Female Workers?

A Large-Scale Natural Field Experiment on Gender Differences in Job-Entry Decisions

Recently an important line of research using laboratory experiments has provided a new potential reason for why we observe gender imbalances in labor markets: men are more competitively inclined than women. Whether, and to what extent, such preferences yield differences in naturally-occurring labor market outcomes remains an open issue. We address this question by exploring job-entry decisions in a natural field experiment where we randomized nearly 7,000 interested job-seekers into different compensation regimes. By varying the role that individual competition plays in setting the wage, we are able to explore whether competition, by itself, can cause differential job entry. The data highlight the power of the compensation regime in that women disproportionately shy away from competitive work settings. Yet, there are important factors that attenuate the gender differences, including whether the job is performed in teams, whether the job task is female-oriented, and the local labor market.

Source: National Bureau of Economic Research

Download full pdf publication | Link to online abstract

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Friends in High Places

In this paper we demonstrate that personal connections amongst politicians, and between politicians and firms, have a significant impact on the voting behavior of U.S. politicians. We exploit a unique database linking politicians to other politicians, and linking politicians to firms, and find both channels to be influential. Networks based on alumni connections between politicians, as well as common seat locations on the chamber floor, are consistent predictors of voting behavior. For the former, we estimate sharp measures that control for common characteristics of the network, as well as heterogeneous impacts of a common network characteristic across votes. For common seat locations, we identify a set of plausibly exogenously assigned seats (e.g., freshman senators) and find a strong impact of seat location networks on voting. Further, we show that connections between firms and politicians influence congressional votes on bills that affect these firms. These network effects are stronger for more tightly linked networks and at times when votes are most valuable.

Source: Harvard Business School Working Papers

Download full pdf publication |Link to HBS Working papers

The Shattered American Dream: Unemployed Workers are Losing Faith in their Futures

From the Press Release:

NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. – A new survey of unemployed American workers documents dramatic erosion in the quality of life for millions of Americans. Their financial reserves are exhausted, their job prospects nil, their family relations stressed and their belief in government’s ability to help them is negligible. They feel hopeless and powerless, unable to see their way out of the Great Recession that has claimed 8.5 million jobs.

These are some of the main findings of The Shattered American Dream: Unemployed Workers Lose Ground, Hope, and Faith in their Futures, a new report from the John J. Heldrich Center for Workforce Development at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey. The Heldrich Center first interviewed a national sample of 1,202 unemployed workers in August 2009, using the web-enabled Knowledge Panel conducted by Knowledge Networks of Menlo Park, Calif. Just over 900 were reinterviewed in March 2010 and 764 were reinterviewed Nov. 5 to 28, 2010 for this report.

Source: John J. Heldrich Center for Workforce Development at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey.

Download full pdf publication
| Link to online Press Release

How Important Are Inheritances for Baby Boomers?

Due to a changing retirement landscape, many baby boomers are likely to have insufficient resources for a secure retirement. One potential source that could improve their situation is inheritances. This study quantifies the aggregate amount of inheritances that baby boomers – those individuals born between 1946 and 1964 – can expect to receive over their lifetimes, and the distribution of past and prospective receipts by household type.

Source: Center for Retirement Research at Boston College

Download full pdf research brief | Link to online introduction

A Profile of Disconnected Young Adults in 2010


The purpose of this report is to highlight a growing segment of the population who are arriving at young adulthood disconnected from the main pathways leading to economic independence. Arriving at young adulthood in a state of disconnection can have consequences for both young adults and the larger society. Young adults who have low educational attainment or who are out of school or unemployed for extended periods of time may be more likely to engage in delinquent behavior, turn to illegal activities as a source of income, and be incarcerated. The consequences of disconnection may also result in long-term penalties, such as underemployment and lower earnings over the life course. Young adults disconnected for three or more years are about 14 times more likely to be poor and earn about two and one half times less in earnings and are about two to three times less likely to be employed full-time than young adults who had never been disconnected. Disconnectedness experienced during young adulthood may also have serious health consequences. Research shows that different components of disconnectedness, such as having less than high school education or being unemployed is associated with suboptimal health and mental health outcomes. Furthermore, disconnected young adults are more likely to rely on some form of public assistance. Thus, the costs of disconnection to government can include increased transfer payments and social support expenses as well as a decrease in tax revenues from their lack of participation in the labor market. In short, this population deserves our attention given the longterm consequences being disconnected can pose for a successful transition to adulthood.

Source: National Center for Children in Poverty

Download full pdf report
| Link to online introduction at NCCP

Monday, January 10, 2011

Income and living conditions in Europe

This book is about the incomes and living standards of the people of Europe. It treats employment, income inequality and poverty, housing, health, education, deprivation and social exclusion. The reader will learn about many of the social issues confronting Europe. How much income poverty is there in Europe? Is inequality increasing? Does a job guarantee escape from income poverty? How is Europe’s welfare state coping with the economic crisis? The book is a timely contribution to the Europe 2020 Agenda as it explores ‘the new landscape of EU targets’ and the implications for monitoring at EU and national levels.

Source: Eurostat

Download full pdf publication| Link to Eurostat and online abstract

Women in the Labor Force: A Databook (2010 Edition)

From the pdf introduction:

The past several decades have been marked by notable changes in women’s labor force activities. Women’s labor force participation is significantly higher today than it was in the 1970s, particularly among women with children, and a larger share of women work full time and year round than in past decades. In addition, women have increasingly attained higher levels of education: among women age 25 to 64 who are in the labor force, the proportion with a college degree roughly tripled from 1970 to 2009. Women’s earnings as a proportion of men’s earnings also have grown over time. In 1979, women working full time earned 62% of what men did; in 2009, women’s earnings were 80% of men’s. The women’s-to-men’s earnings ratio peaked at 81 percent in 2005–06, edging down to 80% in 2007, where it has remained through 2009. Three additional data tables are being introduced to the 2010 edition of Women in the Labor Force: A Databook; the new tables provide information on women by employee tenure, employment status of veterans and persons with a disability.

This report presents historical and current labor force and earnings data for women and men from the Current Population Survey (CPS). The CPS is a national monthly survey of approximately 60,000 households conducted by the US Census Bureau for the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Download full pdf publication (101 pgs)
| Link to BLS site and links to downloadable chapters and tables.

Consumers and the future of ebooks

This new study examines trends and developments in the eBooks and eReaders market in the United States, United Kingdom, the Netherlands, and Germany, and discusses major challenges and key questions for the publishing industry worldwide. It also identifies market opportunities and developments for eBooks and eReaders, and makes recommendations for publishers, traditional retailers, online retailers, and intermediaries.

Given that publishers, internet bookstores, and companies that manufacture eReaders have high expectations for the digital future of the book industry, the study asks if a new generation of eReaders may, at last, achieve the long-awaited breakthrough that lures consumers away from paper and ink.

Source: PriceWaterhouseCoopers

Download full pdf publication | Link to online introduction

American Grace: How Religion Divides and Unites Us A Conversation with David Campbell [transcript]

The Pew Research Center's Forum on Religion & Public Life held a press luncheon on Dec. 16, 2010 with political science professors David Campbell and John Green on the topic of how religion both divides and unites Americans. Campbell is the co-author, with Harvard professor Robert Putnam, of "American Grace," a book which examines the changing role of religion in America since the 1960s.

Source: The Pew Research Center's Forum on Religion & Public Life

Link to full transcript

The 2010 Congressional Reapportionment and Latinos

From the online introduction:
Hispanic voters are nearly three times more prevalent in states that gained congressional seats and Electoral College votes in the 2010 reapportionment than they are in states that lost seats, according to an analysis of Census data by the Pew Hispanic Center, a project of the Pew Research Center. Based on averages reflecting congressional gains and losses, 15.2% of the eligible voter[1] population in states that gained seats is Hispanic, compared with just 5.4% of eligible voters in those states that lost seats.

With these reapportionment changes, Latinos likely will play a larger role in national politics in the coming decade. Two states that gained seats, Florida and Nevada, have been key swing battlegrounds in recent presidential elections (having voted for the Republican nominee in 2004 and the Democrat in 2008). In both states, Latinos are a growing share of eligible voters.

Source: Pew Hispanic Center

Download full pdf publication | Link to online overview

Title The People’s Right: Reimagining the Right to Counsel

From Abstrat:
This Article re-imagines the Sixth Amendment’s right to counsel, which has been treated exclusively as an individual right enforceable through the Due Process Clause, as a collective right of the People. Building on the writings of Anthony Amsterdam and Akhil Amar, this Article argues that there are vital structural protections inherent in the right to counsel that go well beyond an individual’s due process rights. In particular, the Founders of the Constitution, above all else, contemplated a robust system of checks and balances when executive power was exercised. Perhaps the paradigmatic example of the exercise of such power is the arrest and prosecution of an individual. In the world inhabited by the Founders, the primary means by which executive power was to be checked was through the jury system...

Source: New York University Public Law and Legal Theory Working Papers

Download full pdf publication | Link to online abstract