Thursday, December 06, 2012

Explore Government Subsidies Data by State

 From the New York Times:
The New York Times spent 10 months investigating business incentives awarded by hundreds of cities, counties and states. Since there is no nationwide accounting of these incentives, The Times put together a database.
 Explore Government Subsidies Data by State

UNESCO Freedom of Expression Toolkit

From the Summary:

The Freedom of Expression Toolkit builds on the premise that freedom of expression, as well as press freedom and freedom of information, are indispensable elements in the attainment of all human rights. Throughout this Toolkit there will be an emphasis on the four key elements of Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, namely the right to hold opinions without interference, the right to seek information, the right to receive information and the right to impart information to others.
 Source: United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)

Download pdf of UNESCO Freedom of Expression Toolkit

New Resource from Census Bureau uses ACS Data

 The Census Bureau updated its popular QuickFacts site with the new American Community Survey statistics, making it even easier for people to find information about a town, county or state.

The American Community Survey (ACS) data released includes the combined years from 2007 to 2011, providing the only statistics down to the neighborhood level on school enrollment, jobs, housing and many other measures.

These estimates are ideal for measuring trends for areas with populations of less than 20,000. The Census Bureau has also launched "Easy Stats," a tool that allows users to build their own tables by selecting a desired topic and geography. Early next year, the Census Bureau will release "Dwellr," a mobile app designed to put Census Bureau statistics directly in the hands of new users in an engaging way.


Easy Stats:

Wednesday, December 05, 2012

Overview of substance use disorders and incarceration of African American males


Incarceration affects the lives of many African American men and often leads to poverty, ill health, violence, and a decreased quality of life. There has been an unprecedented increase in incarceration among African American males since 1970. In 2009, the incarceration rate among black males was 6.7 times that of white males and 2.6 times of Hispanic males. Substance abuse in African American males leads to higher mortality rates, high rates of alcohol-related problems, more likely to be victims of crimes, and HIV/AIDS. African Americans comprised only 14% of the U.S. population but comprised 38% of the jail population. The cost of incarcerating persons involved in substance related crimes has increased considerably over the past two decades in the U.S. A reduction in the incarceration rate for non-violent offences would save an estimated $17 billion per year. Substance use disorder makes the individual more prone to polysubstance use and leads to impulse control problems, selling drugs, and other crimes. The high rate of incarceration in U.S. may adversely affect health care, the economy of the country, and will become a burden on society. Implementation of good mental health care, treatment of addiction during and after incarceration will help to decrease the chances of reoffending. Therapeutic community programs with prison-based and specialized treatment facilities, cognitive behavioral therapy treatment for 91–180 days, and 12-step orientation with staff specialized in substance abuse can be helpful. It is essential for health care professionals to increase public awareness of substance abuse and find ways to decrease the high rates of incarceration.
Source: doi: 10.3389/fpsyt.2012.00098 Frontiers in Forensic Psychiatry

Read:  Overview of substance use disorders and incarceration of African American males

Human Performance Modification: Review of Worldwide Research with a View to the Future

From the Summary: 
The development of technologies to modify natural human physical and cognitive performance is one of increasing interest and concern, especially among military services that may be called on to defeat foreign powers with enhanced warfighter capabilities. Human performance modification (HPM) is a general term that can encompass actions ranging from the use of “natural” materials, such as caffeine or khat as a stimulant, to the application of nanotechnology as a drug delivery mechanism or in an invasive brain implant. Although the literature on HPM typically addresses methods that enhance performance, another possible focus is methods that degrade performance or negatively affect a military force’s ability to fight.

Advances in medicine, biology, electronics, and computation have enabled an increasingly sophisticated ability to modify the human body, and such innovations will undoubtedly be adopted by military forces, with potential consequences for both sides of the battle lines. Although some innovations may be developed for purely military applications, they are increasingly unlikely to remain exclusively in that sphere because of the globalization and internationalization of the commercial research base.
Based on its review of the literature, the presentations it received, and on its own expertise, the Committee on Assessing Foreign Technology Development in Human Performance Modification chose to focus on three general areas of HPM:
  • Human cognitive modification as a computational problem (Chapter 2), 
  • Human performance modification as a biological problem (Chapter 3), and 
  • Human performance modification as a function of the brain-computer interface (Chapter 4).
 Source: Committee on Assessing Foreign Technology Development in Human Performance Modification, Board on Behavioral, Cognitive, and Sensory Sciences, Division on Engineering and Physical Sciences, Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education, National Research Council.

Read: Human Performance Modification: Review of Worldwide Research with a View to the Future

Nielsen Social Media Report 2012: Social Media Comes of Age

Social media and social networking are no longer in their infancy. Social media continues to grow rapidly, offering global consumers new and meaningful ways to engage with the people, events and brands that matter to them. According to Nielsen and NM Incite’s latest Social Media Report, consumers continue to spend more time on social networks than on any other category of sites—roughly 20 percent of their total time online via personal computer (PC), and 30 percent of total time online via mobile. Additionally, total time spent on social media in the U.S. across PCs and mobile devices increased 37 percent to 121 billion minutes in July 2012, compared to 88 billion in July 2011. The recent proliferation of mobile devices and connectivity helped fuel the continued growth of social media. While the computer remains as the predominant device for social media access, consumers’ time spent with social media on mobile apps and the mobile web has increased 63 percent in 2012, compared to the same period last year.
 Source: NielsenWire

View Nielsen Social Media Report 2012: Social Media Comes of Age online

Congressional Salaries and Allowances

From the Summary:

This report provides basic information on congressional salaries and allowances.

First, the report briefly summarizes the current salary of Members of Congress, limits on their outside earned income and honoraria, available life and health insurance, and retirement benefits.

Second, the report provides information on allowances available to Representatives and Senators to support them in their official and representational duties. These allowances cover official office expenses, including staff, mail, travel between a Member’s district or state and Washington, DC, and other goods and services.

Third, the report lists the salaries of Members, House and Senate officers and officials, and salary limits for committee staff.
Source: Congressional Research Service, Library of Congress (Prepared for Members and Committees of Congress)

Download full pdf report: Congressional Salaries and Allowances

Addressing the Long-Run Budget Deficit: A Comparison of Approaches

From the Summary:

A small share of federal spending is for direct provision of domestic government services, which many people may think of when considering federal spending. Since this spending is normally about 10% of total federal spending and about 2% of GDP and deficits excluding interest are projected to be as much as 7.7% of GDP by 2037, cutting this type of spending can make only a limited contribution. Transfers and payments to persons and state and local governments constitute most of federal spending, about 70%. Defense spending, currently accounting for about 20% of spending, has declined over the past 35 years, but also tends to vary depending, in part, on the presence and magnitude of international conflicts.
Source: Congressional Research Service, Library of Congress (Prepared for Members and Committees of Congress

Download full pdf report: Addressing the Long-Run Budget Deficit: A Comparison of Approaches by Jane G. Gravelle, Senior Specialist in Economic Policy

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Predicting Violent Behavior

From the "Background and Context" section:
Following the tragic mass shooting at the Fort Hood Soldier Readiness Center on 5 November 2009, then-Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates established the Department of Defense Independent Review Related to Fort Hood, led by Admiral Vern Clark, U.S. Navy (Ret), and the Honorable Togo West. Two months after an attack that claimed thirteen lives and wounded forty-three others, the Independent Review Panel issued its report, Protecting the Force: Lessons from Fort Hood.1 

The findings and recommendations of the Independent Review Panel addressed four key issue areas relevant to preventing future mass-casualty attacks within the DoD community, including personnel policies, force protection procedures, emergency response plans, and mental health care support. Significantly, the panel’s findings provided an overarching framework to guide numerous follow-on studies, reviews, and assessments conducted in the wake of the Fort Hood tragedy.
Source: Defense Science Board, United States Department of Defense
Download pdf publication:  Predicting Violent Behavior

Understanding Peer Effects in Financial Decisions


Using a high-stakes field experiment conducted in partnership with a large financial brokerage in Brazil, we attempt to disentangle channels through which a person's financial decisions affect his peers'. When someone purchases an asset, his peers may want to purchase it as well, both because they learn from his choice (“social learning") and because his possession of the asset affects others' utility of owning the same asset (“social utility"). We randomize whether one member of a peer pair is allowed to possess an asset that he chose to purchase. Then, we randomize whether the second member of the pair 1) receives no information about the first member, or 2) is informed of the first member's desire to own the assetandthe result of the randomization that determined possession. This allows us to estimate the effects of (a) learning plus possession, and (b) learning alone, relative to a control group, allowing us to separately identify effects of the “social learning" and “social utility" channels. In the control (no information) group, 42% of individuals purchased the asset; this increases to 71% in the “social learning only" group; and, it increases to 93% in the “social learning and social utility" group. We find thatboth“social learning" and “social utility" channels are quantitatively important, and have independent, statistically significant effects on the decision to purchase the asset.
Source: CEGA Working Papers, Center for Effective Global Action, UC Berkeley [via eScholarship repository]

Download pdf of Understanding Peer Effects in Financial Decisions

CRS Report: Government Transparency and Secrecy: An Examination of Meaning and Its Use in the Executive Branch

From the Summary:
This report subsequently examines the statutes, initiatives, requirements, and other actions that make information more available to the public or protect it from public release. It also examines transparency and secrecy from the standpoint of how the public accesses government information, and whether the release of government data and information may make operation of the federal government more or, counter-intuitively, less transparent. Finally, this report analyzes whether existing transparency initiatives are effective in reaching their stated goals. 

 Source: Congressional Research Service, via FAS Secrecy Blog

Download pdf report: CRS Report: Government Transparency and Secrecy: An Examination of Meaning and Its Use in the Executive Branch

Thursday, November 08, 2012

2012 Election Data and Stats

If the Five-Thirty-Eight Blog wasn't enough for you, here are a couple more resources for 2012 election statistics:

Wolfram Alpha's blog post shows a bunch of ways to crunch their data

Pew Research for People and the Press has a election section with their reports, and you can view the actual questionnaires if you want a closer look.

No doubt Latino voters were a very important segment of the population: Pew Hispanic Center has a new report on the Latino Voters in the 2012 election. The appendix includes selected state results.

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

The Transformation of Mortgage Finance and the Industrial Roots of the Mortgage Meltdown


The 2007-2009 financial crisis was centered on the mortgage industry. This paper develops a distinctly sociological explanation of that crisis based on Fligstein’s (1996) markets as politics approach and the sociology of finance. We use archival and secondary sources to show that the industry became dominated by an “industrial” conception of control whereby financial firms vertically integrated in order to capture profits in all phases of the mortgage industry including the production of financial products. The results of multivariate regression analyses show that the “industrial” model drove the deterioration in the quality of securities that firms issued and significantly contributed to the eventual failure of the firms that pursued the strategy. We show that large global banks which were more involved in the industrial production of U.S. mortgage securities also experienced greater investment losses. The findings challenge existing conventional accounts of the crisis and provide important theoretical linkages to the sociology of finance.

Fligstein, Neil (CASBS Fellow 1995); & Goldstein, Adam. (2012). The Transformation of Mortgage Finance and the Industrial Roots of the Mortgage Meltdown. UC Berkeley: Institute for Research on Labor and Employment. Retrieved from:

Download full pdf publication: The Transformation of Mortgage Finance and the Industrial Roots of the Mortgage Meltdown

Friday, November 02, 2012

FBI Report: Crime in the United States, 2011

...the estimated number of violent crimes reported to law enforcement (1,203,564) decreased for the fifth year in a row, while the estimated number of property crimes reported to law enforcement (9,063,173) decreased for the ninth year in a row.
The full report is available in multiple formats:

Download Crime in the United States, 2011 in a zipped file of pdf documents.
View various sections online and download individually

Thursday, November 01, 2012

Using Science as Evidence in Public Policy

From The National Academies Press:

Using Science as Evidence in Public Policy encourages scientists to think differently about the use of scientific evidence in policy making. This report investigates why scientific evidence is important to policy making and argues that an extensive body of research on knowledge utilization has not led to any widely accepted explanation of what it means to use science in public policy. Using Science as Evidence in Public Policy identifies the gaps in our understanding and develops a framework for a new field of research to fill those gaps.

For social scientists in a number of specialized fields, whether established scholars or Ph.D. students, Using Science as Evidence in Public Policy shows how to bring their expertise to bear on the study of using science to inform public policy. More generally, this report will be of special interest to scientists who want to see their research used in policy making, offering guidance on what is required beyond producing quality research, beyond translating results into more understandable terms, and beyond brokering the results through intermediaries, such as think tanks, lobbyists, and advocacy groups. For administrators and faculty in public policy programs and schools, Using Science as Evidence in Public Policy identifies critical elements of instruction that will better equip graduates to promote the use of science in policy making.

Full eBook available online:  Using Science as Evidence in Public Policy

Trickle-Down Anxiety: Study Examines Parental Behaviors that Create Anxious Children

Parents with social anxiety disorder are more likely than parents with other forms of anxiety to engage in behaviors that put their children at high risk for developing angst of their own, according to a small study of parent-child pairs conducted at Johns Hopkins Children’s Center. 


Specifically, the Johns Hopkins researchers identified a subset of behaviors in parents with social anxiety disorder — the most prevalent type of anxiety — and in doing so clarified some of the confusion that has shrouded the trickle-down anxiety often seen in parent-child pairs.

Source: Johns Hopkins Children's Center

Read entire article online:  Trickle-Down Anxiety: Study Examines Parental Behaviors that Create Anxious Children

How Teens Do Research in the Digital World


The teachers who instruct the most advanced American secondary school students render mixed verdicts about students’ research habits and the impact of technology on their studies.
Some 77% of advanced placement (AP) and National Writing Project (NWP) teachers surveyed say that the internet and digital search tools have had a “mostly positive” impact on their students’ research work. But 87% say these technologies are creating an “easily distracted generation with short attention spans” and 64% say today’s digital technologies “do more to distract students than to help them academically.”

According to this survey of teachers, conducted by the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project in collaboration with the College Board and the National Writing Project, the internet has opened up a vast world of information for today’s students, yet students’ digital literacy skills have yet to catch up...
Source: Pew Internet and American Life Project

Read Full PDF Report:  How Teens Do Research in the Digital World
Read Survey Questions (PDF)

Mind over chatter: Brainwave training boosts network for cognitive control and affects mind-wandering

From the Press Release:

A breakthrough study conducted in Canada has found that training of the well-known brainwave in humans, the alpha rhythm, enhances a brain network responsible for cognitive-control. The training technique, termed neurofeedback, is being considered as a promising new method for restoring brain function in mental disorders. Using several neuroimaging methods, a team of researchers at the Western University and the Lawson Health Research Institute have now uncovered that functional changes within a key brain network occur directly after a 30-minute session of noninvasive, neural-based training. Dysfunction of this cognitive-control network has previously been implicated in a range of brain disorders including attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, schizophrenia, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder.

During neurofeedback, users learn to control their own brain activity with the help of a brain-computer interface. In the simplest case, this consists of a computer that records brainwaves through surface sensors on the scalp, known as an EEG (electroencephalogram). The system is then able to process and simultaneously represent a user's real-time brain activity, displayed from moment-to-moment during a training game on a computer. This setup is known as a neurofeedback loop, because information of brain activity is continually fed-back to a user reflecting their level of control. Such real-time feedback allows users to reproduce distinct brain states under physiologically-normal conditions, promising to be an innovative way to foster brain changes without adverse effects. This is possible because of neuroplasticity, a natural property of the brain that enables it to reorganise after continual training, resulting from adjustments to its own activity.

The research study, Mind over chatter: Plastic up-regulation of the fMRI salience network directly after EEG neurofeedback, has been published in the online issue of Neuroimage and is freely available through open access.

Thursday, October 04, 2012

A Record 24 Million Latinos Are Eligible to Vote, But Turnout Rate Has Lagged That of Whites, Blacks

From the overview:

A record 23.7 million Latinos are eligible to vote in the 2012 presidential election, according to an analysis of Census Bureau data by the Pew Hispanic Center, a project of the Pew Research Center. This is up by more than 4 million, or 22%, since 2008, when 19.5 million Latinos were eligible to vote.1
Due to their ongoing  population growth, Latinos comprise a greater share of the nation’s eligible voters than they did just a few years ago—11.0% this year, up from 9.5% in 2008 and 8.2% in 2004 (Lopez and Taylor, 2009).

Source: Pew Hispanic Center

Download complete pdf report: Trends in Latino Voter Participation
Also available: State Fact Sheets | The importance of the Latino Vote in 2012

Monday, September 24, 2012

Newly Relesed: American Community Survey Estimates Now Available

From the Press Release:

The survey provides a wide range of important statistics about our nation's people, housing and economy for all communities in the country. The results are used by everyone from retailers, homebuilders and police departments, to town and city planners. The survey is the only source of local estimates for most of the 40 topics it covers, such as educational attainment, occupation, language spoken at home, nativity, ancestry and selected monthly homeowner costs down to the smallest communities. On Sept. 12, the Census Bureau released national statistics on 2011 income, poverty and health insurance coverage from the Current Population Survey. The American Community Survey includes 2011 statistics for states, cities and smaller areas. "The American Community Survey provides reliable, local statistics about our nation's people, housing and economy that are indispensable to anyone who has to make decisions about the future," Census Bureau Acting Director Thomas Mesenbourg said. "Businesses rely on it to plan and expand into new products or communities. Towns and cities use it to locate schools and firehouses." Since the first census in 1790, conducted under the direction of Thomas Jefferson, census questions have collected information on the demographic characteristics of the nation's population. The estimates released today are available in detailed tables for the nation, all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, every congressional district, every metropolitan area, and all counties and places with populations of 65,000 or more. See the Census Bureau's American FactFinder database to find statistics for your area.
 Link to Census Bureau ACS

Misinformation and Its Correction

From the abstract:

The widespread prevalence and persistence of misinformation in contemporary societies, such as the false belief that there is a link between childhood vaccinations and autism, is a matter of public concern. For example, the myths surrounding vaccinations, which prompted some parents to withhold immunization from their children, have led to a marked increase in vaccine-preventable disease, as well as unnecessary public expenditure on research and public-information campaigns aimed at rectifying the situation.
 Source: Psychological Science in the Public Interest, 2012; 13 (3): 106 DOI: 10.1177/1529100612451018

Made available to the public online

Bullying in a Networked Era: A Literature Review

From the abstract:
This research update presents an aggregation and summary of recent academic literature on youth bullying. The purpose of this document is to “translate” scholarly research for a concerned public audience, which may include but is not limited to parents, caregivers, educators, and practitioners. This translation highlights recent findings and developments in the literature and makes them accessible to the informed but non-expert reader.

The document’s two guiding questions are “What is bullying?” (Section I) and “What can be done about bullying?” (Section II). Section I begins with a brief overview of key definitions and related research conversations and then addresses bullying’s prevalence, the types of individuals involved in bullying, the characteristics of individuals involved and the consequences of their involvement, and community-level dynamics related to bullying. Section II covers four areas where action has been taken to address problems associated with bullying – school policy, curricula, school climate, and parents – and ends on a note about approaches that mix or cut across these areas. The purpose is to render lessons learned from research and assessment accessible to those interested in deepening or expanding their knowledge of bullying-related issues. 

Citation: Levy, Nathaniel, Cortesi, Sandra Cortesi, Gasser, Urs, Crowley, Edward, Beaton, Meredith, Casey, June A. and Nolan, Caroline, Bullying in a Networked Era: A Literature Review (September 12, 2012). Berkman Center Research Publication No. 2012-17. Available at SSRN:

Download pdf publication

Poverty in the United States

From the Summary:
In 2011, 46.2 million people were counted as poor in the United States, the same number as in 2010 and the largest number of persons counted as poor in the measure’s 53-year recorded history. The poverty rate, or percent of the population considered poor under the official definition, was reported at 15.0% in 2011, statistically unchanged from 2010. The 2011 poverty rate of 15.0% is well above its most recent pre-recession low of 12.3% in 2006, and has reached the highest level seen in the past 18 years (1993). The increase in poverty over the past four years reflects the effects of the economic recession that began in December 2007. Some analysts expect poverty to remain above pre-recessionary levels for as long as a decade, and perhaps longer, given the depth of the recession and slow pace of economic recovery. The pre-recession poverty rate of 12.3% in 2006 was well above the 11.3% rate at the beginning of the decade, in 2000, which marked a historical low previously attained in 1973 (11.1%, a rate statistically tied with the 2000 poverty rate).

Source: Congressional Research Service, Library of Congress

Download CRS Report: Poverty in the United States

Military Friendly Schools

The 2013 list includes more than 1,700 schools that represent the top tier of U.S. colleges, universities and trade schools doing the most to educate America’s veterans. These schools offer military students the best services, programs, discounts, scholarships, clubs, networking and staff. Our media and list also explain the Post-9/11 GI Bill and offer articles and advice for planning and executing a military education.
Link to Military Friendly Schools List

The Economic Divide: How Consumer Behavior Differs Across the Economic Spectrum

Via NielsenWire:

Lower-income households represent a high growth opportunity sector for retailers and manufacturers. Over the next ten years, more people will move into the lower-income group, which is expected to grow twice as fast as total households. Over the next ten years, the total number of households in the U.S. is expected to grow by eight percent; however, households closer to the poverty level will grow twice as fast, at 17 percent. To better understand consumers across the economic spectrum, Nielsen conducted an analysis of media usage and purchasing behaviors. Results revealed dramatic differences in the media consumption patterns and delivery platforms across income levels. The same differential was found in CPG shopping behavior, alongside notable similarities in some categories.
Link to online report | Download with registration

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

One in Seven: Ranking Youth Disconnection in the 25 Largest Metro Areas

From the Press Release:

The report examines 16- to 24-year-olds who are not in school and not working—5.8 million youth or an astonishing one in seven young people nationwide—and reveals startling gaps among neighborhoods, cities, and racial and ethnic groups. While the Boston metro area tops the list with the lowest overall rate of youth disconnection at 9%, Phoenix ranks last at 18.8%. African Americans have the highest rate of youth disconnection, a startling 22.5%, nearly twice the national average, and women generally fare better than men.
Source: Measure of America, SSRC

Download full pdf publication | Download data tables (xls)

Education spending rising but access to higher education remains unequal in most countries, says OECD

From the Press Release:

Education at a Glance 2012 reveals stark differences between countries in the opportunities they offer young people to enter higher education, notably for children of poor families or whose parents have had a limited education.
Enrolling children early in formal education and keeping schools mixed in terms of social backgrounds have more impact in boosting educational equality than other factors, such as parental support or the cost of tuition fees. Addressing inequality early is key as little can be done to remedy poor outcomes later in school, without compromising the quality of higher education, says the OECD.
Source: Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development

Download pdf of Education at a Glance 2012

Monday, September 17, 2012

Substance Use Disorders in the U.S. Armed Forces

Like many sectors of society, the U.S. military has a long history of alcohol and other drug misuse and abuse. In recent years, the face of the issue has been transformed by increasing rates of prescription drug abuse among service members. Heavy alcohol use and binge drinking continues to be a concern within the military.

To better understand the current substance use problems within the U.S. military, the Department of Defense (DoD) asked the IOM to analyze policies and programs that pertain to prevention, screening, diagnosis, and treatment of substance use disorders for active duty service members in all branches, members of the National Guard and Reserve, and military families. The IOM concludes that to deal with this public health crisis, the DoD will need to consistently implement evidence-based prevention, screening, diagnosis, and treatment services and take leadership for ensuring that these services expand and improve.
Source: Board on the Health of Select Populations, National Academies, Institute of Medicine

Surveying the talent paradox from an employee perspective

From the Introduction:
The economic turbulence of the past few years has created a talent paradox: amid stubbornly high unemployment, employers still face challenges filling technical and skilled jobs. Employers now need to adjust their talent management initiatives to focus on retaining employees with critical skills who are at a high risk of departure and the capable leaders who can advance their companies amidst continuing global economic turbulence.
To help employers gain a better understanding of the latest employee attitudes and emerging talent trends, Deloitte Consulting LLP teamed with Forbes Insights to survey 560 employees across virtually every major industry and global region.
 Source: Deloitte

Download pdf report

From Combat to College: Student Veterans in Academic 'Contact Zones'

In the current all-volunteer U.S. military, many low-income recruits enlist primarily for educational benefits. Yet many veterans encounter serious difficulties in transitions to civilian schools and do not graduate. While extensive research explores methods of military training and the effects of military service on socio-economic outcomes for veterans, little has been written about ways disjunctures between military and civilian pedagogies and culture shape veterans in civilian school settings. Using Lave’s analysis of situated learning and Pratt’s notion of ‘contact zones,’ this paper explores identities and practices of U.S. veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars as they re-enter community colleges and university classrooms.In-depth interviews, classroom observation and analysis of everyday discourse of veteran support organizations show disjunctures between soldiers’ lived reality and the discursive constructions of ‘warrior/hero’, ‘baby-killer’ and ‘student.’ As they re-enter the civilian world, soldiers not only contend with these shifting identities, they also encounter educational institutions that do not easily respond to them as students. This research finds that conflicting teaching, learning and cultural norms of military and civilian institutions, combined with enforced silences about the wars, exacerbate academic challenges.
UC Berkeley: Institute for the Study of Societal Issues. Retrieved from:

Download pdf publication

Retiree Out-of-Pocket Health Care Spending: A Study of Expert Views, Consumer.

From the abstract:
This article explores this previously unexamined question of how much Americans expect to pay for their out-of-pocket health care spending in retirement.  To answer this question,we surveyed 2000 near retirees and retirees to gauge their expectations with regard to their own likely expenditures.  We then compared their responses to experts’ estimates. Our findings suggest that, surprisingly, many respondents have a reasonable sense of the magnitude of likely out-of-pocket expenditures, at least for the median, or typical, retiree.  However, we also found people struggle to understand potential variability in expenditures that might cause them to spend more than the typical retiree.  In particular, they underestimate how much personal health experience can affect individual spending.These results suggest that misperception of typical spending may not be a primary factor in retirees’ inability to finance out-of-pocket health care costs, but that misperception of the risk of spending above the median is likely an important factor.  We discuss educational,regulatory, and health policy implications of our findings.
Souce: Hoffman, Allison K.; & Jackson, Howell E.(2012). Retiree Out-of-Pocket Health Care Spending: A Study of Expert Views, Consumer. UC Los Angeles: UCLA School of Law. Retrieved from:

Download pdf publication

Monday, September 10, 2012

Census Bureau Facts for Hispanic Heritage Month 2012: Sept. 15 — Oct. 15

In September 1968, Congress authorized President Lyndon B. Johnson to proclaim National Hispanic Heritage Week, which was observed during the week that included Sept. 15 and Sept. 16. The observance was expanded in 1988 by Congress to a monthlong celebration (Sept. 15 — Oct. 15), effective the following year. America celebrates the culture and traditions of those who trace their roots to Spain, Mexico and the Spanish-speaking nations of Central America, South America and the Caribbean.
Sept. 15 was chosen as the starting point for the celebration because it is the anniversary of independence of five Latin American countries: Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. In addition, Mexico and Chile celebrate their independence days on Sept. 16 and Sept. 18, respectively.

Source: U.S. Census Bureau

Some of the facts included:

52.0 million

The Hispanic population of the United States as of July 1, 2011, making people of Hispanic origin the nation's largest ethnic or race minority. Hispanics constituted 16.7 percent of the nation's total population. In addition, there are 3.7 million residents of Puerto Rico, a U.S. territory.
Source: 2011 Population Estimates <>.

14.4 million

The estimated population for those of Hispanic-origin in California as of July 1, 2011.
Source: 2011 Population Estimates State Characteristics: Population by Sex, Race, and Hispanic Origin <>

$350.7 billion

Receipts generated by Hispanic-owned businesses in 2007, up 58.0 percent from 2002.

 Link to full "Facts for Features" page from the U.S. Census bureau:

Download statistics and facts about the U.S. Hispanic Population in pdf format

Tuesday, September 04, 2012

Guide to Researching Current Federal Legislation

From the Introduction:

Written for congressional staff, this report identifies and provides website addresses and other contact information for official governmental and nongovernmental sources that are useful in researching current federal legislation and regulations. It also provides information on useful classes offered by the Congressional Research Service (CRS) and the Library of Congress (LOC) Law Library.

Source: Congressional Research Service, Library of Congress

Download pdf Guide to Researching Current Federal Legislation

Monday, September 03, 2012

Identifying Barriers to Diversity in Law Enforcement Agencies

From the abstract:

The authors describe how law enforcement agencies can use barrier analysis, a method of assessment aimed at identifying potential obstacles to obtaining resources or participating in a program, to better understand and address the challenge of creating diversity among their personnel. They examine key points in the career lifecycle, such as recruitment, hiring, promotion, and retention practices, to determine where women and racial/ethnic minorities face obstacles that might account for less-than-proportionate representation among applicants, hires, and senior leadership. They describe the barrier analysis process, illustrate how it can help law enforcement agencies increase the diversity of their workforce, and present case studies featuring police departments that have used barrier analysis.
Source: RAND Corporation

Download pdf of  "Identifying Barriers to Diversity in Law Enforcement Agencies"

Friday, August 31, 2012

Foreclosure Depresses Voter Turnout

From the press release:

California neighborhoods reeling from record foreclosures also experienced lower levels of voter turnout in the 2008 presidential election, according to researchers at the University of California, Riverside.

Voters who lost their homes were not the only ones who appear to have been affected, sociologist Vanesa Estrada-Correa and political scientist Martin Johnson determined in a study believed to be the first to assess the effect of foreclosure on political participation. Voters who remained in neighborhoods impacted by foreclosure were less likely to vote than individuals in more stable communities, the researchers discovered.

The findings of Estrada-Correa and Johnson appear in “Foreclosure Depresses Voter Turnout: Neighborhood Disruption and the 2008 Presidential Election in California,” published in the peer-reviewed journal Social Science Quarterly and available online.  The journal is published by the Southwestern Social Science Association.

Nationally more than 3.5 million families were dislocated by foreclosures in 2008. In California, nearly 641,000 homes were lost to foreclosure between the first quarter of 2008 and the first quarter of 2011. Communities in the Inland Empire in Southern California and the Central Valley were hit especially hard. People of color and low-income homeowners were more likely to experience foreclosure.
Source: University of California, news

Read entire press release for further details.
Download pdf publication via Wiley Online Library

The Psychological Basis of Quality Decision Making

From the abstract of: The Psychological Basis of Quality Decision Making

Effective strategic management requires analysis, decisions and actions by an organization to create and sustain competitive advantage. Good decisions are obviously desirable but whether the decision is good is a judgment call, often after the fact, and is itself subject to bias. What is less subject to debate is the process that leads to accuracy or quality decision making. This requires not just access to available information but proper processing, interpretation and integration of that data. Critical is the consideration of multiple options and perspectives at all stages and there are a myriad of reasons why people do not do that. Defective decisions come from poor information search, selective bias in processing the information, a lack of considering alternatives, a failure to examine the risks of the preferred choice and a rush to judgment (Janis and Mann 1977). In short, the selection, interpretation and integration of information is “biased”.
 Source: Nemeth, Charlan Jeanne. (2012). The Psychological Basis of Quality Decision Making. UC Berkeley: Institute for Research on Labor and Employment. Retrieved from: [eScholarship repository]

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How Long Are Patients Willing to Wait in the Emergency Department Before Leaving Without Being Seen?

From the abstract of How Long Are Patients Willing to Wait in the Emergency Department Before Leaving Without Being Seen?

Our goal was to evaluate patients’ threshold for waiting in an emergency department (ED) waiting room before leaving without being seen (LWBS). We analyzed whether willingness to wait was influenced by perceived illness severity, age, race, triage acuity level, or insurance status.

Source: Western Journal of Emergency Medicine Articles in Press, Department of Emergency Medicine (UCI), UC Irvine Retrieved from:

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Computer Simulation as a Tool to Enable Decision-Making in a Pandemic Influenza Response Scenario

From the Abstract of :  Computer Simulation as a Tool to Enable Decision-Making in a Pandemic Influenza Response Scenario

We sought to develop and test a computer-based, interactive simulation of a hypothetical pandemic influenza outbreak. Fidelity was enhanced with integrated video and branching decision trees, built upon the 2007 federal planning assumptions. We conducted a before-and-after study of the simulation effectiveness to assess the simulations’ ability to assess participants’ beliefs regarding their own hospitals’ mass casualty incident preparedness.
Source: UC Irvine: Department of Emergency Medicine (UCI). Retrieved from: [eScholarship Repository]

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Equality and Human Rights Report: How fair is Britain?

From the Executive Summary:

The Equality and Human Rights Commission is a public body set up to challenge discrimination, to protect and promote equality and respect for human rights, and to encourage good relations between people of different backgrounds. Our vision is of a society at ease with its diversity, where every individual has the opportunity to achieve their potential, and where people treat each other with dignity and respect.

Source: Equality and Human Rights Commission (UK)

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Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Does Race Matter in Educational Diversity? A Legal and Empirical Analysis

Abstract: This article reports The Educational Diversity Project’s findings on two empirical questions: (1) Do students differ by race upon entering law school? (2) Do any differences contribute educational benefits to students, institutions, or society? Extensive quantitative and qualitative empirical data support the finding that a racially diverse law student body provides educational benefits. Many differences students present are associated with diversities of backgrounds, experiences, perspectives, expectations, and outlooks that are related to their race. Diversity fosters richer interactions and positive educational outcomes. Race contributes to the achievement of educational diversity that benefits students, their institution, and society. Source: Daye, Charles E., Panter, A. T. , Allen, Walter R. and Wightman, Linda F., Does Race Matter in Educational Diversity? A Legal and Empirical Analysis (August 1, 2012). Rutgers Race and the Law Review, Forthcoming. Available at SSRN: Download "Does Race Matter in Educational Diversity?" pdf format

Home environment relationships with children's physical activity, sedentary time, and screen time by socioeconomic status

Abstract Background: Children in households of lower socioeconomic status (SES) are more likely to be overweight/obese. We aimed to determine if home physical activity (PA) environments differed by SES and to explore home environment mediators of the relation of family SES to children’s PA and sedentary behavior. Methods: Participants were 715 children aged 6 to 11 from the Neighborhood Impact on Kids (NIK) Study. Household SES was examined using highest educational attainment and income. Home environment was measured by parent report on a survey. Outcomes were child’s accelerometer-measured PA and parent-reported screen time. Mediation analyses were conducted for home environment factors that varied by SES. Results: Children from lower income households had greater media access in their bedrooms (TV 52% vs. 14%, DVD player 39% vs. 14%, video games 21% vs. 9%) but lower access to portable play equipment (bikes 85% vs. 98%, jump ropes 69% vs. 83%) compared to higher income children. Lower SES families had more restrictive rules about PA (2.5 vs. 2.0). Across SES, children watched TV/DVDs with parents/siblings more often than they engaged in PA with them. Parents of lower SES watched TV/DVDs with their children more often (3.1 vs. 2.5 days/week). Neither total daily and home-based MVPA nor sedentary time differed by SES. Children’s daily screen time varied from 1.7 hours/day in high SES to 2.4 in low SES families. Media in the bedroom was related to screen time, and screen time with parents was a mediator of the SES--screen time relationship. Conclusions: Lower SES home environments provided more opportunities for sedentary behavior and fewer for PA. Removing electronic media from children’s bedrooms has the potential to reduce disparities in chronic disease risk. Source: U.C. San Diego [via eScholarship Repository] Download the pdf full report: Home environment relationships with children's physical activity, sedentary time, and screen time by socioeconomic status

“Open For Business: How Immigrants Are Driving Small Business Creation In The United States”

The Partnership for a New American Economy has released the following report.
“Open For Business: How Immigrants Are Driving Small Business Creation In The United States” analyzes the increasing importance of foreign-born entrepreneurs on U.S. economic growth and job creation. Picking up and moving to another country is brave and risky, so perhaps it is not surprising that immigrants are venturing out and starting new businesses at a rate that far outpaces their share of the population. From local neighborhood shops to America’s largest companies, immigrant business owners contribute more than $775 billion dollars in revenue to our annual Gross Domestic Product and employ one out of every ten American workers at privately-owned companies across the country.
The report is available for download in pdf format “Open For Business: How Immigrants Are Driving Small Business Creation In The United States”