Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Bridging the Entrepreneurship Gender Gap: The Power of Networks

Fromt the overview:
It’s often been said that women are the most underutilized asset in the world. Studies have shown that the economic inclusion of women is fundamental to reducing gender inequality and spurring overall economic growth. Women’s economic participation has been shown to have a multiplier effect: the economic empowerment of one woman ripples meaningfully to her children and family—even to entire communities and nations.

Still, women face a range of challenges—such as restrictions on the hours they can work and the types of jobs they’re allowed to take—that keep them from accessing opportunities in the traditional economy and being fully productive members of the workforce. Entrepreneurship thus provides an important means for women to empower themselves and define their own economic participation when other employment opportunities may not be available. The broader economic impact is substantial; in fact, if women and men participated equally as entrepreneurs, global GDP could rise by as much as 2 percent or $1.5 trillion, according to research by The Boston Consulting Group.
Source: Boston Consulting Group

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Women in National Parlaments


189 countries are classified by descending order of the percentage of women in the lower or single House. Comparative data on the world and regional averages as well as data concerning the two regional parliamentary assemblies elected by direct suffrage can be found on separate pages. You can use the PARLINE database to view detailed results of parliamentary elections by country.

Source: Inter-Parliamentary Union

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The Equity Solution: Racial Inclusion Is Key to Growing a Strong New Economy

America is quickly becoming a majority people of color nation. At the same time, inequality is skyrocketing and racial inequities—from the homogeneity of the tech sector to the segregated suburbs of St. Louis—are wide, persistent, and glaring. Equity—just and fair inclusion of all—has always been a moral imperative in this country, but a new consensus is emerging that equity is also an economic imperative. Scores of economists and institutions like Standard & Poor’s and Morgan Stanley now believe that rising inequality and low wages for workers on the bottom rungs of the economic ladder are stifling growth and competitiveness, and that racial inequities threaten economic growth and prosperity as people of color become the majority.

This brief offers new research to inform the debate about equity and the future of the American economy. Using data on income by race, we calculate what total earnings and economic output would have been for the nation in 2012 if racial differ en ces were eliminated and all groups had similar average incomes as non-Hispanic whites. This analysis does not assume that everyone has the same income, rather that the income distribu-tions do not differ by race and ethnicity. We also examine how much of the income gap is attributable to wage differences versus employment differences (measured by hours worked). 
Source: PolicyLink

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Ending Violence Against Women and Girls: The World’s Best Laws and Policies

From the Press Release:
At the World Future Council, we strive to bring the interests of future generations to the centre of policy-making. With our annual Future Policy Award, we highlight the world’s best solutions and we encourage policy-makers around the world to implement them.

In 2014, the Future Policy Award celebrates laws and policies that contribute to ending one of the most pervasive human rights violations: violence against women and girls. One in three women worldwide suffers some form of violence in her lifetime. By restricting women’s choices and limiting their ability to act, the persistence of violence against women has serious consequences for peace and security, economic development and poverty reduction. Thus, it hampers all efforts towards a future just society. International experts from academia, civil society and international organisations have nominated twenty-five policies from around the world which were implemented to improve the lives of women. Together, they reflect the broad scope of existing policy responses at local, national and transnational levels. 

Source: World Future Council, UN Women

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People outside the labour market

This article analyses labour market participation in the European Union (EU), broken down by sex and age, on the basis of the results of the EU Labour force survey (EU-LFS). In 2013, the number of inactive persons as a percentage of the working age population in the EU-28 reached a new low of 28.0 %, continuing the downward trend of the previous years. This positive development is largely due to the increased participation of women in the labour market. The economically inactive population remains a heterogeneous group, e.g. as regards age, reasons for inactivity and the level of attachment to the labour market.
Source: EuroStat

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Exploring Gender Imbalance Among STEM Doctoral Degree Recipients

From the description:
Gender imbalance in doctoral education in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields raises important questions about the extent to which women experience differential access, encouragement, and opportunity for academic advancement. Through primary school and middle school, girls and boys typically indicate an equal interest and demonstrate equivalent levels of achievement on several science and mathematical indicators, but girls’ interest in pursuing scientific degrees and careers wanes by high school.

Accurately identifying the nature of the imbalance is an important first step in addressing it. The alternate method used in this brief to account for the gender breakdown among undergraduate degree recipients provides a more reliable gauge of gender imbalance at the doctoral level.
Source: American Institutes for Research (AIR)

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PTSD Research Quarterly — Impact of Mass Shootings

From the report:
Norris (2007) provided an excellent introduction to the literature on mass shootings. Our goal is to provide an update on this literature. Norris focused on individual, as well as broader community factors in examining responses to mass shootings. Our guide focuses solely on quantitative studies examining factors at the level of the individual that appear to be related to adjustment following a mass shooting.

Our definition of a mass shooting involves an individual (with few exceptions, a male), acting alone and with generally personal rather than political motivation, entering a densely populated space and shooting as many people as possible. In addition, while not required in the definition, the shooter typically takes, his or her, own life. Our guide to the literature proceeds chronologically, with an emphasis on studies that use longitudinal data.
Source: National Center for PTSD

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Big Data and the Future for Privacy

In our inevitable big data future, critics and skeptics argue that privacy will have no place. We disagree. When properly understood, privacy rules will be an essential and valuable part of our digital future, especially if we wish to retain the human values on which our political, social, and economic institutions have been built. In this paper, we make three simple points. First, we need to think differently about “privacy.” Privacy is not merely about keeping secrets, but about the rules we use to regulate information, which is and always has been in intermediate states between totally secret and known to all. Privacy rules are information rules, and in an information society, information rules are inevitable. Second, human values rather than privacy for privacy’s sake should animate our information rules. These must include protections for identity, equality, security, and trust. Third, we argue that privacy in our big data future can and must be secured in a variety of ways. Formal legal regulation will be necessary, but so too will “soft” regulation by entities like the Federal Trade Commission, and by the development of richer notions of big data ethics.
Source: Social Science Research Network

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Instances of Use of United States Armed Forces Abroad, 1798-2014

This report lists hundreds of instances in which the United States has used its Armed Forces abroad in situations of military conflict or potential conflict or for other than normal peacetime purposes. It was compiled in part from various older lists and is intended primarily to provide a rough survey of past U.S. military ventures abroad, without reference to the magnitude of the given instance noted. The listing often contains references, especially from 1980 forward, to continuing military deployments, especially U.S. military participation in multinational operations associated with NATO or the United Nations. Most of these post-1980 instances are summaries based on presidential reports to Congress related to the War Powers Resolution. A comprehensive commentary regarding any of the instances listed is not undertaken here.
Source: Congressional Research Service

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Alternative Futures for Syria

Abstract: The civil war in Syria poses a thorny problem for U.S. policymakers. The conflict has morphed from a popular uprising against an autocratic regime into a multi-sided battle involving government forces, pro-government militias, Hezbollah, Iraqi Shi'ite militias, secular/moderate rebels, Kurdish separatists, traditional Islamist rebels, nationalist Salafi-jihadist rebels, and the transnational Salafi-jihadist Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) movement. Most neighboring states and several Persian Gulf states have sent arms and money to one or more of the factions in this war. Iran and Russia have consistently supported the Assad regime, including providing advanced weaponry, since the onset of the conflict. The outcome of the conflict will affect Middle East stability and regional political dynamics for years — perhaps decades — and could exacerbate a wider Shi'a-versus-Sunni sectarian conflict in the region.

Momentum has shifted several times during the course of the conflict. Defections from the Syrian army, rapidly growing rebel ranks, and the regime's loss of key ground convinced many observers early on that the Assad's demise was only a matter of time. The Assad regime has exploited rebel weaknesses and its own superior weaponry and external support to shift the momentum once again in its favor. The lineup of antagonists is complex and confused. While still seeing the Assad regime as an adversary based on its patron-client relationship with Iran and its implacable hostility toward Israel, U.S. decisionmakers are also dealing with the threats caused by the dramatic recent gains made in Iraq by ISIS and the influence it wields within the Syrian rebel movement. To examine these challenges, this perspective draws on a December 2013 RAND workshop to assess four possible future scenarios for the conflict in Syria: prolonged conflict, regime victory, regime collapse, and negotiated settlement. The authors update and reassess these scenarios based on developments in Syria and Iraq through August 2014 and explore the implications that each has for Syria, the region, and the United States.

Source: RAND Corportation

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Thursday, October 23, 2014

Pew Report: Online Harassment

From the introduction:

Harassment—from garden-variety name calling to more threatening behavior— is a common part of online life that colors the experiences of many web users. Fully 73% of adult internet users have seen someone be harassed in some way online and 40% have personally experienced it, according to a new survey by the Pew Research Center. Pew Research asked respondents about six different forms of online harassment. Those who witnessed harassment said they had seen at least one of the following occur to others online:
  • 60% of internet users said they had witnessed someone being called offensive names 
  • 53% had seen efforts to purposefully embarrass someone 
  • 25% had seen someone being physically threatened 
  • 24% witnessed someone being harassed for a sustained period of time 
  • 19% said they witnessed someone being sexually harassed 
  • 18% said they had seen someone be stalked
Source: Pew Research Internet Project

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Residential Segregation: A Transatlantic Analysis

From the description:
Residential segregation—the concentration of ethnic, national-origin, or socioeconomic groups in particular neighborhoods of a city or metropolitan area—is widely perceived as the antithesis of successful immigrant integration. Studies have linked this visible side effect of immigration and urbanization to a number of indications of poor well-being for individuals and communities, including unemployment, poor health, and social rifts. While segregation can provide certain protective benefits for immigrants living among their own ethnic or national-origin groups, it becomes problematic when accompanied by persistent overlapping inequalities.
This report explores the problems ethnic residential segregation causes for individuals and communities and examines empirical evidence on the drivers of segregation in the United States and Europe. It then moves on to discuss policies to address residential segregation, which fall into two main categories: those that try to reduce segregation directly, like housing-related interventions, and those that target integration more broadly, including initiatives aimed at the underlying causes of segregation that seek to improve socioeconomic outcomes and nurture inter-group relations.
Source: Migration Policy Institute

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In States That Don’t Expand Medicaid, Who Gets New Coverage Assistance Under the ACA and Who Doesn’t?

From the introduction:

Uninsured adults ineligible for coverage assistance because of nonexpansion include 4.4 million with a high school degree or less, 3.1 million women, 1.6 million blacks, 1.5 million under age 25, and 1.3 million Latinos.
Source: Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

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The Middle-Class Squeeze: A Picture of Stagnant Incomes, Rising Costs, and What We Can Do to Strengthen America’s Middle Class

From the introduction:

This report provides a snapshot of the American middle class and those struggling to become a part of it. It focuses on six key pillars that can help define security for households: jobs, early childhood programs, higher education, health care, housing, and retirement. Each chapter is both descriptive and prescriptive—detailing both how the middle class is doing and what policies can help it do better.
Source: Center for American Progress

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Posthumously Conceived Children: An International and Human Rights Perspective

This essay considers posthumous conception from an international and child-centered approach. After a sketch in Part I of the phenomenon of posthumous conception and the complexities it evokes, Part II examines the types of issues arising in court cases concerning posthumous conception. Part III considers how courts in their rulings have addressed the welfare and best interests of posthumously conceived children and analyzes the scope and meaning of relevant decisions. Part IV looks into children’s rights or interests raised in those judicial decisions: parental acknowledgement, family structures, identity harm, and inheritance and social benefits. This part draws on the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), a prime instrument to advance children’s rights on the international level, incorporating as much as possible the perspectives of children. I argue that the discourse must include concern for the rights and interests of posthumously conceived children and that a new special category of children who are “outcast” cannot stand the test of equality and non-discrimination, nor of the entrenched principles of child welfare and best interests. Moreover, I suggest that attending to children’s perspectives may illuminate the gaps in the current discourse and what needs to be addressed. Finally, Part V draws some conclusions and calls for a more relational approach to ensure that posthumously conceived children do not pay the price of their parents’ decisions and that their welfare and best interests are upheld.
Source: Journal of Law & Health

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United Kingdom Policy Paper: State of the Nation 2014 Report

This is the Commission’s second annual State of the Nation report to be presented to Parliament. The Commission was created by the UK Government in 2012 as an independent and statutory body to monitor and report on what is happening to child poverty and social mobility in our country.

The report assesses what the UK government, the Scottish government and the Welsh government are doing (the Commission’s remit does not cover the Northern Ireland government), what progress is being made, and what is likely to happen in future. The report also examines the role of employers and professions, councils and colleges, schools and universities, parents and charities. The report makes a number of recommendations for action.

 This is the last State of the Nation report prior to the 2015 UK General Election. As such it presents a verdict on the past and provides a window into the future. The central conclusion is that the next government will have to adopt radical new approaches if poverty is to be beaten, mobility improved and if Britain is to avoid becoming a permanently divided society. We define that as the 2020 challenge.

Source: Social Mobility and Child Poverty Commission, Cabinet Office, Department for Education and Department for Work and Pensions (United Kingdom

Download pdf Report Summary | Download pdf State of the Nation Report 2014 | Download pdf State of the Nation Indicators 2014

Bullying of Students with Disabilities Addressed in Guidance to America’s Schools

From the Press Release:
As part of National Bullying Prevention Awareness Month, the U.S. Education Department’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) today issued guidance to schools reminding them that bullying is wrong and must not be tolerated—including against America’s 6.5 million students with disabilities. The Department issued guidance in the form of a letter to educators detailing public schools’ responsibilities under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and Title II of Americans with Disabilities Act regarding the bullying of students with disabilities. If a student with a disability is being bullied, federal law requires schools to take immediate and appropriate action to investigate the issue and, as necessary, take steps to stop the bullying and prevent it from recurring.
Source: U.S. Department of Education

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How Much (More) Should CEOs Make? A Universal Desire for More Equal Pay

Do people from different countries and different backgrounds have similar preferences for how much more the rich should earn than the poor? Using survey data from 40 countries (N = 55,238), we compare respondents’ estimates of the wages of people in different occupations – chief executive officers, cabinet ministers, and unskilled workers – to their ideals for what those wages should be. We show that ideal pay gaps between skilled and unskilled workers are significantly smaller than estimated pay gaps, and that there is consensus across countries, socioeconomic status, and political beliefs for ideal pay ratios. Moreover, data from 16 countries reveals that people dramatically underestimate actual pay inequality. In the United States – where underestimation was particularly pronounced – the actual pay ratio of CEOs to unskilled workers (354:1) far exceeded the estimated ratio (30:1) which in turn far exceeded the ideal ratio (7:1). In sum, respondents underestimate actual pay gaps, and their ideal pay gaps are even further from reality than those underestimates.

Source: Perspectives on Psychological Science (forthcoming)

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Pew Report: Political Polarization & Media Habits

From the description:

When it comes to getting news about politics and government, liberals and conservatives inhabit different worlds. There is little overlap in the news sources they turn to and trust. And whether discussing politics online or with friends, they are more likely than others to interact with like-minded individuals, according to a new Pew Research Center study.
...those at both the left and right ends of the spectrum, who together comprise about 20% of the public overall, have a greater impact on the political process than do those with more mixed ideological views. They are the most likely to vote, donate to campaigns and participate directly in politics. The five ideological groups in this analysis (consistent liberals, mostly liberals, mixed, mostly conservatives and consistent conservatives) are based on responses to 10 questions about a range of political values.
Source: Pew Research Center

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Pew Report: Latino Voters and the 2014 Midterm Elections, Geography, Close Races and Views of Social Issues

From the description:

...despite a growing national presence, in many states with close Senate and gubernatorial races this year, Latinos make up a smaller share of eligible voters, according to an analysis of Census Bureau data by the Pew Research Center.1 Since 2010, the number of Hispanic eligible voters has increased by 3.9 million. Their share among eligible voters nationally is also on the rise, up from 10.1% in 2010 and 8.6% in 2006 (Lopez, 2011), reflecting the relatively faster growth of the Hispanic electorate compared with other groups.
Source: Pew Research Center

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View map of Latino electorate by state.
View map of Latino electorate by congressional district.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Laws on Children Residing with Parents in Prison

This report provides information on select international and regional measures and the laws of 97 jurisdictions from around the world that relate to allowing children to reside in prison with an incarcerated parent. Most of the countries surveyed impose specific age limits for a child’s admission into and length of stay in prison. Additionally, most of jurisdictions surveyed require that prisons that admit children meet certain standards.
Source: Law Library of Congress

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Thursday, October 02, 2014

Poverty in the United States: 2013 (September 25, 2014)

In 2013, 45.3 million people were counted as poor in the United States under the official poverty measure—a number statistically unchanged from the 46.5 million people estimated as poor in 2012. The poverty rate, or percent of the population considered poor under the official definition, was reported at 14.5% in 2013, a statistically significant drop from the estimated 15.0% in 2012. Poverty in the United States increased markedly over the 2007-2010 period, in tandem with the economic recession (officially marked as running from December 2007 to June 2009), and remained unchanged at a post-recession high for three years (15.1% in 2010, and 15.0% in both 2011 and 2012). The 2013 poverty rate of 14.5% remains above a 2006 pre-recession low of 12.3%, and well above an historic low rate of 11.3% attained in 2000 (a rate statistically tied with a previous low of 11.1% in 1973).
Source: Congressional Research Service

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Ebola Virus Disease: Essential Public Health Principles for Clinicians

Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) has become a health emergency of international concern. The World Health Organization and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have developed guidance to educate and inform healthcare workers and travelers worldwide. Symptoms of EVD include abrupt onset of fever, myalgias, and headache in the early phase, followed by vomiting, diarrhea and possible progression to hemorrhagic rash, life threatening bleeding, and multi-organ failure in the later phase. The disease is not transmitted via airborne spread like influenza, but rather from person-to-person, or animal to person via direct contact with bodily fluids or blood. It is crucial that emergency physicians are well educated on disease presentation and how to generate a timely and accurate differential diagnosis that includes exotic diseases in the appropriate patient population. A patient should be evaluated for EVD with suggestive symptoms including unexplained hemorrhage; AND risk factors within 3 weeks prior, such as travel to an endemic area, direct handling of animals from outbreak areas, or ingestion of fruit or other uncooked foods contaminated with bat feces containing the virus. There are experimental therapies for treatment of the virus; however the mainstay of therapy is supportive care. Emergency department personnel on the frontlines must be prepared to rapidly identify and isolate febrile travelers if indicated. All healthcare workers involved in their care should wear personal protective equipment. Despite the intense media focus on EVD rather than other threats, emergency physicians must master and follow essential public health principles for management of all infectious diseases. This includes not only identification and treatment of individuals, but also protection of healthcare workers and prevention of spread, keeping in mind the possibility of other more common disease processes.
Source:  Western Journal of Emergency Medicine, Articles In Press [via eScholarship Repository]

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Identifying the Culprit: Assessing Eyewitness Identification

Eyewitnesses play an important role in criminal cases when they can identify culprits. Estimates suggest that tens of thousands of eyewitnesses make identifications in criminal investigations each year. Research on factors that affect the accuracy of eyewitness identification procedures has given us an increasingly clear picture of how identifications are made, and more importantly, an improved understanding of the principled limits on vision and memory that can lead to failure of identification. Factors such as viewing conditions, duress, elevated emotions, and biases influence the visual perception experience. Perceptual experiences are stored by a system of memory that is highly malleable and continuously evolving, neither retaining nor divulging content in an informational vacuum. As such, the fidelity of our memories to actual events may be compromised by many factors at all stages of processing, from encoding to storage and retrieval. Unknown to the individual, memories are forgotten, reconstructed, updated, and distorted. Complicating the process further, policies governing law enforcement procedures for conducting and recording identifications are not standard, and policies and practices to address the issue of misidentification vary widely. These limitations can produce mistaken identifications with significant consequences. What can we do to make certain that eyewitness identification convicts the guilty and exonerates the innocent?

Authors: Committee on Scientific Approaches to Understanding and Maximizing the Validity and Reliability of Eyewitness Identification in Law Enforcement and the Courts; Committee on Science, Technology, and Law; Policy and Global Affairs; Committee on Law and Justice; Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education; National Research Council [via National Academies Press]

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