Tuesday, April 28, 2015

The Rise of Female Entrepreneurs: New Evidence on Gender Differences in Liquidity Constraints

Small business activity and female entrepreneurship have become increasingly important features of the UK economy since the start of the Great Recession. In this paper, we re-examine the impact of liquidity constraints on new business formation in an instrumental variables framework, using a previously unexplored data set from the UK. The new results indicate that it is primarily single women that drive the well-established empirical relationship between personal wealth and business start-ups. Therefore, public policies specifically targeted at relieving the liquidity constraints of women could help further accelerate the rise of female entrepreneurship.
Source: Institute of Labour

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Primary Resource Database: Calisphere

From the annoucement:
Researchers are now able to explore Calisphere’s incredible collection of digital primary sources within the Digital Public Library of America (DPLA). This month, the CDL successfully shared more than 225,000 metadata records from Calisphere from UC libraries and over 120 other libraries, archives and museums in California with DPLA. In addition, another 112,000 from the collections of the San Francisco and Los Angeles public libraries were shared as part of a pilot to grow the number of California contributions. As a result, visitors to the DPLA website will now be able to discover important digital collections from across California, amidst a large and growing national aggregation. DPLA currently provides access to over 10 million items contributed by 1,600 institutions nationwide.

Direct to Calisphere

Military Service Records and Unit Histories: A Guide to Locating Sources

From the Introduction:
This guide provides information on locating military unit histories and individual service records of discharged, retired, and deceased military personnel. It includes contact information for military history centers, websites for additional sources of research, and a bibliography of other publications.

Source: Congressional Research Service

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Boomers’ Confidence in Secure Retirement Sinks to Five-Year Low

From the Press Release:
The Insured Retirement Institute (IRI) today released a new research report that found Baby Boomers’ confidence in having sufficient savings to last throughout retirement has dropped to a five-year low. Declining each year since 2011, the first year this study was conducted, the report found only 27 percent of Boomers are highly confident their savings will last. Despite the drop in confidence, 44 percent of Boomers expect their financial situation to improve during the next five years, up from 32 percent in 2012.
Source: Insured Retirement Institute

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How Does Socio-Economic Status Shape a Child's Personality?

We show that socio-economic status (SES) is a powerful predictor of many facets of a child's personality. The facets of personality we investigate encompass time preferences, risk preferences, and altruism, as well as crystallized and fluid IQ. We measure a family's SES by the mother's and father's average years of education and household income. Our results show that children from families with higher SES are more patient, tend to be more altruistic and less likely to be risk seeking, and score higher on IQ tests. We also discuss potential pathways through which SES could affect the formation of a child's personality by documenting that many dimensions of a child's environment differ systematically by SES: parenting style, quantity and quality of time parents spend with their children, the mother's IQ and economic preferences, a child's initial conditions at birth, and family structure. Finally, we use panel data to show that the relationship between SES and personality is fairly stable over time at age 7 to 10. Personality profiles that vary systematically with SES might offer an explanation for social immobility.
Source: Institute of Labour

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Virtually No Effect? Different Uses of Classroom Computers and their Effect on Student Achievement

Most studies find little to no effect of classroom computers on student achievement. We suggest that this null effect may combine positive effects of computer uses without equivalently effective alternative traditional teaching practices and negative effects of uses that substitute more effective teaching practices. Our correlated random effects models exploit within-student between-subject variation in different computer uses in the international TIMSS test. We find positive effects of using computers to look up information and negative effects of using computers to practice skills, resulting in overall null effects. Effects are larger for high-SES students and mostly confined to developed countries.

Source: Institute of Labour

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Fact Sheet: Hunger and mass incarceration

People in prison are more likely to have struggled with hunger and poverty before entering prison. This puts them at high risk for returning to conditions of hunger and poverty after prison.
Source: Bread for the World Institute

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New Report Finds Incarceration for ‘Status Offenses’ Still Widespread

From the Press Release:
More than half of U.S. states allow children to be detained for repeated nonviolent “status offenses” such as skipping school, running away from home or possession of alcohol, a new report says.

The revelation comes more than 40 years after the landmark Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act (JJDPA) stipulated that in states receiving federal juvenile justice grants, no child should be locked up for such minor transgressions. They’re called status offenses because they are considered crimes owing only to a youth’s status as a juvenile.
Source: Coalition for Juvenile Justice

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Association between an Internet-Based Measure of Area Racism and Black Mortality

Racial disparities in health are well-documented and represent a significant public health concern in the US. Racism-related factors contribute to poorer health and higher mortality rates among Blacks compared to other racial groups. However, methods to measure racism and monitor its associations with health at the population-level have remained elusive. In this study, we investigated the utility of a previously developed Internet search-based proxy of area racism as a predictor of Black mortality rates. Area racism was the proportion of Google searches containing the “N-word” in 196 designated market areas (DMAs). Negative binomial regression models were specified taking into account individual age, sex, year of death, and Census region and adjusted to the 2000 US standard population to examine the association between area racism and Black mortality rates, which were derived from death certificates and mid-year population counts collated by the National Center for Health Statistics (2004–2009). DMAs characterized by a one standard deviation greater level of area racism were associated with an 8.2% increase in the all-cause Black mortality rate, equivalent to over 30,000 deaths annually. The magnitude of this effect was attenuated to 5.7% after adjustment for DMA-level demographic and Black socioeconomic covariates. A model controlling for the White mortality rate was used to further adjust for unmeasured confounders that influence mortality overall in a geographic area, and to examine Black-White disparities in the mortality rate. Area racism remained significantly associated with the all-cause Black mortality rate (mortality rate ratio = 1.036; 95% confidence interval = 1.015, 1.057; p = 0.001). Models further examining cause-specific Black mortality rates revealed significant associations with heart disease, cancer, and stroke. These findings are congruent with studies documenting the deleterious impact of racism on health among Blacks. Our study contributes to evidence that racism shapes patterns in mortality and generates racial disparities in health.
Source: PLoS One

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Why legal scholars attach formulations such as "Do Not Cite or Circulate" to draft works.

This short essay ponders why legal scholars attach formulations such as "Do Not Cite or Circulate" to draft works. It argues against the practice in most circumstances, particularly for work posted on the internet. 
Source: U of Chicago, Public Law Working Paper No. 521. Available at SSRN
Number of Pages in PDF File: 19

Link to download site

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

SV150: Searchable database of Silicon Valley's top 150 companies for 2015

Silicon Valley's top public tech companies ranked, in everything from sales to taxes paid. (Dollar figures in millions.) 

Direct to database

World Health Organization Launches Open Access to the WHO Global Medicines* Safety Database

This database allows you to browse and view data on suspected side-effects from various medicinal products (also known as suspected adverse drug reactions (“ADRs”)). All data contained herein is sourced from VigiBase, the World Health Organization’s global database for ADRs, maintained by the Uppsala Monitoring Centre. The UMC is the WHO Collaborating Centre for International Drug Monitoring based in Uppsala, Sweden providing scientific leadership and operative support to the WHO Program for International Drug Monitoring
Direct to database 

U. of Tennessee Libraries Launches New Digital Collection of Smoky Mountain Photos, Film Clips From 1940s-1960s Set to Local Music

The UT Libraries has created an online digital collection of photos and home movies of the Smokies taken in the 1940s, ’50s, and ’60s by a Townsend businessman. Folk songs performed by local musicians have been added to the originally silent film clips. The William Derris Collection, composed of 334 slides and twelve film clips, is available online for free. 
William Derris, owner of the Derris Motel in Townsend, Tennessee, crisscrossed the Great Smoky Mountains by automobile, recording the people and scenery in both slides and silent film. He used the images and films to entertain and inform the guests at his motel. Derris’s images document landscapes, flora, wildlife, and people in and around the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, including Townsend, Tuckaleechee, Cades Cove, Wears Valley, Little Greenbrier, and Fontana. 
Approximately 4,400 slides and eight reels of 8mm film shot by Derris were donated to UT Libraries. The film footage was first digitized, and then the most interesting Smokies content was excerpted to create shorter clips.
View films online | View slides online

Where Do Americans Usually Shop for Food and How Do They Travel To Get There? Initial Findings from the National Household Food Acquisition and Purchase Survey

This report compares food shopping patterns of (1) Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) households to nonparticipant households, (2) participants in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program for Women Infants and Children (WIC) to nonparticipants, and (3) food-insecure to food-secure households.

Source: US Department of Agriculture

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Single black female BA seeks educated husband: Race, assortative mating and inequality

There is a growing trend in the United States towards assortative mating — a clunky phrase that refers to people’s tendency to choose spouses with similar educational attainment. Rising numbers of college-educated women play a key role in this change. It is much easier for college graduates to find and marry each other when there are more equal numbers of each gender within an educational bracket. 
In this Long Memo, we examine race gaps in marriage patterns in terms of educational sorting, using 5-year estimates from the 2008-2012 waves of the American Community Survey. We focus in particular on college graduates.
Source: Brookings Institution

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Reducing Harms to Boys and Young Men of Color from Criminal Justice System Involvement

Boys and young men of color are overrepresented in all aspects of the juvenile justice and criminal justice systems, at considerable cost to those involved, their families, and their communities. This overrepresentation is most acute for African Americans, although other communities of color are also affected. This paper reviews systemic, institutional, and community policies and practices that greatly impact the life chances of boys and young men of color. Policy and practice changes that would reduce criminal justice engagement and that would reduce the harms caused to communities of color from criminal justice engagement are identified and suggestions are made for developing more evidence of effectiveness for initiatives in this area.
Source: Urban Institute

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Television viewership declines: Digital Video and the Connected Consumer

The report, developed for communications, media and technology companies, found that video consumption – anytime, anywhere – has become mainstream, accelerating the decline of traditional TV viewing. Viewership for long form video content, such as movies and television on a TV screen, has declined by 13 percent globally over the past year and by 11 percent in the United States. Similarly, the report found sports viewership on TV screens declined by 10 percent globally and nine percent in the United States.

Nearly all age brackets reported double-digit declines in TV viewing globally, with 14- to 17-year-olds abandoning the TV screen at the rate of 33 percent for movies and television shows and 26 percent for sporting events. This decline continues for 18- to 34-year-olds at 14 percent for movies and television shows and 12 percent for sporting events, and for 35- to 54-year-olds, at 11 and nine percent, respectively. It does, however, flatten among the 55 and older crowd, at six percent and one percent respectively.

Source: Accenture

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Measuring Instruction in Higher Ed

To appraise the state of the art in measuring instruction in college and also explore possible future initiatives, the William T. Grant Foundation, the Spencer Foundation, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation brought together twenty-two experts on education and the learning sciences in November 2014.
The report draws on a wealth of knowledge and experience in K-12 education as well as in higher education, and finds a solid foundation on which to build. But there is a great deal more to do. STEM fields have been more heavily studied than the social sciences and the arts and humanities; research in the science of learning proliferates but is not typically applied in a way that demonstrates how different instructional approaches can yield better student learning outcomes; various rubrics and protocols are used – routinely in some instances -- to assess instructional quality but sometimes without as much evidence of their effectiveness as one would like.

The report also articulates a number of crucial design issues that future efforts will need to address early in any work. What ends should instructional measurement serve? (Here participants spoke with one voice: measures of instructional quality should be designed to improve instructional practice and ultimately student learning outcomes and not for high-stakes assessment of institutional performance.) Should efforts be focused on a single discipline or seek to draw lessons from across disciplines, perhaps even leveraging the relative progress being made in the STEM fields to invigorate work in the arts and humanities? Are there obvious starting points, for example, a common taxonomy that distinguishes instructional types or modalities; a review of the research that underpins existing measures and approaches; a focus on instruction in general education?
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Disparities in Child and Adolescent Mental Health and Mental Health Services in the U.S.

Mental health is recognized as a central determinant of individual well-being, family relationships, and engagement in society, yet there are considerable variations in mental health and mental health care according to race and ethnicity among youth in the U.S. 
Taking a developmental perspective, the authors explore four areas that may give rise to inequalities in mental health outcomes, highlight specific protective factors and barriers to care, and, finally, outline an agenda for future research.
Source: William T. Grant Foundation

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The Human Rights Impact of Less Lethal Weapons and Other Law Enforcement Equipment

The Human Rights Impact of Less Lethal Weapons and Other Law Enforcement Equipment details the medical and other risks associated with a wide range of weaponry and equipment used in policing, including crowd control during demonstrations, as well as in prisons. And it recommends stricter controls or, in some cases, bans to stem future abuses.

Source: Amnesty International

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Thursday, April 16, 2015

The High Public Cost of Low Wages

Stagnating wages and decreased benefits are a problem not only for low-wage workers who increasingly cannot make ends meet, but also for the federal government as well as the 50 state governments that finance the public assistance programs many of these workers and their families turn to. Nearly three-quarters (73 percent) of enrollees in America’s major public support
Source: The Center for Labor Research and Education, UC Berkeley

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State Higher Education Finance Report

A recession beginning in 2008 dramatically reduced state revenue and ended the growth in state and local support achieved between 2004 and 2008. In 2014, for the second straight year, overall state and local funding for higher education increased, reaching $86.3 billion, up 5.7 percent from 2013, but still below 2008-2011 levels. Initial estimates from the Grapevine survey of FY 2015 appropriations for higher education show continued growth overall of 5.2 percent in nominal terms. These data all point to continuing economic recovery and restoration of state funding for higher education on average nationally.
Source: State Higher Education Executive Officers Association

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Tuesday, April 14, 2015

U.S. Postsecondary Faculty in 2015; Diversity In People, Goals And Methods, But Focused On Students

Our work aimed to fill important gaps in the knowledge by developing a greater understanding of postsecondary faculty, and their attitudes and beliefs as they affect pedagogical choices and impact student outcomes. We believe this is crucial, as faculty are the key interface between the system and students, often the first to see student needs, and in any event, are crucial in developing and adopting approaches to meet these needs. At the same time, U.S postsecondary faculty are diverse personally, both within and across institutions. Consequently, while many conjectures and hypotheses exist with respect to faculty goals, objectives, and behaviors, there is not a systematic understanding of how these may differ across the professoriate, and how any differences affect the faculty behaviors which most affect student outcomes.

The investigation focused on both the intrinsic and extrinsic motivational factors associated with perceptions of education held by postsecondary faculty in the United States. The research illuminates how different internal and external factors (motivational, behavioral, contextual enablers/barriers, values, beliefs, and demographics) come together to influence faculty members’ willingness to learn about new pedagogies, incorporate new ideas in their work, and spread new ideas regarding teaching and learning to peers and campus leaders.
Source: Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation

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Gunfire declined significantly in 2014

Press Release:

Gunfire declined significantly in 2014 in American cities monitored by ShotSpotter, according to a study released recently by the company.

SST, which operates ShotSpotter, examined data in 28 cities that used the gunfire detection system in both 2013 and 2014. Instances of recorded gunfire dropped by 28.8 percent, according to the company.

All but two of the 28 cities saw reductions in their rates of gunfire.

ShotSpotter uses an array of microphones to record, identify and locate instances in which weapons are discharged. During 2014, it was used in 47 total cities.

The technology recorded 33,975 separate gunfire incidents nationwide in 2014, with 117,161 rounds fired. That breaks down to roughly 105 incidents per day.

Source: SST

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Quality & Disparities Report Access to Health Care Improving Among all Racial and Ethnic Groups Following Affordable Care Act; Additional Work Remains

This annual report on the nation's health care includes a section on measures of access to care that for the first time cover a period after implementation of the Affordable Care Act's Health Insurance Marketplaces. Data covering January to June 2014 show that the overall rate of "uninsurance"—a measure of access to care—decreased substantially to 15.6 percent in the second quarter of 2014 among those age 18 to 64 (from a high of 22.3 percent in 2010). Because the data run through June 2014, they capture enrollment gains only from the first open enrollment period in the Health Insurance Marketplaces. The second open enrollment period began on November 15, 2014, and is not captured in the report.
Source: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

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Read online and access reports and datasets from previous years 

Congressional Research: International Law and Agreements: Their Effect Upon U.S. Law

This report provides an introduction to the roles that international law and agreements play in the United States. International law is derived from two primary sources—international agreements and customary practice. Under the U.S. legal system, international agreements can be entered into by means of a treaty or an executive agreement. The Constitution allocates primary responsibility for entering into such agreements to the executive branch, but Congress also plays an essential role. First, in order for a treaty (but not an executive agreement) to become binding upon the United States, the Senate must provide its advice and consent to treaty ratification by a two-thirds majority. Secondly, Congress may authorize congressional-executive agreements. Thirdly, many treaties and executive agreements are not self-executing, meaning that implementing legislation is required to provide U.S. bodies with the domestic legal authority necessary to enforce and comply with an international agreement’s provisions.
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Human Capital Trends 2015

Global organizations today navigate a “new world of work”—one that requires a dramatic change in strategies for leadership, talent, and human resources. More than 3,300 organizations from 106 countries contributed to Deloitte’s Global Human Capital Trends 2015 survey, assessing the importance of specific talent challenges and their readiness to meet them.  
This report explores 10 major trends that emerged from our research, which reflects four major themes for 2015: leading, engaging, reinventing, and reimagining. We present the capability gaps associated with each of these trends and offer practical insights to help you address these challenges in your organization. We also outline six key findings and invite you to interact with the Human Capital Trends Dashboard to explore the trends by geography, industry, and company size.
Source: Deloitte

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Characteristics of the College-Educated Population and the Science and Engineering Workforce in the United States

T​he number of college graduates in the United States nearly doubled between 1993 and 2013, from 29 million to 55 million, according to the National Survey of College Graduates (NSCG). The number of college graduates with degrees in science and engineering (S&E) fields grew faster than the number of college graduates with degrees in non-S&E fields. Additionally, in 2013, about 1 in 10 college graduates were employed in an S&E occupation, and this proportion has remained largely unchanged since 1993. Women accounted for more than one-half of the college graduate population in the United States in 2013. However, women constituted only 29% of those employed in S&E occupations.
Source: National Science Foundation

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What Courses Should Law Students Take? Harvard’s Largest Employers Weigh In

We report the results of an online survey, conducted on behalf of Harvard Law School, of 124 practicing attorneys at major law firms. The survey had two main objectives: (1) to assist students in selecting courses by providing them with data about the relative importance of courses and (2) to provide faculty with information about how to improve the curriculum and best advise students. The most salient result is that students were strongly advised to study accounting and financial statement analysis, as well as corporate finance. These subject areas were viewed as particularly valuable, not only for corporate/transactional lawyers, but also for litigators. Intriguingly, non-traditional courses and skills, such as business strategy and teamwork, are seen as more important than many traditional courses and skills.
Source: Harvard Business School Working Paper Series

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After Great Recession, More Married Fathers Providing Child Care

The U.S. economy lost 8.7 million jobs between December 2007 and January 2010. Sixty-nine percent of the jobs lost during the recession were held by men, 2 and the employment rate of married fathers (whether working full or part time) with employed wives decreased from 92 percent in 2005 to 88 percent in 2011.3 The large job losses and persistently high unemployment from the Great Recession and its aftermath prompted families to adapt to financial hardship and reallocate fathers’ and mothers’ time spent in the labor force and in the home.
Source: University of New Hampshire, Carsey School of Public Policy
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Access to Unemployment Insurance Benefits for Family Caregivers: An Analysis of State Rules and Practices

This research report presents detailed information on the policies and practices in place in state unemployment insurance (UI) programs that provide potential temporary financial assistance to family caregivers. The report draws on legal analysis from 50 states and the District of Columbia and in-depth interviews with advocates and UI agency officials from 10 targeted states that have “caregiver-friendly” UI rules in place.

Source: AARP

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Clarity and confusion? The new jurisprudence of aboriginal title

The Supreme Court of Canada has revolutionized the jurisprudence of aboriginal rights and title. Various decisions have overturned the doctrine of adverse occupancy, which at one time had been thought to have extinguished aboriginal title in British Columbia (Delgamukkw); created a governmental duty to consult First Nations regarding use of land to which they have a claim of aboriginal rights or title (Haida Nation); approved a specific claim to aboriginal title (Tsilhqot’in); and extended the duty of consultation to First Nations whose aboriginal title was previously thought to have been extinguished by treaty (Mikisew). These decisions have created a new range of property rights for First Nations, which they should be able to use to advance their prosperity. However, the new jurisprudence has also set up many barriers to voluntary market transactions by multiplying the number of owners and claimants, and laying down opaque und unpredictable rules for making decisions about lands that are subject to claims of aboriginal title or to treaty rights such as hunting and fishing.

Source: Fraser Institute

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Thursday, April 09, 2015

Higher education in the EU: Approaches, issues and trends

The performance and quality of higher education has become a vital sign of a country’s capacity to foster its future economic development. The race for talent is currently open on a global scale. In spite of the fact that the United States is still the global leader with 17% of international students, the EU is increasingly popular with the United Kingdom, France and Germany accounting respectively for 13%, 6%, and 6% of world students.

One of the elements accounting for the global attraction of EU universities resides in relatively lower tuition fees compared to American universities. Likewise, efforts made to develop quality and accreditation frameworks for mobility within the EU place Europe at the top of the most advanced global regions in this respect. While EU universities took more time to develop Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs), they now account for approximately one quarter of MOOCs in the world and the numbers are constantly rising. Since May 2014, the EU has also its own global ranking system: U-Multirank.

Even though it is difficult to predict in what ways technological change will affect higher education in the longer term, it is clear that sustained effort and on-going international cooperation will be required to improve current structures and take full advantage of the impact of new technologies.
Source: European Parliamentary Research Service

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Higher education and workforce policy: Creating more skilled workers (and jobs for them to fill)

Executive Summary:
Employment of Americans in middle-wage jobs has been declining, due to trends both in employer demand and worker skill attainment. Workforce development in the US now mostly occurs in community and forprofit colleges, as well as the lower-tier of 4-year colleges. Enrollment rates are high, even among the disadvantaged, but completion rates are very low and earnings are uneven for graduates. Community colleges lack not only resources but also incentives to respond to the job market (while the for-profit colleges need stronger regulation). Sectoral training and career pathway models show promise but need scaling and maintenance of quality, and employers also need greater incentives to participate and create more good jobs. Three sets of policies should help address these problems:
  1. Providing more resources to community (and lower-tier 4-year) colleges but also creating incentives and accountability by basing state subsidies on student completion rates and earnings of graduates; 
  2. Expanding high-quality career and technical education plus work-based learning models like apprenticeship; and 
  3. Assisting and incentivizing employers to create more good jobs. Other supportive policies—including higher minimum wages, paid parental leave, and labor law reform—would help as well. Together these proposals should create more good jobs and more good workers to fill them.
Source: Brookings Institution

Data: Gendered disparities in Mexico-U.S. migration by class, ethnicity, and geography

From the abstract:
Background: Men are more likely than women to migrate from Mexico to the United States. This disparity has been shown to vary by level of education, suggesting that gender may interact with other forms of social status to inform the relative risk of Mexico-U.S. migration for men and women. 
Objective: This study examines whether and how the gender disparity in migration from Mexico to the United States varies by class, ethnicity, and geography.

 Methods: Data from two waves of the Mexican Family Life Survey are used to estimate the rate of migration to the United States for men and women across class, ethnic, and geographic groups.
Source: Demographic Research

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The Impact of Foreclosures on Neighborhood Crime

In the last few years, mortgage foreclosures have uprooted millions of households, and many have expressed concern that the foreclosed homes they leave behind are increasing crime. The three papers that emerged from our project study this question by examining whether and how elevated foreclosures affect different types of crime in the immediately surrounding area, in five cities around the country.
Source: National Criminal Justice Reference Service

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Wednesday, April 08, 2015

New Database: American Archive of Public Broadcasting

From the Press Release:
The American Archive of Public Broadcasting (AAPB), a collaboration between the Library of Congress, WGBH Boston and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, launched a new website at americanarchive.org today, providing the public with access to a collection of American public radio and television content dating back to the 1950s. These audio and video materials, created by more than 120 public broadcasting organizations across the country, have now been digitized and preserved, and will be a resource for scholars, researchers, educators, filmmakers and the general public to delve into the rich history of public broadcasting across America.

The website will initially provide access to 2.5 million inventory records created during the American Archive Content Inventory Project. The records will provide information about which public media video and audio materials have been digitized and preserved in the AAPB, indicate which video and audio files are available for research on location at WGBH and the Library of Congress, and highlight the participating stations. Contributing stations’ histories, information about significant productions and resources for participating organizations will be available online.
Source: Library of Congress

Access Archive of Public Broadcasting

Academic Journals: Is it time to shake things up?

Via The Guardian:
Researchers are estimated to waste 15 million person-hours a year on unpublished submissions to scientific journals. How can we make scientific communication more efficient? This was one of the questions raised at a recent debate at a conference celebrating the 350th anniversary of the Philosophical Transactions, the world’s oldest scientific journal, published by the Royal Society. I am in the team of historians from the University of St Andrews who ran the conference, and writing a history of the journal and its editorial practices. We want to bring this history right up to the present day, and so invited four experts in scientific publishing to discuss the present and future of the learned journal.
Source: The Guardian

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Tuesday, April 07, 2015

Reproductive Health — Trends in the States: First Quarter 2015

By the end of the first quarter of the year, legislators had introduced 791 provisions related to sexual and reproductive health and rights. Nearly 42% of these provisions (332 provisions) seek to restrict access to abortion services; abortion restrictions have been introduced in 43 states. By April 1, 53 abortion restrictions had been approved by a legislative chamber, and nine had been enacted. Many of the new abortion restrictions enacted this year would either limit the use of medication abortion (Arkansas and Idaho) or ban abortion at 20 weeks postfertilization (West Virginia), a disturbing combination of attempts to curtail access in both the early and later months of pregnancy, potentially leaving women with fewer options and a greatly reduced time frame to get the care they need.
Source: Guttmacher Institute

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Congressional Research: Cybersecurity: Authoritative Reports and Resources, by Topic (March 30, 2015)

This report provides references to analytical reports on cybersecurity from CRS, other government agencies, trade associations, and interest groups. The reports and related websites are grouped under the following cybersecurity topics:
  • Policy overview 
  • National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace (NSTIC) 
  • Cloud computing and the Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program (FedRAMP) 
  • Critical infrastructure 
  • Cybercrime, data breaches, and data security 
  • National security, cyber espionage, and cyberwar (including Stuxnet) 
  • International efforts 
  • Education/training/workforce 
  • Research and development (R&D)
In addition, the report lists selected cybersecurity-related websites for congressional and government agencies; news; international organizations; and other organizations, associations, and institutions.
Source: Congressional Research Service

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The Changing Shape of American Cities

The last two decades have brought dramatic changes to many American cities. Most cities in the United States in 1990 had a “donut” shape, with wealthier residents in a booming suburban ring surrounding a decaying core. Today cities are increasingly resembling what has been called a new donut – with three, rather than two rings. The center has grown much more desirable to educated, higher-income residents, especially young adults under the age of 35. Poverty, meanwhile, is migrating outwards, creating an “inner ring” of urban and early suburban neighborhoods around the core, where per capita incomes have fallen and education rates are stagnant. Beyond the inner ring, an outer ring of newer and larger suburbs continues to add population.

Source: Demographics Research Group, University of Virginia Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service.

Download full pdf publication | Read online press release

Immigrant Women in the United States

Following a history of majority male migration through the mid-20th century, women have migrated to the United States in large numbers as a result of the emphasis on family reunification ushered in by the 1965 Immigration Act. Female immigrants represent 51 percent of the overall foreign-born population, with 21.2 million immigrant women residing in the United States in 2013, out of a total immigrant population of 41.3 million. The female share of the immigrant population is higher in the United States than it is globally, where about 48 percent of the international migrant stock is female (see Figure 1). Even as female migration has increased globally since 1980, the share in the United States—the world’s top immigrant destination—has decreased slightly from 53 percent in 1980 to around 51 percent in 2013.
Source: Migration Policy Institute

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CDC Grand Rounds: the Future of Cancer Screening

From the introduction:
In the United States, patients frequently receive cancer screening recommendations from a physician during an office visit for a general examination or a medical condition. However, in some parts of the world, such as the Netherlands and the United Kingdom, recommendations for screening are made outside of routine medical care settings. These countries use organized systems to contact all adults for whom screening is recommended to remind them to receive cancer screening at recommended intervals. These systems include comprehensive data collection and evaluation systems that provide feedback to improve quality of screening and minimize breakdowns in the multiple steps of the cancer screening process.
Source: CDC Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report

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Faith-Based Funding Backed, But Church-State Doubts Abound

As religion plays a more prominent role in public life, sharp divisions of opinion about the mixing of church and state are apparent. Most notably, while the public expresses strong support for the idea of faith-based groups receiving government funding to provide social services, in practice, it has many reservations. Most Americans would not extend that right to non-Judeo-Christian religious groups including: Muslim Americans, Buddhist Americans, Nation of Islam and the Church of Scientology. Many also have reservations about allowing the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints — the Mormons — to apply for federal funding to offer social services.
Source: Pew Research Center

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California's New Vagrancy Laws: The Growing Enactment and Enforcement of Anti-Homeless Laws in the Golden State

Vagrancy laws conjure up a distant past when authorities punished people without a home or permanent residence. Whether the objects of pity or scorn, vagrants could be cited or jailed under laws selectively enforced against anyone deemed undesirable. Although such laws have generally been struck down by courts as unconstitutionally vague, today’s “vagrants” are homeless people, who face growing harassment and punishment for their presence in public.

More than one in five homeless people in the country lives in California, and two-thirds are unsheltered. The state legislature has done little to respond to this widespread problem, forcing municipal governments to address homelessness with local laws and resources. Cities have responded by enacting and enforcing new vagrancy laws — a wide range of municipal codes that target or disproportionately impact homeless people.

Through extensive archival research and case studies of several cities, the report presents detailed evidence of the growing enactment and enforcement of municipal anti-homeless laws in recent decades as cities engage in a race to the bottom to push out homeless people. It concludes with a call for a state-level solution to end the expensive and inhumane treatment of some of California's most vulnerable residents.
Source: Social Science Resource Network

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A Deep Dive Into Party Affiliation : Sharp Differences by Race, Gender, Generation, Education

A new analysis of long-term trends in party affiliation among the public provides a detailed portrait of where the parties stand among various groups in the population. It draws on more than 25,000 interviews conducted by the Pew Research Center in 2014, which allows examination of partisan affiliation across even relatively small racial, ethnic, educational and income subgroups.
Source: Pew Research Center

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