U.S. Direct Investment Abroad: Trends and Current Issues

U.S. Direct Investment Abroad: Trends and Current Issues. Congressional Research Service, Library of Congress. James K. Jackson. June 29, 2017

The United States is the largest direct investor abroad and the largest recipient of foreign direct investment in the world. For some Americans, the national gains attributed to investing overseas are offset by such perceived losses as offshoring facilities, displacing U.S. workers, and lowering wages. Some observers believe U.S. firms invest abroad to avoid U.S. labor unions or high U.S. wages, but 74% of the accumulated U.S. foreign direct investment is concentrated in high-income developed countries. In recent years, the share of investment going to developing countries has fallen. Most economists argue that there is no conclusive evidence that direct investment abroad as a whole leads to fewer jobs or lower incomes overall for Americans. Instead, they argue that the majority of jobs lost among U.S. manufacturing firms over the past decade reflect a broad restructuring of U.S. manufacturing industries responding primarily to domestic economic forces.

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Multinational Storage of Spent Nuclear Fuel and Other High-Level Nuclear Waste: A Roadmap for Moving Forward

Multinational Storage of Spent Nuclear Fuel and Other High-Level Nuclear Waste: A Roadmap for Moving Forward. American Academy of Arts & Sciences. Robert D. Sloan. July 2017.

The Academy’s work in its Global Nuclear Future project on the back-end of the nuclear fuel cycle has focused on identifying and developing nuclear waste solutions that are feasible and adoptable by legacy countries as well as by nuclear newcomers. The project acknowledges the fact that nuclear waste is a national responsibility for all countries that have, or are in the process of building, nuclear power plants. However, for many of these countries, domestic nuclear waste solutions (such as interim storage facilities and final repositories) might be difficult to establish—obstacles can include challenging economics for nations with small nuclear fleets (nuclear power, like most other energy technologies, profits from scale), unsuitable geophysical conditions, and public opposition.

Furthermore, there is a lack of international consensus on the importance of spent nuclear fuel. Those who value spent nuclear fuel see it as a potential feedstock, as part of a closed nuclear fuel cycle; others view it as an unattractive nuisance or worse because it contains fissile plutonium, a potential source of material for weapons, and therefore they wish to dispose of it in a permanent, nonretrievable repository. As a result, attempts to fashion a multilateral nuclear waste repository that can respond to these needs have not been successful. The partners or customers of such a permanent facility would have to agree to the nature of this storage: would it allow for retrievable spent fuel or not, and would all agree to the conditions under which such fuel would be permanently stored? [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 60 pages, 1.03 MB].

The Case for an American Productivity Revival

The Case for an American Productivity Revival. Peterson Institute for International Economics. Policy Brief, 17-26. Lee G. Branstetter and Daniel Sichel. June 2017

Labor productivity in the United States has been dismal for more than a decade. But productivity slowdowns are nothing new in the United States, and, like all its predecessors, the current slowdown will also come to an end as a new productivity revival takes hold. Four developments have the potential to contribute to faster productivity growth in the United States: improvements in the healthcare system, the increasing use of robots, a revolution in e-learning, and the globalization of invention. The authors gauge the potential productivity impact of these developments and suggest that US labor productivity growth would likely rise from the 0.5 percent average rate registered since 2010 to a pace of 2 percent or more. This outcome is more likely to depend on a supportive policy environment. The federal government should expand its support of basic scientific research; allow more immigration by highly skilled scientists, engineers, and entrepreneurs; and preserve America’s longstanding commitment to open trade and investment policies. It should also strengthen the safety net rather than pare back support for workers displaced by the innovations that will drive future productivity growth. If they avoid policy errors, President Trump or his successor could have the good fortune of presiding over a productivity revival. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 11 pages, 248.47 KB].

The Price of Graduate and Professional School: How Much Students Pay

The Price of Graduate and Professional School: How Much Students Pay. Urban Institute. Sandy Baum, Patricia Steele. June 20, 2017

Graduate and professional school tuition prices vary not only by sector and degree type, but also by subject area. Subject and level of program, time to complete, and funding available to graduate students all influence the prices students pay. In addition, institutional aid covers much of the tuition for many research doctoral student. This brief examines how graduate degree prices have changed overtime and provides detailed information on published and net prices for graduate and professional degree students. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 20 pages, 1.98 MB].

The Romanian Anti-Corruption Process: Successes and Excesses

The Romanian Anti-Corruption Process: Successes and Excesses. Center for Strategic & International Studies. Heather A. Conley. June 14, 2017

Heather A. Conley, Senior Vice President for Europe, Eurasia, and the Arctic; and Director, Europe Program, testified before the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe (U.S. Helsinki Commission) on, “The Romanian Anti-Corruption Process: Successes and Excesses.” [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 5 pages, 428.1 KB].

Why Do People Oppose Globalization?

Why Do People Oppose Globalization? YaleGlobal. Farok J. Contractor. June 15, 2017

Politicians are reaping gains by wrapping themselves in flags and directing hostility toward globalization. “Humankind is developing an emerging ‘global consciousness’ – a collective sensitivity to noble thoughts as well as to phobias and ignoble protectionism,” explains Farok Contractor, a professor of global management at Rutgers University. Contractor describes how responses to global connections divide societies. One example is the embrace of Valentine’s Day by many consumers in Asia while some religious fanatics in India target foreign practices for eroding cultural traditions. Likewise, voters in rural United States and Britain, areas with few foreigners, fell prey to scaremongering about immigration while the more educated and wealthy in cities may be less threatened by multicultural ideas. Angst over job losses, stagnant wages and changing industries is real, but unscrupulous media and populists manipulate audiences by blaming globalization, trade and immigration rather than automation or the quest for modernization by majorities in many countries. Contractor concludes that “Globalization is a symptom of human desire and ambition leading to ever-increasing connections.” Nations that resist globalization, rather than engaging in thoughtful examination and policymaking, will encounter many negative consequences. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

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What’s In, What’s Out: Designing Benefits for Universal Health Coverage

What’s In, What’s Out: Designing Benefits for Universal Health Coverage. Center for Global Development. Amanda Glassman, Ursula Giedion and Peter C. Smith. July 3, 2017.

What’s In, What’s Out: Designing Benefits for Universal Health Coverage argues that the creation of an explicit health benefits plan—a defined list of services that are and are not available—is an essential element in creating a sustainable system of universal health coverage. With contributions from leading health economists and policy experts, the book considers the many dimensions of governance, institutions, methods, political economy, and ethics that are needed to decide what’s in and what’s out in a way that is fair, evidence-based, and sustainable over time. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 378 pages, 5.48 MB].