High Costs of Cheap Oil

High Costs of Cheap Oil. YaleGlobal. Deepak Gopinath. May 7, 2015.

Consumers are delighted by low oil prices and economists anticipate increased global growth. But the low prices are locking many industries into infrastructure that relies on fossil fuels. “High-carbon infrastructure – power plants, pipelines, factories, inefficient buildings, roads and transport vehicles – built now will last and pollute for decades to come,” writes Deepak Gopinath. The low prices suppress demand for new technologies based on alternative fuels. Developing nations account for most global population growth in the energy sector. Delays in developing alternative energies lock countries like China and India into competitive patterns that encourage dependence on fossil fuels. In addition to ending subsidies for fossil fuels, Gopinath encourages taxes on consumption to reduce use and develop funding for alternative energies. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

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A Different Look at Generations and Partisanship

A Different Look at Generations and Partisanship. Pew Research Center. April 30, 2015.

Over the past decade, there has been a pronounced age gap in American politics. Younger Americans have been the Democratic Party’s strongest supporters in both vote preferences and partisanship, while older Americans have been the most reliably Republican.

The report earlier this month on partisan identification found that 51% of Millennials (18-33 years old in 2014) identify with or lean toward the Democratic Party, while 35% identify as Republicans or lean Republican. By contrast, 47% of those in the Silent Generation (ages 69-86 in 2014) say they are Republican or lean Republican; 43% affiliate with the Democratic Party or lean Democratic. The partisan leanings of Baby Boomers and Generation X fall in between; both generations favor the Democratic Party, but to a lesser extent than Millennials. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 17 pages, 338 KB].

Syrian Refugees in Turkey: The Long Road Ahead

Syrian Refugees in Turkey: The Long Road Ahead. Migration Policy Institute. Ahmet Icduygu. April 2015.

More than 1.7 million Syrian refugees lived in Turkey as of mid-March 2015, making this the world’s largest community of Syrians displaced by the conflict in their country. The report provides an overview of Turkey’s changing migration landscape and the position of Syrian refugees in Turkey today, along with policy recommendations given the likelihood of long-term or permanent displacement for Syrians. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[HTML format with a link to the full text PDF file].

Mixed Views of Impact of Long-Term Decline in Union Membership

Mixed Views of Impact of Long-Term Decline in Union Membership. Pew Research Center. April 27, 2015.

Over the past three decades, the share of wage and salary workers in the United States who belong to labor unions has fallen by about half. The public expresses mixed views of the impact of the long-term decline in union membership on the country: 45% say this has been mostly a bad thing, while 43% see it as mostly a good thing. However, the effects of the decline in union membership on working people is seen in more negative terms: 52% say the reduction in union representation has been mostly bad for working people, compared with fewer (40%) who say it has been mostly good. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 17 pages, 469.20 KB].

Planning for Higher Education Programs: Effectively Using Data and Modeling to Understand Workforce Needs

Planning for Higher Education Programs: Effectively Using Data and Modeling to Understand Workforce Needs. RAND Corporation. Charles A. Goldman et al. April 23, 2015.

Workforce data sources provide valuable information, though no source should be used on its own. The information should be used to manage new and ongoing degree programs and for periodic strategic planning, according to the authors. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 4 pages, 97.96 KB].

Mountaintop Mining: Background on Current Controversies

Mountaintop Mining: Background on Current Controversies. Congressional Research Service, Library of Congress. Claudia Copeland. April 20, 2015.

Mountaintop removal mining involves removing the top of a mountain in order to recover the coal seams contained there. This practice occurs in six Appalachian states (Kentucky, West Virginia, Virginia, Tennessee, Pennsylvania, and Ohio). It creates an immense quantity of excess spoil (dirt and rock that previously composed the mountaintop), which is typically placed in valley fills on the sides of the former mountains, burying streams that flow through the valleys. Mountaintop mining is regulated under several laws, including the Clean Water Act (CWA) and the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act (SMCRA).

[PDF format, 21 pages, 289.81 KB].

Strengthening Nuclear Stability in Turbulent Times

Strengthening Nuclear Stability in Turbulent Times. Brookings Institution. April 2015.

The Ukraine crisis and broader deterioration in relations between Russia and the West has created a heightened danger of unintended clashes between Russian and NATO military forces, and continues to deflate hopes for near-term progress on nuclear arms control. The report offers key recommendations and identifies additional measures to build confidence and strengthen security in Europe, enhance global nuclear stability, and set the stage for further progress on reducing nuclear weapons. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 32 pages, 716 KB].

Fueling the Online Trade

Fueling the Online Trade. Center for Strategic & International Studies. Kati Suominen. April 23, 2015.

Across the United States, individuals and small businesses are increasingly buying and selling goods and services online. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the total value of online transactions in the United States grew from $3 trillion in 2006 to $5.4 trillion in 2012, about a third of U.S. GDP. Increasingly, these transactions are cross border. By 2017, a third of U.S. business-to-consumer (B2C) and consumer-to-consumer (C2C) e-commerce transactions will be with foreign counterparts, up from 16 percent today. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 56 pages, 5.49 MB].

Americans’ Views on Open Government Data

Americans’ Views on Open Government Data. Pew Research Center. John B. Horrigan and Lee Rainie. April 21, 2015.

Government reformers and advocates believe that two contemporary phenomena hold the potential to change how people engage with governments at all levels. The first is data. There is more of it than ever before and there are more effective tools for sharing it. This creates new service-delivery possibilities for government through use of data that government agencies themselves collect and generate. The second is public desire to make government more responsive, transparent and effective in serving citizens — an impulse driven by tight budgets and declining citizens’ trust in government. This report is based on the first national survey that seeks to benchmark public sentiment about the government initiatives that use data to cultivate the public square. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 66 pages, 1.11 MB].

Hours Flexibility and the Gender Gap in Pay

Hours Flexibility and the Gender Gap in Pay. Center for Global Development. Claudia Goldin. April 15, 2015.

There is a large hourly wage penalty associated with working fewer hours per week, and although the effect is similar by gender, women are more greatly affected because they are more likely to work fewer than 40 hours per week, according to the author. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 31 pages, 1.72 MB].