Religion in Everyday Life

Religion in Everyday Life. Pew Research Center. April 12, 2016.

The study of the ways religion influences the daily lives of Americans finds that people who are highly religious are more engaged with their extended families, more likely to volunteer, more involved in their communities and generally happier with the way things are going in their lives. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 76 pages, 2.03 MB].

The Effect of Aid on Growth: Evidence from a Quasi-Experiment

The Effect of Aid on Growth: Evidence from a Quasi-Experiment. National Bureau of Economic Research. Sebastian Galiani et al. April 2016.

The literature on aid and growth has not found a convincing instrumental variable to identify the causal effects of aid. This paper exploits an instrumental variable based on the fact that since 1987, eligibility for aid from the International Development Association (IDA) has been based partly on whether or not a country is below a certain threshold of per capita income. The paper finds evidence that other donors tend to reinforce rather than compensate for reductions in IDA aid following threshold crossings. Overall, aid as a share of gross national income (GNI) drops about 59 percent on average after countries cross the threshold. Focusing on the 35 countries that have crossed the income threshold from below between 1987 and 2010, a positive, statistically significant, and economically sizable effect of aid on growth is found. A one percentage point increase in the aid to GNI ratio from the sample mean raises annual real per capita growth in gross domestic product by approximately 0.35 percentage points. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 68 pages, 1.62 MB].

Equal Pay and Opportunity

Equal Pay and Opportunity. Equal Opportunity Institute. Marilyn Watkins and Sam Hatzenbeler. April 12, 2016.

From high-profile CEOs and movie stars to healthcare and retail workers, men consistently make more than women. Social scientists and economists have found clear evidence that gender-based discrimination persists – and is so deeply ingrained in culture and practice that it often goes unrecognized. Ensuring that all employees have the right to discuss and ask about pay and job opportunities, and that anti-discrimination laws are effectively enforced, will benefit women, families, businesses, and our state economy. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 4 pages, 582.4 KB].

Libraries and Learning

Libraries and Learning. Pew Research Center. Lee Rainie. April 7, 2016.

Majorities of Americans think local libraries serve the educational needs of their communities and families pretty well and library users often outpace others in learning activities. But many do not know about key education services libraries provide. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 47 pages, 1.28 MB].

Agricultural Disaster Assistance

Agricultural Disaster Assistance. Congressional Research Service, Library of Congress. Megan Stubbs. April 6, 2016.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) offers several programs to help farmers recover financially from natural disasters, including drought and floods. All the programs have permanent authorization, and only one requires a federal disaster designation (the emergency loan program). Most programs receive mandatory funding amounts that are “such sums as necessary” and are not subject to annual discretionary appropriations.

[PDF format, 14 pages, 672.2 MB].

Restrictions on Women’s Religious Attire

Restrictions on Women’s Religious Attire. Pew Research Center. April 5, 2016.

In many countries around the world, women’s choices about their attire and appearance are restricted to some degree by government laws, policies or regulations. In recent years, most of these countries have had laws or policies that ban women from wearing religious attire in public places or limit their ability to do so in some circumstances. By comparison, far fewer countries require women to wear particular types of attire (such as headscarves or long dresses) for religious reasons. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 17 pages, 1.02 MB].

Teacher Evaluation and Support Systems: A Roadmap for Improvement

Teacher Evaluation and Support Systems: A Roadmap for Improvement. The Aspen Institute. March 18, 2016.

As states assume more autonomy under the Every Student Succeeds Act, many are at a crossroads: They can retreat from their teacher evaluation policies, or take stock of their systems and refine them for the better. The report synthesizes key findings from research, highlights best practices from states and districts across the country, and recommends practices that states and districts can incorporate into their evaluation and support systems to move them forward. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 24 pages, 574.46 KB].

What’s Left of Europe If the Far Right Has Its Way?

What’s Left of Europe If the Far Right Has Its Way? Atlantic Council. Alina Polyakova and Anton Shekhovtsov. March 22, 2016.

Far-right parties are on the rise in Europe, particularly in the post-soviet space. The 2008 financial crisis provided these parties with an electoral boost, and the refugee crisis threatening the continent has inflamed nationalist and xenophobic populism. The author explores the realities and repercussions of the rise of far-right parties in Eastern Europe. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 14 pages, 2.86 MB].

Smart Homes and the Internet of Things

Smart Homes and the Internet of Things. Atlantic Council. Greg Lindsay et al. March 30, 2016.

The Internet of Things (IoT) is the next step in the evolution of wireless networks. Analysts predict the IoT will double in size to nearly 50 billion devices by 2020, comprising a $1.7 trillion market. One of the greatest opportunities still lies ahead in the form of the “smart home.” [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 12 pages, 1.38 MB].

Should Tipping Be Abolished?

Should Tipping Be Abolished? National Center for Policy Analysis. Richard McKenzie. March 26, 2016.

The practice of tipping restaurant servers and bartenders is under attack. Some academics and pundits want to abolish tipping and replace the practice with a higher minimum hourly wage or a so-called “living wage,” generally described as the wage rate required to lift the living standards of a household or family with only one worker above the poverty line. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 12 pages, 839.84 KB].