Kicking a Crude Habit: Diversifying Away from Oil and Gas in the 21st Century. Peterson Institute for International Economics. Working Paper 17-2. Cullen S. Hendrix. February 2017
Since the 1970s, oil and gas production has enriched many countries but also made them dangerously dependent on these resources for export revenue and government finance. As a result, development experts have counseled such countries to diversify their economies and export bases. Virtually all oil- and gas-rich countries are—and have been for decades—rhetorically committed to this goal and have allocated significant resources to infant industry development and infrastructure projects to boost their economies. However, some—such as Nigeria, Qatar, and Russia—have been more successful than others. This working paper examines the fortunes of 40 oil- and gas-dependent economies during the 21st century commodity boom and finds that in spite of oil and gas prices nearly trebling, a sizable majority (75 percent) of these countries saw oil and gas rents decrease as a share of GDP. Yet many oil- and gas-rich economies continue to rely very heavily on these resources for export revenue. Internal economic diversification in the 21st century has been less a matter of correct policy formation and implementation and more a matter of factors that shape the policymaking environment, with the findings suggesting a difficult road to economic diversification for the Gulf Cooperation Council economies. [Note: contains copyrighted material].
[PDF format, 26 pages, 345.62 KB].
Continued Support for Improving the Lowest-Performing Schools. Brookings Institution. Susanna Loeb. February 9, 2017
The release of a new report on the effects of School Improvement Grants (SIG), part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act aimed at improving the nation’s lowest performing schools, called into question the viability of improving low-performing schools at scale. The report stated that, “Implementing a SIG-funded model had no impact on math or reading test scores, high school graduation, or college enrollment.” A more careful read of the report, however, shows that the research was not able to tell whether the Grants affected any of these outcomes. The effects would have had to be unrealistically large for the study to have been able to detect them. The difference between the report’s conclusion that there was no effect and the more appropriate conclusion that they were not able to detect an effect is an important one, especially in light of state-specific research showing some success of the School Improvement Grant program. [Note: contains copyrighted material].
[PDF format, 5 pages, 344.81 KB].
The Concert of Europe and Great-Power Governance Today. RAND Corporation. Kyle Lascurettes. February 13, 2017.
This report describes the key principles of the Concert of Europe, analyzes its effects, and draws implications for future U.S. policy toward the international order. The Concert was a system of informal rules that were both recognized and practiced between the great powers of Europe beginning in 1814, after the French Revolution and Napoleonic Wars. In the Concert’s early years, regular consultation among these actors and a norm against unilateral attempts at aggrandizement on the continent fostered great-power peace and territorial stability in Europe. U.S. policymakers can learn from the strengths of the Concert system, which included accepting the realities of unequal power between its members and developing flexible processes for resolving disputes. The Concert’s stabilizing influence on great-power relations diminished by the outbreak of the Crimean War in 1853, partly because of disagreements about how to respond to revolutionary movements within states throughout Europe. As the United States considers future policies toward the post-World War II, liberal international order, it should develop agreed upon processes for resolving deep disagreements before they become insurmountable. [Note: contains copyrighted material].
[PDF format, 36 pages, 570.28 KB].
If You Build It: A Guide to the Economics of Infrastructure Investment. Brookings Institution. Diane Whitmore Schanzenbach, Ryan Nunn, and Greg Nantz. February 7, 2017
A founding principle of The Hamilton Project’s economic strategy is that long-term prosperity is best achieved by fostering economic growth and broad participation in that growth. In that spirit, this paper seeks to provide an economic framework for evaluating infrastructure investments and their methods of funding and finance. Why should we invest in infrastructure, what projects should be selected, who should decide, and how should those investments be paid for are all questions that can be better answered with the help of sound economic theory and evidence. [Note: contains copyrighted material].
[PDF format, 12 pages, 509.79 KB].
In Increasingly Authoritarian World, Can People Embrace Enlightenment 2.0? YaleGlobal Online. Marc Grossman. February 9, 2017
The Age of Enlightenment, also known as the Age of Reason, spread through Europe in the 17th and 18th centuries. Proponents argued that humans, as individuals and society, hold the power to improve their lives through reason and enterprise rather than tradition for tradition’s sake – thus unleashing respect for democracy, the rule of law, human rights and individual freedoms. “But no American president until Barack Obama has had to report that the Enlightenment’s fundamental values… are under assault in the United States,” explains Marc Grossman, vice chairman of The Cohen Group and a 2013 Kissinger senior fellow at Yale. Pessimism, intolerance and nationalism are dividing citizens. Grossman urges an Enlightenment 2.0 for free societies, developing a set of relevant, morally sound and modern guiding principles and reenergizing to promote sustainable growth, meet global challenges and restore meaning for all citizens. [Note: contains copyrighted material].
[HTML format, various paging].
Future-Proofing Justice: Building a Research Agenda to Address the Effects of Technological Change on the Protection of Constitutional Rights. RAND Corporation. Brian A. Jackson et al. January 10, 2017.
New technologies have changed the types of data that are routinely collected about citizens on a daily basis. For example, smart devices collect location and communication data, and fitness trackers and medical devices capture physiological and other data. As technology changes, new portable and connected devices have the potential to gather even more information. Such data have great potential utility in criminal justice proceedings, and they are already being used in case preparations, plea negotiations, and trials. But the broad expansion of technological capability also has the potential to stress approaches for ensuring that individuals’ constitutional rights are protected through legal processes. In an effort to consider those implications, we convened a panel of criminal justice practitioners, legal scholars, and individuals from the civil liberties community to identify research and other needs to prepare the U.S. legal system both for technologies we are seeing today and for technologies we are likely to see in the future. Through structured brainstorming, the panel explored a wide range of potential issues regarding these technologies, from evidentiary and procedural concerns to questions about the technologies’ accuracy and efficient use. Via a Delphi-based prioritization of the results, the panel crafted a research agenda — including best practice and training development, evaluation, and fundamental research efforts — to provide the criminal justice community with the knowledge and capabilities needed to address these important and complex technological questions going forward. [Note: contains copyrighted material].
[PDF format, 44 pages, 795.50 KB].
Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Incentives: A Summary of Federal Programs. Congressional Research Service, Library of Congress. Lynn J. Cunningham. December 14, 2016
Energy is crucial to the operation of a modern industrial and services economy. Recently, there have been growing concerns about the availability and cost of energy and about environmental impacts of fossil energy use. Those concerns have rekindled interest in energy efficiency, energy conservation, and the development and commercialization of renewable energy technologies.
Many of the existing energy efficiency and renewable energy programs have authorizations tracing back to the 1970s. Many of the programs have been reauthorized and redesigned repeatedly to meet changing economic factors. The programs apply broadly to sectors ranging from industry to academia, and from state and local governments to rural communities.
[PDF format, 59 pages, 1.11 MB].