Remittance Flows Worldwide in 2016

Remittance Flows Worldwide in 2016. Pew Research Center. January 23, 2016.

 Worldwide, an estimated $574 billion (USD) was sent by migrants to relatives in their home countries in 2016, a 1% decline from 2015, when the amount was $581 billion, according to economists at the World Bank. This is the second drop in global remittances since the global financial crisis. Despite this recent decline, remittances sent by migrants are still about double what they were a decade ago, before the sharp decline in the global economy during the late 2000s. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

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Leveraging the Links between Migration and Development: US Government Policy, Practice, and Potential

Leveraging the Links between Migration and Development: US Government Policy, Practice, and Potential. Center for Global Development. Kathleen Newland. November 20, 2017. 

 This paper reviews the positions and activities of the US government that have linked international migration with social, political and, above all, economic development in migrants’ countries of origin, through 2016. It specifies major opportunities for the government to do more for its overseas development policy goals by shaping the terms on which migration occurs, including in times of restricted immigration. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

 [PDF format, 23 pages, 399.57 KB].

Spending on Children Ages 8 and Younger

Spending on Children Ages 8 and Younger. Urban Institute. Heather Hahn et al. December 7, 2017

 Investments in young children can positively influence childhood well-being and long-term social and economic outcomes.

To provide a better understanding of public spending on young children, this report tackles questions about federal, state, and local investments. We provide information on how much the federal government spent on children ages 8 and younger in 2006 and 2016 and estimate projected spending in 2026. We also address where and how those funds are used. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

 [PDF format, 39 pages, 1.30 MB].

Climate Change and Monetary Policy: Dealing with Disruption

Climate Change and Monetary Policy: Dealing with Disruption. Brookings Institution. Warwick J. McKibbin et al. Friday, December 1, 2017

 Policy responses to climate change can have important implications for monetary policy and vice versa. Different approaches to imposing a price on carbon will impact energy and other prices differently; some would provide stable and predictable price outcomes, and others could be more volatile.

In “Climate change and monetary policy: Dealing with disruption”, the authors  explore the interaction of monetary policy and climate change as they jointly influence macroeconomic outcomes. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

 [PDF format, 32 pages, 516.3 KB].

Postsecondary Education and STEM Employment in the United States: An Analysis of National Trends with a Focus on the Natural Gas and Oil Industry

Postsecondary Education and STEM Employment in the United States: An Analysis of National Trends with a Focus on the Natural Gas and Oil Industry. RAND Corporation.  Matthew D. Baird, Robert Bozick, Mark Harris. December 6, 2017.

 This report aims to contribute new knowledge to understanding the role that postsecondary education — including bachelor’s degrees, associate’s degrees, and sub-baccalaureate credentialing programs — plays in meeting the increasing demands of the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) workforce, and particularly in the oil and natural gas industry. As the economy becomes increasingly reliant on workers with strong quantitative and analytical skills, there is a growing need for policymakers to identify efficient ways to prepare all youth — including those not continuing on to college — for careers in STEM. As part of the study, the authors analyze data from three national data sources: the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System, the American Community Survey, and the Current Population Survey. The study indicates that the receipt of a bachelor’s degree in a STEM field and the attainment of a certification or license (in any field) are important educational milestones that support success in the STEM labor market. However, in both absolute and relative numbers, women and racial or ethnic minorities are less likely to earn these critical degrees and to enter STEM employment. Without stronger support for these traditionally underrepresented groups, the STEM economy in general and the oil and natural gas industry in particular may fail to optimize the pool of potential workers that it needs to sustain growth and innovation. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

 [PDF format, 100 pages, 1.03 MB].

Whither America: A Strategy for Repairing America’s Political Culture

Whither America: A Strategy for Repairing America’s Political Culture.  Atlantic Council.  John Raidt. December 11, 2017 

 The United States faces threats from outside its borders, but also from within. While domestic issues including healthcare, immigration, and tax reform occupy the media, a more sinister threat exists underfoot. The political system that once created a strong, prosperous, and united nation now sows division. Many of the country’s public institutions, most notably Congress, seem increasingly inept and dangerously dysfunctional. Permanent campaign mode is distracting the country’s institutions from their responsibilities, alienating the public from civic processes, and leaving the country vulnerable to foreign interference.

In this Atlantic Council Strategy Paper, John Raidt diagnoses the myriad problems from the inside, having worked in the corridors of power on Capitol Hill and the executive branch. He highlights how difficult it is to reform the political system. His analogy—a system of gears grinding to crush the spirit of democracy—is a fitting visual for the complex interactions that benefit those at the center of power even while public regard for US institutions decline. Raidt indicts both Republicans and Democrats for failing to govern effectively and fairly. Dissecting the issues with personal anecdotes of government’s dysfunction gathered during his extensive career, Raidt’s paper provides decision makers with concrete proposals to rejuvenate our political system. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

 [PDF format, 92 pages, 2.97 MB].

The Four Faces of China in Central and Eastern Europe

The Four Faces of China in Central and Eastern Europe. YaleGlobal. Michał Romanowski. November 30, 2017

 China’s Belt and Road Initiative winds its way into Europe including cooperation and projects with 16 Central and Eastern Europe nations. The sixth annual meeting of 16+1 heads of state convened in Hungary to plan investments in technology, finance, agriculture, health, education and more, Michal Romanowski, with the German Marshall Fund of the United States, categorizes four types of Chinese involvement in the region: As connector, China invests in infrastructure, presenting a warning for Brussels not to neglect Central and Eastern Europe. As shaper, China often overlooks diversity and treats the region as a single bloc, which in turn can prompt caution. As investor, China has not made Central and Eastern Europe a priority, and the United States and the European Union are responsible for the bulk of the region’s foreign investment. Still, China with ample resources can be regarded as challenger for enterprises inside the region and beyond. “It should be remembered in Central and Eastern Europe that China has grown into a promoter of globalization not only out of goodwill but due to its own national interests,” Romanowski notes. He urges leaders throughout the region and Europe as a whole to adopt a similar pragmatic attitude. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

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Making Sense of State School Funding Policy

Making Sense of State School Funding Policy. Urban Institute. Matthew Chingos, Kristin Blagg. November 28, 2017

 State policymakers throughout the country are enacting or considering major reforms to how they fund public schools. School funding policy is complicated, in part because districts can respond in ways that may counteract state policymakers’ goals. This report provides an overview of how state school funding policy works, including how states measure student and district needs, how funding formulas divide responsibility between state and local revenue sources, and how different components of funding policy interact. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

 [PDF format, 34 pages, 506.52 KB].

Risky Choices: Simulating Public Pension Funding Stress with Realistic Shocks

Risky Choices: Simulating Public Pension Funding Stress with Realistic Shocks. Brookings Institution.  James Farrell and Daniel Shoag. November 30, 2017

 Though they often fly under the radar in public discourse, state and local pension plans are among the most important institutions in the modern economy. They provide retirement benefits for nearly 10 million beneficiaries; have nearly 20 million members, and manage nearly $4 trillion in assets.[1] The huge scale of these plans means that seemingly obscure assumptions on investment returns and discount rates have enormous consequences. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

 [PDF format, 28 pages, 643.98 KB].

Balkans Forward: A New US Strategy for the Region. Atlantic Council

Balkans Forward: A New US Strategy for the Region. Atlantic Council. Damir Marusic, Sarah Bedenbaugh, and Damon Wilson November 28, 2017 

 The Western Balkans were supposed to be a solved problem. The United States has mostly watched from afar in recent years, thinking that the Europeans had these matters mostly in hand. US diplomats have played crucial roles in key moments; yet, the region continued to slide down the US political agenda. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

 [PDF format, 26 pages, 2.50 MB].