Democratic Defense against Disinformation

Democratic Defense against Disinformation.  Atlantic Council. Daniel Fried and Alina Polyakova. March 5, 2018.

 “The Russians and other purveyors of disinformation will constantly improve their tactics; our counter-tactics therefore cannot be static,” write Ambassador Daniel Fried and Dr. Alina Polyakova in Democratic Defense Against Disinformation, a new publication by the Atlantic Council’s Eurasia Center. This report is part of the broader transatlantic effort to identify democratic solutions for countering disinformation in the short term and building societal resistance to it in the long term. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

 [PDF format, 32 pages].

Economic Impact of Cybercrime – No Slowing Down

Economic Impact of Cybercrime – No Slowing Down. Center for Strategic & International Studies. James Andrew Lewis. February 21, 2018

 The Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), in partnership with McAfee, present Economic Impact of Cybercrime – No Slowing Down, a global report that focuses on the significant impact that cybercrime has on economies worldwide. The report concludes that close to $600 billion, nearly one percent of global GDP, is lost to cybercrime each year, which is up from a 2014 study that put global losses at about $445 billion. The report attributes the growth over three years to cybercriminals quickly adopting new technologies and the ease of cybercrime growing as actors leverage black markets and digital currencies. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

 [PDF format, 28 pages].

Deterring Emigration with Foreign Aid: An Overview of Evidence from Low-Income Countries

Deterring Emigration with Foreign Aid: An Overview of Evidence from Low-Income Countries. Center for Global Development.  Michael Clemens and Hannah Postel. February 12, 2018

 In response to the recent migrant and refugee crisis, rich countries have redoubled policy efforts to deter future immigration from poor countries by addressing the “root causes” of migration. The authors review existing evidence on the extent and effectiveness of such efforts. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

 [PDF format, 30 pages].

Delayed Retirement and the Growth in Income Inequality at Older Ages

Delayed Retirement and the Growth in Income Inequality at Older Ages. Urban Institute. Richard W. Johnson. February 1, 2018

 As concerns about retirement savings have intensified, many older adults have begun working beyond traditional retirement age. By working longer, they can improve their retirement security by increasing their future monthly Social Security payments and shortening the time they must rely on their savings. But does delaying retirement deepen income inequality for older adults by leaving those with health problems behind? [Note: contains copyrighted material].

 [PDF format, 35 pages].

What Is the U.S. Trade and Development Agency?

What Is the U.S. Trade and Development Agency? Center for Strategic & International Studies. Daniel F. Runde et al. January 30, 2018

 The U.S. Trade and Development Agency (USTDA) is a small independent federal agency whose mission is to help American “companies create U.S. jobs through the export of U.S. goods and services for priority development projects in emerging economies.” USTDA links American businesses to export opportunities in emerging markets by funding activities such as project preparation and partnership building in sectors including transportation, energy, and telecommunications. Since it was established 25 years ago, the agency has generated a total of $61 billion in U.S. exports and supported over 500,000 American jobs. In connecting American business to such opportunities, USTDA also links American technology’s best practices and ingenuity with U.S. trade and development policy priorities.

 USTDA is an instrument to enable American-led infrastructure development in emerging economies and, therefore, frequently sees increasing competition from government-backed Chinese firms and the challenge they can pose to American commercial engagement under the flag of One Belt, One Road (OBOR). OBOR is paving the way for Chinese engineering, procurement, and construction companies to prepare and develop infrastructure projects in OBOR countries in a way that favors Chinese standards, thereby exerting significant pressure to select Chinese suppliers. This creates a potentially vicious cycle—the more China builds, the faster their standards become the international norm, and, ultimately, this cycle could foreclose export opportunities for U.S. businesses and harm American competitiveness in global infrastructure development. U.S. exporters are increasingly requesting USTDA intervention at the pivotal, early stages of a project’s development, to compete in markets, such as the OBOR countries, where they frequently face Chinese competition. Of note, 40 percent of USTDA’s activities in 2016 were in OBOR countries across South and Southeast Asia, Central Asia, the Middle East, and Africa.

 Although there are other agencies that may seem to do work similar to USTDA, there are various aspects that make it a unique agency. This paper provides a brief description of USTDA, its origin and evolution, the impact on the U.S. economy and its proactive collaboration across U.S agencies. Finally, it offers a set of recommendations for USTDA on how to improve its operations and strengthen its role in the developing world. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

 [PDF format, 9 pages].

The Railroad Rehabilitation and Improvement Financing (RRIF) Program

The Railroad Rehabilitation and Improvement Financing (RRIF) Program.  Congressional Research Service, Library of Congress. David Randall. January 31, 2018

 Congress created the Railroad Rehabilitation and Improvement Financing (RRIF) program to offer long-term, low-cost loans to railroad operators, with particular attention to small freight railroads, to help them finance improvements to infrastructure and investments in equipment. The program is intended to operate at no cost to the government, and it does not receive an annual appropriation. Since 2000, the RRIF program has made 37 loans totaling $5.4 billion (valued at $5.9 billion in 2018 dollars). The program, which is administered by the Build America Bureau within the Office of the Secretary of Transportation, has approved only four loans since 2012.

[PDF format, 19 pages].

Tax and Development: New Frontiers of Research and Action

Tax and Development: New Frontiers of Research and Action. Center for Global Development. Maya Forstater. February 8, 2018.

 This paper looks at estimates of the potential gains from taxing across borders, alongside largely domestic measures such as property tax, personal income tax, VAT, and tobacco taxes. It finds that while action on cross-border taxation could yield additional tax take in the region of one percent of GDP, in many countries measures targeting the domestic tax base might deliver something in the region of nine percent. The main enabler is political commitment. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

 [PDF format, 51 pages].

The Antipoverty Effects of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program

The Antipoverty Effects of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. Urban Institute. Laura Wheaton, Victoria Tran. February 15, 2018

 The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), which helps millions of poor and low-income Americans purchase food, is the nation’s largest nutrition assistance program. This analysis estimates SNAP’s effect on poverty using the Supplemental Poverty Measure (SPM). The authors augment the Census Bureau’s SPM to correct for the underreporting of SNAP and other means-tested benefits in the underlying survey data. They  find that SNAP removed 8.4 million people from poverty in 2015, reducing the poverty rate from 15.4 percent to 12.8 percent (a reduction of 17 percent). SNAP reduced the poverty gap (the aggregate amount of additional income required to remove all poor families from poverty) by $35 billion (21 percent) in 2015. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

 [PDF format, 52 pages].

Can Regular Migration Channels Reduce Irregular Migration? Lessons for Europe from the United States

Can Regular Migration Channels Reduce Irregular Migration? Lessons for Europe from the United States. Center for Global Development.  Michael Clemens and Kate Gough. February 14, 2018

 Lawful migration channels are often suggested as a tool to reduce unlawful migration, but often without much evidence that they work. There is evidence that lawful channels for migration between Mexico and the United States have suppressed unlawful migration, but only when combined with robust enforcement efforts. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

 [PDF format, 6 pages].

Real Wage Trends, 1979 to 2016

Real Wage Trends, 1979 to 2016.  Congressional Research Service, Library of Congress. Sarah A. Donovan, David H. Bradley.  January 30, 2018

 Wage earnings are the largest source of income for many workers, and wage gains are a primary lever for raising living standards. Reports of stagnant median wages have therefore raised concerns among some that economic growth over the last several decades has not translated into gains for all worker groups. To shed light on recent patterns, this report estimates real (inflation adjusted) wage trends at the 10th, 50th (median), and 90th percentiles of the wage distributions for the workforce as a whole and for several demographic groups, and it explores changes in educational attainment and occupation for these groups over the 1979-2016 period. 

 [PDF format, 36 pages].