Oil and Gas Activities within the National Wildlife Refuge System

Oil and Gas Activities within the National Wildlife Refuge System. Congressional Research Service, Library of Congress. R. Eliot Crafton, Laura B. Comay, Marc Humphries. May 9, 2018

 Oil- and gas-related wells are documented in 110 (approximately 18%) of the 605 units of the National Wildlife Refuge System (NWRS). The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), in the Department of the Interior (DOI), administers the NWRS, which includes primarily national wildlife refuges, along with wetland management districts and waterfowl production areas. The wells in the NWRS most commonly involve nonfederal oil and gas resources but sometimes encompass federal resources. Oil and gas development in the NWRS has the potential to adversely impact wildlife and/or the environment, and some see it as contrary to the mission and purposes for which the NWRS was established. Others think that some levels of oil and gas activity may take place in refuges without harming the system’s central mission of wildlife conservation and that such activity could benefit the U.S. economy and provide greater energy security. FWS, which administers nonfederal mineral activities on refuge lands, and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), which administers federal mineral activities on refuge lands, have developed regulations that seek to minimize the adverse impacts of oil and gas development in the NWRS, among other purposes.

 [PDF format, 23 pages].


Slower Productivity and Higher Inequality: Are They Related?

Slower Productivity and Higher Inequality: Are They Related? Peterson Institute for International Economics. Working Paper 18-4. Jason Furman and Peter Orszag. June 2018

Income growth for typical American families has slowed dramatically since 1973. Slower productivity growth and an increase in income inequality have both contributed to this trend. This paper addresses whether there is a relationship between the productivity slowdown and the increase in inequality, specifically exploring the extent to which reduced competition and dynamism can explain both of these phenomena. Productivity growth has been uneven across the economy, with top firms earning increasingly skewed returns. At the same time, the between-firm disparities have been important in explaining the increase in labor income inequality. Both these findings are consistent with the observed reductions in competition, as evidenced by increasing concentration and economic rents, and business dynamism. The authors also explore the scenarios under which government policies can help mitigate, or contribute to, declining competition and dynamism. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 15 pages].

How FDA Approves Drugs and Regulates Their Safety and Effectiveness

How FDA Approves Drugs and Regulates Their Safety and Effectiveness.  Congressional Research Service, Library of Congress. Agata Dabrowska, Susan Thaul. May 8, 2018

 The Food and Drug Administration (FDA), a regulatory agency within the Department of Health and Human Services, regulates the safety and effectiveness of drugs sold in the United States. FDA divides that responsibility into two phases. In the preapproval (premarket) phase, FDA reviews manufacturers’ applications to market drugs in the United States; a drug may not be sold unless it has FDA approval. Once a drug is on the market, FDA continues its oversight of drug safety and effectiveness. That postapproval (postmarket) phase lasts as long as the drug is on the market. Beginning with the Food and Drugs Act of 1906, Congress and the President have incrementally refined and expanded FDA’s responsibilities regarding drug approval and regulation.

 [PDF format, 31 pages].



Public Funding for Job Training at the State and Local Level: An Examination of Massachusetts, Texas, and Washington

Public Funding for Job Training at the State and Local Level: An Examination of Massachusetts, Texas, and Washington. Urban Institute. Kelly S. Mikelson, Ian Hecker. June 14, 2018

 To provide a more complete picture of federal, state, and local job training investments, this report describes public expenditures for three states—Massachusetts, Texas, and Washington—and five cities—Austin, Boston, Houston, Seattle, and Worcester. Compared with the federally-funded Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, state and local investments in workforce training and related services is substantial, in some cases surpassing federal funding. States and localities demonstrate six strategies to manage funding—seeking diverse revenue sources, leveraging public- and private-funding, braiding and blending funding, using dedicated fees for training, funding sector-based training initiatives, and collaborating and coordinating to fill training gaps. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

 [PDF format, 77 pages].

Donors’ Perspectives on Closing Civic Space

Donors’ Perspectives on Closing Civic Space. Center for Strategic & International Studies. Barbara Smith. June 5, 2018

 This report examines the flow of financial support to civil society, and analyzes different methods of support that are effective at enhancing the sustainability and resilience of these groups, especially in restricted environments. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

 [PDF format, 26 pages].

Small Business: Access to Capital and Job Creation

Small Business: Access to Capital and Job Creation.  Congressional Research Service, Library of Congress. Robert Jay Dilger. June 1, 2018

 The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) administers several programs to support small businesses, including loan guaranty and venture capital programs to enhance small business access to capital; contracting programs to increase small business opportunities in federal contracting; direct loan programs for businesses, homeowners, and renters to assist their recovery from natural disasters; and small business management and technical assistance training programs to assist business formation and expansion. Congressional interest in these programs has increased in recent years, primarily because assisting small business is viewed as a means to enhance economic growth.

[PDF format, 31 pages].

New Evidence on the Benefits of Small Group Math Instructions for Young Children

New Evidence on the Benefits of Small Group Math Instructions for Young Children. Brookings Institution. Robin Jacob and Brian A. Jacob.  June 7, 2018

 The authors describe the findings from a randomized evaluation of a one-year kindergarten math enrichment program, the High 5s program. The program was designed to provide small-group math enrichment in a fun, club-like format to children who had received enriched math instruction the prior year. Participants included 655 kindergarten students in 24 low-income schools in New York City. Students were randomly assigned to either the “business as usual” control group or to participate in the High 5s math clubs, which met outside of class in small groups with a trained facilitator three times per week. The High 5s program produced a positive impact on kindergarten math skills. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

 [PDF format, 8 pages].