Where Americans Find Meaning in Life

Where Americans Find Meaning in Life. Pew Research Center. November 20, 2018

Economic, religious and political divides shape where Americans find meaning – but family, career and friendship emerge as common themes

What makes life meaningful? Answering such a big question might be challenging for many people. Even among researchers, there is little consensus about the best way to measure what brings human beings satisfaction and fulfillment. Traditional survey questions – with a prespecified set of response options – may not capture important sources of meaning.

To tackle this topic, Pew Research Center conducted two separate surveys in late 2017. The first included an open-ended question asking Americans to describe in their own words what makes their lives feel meaningful, fulfilling or satisfying. This approach gives respondents an opportunity to describe the myriad things they find meaningful, from careers, faith and family, to hobbies, pets, travel, music and being outdoors.

The second survey included a set of closed-ended (also known as forced-choice) questions asking Americans to rate how much meaning and fulfillment they draw from each of 15 possible sources identified by the research team. It also included a question asking which of these sources gives respondents the most meaning and fulfillment. This approach offers a limited series of options but provides a measure of the relative importance Americans place on various sources of meaning in their lives. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 50 pages].

Effects of Health Care Payment Models on Physician Practice in the United States: Follow-Up Study

Effects of Health Care Payment Models on Physician Practice in the United States: Follow-Up Study. Rand Corporation. Mark W. Friedberg et al. October 24, 2018

This report, sponsored by the American Medical Association (AMA), describes how alternative payment models (APMs) affect physicians, physicians’ practices, and hospital systems in the United States and also provides updated data to the original 2014 study. Payment models discussed are core payment (fee for service, capitation, episode-based and bundled), supplementary payment (shared savings, pay for performance, retainer-based), and combined payment (medical homes and accountable care organizations). The effects of changes since 2014 in the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and of new alternative payment models (APMs), such as the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 (MACRA) Quality Payment Program (QPP), are also examined. This project uses the same qualitative multiple–case study method as the 2014 study, relying primarily on semistructured interviews with physician practice leaders, physicians, and other observers. Findings describe the challenges posed by APMs, strategies adopted to deal with APMs, the effects of rapidly changing and increasingly complex payment models, and how risk aversion influences physician practices’ decisions to engage in new payment models. Project findings are intended to help guide efforts by the AMA and other stakeholders to improve current and future APMs and help physician practices succeed in them. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

 [PDF format, 96 pages].

The National Popular Vote (NPV) Initiative: Direct Election of the President by Interstate Compact

The National Popular Vote (NPV) Initiative: Direct Election of the President by Interstate Compact.  Congressional Research Service, Library of Congress. Thomas H. Neale, Andrew Nolan. October 25, 2018

 The National Popular Vote (NPV) initiative proposes an agreement among the states, an interstate compact that would effectively achieve direct popular election of the President and Vice President without a constitutional amendment. It relies on the Constitution’s grant of authority to the states in Article II, Section 1 to appoint presidential electors “in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct…. ” Any state that joins the NPV compact pledges to award all its electoral votes to the presidential ticket that wins the most popular votes nationwide, regardless of who wins in that particular state. The number of electoral votes won by the national popular vote winners would depend on the number of electoral votes controlled by NPV member states. The compact would, however, come into effect only if its success has been assured; that is, only if states controlling a majority of electoral votes (270 or more) join the compact. Recent action by the Connecticut legislature to join the compact has generated renewed interest in the NPV initiative. At the time of this writing, 11 states and the District of Columbia, which jointly control 172 electoral votes, have joined the compact.

 [PDF format, 31 pages].

Disinformation on Steroids: The Threat of Deep Fakes

Disinformation on Steroids:  The Threat of Deep Fakes. Council on Foreign Relations. Robert Chesney and Danielle K. Citron. October 16, 2018

  Disinformation and distrust online are set to take a turn for the worse. Rapid advances in deep-learning algorithms to synthesize video and audio content have made possible the production of “deep fakes”—highly realistic and difficult-to-detect depictions of real people doing or saying things they never said or did. As this technology spreads, the ability to produce bogus yet credible video and audio content will come within the reach of an ever-larger array of governments, nonstate actors, and individuals. As a result, the ability to advance lies using hyperrealistic, fake evidence is poised for a great leap forward. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

 [HTML format, various paging].

Getting to Work on Summer Learning: Recommended Practices for Success

Getting to Work on Summer Learning: Recommended Practices for Success, 2nd Ed. Rand Corporation. Heather L. Schwartz et al. November 4, 2018

 The RAND Corporation’s six-year study of the National Summer Learning Project culminates in this final report about district implementation of summer learning programs and presents the best available guidance about how to establish and sustain them. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

 [PDF format, 90 pages].


Federal Traffic Safety Programs: In Brief

Federal Traffic Safety Programs: In Brief.  Congressional Research Service, Library of Congress. David Randall Peterman. October 26, 2018.

 Driving is one of the riskiest activities the average American engages in. Deaths and serious injuries resulting from motor vehicle crashes are one of the leading causes of preventable deaths. In 2017, 37,133 people were killed in police-reported motor vehicle crashes in the United States, and in 2016 an estimated 3.14 million people were injured.1 Many of the people who die in traffic crashes are relatively young and otherwise healthy (motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for people between the ages of 17 and 23).2 As a result, while traffic crashes are now the 13th leading cause of death overall, they rank seventh among causes of years of life lost (i.e., the difference between the age at death and life expectancy).3 In addition to the emotional toll exacted by these deaths and injuries, traffic crashes impose a significant economic toll. The Department of Transportation (DOT) estimated that the annual cost of motor vehicle crashes in 2010 was $242 billion in direct costs and $836 billion when the impact on quality of life of those killed and injured was included.4 About one-third of the direct cost came from the lost productivity of those killed and injured; about one-third from property damage; 10% from present and future medical costs; 12% from time lost due to congestion caused by crashes; and the remainder from the costs of insurance administration, legal services, workplace costs,5 and emergency services.

 [PDF format, 11 pages].

Harnessing Blockchain for American Business and Prosperity

Harnessing Blockchain for American Business and Prosperity. Center for Strategic & International Studies. William Alan Reinsch, Kati Suominen. November 1, 2018

 Blockchain is a game-changing technology that has the power to unleash a new era in supply chain management and communication. This CSIS report explores how policymakers should address the questions posed by this new technology. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

 [PDF format, 45 pages].