Climate Change Still Seen as the Top Global Threat, but Cyberattacks a Rising Concern

Climate Change Still Seen as the Top Global Threat, but Cyberattacks a Rising Concern. Pew Research Center. Jacob Poushter and Christine Huang. February 10, 2019

Worries about ISIS and North Korea persist, as fears about American power grow

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released a report last year expressing serious concerns about the possible impacts of climate change, both in the near and distant future. Broadly speaking, people around the world agree that climate change poses a severe risk to their countries, according to a 26-nation survey conducted in the spring of 2018. In 13 of these countries, people name climate change as the top international threat.
But global warming is just one of many concerns. Terrorism, specifically from the Islamic extremist group known as ISIS, and cyberattacks are also seen by many as major security threats. In eight of the countries surveyed, including Russia, France, Indonesia and Nigeria, ISIS is seen as the top threat. In four nations, including Japan and the United States, people see cyberattacks from other countries as their top international concern. One country, Poland, names Russia’s power and influence as its top threat, but few elsewhere say Russia is a major concern. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 37 pages].

Exploring New Legal Migration Pathways: Lessons from Pilot Projects

Exploring New Legal Migration Pathways: Lessons from Pilot Projects. Migration Policy Institute. Kate Hooper. February 2019

As EU Member States begin to embark on a new set of legal migration pilot projects with countries in Africa, they would do well to assess the mixed results of earlier bilateral partnerships. Arrangements that offer would-be migrants temporary training or work placements in the destination country hold promise: They encourage skills development useful upon return while also helping employers fill gaps and potentially serving as an alternative to illegal migration.
This Transatlantic Council on Migration report reviews the limitations of past pilot projects involving countries in Europe, Africa, and the Asia Pacific, with an eye to making future ones more successful. The author offers a range of recommendations for how policymakers should consider labor-market needs and development goals in order to implement effective legal migration partnerships. [Note: contains copyrighted material].


[PDF format, 26 pages].

State Minimum Wages: An Overview

State Minimum Wages: An Overview. Congressional Research Service. David H. Bradley. January 25, 2019

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), enacted in 1938, is the federal legislation that establishes the general minimum wage that must be paid to all covered workers. While the FLSA mandates broad minimum wage coverage, states have the option of establishing minimum wage rates that are different from those set in it. Under the provisions of the FLSA, an individual is generally covered by the higher of the state or federal minimum wage. As of 2019, minimum wage rates are above the federal rate of $7.25 per hour in 29 states and the District of Columbia, ranging from $0.25 to $6.75 above the federal rate. Another 14 states have minimum wage rates equal to the federal rate. The remaining seven states have minimum wage rates below the federal rate or do not have a state minimum wage requirement. In the states with no minimum wage requirements or wages lower than the federal minimum wage, only individuals who are not covered by the FLSA are subject to those lower rates.

[PDF format, 34 pages].

Automation and Artificial Intelligence: How Machines are Affecting People and Places

Automation and Artificial Intelligence: How Machines are Affecting People and Places. Brookings Institution. Mark Muro, Robert Maxim, and Jacob Whiton. January 24, 2019

At first, technologists issued dystopian alarms about the power of automation and artificial intelligence (AI) to destroy jobs. Then came a correction, with a wave of reassurances. Now, the discourse appears to be arriving at a more complicated understanding, suggesting that automation will bring neither apocalypse nor utopia, but instead both benefits and stress alike. Such is the ambiguous and sometimes disembodied nature of the “future of work” discussion.
Hence the analysis presented here. Intended to bring often-inscrutable trends down to earth, the following report develops both backward and forward-looking analyses of the impacts of automation over the years 1980 to 2016 and 2016 to 2030 to assess past and upcoming trends as they affect both people and communities in the United States. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 108 pages].

Market-Based Greenhouse Gas Emission Reduction Legislation: 108th Through 115th Congresses

Market-Based Greenhouse Gas Emission Reduction Legislation: 108th Through 115th Congresses. Congressional Research Service. Jonathan L. Ramseur. January 25, 2019

Congressional interest in market-based greenhouse gas (GHG) emission control legislation has fluctuated over the past 15 years. During that time, legislation has often involved market-based approaches, such as a cap-and-trade system or a carbon tax or fee program. Both approaches would place a price—directly or indirectly—on GHG emissions or their inputs (e.g., fossil fuels), both would increase the price of fossil fuels, and both would reduce GHG emissions to some degree. Both would allow emission sources to choose the best way to meet their emission requirements or reduce costs, potentially by using market forces to minimize national costs of emission reductions. Preference between the two approaches ultimately depends on which variable policymakers prefer to precisely control—emission levels or emission prices.

[PDF format, 61 pages].

Responding to a Crisis: The National Foreclosure Mitigation Counseling Program, 2008-2018: A Capstone Evaluation

Responding to a Crisis: The National Foreclosure Mitigation Counseling Program, 2008-2018: A Capstone Evaluation. Urban Institute. Corianne Payton Scally et al. February 13, 2019

In 2007, as the scale and urgency of the housing crisis became clear, Congress authorized an emergency program to help Americans in danger of losing their homes. Between 2008–18, the National Foreclosure Mitigation Counseling (NFMC) program helped homeowners in need by substantially boosting the nation’s capacity for foreclosure counseling. Implemented by NeighborWorks America®, the program served more than 2 million homeowners, helped standardize foreclosure counseling practices, and fostered stronger relationships among program administrators, housing counseling agencies, and loan servicers. The NFMC program’s its impact on homeowners, housing counseling providers, and the housing counseling field will continue to be felt for years to come. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 52 pages].

Artificial Intelligence Applications to Support Teachers and Teaching: A Review of Promising Applications, Challenges, and Risks

Artificial Intelligence Applications to Support Teachers and Teaching: A Review of Promising Applications, Challenges, and Risks. Rand Corporation. Robert F. Murphy. January 24, 2019

Recent applications of artificial intelligence (AI) have been successful in performing complex tasks in health care, financial markets, manufacturing, and transportation logistics, but the influence of AI applications in the education sphere has been limited. However, that may be changing. In this paper, the author discusses several ways that AI applications can be used to support the work of K–12 teachers and the practice of teaching by augmenting teacher capacity rather than replacing teachers. Three promising applications are intelligent tutoring systems, automated essay scoring, and early warning systems. The author also discusses some of the key technical challenges that need to be addressed in order to realize the full potential of AI applications for educational purposes. The paper should be of interest to education journalists, publishers, product developers, researchers, and district and school administrators. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 20 pages].

Federal Role in Voter Registration: The National Voter Registration Act of 1993 and Subsequent Developments

Federal Role in Voter Registration: The National Voter Registration Act of 1993 and Subsequent Developments. Congressional Research Service. Sarah J. Eckman. January 23, 2019

Historically, most aspects of election administration have been left to state and local governments, resulting in a variety of practices across jurisdictions with respect to voter registration. States can vary on a number of elements of the voter registration process, including whether or not to require voter registration; where or when voter registration occurs; and how voters may be removed from registration lists. The right of citizens to vote, however, is presented in the U.S. Constitution in the 15th, 19th, and 26th Amendments. Beginning with the Voting Rights Act (VRA) in 1965, Congress has sometimes passed legislation requiring certain uniform practices for federal elections, intended to prevent any state policies that may result in the disenfranchisement of eligible voters. The National Voter Registration Act (NVRA) was enacted in 1993 and set forth a number of voter registration requirements for states to follow regarding voter registration processes for federal elections.

[PDF format, 35 pages].

Enhancing Work Incentives for Older Workers: Social Security and Medicare Proposals to Reduce Work Disincentives

Enhancing Work Incentives for Older Workers: Social Security and Medicare Proposals to Reduce Work Disincentives. Brookings Institution. Robert L. Clark and John B. Shoven. January 31, 2019

The American population is aging; and as a result, a larger share of the actual and potential labor force is now age 55 years and over. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the proportion of the labor force age 55 and over rose from 11.9 percent in 1994 to 21.7 percent in 2014, and the bureau projects that it will increase to 24.8 percent by 2024. The increasing share of the labor force age 55 and older is driven in part by the aging of the population; however, another important component is the substantial increase in the labor force participation rate among older cohorts. The participation rate of individuals age 55 and older rose from 30.1 percent in 1994 to 40.0 percent in 2014. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 24 pages].

The Changing Role of Energy in the U.S. Economy

The Changing Role of Energy in the U.S. Economy. Center for Strategic & International Studies. Sarah Ladislaw et al. January 28, 2019

Speakers from this Energy in America workshop discuss the role of energy in the U.S. economy at the national, regional, and local levels focused on economic impacts—including labor effects, economic distortions, and social mobility. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, several articles].