U.S. Research and Development Funding and Performance: Fact Sheet

U.S. Research and Development Funding and Performance: Fact Sheet. Congressional Research Service.  John F. Sargent Jr. Updated September 19, 2019

Research and development (R&D) in the United States is funded and performed by a number of sectors—including the federal government, state governments, businesses, academia, and nonprofit organizations—for a variety of purposes. This fact sheet begins by providing a profile of the U.S. R&D enterprise, including historical trends and current funding by sector and by whether the R&D is basic research, applied research, or development. The final section of this fact sheet includes data on R&D performance by sector.

[PDF format, 6 pages].

Will America Embrace National Service?

Will America Embrace National Service? Brookings Institution. John Bridgeland and John J. DiIulio. October 10, 2019

America’s civic health is in significant decline. The percentage of Americans who say others can be trusted fell from 46 percent in 1972 to just 31 percent in 2016, with 36 percent of Whites and 17 percent of Blacks expressing such trust; and, in recent years, trust in the media, government, and the courts has fallen to historic lows.1 It is no surprise that communities are fraying in places like Charlottesville, Ferguson and Baltimore, and that America is not fulfilling its potential, as political institutions suffer from partisan gridlock, and the institutions that serve as checks on power and as guarantors of individual rights are increasingly under attack.  

One powerful idea to rebuild our civic bridges is universal national service—an expectation and opportunity that young people as they come of age perform a year or more of military or civilian national service. Such service would bring young people from different backgrounds, income levels, races, ethnicities, and areas of the country together in shared experiences to solve public challenges as they form their attitudes and habits early in life. Many would discover that they are leaders—the kind of leaders who could work across differences to get things done. There would be other positive effects.

This paper examines the case for national service, highlights the various ways in which that service could unfold, and concludes that large-scale national service is needed in America now.   [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 36 pages].

Improving the Social Security Disability Determination Process

Improving the Social Security Disability Determination Process. Urban Institute. Jack Smalligan, Chantel Boyens. July 26, 2019

The Social Security Administration each year processes millions of applications for Social Security Disability Insurance and Supplemental Security Income disability benefits. Currently, 10 states lack a second level review process, known as reconsideration, for disability claims that are initially denied and appealed. SSA has begun to reestablish the reconsideration stage in these states. This move has raised concerns and broader questions about SSA’s overall disability determination process.

In this paper the authors examine SSA’s disability determination process and past efforts to improve SSA’s process, and challenges and lessons for future reform. They identify a path forward that could improve the quality and timeliness of decisions by enhancing the reconsideration process to make it more robust, allowing better decisions to be made earlier, while keeping long-term program costs neutral. To support this approach, they put forward three options Congress could consider to provide sustained funding and commitment to the agreed-upon vision for reform. These options would allow SSA to test strategies and gather evidence to support decision making. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 38 pages].

Tax Policy and Disaster Recovery

Tax Policy and Disaster Recovery. Congressional Research Service. Molly F. Sherlock, Jennifer Teefy. August 9, 2019

The Internal Revenue Code (IRC) contains a number of provisions intended to provide disaster relief. Following certain disasters, Congress has passed legislation with temporary and targeted tax relief policies. At other times, Congress has passed legislation providing tax relief to those affected by all federally declared major disasters (disasters with Stafford Act declarations) occurring during a set time period. In addition, several disaster tax relief provisions are permanent features of the IRC.

[PDF format, 27 pages].

Generation AI Establishing Global Standards for Children and AI

Generation AI Establishing Global Standards for Children and AI. World Economic Forum. September 11, 2019.

On 6-7 May 2019, the World Economic Forum Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution and its partners UNICEF and the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research (CIFAR) hosted a workshop in San Francisco on the joint “Generation AI” initiative. This workshop identified deliverables in two key areas: 1) public policy guidelines that direct countries on creating new laws focused on children and 2) a corporate governance charter that guides companies leveraging AI to design their products and services with children in mind. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 18 pages]. 

Training the Next Revolution in American Manufacturing

Training the Next Revolution in American Manufacturing. Center for Strategic & International Studies. Charles Carson et al. July 25, 2019

In the United States, there is currently a dichotomy: employers are unable to fill manufacturing jobs, and yet there are hundreds of thousands of manufacturing workers looking for jobs. How can this be? Many point to a skills deficit across the U.S. workforce. Much like other aspects of daily life and the economy, technology is changing the way U.S. based companies manufacture goods for the global market. As technology permeates and alters the manufacturing industry, it has created a massive boost in manufacturing productivity, while simultaneously requiring fewer workers to maintain and increase production. For those still employed in the manufacturing sector, they also need to be better equipped with the skills to handle the new demands such advanced technology and techniques impose. This report analyzes different workforce development programs for advanced manufacturing across the nation, seeking to better understand what is required to educate and retrain the worker of the future. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 41 pages].

Countering Threats to Correctional Institution Security: Identifying Innovation Needs to Address Current and Emerging Concerns

Countering Threats to Correctional Institution Security: Identifying Innovation Needs to Address Current and Emerging Concerns. RAND Corporation.  Joe Russo et al. July 30, 2019

Some threats to correctional institutional security — e.g., violence, escape attempts, contraband — are as old as the institutions themselves, while other threats — e.g., computer hacking, synthetic drugs, cell phones, drones — have evolved with societal and technological changes. Many of these threats present risks to public safety as a whole. In light of the ongoing challenges the corrections sector faces in countering these threats, RAND researchers convened an expert workshop to better understand the challenges and identify the high-priority needs associated with threats to institutional security.

Unfortunately, resource and staffing challenges limit the ability of correctional institutions to adapt to shifts in threats and to adjust security and staffing strategies over time. Furthermore, a perpetual lack of empirical data hampers efforts to effectively develop interventions to address threats. Addressing the research needs and developing the tools and resources — as prioritized by the workshop participants — is one route to providing correctional institutions the support needed to confront security threats going forward. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 28 pages].

European Public Opinion Three Decades After the Fall of Communism

European Public Opinion Three Decades After the Fall of Communism. Pew Research Center. Richard Wike et al. October 15, 2019.

Most embrace democracy and the EU, but many worry about the political and economic future

Thirty years ago, a wave of optimism swept across Europe as walls and regimes fell, and long-oppressed publics embraced open societies, open markets and a more united Europe. Three decades later, a new Pew Research Center survey finds that few people in the former Eastern Bloc regret the monumental changes of 1989-1991. Yet, neither are they entirely content with their current political or economic circumstances. Indeed, like their Western European counterparts, substantial shares of Central and Eastern European citizens worry about the future on issues like inequality and the functioning of their political systems. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 189 pages].

Federal Preemption: A Legal Primer

Federal Preemption: A Legal Primer. Congressional Research Service.  Jay B. Sykes, Nicole Vanatko.  July 23, 2019

The Constitution’s Supremacy Clause provides that federal law is “the supreme Law of the Land” notwithstanding any state law to the contrary. This language is the foundation for the doctrine of federal preemption, according to which federal law supersedes conflicting state laws. The Supreme Court has identified two general ways in which federal law can preempt state law. First, federal law can expressly preempt state law when a federal statute or regulation contains explicit preemptive language. Second, federal law can impliedly preempt state law when Congress’s preemptive intent is implicit in the relevant federal law’s structure and purpose.

[PDF format, 32 pages].

From Saving to Spending: A Proposal to Convert Retirement Account Balances into Automatic and Flexible Income

From Saving to Spending: A Proposal to Convert Retirement Account Balances into Automatic and Flexible Income. Brookings Institution. David C. John et al. July 31, 2019

Converting retirement savings balances into a stream of retirement income is one of the most difficult financial decisions that households need to make. New financial products, however, offer people alternative ways to receive retirement income. We propose a default decumulation solution that could be added to retirement plans to simplify decumulation choices in much the same way that automatic choices have simplified enrollment, contribution, and investment allocation decisions for millions of savers. Our proposal centers on pooled investment accounts known as managed payout funds that deliver monthly income that is likely, though not guaranteed, to last a lifetime. Coupled with longevity annuities that begin to make payments when the owner reaches an advanced age and a separate fund for emergencies and extraordinary payments, managed payout funds could help protect retirees from longevity risk without unduly reducing their current living standards. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 27 pages].