Global Competitiveness Report 2019: How to End A Lost Decade Of Productivity Growth

Global Competitiveness Report 2019: How to End A Lost Decade Of Productivity Growth. World Economic Forum. October 8, 2019.

Ten years on from the global financial crisis, the world economy remains locked in a cycle of low or flat productivity growth despite the injection of more than $10 trillion by central banks. The latest Global Competitiveness Report paints a gloomy picture, yet it also shows that those countries with a holistic approach to socio-economic challenges, look set to get ahead in the race to the frontier. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 666 pages].

Training for Jobs of the Future: Improving Access, Certifying Skills, and Expanding Apprenticeship

Training for Jobs of the Future: Improving Access, Certifying Skills, and Expanding Apprenticeship. Urban Institute. Robert I. Lerman, Pamela J. Loprest, Daniel Kuehn. October 3, 2019

Long run labor market trends in the American economy pose significant challenges. Growth in real money wages has been slow, with the most rapid gains taking place among workers at the top of the earnings distribution. Labor force participation and employment rates have been falling. Reduced labor force participation and obsolescence of workers’ skills weigh down GDP growth, with predictable negative repercussions for living standards and federal revenue. These trends suggest a need for a major revamping of policies and programs that prepare people for careers and retrain people who must change careers. The authors focus on three major policy initiatives to maximize worker training to bolster productivity and wages: Improve access to in-demand training; strengthen connections between career and technical education and training and employer needs; and build a robust apprenticeship system that emphasizes learning by doing in a context that involves apprentice contributions to production, and culminates in a respected occupational credential. This new system goes beyond the “academic-only” approach commonly pursued in the US and should match individual interests, aptitudes, and skills to in-demand jobs and make new training investments that are cost effective and valued by employers. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 41 pages].

Improving Teaching: Strengthening the College Learning Experience

Improving Teaching: Strengthening the College Learning Experience. Daedalus. Fall 2019.

An odd feature of the public policy discussion of higher education is the near absence of attention to the quality of teaching. In contrast to K–12, where such conversations are prominent, all agree, teachers and teaching matter. Yet questions about what and how much students are learning and how their learning is related to the quality of instruction they receive tend to take a back seat in postsecondary education.

The Fall 2019 issue of Daedalus, “Improving Teaching: Strengthening the College Learning Experience,” addresses that imbalance with a focus on “what goes on inside the ‘black box’ of teaching and learning that college students actually experience.” This issue of Daedalus advances the first national priority set forth by the American Academy’s Commission on the Future of Undergraduate Education: improving the student educational experience. While ensuring widespread access to affordable college education is vital, as the inconsistent outcomes of today’s students suggest, getting people into college and through their programs is not enough. We have to understand more about how students learn, about how to develop and support effective teaching at the college level, and about how to ensure that we are truly educating students, not just providing them with credentials. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

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Parents’ Access to Work-Family Supports

Parents’ Access to Work-Family Supports. Urban Institute. Shirley Adelstein, H. Elizabeth Peters. October 11, 2019

Three work-family supports—paid leave, workplace flexibility and control, and support for child care—are crucial to the ability of parents to effectively manage work and family. This research used national survey data to examine patterns in working parents’ access to these supports; variations in access by parental characteristics like socioeconomic advantage; and the need for these work-family supports among working parents.Three work-family supports—paid leave, workplace flexibility and control, and support for child care—are crucial to the ability of parents to effectively manage work and family. This research used national survey data to examine patterns in working parents’ access to these supports; variations in access by parental characteristics like socioeconomic advantage; and the need for these work-family supports among working parents. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 43 pages].

Tax Issues Relating to Charitable Contributions and Organizations

Tax Issues Relating to Charitable Contributions and Organizations. Congressional Research Service. Jane G. Gravelle, Donald J. Marples, Molly F. Sherlock. September 19, 2019

The federal government supports the charitable sector by providing charitable organizations and donors with favorable tax treatment. Individuals itemizing deductions may claim a tax deduction for charitable contributions. Estates can make charitable bequests. Corporations can deduct charitable contributions before computing income taxes. Further, earnings on funds held by charitable organizations and used for a related charitable purpose are exempt from tax. In FY2019, projected tax subsidies for charities, not including the value of the tax exemption on earnings of charities or the estate tax deduction, totaled $51.8 billion. If investment income of nonprofits were taxed at the 35% corporate tax rate in 2015, revenue collected is estimated at $26.7 billion (this amount excludes religious organizations). The cost of deducting bequests on estates is estimated at $4 billion to $5 billion.

[PDF format, 52 pages].

A New Vision for Health Reform

A New Vision for Health Reform. Brookings Institution. Joseph Antos and Alice M. Rivlin.  September 24, 2019

Health spending is the largest component of the federal budget.  Left unchecked, federal health spending is expected to double over the next decade.  A similar sharp increase in health spending is projected for consumers, employers, and state governments. A viable agenda for growing the economy must include policies to control the growth of health care spending while promoting access to affordable, quality health care and better health outcomes. Otherwise, there is a big risk that much of the federal budget and the economy’s future growth will be absorbed by an excessively costly health system without appreciable gains in health.  Controlling costs will require a comprehensive approach that addresses the root causes of high spending. It must increase competitive pressures on health care prices, both from the demand- and supply-sides, allowing pressure from patients to help control costs. This paper details how to arm purchasers – consumers, physicians, insurers, employers, and the government – to make cost-effective decisions in a competitive market environment. Key elements include: promoting competition among health care providers and insurers to lower health care prices; improving information on prices and outcomes to help patients and their physicians make more cost-effective decisions; shifting to new ways of paying for health care that promote efficiency, innovation, and better outcomes; and recognizing the appropriate and necessary role of regulation where markets are not workable.  [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 26 pages].

Oil and Gas Industry Engagement on Climate Change: Drivers, Actions, and Path Forward

Oil and Gas Industry Engagement on Climate Change: Drivers, Actions, and Path Forward. Center for Strategic & International Studies. Stephen J. Naimoli, Sarah Ladislaw. October 1, 2019.

The most important strategic issue facing the energy industry today is climate change. As the earth’s average temperature continues to rise with the accumulation of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, the stable functioning of earth’s natural systems adjusts to the new, high-carbon reality and society begins to witness the effects of an altered natural environment and its impact on our lives and livelihoods. Most greenhouse gas emissions are caused by human activity, including the burning of fossil fuels. This reality demands a change to our energy system. Given this threat, governments are increasingly enacting policies to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions and investors in companies that sell fossil fuels are putting increasing pressure on management to show how they will navigate an energy system in transition. In addition, the economics of renewable energy are becoming increasingly attractive, creating potential alternatives to fossil fuels. Facing all of these drivers, some oil and gas companies are strategizing to become “energy companies,” adapting to this global energy transition. This report, based on research and a workshop held at CSIS in February 2019 with industry, investors, academics, and environmental groups, attempts to explore how oil and gas companies are taking action to address climate change, how these actions fit with the overall needs of the energy transition, and whether there is more companies can do to contribute to the solution set of this problem. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 39 pages].

Registered Apprenticeship: Federal Role and Recent Federal Efforts

Registered Apprenticeship: Federal Role and Recent Federal Efforts. Congressional Research Service. Benjamin Collins. Updated September 25, 2019

Apprenticeship is a workforce development strategy that trains a worker for a specific occupation using a structured combination of paid on-the-job training and related instruction. Increased costs for higher education and possible mismatches between worker skills and employer needs have led to interest in alternative workforce development strategies such as apprenticeship. The primary federal role in supporting apprenticeships is the administration of the registered apprenticeship system. In this system, the federal Department of Labor (DOL) or a DOLrecognized state apprenticeship agency (SAA) is responsible for evaluating apprenticeship programs to determine if they are in compliance with federal regulations related to program design, worker protections, and other criteria. Programs that are in compliance are “registered.” While registration does not trigger any specific federal financial incentives, registered programs may receive preferential consideration in various federal systems and apprentices who complete a registered program receive a nationally-recognized credential.

[PDF format, 18 pages].

Enhancing NDCs: A Guide to Strengthening National Climate Plans

Enhancing NDCs: A Guide to Strengthening National Climate Plans. World Resources Institute.  Taryn Fransen et al. September 2019.

Published by WRI and UNDP, Enhancing NDCs: A Guide to Strengthening National Climate Plans is designed to help practitioners think through how to structure their country’s enhanced NDCs across three dimensions: strengthening targets to reduce emissions (mitigation), enhancing climate resilience (adaptation) and clearly communicating their actions to build trust and facilitate effective implementation. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 76 pages].

Russia, NATO, and Black Sea Security Strategy: Regional Perspectives from a 2019 Workshop

Russia, NATO, and Black Sea Security Strategy: Regional Perspectives from a 2019 Workshop. RAND Corporation. Stephen J. Flanagan, Irina A. Chindea. September 25, 2019.

The Black Sea region is a central locus of the competition between Russia and the West for the future of Europe. The region experienced two decades of simmering conflicts even before Moscow’s illegal annexation of Crimea in 2014, and Russia has used military force against other countries in the region four times since 2008. As participants at a March 2019 workshop in Bucharest, Romania, discussed, Russia is also using informational, economic, energy, and clandestine instruments to advance its goals of transforming the Black Sea, along with the Sea of Azov, into virtual internal waterways, where Russia can have the kind of freedom of action it has achieved in the Caspian Sea. While the Black Sea littoral countries want to protect themselves from Russian hostile interference, domestic political factors as well as the countries’ membership in or level of association with the European Union and NATO influence the degree of overlap and divergence in their interests. Under the circumstances, it is difficult for Western countries to craft and implement a coherent, sustainable strategy to protect common interests and counter malign Russian influence and intimidation, even as it is critical that they do so. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 18 pages].