Addressing Health Care Market Consolidation and High Prices

Addressing Health Care Market Consolidation and High Prices. Urban Institute. Robert A. Berenson et al. January 13, 2020

In this report, the authors explore a wide range of policy options that attempt to introduce needed competition in provider markets and regulate prices directly. They argue that transparency initiatives will support both regulatory and competition-based policy options, and certain approaches to regulation complement and support efforts to improve market competition. Thus, although they largely divide the report in to two parts, competition and regulation, states do not have to select one course or the other but can take action in both areas. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 98 pages].

Is Seeing Still Believing? The Deepfake Challenge to Truth in Politics

Is Seeing Still Believing? The Deepfake Challenge to Truth in Politics. Brookings Institution. William A. Galston. January 8, 2020

On Nov. 25, an article headlined “Spot the deepfake. (It’s getting harder.)” appeared on the front page of The New York Times business section. The editors would not have placed this piece on the front page a year ago. If they had, few would have understood what its headline meant. Today, most do. This technology, one of the most worrying fruits of rapid advances in artificial intelligence (AI), allows those who wield it to create audio and video representations of real people saying and doing made-up things. As this technology develops, it becomes increasingly difficult to distinguish real audio and video recordings from fraudulent misrepresentations created by manipulating real sounds and images. “In the short term, detection will be reasonably effective,” says Subbarao Kambhampati, a professor of computer science at Arizona State University. “In the longer run, I think it will be impossible to distinguish between the real pictures and the fake pictures.” [Note: contains copyrighted material].

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Campaign and Election Security Policy: Overview and Recent Developments for Congress

Campaign and Election Security Policy: Overview and Recent Developments for Congress. Congressional Research Service.  R. Sam Garrett, Sarah J. Eckman,  Karen L. Shanton. January 2, 2020

In the United States, state, territorial, and local governments are responsible for most aspects of selecting and securing election systems and equipment. Foreign interference during the 2016 election cycle—and widely reported to be an ongoing threat—has renewed congressional attention to campaign and election security and raised new questions about the nature and extent of the federal government’s role in this policy area. 

This report provides congressional readers with a resource for understanding campaign and election security policy. This includes discussion of the federal government’s roles; state or territorial responsibilities for election administration and election security; an overview of potentially relevant federal statutes and agencies; and highlights of recent congressional policy debates. The report summarizes related legislation that has advanced beyond introduction during the 116th Congress. It also poses questions for consideration as the House and Senate examine whether or how to pursue legislation, oversight, or appropriations.

[PDF format, 42 pages].

Achieving Abundance: Understanding the Cost of a Sustainable Water Future Data

Achieving Abundance: Understanding the Cost of a Sustainable Water Future Data. World Resources Institute. Colin Strong et al.  January 2020

Population and economic growth, as well as climate change, have pushed water crises to the top of the global agenda. Given the scale of the issues, delivering sustainable water management requires rapid mobilization of funding for water-related improvements and more effective use of existing resources. The Achieving Abundance Working Paper proposes a method whereby any decision-maker can calculate the cost required to deliver sustainable water management to a geography.

The working paper calculates the cost of action required to close the gap between current conditions and desired conditions to financially compare and prioritize different water-related challenges or different targets of Sustainable Development Goal 6. The paper also estimates the costs of delivering sustainable water management for all countries and major basins—estimated globally as US$1.04 trillion (2015$) annually from 2015 to 2030. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 36 pages].

10 Tech-Related Trends That Shaped the Decade

10 Tech-Related Trends That Shaped the Decade. Pew Research Center. Brooke Auxier, Monica Anderson And Madhu Kumar. December 20, 2019

The tech landscape has changed dramatically over the past decade, both in the United States and around the world. There have been notable increases in the use of social media and online platforms (including YouTube and Facebook) and technologies (like the internet, cellphones and smartphones), in some cases leading to near-saturation levels of use among major segments of the population. But digital tech also faced significant backlash in the 2010s. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

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Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Incentives: A Summary of Federal Programs

Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Incentives: A Summary of Federal Programs.  Congressional Research Service. Lynn J. Cunningham. Updated November 15, 2019

Energy is crucial to operating a modern industrial and services economy. Concerns about the availability and cost of energy and about environmental impacts of fossil energy use have led to a wide variety of federal incentives for renewable energy and energy efficiency. These incentives aim to implement renewable energy and energy efficiency measures and to develop and commercialize renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies. Many of the existing energy efficiency and renewable energy programs have authorizations tracing back to the 1970s. Many programs have been reauthorized and redesigned repeatedly to meet changing economic factors. The programs apply broadly to sectors ranging from industry to academia and from state and local governments to rural communities.

[PDF format, 66 pages].

How Ed-Tech Can Help Leapfrog Progress In Education

How Ed-Tech Can Help Leapfrog Progress In Education.  Brookings Institution. Emiliana Vegas,  Lauren Ziegler, Nicolas Zerbino.  November 20, 2019.

This brief is the second in a series of Leapfrogging in Education snapshots that provide analyses of our global catalog of education innovations. (Our first snapshot focused on playful learning.) The catalog and our corresponding research on leapfrogging is explained in depth in CUE’s book, “Leapfrogging inequality: Remaking education to help young people thrive.” Of the nearly 3,000 global innovations CUE cataloged, more than one half involve the use of technology, which suggests strong interest in its use and application in aiding educators around the world. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 18 pages].

Tax Incentives for Charitable Contributions

Tax Incentives for Charitable Contributions.   Urban Institute. Rob McClelland et al.  November, 12 2019

This Chartbook explores the implications of current law income tax incentives for charitable donations along with several alternatives for tax deductions that are more universally available. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 17 pages].

Privacy Policy and Competition

Privacy Policy and Competition. Brookings Institution. Alex Marthews and Catherine Tucker. December 5, 2019

Commercial privacy protection and competition law have long been jointly regulated by a single authority – the FTC – in the US. Though managed separately, both types of law have at their heart a desire to protect consumers. Antitrust law tries to ensure that consumers’ ability to choose between products is not restricted by anti-competitive acts. In the US, commercial privacy is protected through consumer protection law, which tries to ensure that consumers’ ability to choose between products is not restricted by misleading information. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 28 pages].

Profiles of News Consumption: Platform Choices, Perceptions of Reliability, and Partisanship

Profiles of News Consumption: Platform Choices, Perceptions of Reliability, and Partisanship. RAND Corporation. Michael Pollard, Jennifer Kavanagh. December 10, 2019

In this report, the authors use survey data to explore how U.S. media consumers interact with news platforms, finding mixed perceptions about the reliability of news and that consumer partisanship broadly shapes news consumption behavior. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 110 pages].