Worldwide, People Divided on Whether Life Today Is Better Than in the Past

Worldwide, People Divided on Whether Life Today Is Better Than in the Past. Pew Research Center. Jacob Poushter. December 5, 2017.

Fifty years ago, the world was a very different place. The United States and its allies were locked in a Cold War with the Soviet Union, personal computers and mobile phones were the stuff of science fiction, and much of the world’s population had yet to experience substantial improvements in life expectancy and material well-being.

How far do people around the globe think they and others like them have come, compared with 50 years ago? Pew Research Center put that question to nearly 43,000 people in 38 countries around the globe this past spring. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 15 pages, 574.29 KB].

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Child and Dependent Care Tax Benefits: How They Work and Who Receives Them

Child and Dependent Care Tax Benefits: How They Work and Who Receives Them. Congressional Research Service, Library of Congress. Margot L. Crandall-Hollick. October 26, 2017

Two tax provisions subsidize the child and dependent care expenses of working parents: the child and dependent care tax credit (CDCTC) and the exclusion for employer-sponsored child and dependent care.
The child and dependent care tax credit is a nonrefundable tax credit that reduces a taxpayer’s federal income tax liability based on child and dependent care expenses incurred. The policy objective is to assist taxpayers who work or who are looking for work. A taxpayer must meet a variety of eligibility criteria including incurring qualifying child and dependent care expenses for a qualifying individual and have earned income.

[PDF format, 20 pages, 842.02 KB].

The Future of Truth and Misinformation Online

The Future of Truth and Misinformation Online. Pew Research Internet Project. Janna Anderson and Lee Rainie. October 19, 2017

Experts are evenly split on whether the coming decade will see a reduction in false and misleading narratives online. Those forecasting improvement place their hopes in technological fixes and in societal solutions. Others think the dark side of human nature is aided more than stifled by technology. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 92 pages, 892.12 KB].

Evaluating Policies to Transform Distressed Urban Neighborhoods

Evaluating Policies to Transform Distressed Urban Neighborhoods. Urban Institute. Laura Tach, Christopher Wimer. October 24, 2017

This memo synthesizes research on place-based policy interventions that target urban neighborhoods in four policy areas: economic development, human capital, housing, and crime prevention. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 10 pages, 517.39 KB].

Public Employee Pensions and Collective Bargaining Rights: Evidence from State and Local Government Finances

Public Employee Pensions and Collective Bargaining Rights: Evidence from State and Local Government Finances. Brookings Institution. Brigham R. Frandsen and Michael Webb. October 31, 2017

Despite the policy and press attention given to public unions and pensions, and their importance for state and local government finances and workers, research on the effects of collective bargaining rights on public employee pensions is surprisingly incomplete. This paper attempts to fill this gap. Using public employee retirement system financial data from the universe of state and local governments we exploit variation in the timing of state laws regarding public sector collective bargaining in a differences-in-differences framework, and find that collective bargaining requirements significantly and substantially increase government contributions to pensions, while reducing employee contributions. The increase in employer contributions is estimated to be about three times the size of the decrease in employee contributions; thus collective bargaining requirements significantly increase the overall generosity (and amount) of pension contributions and benefits. Collective bargaining requirements appear to have little effect on total public employment or payroll. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 21 pages, 476.33 KB].

The Value of Out-of-School Time Programs

The Value of Out-of-School Time Programs. RAND Corporation. Jennifer Sloan McCombs, Anamarie Whitaker, Paul Youngmin Yoo. October 23, 2017.

To better understand the value and effectiveness of out-of-school-time (OST) programs, RAND researchers examined programs through the lenses of content, dosage (the hours of content provided), and outcomes measured, focusing on rigorous (i.e., experimental or quasi-experimental) large-scale evaluations and meta-analyses. The overall conclusion is that OST programs are generally effective at producing the primary outcomes that would be expected based on their programming. However, the primary benefits of such programs are often understudied or underreported. When making funding decisions, federal, state, and local governments and private foundations should consider all the benefits that programs provide to youth and families and emphasize program quality. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 22 pages, 262.27 KB].

Will Corporate Tax Cuts Cause a Large Increase in Wages?

Will Corporate Tax Cuts Cause a Large Increase in Wages? Peterson Institute for International Economics. Policy Brief, 17-30. William R. Cline. November 2017

Proponents of lowering corporate taxes cite an estimate by the Trump administration’s Council of Economic Advisers (CEA) that cutting the corporate tax rate from 35 to 20 percent would raise average annual household income by $4,000 to $9,000, corresponding to an increase in wages ranging from 6 to 14 percent, respectively. The council’s conclusion is based on cross-country and cross-state statistical tests and are subject to weaknesses highlighted by Lawrence Summers and Jason Furman, among others. In contrast, Gregory Mankiw has pointed out that a simple aggregate production function approach could generate wage increases that substantially exceed the tax revenue loss. This Policy Brief examines the use of the production function approach and concludes that although Mankiw provides a useful reminder that a corporate tax cut could raise worker productivity and wages through its potential for providing more capital for labor to work with, the likely magnitudes of the gains are far smaller than the range claimed by the CEA. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 6 pages, 230.56 KB].