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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The Global Gender Gap Report 2017

The Global Gender Gap Report 2017. World Economic Forum. November 2, 2017.

Gender parity is fundamental to whether and how economies and societies thrive. Ensuring the full development and appropriate deployment of half of the world’s total talent pool has a vast bearing on the growth, competitiveness and future-readiness of economies and businesses worldwide. The Global Gender Gap Report benchmarks 144 countries on their progress towards gender parity across four thematic dimensions: Economic Participation and Opportunity, Educational Attainment, Health and Survival, and Political Empowerment. In addition, this year’s edition also analyses the dynamics of gender gaps across industry talent pools and occupations. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 361 pages, 10.90 MB].

Globally, Broad Support for Representative and Direct Democracy

Globally, Broad Support for Representative and Direct Democracy. Pew Research Center. Richard Wike et al. October 16, 2017.

A deepening anxiety about the future of democracy around the world has spread over the past few years. Emboldened autocrats and rising populists have shaken assumptions about the future trajectory of liberal democracy, both in nations where it has yet to flourish and countries where it seemed strongly entrenched. Scholars have documented a global “democratic recession,” and some now warn that even long-established “consolidated” democracies could lose their commitment to freedom and slip toward more authoritarian politics.

A 38-nation Pew Research Center survey finds there are reasons for calm as well as concern when it comes to democracy’s future. More than half in each of the nations polled consider representative democracy a very or somewhat good way to govern their country. Yet, in all countries, pro-democracy attitudes coexist, to varying degrees, with openness to nondemocratic forms of governance, including rule by experts, a strong leader or the military. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 43 pages, 593.52 KB].

Orthodox Christianity in the 21st Century

Orthodox Christianity in the 21st Century. Pew Research Center. November 8, 2017.

Over the last century, the Orthodox Christian population around the world has more than doubled and now stands at nearly 260 million. In Russia alone, it has surpassed 100 million, a sharp resurgence after the fall of the Soviet Union.

Yet despite these increases in absolute numbers, Orthodox Christians have been declining as a share of the overall Christian population – and the global population – due to far faster growth among Protestants, Catholics and non-Christians. Today, just 12% of Christians around the world are Orthodox, compared with an estimated 20% a century ago. And 4% of the total global population is Orthodox, compared with an estimated 7% in 1910. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 64 pages, 861.33 KB].

Monetary Policy in a New Era

Monetary Policy in a New Era. Brookings Institution. Ben S. Bernanke. October 12, 2017

The former Chairman of the Federal Reserve Ben Bernanke presented the following framework at a conference on Rethinking Macroeconomic Policy at the Peterson Institute on October 12-13, 2017. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 49 pages, 713.9 KB].

Civil Society at a Crossroads: Exploring Sustainable Operating Models

Civil Society at a Crossroads: Exploring Sustainable Operating Models. Center for Strategic & International Studies. Shannon N. Green. October 12, 2017

Around the world, civil society is at a crossroads. Buffeted on one side by questions about their relevance, legitimacy, and accountability from governments and their beneficiaries, civil society organizations (CSOs) face pressure to demonstrate their value to and connection with local communities. On the other side, civil society is having to adjust to a rapidly deteriorating legal and operational environment, as countless governments pursue regulatory, administrative, and extra-legal strategies to impede their work. Nonstate actors also pose a threat to the sector, attacking human rights defenders, bloggers and journalists, environmentalists, and labor unionists in unprecedented numbers. Simultaneously, CSOs are encountering major disruptions to their revenue streams because of changing donor priorities and government restrictions on foreign funding, and to their business model from emerging forms of civic activism. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 24 pages, 1.46 MB].

An Overview of Global Initiatives on Countering Closing Space for Civil Society

An Overview of Global Initiatives on Countering Closing Space for Civil Society. Center for Strategic & International Studies. Jana Baldus, Annika Elena Poppe, Jonas Wolff. September 13, 2017

This document maps institutionalized initiatives—by governments, regional bodies, and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs)—that have been created in response to the global phenomenon of increasing restrictions on civil society space. In varying ways, these initiatives pursue the goal of reclaiming civic space and countering governments’ attempts to close space: spanning from advocacy from afar to financial support as well as legal and technical assistance provided to and by civil society on the ground. This collection has been generated on the basis of references to initiatives in several key works and has been complemented by references in other publications and targeted online searches as well as through feedback from regional experts in the context of the International Consortium on Closing Civic Space (iCon).1 While it contains governmental and nongovernmental—often multi-stakeholder—initiatives with regional, sometimes even global, reach, it neither contains initiatives that are specific to a particular government and particular countries nor initiatives that solely focus on monitoring restrictions of civil society. The majority of the initiatives listed here have been created in the past couple of years in response to closing space; most of the initiatives are active today, although some are (temporarily) inactive or have ceased. The following overview is mainly based on the information offered online by the initiatives themselves. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 30 pages, 634.29 KB].