If You Build It: A Guide to the Economics of Infrastructure Investment

If You Build It: A Guide to the Economics of Infrastructure Investment. Brookings Institution. Diane Whitmore Schanzenbach, Ryan Nunn, and Greg Nantz. February 7, 2017

A founding principle of The Hamilton Project’s economic strategy is that long-term prosperity is best achieved by fostering economic growth and broad participation in that growth. In that spirit, this paper seeks to provide an economic framework for evaluating infrastructure investments and their methods of funding and finance. Why should we invest in infrastructure, what projects should be selected, who should decide, and how should those investments be paid for are all questions that can be better answered with the help of sound economic theory and evidence. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 12 pages, 509.79 KB].

In Increasingly Authoritarian World, Can People Embrace Enlightenment 2.0?

In Increasingly Authoritarian World, Can People Embrace Enlightenment 2.0? YaleGlobal Online. Marc Grossman. February 9, 2017

The Age of Enlightenment, also known as the Age of Reason, spread through Europe in the 17th and 18th centuries. Proponents argued that humans, as individuals and society, hold the power to improve their lives through reason and enterprise rather than tradition for tradition’s sake – thus unleashing respect for democracy, the rule of law, human rights and individual freedoms. “But no American president until Barack Obama has had to report that the Enlightenment’s fundamental values… are under assault in the United States,” explains Marc Grossman, vice chairman of The Cohen Group and a 2013 Kissinger senior fellow at Yale. Pessimism, intolerance and nationalism are dividing citizens. Grossman urges an Enlightenment 2.0 for free societies, developing a set of relevant, morally sound and modern guiding principles and reenergizing to promote sustainable growth, meet global challenges and restore meaning for all citizens. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[HTML format, various paging].

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, Library of Congress. Lynn J. Cunningham. December 14, 2016

Energy is crucial to the operation of a modern industrial and services economy. Recently, there have been growing concerns about the availability and cost of energy and about environmental impacts of fossil energy use. Those concerns have rekindled interest in energy efficiency, energy conservation, and the development and commercialization of renewable energy technologies.

Many of the existing energy efficiency and renewable energy programs have authorizations tracing back to the 1970s. Many of the 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, 59 pages, 1.11 MB].

Who Goes to Graduate School and Who Succeeds?

Who Goes to Graduate School and Who Succeeds? Urban Institute. Sandy Baum, Patricia Steele. January 11, 2017

This brief explores demographic differences in graduate school enrollment and completion. Students from higher-income backgrounds are more likely than others to enroll, more likely to complete their programs, and more likely to earn degrees likely to generate high earnings. When four-year college graduates from lower-income backgrounds do continue their education beyond college, they are more likely than those from higher-income backgrounds to seek master’s degrees, which yield a considerably lower earnings premium than doctoral and professional degrees. Black college graduates—who make up a much smaller share of their age group than white and Asian college graduates—are actually more likely than those from other racial and ethnic groups to go to graduate school. But they disproportionately enroll in master’s degree programs and about one-quarter of black master’s degree students attend for-profit institutions. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 16 pages, 2.01 MB].

Roadmap to Support Local Climate Resilience: Lessons from the Rising Tides Summit

Roadmap to Support Local Climate Resilience: Lessons from the Rising Tides Summit. World Resources Institute. C. Forbes Tompkins, Nathan Cogswell. December 2016

This paper presents a roadmap of eight priority federal policy opportunities that build on the recommendations from the 2015 Rising Tides Summit, a first-of-its-kind bipartisan gathering of nearly 40 U.S. mayors and local elected officials from 18 of the 23 coastal U.S. states. The policy roadmap identifies key opportunities for the federal government to assist local communities with climate resilience efforts that can protect homes and jobs, build infrastructure that will last, preserve tourist towns and beaches, safeguard military bases, and ensure the longevity of ports. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 40 pages, 516.89 KB].

The FCC’s Rules and Policies Regarding Media Ownership, Attribution, and Ownership Diversity

The FCC’s Rules and Policies Regarding Media Ownership, Attribution, and Ownership Diversity. Congressional Research Service, Library of Congress. Dana A. Scherer. December 16, 2016

From the earliest days of commercial radio, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and its predecessor, the Federal Radio Commission, have encouraged diversity in broadcasting. This concern has repeatedly been supported by the U.S. Supreme Court, which has affirmed that “the widest possible dissemination of information from diverse and antagonistic sources is essential to the welfare of the public,” and that “assuring that the public has access to a multiplicity of information sources is a governmental purpose of the highest order, for it promotes values central to the First Amendment.”
The FCC’s policies seek to encourage four distinct types of diversity: (1) diversity of viewpoints, as reflected in the availability of media content reflecting a variety of perspectives; (2) diversity of programming, as indicated by a variety of formats and content; (3) outlet diversity, to ensure the presence of multiple independently owned media outlets within a geographic market; and (4) minority and female ownership of broadcast media outlets.

[PDF format, 29 pages, 845.78 KB].

Restrictions on Lobbying the Government: Current Policy and Proposed Changes

Restrictions on Lobbying the Government: Current Policy and Proposed Changes. Congressional Research Service, Library of Congress. CRS Insight. Jacob R. Straus. December 15, 2016

During the 2016 presidential campaign, President-elect Donald Trump proposed a series of ethics measures, including several lobbying-related provisions. They are:
• extending “cooling off” periods on lobbying the government for five years after government service;
• “instituting a five-year ban on lobbying by former Members of Congress and their staffs”;
• expanding the definition of a lobbyist to cover former government officials who engage in strategic consulting;
and
• issuing a “lifetime ban against senior executive branch officials lobbying on behalf of a foreign government.”
President-elect Trump’s ethics plan shares some features with past efforts to restrict Administration officials’ future lobbying activities (the “revolving door”) by adjusting “cooling off” periods—a period of time a former government official is restricted from contacting their former employer on particular matters they might have worked on in government. These previous efforts include a 1993 executive order issued by President Bill Clinton (E.O. 12834) and a 2009 executive order issued by President Barack Obama (E.O. 13490), and the Honest Leadership and Open Government Act (HLOGA) of 2007. The executive orders supplemented existing statutory revolving door and “cooling off” period requirements.

[PDF format, 3 pages, 96.68 KB].