Archive for the ‘research institutes’ Category

One Year Out: An Assessment of DADT Repeal’s Impact on Military Readiness

September 17, 2012 Comments off

One Year Out: An Assessment of DADT Repeal’s Impact on Military Readiness (PDF)
Source: Palm Center

Prior to the repeal of “don’t ask, don’t tell” (DADT) on September 20, 2011, many observers predicted that allowing lesbian, gay and bisexual (LGB) troops to serve openly would harm the military. This study is the first scholarly effort to assess the accuracy of such predictions about the impact of DADT repeal on military readiness. Our conclusions are based on a consideration of all of the evidence that was available to us at the time our research was conducted, the halfyear period starting six months after repeal and concluding at the one-year mark.

We sought to maximize the likelihood of identifying evidence of damage caused by repeal by pursuing ten separate research strategies, each of which was designed to uncover data indicating that repeal has undermined the military. Our research strategies included outreach to 553 generals and admirals who predicted that repeal would undermine the military, to all major activists and expert opponents of DADT repeal and to 18 watchdog organizations, including opponents and advocates of repeal, who are known for their ability to monitor Pentagon operations. In addition, we conducted in-depth interviews with 18 scholars and practitioners and 62 active-duty heterosexual, lesbian, gay and bisexual troops from every service branch, as well as on-site field observations of four military units. We analyzed relevant media articles published during the research period, administered two surveys and conducted secondary source analysis of surveys independently administered by outside organizations. Our vigorous effort to collect data from opponents of DADT repeal, including anti-repeal generals and admirals, activists, academic experts, service members and watchdog organizations, should sustain confidence in the validity and impartiality of our findings.

Our study team includes distinguished scholars from the US Military Academy, US Air Force Academy, US Naval Academy and US Marine Corps War College, as well as scholars with internationally recognized expertise on the issue of gays in the military. Several members advised the Pentagon’s 2010 DADT working group, and one member led the team that drafted the Defense Department’s plan for implementing DADT repeal.

The Pension Coverage Problem in the Private Sector

September 17, 2012 Comments off

The Pension Coverage Problem in the Private Sector
Source: Center for Retirement Research at Boston College

The brief’s key findings are:

  • Only 42 percent of private sector workers age 25-64 have any type of pension coverage in their current job.
  • This coverage gap creates two types of problems:
    • More than a third of households end up at retirement with only Social Security.
    • Workers who move in and out of coverage accumulate only modest amounts in their 401(k)s.
  • Simplifying pension plans has not solved the coverage problem.
  • Recently, both federal and state policymakers have put forth proposals to cover the uncovered.
  • But given the low level of Social Security benefits and modest 401(k) balances, any new tier should be universal.

Residence and teenage birth rates: A potential non-stationary process in US counties

September 11, 2012 Comments off

Residence and teenage birth rates: A potential non-stationary process in US counties

Source: Demographic Research


Limited information is available about teenage pregnancy and childbearing in rural areas, even though approximately 20 percent of the nation’s youth live in rural areas. Identifying whether there are differences in the teenage birth rate (TBR) across metropolitan and nonmetropolitan areas is important because these differences may reflect modifiable ecological-level influences such as education, employment, laws, healthcare infrastructure, and policies that could potentially reduce the TBR.


The goals of this study are to investigate whether there are spatially varying relationships between the TBR and the independent variables, and if so, whether these associations differ between metropolitan and nonmetropolitan counties.


We explore the heterogeneity within metropolitan/nonmetropolitan county groups separately using geographically weighted regression (GWR), and investigate the difference between metropolitan/nonmetropolitan counties using spatial regime models with spatial errors. These analyses were applied to county-level data from the National Center for Health Statistics and the US Census Bureau.


GWR results suggested that non-stationarity exists in the associations between TBR and determinants within metropolitan/nonmetropolitan groups. The spatial regime analysis indicated that the effect of socioeconomic disadvantage on TBR significantly varied by the metropolitan status of counties.


While the spatially varying relationships between the TBR and independent variables were found within each metropolitan status of counties, only the magnitude of the impact of the socioeconomic disadvantage index is significantly stronger among metropolitan counties than nonmetropolitan counties. Our findings suggested that place-specific policies for the disadvantaged groups in a county could be implemented to reduce TBR in the US.

The Economic Value of Citizenship for Immigrants in the United States

September 11, 2012 Comments off

The Economic Value of Citizenship for Immigrants in the United States (PDF)

Source: Migration Policy Institute

Beyond imparting political and social rights, naturalization appears to confer economic gains for immigrants in the United States, with a wage premium of at least 5 percent – even after accounting for the fact that naturalized immigrants have higher levels of education, better language skills, and more work experience in the United States than noncitizens. More than 8 million legal immigrants in the United States are eligible to apply for citizenship but have not done so. Naturalization rates in the United States are lower than most other Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) countries, the report notes.

Talent vs. Trade in Regional Economic Development

September 11, 2012 Comments off

Talent vs. Trade in Regional Economic Development

Source: Martin Prosperity Institute

Talent and trade are two key factors in regional economic development. But little research directly compares the comparative influence of the two. This research employs multivariate regression models to examine the independent and combined effects of these talent and tradable sectors on three measures of regional development: productivity (economic output per capita), wages, and innovation (patents per employee). Talent is measured as educational attainment and the regional share of knowledge-based occupations; trade is measured as traded industry employment shares. The findings indicate that talent has considerably more explanatory power than trade in accounting for regional economic performance.

Joint Optimization of Bid and Budget Allocation in Sponsored Search

September 10, 2012 Comments off

Joint Optimization of Bid and Budget Allocation in Sponsored Search
Source: Microsoft Research

This paper is concerned with the joint allocation of bid price and campaign budget in sponsored search. In this application, an advertiser can create a number of campaigns and set a budget for each of them. In a campaign, he/she can further create several ad groups with bid keywords and bid prices. Data analysis shows that many advertisers are dealing with a very large number of campaigns, bid keywords, and bid prices at the same time, which poses a great challenge to the optimality of their campaign management. As a result, the budgets of some campaigns might be too low to achieve the desired performance goals while those of some other campaigns might be wasted; the bid prices for some keywords may be too low to win competitive auctions while those of some other keywords may be unnecessarily high. In this paper, we propose a novel algorithm to automatically address this issue. In particular, we model the problem as a constrained optimization problem, which maximizes the expected advertiser revenue subject to the constraints of the total budget of the advertiser and the ranges of bid price change. By solving this optimization problem, we can obtain an optimal budget allocation plan as well as an optimal bid price setting. Our simulation results based on the sponsored search log of a commercial search engine have shown that by employing the proposed method, we can effectively improve the performances of the advertisers while at the same time we also see an increase in the revenue of the search engine. In addition, the results indicate that this method is robust to the second-order effects caused by the bid fluctuations from other advertisers.

Fixity: Identity, Time and Durée on Facebook

September 6, 2012 Comments off

Fixity: Identity, Time and Durée on Facebook
Source: Microsoft Research

The purpose of social network services (SNS) is to enable new ways of making contact and staying in touch. The finessed use of SNS can enable people to manage their social connections with fluidity; enabling change of social grouping and evolving identity. Key to this performance is that it is enacted through time. Certain aspects of SNS may of course create a fixing in identity and its performance, trapping people, for example, in a display of identity in the past that they have come to regret. In this paper, we shall report evidence that suggests that the temporal experiencing of Facebook with regard to this aspect of time and identity needs to be placed alongside another feature of the way the service is used. This leads people to feel as if they are always acting ‘in the now’ and that their history – as well as that of others they connect to – seems to disappear from view. We shall suggest that the performance of identity through time is thus constrained. Users seek but cannot find adequate ways of adjusting their identity by crafting past and future performances outside the envelope of identity in the present, in the ‘now’, the one facilitated and emphasized by Facebook design and use patterns.

New Center Report – Collaboration Across Boundaries: Insights and Tips from Federal Senior Executives

September 6, 2012 Comments off

New Center Report – Collaboration Across Boundaries: Insights and Tips from Federal Senior Executives
Source: IBM Center for the Business of Government

The IBM Center for the Business of Government is pleased to release present a new report, Collaboration Across Boundaries: Insights and Tips from Federal Senior Executives, by Professors Rosemary O’Leary and Catherine Gerard of the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, Syracuse University.

This report continues the IBM Center’s long interest in collaboration. This new report provides valuable insights into how federal senior executives view collaboration. Based on survey responses from over 300 members of the federal Senior Executive Service, O’Leary and Gerard found – to their mild surprise – that nearly all those surveyed reported using collaboration as a management strategy. Survey respondents clearly recognized that the job of senior executives today involves collaboration within their agency, their department, and the federal government, as well as with key external partners and stakeholders.

The O’Leary-Gerard survey of federal executives is unique in that it received open-ended answers from respondents about how to collaborate in government more effectively. The report concludes with eight insightful tips about how to collaborate in government, including the view of senior executives that the foundation of success in collaboration is common purpose, while another is “don’t be afraid of conflict – expect it.” The report also includes valuable insights into why agencies collaborate, barriers to collaboration, and the skill set needed to be a collaborative manager.

What Can a Multifaceted Program Do for Community College Students?

September 4, 2012 Comments off

What Can a Multifaceted Program Do for Community College Students?

Source: MDRC

In recent years, there has been unprecedented national focus on the importance of increasing the stubbornly low graduation rates of community college students. Most reforms that have been tried are short-term and address one or only a few barriers to student success. The City University of New York’s (CUNY’s) Accelerated Study in Associate Programs (ASAP), launched in 2007 with funding from Mayor Bloomberg’s Center for Economic Opportunity (CEO), is an uncommonly multifaceted and long-term program designed to help community college students graduate.

ASAP requires students to attend college full time and provides a rich array of supports and incentives for up to three years, with a goal of graduating at least 50 percent of students within three years. Unlike many programs, ASAP aims to simultaneously address multiple barriers to student success over many semesters. The program model includes some block-scheduled classes for ASAP students for the first year of the program; an ASAP seminar for at least the first year, which covers such topics as goal-setting and academic planning; comprehensive advisement; tutoring; career services; a tuition waiver that covers any gap between a student’s financial aid and tuition and fees; free MetroCards for use on public transportation; and free use of textbooks.

This report presents very promising early findings from a random assignment study of ASAP at three CUNY community colleges: Borough of Manhattan, Kingsborough, and LaGuardia. For the study, ASAP targets low-income students who need one or two developmental (remedial) courses to build their reading, writing, or math skills. The study compares ASAP with regular services and classes at the colleges.

The Second Demographic Transition in Israel: One for All?

September 4, 2012 Comments off

The Second Demographic Transition in Israel: One for All?

Source: Demographic Research

This article explores family behaviours and attitudes in Israel over the last decades through the lens of the Second Demographic Transition (SDT). Israel is divided by religious affiliation, the level of religiosity, ethnic origin and timing of immigration. Although fertility transition to replacement level among certain societal groups has been previously shown, the question of how the transition unfolds in other domains remains open. The goal of this paper is to highlight the diversity of marital and fertility transitions and non-transitions among various groups of this heterogeneous society, and to compare Israel’s transitions to European ones. The data sources which are used are cross-national large scale surveys, national representative surveys, and Population Register data. The data were disaggregated by religion, religiousness and ethnic origin. Emancipative value change, postponement of marriage, alternative living arrangements and a growing variety of fertility regimes were analyzed. A full range of pre-transitional, transitional, and post-transitional elements was found among the groups. Such sign of the SDT as growing childlessness was not found, and the spread of other features as unmarried cohabitation and non-marital childbearing was found limited. Population composition effects were isolated. It was found that the level of religiosity and the country of origin are important factors which differentiate family behaviours and attitudes. The connection between value orientation of the groups within Israel and their family behaviours is discussed. The socio-structural and institutional constraints that might impede further progression of the Second Demographic Transition in Israel are also discussed. Further research directions are suggested.

Were They Prepared for Retirement? Financial Status at Advanced Ages in the HRS and Ahead Cohorts

August 31, 2012 Comments off

Were They Prepared for Retirement? Financial Status at Advanced Ages in the HRS and Ahead Cohorts (PDF)

Source:  National Bureau of Economic Research
Many analysts have considered whether households approaching retirement age have accumulated enough assets to be well prepared for retirement. In this paper, we shift from studying household finances at the start of the retirement period, an ex ante measure of retirement preparation, to studying the asset holdings of households in their last years of life. The analysis is based on Health and Retirement Study with special attention to Asset and Health Dynamics Among the Oldest Old (AHEAD) cohort that was first surveyed in 1993. We consider the level of assets that households hold in the last survey wave preceding their death. We study how assets at the end of life depend on three family status pathways prior to death— (1) original one-person households in 1993, (2) persons in two-person household in 1993 with a deceased spouse in the last year observed, and (3) persons in two-person households in 1993 with the spouse alive when last observed. We find that a substantial fraction of persons die with virtually no financial assets—46.1 percent with less than $10,000—and many of these households also have no housing wealth and rely almost entirely on Social Security benefits for support. In addition this group is disproportionately in poor health. Based on a replacement rate comparison, many of these households may be deemed to have been well-prepared for retirement, in the sense that their income in their final years was not substantially lower than their income in their late 50s or early 60s. Yet with such low asset levels, they would have little capacity to pay for unanticipated needs such as health expenses or other financial shocks or to pay for entertainment, travel, or other activities. This raises a question of whether the replacement ratio is a sufficient statistic for the “adequacy” of retirement preparation.

The Economic Consequences of Excess Men: Evidence from a Natural Experiment in Taiwan

August 31, 2012 Comments off
Source:  International Food Policy Research Institute
As sex ratio imbalances have become a problem in an increasing number of countries, it is important to understand their consequences. With the defeat of the Kuomintang Party in China, more than one million soldiers and civilians, mainly young males, retreated to Taiwan in the late 1940s. Initially, the soldiers from mainland China were not allowed to marry. The ban was relaxed in 1959, however, suddenly flooding the marriage market with a large number of eligible bachelors. The operational ratio of males to females at marriageable age peaked at nearly 1.2 in the 1960s. Using data from multiple sources, we find that during times of high marriage competition, young men are more likely to become entrepreneurs, work longer hours, save more, and amass more assets. The findings highlight the important role of biological forces in shaping human economic behavior.

Time Served: The High Cost, Low Return of Longer Prison Terms

August 30, 2012 Comments off

Time Served: The High Cost, Low Return of Longer Prison Terms
Source: Pew Center on the States

Over the past 40 years, criminal justice policy in the U.S. was shaped by the belief that the best way to protect the public was to put more people in prison. Offenders, the reasoning went, should spend longer and longer time behind bars.

Consequently, offenders have been spending more time in prison. According to a new study by Pew’s Public Safety Performance Project, the length of time served in prison has increased markedly over the last two decades. Prisoners released in 2009 served an average of nine additional months in custody, or 36 percent longer, than offenders released in 1990.

Those extended prison sentences came at a price: prisoners released from incarceration in 2009 cost states $23,300 per offender–or a total of over $10 billion nationwide. More than half of that amount was for non-violent offenders.

The report, Time Served: The High Cost, Low Return of Longer Prison Terms, also found that time served for drug offenses and violent offenses grew at nearly the same pace from 1990 to 2009. Drug offenders served 36 percent longer in 2009 than those released in 1990, while violent offenders served 37 percent longer. Time served for inmates convicted of property crimes increased by 24 percent.

Almost all states increased length of stay over the last two decades, though that varied widely from state to state. In Florida, for example, where time served rose most rapidly, prison terms grew by 166 percent and cost an extra $1.4 billion in 2009.

Wireless Network Connectivity in State and Local Government

August 29, 2012 Comments off

Wireless Network Connectivity in State and Local Government
Source: Center for Digital Government

New, more capable wireless devices, plus applications that make those devices compelling tools for government, are being introduced every day. And government is finding innovative ways to utilize these wireless devices and applications. But integrating this wide variety of devices isn’t simple. That’s especially true when it comes to security. Such challenges come at an inconvenient time for IT departments in an era of tighter budgets. With staff already stretched thin to accomplish more work with fewer resources, managers find it especially hard to prepare for an onslaught of mobile devices. Clearly, the new generation of wireless computing products offers tremendous opportunities for government. But just as clearly, it takes careful engineering to make those devices play well on an enterprise WLAN. This Center for Digital Government issue brief discusses why now is the time to start planning a WLAN deployment that represents the best possible investment for today and for the future.

Free registration required to download full report.

Digital Government Achievement Awards – 2012

August 26, 2012 Comments off

Digital Government Achievement Awards – 2012
Source: Center for Digital Government

e.Republic’s Center for Digital Government has announced the 2012 winners of its annual Best of the Web and Digital Government Achievement Awards.

In its 17th year, Best of the Web (BOW) recognizes outstanding government portals and websites based on innovation, functionality and efficiency. The BOW first place winners are Alabama (state), Louisville (city), and Orange County, Fla. (county).

The Digital Government Achievement Awards (DGAA) highlight outstanding agency and department websites and applications. Fifty-six awards in eight categories were given this year.

The Lost Decade of the Middle Class

August 22, 2012 Comments off

The Lost Decade of the Middle Class
Source: Pew Social & Demographic Trends

As the 2012 presidential candidates prepare their closing arguments to America’s middle class, they are courting a group that has endured a lost decade for economic well-being. Since 2000, the middle class has shrunk in size, fallen backward in income and wealth, and shed some—but by no means all—of its characteristic faith in the future.

These stark assessments are based on findings from a new nationally representative Pew Research Center survey that includes 1,287 adults who describe themselves as middle class, supplemented by the Center’s analysis of data from the U.S. Census Bureau and Federal Reserve Board of Governors.

Fully 85% of self-described middle-class adults say it is more difficult now than it was a decade ago for middle-class people to maintain their standard of living. Of those who feel this way, 62% say “a lot” of the blame lies with Congress, while 54% say the same about banks and financial institutions, 47% about large corporations, 44% about the Bush administration, 39% about foreign competition and 34% about the Obama administration. Just 8% blame the middle class itself a lot.

Further Decline in Credibility Ratings for Most News Organizations

August 22, 2012 Comments off

Further Decline in Credibility Ratings for Most News Organizations
Source: Pew Research Center for the People & the Press

For the second time in a decade, the believability ratings for major news organizations have suffered broad-based declines. In the new survey, positive believability ratings have fallen significantly for nine of 13 news organizations tested. This follows a similar downturn in positive believability ratings that occurred between 2002 and 2004.

The falloff in credibility affects news organizations in most sectors: national newspapers, such as the New York Times and USA Today, all three cable news outlets, as well as the broadcast TV networks and NPR.

Across all 13 news organizations included in the survey, the average positive believability rating (3 or 4 on a 4-point scale) is 56%. In 2010, the average positive rating was 62%. A decade ago, the average rating for the news organizations tested was 71%. Since 2002, every news outlet’s believability rating has suffered a double-digit drop, except for local daily newspapers and local TV news. The New York Times was not included in this survey until 2004, but its believability rating has fallen by 13 points since then.

These are among the major findings of a survey by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press, conducted July 19-22 among 1,001 adults. The survey asks people to rate individual news organizations on believability using a 4-point scale. A rating of 4 means someone believes “all or most” of what the news organization says; a rating of 1 means someone believes “almost nothing” of what they say.

The believability ratings for individual news organizations – like views of the news media generally – have long been divided along partisan lines. But partisan differences have grown as Republicans’ views of the credibility of news outlets have continued to erode. Today, there are only two news organizations – Fox News and local TV news – that receive positive believability ratings from at least two-thirds of Republicans. A decade ago, there were only two news organizations that did not get positive ratings from at least two-thirds of Republicans. By contrast, Democrats generally rate the believability of news organizations positively; majorities of Democrats give all the news organizations tested ratings of 3 or 4 on the 4-point scale, with the exception of Fox News.

Discovering Regions of Different Functions in a City Using Human Mobility and POIs

August 22, 2012 Comments off

Discovering Regions of Different Functions in a City Using Human Mobility and POIs
Source: Microsoft Research

The development of a city gradually fosters different functional regions, such as educational areas and business districts. In this paper, we propose a framework (titled DRoF) that discovers Regions of different Functions in a city using both human mobility among regions and points of interests (POIs) located in a region. Specifically, we segment a city into disjointed regions according to major roads, such as highways and urban express ways. We infer the functions of each region using a topic-based inference model, which regards a region as a document, a function as a topic, categories of POIs (e.g., restaurants and shopping malls) as metadata (like authors, affiliations, and key words), and human mobility patterns (when people reach/leave a region and where people come from and leave for) as words. As a result, a region is represented by a distribution of functions, and a function is featured by a distribution of mobility patterns. We further identify the intensity of each function in different locations. The results generated by our framework can benefit a variety of applications, including urban planning, location choosing for a business, and social recommendations. We evaluated our method using large-scale and real-world datasets, consisting of two POI datasets of Beijing (in 2010 and 2011) and two 3-month GPS trajectory datasets (representing human mobility) generated by over 12,000 taxicabs in Beijing in 2010 and 2011 respectively. The results justify the advantages of our approach over baseline methods solely using POIs or human mobility.

Where Have All the Good Jobs Gone?

August 21, 2012 Comments off

Where Have All the Good Jobs Gone? (PDF)
Source: Center for Economic and Policy Research

The U.S. workforce is substantially older and better educated than it was at the end of the 1970s. The typical worker in 2010 was seven years older than in 1979. In 2010, over one-third of US workers had a four-year college degree or more, up from just one-fifth in 1979.

Given that older and better educated workers generally receive higher pay and better benefits, we would have expected the share of “good jobs” in the economy to have increased in line with improvements in the quality of workforce. Instead, the share of “good jobs” in the U.S. economy has actually fallen.

Given that older and better educated workers generally receive higher pay and better benefits, we would have expected the share of “good jobs” in the economy to have increased in line with improvements in the quality of workforce. Instead, the share of “good jobs” in the U.S. economy has actually fallen.

Our estimates, which control for increases in age and education of the population, suggest that relative to 1979 the economy has lost about one-third (28 to 38 percent) of its capacity to generate good jobs.

Keeping Information Safe from Social Networking Apps

August 20, 2012 Comments off

Keeping Information Safe from Social Networking Apps
Source: Microsoft Research

The ability of third-party applications to aggregate and repurpose personal data is a fundamental privacy weakness in today’s social networking platforms. Prior work has proposed sandboxing in a hosted cloud infrastructure to prevent leakage of user information. In this paper, we extend simple sandboxing to allow sharing of information among friends in a social network, and to help application developers securely aggregate user data according to differential privacy properties. Enabling these two key features requires preventing, among other subtleties, a new “Kevin Bacon” attack aimed at aggregating private data through a social network graph. We describe the significant architectural and security implications for the application framework in the


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