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Archive for June, 2012

J.D. Power and Associations 2012 Auto Insurance Study

June 30, 2012 Comments off

JD Power and Associates 2012 Auto Insurance Study
Source: J.D. Power and Associates

Led primarily by increases in satisfaction with policy offerings and billing and payment, overall customer satisfaction with auto insurance companies has reached an all-time high, according to the J.D. Power and Associates 2012 U.S. Auto Insurance StudySM released today.

The study measures customer satisfaction with auto insurance companies across five factors: interaction; price; policy offerings; billing and payment; and claims. Overall satisfaction with auto insurance companies is 804 (on a 1,000-point scale), up 14 points from 2011. Satisfaction levels in 2012 are the highest since the study was launched in 2000.

Satisfaction increases in all factors in 2012, with significant improvements in policy offerings (+30 points) and interaction (+19 points). Satisfaction with price is essentially unchanged from 2011.

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EconSouth Examines How Trucks Move the Economy

June 30, 2012 Comments off

EconSouth Examines How Trucks Move the Economy
Source: Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta

With trucks responsible for moving more than two-thirds of the nation’s goods, the industry is inextricably linked to the health of the U.S. economy. In “Truckonomics: An Industry on the Move,” associate editor Nancy Condon explores the factors affecting the industry.

Given trucking’s linkages to the national economy, perhaps it’s no surprise that the industry was hit hard by the 2007–09 recession. As demand plummeted, carriers were forced to lower their rates. Many smaller companies failed or were bought by larger companies.

Postrecession, the industry faces a new set of challenges, Condon explains. The consolidation that occurred during the downturn left carriers with a shortage of capacity, and the surviving carriers are operating with an aging fleet. Additionally, the industry faces tougher federal regulations and higher diesel fuel prices.

Constrained capacity has an upside for the industry, however. It’s as simple as the law of supply and demand: “Tonnage is up, capacity is down, and so trucking companies have the pricing power to raise their rates,” Condon writes. Though, the industry’s recovery ultimately hinges on overall economic performance, she concludes.

Marriage Structure and Resistance to the Gender Revolution in the Workplace

June 30, 2012 Comments off

Marriage Structure and Resistance to the Gender Revolution in the Workplace
Source: Social Science Research Network

In this article, we examine a heretofore neglected pocket of resistance to the gender revolution in the workplace: married male employees who have stay-at-home wives. We develop and empirically test the theoretical argument suggesting that such organizational members, compared to male employees in modern marriages, are more likely to exhibit attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors that are harmful to women in the workplace. To assess this hypothesis, we conducted four studies with a total of 718 married, male participants. We found that employed husbands in traditional marriages, compared to those in modern marriages, tend to (a) view the presence of women in the workplace unfavorably, (b) perceive that organizations with higher numbers of female employees are operating less smoothly, (c) find organizations with female leaders as relatively unattractive, and (d) deny, more frequently, qualified female employees opportunities for promotion. The consistent pattern of results found across multiple studies employing multiple methods and samples demonstrates the robustness of the findings. We discuss the theoretical and practical import of our findings and suggest directions for future research.

Green Technologies and Practices — August 2011

June 30, 2012 Comments off

Green Technologies and Practices — August 2011
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

About three-quarters of business establishments reported the use of at least one green technology or practice during August 2011, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Green technologies and practices (GTP) are those that lessen the environmental impact of an establishment’s operations. About 854,700 jobs, representing approximately 0.7 percent of total U.S. employment, were held by workers who spent more than half of their time involved in green technologies and practices in August 2011. Over one-quarter of these GTP jobs were in building and grounds cleaning and maintenance occupations or in installation, maintenance, and repair occupations.a

Country Analysis Brief: Colombia

June 30, 2012 Comments off

Country Analysis Brief: Colombia
Source: Energy Information Administration

The enactment of a series of regulatory reforms to make the oil and natural gas sector more attractive to foreign investors served as an incentive for rising production. In addition, the government has implemented a partial privatization of state oil company Ecopetrol in an attempt to revive its upstream oil industry. The security situation in the country also has improved over the last decade, with fewer attacks against oil and natural gas infrastructure in recent years. Expanded oil production will require further investment in transport infrastructure and refining capacity.

In 2009, Colombia consumed 1.3 quadrillion Btus of total energy. Oil constituted the largest part of this amount, followed by hydroelectricity, natural gas, and coal. The country relies upon hydropower for the bulk of its electricity needs, so it is able to export most of the coal that it produces. Natural gas consumption in Colombia has also risen over the last decade.

New From the GAO

June 29, 2012 Comments off

New GAO Reports

Source: Government Accountability Office

1. Foreclosure Mitigation: Agencies Could Improve Effectiveness of Federal Efforts with Additional Data Collection and Analysis. GAO-12-296, June 28.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-12-296
Highlights – http://www.gao.gov/assets/600/592029.pdf
Podcast – http://www.gao.gov/multimedia/podcasts/591994

A live video chat on this report with Director Mathew Scire will be conducted at 12:30pm ET on Monday, July 2:
http://www.ustream.tv/channel/gaolive

2. Critical Infrastructure Protection: DHS Could Better Manage Security Surveys and Vulnerability Assessments. GAO-12-378, May 31.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-12-378
Highlights – http://www.gao.gov/assets/600/591293.pdf

3. Oil Dispersants: Additional Research Needed, Particularly on Subsurface and Arctic Applications. GAO-12-585, May 30.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-12-585
Highlights – http://www.gao.gov/assets/600/591293.pdf

4. Military Base Realignments and Closures: The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency’s Technology Center Construction Project. GAO-12-770R, June 29.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-12-770R

5. Employment For People With Disabilities: Little Is Known About the Effectiveness of Fragmented And Overlapping Programs. GAO-12-677, June 29.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-12-677
Highlights – http://www.gao.gov/assets/600/592075.pdf

6. Navy Training: Observations on the Navy’s Use of Live and Simulated Training. GAO-12-725R, June 29.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-12-725R

7. Military Base Realignments and Closures: Updated Costs and Savings Estimates from BRAC 2005. GAO-12-709R, June 29.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-12-709R

Gender Differences in the Salaries of Physician Researchers

June 29, 2012 Comments off

Gender Differences in the Salaries of Physician Researchers

Source: Journal of the American Medical Association

Context

It is unclear whether male and female physician researchers who perform similar work are currently paid equally.

Objectives

To determine whether salaries differ by gender in a relatively homogeneous cohort of physician researchers and, if so, to determine if these differences are explained by differences in specialization, productivity, or other factors.

Design and Setting

A US nationwide postal survey was sent in 2009-2010 to assess the salary and other characteristics of a relatively homogeneous population of physicians. From all 1853 recipients of National Institutes of Health (NIH) K08 and K23 awards in 2000-2003, we contacted the 1729 who were alive and for whom we could identify a mailing address.

Participants

The survey achieved a 71% response rate. Eligibility for the present analysis was limited to the 800 physicians who continued to practice at US academic institutions and reported their current annual salary.

Main Outcome Measures

A linear regression model of self-reported current annual salary was constructed considering the following characteristics: gender, age, race, marital status, parental status, additional graduate degree, academic rank, leadership position, specialty, institution type, region, institution NIH funding rank, change of institution since K award, K award type, K award funding institute, years since K award, grant funding, publications, work hours, and time spent in research.

Results

The mean salary within our cohort was $167 669 (95% CI, $158 417-$176 922) for women and $200 433 (95% CI, $194 249-$206 617) for men. Male gender was associated with higher salary (+$13 399; P = .001) even after adjustment in the final model for specialty, academic rank, leadership positions, publications, and research time. Peters-Belson analysis (use of coefficients derived from regression model for men applied to women) indicated that the expected mean salary for women, if they retained their other measured characteristics but their gender was male, would be $12 194 higher than observed.

Conclusion

Gender differences in salary exist in this select, homogeneous cohort of mid-career academic physicians, even after adjustment for differences in specialty, institutional characteristics, academic productivity, academic rank, work hours, and other factors.

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