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A Tax Reform Primer for the 2016 Presidential Candidates

June 25, 2015 Comments off

A Tax Reform Primer for the 2016 Presidential Candidates
Source: Heritage Foundation

America needs tax reform. As the 2016 presidential campaign progresses, candidates seeking the presidency will increasingly face questions about how they would address federal tax policy—foremost among them, if they support tax reform and how they would implement it should they become President. There is clear public support for major tax reform: 71 percent of the American public believes that the U.S. tax system needs major changes and reform. Only 5 percent think the tax system is working just fine. Tax reform is a complicated issue that encompasses a wide variety of sub-issues with which candidates will need to grapple if they are to answer those questions effectively. This Heritage Foundation tax primer will help them prepare.

EU Council Library Think Tank Review — June 2015

June 25, 2015 Comments off

EU Council Library Think Tank Review — June 2015 (PDF)
Source: General Secretariat of the Council of the EU (Central Library)

Among the immediate concerns, think tank papers reflected international and national events which took place in May: on the Eastern Partnership summit in Riga we gathered papers from Latvia, Hungary, Austria and Poland. Still on Poland, we noted the briefing on the presidential ballot, part of the regular Election Monitor published by the Fondation Robert Schuman. The release in May of the Commission’s package on Better Regulation also triggered commentary by Brussels-based think tanks (here for the state of play in a recent Council document).

Still in May, ILO published its employment and social outlook, which can be read in conjunction with the many publications we gathered on welfare, pensions and employment; while some of them surveyed policies or stakeholder opinions across Member States, others (like those from IAI and CEPS) set out possible schemes for a European Unemployment Insurance.

On a longer perspective, we found think tanks in Barcelona, Berlin, Brussels and elsewhere looking back at the European elections in 2014 and forward to 2019, with stances that range from ‘business as usual’ to seeing the EP as the possible driver of EU reform. Still on the European Parliament, we noted the analysis by votewatch.eu on the reform of copyright law, in the wake of recent proposals on the Digital Single Market.

2014 European Elections: Profile of voters and non-voters

June 10, 2015 Comments off

2014 European Elections: Profile of voters and non-voters
Source: European Parliamentary Think Tank

A few months after the 2014 European elections, the time has come to examine in depth the reasons for participation and abstention in the contest. The Directorate-General for Communication in the European Parliament has commissioned desk research to analyse the electoral behaviour of voters and non-voters, in order to better understand the reasons underlying their decision either to vote or abstain, and to analyse their attitudes and opinions regarding the EU. This document is based on a post-election survey of more than 27,000 Europeans over the age of 18 (16 in Austria), carried out by TNS Opinion a few days after the vote, between 30 May and 27 June 2014. It is divided in three parts: the desk research on voters and non-voters, and two series of factsheets per EU Member State, one dedicated to voters and another to non-voters. For Belgium, Luxembourg (compulsory vote for both countries) and Malta (high level of turnout), a factsheet on non-voters is not provided, given the low number of non-voters.

What Female Candidates Need to Know: Current Research on Gender Effects in Campaigns and Elections

May 1, 2015 Comments off

What Female Candidates Need to Know: Current Research on Gender Effects in Campaigns and Elections (PDF)
Source: Louisiana State University and Agricultural and Mechanical College

Studies show that the vast majority of people have no problem voting for a woman and that when women run they win as often as men, yet female representation remains startlingly low in the U.S. Women are 50.8 percent of the U.S. population, but they account for merely 19.4% of the 535 seats in Congress, 24.5% of statewide executive positions, 24.2% of state legislatures, and 17.6% of mayors in cities with populations over 30,000 (Center for American Women and Politics 2015).

There is certainly much research dedicated to gender and politics. But what is missing from current literature is an organized compilation of relevant research that can be easily used for practical purposes. While many books and articles have been written on various pieces of this puzzle, there is not a comprehensive manual for practical use drawing from a range of research. I intend to build on existing literature by organizing it in topical categories and presenting the findings of current research with some practical implications. My hope is that it can serve as a reference guide tailored to both researchers and practitioners.

Assessing the Political Impact of Immigration as the United Kingdom Heads to the Polls

April 9, 2015 Comments off

Assessing the Political Impact of Immigration as the United Kingdom Heads to the Polls
Source: Migration Policy Institute

Immigration has featured early in the opening week of the United Kingdom’s general election campaign, which officially began on March 30, 2015. Prime Minister David Cameron was pressed on the issue in a televised interview and the Labour Party was criticized for producing campaign mugs emblazoned with pledges to control immigration.

As voters head to the polls on May 7, it remains to be seen how central the often-roiled debate over migration will be in what is a deeply unsettled election year. Immigration is a key political issue, brought about through major changes in immigration patterns over the past two decades, significant policy changes that have failed to reassure the public, and the rise as a political force of the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP)—which has pressed for a temporary ban on new immigration. Paradoxically, immigration may have less visibility during the general election, given the issue is now political poison for the major parties.

Above all, this election cycle will determine the next stage in a long-running political fight: the question of the United Kingdom’s continued membership in the European Union and a possible voter referendum on the matter. Immigration and Europe have now become entangled in voters’ minds and it is likely that the issue of free movement within the European Union could be the determining factor for many voters in any such referendum.

This article briefly reviews the politics of immigration in the United Kingdom since 2010 before examining whether immigration will impact the election and exploring how immigration politics will develop in the future, particularly in regard to the United Kingdom’s place in Europe.

Israel After the 2015 Elections: What Does Netanyahu’s Victory Mean for U.S. Policy?, CRS Insights (March 24, 2015)

April 2, 2015 Comments off

Israel After the 2015 Elections: What Does Netanyahu’s Victory Mean for U.S. Policy?, CRS Insights (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via Federation of American Scientists)

The Israeli Knesset elections held on March 17, 2015, were a subject of significant interest for the United States. The leading candidates openly differed on how to manage disagreements with the United States and the international community on various matters, though how that might have translated into substantively different policy stances is unclear. The timing and manner of official Israeli statements and actions influence regional and international attitudes and developments, and may shape how the Obama Administration and Congress work together and with Israel on these issues.

African Leadership Transitions Tracker

March 30, 2015 Comments off

African Leadership Transitions Tracker
Source: Brookings Institution

The African Leadership Transitions Tracker (ALTT) is an interactive feature that factually recounts and visually presents changes at the head of state level in every African country from independence or end of the colonial period to the present. The interactive application aims to start a broader conversation about leadership transitions and what they mean for the region and beyond.

The ALTT does not intend to validate the nature of transitions. However, it looks at the process of competition and the contestability of transitions over time in order to highlight key trends.

For example a multiparty election is defined in the tracker as one in which “two or more political parties have affiliated candidates competing in an election.” Only military coups that lead to a change in leadership are presented.

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