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Patenting and Innovation in China: Incentives, Policy, and Outcomes

July 2, 2015 Comments off

Patenting and Innovation in China: Incentives, Policy, and Outcomes
Source: RAND Corporation

China has undergone a patenting boom, with yearly increases in patent applications averaging 34 percent. Since 2000 this has resulted in a 16-fold increase in the annual number of patents and according to the United Nations, China’s patent office has received more patent filings than any other country (UN December 11, 2012). Previous literature indicates that this trend is driven by large volumes of low-quality patents. Given this, I was motivated to understand the drivers of this trend, the impact of patenting-promoting policies, and the innovative outcomes of Chinese firms. This dissertation examines these three questions in three separate essays: (1) What are the drivers of this patenting boom, and what implications exist for Chinese technical innovation? (2) What are the innovative impacts of the Indigenous Innovation Policy, which is designed to promote patenting? (3) How innovative are leading Chinese firms?

CBO — China’s Growing Energy Demand: Implications for the United States: Working Paper 2015-05

June 29, 2015 Comments off

China’s Growing Energy Demand: Implications for the United States: Working Paper 2015-05
Source: Congressional Budget Office

Growing rapidly in recent decades, China’s demand for energy has nearly doubled since 2005—making China the world’s largest consumer of energy. That growth and the energy policies that China pursues increase the level and possibly the volatility of some energy prices, reduce the competitiveness of U.S. manufacturing firms in relation to Chinese firms but provide benefits for U.S. consumers, and increase greenhouse gas emissions. This paper examines trends in China’s energy consumption, the implications of those trends for U.S. households and businesses, and policy options that might help minimize adverse effects.

CRS — Ballistic Missile Defense in the Asia-Pacific Region: Cooperation and Opposition (April 3, 2015)

June 29, 2015 Comments off

Ballistic Missile Defense in the Asia-Pacific Region: Cooperation and Opposition (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via Federation of American Scientists)

The growing number and modernization of ballistic missiles in the Asia-Pacific region poses a security challenge for the United States and its allies and is thus a concern for many in Congress. The United States has made ballistic missile defense (BMD) a central component of protection for forward-deployed U.S. forces and extended deterrence for allied security. The configuration of sensors, command-and-control centers, and BMD assets in the region has slowly evolved with contributions from treaty allies, primarily Japan, Australia, and South Korea.

Observers believe that North Korea has an arsenal of hundreds of short-range ballistic missiles and likely dozens of medium-range Nodong missiles; the extended-range Nodongs are considered capable of reaching Japan and U.S. bases there. Longer-range North Korean missiles appear to be under development but remain unreliable, with only one successful test out of five in the past 15 years. The U.S. intelligence community has not yet concluded that North Korea can build nuclear warheads small enough to put on ballistic missiles, but there is significant debate among experts on this question.

Happiness and health in China: The paradox of progress

June 22, 2015 Comments off

Happiness and health in China: The paradox of progress
Source: Brookings Institution

The past two decades in China brought unprecedented rates of economic growth, development, and poverty reduction. Indeed, much of the reduction in the world’s extreme poverty rates during that time can be explained by the millions of people in China who exited poverty. GDP per capita and household consumption increased fourfold between the years 1990 and 2005.1 China jumped 10 places forward on the Human Development Index from 2008 until 2013, moving up to 93 of 187 countries, and life expectancy climbed to 75.3 years, compared to 67 years in 1980.

Yet during the same period, life satisfaction levels in China demonstrated very different trends—in particular dropping precipitously in the initial stages of rapid growth and then recovering somewhat thereafter. The drops in life satisfaction were accompanied by increases in the suicide rate and in incidence of mental illness. China had one of the highest suicide rates in the world in 1990s: approximately 23.2 suicides per 100,000 people per year from 1995 to 1999 (with the rate gradually falling to 7.8 per 100,000 by 2012). Mental health disorders, on the other hand, increased as suicide rates fell (perhaps because more individuals sought treatment). The annual growth rate of inpatients admitted into mental health hospitals was 13.4 percent from 2007 to 2012 (reaching 1.2 million people). Outpatient visits increased at a similar rate—12.4 percent (reaching a magnitude of 27 million outpatient visits in 2011).

Is this an anomaly? Is there something unique about China’s life satisfaction and well-being more generally? Or is it China’s growth trajectory? While income metrics provide us with one story of China’s progress, well-being metrics—including measures of mental health—are telling us a very different story. What explains the discrepancy?

DOD Releases Report on Enhancing Security and Stability in Afghanistan

June 16, 2015 Comments off

DOD Releases Report on Enhancing Security and Stability in Afghanistan
Source: U.S. Department of Defense

The inaugural “Report on Enhancing Security and Stability in Afghanistan,” a report to Congress in accordance with Section 1225 of the Carl Levin and Howard P. “Buck” McKeon National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2015 (Public Law 113-291), was provided to Congress yesterday evening. This report covers December 1, 2014 to May 31.

On December 31, 2014, the NATO ISAF mission concluded, and on January 1, Resolute Support – a non-combat mission dedicated to training, advising, and assisting the Afghanistan National Defense Security Forces (ANDSF) and Afghan security ministries – was established. Afghans have assumed responsibility for the security of their nation, but Resolute Support remains committed to preparing the ANDSF for the difficult fight ahead.

During the reporting period, anti-Afghan forces continued to present a formidable threat; as President Ghani acknowledged while addressing Congress on March 25, Afghanistan is “a critical frontline nation in the war against extremism.”

The ANDSF has fought this war with resilience and professionalism, and their capabilities continue to improve. By the end of May, the force had achieved significant advancements in light airlift, casualty evacuation, and non-traditional intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance.

Although considerable challenges remain, the Department of Defense is confident that the ANDSF has the capabilities, capacities, and morale to set the conditions for Afghan-led reconciliation.

Approaches for Controlling Illicit Tobacco Trade — Nine Countries and the European Union

June 3, 2015 Comments off

Approaches for Controlling Illicit Tobacco Trade — Nine Countries and the European Union
Source: Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (CDC)

An estimated 11.6% of the world cigarette market is illicit, representing more than 650 billion cigarettes a year and $40.5 billion in lost revenue (1). Illicit tobacco trade refers to any practice related to distributing, selling, or buying tobacco products that is prohibited by law, including tax evasion (sale of tobacco products without payment of applicable taxes), counterfeiting, disguising the origin of products, and smuggling (2). Illicit trade undermines tobacco prevention and control initiatives by increasing the accessibility and affordability of tobacco products, and reduces government tax revenue streams (2). The World Health Organization (WHO) Protocol to Eliminate Illicit Trade in Tobacco Products, signed by 54 countries, provides tools for addressing illicit trade through a package of regulatory and governing principles (2). As of May 2015, only eight countries had ratified or acceded to the illicit trade protocol, with an additional 32 needed for it to become international law (i.e., legally binding) (3). Data from multiple international sources were analyzed to evaluate the 10 most commonly used approaches for addressing illicit trade and to summarize differences in implementation across select countries and the European Union (EU). Although the WHO illicit trade protocol defines shared global standards for addressing illicit trade, countries are guided by their own legal and enforcement frameworks, leading to a diversity of approaches employed across countries. Continued adoption of the methods outlined in the WHO illicit trade protocol might improve the global capacity to reduce illicit trade in tobacco products.

See also: Use of Tobacco Tax Stamps to Prevent and Reduce Illicit Tobacco Trade — United States, 2014

Central Asia in a Reconnecting Eurasia: U.S. Policy Interests and Recommendations

May 27, 2015 Comments off

Central Asia in a Reconnecting Eurasia: U.S. Policy Interests and Recommendations
Source: Center for Strategic & International Studies

Today, with combat operations in Afghanistan winding down, U.S. policy toward the states of Central Asia is transitioning to a third era. The United States now has an opportunity to refashion its approach to the region. In doing so, it should capitalize on trends already underway, in particular the expansion of trade and transit linkages, to help integrate Central Asia more firmly into the global economy, while also working to overcome tensions both within the region itself and among the major neighboring powers with interests in Central Asia. Central Asia in a Reconnecting Eurasia: U.S. Policy Interests and Recommendations examines the full scope of U.S. national interests in Central Asia and puts forward the broad outlines of a strategy for U.S. engagement over the coming years.

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