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EU — Into the Mainstream: Rethinking Public Services for Diverse and Mobile Populations

June 22, 2015 Comments off

Into the Mainstream: Rethinking Public Services for Diverse and Mobile Populations
Source: Migration Policy Institute

Amid rapid economic and social diversification of Europe’s urban areas, the concept of “mainstreaming” immigrant integration—the idea that integration policy requires a whole-of-government approach and a shift away from group-targeted policies—has swept through policy circles and become embedded in policy parlance at the highest levels. Despite its intuitive appeal, however, few agree on its precise definition.

The ethos of mainstreaming can provide a guiding force for governments seeking to reform public services to meet the needs of diverse populations, but in practice remains problematic due to widespread differences in uses across different countries and contexts. Furthermore, mainstreaming has not been rigorously tested on the ground, and it is not clear whether it is well understood outside integration circles or whether it is helping or hindering policymakers as they design public services to accommodate mobility and diversity.

In response to these trends, the UPSTREAM Project sought to examine how governments at all levels are contending with new integration challenges and whether this can be described as a move toward the “mainstreaming” of integration policies. Building on previous research, this project represented the first systematic attempt to analyze how mainstreaming was being developed at the local level, and how its prinicples were being applied within mainstream settings such as schools.

This final report is a synthesis of the five country case studies from the UPSTREAM Project—France, the Netherlands, Poland, Spain, and the United Kingdom—plus research at the European Union level. It examines how the five countries and the European Commission are employing the idea of mainstreaming, and whether it has helped improve how public services address mobility and diversity. It then highlights promising practices in the fields of education and social cohesion policy, and concludes with a discussion of the role of the European Union within this debate, arguing for a more coherent approach to integration that takes account of the continuum of integration needs.

Foreign Intelligence Gathering Laws

June 19, 2015 Comments off

Foreign Intelligence Gathering Laws
Source: Law Library of Congress

This report contains information on laws regulating the collection of intelligence in the European Union, United Kingdom, France, Netherlands, Portugal, Romania, and Sweden. The report details how EU Members States control activities of their intelligence agencies and what restrictions are imposed on information collection. All EU Member States follow EU legislation on personal data protection, which is a part of the common European Union responsibility.

Increased Use of Digital Technologies Could Add $1.36 Trillion to World’s Top 10 Economies in 2020, According to New Study from Accenture

April 13, 2015 Comments off

Increased Use of Digital Technologies Could Add $1.36 Trillion to World’s Top 10 Economies in 2020, According to New Study from Accenture
Source: Accenture

The increased use of digital technologies could boost productivity for the world’s top 10 economies and add US$1.36 trillion to their total economic output in 2020, according to a new study by Accenture (NYSE: ACN). The study is based on the Accenture Digital Density Index, a tool that helps companies make better strategic investments based on granular measures of digital performance.

The Accenture Digital Density Index measures the extent to which digital technologies penetrate a country’s businesses and economy. A country’s “digital density” is determined by a scorecard comprising over 50 indicators, such as the volume of transactions conducted online, the use of cloud or other technologies to streamline processes, the pervasiveness of technology skills in a company, or an economy’s acceptance of new digitally driven business models.

At its broadest level, the Index reveals that a ten point improvement in digital density (on a 100-point scale) over five years would lift GDP growth rates in advanced economies by 0.25 percentage points, and by 0.5 percentage point in emerging economies. That would give the U.S. an uplift to GDP of US$365 billion in 2020. Emerging economies, such as Brazil, India and China could see rises of between $97 billion and $418 billion.

Open Data in the G8

March 26, 2015 Comments off

Open Data in the G8
Source: Center for Data Innovation

In 2013, the leaders of the G8 signed an agreement committing to advance open data in their respective countries. This report assesses the current state of open data efforts in these countries and finds substantial variation in their progress. Moving forward, countries have many opportunities to enhance their open data capabilities, such as by increasing international collaboration, better educating policymakers about the benefits of open data, and working closely with civil society on open data initiatives.

Religion and fertility: The French connection

February 13, 2015 Comments off

Religion and fertility: The French connection
Source: Demographic Research

Background:
France has been among the first countries to become sacularized but has preserved a Catholic identity. Before 2008, French laws made it very difficult to collect data on an individual’s religious affiliation. The dataset “Enquête Mode de Vie des Français” is the first allowing one to collect such data.

Objective:
I investigate the impact that being a Catholic has on fertility in France. I answer two main questions: (i) Do Catholic people have more children than others? (ii) Why is this the case?

Methods:
Fertility is measured by the number of children ever born. I use the dataset “Enquête Mode de Vie des Français” and Zero-Inflated Poisson regression models. Individual religiosity is approximated by the attendance at religious services.

Results:
I first show that practicing Catholics have more children than the rest of the population, while this is not verified for nominal Catholics. I also construct two variables allowing me to detect that particularized ideology mechanisms (Goldscheider 1971) can explain in part why religion has an impact on fertility in my dataset. Nevertheless, I cannot exclude the social interaction hypothesis. The multivariate analysis I provide also validates the main mechanisms of the rational actor model.

Conclusions:
I implement several robustness checks showing that my main results are robust to changing my regression model (ordered probit and linear regressions) and the way religiousness and fertility are measured.

The reproductive context of cohabitation in comparative perspective: Contraceptive use in the United States, Spain, and France

January 28, 2015 Comments off

The reproductive context of cohabitation in comparative perspective: Contraceptive use in the United States, Spain, and France
Source: Demographic Research

Background:
Discussions of cohabitation’s place in family formation regimes frequently emphasize comparisons of reproductive behavior among married versus cohabiting couples. Many argue that the rise in cohabitation may have been fueled by availability of highly effective contraception, but that differences in contraceptive use between married and cohabiting couples should diminish as cohabitation becomes more established.

Objective:
We ask whether cohabiting women in the United States, Spain, and France are more likely than married women in these countries to use the most effective contraceptive methods and reversible methods. We also investigate whether the association between union status and contraceptive use has changed since the mid-1990s.

Methods:
Using data from the U.S. National Survey of Family Growth, the Spanish Fertility, Family and Values Survey, the French Gender and Generations Survey, and the Fertility and Family Surveys, we first descriptively compare contraceptive use patterns of cohabiting women to those of married women and then estimate regression models to adjust for group differences in key background factors.

Results:
Net of differences in age and parity, cohabitors were more likely than married women to use the most effective contraceptives in the mid-1990s’ United States and France, yet notably not in Spain even when cohabitation was relatively uncommon. The case of Spain thus refutes the assumption that highly effective contraception is a necessary precursor for dramatic growth in cohabitation.

Consumer Cash Usage: A Cross-Country Comparison with Payment Diary Survey Data

January 6, 2015 Comments off

Consumer Cash Usage: A Cross-Country Comparison with Payment Diary Survey Data
Source: Federal Reserve Bank of Boston

We measure consumers’ use of cash by harmonizing payment diary surveys from seven countries. The seven diary surveys were conducted in 2009 (Canada), 2010 (Australia), 2011 (Austria, France, Germany, and the Netherlands), and 2012 (the United States). Our paper finds cross-country differences — for example, the level of cash use differs across countries. Cash has not disappeared as a payment instrument, especially for low-value transactions. We also find that the use of cash is strongly correlated with transaction size, demographics, and point-of-sale characteristics such as merchant card acceptance and venue.

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