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What Would Happen If Health Care in the U.S. Improved?

October 23, 2014 Comments off

What Would Happen If Health Care in the U.S. Improved?
Source: Commonwealth Fund

The United States health care system is the most expensive in the world, but the Commonwealth Fund report Mirror, Mirror on the Wall, 2014 Update: How the U.S. Health Care System Compares Internationally shows the U.S. underperforms relative to 11 other industrialized countries on most dimensions of performance. Use this interactive to see what would happen if the U.S. were to raise its health system performance to the levels achieved elsewhere in the world.

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Economic & Environmental Impact of Traffic Congestion in Europe & the US

October 22, 2014 Comments off

Economic & Environmental Impact of Traffic Congestion in Europe & the US
Source: Inrix

With people in Europe and the US currently wasting on average 111 hours annually in gridlock, the impact of traffic congestion on individual driver’s time is well understood. However, new research shows traffic congestion actually does much more than test our patience. It’s a significant drain on our wallets as well our economies.

A new report by INRIX in collaboration with one of the world’s leading economic think tanks, the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR), quantifies the cost of traffic congestion on individual households and national economies in the U.S., U.K., France and Germany. This is the first study of its kind to forecast the projected increases in these costs in these countries and their most congested cities between 2013 and 2030. Driven by urbanization and increased GDP per capita over the next 17 years, a few of the key findings include:

  • The combined annual cost of gridlock to these countries is expected to soar to $293.1 billion by 2030, almost a 50% increase from 2013.
  • Over this period, the cumulative cost of congestion for these economies combined is estimated to be a staggering $4.4 trillion.
  • The overall economic impact is greatest in the U.S. where the estimated cumulative cost of traffic congestion by 2030 is $2.8 trillion – the same amount Americans collectively paid in U.S. taxes last year.
  • However the UK (at 66%) and London (at 71%) will see the greatest annual rise in the cost of congestion by 2030, mainly as a result of seeing the highest increase in urbanization
  • At the individual level, traffic congestion cost drivers $1,740 last year on average across the four countries. If unchecked, this number is expected to grow more than 60% to $2,902 annually by 2030.

Free registration required to download report.

Mainstreaming Immigrant Integration Policy in France: Education, Employment, and Social Cohesion Initiatives

September 11, 2014 Comments off

Mainstreaming Immigrant Integration Policy in France: Education, Employment, and Social Cohesion Initiatives
Source: Migration Policy Institute
In France, where integration initiatives are limited to an immigrant’s first five years in the country, “mainstreaming”—the practice of reaching people with a migration background through social programming and policies that address the needs of the general population—is an intrinsic characteristic of integration policy. However, because French law prohibits the collection of official statistics based on ethnicity, and because most children of immigrants are French citizens, it is difficult to assess to what extent policies aimed at the general population affect immigrant youth. This is further complicated by a deep societal distrust of policies that target a particular group over others, originating from the French republican principle of equal treatment regardless of origin, religion, or race.

This report traces the history and recent developments of immigrant integration in France, which has been a popular destination for migrants since the 19th century. The size of France’s foreign born population is on par with that of other European countries, but immigrants in France arrived earlier. As a result, France has one of the highest proportions of immigrant descendants in Europe.

France has primarily focused on integration initiatives that target youth in three key areas: education, employment, and social cohesion. A recent reorganization of the institutions responsible for implementing integration policy has effectively mainstreamed those programs. In addition, a new area-based approach to solving problems of inequality has taken precedence over initiatives that tackle issues specific to immigrant youth, including discrimination. This approach is also limited in its ability to reach immigrant groups that are more widely dispersed geographically.

As the government of President Francois Hollande considers further institutional changes to integration policy, including the delegation of responsibilities from the Interior Ministry to various relevant bodies, the concept of “mainstreaming” is likely to affect governance structures and the public discourse surrounding immigrant integration.

The changing hospital landscape: An exploration of international experiences

August 20, 2014 Comments off

The changing hospital landscape: An exploration of international experiences
Source: RAND Corporation

The nature of hospital activity is changing in many countries, with some experiencing a broad trend towards the creation of hospitals groups or chains and multi-hospital networks. This report seeks to contribute to the understanding of experiences in other countries about the extent to which different hospital ‘models’ may provide lessons for hospital provision in England by means of a review of four countries: France, Germany, Ireland and the United States, with England included for comparison. We find that here has been a trend towards privatisation and the formation of hospital groups in France, Germany and the United States although it is important to understand the underlying market structure in these countries explaining the drivers for hospital consolidation. Thus, and in contrast to the NHS, in France, Germany and the United States, private hospitals contribute to the delivery of publicly funded healthcare services. There is limited evidence suggesting that different forms of hospital cooperation, such as hospital groups, networks or systems, may have different impacts on hospital performance. Available evidence suggests that hospital consolidation may lead to quality improvements as increased size allows for more costly investments and the spreading of investment risk. There is also evidence that a higher volume of certain services such as surgical procedures is associated with better quality of care. However, the association between size and efficiency is not clear-cut and there is a need to balance ‘quality risk’ associated with low volumes and ‘access risk’ associated with the closure of services at the local level.

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

August 20, 2014 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.

Gender and time allocation of cohabiting and married women and men in France, Italy, and the United States

July 17, 2014 Comments off

Gender and time allocation of cohabiting and married women and men in France, Italy, and the United States
Source: Demographic Research

Background:
Women, who generally do more unpaid and less paid work than men, have greater incentives to stay in marriages than cohabiting unions, which generally carry fewer legal protections for individuals that wish to dissolve their relationship. The extent to which cohabitation is institutionalized, however, is a matter of policy and varies substantially by country. The gender gap in paid and unpaid work between married and cohabiting individuals should be larger in countries where cohabitation is less institutionalized and where those in cohabiting relationships have relatively fewer legal protections should the relationship dissolve, yet few studies have explored this variation.

Objective:
Using time diary data from France, Italy, and the United States, we assess the time men and women devote to paid and unpaid work in cohabiting and married couples. These three countries provide a useful diversity in marital regimes for examining these expectations: France, where cohabitation is most “marriage like” and where partnerships can be registered and carry legal rights; the United States, where cohabitation is common but is short-lived and unstable and where legal protections vary across states; and Italy, where cohabitation is not common and where such unions are not legally acknowledged and less socially approved than in either France or the United States.

Results:
Cohabitating men’s and women’s time allocated to market and nonmarket work is generally more similar than married men and women. Our expectations about country differences are only partially borne out by the findings. Greater gender differences in the time allocated to market and nonmarket work are found in Italy relative to either France or the U.S.

National Funding of Road Infrastructure

July 10, 2014 Comments off

National Funding of Road Infrastructure
Source: Law Library of Congress

This report examines the funding of roads and highways in Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, England and Wales, France, Germany, Israel, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Netherlands, South Africa, and Sweden. It provides a description of the infrastructure in the jurisdiction, information on the ownership and responsibility of the roads, and taxes or other ways of collecting money to fund the nation’s infrastructure. If applicable, a discussion of reforms or new initiatives is examined.

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