Lessons from Abroad for the U.S. Entitlement Debate
Source: Center for Strategic & International Studies
The unsustainable federal budget outlook will inevitably push entitlement reform to the forefront of the national policy debate. As America’s leaders consider reform options, they will have much to learn from the experience of other developed countries, several of which have recently enacted far-reaching overhauls of their state pension systems that greatly reduce the long-term fiscal burden of their aging populations. Lessons from Abroad for the U.S. Entitlement Debate places America’s aging challenge in international perspective, examines the most promising reform initiatives in nine other developed countries, and draws practical lessons for U.S. policymakers.
The G20: a quick guide
Source: Parliamentary Library of Australia
This is a quick guide to basic information about the G20, as well as links to useful summary resources. The G20 background section includes the G20’s history, its members, the hosting system and G20 meeting processes, as well as a brief discussion of selected policy areas. Material on Australia and the G20 includes Australia’s involvement in the G20, Australia’s G20 goals for 2014 and speeches and press releases on the G20. A short list of links provides access to more resources on the G20.
Global Pensions Asset Study – 2014
Source: Towers Watson
This is a study of the 13 largest pension markets in the world and accounts for more than 85% of global pension assets. The countries included are Australia, Canada, Brazil, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Ireland, Japan, Netherlands, South Africa, Switzerland, the UK and the US. The study also analyses seven countries in greater depth by excluding the six smallest markets (Brazil, France, Germany, Ireland, Hong Kong and South Africa).
The analysis includes:
- Asset size, including growth statistics, comparison of asset size with GDP and liabilities
- Asset allocation
- Defined benefit and defined contribution share of pension assets
- Public and private sector share of pension assets.
OECD Review of Fisheries: Country Statistics 2013
Source: Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
Fisheries (capture fisheries and aquaculture) supply the world each year with millions of tonnes of fish (including, notably, fish, molluscs and crustaceans). Fisheries as well as ancillary activities also provide livelihoods and income. The fishery sector contributes to development and growth in many countries, playing an important role for food security, poverty reduction, employment and trade.
This publication contains statistics on fisheries from 2005 to 2012. Data provided concern fishing fleet capacity, employment in fisheries, fish landings, aquaculture production, recreational fisheries, government financial transfers, and imports and exports of fish.
OECD countries covered
Australia, Belgium, Canada, Chile, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Korea, Luxembourg, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovak Republic, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, United Kingdom, United States
Non-member economies covered
Argentina, Chinese Taipei, Thailand
Explaining High Health Care Spending in the United States: An International Comparison of Supply, Utilization, Prices, and Quality
This analysis uses data from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development and other sources to compare health care spending, supply, utilization, prices, and quality in 13 industrialized countries: Australia, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Japan, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and the United States. The U.S. spends far more on health care than any other country. However this high spending cannot be attributed to higher income, an older population, or greater supply or utilization of hospitals and doctors. Instead, the findings suggest the higher spending is more likely due to higher prices and perhaps more readily accessible technology and greater obesity. Health care quality in the U.S. varies and is not notably superior to the far less expensive systems in the other study countries. Of the countries studied, Japan has the lowest health spending, which it achieves primarily through aggressive price regulation.
Source: PriceWaterhouse Coopers
The 2012 global multichannel retail consumer survey was completed by more than 11,000 respondents from 11 different countries. For PwC, this is our most comprehensive research to date on multichannel retailing. In order to truly understand the trends and spot the patterns in multichannel shopping, we surveyed only those consumers who self-identified as online shoppers.
The 11 countries covered in the survey were:
- United Kingdom
- United States
Source: Congressional Research Service (via U.S. Department of State Foreign Press Center)
Seven nations—China, France, India, Pakistan, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States—possess nuclear weapons. North Korea tested a nuclear explosive device in 2006, and announced that it had conducted a test in 2009 and another in 2013. Israel is widely thought to have nuclear weapons. As an aid to Congress in understanding nuclear weapons, nuclear proliferation, and arms control matters, this report describes which agency is responsible for research and development (R&D) of nuclear weapons (i.e., nuclear explosive devices, as distinct from the bombers and missiles that deliver them) in these nations and whether these agencies are civilian or military. It also traces the history of such agencies in the United States from 1942 to the present. This report will be updated annually, or more often as developments warrant.
In the United States, the Army managed the nuclear weapons program during World War II. Since 1946, weapons R&D has been managed by civilian agencies, at present by the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA), a semiautonomous agency in the Department of Energy. Concerns about “the immediate and long-term issues associated with the NNSA,” however, led Congress to establish the Congressional Advisory Panel on the Governance of the Nuclear Security Enterprise in the FY2013 National Defense Authorization Act, P.L. 112-239. China’s nuclear weapons R&D is apparently under the direction of the military, collectively called the People’s Liberation Army.
France’s nuclear weapons R&D is supervised by the Ministry of Defense, which delegates the direction of these programs to the French Atomic and Alternative Energy Commission (CEA). However, as with NNSA in the United States, CEA is not a part of the Ministry of Defense. CEA also conducts nuclear programs in science and industry under the supervision of other ministries.
India’s nuclear weapons R&D appears to be controlled by the Department of Atomic Energy, which is under the direct control of the Prime Minister.
Israel’s nuclear program is under civilian control, but since Israel neither confirms nor denies that it possesses nuclear weapons, it classifies information on such weapons, including organizations responsible for R&D. The Israel Atomic Energy Commission reportedly has overall responsibility for Israel’s nuclear weapons program, and the Director General of that commission reports directly to the Prime Minister.
North Korea’s Ministry of Atomic Energy Industry is in charge of the day-to-day operation of the nuclear weapons program. Under it are nuclear-related organizations. Policy is decided by leader Kim Jong-un and other Communist Party and military leaders who advise him.
Pakistan’s National Command Authority (NCA) supervises the functions and administration of all of Pakistan’s organizations involved in nuclear weapons R&D and employment, as well as the military services that operate the strategic forces. The Prime Minister is the chair of the NCA, and membership includes senior civilian and military leaders.
Russia’s State Atomic Energy Corporation (Rosatom) is responsible for nuclear weapons R&D and production. It is a civilian agency, though it has many links to the military.
In the United Kingdom, a private company, AWE Management Limited, manages and operates the Atomic Weapons Establishment (AWE), a government-owned, contractor-operated entity. The Ministry of Defence (MoD), which is headed by a civilian, controls the operations, policy, and direction of AWE and can veto actions of the company. The MoD provides most of the funding for AWE.
Source: RAND Corporation
This work examines what happened in April of 1961, when the French government was about to conduct the fourth of a series of nuclear tests in the Sahara. Four French Army generals, unhappy that de Gaulle was willing to support Algerian independence, staged a coup to keep Algeria as a French colony. The nuclear test was conducted a few days ahead of schedule — it was not successful — and speculation ever since has been that the test was moved up to keep the weapon out of the rebel generals’ hands.
While there is evidence that one of the generals contacted the officer who was in charge of the tests to try to delay them, Jenkins concludes that the generals really never had a plan in place to seize the weapon and that the French government didn’t want to delay the test. At the time it happened, the world viewed it as an internal, French problem.
The second, shorter part of the book compares the 1961 events to what might happen today if the military in Pakistan or North Korea splintered, and a rebel group got their hands on those countries’ nuclear materials. Jenkins contends that such a scenario today would clearly be an international incident, that neither Pakistan nor North Korea would want any foreign intervention, and that the United States "might not be the only first responder."
Two additional short essays by Dr. Stephen J. Lukasik and Constantin Melnik, a security assistant to the French prime minister in 1961, also review what happened in 1961.
Grandparenting and mothers’ labour force participation: A comparative analysis using the Generations and Gender Survey
It is well known that the provision of public childcare plays an important role for women labour force participation and its availability varies tremendously across countries. In many countries, informal childcare is also important and typically provided by the grandparents, but its role on mothers’ employment is not yet well understood. Understanding the relationship between labour supply decisions and grandparental childcare is complex. While the provision of grandparental childcare is clearly a function of the social and institutional context of a country, it also depends on family preferences, which are typically unobserved in surveys.OBJECTIVEWe analyze the role of informal childcare provided by grandparents on mothers’ labour force participation keeping unobserved preferences into account.METHODSBivariate probit models with instrumental variables are estimated on data from seven countries (Bulgaria, France, Georgia, Germany, Hungary, Russia and The Netherlands) drawn from the Generations and Gender Survey.RESULTSWe find that only in some countries mothers’ employment is positively and significantly associated with grandparents providing childcare. In other countries, once we control for unobserved preferences, we do not find this effect.CONCLUSIONSThe role of grandparents is an important element to reconcile work and family for women in some countries. Our results show the importance of considering family preferences and country differences when studying the relationship between grandparental childcare and mothers’ labour supply.COMMENTSOur results are consistent with previous research on this topic. However, differently from previous studies, we conduct separate analyses by country and show that the effect of grandparental childcare varies considerably. The fact that we also include in the analyses Bulgaria, Hungary, Russia and Georgia is an important novelty as there are no studies on this issue for these countries.
This article sheds light on the important differences in self-declared happiness across countries of equivalent affluence. It hinges on the different happiness statements of natives and immigrants in a set of European countries to disentangle the influence of objective circumstances versus psychological and cultural factors. The latter turns out to be of non-negligible importance in explaining international heterogeneity in happiness. In some countries, such as France, they are responsible for 80% of the country’s unobserved idiosyncratic source of (un-)happiness.
New 2011 Survey of Patients with Complex Care Needs in Eleven Countries Finds That Care Is Often Poorly Coordinated
An international survey of adults living with health problems and complex care needs found that patients in the United States are much more likely than those in 10 other high-income countries to forgo needed care because of costs and to struggle with medical debt. In all the countries surveyed, patients who have a medical home reported better coordination of care, fewer medical errors, and greater satisfaction with care than those without one.
- Sicker adults in the U.S. stood out for having cost and access problems. More than one of four (27%) were unable to pay or encountered serious problems paying medical bills in the past year, compared with between 1 percent and 14 percent of adults in the other countries. In the U.S., 42 percent reported not visiting a doctor, not filling a prescription, or not getting recommended care. This is twice the rate for every other country but Australia, New Zealand, and Germany.
- In the U.S., cost-related access problems and medical bill burdens were concentrated among adults under age 65. Compared with Medicare-aged adults 65 or older, adults under 65 were far more likely to go without care because of the cost or to have problems paying bills.
- Adults with complex care needs who received care from a medical home—an accessible primary care practice that knows their medical history and helps coordinate care—were less likely to report experiencing medical errors, test duplication, and other care coordination failures. They were also more likely to report having arrangements for follow-up care after a hospitalization and more likely to rate their care highly.
- Sicker adults in the U.K. and Switzerland were the most likely to have a medical home: nearly three-quarters were connected to practices that have medical home characteristics, compared with around half in most of the other countries.
New Study: U.S. Ranks Last Among High-Income Nations on Preventable Deaths, Lagging Behind as Others Improve More Rapidly
New Study: U.S. Ranks Last Among High-Income Nations on Preventable Deaths, Lagging Behind as Others Improve More Rapidly
Source: Commonwealth Fund (Health Policy)
The United States placed last among 16 high-income, industrialized nations when it comes to deaths that could potentially have been prevented by timely access to effective health care, according to a Commonwealth Fund–supported study that appeared online in the journal Health Policy this week and will be available in print on October 25th as part of the November issue. According to the study, other nations lowered their preventable death rates an average of 31 percent between 1997–98 and 2006–07, while the U.S. rate declined by only 20 percent, from 120 to 96 per 100,000. At the end of the decade, the preventable mortality rate in the U.S. was almost twice that in France, which had the lowest rate—55 per 100,000.
In “Variations in Amenable Mortality—Trends in 16 High Income Nations,” Ellen Nolte of RAND Europe and Martin McKee of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine analyzed deaths that occurred before age 75 from causes like treatable cancer, diabetes, childhood infections/respiratory diseases, and complications from surgeries. They found that an average 41 percent drop in death rates from ischemic heart disease was the primary driver of declining preventable deaths, and they estimate that if the U.S. could improve its preventable death rate to match that of the three best-performing countries—France, Australia, and Italy—84,000 fewer people would have died each year by the end of the period studied.
“This study points to substantial opportunity to prevent premature death in the United States. We spend far more than any of the comparison countries—up to twice as much—yet are improving less rapidly,” said Commonwealth Fund Senior Vice President Cathy Schoen. “The good news is we know lower death rates are achievable if we enhance access and ensure high-quality care regardless of where you live. Looking forward, reforms under the Affordable Care Act have the potential to reduce the number of preventable deaths in the U.S. We have the potential to join the leaders among high-income countries.”
The Hidden Costs of U.S. Health Care for Consumers
From press release:
Rising health care costs, coupled with the current state of the economy, have prompted many consumers across the globe to delay care, alter household spending and worry about their ability to pay for future health care costs according to the 4th annual Deloitte Center for Health Solutions “2011 Survey of Health Care Consumers.”
Deloitte surveyed more than 15,000 health care consumers in 12 different countries including Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, Luxembourg, Mexico, Portugal, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the United States during April and May.
In the United States, three in four (75 percent) consumers say the recent economic slowdown has impacted their health care spending. Four in 10 (41 percent) are being more cautious about it, 20 percent cut back on spending, and 13 percent have reduced it considerably. In addition, 63 percent say their monthly health care spending limits their household’s ability to purchase other essentials such as housing, groceries, fuel and education. To save money, 36 percent of prescription medication users have asked their doctor to prescribe a generic drug instead of a brand name drug. These findings follow Deloitte’s, “The Hidden Costs of U.S. Health Care for Consumers: A Comprehensive Analysis,” published in March 2011, which revealed consumers spend $363 billion more on health care than traditionally reported, outpacing housing and utility costs as a discretionary household expense.
Additionally, one in four (25 percent) U.S. consumers skipped seeing a doctor when sick or injured. Of those consumers who decided not to see a doctor in the past year, those that did so due to costs ranged from a high of 49 percent in the United States, followed by Belgium (39 percent), China (35 percent) and Mexico (34 percent), to a low of 5 percent in Canada and 7 percent in the United Kingdom and Luxembourg.
More than half of all respondents from the 12 countries surveyed, with the exception of the United Kingdom (24 percent) and Canada (39 percent), also confirmed that household spending on health care limits their ability to spend on other household essentials. Additionally, between 4 in 10 and 5 in 10 respondents experienced an increase in household spending on health care in the past year with the exception of the United Kingdom (22 percent), Canada (29 percent) and China (37 percent).
Comparing BRICs and G6 nations in fossil fuels
A new report, “If not BRICs, then what? Comparing BRICs and G6 nations in fossil fuels” compares the up-and-coming BRIC nations to the G6 in fossil fuels. Long acknowledged by analysts and the media as new regions of economic growth, the same does not necessarily hold true when comparing reserves, production and consumption of fossil fuels. The report is authored by Global E&R FAS Leader, Jean-Michel Gauthier and Mark L Robinson, Marketing Leader for Global Energy & Resources.
+ Full Report (PDF)
Background And Selected Issues Related To The U.S. International Tax System And Systems That Exempt Foreign Business Income
Background And Selected Issues Related To The U.S. International Tax System And Systems That Exempt Foreign Business Income (PDF)
Source: Joint Committee on Taxation, United States Congress
The House Ways and Means Committee has scheduled a public hearing for May 24, 2011 on the rules in certain foreign jurisdictions for taxing foreign income. This document, prepared by the staff of the Joint Committee on Taxation, describes the U.S. international tax rules applicable to foreign income of resident taxpayers, provides a general overview of a territorial system of taxation, including a brief discussion of basic design considerations, and summarizes the rules of nine selected countries for the taxation of foreign income.