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Lessons from Abroad for the U.S. Entitlement Debate

March 27, 2014 Comments off

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.

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AU — The G20: a quick guide

March 26, 2014 Comments off

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.

Neighborhood Danger, Parental Monitoring, Harsh Parenting, and Child Aggression in Nine Countries

January 23, 2014 Comments off

Neighborhood Danger, Parental Monitoring, Harsh Parenting, and Child Aggression in Nine Countries (PDF)
Source: Societies

Exposure to neighborhood danger during childhood has negative effects that permeate multiple dimensions of childhood. The current study examined whether mothers’, fathers’, and children’s perceptions of neighborhood danger are related to child aggression, whether parental monitoring moderates this relation, and whether harsh parenting mediates this relation. Interviews were conducted with a sample of 1293 children (age M = 10.68, SD = 0.66; 51% girls) and their mothers (n = 1282) and fathers (n = 1075) in nine countries (China, Colombia, Italy, Jordan, Kenya, the Philippines, Sweden, Thailand, and the United States). Perceptions of greater neighborhood danger were associated with more child aggression in all nine countries according to mothers’ and fathers’ reports and in five of the nine countries according to children’s reports. Parental monitoring did not moderate the relation between perception of neighborhood danger and child aggression. The mediating role of harsh parenting was inconsistent across countries and reporters. Implications for further research are discussed, and include examination of more specific aspects of parental monitoring as well as more objective measures of neighborhood danger.

OECD Review of Fisheries: Country Statistics 2013

January 13, 2014 Comments off

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

Promoting integration for migrant domestic workers in Europe: A synthesis of Belgium, France, Italy and Spain

September 30, 2013 Comments off

Promoting integration for migrant domestic workers in Europe: A synthesis of Belgium, France, Italy and Spain
Source: International Labour Organization

This report is based on the findings of research conducted in Belgium, France, Italy and Spain, as part of project on “integration of migrant domestic workers in Europe”, implemented by the ILO and its partners with the financial support of the European Union.

Contact Group on Piracy off the Coast of Somalia: Quarterly Update

July 23, 2013 Comments off

Contact Group on Piracy off the Coast of Somalia: Quarterly Update
Source: U.S. Department of State

The Contact Group on Piracy off the Coast of Somalia was created on January 14, 2009 pursuant to UN Security Council Resolution 1851. This voluntary ad hoc international forum brings together over 80 countries, organizations, and industry groups with a shared interest in combating piracy. Chaired in 2013 by the United States, the Contact Group coordinates political, military, and non-governmental efforts to tackle piracy off the coast of Somalia, ensure that pirates are brought to justice, and support regional states to develop sustainable maritime security capabilities. The European Union will assume the chairmanship in 2014.

Through its five thematic working groups, the Contact Group draws on a wide range of international expertise and adopts a problem-solving approach to piracy, working closely with Somali officials from the central government and regional administrations and officials in Indian Ocean States. Working Group 1, chaired by the United Kingdom, focuses on operational naval coordination, information sharing, and capacity building; Working Group 2, chaired by Denmark, addresses legal and judicial issues; Working Group 3, chaired by the Republic of Korea, works closely with the shipping industry to enhance awareness and build capabilities among seafarers transiting the region; Working Group 4, chaired by Egypt, aims at raising public awareness of the dangers of piracy; and Working Group 5, chaired by Italy, focuses on disrupting the pirate criminal enterprise ashore, including the illicit financial flows associated with maritime piracy.

This unique international partnership is contributing to a significant decline in piracy off the Horn of Africa. The last successful pirate attack on a merchant vessel in the region occurred on May 10, 2012.

Risk-i Bulletin: Cruise Ship Grounding, Italy

January 22, 2012 Comments off

Risk-i Bulletin: Cruise Ship Grounding, Italy (PDF)
Source: Guy Carpenter
Carnival has confirmed it has insurance coverage for damage to the vessel, with a deductible of approximately USD30 million. It added its third-party personal injury liability was subject to an additional USD10 million deductible. Carnival said it self-insures for loss of use of the vessel, prompting the company to estimate the impact on its 2012 earnings to be between USD85 million and USD95 million.

According to industry sources, the Costa Concordia is insured for EUR405 million (USD513 million). Reports said XL Group leads the insurance cover while RSA Insurance and Generali also provide coverage. Hanover Re announced this morning it expects a damage claim of at least EUR10 million euros (USD12.7 million) from the incident. For potential injury claims, Standard Club said it was one of several P&I clubs providing cover for the Costa Concordia.

Despite Increasing Concerns about High Health Care Costs, New Survey Finds Little Support among Americans for Decisions That Limit Use of High-Cost Prescription Drugs and Treatments

December 29, 2011 Comments off
Source:  Harvard School of Public Health

A new survey by the Harvard School of Public Health and the Alliance for Aging Research finds that a majority (62%) of Americans oppose decisions by the government or health insurance plans where prescription drugs or medical or surgical treatments are not paid for because the payors determine that the benefits do not justify the cost. The exception is if there’s evidence that something else works equally well but costs less. A majority (64%) of Americans believe the government or health insurance plans should not pay for a more expensive prescription drug or medical or surgical treatment if it has not been shown to work better than less expensive ones. Majorities in Italy and Germany share both of these beliefs with the U.S. public. In the United Kingdom, at least a plurality shares these beliefs.

Topline (PDF)
Charts (.ppt)

Professional liability insurance in Obstetrics and Gynecology: estimate of the level of knowledge about malpractice insurance policies and definition of an informative tool for the management of the professional activity

December 18, 2011 Comments off

Professional liability insurance in Obstetrics and Gynecology: estimate of the level of knowledge about malpractice insurance policies and definition of an informative tool for the management of the professional activity
Source: BMC Research Notes

Background
In recent years, due to the increasingly hostile environment in the medical malpractice field and related lawsuits in Italy, physicians began informing themselves regarding their comprehensive medical malpractice coverage.

Methods
In order to estimate the level of knowledge of medical professionals on liability insurance coverage for healthcare malpractice, a sample of 60 hospital health professionals of the obstetrics and gynaecology area of Messina (Sicily, Italy) were recluted. A survey was administered to evaluate their knowledge as to the meaning of professional liability insurance coverage but above all on the most frequent policy forms (“loss occurrence”, “claims made” and “I-II risk”). Professionals were classified according to age and professional title and descriptive statistics were calculated for all the professional groups and answers.

Results
Most of the surveyed professionals were unaware or had very bad knowledge of the professional liability insurance coverage negotiated by the general manager, so most of the personnel believed it useful to subscribe individual “private” policies. Several subjects declared they were aware of the possibility of obtaining an extended coverage for gross negligence and substantially all the surveyed had never seen the loss occurrence and claims made form of the policy. Moreover, the sample was practically unaware of the related issues about insurance coverage for damages related to breaches on informed consent. The results revealed the relative lack of knowledge–among the operators in the field of obstetrics and gynaecology–of the effective coverage provided by the policies signed by the hospital managers for damages in medical malpractice. The authors thus proposed a useful information tool to help professionals working in obstetrics and gynaecology regarding aspects of insurance coverage provided on the basis of Italian civil law.

Conclusion
Italy must introduce a compulsory insurance system which could absorb, through a mechanism of “distribution of risk”, the malpractice litigation and its costs. This will provide compensation in accidental cases where it wouldn’t be possible to demonstrate carelessness, imprudence and/or lack of skill.

+ Full Paper (PDF)

The effects of integration and transnational ties on international return migration intentions

December 6, 2011 Comments off

The effects of integration and transnational ties on international return migration intentions (PDF)
Source: Demographic Research

While return migration is receiving increasing attention, there is still insufficient insight into the factors which determine migrants’ intentions and decisions to return. It is often assumed that integration in receiving countries and the concomitant weakening of transnational ties decreases the likelihood of returning. However, according to alternative theoretical interpretations, return migration can also be the outflow of successful integration in receiving countries. Drawing on a data set of four African immigrant groups in Spain and Italy, this articlereviews these conflicting hypotheses by assessing the effects of integration and transnational ties on return migration intentions. The results of the analysis suggest that socio-cultural integration has a negative effect on return migration intentions, while economic integration and transnational ties have more ambiguous and sometimes positive effects. The results provide mixed support for the different hypotheses but question theoretical perspectives that unequivocally conceptualize return migration and transnationalism as causes and/or consequences of "integration failure".

Measuring Nepotism through Shared Last Names: The Case of Italian Academia

October 1, 2011 Comments off

Measuring Nepotism through Shared Last Names: The Case of Italian Academia
Source; PLoS ONE

Nepotistic practices are detrimental for academia. Here I show how disciplines with a high likelihood of nepotism can be detected using standard statistical techniques based on shared last names among professors. As an example, I analyze the set of all 61,340 Italian academics. I find that nepotism is prominent in Italy, with particular disciplinary sectors being detected as especially problematic. Out of 28 disciplines, 9 – accounting for more than half of Italian professors – display a significant paucity of last names. Moreover, in most disciplines a clear north-south trend emerges, with likelihood of nepotism increasing with latitude. Even accounting for the geographic clustering of last names, I find that for many disciplines the probability of name-sharing is boosted when professors work in the same institution or sub-discipline. Using these techniques policy makers can target cuts and funding in order to promote fair practices.

New Study: U.S. Ranks Last Among High-Income Nations on Preventable Deaths, Lagging Behind as Others Improve More Rapidly

September 28, 2011 Comments off

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.”

+ Variations in Amenable Mortality—Trends in 16 High-Income Nations

Importance of E-services for Cultural Tourism

August 24, 2011 Comments off

Importance of E-services for Cultural Tourism (PDF)
Source: Research Papers in Economics

Despite a busy lifestyle – or perhaps as a result of a stressful lifestyle – more people than ever before make leisure trips, sometimes for a long time but in many cases just for short periods. Modern telecommunication technology brings attractive tourist destinations directly into the living rooms of potential travellers, also destinations that would otherwise have been difficult to find, such as certain cultural heritage objects. In this contribution, we will address the relevance of e-services in urban cultural tourism. Its aim is to map out the relative drivers of cultural visitors to cities with a particular view on the importance of modern e-services in the tourist sector. We focus on three case-study cities: Amsterdam, Leipzig and Genoa. We use discrete choice models and factor analysis to analyse the preferences of tourists for cultural heritage and e-services. Interestingly, in all three cities, the most important group of tourists, the cultural heritage enthusiasts, are often international tourists. This stresses the importance of multilingual e-services in order to maximise their impact on cultural heritage visitors and the tourism sector in general. In addition, it is also important to note that certain e-services become more important for tourists from further away, such as online booking systems.

Comparing BRICs and G6 nations in fossil fuels

June 12, 2011 Comments off

Comparing BRICs and G6 nations in fossil fuels
Source: Deloitte

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.
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+ Full Report (PDF)

Country Specific Information: Italy, Holy See (Vatican City) and San Marino

June 5, 2011 Comments off

Country Specific Information: Italy, Holy See (Vatican City) and San Marino
Source: U.S. Department of State

June 02, 2011

COUNTRY DESCRIPTION: Italy is a developed democracy with a modern economy. The Holy See is a sovereign entity that serves as the ecclesiastical, governmental, and administrative capital of the Roman Catholic Church, physically located within the State of the Vatican City inside Rome, with a unique, non-traditional economy. San Marino is a developed, constitutional democratic republic, also independent of Italy, with a modern economy. Tourist facilities are widely available. Read the Department of State Background Notes on Italy, the Holy See, and San Marino for additional information.

OECD — Doing Better for Families

April 30, 2011 Comments off

Doing Better for Families
Source: Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
From press release:

Poverty in households with children is rising in nearly all OECD countries. Governments should ensure that family support policies protect the most vulnerable, according to the OECD’s first-ever report on family well-being.

Doing Better for Families says that families with children are more likely to be poor today than in previous decades, when the poorest in society were more likely to be pensioners.

Download the underlying data in Excel

 The share of children living in poor households has risen in many countries over the past decade, to reach 12.7% across the OECD. One in five children in Israel, Mexico, Turkey, the United States and Poland live in poverty. (The OECD defines poor as someone living in a household with less than half the median income, adjusted for family size).

+ Chapter 1. Families are changing (PDF)

Individual country reports also freely available. Full report available for purchase.

Do Not Trash the Incentive! Monetary Incentives and Waste Sorting

April 29, 2011 Comments off

Do Not Trash the Incentive! Monetary Incentives and Waste Sorting (PDF)
Source: Harvard Business School Working Papers

This paper examines whether monetary incentives are an effective tool for increasing domestic waste sorting. We exploit the exogenous variation in the pricing systems experienced during the 1999-2008 decade by the 95 municipalities in the district of Treviso (Italy). We estimate with a panel analysis that pay-as-you-throw (PAYT) incentive-based schemes increase by 12.2% the ratio of sorted to total waste. This increase reflects a change in the behavior of households, which keep unaltered the production of total waste but sort it to a larger extent. In addition, we show that several factors that may discourage local administrators from adopting PAYT—illegal dumping and higher cost of management—are not important at the aggregate level. Hence, our results support the use of PAYT as an effective tool to increase waste sorting.

How health systems make available information on service providers: Experience in seven countries

February 9, 2011 Comments off

How health systems make available information on service providers: Experience in seven countries
Source: RAND Corporation

The report reviews and discusses information systems reporting on the quality or performance of providers of healthcare (‘quality information systems’) in seven countries: Denmark, England, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Sweden and the United States. Data collection involves a review of the published and grey literature and is complemented by information provided by key informants in the selected countries using a detailed questionnaire. Quality information systems typically address a number of audiences, including patients (or respectively the general public before receiving services and becoming patients), commissioners, purchasers and regulators. We observe that as the policy context for quality reporting in countries varies, so also does the nature and scope of quality information systems within and between countries. Systems often pursue multiple aims and objectives, which typically are (a) to support patient choice (b) to influence provider behaviour to enhance the quality of care (c) to strengthen transparency of the provider-commissioner relationship and the healthcare system as a whole and (d) to hold healthcare providers and commissioners to account for the quality of care they provide and the purchasing decisions they make. We emphasise that the main users of information systems are the providers themselves as the publication of information provides an incentive for improving the quality of care. Finally, based on the evidence reviewed, we identify a number of considerations for the design of successful quality information systems, such as the clear definition of objectives, ensuring users’ accessibility and stakeholder involvement, as well as the need to provide valid, reliable and consistent data.

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