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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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UK — State of the Nation 2014 Report

October 23, 2014 Comments off

State of the Nation 2014 Report
Source: Social Mobility and Child Poverty Commission, Cabinet Office, Department for Education and Department for Work and Pensions

This is the Commission’s second annual State of the Nation report to be presented to Parliament. The Commission was created by the UK Government in 2012 as an independent and statutory body to monitor and report on what is happening to child poverty and social mobility in our country.

The report assesses what the UK government, the Scottish government and the Welsh government are doing (the Commission’s remit does not cover the Northern Ireland government), what progress is being made, and what is likely to happen in future. The report also examines the role of employers and professions, councils and colleges, schools and universities, parents and charities. The report makes a number of recommendations for action.

This is the last State of the Nation report prior to the 2015 UK General Election. As such it presents a verdict on the past and provides a window into the future. The central conclusion is that the next government will have to adopt radical new approaches if poverty is to be beaten, mobility improved and if Britain is to avoid becoming a permanently divided society. We define that as the 2020 challenge.

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.

Labor Market Slack in the United Kingdom

October 21, 2014 Comments off

Labor Market Slack in the United Kingdom (PDF)
Source: Peterson Institute for International Economics

This paper examines the amount of slack in the UK labor market and finds the downward adjustments made by the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) to both unemployment and underemployment invalid. Without evidence to support its assessment of the output gap, the MPC reduces the level of unemployment based on its claim that long-term unemployment does not affect wages. The authors produce evidence to the contrary and present arguments on why the MPC’s halving of the level of underemployment in the United Kingdom is inappropriate. Bell and Blanchflower set out arguments on why they believe the level of slack is greater than the MPC calibrates. Consistent with that is the fact that real wages in the United Kingdom continue to fall.

UK — Women in Whitehall: culture, leadership, talent

October 20, 2014 Comments off

Women in Whitehall: culture, leadership, talent
Source: Cabinet Office

This is the final report of a research project into the blockages facing talented women succeeding in the Senior Civil Service (SCS).

It sets out the opportunity and challenge to unleash the potential of many more staff who want to serve HM Government and our Country.

The report builds on the Interim Report presented to Minister for the Cabinet Office, Francis Maude, on 23rd April 2014.

Witness Protection Programs in Selected Countries

October 17, 2014 Comments off

Witness Protection Programs in Selected Countries (PDF)
Source: Public Safety Canada

Effective witness protection is a cornerstone of the criminal justice system in the fight against organized crime. Traditional witness protection focuses on the safety of the witness. Experience shows, however, that individuals are not willing unless they have confidence that the State will protect their rights and safety as well as those of their immediate family.

Witness protection programs serve many purposes. They provide opportunities for victims and witnesses to participate in a criminal process with the expectation that they and their families will not be put in danger. They offer the hope of accountability and give threatened witnesses a way to seek shelter from the scene of victimization. Witness protection provides a space in which individual traumas may be treated and enables a victim/witness to regain more control over their life. It can also lead to a serious disruption of the lifestyle of the witness and any persons accompanying them into the program. It may even have implications for third parties. For these reasons, witness protection programs must have a good foundation in legislation or policy.

This paper reviews the practices and outcomes of witness protection programs using open source literature on the legislation and practices followed in Australia, the United Kingdom (UK) and the United States (US) and compares them with both federal and provincial programs in Canada.

UK — Gestation-specific Infant Mortality, 2012

October 17, 2014 Comments off

Gestation-specific Infant Mortality, 2012
Source: Office for National Statistics

Key Findings

  • Babies born in 2012 had an infant mortality rate of 3.9 deaths per 1,000 live births, compared to 4.4 deaths per 1,000 live births for babies born in 2008.
  • For babies born at term (between 37 and 41 weeks gestation), the infant mortality rate was 1.4 deaths per 1,000 live births.
  • The infant mortality rate for babies born pre-term (between 24 and 36 weeks) in 2012 was 23.6 deaths per 1,000 live births. This was almost 16% lower than the rate for pre-term babies born in 2008 (27.6 deaths per 1,000 live births).
  • The infant mortality rate for babies born to mothers aged 40 years and over was 4.8 deaths per 1,000 live births.
  • For babies born to mothers aged less than 20 years, the infant mortality rate was 5.7 deaths per 1,000 live births.
  • The infant mortality rate for babies born pre-term was higher for single births than for multiple births (24.8 and 19.9 deaths per 1,000 live births respectively).\
  • Infant mortality rates by ethnic group were highest for babies in the Bangladeshi and Black Caribbean groups (6.9 deaths per 1,000 live births).
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