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Social Mobility and the Importance of Networks: Evidence for Britain

September 1, 2014 Comments off

Social Mobility and the Importance of Networks: Evidence for Britain (PDF)
Source: Institute for the Study of Labor

Greater levels of social mobility are widely seen as desirable on grounds of both equity and efficiency. Debate on social mobility in Britain and elsewhere has recently focused on specific factors that might hinder social mobility, including the role of internships and similar employment opportunities that parents can sometimes secure for their children. We address the help that parents give their children in the job market using data from the new age 42 wave of the 1970 British Cohort Study. We consider help given to people from all family backgrounds and not just to graduates and those in higher level occupations who have tended to be the focus in the debate in Britain. Specifically, our data measure whether respondents had ever had help to get a job from (i) parents and (ii) other relatives and friends and the form of that help. We first assess the extent and type of help. We then determine whether people from higher socio-economic status families are more or less likely to have such help and whether the help is associated with higher wages and higher occupations. Our paper provides insight into whether the strong link between parental socio-economic background and the individual’s own economic success can be explained in part by the parents assisting their children to get jobs. We find parental help to have a strong social gradient. But we are unable to identify a clear link between any particular type of help – advice, help through contacts etc. – and individuals’ wages or occupations.

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Transporting Crude Oil by Rail: State and Federal Action

August 29, 2014 Comments off

Transporting Crude Oil by Rail: State and Federal Action
Source: National Conference of State Legislatures

Technological advances such as hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling are driving the increase in oil and natural gas extraction and allowing access to shale resources in Canada and the U.S. that were previously uneconomical to develop.

In fact, the United States became the No. 1 producer of oil in the world in 2014—overtaking Saudi Arabia and Russia. The U.S. produced 8.4 million barrels per day of oil in April 2014, which is the highest monthly production volume in more than 25 years—with North Dakota and Texas supplying almost half of the total U.S. crude oil production. The rapid expansion of crude oil production in North America has increased the use of rail, truck, barge and pipeline to carry crude to refineries.

Upon extraction, crude oil is transported to refineries to be processed into useful petroleum products—such as heating oil, diesel fuel or gasoline. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), in 2009 70.2 percent of crude oil and petroleum products were transported by pipeline while 23.1 percent were shipped by oil tankers, 4.2 percent by truck and just 2.6 percent by rail. In 2013, crude oil accounted for just 1.4 percent of the commodities carried by rail. Although oil makes up a small percentage of rail freight, this proportion is increasing rapidly.

The City Brand: Champion of Immigrant Integration or Empty Marketing Tool?

August 29, 2014 Comments off

The City Brand: Champion of Immigrant Integration or Empty Marketing Tool?
Source: Migration Policy Institute

In recent years, cities on both sides of the Atlantic have invested in branding strategies and campaigns to attract tourism, investment, and new residents. This trend is closely tied to the increasing global demand for human capital and changes in travel and technology, which are challenging cities seeking growth to set themselves apart from similar localities in the region and around the world. City branding strategies, often embedded in a broader public discourse, must reflect the heterogeneity of residents while conveying the shared values, culture, and identity of the population. For some cities, diversity and openness themselves are main selling points. Other cities’ branding strategies benefit from key economic conditions like a thriving industrial sector or links to centers of research and innovation.

This report explores the relationship between marketing and communications campaigns, immigration, and processes of immigrant integration. One question it seeks to answer: how can cities balance the twin goals of attracting skilled residents to fuel new growth while creating a “diversity-proof” identity, especially in a context of social inequality and high turnover? Within two categories of city discourse, one meant to attract new talent and the other meant to develop a local identity, municipal governments have various tactics to choose from to build a cohesive branding strategy directed at immigrant populations.

Still, creating a truly representative brand is a difficult task for many cities. One challenge is how to link internal- and external-focused marketing campaigns, which target very different cohorts. Brands must encompass all residents, both immigrant and native born, and must reflect a diverse range of ethnic and cultural identities, socioeconomic backgrounds, and reasons for living in the city.

Recalibrating Justice: A Review of 2013 State Sentencing and Corrections Trends

August 28, 2014 Comments off

Recalibrating Justice: A Review of 2013 State Sentencing and Corrections Trends
Source: Vera Institute

In 2013, 35 states passed at least 85 bills to change some aspect of how their criminal justice systems address sentencing and corrections. In reviewing this legislative activity, the Vera Institute of Justice found that policy changes have focused mainly on the following five areas: reducing prison populations and costs; expanding or strengthening community-based corrections; implementing risk and needs assessments; supporting offender reentry into the community; and making better informed criminal justice policy through data-driven research and analysis. By providing concise summaries of representative legislation in each area, this report aims to be a practical guide for policymakers in other states and the federal government looking to enact similar changes in criminal justice policy.

Does the Gender of Offspring Affect Parental Political Orientation?

August 27, 2014 Comments off

Does the Gender of Offspring Affect Parental Political Orientation?
Source: National Bureau of Economic Research

Recently, the sex of child has been widely used as a natural experiment and shown to induce change of the allegedly stable political predisposition, however, prior results have been contradictory: in the U.K., researchers found that having daughters leads to parents favoring left-wing political parties and to holding more liberal views on family/gender roles, whereas in the U.S. scholars found that daughters were associated with more Republican (rightist) party identification and more conservative views on teen sexuality. Here, we utilize data from the General Social Survey and the European Social Survey to test the robustness of effects of offspring sex on parental political orientation while factoring out country and period differences. In analysis of 36 countries, we obtain null effects of the sex of the first child on party identification as well as on political ideology. Further, we observe no evidence of heterogeneous treatment effects. We discuss the implications of these null findings for theories of political socialization.

+ Non-paywall version (PDF)

Policies to Support Immigrant Entrepreneurship

August 27, 2014 Comments off

Policies to Support Immigrant Entrepreneurship
Source: Migration Policy Institute

Policymakers in top migrant-receiving countries increasingly recognize the well-documented benefits of immigrant entrepreneurship. Immigrants are more likely to start businesses than their native-born peers, despite increased obstacles. In countries with a strong entrepreneurial culture, like Australia, Canada, and the United States, policymakers look to migrant entrepreneurship to foster competitiveness and innovation. Immigrant-run businesses can also be a boon to economic growth and social inclusion for cities and regions, thus attracting new residents.

This report examines the obstacles that prevent immigrant entrepreneurs from realizing the full potential of their enterprises to contribute to the socioeconomic welfare and competitiveness of host countries. While a lack of start-up funding is a challenge for many entrepreneurs, credit constraints tend to be greater for immigrants than for the native born, given their shorter credit histories in their host countries and higher tendency to lack collateral such as home ownership. Immigrants, and especially new arrivals, also often lack full mastery of their new country’s language as well as the country-specific human capital and networks that the native born can rely on to navigate complex bureaucratic regulations and procedures.

The report also outlines the policy tools available to help immigrant entrepreneurship thrive, including mainstream and targeted business-support programs as well as structural policies that promote an environment that is conducive to entrepreneurship and innovation. While business-support programs are typically designed and implemented at the local level, allowing for the tailoring of services to the unique economic needs of each locality, structural policy reforms in areas such as taxes, labor market regulation, and education are generally the responsibility of the national government. In this context, cooperation between national and local policymakers is particularly important in developing complementary policy strategies that strengthen immigrant entrepreneurship.

Do Employers Prefer Workers Who Attend For-Profit Colleges? Evidence from a Field Experiment

August 27, 2014 Comments off

Do Employers Prefer Workers Who Attend For-Profit Colleges? Evidence from a Field Experiment
Source: American Institutes for Research

This paper reports results from a resume-based field experiment designed to examine employer preferences for job applicants who attended for-profit colleges. For-profit colleges have seen sharp increases in enrollment in recent years despite alternatives such as public community colleges being much cheaper. We sent almost 9,000 fictitious resumes of young job applicants who recently completed their schooling to online job postings in six occupational categories and tracked employer callback rates. We find no evidence that employers prefer applicants with resumes listing a for-profit college relative to those whose resumes list either a community college or no college at all.

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