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Patenting and Innovation in China: Incentives, Policy, and Outcomes

July 2, 2015 Comments off

Patenting and Innovation in China: Incentives, Policy, and Outcomes
Source: RAND Corporation

China has undergone a patenting boom, with yearly increases in patent applications averaging 34 percent. Since 2000 this has resulted in a 16-fold increase in the annual number of patents and according to the United Nations, China’s patent office has received more patent filings than any other country (UN December 11, 2012). Previous literature indicates that this trend is driven by large volumes of low-quality patents. Given this, I was motivated to understand the drivers of this trend, the impact of patenting-promoting policies, and the innovative outcomes of Chinese firms. This dissertation examines these three questions in three separate essays: (1) What are the drivers of this patenting boom, and what implications exist for Chinese technical innovation? (2) What are the innovative impacts of the Indigenous Innovation Policy, which is designed to promote patenting? (3) How innovative are leading Chinese firms?

Internet Freedom Software Tools Developed by the United States Do Not Facilitate Cybercrime

July 1, 2015 Comments off

Internet Freedom Software Tools Developed by the United States Do Not Facilitate Cybercrime
Source: RAND Corporation

Software tools created by the U.S. State Department to encourage the free flow of information online and on mobile phone networks are not likely to be used by criminals to pursue illegal activities, according to a new RAND Corporation study.

While some technologies supported by the State Department’s efforts have the potential to be used for illicit purposes, there are numerous alternative technologies that are better suited for criminal activity, according to the report.

Collusion to Crackdown: Islamist-Military Relations in Egypt

June 27, 2015 Comments off

Collusion to Crackdown: Islamist-Military Relations in Egypt
Source: Brookings Institution

Nearly two years after ousting President Muhammad Morsi, Egypt’s military continues to crack down on the Muslim Brotherhood. Much like during Egypt’s 1952-54 political transition, the recent interactions between the powerful armed state bureaucracy and the influential religious organization have had a major impact on the country’s political trajectory. In both instances, the military and Muslim Brotherhood initially cooperated before ultimately clashing violently. How has each entity determined what approach to take toward the other? What does a continued imbalance in civil-military relations mean for Egypt’s future?

In a new Brookings Doha Center Analysis Paper, Omar Ashour examines the legacies and patterns of cooperation and conflict between the leaderships of Egypt’s military and the Muslim Brotherhood. Relying on extensive field research, he analyzes how each entity has made its critical decisions regarding the other by applying various decision-making models. Ashour considers the impact of cost-benefit analysis, organizational dynamics, factional disputes, and psychological factors to gain a deep understanding of the leaders’ motives.

A Tax Reform Primer for the 2016 Presidential Candidates

June 25, 2015 Comments off

A Tax Reform Primer for the 2016 Presidential Candidates
Source: Heritage Foundation

America needs tax reform. As the 2016 presidential campaign progresses, candidates seeking the presidency will increasingly face questions about how they would address federal tax policy—foremost among them, if they support tax reform and how they would implement it should they become President. There is clear public support for major tax reform: 71 percent of the American public believes that the U.S. tax system needs major changes and reform. Only 5 percent think the tax system is working just fine. Tax reform is a complicated issue that encompasses a wide variety of sub-issues with which candidates will need to grapple if they are to answer those questions effectively. This Heritage Foundation tax primer will help them prepare.

Measuring Think Tank Performance: Updated with 2014 Data

June 24, 2015 Comments off

Measuring Think Tank Performance: Updated with 2014 Data
Source: Center for Global Development

In 2013, our CGD colleagues Julia Clark and David Roodman designed a low-cost quantitative approach to ranking think tank performance. We applied their methodology in early 2015 to produce an updated ranking of US and international development think tanks on the basis of 2014 data. The rankings aim to provide a transparent and objective method of assessing the influence of select think tanks. We use citations in traditional and new media as well as academe to evaluate think tanks’ ability to garner public attention. Thus, the rankings are best understood as an indicator of public profile. While policy impact is hard if not impossible to measure, the strength of a think tank’s public profile is likely to be a good marker of its influence and potential for impact: ideas need to be noticed to be adopted (Clark and Roodman, 2013). Our methodology helps reduce the biases inherent in expert-perception based rankings and provides think tanks with clear strategies based on concrete metrics to improve their performance. In addition, by incorporating the size of a think tank, in terms of operating expenses, our rankings benefit from an added efficiency (‘bang-for-your-buck’) dimension that other approaches lack. The comparison of rankings between 2013 and now indicates considerable continuity of the measured public profile over time, with only moderate changes in aggregate rankings; although there is more variability in individual indicators.

The Processing and Treatment of Mentally Ill Persons in the Criminal Justice System: A Scan of Practice and Background Analysis

June 24, 2015 Comments off

The Processing and Treatment of Mentally Ill Persons in the Criminal Justice System: A Scan of Practice and Background Analysis
Source: Urban Institute

Mentally ill offenders possess a unique set of circumstances and needs. However, all too often, they cycle through the criminal justice system without appropriate care to address their mental health. Their recurring involvement in the criminal justice system is a pressing concern. This report provides a national landscape on the processing and treatment of mentally ill individuals in the criminal justice system. It also highlights challenges involved in the reintegration of mentally ill offenders into society, the diversity of policies and protocols in state statutes to address such challenges, and promising criminal justice interventions for mentally ill offenders.

Reforming Government Pensions to Better Distribute Benefits: What Are the Options?

June 23, 2015 Comments off

Reforming Government Pensions to Better Distribute Benefits: What Are the Options?
Source: Urban Institute

Efforts to reform the retirement plans provided to state and local government employees are gaining momentum across the country. Yet, the debate has focused almost exclusively on the financial problems of public pension plans, drowning out a broader discussion of how well these plans serve government employees, employers, and taxpayers. This report identifies promising reform options that could more fairly distribute retirement benefits across the public-sector workforce and help governments recruit and retain productive employees. Options include revising the plan benefit formula, offering alternative plan designs, and extending Social Security coverage to all state and local government employees.

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