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Cross-Border Data Flows, the Internet and What it Means for U.S. and EU Trade and Investment

October 23, 2014 Comments off

Cross-Border Data Flows, the Internet and What it Means for U.S. and EU Trade and Investment
Source: Brookings Institution

The most globally significant bilateral trade and investment relationship is between the U.S. and the European Union. An increasing amount of this economic relationship is underpinned by cross-border flows of data.

Whether the U.S. and the EU are able to take full advantage of the opportunities for international trade and investment presented by their increasingly online and digital populations will affect transatlantic economic relations. As the world’s two largest economies, the U.S. and EU decisions on support for cross-border data flows will also have global implications.

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In Times of Drought: Nine Economic Facts about Water in the United States

October 22, 2014 Comments off

In Times of Drought: Nine Economic Facts about Water in the United States
Source: Brookings Institution

This Hamilton Project memo presents nine economic facts that provide relevant background context to the water crisis in the United States. Chapter 1 reviews the historical, current, and projected occurrence of drought in the United States. Chapter 2 describes the importance of water to our national economy. Chapter 3 underscores some of the economic and institutional barriers to more efficient use of water. We examine these issues through the lens of economic policy, with the aim of providing an objective framing of America’s complex relationship with water.

Keeping the South China Sea in Perspective

October 17, 2014 Comments off

Keeping the South China Sea in Perspective
Source: Brookings Institution

The United States seeks to promote Asia-Pacific economic interdependence and dynamism and to mitigate security tensions in the region. Unfortunately, maritime territorial disputes in the East China Sea and the South China Sea increasingly threaten these dual objectives of U.S.-Asia policy. This policy brief focuses on the South China Sea set of issues.

Complex Rivalries and Claims in the South China Sea

U.S. Principles and Interests

Recommendations for a Diplomatic Strategy

A Look at New Employment Data for Metropolitan Labor Markets

October 14, 2014 Comments off

A Look at New Employment Data for Metropolitan Labor Markets
Source: Brookings Institution

The Great Recession created some of the toughest employment conditions that American workers experienced in the postwar period. The economy overall shed 8.7 million jobs in 2008 and 2009, and the unemployment rate reached a 25-year high of 10 percent in 2009. That year, more than 14 million Americans were looking for work but unable to find it, more than double the number before the recession started.

As Brookings’ Metro Monitor has demonstrated, however, the impacts of the recession have varied widely across the nation’s major metropolitan economies. This owes to several factors, including differing industrial specializations and house-price trends across metro areas, as my colleague Jonathan Rothwell has shown. In assessing the economic health of major metro areas, the Metro Monitor incorporates, among other indicators, BLS data on unemployment rates, which reflect that the vast majority of areas still have a higher unemployment rate than pre-recession.

Ending Teacher Tenure Would Have Little Impact on its Own

October 12, 2014 Comments off

Ending Teacher Tenure Would Have Little Impact on its Own
Source: Brookings Institution

Tenure for public school teachers is increasingly under attack, with the Vergara v. California judge ruling in June that “both students and teachers are unfairly, unnecessarily and for no legally cognizable reason…disadvantaged by the current Permanent Employment Statute.” Last year, North Carolina legislators voted to phase out tenure, although that law was later blocked by a state judge. In 2011, Florida legislators ended tenure for new teachers beginning this year.

A primary stated goal of the California case is to “create an education system that gives every child a passionate, motivating and effective teacher,” and it is likely to become a model for efforts throughout the nation. According to one of the plaintiffs’ attorneys, “This is going to be the beginning of a series of these lawsuits that could fix many of the problems in education systems nationwide. … We’re going to roll them out to other jurisdictions.” A similar lawsuit has already been filed in New York State. If these challenges to tenure laws are successful, will they lead to improvements in education?

Millennials and Generation X Commuting Less by Car, But Will the Trends Hold?

October 10, 2014 Comments off

Millennials and Generation X Commuting Less by Car, But Will the Trends Hold?
Source: Brookings Institution

Nationally, most commuters are still revving up their cars to get to work every morning, but how does the picture look across different age groups?

Based on the latest Census data from the 2013 American Community Survey, changes are underway for younger and older commuters alike, especially in the country’s largest metropolitan areas.* By and large, millennials and Generation X are leading the charge toward a range of alternate modes, including public transportation and walking, while baby boomers continue to use their cars at high levels.

Indeed, workers ages 16 to 24—the youngest working millennials—are commuting the least by car compared to all other age groups (82.4 percent), a share that has fallen by nearly 1.3 percentage points in large metro areas since 2007 alone. It’s also more than just a recent blip; that same age group drove at an 86.1 percent clip over three decades ago according to a 1983 survey.

Young millennials also represent the commuters who most frequently take public transportation (5.8 percent) and walk to work (6.6). They’re not only ditching the car in traditional multimodal hubs like San Francisco, but in several smaller metros as well. For example, Tucson ranked first nationally in its transit growth among these workers, seeing their share rise 5.5 percentage points since 2007. Meanwhile, more young workers are walking in other university-centric metros like Syracuse (+3.6), New Haven (+2.4) and Austin (+1.7).

The Case for a Federal Robotics Commission

October 8, 2014 Comments off

The Case for a Federal Robotics Commission
Source: Brookings Institution

I have argued in a series of papers that robotics enables novel forms of human experience and, as such, challenges prevailing assumptions of law and policy.5 My focus here is on a more specific question: whether robotics, collectively as a set of technologies, will or should occasion the establishment of a new federal agency to deal with the novel experiences and harms robotics enables.

New agencies do form from time to time. Although many of the household-name federal agencies have remained the same over the previous decades, there has also been considerable change. Agencies restructure, as we saw with the formation of the Department of Homeland Security. New agencies, such as the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, arise to address new or newly acute challenges posed by big events or changes in behavior.

Technology has repeatedly played a meaningful part in the formation of new agencies. For instance, the advent of radio made it possible to reach thousands of people at once with entertainment, news, and emergency information. The need to manage the impact of radio on society in turn led to the formation in 1926 of the Federal Radio Commission. The FRC itself morphed into the Federal Communications Commission as forms of mass media proliferated and is today charged with a variety of tasks related to communications devices and networks.

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