Archive for the ‘Brookings Institution’ Category

Pentagon acquisition policy: Three-quarters right, one-quarter broken

July 14, 2015 Comments off

Pentagon acquisition policy: Three-quarters right, one-quarter broken
Source: Brookings Institution

The American defense debate is afflicted by a certain schizophrenia about how the Pentagon buys its weapons and other equipment, and about the state of America’s defense industrial base. On the one hand, the media narrative often fixates on horror stories concerning $600 toilet seats, billion-dollar aircraft and ships, fighter jets costing three times what was originally expected, and programs canceled for poor performance. The Department of Defense went into the Iraq and Afghanistan wars only moderately well prepared, in terms of equipment and training, for the kind of fighting that ensued, and took several years to find its stride. Eisenhower’s warnings of a military-industrial complex bilking the taxpayer and putting the nation’s economy at risk still echo today—but now it is the military-industrial-congressional complex that adds parochial politics and log-rolling appropriators to the witches’ brew as well.

Political Realism: How Hacks, Machines, Big Money, and Back-Room Deals Can Strengthen American Democracy

July 7, 2015 Comments off

Political Realism: How Hacks, Machines, Big Money, and Back-Room Deals Can Strengthen American Democracy
Source: Brookings Institution

“Political Realism: How Hacks, Machines, Big Money, and Back-Room Deals Can Strengthen American Democracy” builds on political realism, an emerging school of thought that is characterized by respect for transactional politics and by skepticism toward idealistic political reforms. In our era of intense polarization and gridlock, Jonathan Rauch asks: How can political home truths – truths our grandparents took for granted – help modern politicians negotiate, compromise, and govern?

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.

Reforming Occupational Licensing Policies

June 22, 2015 Comments off

Reforming Occupational Licensing Policies
Source: Brookings Institution (Hamilton Project)

Occupational licensing has been among the fastest growing labor market institutions in the United States since World War II. The evidence from the economics literature suggests that licensing has had an important influence on wage determination, benefits, employment, and prices in ways that impose net costs on society with little improvement to service quality, health, and safety. To improve occupational licensing practices, Kleiner proposes four specific reforms. First, state agencies would make use of cost-benefit analysis to determine whether requests for additional occupational licensing requirements are warranted. Second, the federal government would promote the determination and adoption of best-practice models through financial incentives and better information. Third, state licensing standards would allow workers to move across state lines with a minimal cost for retraining or residency requirements. Fourth, where politically feasible, certain occupations that are licensed would be reclassified to a system of certification or no regulation. If federal, state, and local governments were to undertake these proposals, evidence suggests that employment in these regulated occupations would grow, consumer access to goods and services would expand, and prices would fall.

Happiness and health in China: The paradox of progress

June 22, 2015 Comments off

Happiness and health in China: The paradox of progress
Source: Brookings Institution

The past two decades in China brought unprecedented rates of economic growth, development, and poverty reduction. Indeed, much of the reduction in the world’s extreme poverty rates during that time can be explained by the millions of people in China who exited poverty. GDP per capita and household consumption increased fourfold between the years 1990 and 2005.1 China jumped 10 places forward on the Human Development Index from 2008 until 2013, moving up to 93 of 187 countries, and life expectancy climbed to 75.3 years, compared to 67 years in 1980.

Yet during the same period, life satisfaction levels in China demonstrated very different trends—in particular dropping precipitously in the initial stages of rapid growth and then recovering somewhat thereafter. The drops in life satisfaction were accompanied by increases in the suicide rate and in incidence of mental illness. China had one of the highest suicide rates in the world in 1990s: approximately 23.2 suicides per 100,000 people per year from 1995 to 1999 (with the rate gradually falling to 7.8 per 100,000 by 2012). Mental health disorders, on the other hand, increased as suicide rates fell (perhaps because more individuals sought treatment). The annual growth rate of inpatients admitted into mental health hospitals was 13.4 percent from 2007 to 2012 (reaching 1.2 million people). Outpatient visits increased at a similar rate—12.4 percent (reaching a magnitude of 27 million outpatient visits in 2011).

Is this an anomaly? Is there something unique about China’s life satisfaction and well-being more generally? Or is it China’s growth trajectory? While income metrics provide us with one story of China’s progress, well-being metrics—including measures of mental health—are telling us a very different story. What explains the discrepancy?

Why Wait 100 Years? Bridging the Gap in Global Education

June 15, 2015 Comments off

Why Wait 100 Years? Bridging the Gap in Global Education
Source: Brookings Institution

In the last 200 years, the number of children attending primary school globally has grown from 2.3 million to 700 million today, covering nearly 90 percent of the world’s school-age children. But the gulf in average levels of education between rich and poor countries remains huge. Without a fundamental rethinking of current approaches to education, it’s going to take another 100 years for children in developing countries to reach the education levels achieved in developed countries. Something needs to change.

The hottest 15 metros for advanced industries

June 10, 2015 Comments off

The hottest 15 metros for advanced industries
Source: Brookings Institution

America’s advanced industries—characterized by their deep engagement with research and development (R&D) and science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) workers—drive regional and national prosperity, as we observed in a recent Brookings paradigm report.

And yet, while advanced industries do this everywhere, how they do it in one metro area can be quite different from how they do it in another.

In some places local clusters push the frontiers of advanced manufacturing. In others they focus on energy or information technology. The strongest locations do it all. So, to see some of the ways in which local regions participate in the advanced economy, we here tour the 15 densest advanced industries hubs (in terms of employment share) in the United States.


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