Spending on public schools across Canada increases while student enrolment falls

February 27, 2015 Comments off

Spending on public schools across Canada increases while student enrolment falls
Source: Fraser Institute

Despite a steady decline in student enrolment, spending on public schools in Canada has skyrocketed, finds a new study released today by the Fraser Institute, an independent, non-partisan Canadian public policy think-tank.

The study, Education Spending in Canada: What’s Actually Happening?, examines changes in spending on public schools in Canada over the last decade.

For example, between 2001/02 and 2011/12, the most recent years for which data is available, spending in public schools across all provinces rose to $59.6 billion from $38.9 billion—a 53.1 per cent increase.

Yet despite these spending increases, during this 10-year period public school enrolment dropped in almost every province. Subsequently, on a per student basis, for that time period, spending on public schools increased 63.2 per cent, rising to $11,835 from $7,250.

Vaccine Hesitancy Collection: Multidisciplinary Perspectives on Vaccine Hesitancy and Contemporary Vaccination Coverage

February 27, 2015 Comments off

Vaccine Hesitancy Collection: Multidisciplinary Perspectives on Vaccine Hesitancy and Contemporary Vaccination Coverage
Source: PLoS Currents

The prevention of vaccine-preventable disease outbreaks, such as measles, rubella, or polio, is dependent on herd immunity. Yet ensuring widespread vaccination coverage is complicated by a wide range of factors, including vaccine hesitancy, which causes uncertainty in segments of the public about the safety and efficacy of vaccinations.

There is a broad continuum of public perspectives on vaccination, and although there are a few polarized individuals on the extremes, more people are somewhat uncertain or ambivalent about the vaccination decisions that they must make for themselves and their children. The debate also exists in the context of larger political issues surrounding vaccination, including individual freedoms and religious beliefs.

This series of articles investigates the social discourse surrounding vaccination, global perceptions and outcomes of vaccination, and the general issue of confidence or trust in healthcare or government establishments that can underpin medical decisions.

The Effect of Rising Inequality on Social Security

February 27, 2015 Comments off

The Effect of Rising Inequality on Social Security
Source: Center for American Progress

The nation’s Social Security system has long been a bedrock of economic security, protecting nearly all American workers and their families in case of retirement, disability, or the death of a primary breadwinner. Some 239 million workers ages 20 and older are insured under the program. In 2013, Social Security provided benefits to 58 million people, including 41 million retirees and dependents of retirees, 6 million survivors of deceased workers, and 11 million disabled workers and dependents of disabled workers.

Over the past three decades, however, rising inequality has increasingly threatened the notion of shared economic security. Those at the top of the income spectrum have seen tremendous gains, while most Americans have watched their wages decline or stagnate amid rising costs. In the wake of the Great Recession, the top 1 percent of households captured roughly 76 percent of inflation-adjusted income gains between 2009 and 2013.

Much of the leap made by the very rich is attributable to nonwage forms of income such as capital gains, but huge disparities also persist when looking only at wages, which form the basis for Social Security tax revenues because payroll taxes only apply to wage income. In 2013, for example, the top 1 percent of earners took home about 12.9 percent of the nation’s total wage income in 2013—nearly as much as the share received by the entire bottom half of workers, who captured approximately 13.7 percent of wage income. This growing divide in wages—combined with the fact that wages in excess of the taxable maximum are exempt from payroll taxes—means that millionaire and billionaire earners stop contributing to Social Security early in the year, while the average worker contributes all year long. In 2015, individuals with wage incomes of $1,000,000 stop contributing on February 12; those with higher incomes stop contributing sooner.

The Political Assimilation of Immigrants and Their Descendants

February 27, 2015 Comments off

The Political Assimilation of Immigrants and Their Descendants
Source: Cato Institute

Many skeptics of immigration reform claim that immigrants and their descendants will not politically assimilate and will consistently vote for bigger government for generations. Political survey data suggest that this fear is unwarranted, as the political differences between immigrants and native-born Americans are small and, in most cases, so small that they are statistically insignificant. In the cases where the differences are significant, the descendants of immigrants rapidly assimilate into America’s political culture by adopting mainstream ideologies, political party identifications, and policy positions held by longer-settled Americans. The policy and political views of immigrants and their descendants are mostly indistinguishable from Americans whose families have been here for at least four generations. As a result of these small differences in opinion and the subsequent rapid assimilation of immigrants, they and their descendants are unlikely to alter America’s aggregate political attitudes.

Reducing food waste could save the global economy $300 billion a year

February 27, 2015 Comments off

Reducing food waste could save the global economy $300 billion a year
Source: Waste & Resources Action Programme and Global Commission on the Economy and Climate

Reducing consumer food waste could save between US$120 and 300 billion per year by 2030 according to a new report by WRAP (The Waste & Resources Action Programme) and the Global Commission on the Economy and Climate. To achieve this would require a 20-50% reduction in consumer food waste.

One third of all food produced in the world ends up as waste, while the value of global consumer food waste is more than US$400 billion per year. As the global middle class expands over the course of the decade, the cost could rise to US$600 billion, according to new research conducted by WRAP for the Global Commission.

Their report, Strategies to achieve economic and environmental gains by reducing food waste, also identifies significant opportunities to improve economic performance and tackle climate change by reducing the amount of food that is wasted in agriculture, transport, storage and consumption.

Autonomous Vehicle Implementation Predictions: Implications for Transport Planning

February 27, 2015 Comments off

Autonomous Vehicle Implementation Predictions: Implications for Transport Planning (PDF)
Source: Victoria Transportation Policy Institute

This report explores the impacts that autonomous (also called self-driving, driverless or robotic) vehicles are likely to have on travel demands and transportation planning. It discusses autonomous vehicle benefits and costs, predicts their likely development and implementation based on experience with previous vehicle technologies, and explores how they will affect planning decisions such as optimal road, parking and public transit supply. The analysis indicates that some benefits, such as independent mobility for affluent non-drivers, may begin in the 2020s or 2030s, but most impacts, including reduced traffic and parking congestion (and therefore road and parking facility supply requirements), independent mobility for low-income people (and therefore reduced need to subsidize transit), increased safety, energy conservation and pollution reductions, will only be significant when autonomous vehicles become common and affordable, probably in the 2040s to 2060s, and some benefits may require prohibiting human-driven vehicles on certain roadways, which could take longer.

International Financial Markets: A Diverse System Is the Key to Commerce

February 27, 2015 Comments off

International Financial Markets: A Diverse System Is the Key to Commerce (PDF)
Source: U.S. Chamber of Commerce

This paper provides a broad overview of the global financial system. It describes how financial institutions and markets in various financial instruments make up the global financial system, and the size of this system. It also discusses how the global financial system helps to boost economic growth and facilitates global trade. Ten main conclusions emerge from this analysis.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,014 other followers