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Center for Economic and Policy Research;
It is ten years since we were at the peak of the financial crisis — the collapse of Lehman Brothers, an investment bank. This sent tremors throughout the world, and media outlets began talking about a return of the Great Depression. While the fear generated by politicians and media was able to get enough support for saving the financial industry, the country was left to deal with the painful fallout from a collapsed housing bubble. Millions lost their homes and jobs. Even a decade later, by some measures, most notably prime-age employment rates, the labor market has still not recovered.
This discussion makes several points concerning the bubble and its collapse. First and foremost, it argues that the primary story of the downturn was a collapsed housing bubble, not the financial crisis. Prior to the downturn, the housing bubble had been driving the economy, pushing residential construction to record levels as a share of GDP. The housing wealth effect also led to a consumption boom. The saving rate reached a record low. When the bubble burst, it was inevitable that these sources of demand would disappear and there were no easy options for replacing them, except very large government budget deficits.
Columbia University Center for Public Research and Leadership;
This paper synthesizes the existing research on improvement networks in education and on how such networks can facilitate meaningful improvements in teaching and learning and ultimately in student outcomes. The paper's findings are drawn primarily from a critical literature review of empirical studies on education improvement networks, as well as from interviews with experts in the fields of professional networks and learning. By focusing on the networks most aligned to the NSI model, the paper is designed to provide a knowledge base for a formative evaluationof the NSI strategy, which BMGF has engaged the Columbia University Center for Public Research and Leadership (CPRL) to conduct over the next two years.
The State of Global Grantmaking Giving by U.S. Foundations is the latest report in a decades-long collaboration between Foundation Center and The Council on Foundations and aims to help funders and civil society organizations better navigate the giving landscape as they work to effect change around the world. The analysis reveals that global giving by U.S. foundations increased by 29% from 2011 to 2015, reaching an all-time high of $9.3 billion in 2015. In addition to a detailed analysis of trends by issue area, geographic region, population group, and donor strategy, this analysis also relates these trends to key events and developments, including the adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals, the spread of Ebola in West Africa, and the increasing legal restrictions faced by civil society in countries around the world.
Taking personalized learning to scale in a school or district requires the difficult work of changing the way human beings do their work. Navigating the complicated relationships between students, teachers, parents, administrators, the public, and the local and state agencies is challenging enough on any given day, but aligning them all behind a new vision of how students can learn, and keeping them aligned long enough to implement that vision, is a challenge of an altogether different order. To understand and share how this journey plays out, we documented the implementation journeys of three different institutions, including their successes and challenges, their unexpected setbacks, and their sudden epiphanies.
School safety is an issue that policymakers have struggled to address for decades. Current federal policy provides an Unsafe School Choice Option that has been largely overlooked. States should ensure that implementation of the policy allows all students who are in unsafe environments to transfer to a safe and effective school. At the same time, state policymakers should immediately provide school choice options to children who are direct victims of school violence or bullying, and to those students in schools with a high rate of such victimization, through the introduction of "safe student" scholarships.
Public Religion Research Institute;
"American Democracy in Crisis: The Challenges of Voter Knowledge, Participation, and Polarization"— the first of a series of surveys from PRRI/The Atlantic examining challenges to democratic institutions and practices— finds an alarming number of Americans do not know what factors qualify people for or disqualify people from voting. The survey also finds large divides by political party, race, and ethnicity regarding the biggest problems facing the U.S. electoral system. At the same time, there is strong, bipartisan support for a range of policies that increase access to the ballot.
Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research;
The next generation of potential voters can turn their political pessimism into action in the 2018 midterms, according to the latest wave of the MTV/AP-NORC Youth Political Pulse Survey.
Young people age 15 to 34 express widespread pessimism toward the political system and discourse in the United States today. Fifty-seven percent say they are doubtful that people of different political views can come together and work out their differences, and less than 1 in 5 hold out hope that these political divisions will heal over the next five years. Just 1 in 10 have felt positive or excited about the state of the country in the past month, and about 7 in 10 say American politics are dysfunctional.
The candidates for the 2020 presidential election are likely to emerge within a year, along with their campaign plans. Such plans will include, if not feature, health policy proposals, given this issue's general significance as well as the ongoing debate over the Affordable Care Act.
Center for American Progress;
Americans are fed up with the influence of big money in politics—and the good news is that a growing number of citizens and lawmakers are doing something about it. In March, Washington, D.C., joined almost 30 other jurisdictions nationwide that provide public support to political campaigns financed by small donors. Moreover, Democratic leaders in Congress recently championed "A Better Deal for Our Democracy," a package of pro-democracy legislation that includes support for robust small-donor-funded campaigns. Much of the commentary on campaign fundraising—including publications from the Center for American Progress—focuses on the important goal of safeguarding representative government against corruption. Yet simply limiting undemocratic forces should not be the singular goal of democratic reform; any comprehensive effort to address what ails American democracy should also seek to strengthen the relationship between citizens and their representatives. In other words, at all levels of government—state, local, or federal—reformers should work to make elected officials more accountable to the people they represent, as well as more able to work effectively on their behalf.
Tow Center for Digital Journalism, Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism;
In this report, we explore this question through the lens of the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) and its explosive project, "Evicted and Abandoned," in which a collaborative reporting project of more than fifty reporters and fifteen organizations in twenty-one countries took on the World Bank. The investigation found that, over the last decade, projects funded by the World Bank have physically or economically displaced an estimated 3.4 million people; that the World Bank and the International Finance Corporation have financed governments and companies accused of human rights violations; and that, from 2009 to 2013, World Bank Group lenders invested fifty billion dollars into projects graded with the highest risk for "irreversible or unprecedented" social or environmental impacts.
Center for Economic and Policy Research;
The United States spent an estimated $540 billion on prescription drugs and medical equipment in 2017 ($450 billion on prescription drugs alone). Clinical trials which evaluate prescription drugs and new devices prior to their entrance on the market are usually financed and sometimes even carried out by the company holding the intellectual property rights to the technology in question. This is problematic for several reasons. There is an obvious incentive to conceal or underreport trial data which could be harmful to a drug's sales potential or reputation.
Our study seeks to briefly characterize the data made available through ClinicalTrials.gov in order to better understand what information is available to prescribers and investigators not involved in the marketing of the drug or device. In doing so, we underscore the potentially enormous value of publicly funding clinical trials in terms of both patient safety and economic cost.
Center for Economic and Policy Research;
The Pact for Mexico pledged to institute policies that would usher in a new era of growth and prosperity for Mexico, through the implementation of a series of structural reforms. The timeline for implementation of the proposed reforms extended to the second semester of 2018.
This paper examines whether there has been progress toward the Pact's goals since it was signed; and whether any measures taken since then — including current economic policies — are likely to help Mexico break out of its long economic slump and forge a different path toward economic and social progress.
Five years into the Pact for Mexico, it is clear from the available data that the Pact's promises to launch a new era of economic and social progress have not begun to materialize. The authors conclude that the country's persistent sluggish growth, poverty, and inequality are rooted in a set of important economic policy choices that have been made consistently for a long time.