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How Much Can Later Retirement Help?
As the average age of the population continues to rise in industrialized nations, the fiscal impacts of aging demand ever-closer attention. Closing the Deficit examines one oft-discussed approach to the issue encouraging people to work longer than they now do.
Workers would spend more years paying taxes and fewer years drawing pension and health benefits. But how much difference to spending and revenues would longer working lives make? What steps could be taken to make longer working lives attractive? And what would happen to older Americans not in a position to prolong their work lives? Leading scholars examine these issues in Closing the Deficit, edited by Brookings economists Gary Burtless and Henry Aaron.
Lessons for Modern Russia
"My goal is to show the reader that the Soviet political and economic system was unstable by its very nature. It was just a question of when and how it would collapse...." From the Introduction to Collapse of an Empire The Soviet Union was an empire in many senses of the word a vast mix of far-flung regions and accidental citizens by way of conquest or annexation. Typical of such empires, it was built on shaky foundations. That instability made its demise inevitable, asserts Yegor Gaidar, former prime minister of Russia and architect of the "shock therapy" economic reforms of the 1990s. Yet a growing desire to return to the glory days of empire is pushing today's Russia backward into many of the same traps that made the Soviet Union untenable. In this important new book, Gaidar clearly illustrates why Russian nostalgia for empire is dangerous and ill-fated: "Dreams of returning to another era are illusory. Attempts to do so will lead to defeat." Gaidar uses world history, the Soviet experience, and economic analysis to demonstrate why swimming against this tide of history would be a huge mistake. The USSR sowed the seeds of its own economic destruction, and Gaidar worries that Russia is repeating some of those mistakes. Once again, for example, the nation is putting too many eggs into one basket, leaving the nation vulnerable to fluctuations in the energy market. The Soviets had used revenues from energy sales to prop up struggling sectors such as agriculture, which was so thoroughly ravaged by hyperindustrialization that the Soviet Union became a net importer of food. When oil prices dropped in the 1980s, that revenue stream diminished, and dependent sectors suffered heavily. Although strategies requiring austerity or sacrifice can be politically difficult, Russia needs to prepare for such downturns and restrain spending during prosperous times. Collapse of an Empire shows why it is imperative to fix the roof before it starts to rain, and why sometimes the past should be left in the past.
U.S. Telecommunications since the 1996 Telecom Act
The 1996 Telecommunications Act was an attempt to increase competition among telecommunications providers in the United States by reducing regulatory barriers to market entry. This competition was expected to drive innovation in the telecommunications sector and reap economic benefits for both American consumers and telecommunications providers. The legislation, however, had a markedly different impact. While many of the more aggressive providers enjoyed sharp short-term rises in stock market values, they soon faced sudden collapse, leaving consumers with little or no long-term benefit.
In Competition and Chaos, Robert W. Crandall analyzes the impact of the 1996 act on economic welfare in the United States and how the act and its antecedents affected the major telecommunications providers. He argues that the act was far too stringent, inviting the Federal Communications Commission and state regulators to micromanage competitive entry into local telecommunications markets. Combined with the bursting of the dot.com and telecom stock market bubbles, this aggressive policy invited new and existing firms to invest billions of dollars unwisely, leading to the 200102 collapse of equity values throughout the sector. New entrants into the market invested more than $50 billion in unproductive assets that were quickly wiped out through massive failures. The 1996 act allowed the independent long-distance companies, such as MCI and AT& T, to live a few years longer. But today they are a threatened species, caught in a downward spiral of declining prices and substantial losses. The industry is preparing for an intense battle for market share among three sets of carriers: the wireless companies, the local telephone carriers, and the cable television businesses. Each has its own particular advantage in one of the three major segments of the market voice, data, and video but none is assured a clear path to dominance. Although the telecom stock market collapse is now history and the survivors are investing once again, Crandall concludes that the regulators have failed to adapt to the chaos to which they contributed.
Weak States and U.S. National Security
Former Brookings Senior Fellow Susan E. Rice spearheads an investigation of the connections between poverty and fragile states and the implications for American security. Coedited by Rice and former Brookings colleagues Corinne Graff and Carlos Pascual, Confronting Poverty is a timely reminder that alleviating global poverty and shoring up weak states are not only humanitarian and economic imperatives, but key components of a more balanced and sustainable U.S. national security strategy.
Rice elucidates the relationship between poverty, state weakness, and transnational security threats, and Graff and Pascual offer policy recommendations. The book's overarching conclusions highlight the need to invest in poverty alleviation and capacity building in weak states in order to break the vicious cycle of poverty, fragility, and transnational threats.
Confronting Poverty grows out of a project on global poverty and U.S. national security that Rice directed at Brookings from 2002 through January 2009, before she became U.S. permanent representative to the United Nations.
It has been nearly a half century since President Lyndon Johnson declared war on poverty. Back in the 1960s tackling poverty "in place" meant focusing resources in the inner city and in rural areas. The suburbs were seen as home to middle- and upper-class families affluent commuters and homeowners looking for good schools and safe communities in which to raise their kids. But today's America is a very different place. Poverty is no longer just an urban or rural problem, but increasingly a suburban one as well. In Confronting Suburban Poverty in America, Elizabeth Kneebone and Alan Berube take on the new reality of metropolitan poverty and opportunity in America.
After decades in which suburbs added poor residents at a faster pace than cities, the 2000s marked a tipping point. Suburbia is now home to the largest and fastest-growing poor population in the country and more than half of the metropolitan poor. However, the antipoverty infrastructure built over the past several decades does not fit this rapidly changing geography. As Kneebone and Berube cogently demonstrate, the solution no longer fits the problem.
The spread of suburban poverty has many causes, including shifts in affordable housing and jobs, population dynamics, immigration, and a struggling economy. The phenomenon raises several daunting challenges, such as the need for more (and better) transportation options, services, and financial resources. But necessity also produces opportunity in this case, the opportunity to rethink and modernize services, structures, and procedures so that they work in more scaled, cross-cutting, and resource-efficient ways to address widespread need. This book embraces that opportunity.
Kneebone and Berube paint a new picture of poverty in America as well as the best ways to combat it. Confronting Suburban Poverty in America offers a series of workable recommendations for public, private, and nonprofit leaders seeking to modernize poverty alleviation and community development strategies and connect residents with economic opportunity. The authors highlight efforts in metro areas where local leaders are learning how to do more with less and adjusting their approaches to address the metropolitan scale of poverty for example, integrating services and service delivery, collaborating across sectors and jurisdictions, and using data-driven and flexible funding strategies.
"We believe the goal of public policy must be to provide all families with access to communities, whether in cities or suburbs, that offer a high quality of life and solid platform for upward mobility over time. Understanding the new reality of poverty in metropolitan America is a critical step toward realizing that goal." from Chapter One
Aiding Political Parties in New Democracies
Beset with persistent problems of self-interest, corruption, ideological incoherence, and narrow electoral majorities, political parties are the weakest link in many democratic transitions around the world. A large and ever-growing number of U.S., European, and multilateral assistance programs seek to help parties become effective pro-democratic actors. But given the depth of the problems, is success possible? C onfronting the Weakest Link is a pathbreaking study of international aid for political parties. Beginning with a penetrating analysis of party shortcomings in developing and postcommunist countries, Thomas Carothers draws on extensive field research to diagnose chronic deficiencies in party aid, assess its overall impact, and offer practical ideas for doing better. This critical analysis spans Latin America, Central and Eastern Europe, the former Soviet Union, Africa, the Middle East, and Asia. It sheds invaluable light on a major element of the contemporary challenge of democracy building, a subject now occupying center stage in the international policy arena.
Never before have world order and global security been threatened by so many destabilizing factors from the collapse of macroeconomic stability to nuclear proliferation, terrorism, and tyranny. Corruption, Global Security, and World Order reveals corruption to be at the very center of these threats and proposes remedies such as positive leadership, enhanced transparency, tougher punishments, and enforceable sanctions. Although eliminating corruption is difficult, this book's careful prescriptions can reduce and contain threats to global security.
Contributors: Matthew Bunn (Harvard University), Erica Chenoweth (Wesleyan University), Sarah Dix (Government of Papua New Guinea), Peter Eigen (Freie Universität, Berlin, and Africa Progress Panel), Kelly M. Greenhill (Tufts University), Charles Griffin (World Bank and Brookings), Ben W. Heineman Jr. (Harvard University), Nathaniel Heller (Global Integrity), Jomo Kwame Sundaram (United Nations), Lucy Koechlin (University of Basel, Switzerland), Johann Graf Lambsdorff (University of Passau, Germany, and Transparency International), Robert Legvold (Columbia University), Emmanuel Pok (National Research Institute, Papua New Guinea), Susan Rose-Ackerma n (Yale University), Magdalena Sepúlveda Carmona (United Nations), Daniel Jordan Smith (Brown University), Rotimi T. Suberu (Bennington College), Jessica C. Teets (Middlebury College), and Laura Underkuffler (Cornell University).
Shaping the Law to Realize America's Promise
"Bill Coleman's story is one that younger generations should mark and inwardly digest, lest they forget the pioneers who helped to make a better America possible." From the Foreword by Stephen G. Breyer
William Coleman has spent a lifetime opening doors and breaking down barriers. He has been an eyewitness to history; moreover, he has made history. This is his inspiring story, in his own words.
Americans of color faced daunting barriers in the 1940s. Despite graduating first in his class at Harvard Law and clerking for Supreme Court Justice Felix Frankfurter, Coleman was shut out of major East Coast law firms. But as the Philadelphia native writes, "The times, they were a'changing." He not only benefited from that change he helped propel it, by way of dogged determination, undeniable intellect, and stellar accomplishment.
Coleman's legal work with Thurgood Marshall and the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund helped jumpstart the civil rights movement in the 1950s. He was the first American of color to clerk for the Supreme Court, and later served as senior counsel to the Warren Commission, investigating the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. In 1975 he was appointed secretary of transportation by President Gerald Ford the first American of color to serve in a Republican cabinet and in 1995 he received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from Bill Clinton.
At his core, Bill Coleman is a lawyer. He strives to be a "counsel for the situation" an advocate able to take on major matters in a variety of legal disciplines while upholding the highest traditions of justice and the public interest. He is fiercely proud of the legal profession's role in a democratic society and free economy, and he is grateful for the opportunities that profession has afforded him in the court room, the board room, and the corridors of power. It is through this prism that he relates his own story his life and the law.
The results speak for themselves, and in this immensely entertaining chronicle, the Counsel for the Situation speaks for himself.
Americans believe economic opportunity is as fundamental a right as life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. More concerned about a level playing field for all, they worry less about the growing income and wealth disparity in our country. Creating an Opportunity Society examines economic opportunity in the United States and explores how to create more of it, particularly for those on the bottom rungs of the economic ladder.
Ron Haskins and Isabel Sawhill propose a concrete agenda for increasing opportunity that is cost effective, consistent with American values, and focuses on improving the lives of the young and the disadvantaged. They emphasize individual responsibility as an indispensable basis for successful policies and programs.
The authors recommend a three-pronged approach to create more opportunity in America:
Increase education for children and youth at the preschool, K12, and postsecondary levels
Encourage and support work among adults
Reduce the number of out-of-wedlock births while increasing the share of children reared by their married parents
With concern for the federal deficit in mind, Haskins and Sawhill argue for reallocating existing resources, especially from the affluent elderly to disadvantaged children and their families. The authors are optimistic that a judicious use of the nation's resources can level the playing field and produce more opportunity for all.
Creating an Opportunity Society offers the most complete summary available of the facts and the factors that contribute to economic opportunity. It looks at the poor, the middle class, and the rich, providing deep background data on how each group has fared in recent decades. Unfortunately, only the rich have made substantial progress, making this book a timely guide forward for anyone interested in what we can do as a society to improve the prospects for our less-advantaged families and fellow citizens.
Art Works in Economic Development
Urban and regional planners, elected officials, and other decisionmakers are increasingly focused on what makes places livable. Access to the arts inevitably appears high on that list, but knowledge about how culture and the arts can act as a tool of economic development is sadly lacking. This important sector must be considered not only as a source of amenities or pleasant diversions, but also as a wholly integrated part of local economies. Employing original data produced through both quantitative and qualitative research, Creative Communities provides a greater understanding of how art works as an engine for transforming communities.
"Without good data and analysis much of it grounded in economic theory we cannot hope to strengthen communities through the arts or to achieve any of the other goals we set for the National Endowment for the Arts, the largest nationwide funder of the arts." from the Foreword by Rocco Landesman
Contributors: Hasan Bakhshi (Nesta UK), Elisa Barbour (University of California, Berkeley), Shiri M. Breznitz (Georgia Institute of Technology), Roland J. Kushner (Muhlenberg College), Rex LaMore (Michigan State University), James Lawton (Michigan State), Neil Lee (Nesta UK), Richard G. Maloney (Boston University), Ann Markusen (University of Minnesota), Juan Mateos-Garcia (Nesta UK), Anne Gadwa Nicodemus (Metris Arts Consulting), Douglas S. Noonan (Indiana UniversityPurdue University Indianapolis), Peter Pedroni (Williams College), Amber Peruski (Michigan State), Michele Root-Bernstein (Michigan State), Robert Root-Bernstein (Michigan State), Eileen Roraback (Michigan State), Michael Rushton (Indiana University), Lauren Schmitz (New School for Social Research), Jenny Schuetz (University of Southern California), John Schweitzer (Michigan State), Stephen Sheppard (Williams College), Megan VanDyke (Michigan State), Gregory H. Wassall (Northeastern University)