February 10, 2017

Dropping Knowledge

A research report by the Public Agenda examines opinions on opportunity, inequality and the American system.  This focus-group based study isn’t profound, but it provides research to reinforce and understand the populist narrative growing from the 2016 elections.

A few observations from the researchers:

  • “People often gravitate toward “magic bullet”–type answers as they begin to engage a knotty problem, a stage they often have to go through before they’re ready for the hard work of weighing trade-offs and settling on real-world solutions. Among the “easy answers” we encountered by some respondents was the notion that immigration is at the heart of our economic challenges or that job-replacing technology can be stopped by individual consumer choices.”
  • “It is difficult to engage people in productive conversation on a sprawling and amorphous theme such as “opportunity and inequality.” But if the topic is broken down into more concrete subtopics, people do much better.”

Contextual Healing

The American Enterprise Institute and Brookings have launched a joint blog project on Paid Family Leave.  It’s a good, high-level overview of the costs and benefits of moving to a federally sanctioned program.

Food for Thought

A recent Pew survey on how police officers use their guns demonstrates a startling disparity between fact and perception.  83 percent of study respondents believed that police officers fired their gun at least once in their career, with nearly 30 percent believing that officers fire their gun multiple times a year while on duty.  The reality: only 27 percent of officers have ever fired their gun on duty.

For Your Consideration

A working paper from EdPolicy Works out of the University of Virginia tests whether parents’ preschool satisfaction was consistent with educational quality measures.

Bottom line: it was not.  Parents have overinflated opinions of their school’s quality and lack clear criteria for how to evaluate options.


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  • The State of Residential Solar Power

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  • Ethical Issues Complicate the Benefits of Medical Crowdfunding

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  • Who's Still Fighting Climate Change? The U.S. Military

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  • The Self Driving Car's Bicycle Problem

    IEEE Spectrum |

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