Research Roundup


Countering the myth that American public opinion is conservative, the Campaign for America's Future and Media Matters have released The Progressive Majority, a major review of public polling research that demonstrates that Americans actually show robust support for progressive policies, from increasing spending on public services to strengthening unions to increasing taxes on the wealthy to opposing restrictions on abortion rights. The report supplies ammunition for anyone needing to counter the false conventional wisdom that the American people don't hold progressive values.

In Aiming Higher, the Commonwealth Fund ranks the states according to 32 measures of health care cost, quality and access. States vary tremendously on all measures. For example, if quality across the country matched the best states, there would be 90,000 fewer deaths for those under age 75, while if insurance coverage nationwide matched the best states, the uninsured population would be cut in half. Hawaii, Iowa, New Hampshire, Vermont, Maine, Rhode Island, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Wisconsin, South Dakota, Minnesota, Nebraska, and North Dakota emerged as the top states on a range of different indicators in the study.

In The Work-Family Balance, the Economic Policy Institute compares European, Japanese and U.S. work practices and finds that work hours in other countries, unlike in the United States, have declined and public policy has supported a range of policies from paid family leave to child care support in order to promote greater job flexibility by their citizens. If the United States is going to achieve a healthier work-family balance, the report outlines solutions such as strengthened collective bargaining rights, tighter overtime rules, statutory vacation rules, benefit parity rights for part-time workers, and the right to flexible work arrangements.

States often hand out big bucks in subsidies seeking to attract the headquarters of global businesses, but a new study by Good Jobs First and New Jersey Policy Perspectives, Pay, Or We (Might) Go, analyzes Citigroup's practices and finds that it, like many global companies, games the system to collect subsidies with every move, highlighting lost revenue for the states and why betting tax dollars on attracting such businesses is a losing economic development policy.

In a broad review of the literature, the Urban Institute's Assessing Federalism explores how the federal-state relationship has changed in administering social policies like Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), Food Stamps, Medicaid, the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP), and child welfare. The result of these changes has been a widening between states of standards for, and financing of, these programs and a growing complexity in administering the programs nationally.

When Oregon voters approved Measure 37, which radically limited land regulation in that state, the policy was sold to the public as helping property owners harmed by such regulation. In fact, a new study, Property Values and Measure 37, finds that land regulation does not decrease the value of property compared to areas where land regulation is weaker; if anything, stronger regulation has increased the value of property for landowners.

Highlighting continued gender discrimination in health care, a new RAND study found that women with heart disease and diabetes are less likely to receive several types of outpatient medical care routinely offered to men with similar health problems.

In Mapping the Growth of Older America, the Brookings Institution finds that many booming Sun Belt areas will be seeing rapidly aging populations-- and many slower-growing suburban areas around metropolitan centers will be facing new stresses on health, transportation and social-support systems.