Research Roundup 3/9: What Politicians Believe About Their Constituents, How Employment Credit Checks Keep Qualified Workers Out of a Job, and More

(This article originally appeared in the Stateside Dispatch, Progressive States Network's email roundup of the latest state policy news. Sign up to receive the Dispatch in your inbox here.)

What Politicians Believe About Their Constituents [David E. Broockman, Christopher Skovron]
"David Broockman and Christopher Skovron, graduate students at Berkeley and Michigan, respectively, have released a working paper… and the findings are rather astonishing. Broockman and Skovron find that legislators consistently believe their constituents are more conservative than they actually are.

Discredited: How Employment Credit Checks Keep Qualified Workers Out of a Job [Demos]
"Today, it is common for employers to look at job applicants’ personal credit history before making a hiring decision. A wide range of positions, from high-level financial posts to jobs doing maintenance work, offering telephone tech support, working as a delivery driver or selling frozen yogurt, may require a credit check. Yet despite their prevalence, little is known about what credit checks actually reveal to employers, what the consequences are for job applicants, or employment credit checks’ overall impact on our society. This report uses new data from Demos’ 2012 National Survey on Credit Card Debt in Low- and Middle- Income Households to address these questions. Overall, we find substantial evidence that employment credit checks constitute an illegitimate barrier to employment."

Living in Dual Shadows: LGBT Undocumented Immigrants [Center for American Progress]
"In a first-of-its-kind analysis, the Williams Institute at UCLA -- which researches sexual-orientation and gender-identity law and public policy -- today estimates that there are at least 267,000 LGBT-identified individuals among the adult population of undocumented immigrants."

The Gender Wage Gap: 2012 [Institute for Women's Policy Research]
"In 2012, the ratio of women’s to men’s median weekly full-time earnings was 80.9 percent, a decline of more than one percentage point since 2011 when the ratio was 82.2 percent. This corresponds to a weekly gender wage gap of 19.1 percent for 2012. Women’s median weekly earnings in 2012 were $691, a marginal decline compared to 2011; men’s median weekly earnings were $854, a marginal increase compared to 2011."

A $10.10 Minimum Wage Would Give Economy (and More Low-wage Workers) a Bigger Boost [Economic Policy Institute]
"Raising the minimum wage would help reverse the ongoing erosion of wages that has contributed significantly to growing income inequality, while providing a modest stimulus to the entire economy, as increased wages contribute to GDP growth, which in turn leads to modest employment growth. Following are the major national findings of an upcoming EPI report on the impacts of a $10.10 minimum wage for the country and individual states."

Getting our Money's Worth? Promoting Transparency and Accountability for Corporate Tax Subsidies in Massachusetts [MassPIRG Education Fund]
"This study provides analysis of Massachusetts’s special business tax breaks and finds taxpayer dollars are being put at risk due to a lack of accountability measures in many programs. The report proposes straightforward and proven policy reforms to protect taxpayer dollars and ensure Bay Staters get the best bang for their buck."

Community-Owned Internet, Long Targeted by ALEC and Big Telecom, Under Fire in Georgia [Center for Media and Democracy]
"Members of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) in the Georgia Legislature are pushing a bill to thwart locally-owned internet in underserved communities, an industry-sponsored effort that effectively reinforces the digital divide. If Georgia passes the bill it would be the twentieth state to eliminate community control over internet access."

Read the full Dispatch from March 9, 2013 here.