10 things we learned at Brookings in June

Soccer Football - Women's World Cup - Group C - Australia v Italy - Stade du Hainaut, Valenciennes, France - June 9, 2019  Italy's Cristiana Girelli in action with Australia's Emily Van Egmond   REUTERS/Phil Noble - RC1948740BE0

From all of the research and analysis produced by Brookings experts in the month of June, here is a sample of just 10 items, highlighting interesting and important findings.

1. Teachers can’t afford housing near their schools

Teachers' income
Andre M. Perry, a David M. Rubenstein Fellow in the Metropolitan Policy Program, identifies variation in the purchasing power of teachers’ salaries across the United States. In the San Francisco metropolitan area, for example, teachers can expect to spend as much as 70 percent of their income on housing, despite receiving a salary at the upper end of the national distribution.

2. More than half of the world’s poor are children

Children play football at the graveyards (City of the Dead) called locally "Zawiyyet al-Mayyiteen" in Minya Governorate, Upper Egypt January 8, 2019. REUTERS/Mohamed Abd El Ghany - RC1217CE1350
Children represent 30 percent of the world population, however, more than half of the world’s impoverished are under the age of 18. “Children remain both a cause of poverty and its consequence,” Katharina Fenz and Kristofer Hamel write, because larger families require more food and income. Policymakers, they argue, should “focus on policies and interventions aimed at improving poor children’s quality of life, well-being, and economic prospects.”

3. Development from China’s Belt and Road Initiative may not reach smaller cities

Workers inspect railway tracks, which serve as a part of the Belt and Road freight rail route linking Chongqing to Duisburg, at Dazhou railway station in Sichuan province, China March 14, 2019. Picture taken March 14, 2019. REUTERS/Stringer ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. CHINA OUT. - RC1563D032A0Projected outcomes of China’s BRI favor development in larger cities near border crossings, observe Indermit Gill, Somik V. Lall, and Mathilde Lebrand. While wages and welfare will increase in urban hubs, such benefits will not reach regions where residents are immobile, causing additional migration to larger cities. “Within countries, workers can have very different levels of market access depending on where they live,” they write. “For the countries of Central Asia, labor mobility is even more crucial for success as they sign up for more transport investments and deeper trade facilitation.”

4. The US isn’t fighting disinformation fast enough

Electronic cables are silhouetted next to the logo of Twitter in this September 23, 2014 illustration photo in Sarajevo. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic (BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA - Tags: BUSINESS TELECOMS) - LR1EA9O0V2XEA

While democracies in Europe have started to fight state-sponsored disinformation campaigns, the U.S. has been much slower in mobilizing to fight disinformation tactics, write Alina Polyakova and Daniel Fried. While the U.S. stalls, “state-sponsored disinformation campaigns are upping their game,” they say, and the U.S. must “step up” and “develop a democratic defense against disinformation.”

5. America must change its trade strategy for dealing with China

Workers load goods for export onto a crane at a port in Lianyungang, Jiangsu province, China June 7, 2019. Picture taken June 7, 2019. REUTERS/Stringer ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. CHINA OUT. - RC18EA753F70

In light of the trade war as a result of U.S. tariffs on many Chinese imports, Ryan Hass argues that America must change its approach when dealing with China’s unfair business practices and eliminate the tariffs that have been imposed. Instead of this aggressive approach, which has placed a heavy economic burden on American industry, America must leverage China’s fellow trade partners and organize a concerted coalition against China’s unfair economic practices.


Chemistry Teacher with Students in Class --- Image by © Royalty-Free/Corbis

In an analysis for the Brown Center on Education Policy, Senior Fellow and Director Michael Hansen, with Grace Breazeale and Mary Blankenship, takes a closer look at teacher pay. These authors identify a wage gap between STEM and non-STEM teachers, noting that “STEM majors face greater wage penalties for choosing to teach than their non-STEM counterparts at all points in their careers.”

7. Some of the strongest candidates to help Democrats win a Senate majority are running for president

U.S. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) speaks about the formation of the Senate Democrats' Special Committee on Climate Change on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., U.S., March 27, 2019. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts - RC1E7C265D50
In a new piece for the FixGov blog, Senior Fellow Elaine Kamarck identifies three of the strongest candidates in Texas, Colorado, and Montana who could help Democrats take back the Senate in 2020 but instead chose long-shot runs for president. She writes: “There are many problems with such a crowded Democratic race for the presidency but the biggest one could turn out to be in the Senate.”

8. China’s new payment system favors digital wallets and QR codes over cards 

QR code purchase

Fellow Aaron Klein breaks down China’s new payment system and analyzes how it leapfrogged a card-based system in favor of digital wallets and QR codes. He argues that while it has replaced cash at registers and has changed how even beggars ask for money, it is unlikely to catch on in the U.S. and other countries with well-established banking systems.

9. For prosperity, urban planners should abandon the highway model and build for proximity


Adie Tomer, Joseph Kane, and Lara Fishbane argue that transportation models must prioritize proximity and shorter-distance travel. This urban form has many benefits, including the growth of industries and regional economies, less infrastructure per capita, affordable and age-neutral transportation, and a safer and more sustainable population.

10. State strategies lead to declines in unplanned pregnancies, declining abortion rates, and lower government costs for health care

birth control pill packAs the nation engages in critical debates concerning women’s reproductive health, Isabel Sawhill and Katherine Guyot study strategies for reducing unplanned pregnancies and births. They conclude that empowering women to have only the children they want has positive benefits for everyone in the form of better pregnancy outcomes, improved child well-being, more opportunities for women and their partners, reductions in costs to governments, and lower abortion rates.

Betsy Broaddus, Sophia Durham, Sonia Gupta, and John Holland contributed to this post.