Looking back at 5 years of the Brookings Now blog

Brookings Now

Five years ago today, we launched the Brookings Now blog as a new digital channel to promote research, ideas, and scholars at Brookings, and to supplement the suite of program-specific blog channels. The first post described a new report by Madeleine K. Albright and Richard S. Williamson on the “Responsibility to Protect,” a set of principles designed to protect civilians from genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity and to provide norms to guide answers to these questions. Since then, we’ve published hundreds of posts linking readers to Brookings research and experts. Here are the most popular posts in Brookings Now’s first five years.

U.S. Army size and defense expenditures relative to other nations

Army field artillery piece
Much has been said about the size of the U.S. military relative to other nations in the world, and the amount of money the U.S. spends on its military. The charts in this post show that while the overall U.S. military budget outstrips the rest of the world, the relative size of the United States Army does not. The post links to Senior Fellow Michael O’Hanlon’s book, “The Future of Land Warfare,” in which he offers an analysis of the future of the world’s ground forces.

The Family Relationships that Couldn’t Stop World War I

Monarchs of WWI
In her 2013 Brookings Essay, “The Rhyme of History: Lessons of the Great War,” noted historian Margaret MacMillan compared current global tensions—rising nationalism, globalization’s economic pressures, sectarian strife, and the United States’ fading role as the world’s pre-eminent superpower—to the period preceding the Great War. One aspect of the war upon which she remarked is the close connection among the three principal monarchs of the age, Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany; King George V of England; and Tsar Nicholas II of Russia. This blog post highlighted a family tree chart that appeared in the essay.

The Economic Benefits of Fracking

Pump jack, fracking
Innovations in drilling and hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) have enabled tremendous amounts of natural gas to be extracted from underground shale formations that were long thought to be uneconomical. But has this shale gas boom translated in an economic boom? This post summarized a paper from Catherine Hausman and Ryan Kellogg, published in the Spring 2015 edition of the Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, of the first-ever estimates of broad-scale welfare and distributional implications of fracking.

The 10 universities that will increase your career earnings the most

College graduation
In his 2015 report “Beyond College Rankings,” Jonathan Rothwell explored the “value-added” of 2- and 4-year colleges in the United States. Unlike many previous measures of college performance, Rothwell’s “value-added” measure accounts for the difference in the expected economic success of alumni and the actual outcomes of graduates. In this post, see the top 10 four-year colleges, based on their “value added” of alumni mid-career earnings levels.

11 facts about the Millennial Generation

A meeting at Google
Millennials, those born between 1982 and 2003, are “a cohort whose dominating presence will make its behaviors the major motif of American life in the next decade,” wrote the authors of a 2014 Governance Studies paper, “How Millennials Could Upend Wall Street and Corporate America.” Morley Winograd and Michael Hais presented new findings about how members of the Millennial generation view banking, finance, and corporate America.

10 economic facts about Cuba

On the heels of the announcement of the restoration of U.S.-Cuban diplomatic relations on July 20, 2015, Cuba’s removal from the U.S. state sponsors of terrorism list, and the re-opening of embassies in the two countries, Brookings Now blog mined the considerably large trove of Brookings content to find some of the most interesting facts about Cuba. Find the most up-to-date research and commentary on Cuba here.

What’s the difference between the renminbi and the yuan?

When reading news and analysis about China’s currency, you might see both terms—“renminbi” and “yuan”—used interchangeably. There is essentially no difference. The renminbi is the official currency of the People’s Republic of China, and translates to “people’s money.” Its international symbol is CNY (or CNH in Hong Kong; but abbreviated RMB, with the symbol ¥). This Brookings Now post went on to explain the yuan, and highlighted a Brookings Press book on renminbi internationalization.

Do immigrants “steal” jobs from American workers?

migrant farmworkers
During his presidential campaign and into his presidency, Donald Trump has promised to implement new policies that he says will improve the U.S. economy and job market. One motivating factor behind Trump’s proposed policies—including the construction of a new U.S.-Mexico border wall, more border patrol agents, and stricter deportation policies—is his belief that immigrants are stealing job opportunities from American workers. In this post, Brookings Now presented scholars and data to answer this, and related, questions.

What Percentage of U.S. Population is Foreign Born?

Immigrant children at Ellis Island
The composition of immigrants in the U.S. populace has waxed and waned over the centuries. The issue is ever-present in the current political climate. In 2013, over 40 million foreign-born representing 13 percent of the population resided in the United States. The chart in this post showed the trends by decade, 1860-2010, and was  adapted from the more detailed data that appeared in Audrey Singer’s article, “Contemporary Immigrant Gateways in Historical Perspective.” See also new research from Brookings experts on demographics and population.

Working class white Americans are now dying in middle age at faster rates than minority groups

A cyclist smiles as he watches pedestrians walk across a street near Times Square in New York
In 2015, Princeton Professors Anne Case and Angus Deaton made global headlines after documenting a shocking rise in the proportion of white non-Hispanic Americans dying in middle age. In the Spring 2017 edition of the Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Professors Case and Deaton followed up on that research to further investigate the rise and its causes, examining midlife mortality rates of white non-Hispanics in the U.S. by geography, education, birth cohort, and more. This Brookings Now post showcases the data and charts.

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