Weekend Reads: Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, and More

New Brookings Papers on Economic Activity research; mobile money driving inclusion in developing countries; cybersecurity and trade; Trans-Pacific Partnership and climate change; new Census data on persistent poverty; California schools’ new testing proposal.

Fall 2013 Brookings Panel on Economic Activity

New research findings at the Fall 2013 BPEA conference by leading academic and government economists include: the effects of expanding preschool enrollment, the current lull in U.S. health care spending, offshoring and the declining U.S. labor share, “jobless recoveries” and the persistence of unemployment, improvements in economic forecasting and Latvia’s economic response to the global financial crisis.

Smartphones for the Unbanked: How Mobile Money Will Drive Digital Inclusion in Developing Countries

By John Villasenor

In much of the developing world, mobile phones far outnumber bank accounts. This imbalance has led to the growth of an increasingly complex “mobile money” ecosystem allowing funds to be transferred among mobile phone users.

Cybersecurity and Trade: National Policies, Global and Local Consequences

by Allan Friedman

Information technology has often been seen as a huge success story in global trade, but its rapid diffusion has introduced new risks. Modern economies, developed and developing, are increasingly reliant on their IT-supported infrastructure for almost every aspect of daily life. Yet this infrastructure is less than perfectly secure, and the rapidly evolving threat landscape exposes the dependent societies to dramatic risks due to security failure.

The Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement, The Environment and Climate Change

by Joshua Meltzer

In a chapter in the upcoming book, Joshua Meltzer discusses the challenges and opportunities of the trade and environment relationship.

New Census Data Underscore Metro Poverty’s Persistence in 2012

by Elizabeth Kneebone and Jane Williams

The release of the 2012 American Community Survey census data on poverty and income underscores the effects of a sluggish recovery that has played out unevenly across the nation’s major metropolitan economies and, even amid improving employment numbers, has left millions of Americans behind.

The Year of the Asterisk? California’s Testing Proposal Subverts Test-Based Accountability

by Thomas Kane

California recently announced that it plans to abandon statewide testing in favor of field tests of the Smarter Balanced Assessment—without reporting results. Kane proposes alternative solutions for California and other states eager to accelerate the transition to the Common Core State Standards.