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September 20, 2019

E-Cigarettes, 'Stand Your Ground,' Cyber Coercion: RAND Weekly Recap

This week, we discuss why U.S. workforce development needs an overhaul; whether “stand your ground” laws prevent or exacerbate violence; the potential benefits of a free trade agreement in the Levant; a proposed e-cigarette ban to address teen vaping; whether and how nations use cyber operations to coerce others; and how civic engagement relates to health.

A 3D printer creates a wrench

Photo by wsf-f/Adobe Stock

U.S. Workforce Development Needs an Overhaul

Technology. Globalization. Demographic shifts. The American workplace has changed profoundly over the past 40 years. And yet, nearly two decades into the 21st century, the U.S. approach to education, training, and workforce development still runs on a 20th-century model. So what can be done to create a system that will thrive in the 21st century and beyond? A new RAND report envisions a future focused on providing equitable and continuous access to training, and efficiently matching (and rematching) workers and jobs.

A shadow of a hand holding a gun, photo by ugurhan/Getty Images

Photo by ugurhan/Getty Images

'Stand Your Ground' Laws May Be Causing More Harm Than Good

A recent decision by a jury in Florida has once again brought national attention to the state's “stand your ground” law. Evidence about such laws was reviewed as part of RAND's Gun Policy in America initiative. There is some evidence to help understand whether “stand your ground” laws prevent criminal violence—or exacerbate it. But this is a rare exception. For most gun policies, there is too little scientific evidence to draw any conclusions about their likely effects. This is why we need more research, say RAND experts. Without it, bad laws may be passed or retained under the mistaken belief that they will make people safer.

Loading cargo onto a container ship in Istanbul, Turkey, photo by Czgur/Getty Images

Cargo is loaded onto a container ship in Istanbul, Turkey

Photo by Czgur/Getty Images

Potential Benefits of Economic Integration in the Levant

What would happen if six core countries in the Levant—Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, and Turkey—signed a comprehensive free trade agreement? According to a new RAND report, the average GDP of these nations would increase by three to seven percent. But achieving economic integration would not be easy. It would require stabilization in Syria, as well as coordination among countries that are often at odds. Want to create your own trade scenario in the region and see the effects? The authors developed an interactive tool that does just that.

E-cigarette held by a young woman

Photo by JANIFEST/Getty Images

Teens Who Vape Are More Likely to Smoke

Last week, the Trump administration announced its plan to remove all non-tobacco flavors of e-cigarettes, including mint and menthol, from the market. And on Tuesday, a similar ban took effect in New York State. These moves come amid growing concern about teen vaping. A recent RAND study found that adolescents who use vaping products are more likely to smoke cigarettes. They're also likely to increase their use of both products over time.

World map in red pixels on a dark background, photo by Lidiia Moor/Getty Images

Photo by Lidiia Moor/Getty Images

How Do States Use Cyber Operations to Coerce Others?

A new RAND report examines cyber operations sponsored by Russia, China, Iran, and North Korea. Are they using cyber operations to coerce others? And if so, how? The findings show that espionage—not coercion—remains the predominant purpose of most cyber operations. But Russia and North Korea appear more likely to have used cyber operations as a coercive tool than China and Iran. Going forward, the United States and its partners should develop a richer understanding of cyber coercion—and how to respond to it.

Group of people planting a tree together, photo by Rawpixel/Getty Images

Photo by Rawpixel/Getty Images

A new RAND study offers evidence that improvements in health and well-being are related to increases in civic engagement, through behaviors such as voting and volunteering. There's also evidence to suggest that health and civic engagement make up a reinforcing feedback loop, with better health promoting more civic engagement, and civic engagement promoting better health.

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