This week, we discuss the economic effects of school start times; how streaming apps could encourage Americans to be more active; Brexit news; building a more resilient transportation system; why it's time to stop saying “women experts”; and job training for disadvantaged workers.
A new California law will delay start times at most public middle and high schools until at least 8:00 a.m. and 8:30 a.m., respectively. The shift is designed to improve outcomes by helping students get more sleep.
According to a 2017 RAND study, later start times could also deliver significant economic gains. The authors estimate that such a change could boost California's economy by about $1.1 billion after two years and by more than $10 billion after 10 years. Starting the school day later across the country could contribute $83 billion to the U.S. economy within a decade.
Physical inactivity is a mounting challenge for many Americans. In fact, most people report spending their daily leisure time watching screens, devoting only a small fraction—24 minutes for men and 14 minutes for women—to physical activity. The explosion of streaming apps is likely contributing to this problem. But these same services that are keeping us glued to our devices could also be part of the solution, says RAND's Deborah Cohen.
Britain and the European Union reached a Brexit deal yesterday, the first under Prime Minister Boris Johnson. Tomorrow, the agreement will be voted on by Parliament, which rejected three proposals by Johnson's predecessor. If the deal is voted down, Johnson must ask the EU for an extension or secure Parliament's approval for a no-deal Brexit. RAND research shows that leaving the EU without a deal would result in the greatest losses, reducing Britain's GDP by about $140 billion over 10 years.
In a resilient transportation system, critical assets are not exposed to hazards. Or if they are, there is enough capacity to mitigate the negative effects. How can transportation planners better incorporate resilience into their decisionmaking, especially with disasters becoming more and more common? That's the topic of a new RAND report. The authors have developed a framework that defines resilience in this context and helps planners weigh options to bolster the entire transportation system.
Last year, RAND held a national security conference in which every expert was a woman, inverting the all-too-common “manel,” a panel that includes only men. But the event wasn't marketed as a “women's conference.” Why? RAND's Caroline Baxter and Elizabeth Bodine-Baron explain that focusing on the sex of panelists prevents the national security community from valuing the voices of women as implicitly as it does those of men. “Women must be freed of the baggage of being women scholars and women policymakers,” they say. “Just call us experts.”
Can workforce training programs resolve the mismatch between the talent available and the skills in demand? A new RAND report explores this question by analyzing a program in New Orleans that offers career training for low-income, lower-skilled residents. The program had several positive outcomes, including higher wage growth and job satisfaction for participants. However, it did not affect the duration of employment or arrest rates. The authors offer recommendations that should be of interest to anyone striving to create or improve workforce development programs.
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