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Radicalization, the Gender Pay Gap, Israel-UAE Deal: RAND Weekly Recap

August 21, 2020

We discuss how radicalization and political violence could rise in 2020; the link between workplace diversity and the gender pay gap; shortcomings of the Israel-UAE normalization agreement; the West's potential role in Belarus; what happened to COVID-19's “temporary” layoffs; and RAND's summer reading list for Congress.

A member of the Three Percent militia in downtown Stone Mountain, Georgia, where various militia groups stage rallies, August 15, 2020, photo by Dustin Chambers/Reuters

A member of the Three Percent militia in downtown Stone Mountain, Georgia, August 15, 2020

Photo by Dustin Chambers/Reuters

Will Radicalization Rise in 2020?

Conditions in the United States today are reminiscent of those that contributed to radicalization in the 1970s and could lead to political violence, including terrorism. That's according to RAND's Brian Michael Jenkins.

How might this happen? The pandemic is depriving people of their daily routines and personal relationships, not to mention causing serious economic distress. Meanwhile, various divisions in American society are widening. Such conditions can change how people behave in a (seemingly) more hostile world, how they view the legitimacy of government authority, and even how they value life itself, says Jenkins. This creates a receptive audience for fringe ideas and could accelerate radicalization.

Cropped shot of a group of surgeons performing a medical procedure in an operating room, photo by PeopleImages/Getty Images

Photo by PeopleImages/Getty Images

Differences in negotiation. Workplace bias. Disparities in how credit is attributed. Many factors explain the gender earnings gap. But a new RAND study identifies another detail that may influence women's pay: the number of men in their workplace. Specifically, the findings show that female doctors in practices that are overwhelmingly male are paid substantially less than women in practices with more gender diversity. This suggests that increasing the number of women in workplaces could reduce the pay gap. Although the study focuses on doctors, the authors say it's likely that this applies to other professions, too.

Israeli and Emirati flags flutter along a highway following the agreement to formalize ties between the two countries, Netanya, Israel, August 17, 2020, photo by Nir Elias/Reuters

Israeli and Emirati flags flutter along a highway following the agreement to formalize ties between the two countries, Netanya, Israel, August 17, 2020

Photo by Nir Elias/Reuters

Israel-UAE Deal 'Doesn't Merit the Hype'

Many have hailed the recent Israel-UAE normalization agreement as a transformative moment for the Middle East. But this is hyperbole, says RAND's Dalia Dassa Kaye, for several reasons. For one, the deal doesn't alter the biggest divide in the region: between Arab leaders and people. It also doesn't change the dismal realities of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. If the agreement merely reinforces longstanding and largely negative trends, then it's understandable why the enthusiasm in the region may not match responses in Israel or Washington, says Kaye.

Protestors gather in Minsk, Belarus, to demand the resignation of Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko and the release of political prisoners, August 16, 2020, photo by Vasily Fedosenko/Reuters

Protestors gather in Minsk to demand the resignation of President Alexander Lukashenko and the release of political prisoners, August 16, 2020

Photo by Vasily Fedosenko/Reuters

The West's Role in Belarus

The reelection of Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko earlier this month, which was widely seen as fraudulent, sparked mass demonstrations and labor strikes. On Wednesday, the European Union stood with the people of Belarus, promising to sanction those responsible for violence against protestors. Belarus may be on the verge of political change. And according to RAND's William Courtney and Michael Haltzel of Johns Hopkins University, there are ways that the West can support a peaceful transition of power—if allowed to help.

People line up outside Kentucky Career Center prior to its opening to find assistance with their unemployment claims in Frankfort, Kentucky, June 18, 2020, photo by Bryan Woolston/Reuters

People line up outside Kentucky Career Center prior to its opening, Frankfort, Kentucky, June 18, 2020

Photo by Bryan Woolston/Reuters

What Happened to COVID-19's 'Temporary' Layoffs?

In a typical month, temporary layoffs represent no more than 15 percent of America's unemployed. In April, it was 57 percent. What has happened to the workers affected by these layoffs? As RAND's Kathryn Edwards explains, the answer reveals a lot about the state of the U.S. economy. For instance, 20 percent of permanent layoffs in May and June had been “temporary” the month before. This might indicate how much of the controlled shutdown has become an uncontrolled recession, says Edwards.

The U.S. Capitol Building in Washington, D.C., photo by lucky-photographer/Getty Images

Photo by lucky-photographer/Getty Images

RAND's Summer Reading List for Congress

How can states hold safe and secure elections? What do school officials need to consider as they make decisions about reopening? What can be done to make telemedicine “stick” after COVID-19 has passed? These are questions that members of Congress and their staff may be wrestling with during the short August recess and well into the next legislative session. To provide some answers, we've compiled a list of RAND publications and expert insights that address these issues and more.

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