China and Russia, Wages and Insurance, Refugees and Technology : RAND Weekly Recap

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October 15, 2021

This week, we discuss how the China-Russia relationship affects U.S. interests; how raising the minimum wage could affect workers’ health insurance coverage; the benefits of increasing funding for women’s health research; improving supply chain resilience; one approach to countering extremism in the military; and how refugees use digital technology during displacement.

Russian President Vladimir Putin shakes hands with Chinese President Xi Jinping during their meeting on the sidelines of a BRICS summit, in Brasilia, Brazil, November 13, 2019, photo by Ramil Sitdikov/Sputnik via Reuters

Photo by Ramil Sitdikov/Sputnik via Reuters

How the China-Russia Relationship Affects U.S. Interests

China and Russia are neighbors with a long history. Over the past 70 years, their relationship has been defined by both conflict and cooperation. Since 2014, the two powers have strengthened their political, military, and economic ties.

A new RAND report examines this history, explores how Sino-Russian relations might evolve in the future, and outlines the potential implications for U.S. national security.

The authors conclude that Beijing and Moscow will continue to cooperate, and—given current U.S. priorities—there is little that Washington can or should do to change this. However, U.S. leaders can prepare for the effects. For example, the U.S. military must be ready to encounter increasingly sophisticated weapon systems as Chinese-Russian military technical cooperation continues.

People rally at the Poor People's Campaign Moral Monday demonstration near the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., August 2, 2021, photo by Bryan Olin Dozier/Reuters

People rally at the Poor People's Campaign “Moral Monday” demonstration near the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., August 2, 2021

Photo by Bryan Olin Dozier/Reuters

Could a Minimum-Wage Increase Cost Workers Their Health Insurance?

For every $1 increase in the minimum wage, low-wage workers and their families became one percentage point less likely to have job-based insurance coverage. That's according to a new RAND study. The authors say that this finding doesn't necessarily eclipse the potential benefits of raising the minimum wage. But it does suggest that policymakers who favor an increase should also consider whether workers have alternative sources of insurance coverage.

A nurse taking a patient's blood pressure, photo by vitapix/Getty Images

Photo by vitapix/Getty Images

The Benefits of Increasing Funding for Women's Health Research

Increasing investments in women's health research could help transform women's lives. It could also offer large societal gains. The results of a new RAND study show that society could see large aggregate cost savings if funding for women's health research is increased in three key areas: Alzheimer's disease and related dementias ($932 million), coronary artery disease ($1.9 billion), and rheumatoid arthritis ($10.5 billion).

Container ships wait off the coast of the congested Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach in Long Beach, California, October 1, 2021, photo by Alan Devall/Reuters

Container ships wait off the coast of the congested Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, California, October 1, 2021

Photo by Alan Devall/Reuters

How Can the U.S. Increase Supply Chain Resilience?

The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed the fragility of global supply chains. While it's clear that greater resilience is necessary, private and public decisionmakers have limited insights into supply chains. RAND's Caolionn O'Connell testified about this topic yesterday before a House Energy and Commerce subcommittee. Given the breadth of the problem, O'Connell says that a whole-of-government solution, including investments in research and development and human capital, is likely required.

U.S. soldiers gather as the sun sets at Camp Williams, Utah, April 16, 2021, photo by Sgt. 1st Class Brent Powell/U.S. Army

U.S. soldiers gather as the sun sets at Camp Williams, Utah, April 16, 2021

Photo by Sgt. 1st Class Brent Powell/U.S. Army

One Key to Countering Extremism in the Military

U.S. military commanders are currently leading the fight against extremism in the ranks. But existing resources—such as chaplains, family readiness groups, and behavioral and military health professionals—could be better leveraged to address this problem, says RAND's Marek Posard. Making use of existing programs that are designed to help military personnel and their families may help confront the “broader social headwinds” that are often at the heart of extremism.

Two people embrace while sitting on a rocky shoreline and looking across the horizon, Antelias, Lebanon, May 2009, photo by Wael Morcos

Two people embrace while sitting on a rocky shoreline and looking across the horizon, Antelias, Lebanon, May 2009

Photo by RAND artist-in-residence Wael Morcos

Crossing the Digital Divide: How Refugees Use Technology

For millions of refugees around the world, mobile phones provide a connection to the past and can open doors to a better future. The role that technology plays in the lives of refugees was the topic of a 2019 RAND study, and it's now the inspiration for the latest creation in our Art + Data program. In developing this new visualization, artist Wael Morcos was inspired by his own experience—not as a refugee, but as a migrant.

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