Research in Brief

A Sunny Perspective on the Future of Solar Energy

A Sunny Perspective on the Future of Solar Energy

Solyndra’s recent bankruptcy has sparked much debate about the market viability of solar energy. And while solar may not be as cost-effective as fossil fuels are now, a recent analysis finds that “solar power technologies in the US and Spain are likely to approach competitiveness with fossil-fired generation by around 2020.”

Increased Income Inequality Occupies Recent CBO Report

Increased Income Inequality Occupies Recent CBO Report

In a well-timed recent report, the Congressional Budgets Office (CBO) provides a series of statistics that largely reinforce the concerns being raised in the Occupy Wall Street protests.

It’s Not Too Late for the MDGs

It’s Not Too Late for the MDGs

Opinions vary within the policy community about whether developing nations are disappointingly off-track to meet the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by the 2015 deadline set by the United Nations.

Fuel of Uncertainty

Fuel of Uncertainty

Biofuels are either essential to our energy independence and efforts to combat climate change or a boondoggle that threatens global food security. The World Bank’s Govinda R. Timilsina and Ashish Shrestha analyze this disconnect in “How Much Hope Should We Have for Biofuels?”, which weighs findings from dozens of studies and sources and represents a far-reaching summary of the technology’s potential and tradeoffs.

Disparities in Home Are Disparities in Health

Disparities in Home Are Disparities in Health

A family’s housing reality is often viewed as an index of its economic situation. However, Brian Jacob, Jens Ludwig, and Douglas Miller's new NBER working paper joins a groundswell of research that demonstrates that housing situations are in fact proxies for much more than one’s socioeconomic status.

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iFlating the U.S. Trade Deficit with China

While designed and marketed in Cupertino, California, the iPhone is estimated to have contributed $1.9 billion to the U.S. trade deficit with China in 2009. This is the finding of Yuqing Xing and Neal Detert, two economists with the Asian Development Bank Institute.

Where Are Charters the Answer?

Where Are Charters the Answer?

Charters are commonly seen as the answer to urban school districts’ troubles. However, it appears that they are not the answer to education issues everywhere, and may not be the answer at all.

Greening the Rust Belt

Greening the Rust Belt

As the economy struggles to rebound and the foreclosure crisis takes its toll on American cities, vacant land and abandoned buildings continue to abound. For America’s once-great manufacturing cities, the impact has been even greater as metropolitan areas throughout the Midwest struggle to find an identity in a post-industrial world. In the article "Can cities become self-reliant in food?" Sharanbir Grewal and Parwinder Grewal suggest that urban agriculture may provide a solution to both of these woes.

Immergluck and the Evolution of the FHA

Immergluck and the Evolution of the FHA

Some might like to blame George Bush’s “ownership society,” with its emphasis on homeownership as a cure-all for social ills of all kinds, for the intrusion of the federal government into the housing and mortgage markets. But as Dan Immergluck explains in his recent article, government agencies – particularly the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) – have played significant, and varied, roles in homeownership since World War II.