SAGE Journal Articles
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Journal Article 15.1: Zissimopoulos, J., Blaylock, B., Goldman, D. P., & Rowe, J. W. (2017). Raising the Social Security Entitlement Age: Implications for the Productive Activities of Older Adults. Research on Aging, 39(1), 166–189.
Abstract: An aging America presents challenges but also brings social and economic capital. We quantify public revenues from, and public expenditures on, Americans aged 65 and older, the value of their unpaid, productive activities and financial gifts to family. Using microsimulation, we project the value of these activities, and government revenues and expenditures, under different scenarios of change to the Old Age and Survivors Insurance eligibility age through 2050. We find the value of unpaid productive activities and financial gifts are US$721 billion in 2010, while net (of tax revenues) spending on the 65 years and older is US$984 billion. Five-year delay in the full retirement age decreases federal spending by 10%, while 2-year delay in the early entitlement age increases it by 1.5%. The effect of 5-year delay on unpaid activities and transfers is small: US$4 billion decrease in services and US$4.5 billion increase in bequests and monetary gifts.
Journal Article 15.2: Schmid-Petri, H., Adam, S., Schmucki, I., & Häussler, T. (2017). A changing climate of skepticism: The factors shaping climate change coverage in the US press. Public Understanding of Science, 26(4), 498–513.
Abstract: Skepticism toward climate change has a long tradition in the United States. We focus on mass media as the conveyors of the image of climate change and ask: Is climate change skepticism still a characteristic of US print media coverage? If so, to what degree and in what form? And which factors might pave the way for skeptics entering mass media debates? We conducted a quantitative content analysis of US print media during one year (1 June 2012 to 31 May 2013). Our results show that the debate has changed: fundamental forms of climate change skepticism (such as denial of anthropogenic causes) have been abandoned in the coverage, being replaced by more subtle forms (such as the goal to avoid binding regulations). We find no evidence for the norm of journalistic balance, nor do our data support the idea that it is the conservative press that boosts skepticism.
Abstract: Advocates of term limits argued that term limits would help reduce out-of-control government spending by removing veteran legislators who became acclimated to the prospending environment in our nation’s capitals. However, previous research shows that term limits may increase spending, which could jeopardize state fiscal health. The primary purpose of this article is to examine whether states with term limits encounter more fiscal problems than non-term-limited states. I suggest that the short-term fiscal outlooks and loss of experienced legislators produced by term-limit turnover lead to poor fiscal conditions. Myopic legislators may avoid tough fiscal decisions, while inexperienced legislators may be ill-equipped to develop sound fiscal policy. Analysis of budget data on U.S. states from 1983 to 2008 reveals that legislative turnover decreases budget balances. Results further show that these effects do not appear in the upper chamber, perhaps because state senates have more experienced legislators than the lower chamber.
Abstract: The literature on the tragedy of the commons is voluminous, and application to the fiscal commons is well established. In this article, we extend this application by examining the effects of the distribution of state and local governments’ tax liability on budgetary outcomes. Different tax structures yield vastly different contributions from members of the polity, but all members may influence the draw from the fiscal commons through the political process. We find that when the tax burden is heavier for taxpayers at the top of the income distribution and lighter for taxpayers at the bottom of the income distribution, state and local government expenditures grow, and governments spend more on social welfare. However, we do not find a link between the distribution of tax liability and debt.