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What Can Data Tell Us About Voting Patterns in the UNGA?

On September 17, the 74th session of the United Nations General Assembly opened in New York. We asked Alisa DiCaprio, a BRINK contributor and the co-author of a research paper on the impacts of trade policy on UNGA voting, what to expect:

“Officially, the UNGA cannot impact trade. That is outside of its mandate. However the reality, according to my research, is that trade impacts countries’ voting decisions in the UNGA: Countries that are linked together by free trade agreements vote together more frequently.

This has interesting policy implications. In an unsettled global trade environment, we might expect that where FTAs are being renegotiated, countries are less likely to cooperate. Traditionally, my co-author and I wrote, ‘the benefits of trade agreements are measured using economic indicators. However, if another benefit is that your neighbors vote more like you, this may be attractive both to benign regimes … and also to malicious regimes that may seek cooperation to destabilize other parts of the region or world.’”

Why Employees Are Leaving Their Jobs

New research from Oliver Wyman Forum sheds light on what’s behind the Great Resignation. In a survey of workers from 10 countries, the most commonly cited reason is more money. According to the survey’s authors, “wages have been stagnant for years, private pensions are almost non-existent for new hires and frozen for long-timers, and employees are increasingly footing the bill for rising health care costs.” The most common way to remedy those issues for workers, it seems, is a job change.

Fulfillment and flexibility were also key in employees’ decisions to leave. With remote work becoming the norm, workers are looking for situations that allow for work-life balance. Remote work also allows for more job opportunities and ways to feel fulfilled by day-to-day tasks.

According to the authors of the report, now is the time to act. “More than a third of the people we surveyed said they’re planning to leave within the next six months. The right salary, flexible benefits, and opportunities for growth and fulfillment could stop them.”

More People Are Living In Floodplains, Research Shows

More people are living on floodplains than ever

The proportion of the world’s population exposed to floods grew by 58–86 million between 2000 and 2015, according to new research using data from NASA. Led by Beth Tellman, a geography researcher at the University of Arizona, the study also found that 255 million people were affected at least once by major floods during the same time.

Analyzing flood events from the past 20 years, researchers found that floods caused by heavy rains and tropical storms have increased as a result of climate change as well. Marsh McLennan has also indexed which countries are most at-risk of flooding.

Recently, the U.S. government announced a renewed approach to flood insurance, introducing risk-based premiums for its National Flood Insurance Program. The program should be able to cover catastrophic losses without having to borrow funds from the U.S. Treasury as well as incentivize property owners to invest in loss reduction measures that would lower the cost of insurance, reflecting lower expected claims in the future. 

 

Lithium-Ion Battery Prices Fall to Lowest in a Decade

The average price of a lithium-ion battery has fallen more than 88% since 2010. What once cost more than a thousand dollars now costs less than $200, according to numbers from Bloomberg.

Companies like Tesla have made advancements in making battery technology available to mass consumers. The Powerwall, for instance, has solved a problem that long troubled the clean energy market: that solar power is most plentiful when people are least likely to be home — throughout the day. With cheap lithium-ion batteries, solar power can be stored and used when people come home to watch TV, cook dinner and engage in other activities that use up electricity.

Inexpensive batteries also increase the appeal of mass-market electric vehicles, which consumers have shown resistance to due to “range anxiety” — the notion that electric vehicles can only go so far without recharging. A decade of advancements in battery technology means that clean energy, along with its potential to contribute to a net-zero future, is now becoming more affordable.

Europe Outperforms the US in Boardroom Gender Diversity

Europe Outperforms the US in Boardroom Gender Diversity

Europe has done a better job working to bring more women into boardrooms than the U.S. has, according to an analysis done by Bloomberg. Almost 37% of board seats in Stoxx Europe 600 companies were held by women last month, compared to 30% of directors in S&P 500 companies.

The average number of female directors in Europe was at four in August, compared with an average board size of 11. The Bloomberg Gender-Equality Index rose 2.3% in August, marginally underperforming the MSCI World Index, which was up 2.5%.

As companies look to improve their environmental, social and governance efforts, boardrooms are feeling the pressure to diversify their gender representation — and it appears that government regulation can be effective. According to Angela Berg, global diversity and inclusion consulting leader at Mercer, “more nations, especially in Europe, have implemented gender quotas for senior executives and boards, so they can benefit from more diverse points of view, drive change and enhance awareness of workplace gender issues.”

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