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17 minutes | 2 months ago
Holding the Line Against China
Managing its relationship with China is surely the most acute geopolitical challenge facing the United States today. How should we assess the Chinese threat to US interests? Is it likely to increase or decrease with time? What can the United States, by itself and in concert with allies, do to counter China’s play for hegemony in Asia and the Pacific? This episode’s guests are Gabriel B. Collins and Dr. Andrew Erickson. Collins is the Baker Botts Fellow in Energy & Environmental Regulatory Affairs at the Baker Institute’s Center for Energy Studies. Dr. Erickson is Professor of Strategy at the Naval War College’s China Maritime Institute. They have recently co-authored a Baker Institute report entitled “Hold the Line through 2035: A Strategy to Offset China’s Revisionist Actions and Sustain a Rules-Based Order in the Asia-Pacific.” It is available on the institute website.
16 minutes | 2 months ago
Coronavirus-19, a Biden Administration and Energy Markets
Global oil markets are still reeling from the disruptions of the spring – especially the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. How are oil markets handling this turbulence? What is the situation with other energy sources, such as natural gas, coal, and renewables? What impact will a Biden Administration have on the US energy sector? And what can much-maligned international oil companies do to regain public trust? This episode’s guest is Mark Finley. He is the Fellow in Energy and Global Oil at Rice University's Baker Institute. Mark has 35 years of experience working at the intersections of energy, economics and public policy.
15 minutes | 3 months ago
Why Are Children Underperforming in Schools?
Education may be a great equalizer when it comes to economic mobility. But reality falls far short of this ideal. One reason: factors outside the school system can have a decisive impact on academic performance, particularly for students from poor households. The Baker Institute recently undertook an in-depth analysis of 80 Harris County schools to determine how these factors – ranging from food insecurity to depression – help shape educational attainment. What do the study’s findings tell us about the needs of less-advantaged students in Harris County? Are these lessons transferrable to the nation at large? And how has the Covid-19 pandemic affected already existing inequalities? This episode features two guests. The first is Dr. Quianta Moore, Fellow in Child Health Policy at the Baker Institute’s Center for Health and Biosciences. The second is Dr. Christopher Kulesza, Research Analyst in the institute’s Child Health Policy Program. They are co-authors of “Why are Children Underperforming in School? A Comprehensive Needs Assessment of Students in Harris Country.”
17 minutes | 7 months ago
America in Crisis: How is 2020 like 1968?
The United States confronts a “perfect storm.” The Covid-19 pandemic has killed 110,000 Americans, a ghastly tally rising every day. The unemployment rate is reaching heights not seen since the Great Depression. And the appalling killing of George Floyd has triggered massive national protests against policing policies in specific and racism in general. Many have compared the current moment to 1968, another year of mass protests and national instability. How is 2020 like 1968? How is it different? And what lessons can we draw from a comparison? This episode’s guest is Dr. Allen Matusow. He is the Baker Institute’s academic affairs director. He joined the Rice faculty in 1963 and is a distinguished historian and an expert on post-World War II America.
16 minutes | 8 months ago
Should the United States Reduce Its Dependence on China for Strategic Materials and Medications?
The Covid-19 pandemic has reignited the debate about our national dependence on Chinese raw materials and manufactured goods. Why should we be concerned about such dependence? What are our key areas of vulnerability? What policies should we introduce to address these vulnerabilities? And how is China likely to respond to these policies? This episode’s guests are Gabriel B. Collins and Andrew Erickson. Collins is the Baker Botts Fellow in Energy & Environmental Regulatory Affairs at Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy. Erickson is Professor of Strategy at the Naval War College’s China Maritime Studies Institute. They have recently co-authored a Baker Institute report entitled “Economic Statecraft: Options for Reducing U.S. Overdependence on Chinese-supplied Materials and Medications.” It is available on the institute website.
31 minutes | 9 months ago
U.S. Government Debt Growth in a Time of Secular Stagnation
Over the past decade, U.S. federal debt as a share of the economy has grown to levels not reached since the aftermath of World War II. Recent tax cuts and ongoing fiscal stimulus related to the Covid-19 pandemic have placed U.S. debt on an unstable and unprecedented path moving forward. Gauging the long-term sustainability of federal debt hinges on projections of one key underlying variable: the interest rate. How are debt projections and the interest rate tied to broad demographic transformations underway in the U.S. and across the world today? And how worried should we be by rising federal debt? This special podcast is drawn from a webinar hosted by the Baker Institute Roundtable on April 28. It features Dr. Jorge Barro, a fellow in public finance at the Baker Institute. His area of research involves the development of dynamic macroeconomic models for fiscal policy evaluation. Barro is joined by Ms. Morgan Garvey, stewardship officer at the institute.
32 minutes | 9 months ago
The 2020 Elections and Covid-19
As uncertainty about the extent and severity of the coronavirus pandemic continues, questions are circling about the November elections. How will the pandemic affect the electoral process, and what are the options for campaigning and voting if the virus remains a threat to the health and well-being of Americans? What is the current state of play in major Texas and national races? How will Covid-19 shape the fall campaign? This podcast is drawn from a webinar hosted by the Baker Institute on March 22 entitled “The 2020 Election and Covid-19.” It features Dr. Mark Jones, Baker Institute Fellow in Political Science and Jamail Chair in Latin American Studies. He is joined by Ms. Chetna Cates, the Baker institute’s Director of Membership.
33 minutes | 9 months ago
Refugees, Host Countries and the Coronavirus Pandemic
While refugees are not inherently more susceptible to the Covid-19 virus, the conditions in which many refugees and internally displaced persons live and their difficulty in accessing basic health services leave them highly vulnerable. What is the current global refugee situation? What has been the impact of the pandemic on refugees and other displaced persons and on the countries that host them? How has the pandemic altered government policies around the world, including safe third country agreements and other measures to limit refugee flows? This special podcast is drawn from a webinar hosted by the Baker Institute Roundtable on April 16. It features Dr. Kelsey Norman, the Kelly Day Fellow in Women’s Rights, Human Rights and Refugees in the Baker Institute’s Center for the Middle East. Norman is joined by Ms. Chetna Cates, Director of Membership at the Baker Institute.
28 minutes | 9 months ago
Long-Term Impact of Covid-19 on low-income women and young children
As states enact sweeping measures to mitigate the spread of the Covid-19 virus, the burden of such efforts may deepen existing social and economic inequities, particularly among vulnerable women and children. What will be the impact of recent coronavirus legislation, including the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, on low-income working women? What are the long-term effects of parental stress on young children, particularly in terms of increases in child abuse and maltreatment amid ongoing stay-at-home orders? This special podcast is drawn from a webinar hosted by the Baker Institute on April 9. It features Dr. Quianta Moore, who is the Baker Institute Fellow in Child Health Policy. Moore is joined by Ms. Zeinab Bakhiet, research associate in Child Health Policy at the Institute.
31 minutes | 10 months ago
Pandemic, Price War and the World Petroleum Market
Global energy markets are in a melt-down. The Coronavirus pandemic has sent oil demand into a downward spiral. And a nasty price war between Saudi Arabia and Russia is only intensifying the crisis. What has led to this unprecedented situation? What are its potential short- and long-term impacts? And what can major players – including the United States – do to address the current turmoil in energy markets? This special podcast is drawn from a webinar hosted by the Baker Institute on April 3 entitled “Pandemic, Price War and the World Petroleum Market.” It features Institute Fellows Dr. Kenneth B. Medlock III , Dr. Jim Krane, and Mr. Mark Finley. Medlock is the James A. Baker, III, and Susan G. Baker Fellow in Energy and Resource Economics and Senior Director of the Institute’s Center for Energy Studies. Krane is the Wallace S. Wilson Fellow for Energy Studies. Finley is the Fellow in Energy and Global Oil.
42 minutes | 10 months ago
Coronavirus – specifically COVID-19 – has reached global pandemic proportions. Starting in China, it has spread throughout many parts of the world, exacting a huge human and financial price. The United States is now facing a health and economic crisis without close parallel in our history. What is Covid19? How dangerous is it? How is it spreading in the United States? And what is the best way to address the threat it poses? This special podcast is drawn from a Webinar hosted by the Baker Institute on March 26. It features Dr. Peter J. Hotez. He is the Baker Institute fellow in disease and poverty. Hotez is also dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine and professor of pediatrics and molecular virology and microbiology at Baylor College of Medicine, where he is also chief of the Section of Pediatric Tropical Medicine and the Texas Children’s Hospital Endowed Chair of Tropical Pediatrics. Dr. Hotez is joined by Dr. Kirstin R.W. Matthews, Fellow in Science and Technology Policy at the Baker Institute.
16 minutes | 10 months ago
Social Determinants of Health in Texas and Beyond
There is more to good health than medical care, important as it is. What are some of the social determinants that affect the health and wellbeing of ourselves and those around us? What can we as a society do to help low-income and vulnerable populations? And, what special challenges do those populations face because of the unfolding novel coronavirus pandemic? This week’s guest is Elena M. Marks. She is the President and Chief Executive Officer of the Episcopal Health Foundation, a $1.3 billion dollar Houston-based non-profit dedicated to improving community health. Ms. Marks is also a nonresident Fellow in Health Policy at Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy, where her work focuses on health reform and access to care for low-income and uninsured populations.
14 minutes | 10 months ago
Resource Nationalism and Latin American Oil Production
Latin America is one of the world’s largest hydrocarbon producers. Yet the countries of the region present a mixed picture in terms of performance in the oil sector. Moreover, they confront a rapidly changing political, technological and market environment. Which countries are seizing the opportunities offered by increasing oil production? Which are lagging? And why? This episode’s guest is Dr. Francisco Monaldi. He is the Fellow in Latin American Energy Policy at the Baker Institute’s Center for Energy studies. Note: This episode was recorded before the collapse of global oil prices in early March.
16 minutes | a year ago
The “Super Tuesday” Results – What Do They Mean?
On March 3 – so-called “Super Tuesday” – millions of Americans in 14 states went to the polls to vote in primaries. Overwhelming media focus was on the run for the Democratic nomination for President, with roughly one third of all delegates up for grabs. What are the key takeaways from Super Tuesday, nationally and here in Texas? On the national level, how has Super Tuesday altered the race for the Democratic nomination? And what were the most noteworthy results here in Texas? This episodes guest is Dr. Mark Jones. He is the fellow in political science at the Baker Institute, the Joseph D. Jamail Chair in Latin American Studies and a professor in the Department of Political Science at Rice University. Dr. Jones is one of the country’s leading experts on Texas politics. Note: This podcast was recorded before the March 10 primaries in Idaho, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, North Dakota, and Washington.
18 minutes | a year ago
Vaping and Public Health
Vaping has hit the headlines Dozens of deaths have been attributed to its use. What is vaping? How dangerous is it? Does it pose a special health hazard to teenagers? Is vaping useful for people seeking to quit smoking? And what public policy approach should we take towards it? This episode has two guests. Dr. Bill Martin is the Harry and Hazel Chavanne Senior Fellow in Religion and Public Policy and Director of the Baker Institute’s Drug Policy Program. Dr. Katharine Neill Harris is the Alfred C. Glassell, III, Fellow in Drug Policy here at the institute. They have recently published a paper, “Vaping: Clearing the Air.” It is available at the Baker Institute website.
15 minutes | a year ago
How is China Handling the Coronavirus?
Since its outbreak late last year in Wuhan, China, the Coronavirus has exploded in scale and scope. Almost every day brings news of further infections and deaths. While the impact has been greatest in China, the appearance of cases elsewhere – including the United States -- has raised the specter of a deadly global pandemic. How is China responding to Coronavirus? How trustworthy is the information it is releasing? What effect will the virus have on the Chinese economy? Do we have any sense of how the Chinese people view their government’s efforts to combat the spread of Coronavirus? This episode’s guest is Dr. Steven Lewis, C.V. Starr Transnational China Fellow at Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy.
12 minutes | a year ago
Confronting Plastic Waste in China
The increasing presence of plastic waste in oceans and other parts of our natural environment is a major concern for nations across the world. To combat plastic waste, China has announced a plan to ban single-use plastics across the country over the next five years. This ban would seek to counteract China’s standing as the largest producer—and mismanager—of plastic waste in the world. But will this ban ultimately be effective? And, will it lead to unintended consequences that end up perpetuating further harm to the environment? This episode’s guest is Rachel Meidl (LP.D., CHMM), the fellow in energy and environment at the institute’s Center for Energy Studies.
15 minutes | a year ago
Gene-editing and Designer Babies
In November 2018, the world was rocked by news that Chinese scientist He Jiankui had genetically manipulated human embryos and implanted them in women for gestation. He used CRISPR, a gene-modifying tool, to mutate a gene that could provide protection form HIV/AIDS. Last December, he was sentenced to three years in prison for his actions. But the story is hardly over. Now that the technology exists, how should we approach gene editing in humans? What are the ethical and practical issues surrounding its use? Are we entering an era of “designer babies”? This episode’s guest is Dr. Kirstin R.W. Matthews, Fellow in Science and Technology Policy at the Baker Institute. She is co-author of the paper, “Are we ready to genetically modify a human embryo? Or is it too late to ask?”, which appeared in “Accountability in Research.”
17 minutes | a year ago
U.S.-Mexico Relations in 2020
The Mexican-U.S. relationship is in transition. The elections of Donald Trump in 2016 and Andres Manuel López Obrador, or AMLO, in 2018 have altered the bilateral dynamic in dramatic ways. What is the current state of the U.S.-Mexican relationship in areas such as trade, immigration, and drug related violence? Will we see significant changes should a Democrat be elected in November? This episodes guest is Dr. Tony Payan, the Françoise and Edward Djerejian Fellow for Mexican Studies and Director of the Center for the United States and Mexico at the Baker Institute.
18 minutes | a year ago
How Vaccines Save Lives
Vaccines against such afflictions as measles, flu and cervical cancer have a proven track record of success. Yet we as a nation appear to be doing less than we can to ensure that our population is properly vaccinated. Indeed, there has been pushback against a number of vaccines by activists known as “anti-vaxxers.” Do their claims have any merit? And what can we do to ensure that all Americans receive the vaccinations necessary to protect their health? This episode’s guest is Dr. Peter J. Hotez. He is the Baker Institute fellow in disease and poverty. He is dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine and professor of pediatrics and molecular virology and microbiology at Baylor College of Medicine, where he is also chief of the Section of Pediatric Tropical Medicine and the Texas Children’s Hospital Endowed Chair of Tropical Pediatrics. Dr. Hotez is a nationally-acknowledged expert on vaccination.
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