February 21, 2020

Friday news roundup February 21, 2020

Friday news roundup February 21, 2020

Having a regional accent could lead to a 20% work place wage penalty. A new NBER working paper reveals that people with strong regional accents face a wage penalty of 20% compared to those with a standard accent, a penalty equivalent to the gender wage gap. The study concentrated on the German labor market where different regions of the country are each associated with different accents The link between strong regional accents and lower wages appears to be related to stigma. If “[t]he employer has to charge consumers a lower price, or pay coworkers a higher wage, to induce them to interact with an employee against whom they are prejudiced,” say the authors, “[t]he result is a lower wage for workers with a stigmatized trait.” Workers with strong accents may also find it harder to do their jobs effectively if they are encountering more bias from their colleagues and customers. Either way, workers with stronger accents in Germany appear to seek out jobs that involve less interpersonal interaction, which often pay less.

Young carers in the UK are averaging £12,000 of unpaid work a year, according to charity Action for Children. The new report indicates young carers are spending 25 hours a week, on average, looking after their loved ones, a situation the charity describes as a “hidden child workforce.” Action for Children says the amount of adult responsibility these children are having to take on is “appalling” and is calling on the government to give all young carers access to respite services. The Department for Education says young carers “should be protected from excessive caring responsibilities.” It expects “adult and children’s services to work together and take a whole family approach in identifying and supporting young carers.”

The world is failing to ensure children have a “liveable planet.” A report from a commission of 40 child and adolescent health experts from around the world says every country in the world is failing to shield children’s health and futures from intensifying ecological degradation, climate change, and predatory marketing practices. Despite dramatic improvements in survival, nutrition, and education over the past 20 years, “today’s children face an uncertain future,” with every child facing “existential threats,” it says. Norway, South Korea, the Netherlands, France, and Ireland are the best countries for a child to flourish in their early years, while the Central African Republic, Chad, Somalia, Niger, and Mali are the bottom five countries. However, when performance is compared taking per capita carbon emissions into account, Burundi, Chad, and Somalia top the list, while the US, Australia, and Saudi Arabia are among the bottom ten countries. The commission calls on governments “to ensure children receive their rights and entitlements now and a liveable planet in the years to come.”

The Trump administration announced new US visa rules. The Trump administration is to all but shut down family-based immigration from Myanmar (also known as Burma), Nigeria, Kyrgyzstan, Eritrea, Sudan, and Tanzania on Friday. President Trump says those countries fail to meet minimum security standards. Activists have organized around #MuslimBan and #AfricaBan on social media and increased lobbying efforts to press Congress to pass the No Ban Act, which would limit the president’s ability to restrict entry to the US. According to federal data, roughly 10,000 people received immigration-based visas from Nigeria, Eritrea, Kyrgyzstan, and Myanmar in the 2018 fiscal year. More than half were from Nigeria, one of the US’s most educated immigrant groups. More than 60% of people with Nigerian ancestry in the US who are at least 25 have a bachelor’s degree or higher, which is more than twice the general US population rate of 29%.