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Concept: Economy of the United States


The economic and ecological costs of wildfire in the United States have risen substantially in recent decades. Although climate change has likely enabled a portion of the increase in wildfire activity, the direct role of people in increasing wildfire activity has been largely overlooked. We evaluate over 1.5 million government records of wildfires that had to be extinguished or managed by state or federal agencies from 1992 to 2012, and examined geographic and seasonal extents of human-ignited wildfires relative to lightning-ignited wildfires. Humans have vastly expanded the spatial and seasonal “fire niche” in the coterminous United States, accounting for 84% of all wildfires and 44% of total area burned. During the 21-y time period, the human-caused fire season was three times longer than the lightning-caused fire season and added an average of 40,000 wildfires per year across the United States. Human-started wildfires disproportionally occurred where fuel moisture was higher than lightning-started fires, thereby helping expand the geographic and seasonal niche of wildfire. Human-started wildfires were dominant (>80% of ignitions) in over 5.1 million km(2), the vast majority of the United States, whereas lightning-started fires were dominant in only 0.7 million km(2), primarily in sparsely populated areas of the mountainous western United States. Ignitions caused by human activities are a substantial driver of overall fire risk to ecosystems and economies. Actions to raise awareness and increase management in regions prone to human-started wildfires should be a focus of United States policy to reduce fire risk and associated hazards.

Concepts: Earth, United States, Climate, Poverty in the United States, U.S. state, Native Americans in the United States, Economy of the United States, Yellowstone National Park


Despite recent increased use of antidepressants in the United States, concerns persist that many adults with depression do not receive treatment, whereas others receive treatments that do not match their level of illness severity.

Concepts: United States, Poverty in the United States, U.S. state, Adult, Economy of the United States, Wall Street Crash of 1929, World War II, Unemployment


Economic inequality has been on the rise in the United States since the 1980s and by some measures stands at levels not seen since before the Great Depression. Although the strikingly high and rising level of economic inequality in the nation has alarmed scholars, pundits, and elected officials alike, research across the social sciences repeatedly concludes that Americans are largely unconcerned about it. Considerable research has documented, for instance, the important role of psychological processes, such as system justification and American Dream ideology, in engendering Americans' relative insensitivity to economic inequality. The present work offers, and reports experimental tests of, a different perspective-the opportunity model of beliefs about economic inequality. Specifically, two convenience samples (study 1, n = 480; and study 2, n = 1,305) and one representative sample (study 3, n = 1,501) of American adults were exposed to information about rising economic inequality in the United States (or control information) and then asked about their beliefs regarding the roles of structural (e.g., being born wealthy) and individual (e.g., hard work) factors in getting ahead in society (i.e., opportunity beliefs). They then responded to policy questions regarding the roles of business and government actors in reducing economic inequality. Rather than revealing insensitivity to rising inequality, the results suggest that rising economic inequality in contemporary society can spark skepticism about the existence of economic opportunity in society that, in turn, may motivate support for policies designed to redress economic inequality.

Concepts: United States, Sociology, Social sciences, Economic inequality, Economy of the United States, Wall Street Crash of 1929, Unemployment, Great Depression


The state of the economy, changes in federal food assistance programs, and policies related to nutrition and the food supply in the United States may influence dietary quality in children and adolescents.

Concepts: United States, Poverty in the United States, U.S. state, State, Economy of the United States, Federal republic


Pandemic influenza represents a serious threat not only to the population of the United States, but also to its economy. In this study, we analyze the total economic consequences of potential influenza outbreaks in the United States for four cases based on the distinctions between disease severity and the presence/absence of vaccinations. The analysis is based on data and parameters on influenza obtained from the Centers for Disease Control and the general literature. A state-of-the-art economic impact modeling approach, computable general equilibrium, is applied to analyze a wide range of potential impacts stemming from the outbreaks. This study examines the economic impacts from changes in medical expenditures and workforce participation, and also takes into consideration different types of avoidance behavior and resilience actions not previously fully studied. Our results indicate that, in the absence of avoidance and resilience effects, a pandemic influenza outbreak could result in a loss in U.S. GDP of $25.4 billion, but that vaccination could reduce the losses to $19.9 billion. When behavioral and resilience factors are taken into account, a pandemic influenza outbreak could result in GDP losses of $45.3 billion without vaccination and $34.4 billion with vaccination. These results indicate the importance of including a broader set of causal factors to achieve more accurate estimates of the total economic impacts of not just pandemic influenza but biothreats in general. The results also highlight a number of actionable items that government policymakers and public health officials can use to help reduce potential economic losses from the outbreaks.

Concepts: Public health, Epidemiology, Infectious disease, United States, Influenza, Pandemic, World Health Organization, Economy of the United States


Although approximately one-half of the global disease burden due to the major helminthic infections occurs among the poor living in rich economies, almost all of the public support for helminth control and research and development comes out of the United States and Europe.

Concepts: United States, United Kingdom, U.S. state, Canada, Western culture, Economy of the United States, Research and development, Late-2000s recession


Concerns have long existed about potential shortages in the anesthesiologist workforce. In addition, many changes have occurred in the economy, demographics, and the healthcare sector in the last few years, which may impact the workforce. The authors documented workforce trends by region of the United States and gender, trends that may have implications for the supply and demand of anesthesiologists.

Concepts: United States, U.S. state, Supply and demand, Economy of the United States, Midwestern United States, United States Coast Guard



Preventing traffic crashes reduces crash costs paid by employers and employees. The related savings filter through the economy, impacting its performance. This study is the first to measure the impact of traffic crash reduction on a national economy. It focuses on impaired driving crashes.

Concepts: Economics, Economy of the United States, Unemployment, Economy


In this study we use economic input-output analysis to calculate the inequality footprint of nations. An inequality footprint shows the link that each country’s domestic economic activity has to income distribution elsewhere in the world. To this end we use employment and household income accounts for 187 countries and an historical time series dating back to 1990. Our results show that in 2010, most developed countries had an inequality footprint that was higher than their within-country inequality, meaning that in order to support domestic lifestyles, these countries source imports from more unequal economies. Amongst exceptions are the United States and United Kingdom, which placed them on a par with many developing countries. Russia has a high within-country inequality nevertheless it has the lowest inequality footprint in the world, which is because of its trade connections with the Commonwealth of Independent States and Europe. Our findings show that the commodities that are inequality-intensive, such as electronic components, chemicals, fertilizers, minerals, and agricultural products often originate in developing countries characterized by high levels of inequality. Consumption of these commodities may implicate within-country inequality in both developing and developed countries.

Concepts: United States, Developed country, Economics, United Kingdom, Canada, Economic inequality, Economy of the United States, Sovereign state