Recommended Reading: A Periodic Feature Sharing Our Favorite Sources

Sisyphus, as many of you know, was a character out of Greek mythology who was punished by the gods by being forced to push a huge boulder up a hill, only to sadly watch it roll down again until the end of time.


Though our work isn’t a punishment but a pleasure, we sometimes feel like Sisyphus. Not only do we write a great many articles as you can see in the Hot Off the Presses page of this website, we’re always on the hunt for news and insights to share with our readers via social media.


We scour dozens of state, local, university, organization and foundation websites each week to find new ideas and insights to write about, and wanted to bring your attention to two of our favorite weekly study summaries. One comes from Florida and the other from California. Although researchers for each will sometimes focus on studies relevant to their own state, the selections gathered each week are often of general interest and just as relevant to other states, and often local governments, as well.

Our two recommendations for this week:

PolicyNotes from the Office of Program Policy Analysis & Government Accountability (OPPAGA) in Florida. This comes out on Fridays. Typically, there will be summaries of a few studies each in criminal justice, education, government operations and health and human services. As a sample, the October 23, 2020 version included a U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) study about school-based data breaches that affect K-12 students; a summary of U.S. Census Bureau data on state and local tax revenue in the second quarter of 2020, and a Rand study comparing insulin prices in the United States and other countries.

This weekly guide to interesting studies can be accessed from the OPPAGA website, though there is sometimes a lag in getting the newest version up. If you want to make sure to get the publication when it comes out on Fridays, you can sign up for a free subscription.

Studies in the News is published by the California State Library. It comes out on Wednesdays. Topics covered each week vary slightly, but generally include education, “culture and demography,” the economy, health, general government, transportation and several other areas of government finances, management and policy. The most recent version, dated October 28, 2020, includes study summaries about state tax revenues in August 2020 (from the Urban Institute); racial gaps in distance learning (from the Public Policy Institute of California), and a comparison of voting rules and regulations in the fifty states (from the Election Law Journal). This publication is very difficult to find online, but you can get it by subscribing to the Studies in the News mailing list.

Note: We will periodically provide reading recommendations in this space, including books, websites, blogs, reports, and other generally useful compilations of materials. We also welcome suggestions from readers (particularly those that aren’t self-promotional).

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