Author

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Adam Looney

Senior Fellow, The Brookings Institution

Adam Looney is a senior fellow in Economic Studies at the Brookings Institution. He formerly served as the Policy Director of The Hamilton Project. His research focuses on tax policy and labor economics. Previously, Looney served as the senior economist for public finance and tax policy with the President's Council of Economic Advisers and was an economist at the Federal Reserve Board.

Looney received a PhD in economics from Harvard University and a BA in economics from Dartmouth College.


Related to Adam Looney

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The Lasting Effects of the Great Recession:  Six Million Missing Workers and A New Economic Normal

Papers • September 2013 • Michael Greenstone, Adam Looney

Despite the consistent pattern of modest jobs growth over the last several years, the nation’s goal of a full recovery from the Great Recession remains elusive. One factor contributing to this outcome is an unclear definition of what “recovery” means, as policymakers have suggested a wide variety of economic goals. In this month’s employment analysis, The Hamilton Project explores the “jobs gap,” or the number of jobs the economy would have to add to offset the effects of the Great Recession, which we offer as a useful target for economic recovery. The analysis discusses how changes in population and labor-force participation rates will affect the time it takes to close the gap and how we measure progress toward our economic recovery. 

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What New Immigrants Could Mean for American Wages

Papers • August 2013 • Michael Greenstone, Adam Looney

In this month’s employment analysis, The Hamilton Project examines how future immigration trends could impact American wages, using targets set in the recently-passed Senate bill as a signpost. Understanding that S.744 is just the first piece of legislation out of the gate, the new analysis suggests that the average impact of new immigrants on the wages of U.S.-born workers would be positive (based on CBO estimates, the analysis assumes approximately 9.6 million additional immigrants by 2013 due to the legislation). The analysis also suggests that American workers are likely to gain through other channels, based on evidence that immigrants enhance purchasing power of consumers, increase demand for goods and services at businesses, and contribute to innovation that boost living standards over time.

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Rising Student Debt Burdens: Factors Behind the Phenomenon

Papers • July 2013 • Michael Greenstone, Adam Looney

Despite the positive return to higher education, many Americans are concerned about their ability to pay for college, and there is increasing focus on the rising burden of student loans on recent graduates. Although average net tuition—the actual cost to students after grant aid, scholarships, and other financial aid—has increased somewhat over the last two decades, the volume of student debt has increased far more dramatically, as has the default rate on student loans. In this month’s employment analysis, The Hamilton Project examines possible explanations for the recent increases in student debt and default rates.

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Thirteen Economic Facts about Social Mobility and the Role of Education

Papers • June 2013 • Michael Greenstone, Adam Looney

In this policy memo, The Hamilton Project examines the relationship between growing income inequality and social mobility in America. The memo explores the growing gap in educational opportunities and outcomes for students based on family income and the great potential of education to increase upward mobility for all Americans.

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New Approaches to Promoting College Access for More Americans

Papers • June 2013 • Michael Greenstone, Adam Looney

The role of education in improving social mobility is well-known, and new evidence identifies promising ways to help more low-income students improve their educational opportunities. In a new blog post, The Hamilton Project compares a range of interventions aimed at boosting college attendance and completion among low-income students.

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Is Starting College and Not Finishing Really That Bad?

Papers • June 2013 • Michael Greenstone, Adam Looney

In recent years there has been increasing concern about students who begin two- and four-year college programs but fail to complete a degree—particularly in light of the large increase in student debt and concerns about the high costs of college. In this month’s employment analysis, The Hamilton Project examines whether starting college is worth it for students who fail to complete a degree. The findings show that students who complete “some college” earn about $100,000 more throughout their lifetime than their peers with only a high school education, and the rate of return to their investment exceeds the historical return on practically any conventional investment, including stocks, bonds, and real estate.

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Testimony of Adam Looney

Speeches & Testimony • May 22, 2013 • Adam Looney

Hamilton Project Policy Director Adam Looney testifies before the Senate Budget Committee on the role of tax reform in supporting broad-based economic growth and fiscal responsibility.

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Should the United States Have 2.2 Million More Jobs?

Papers • May 2013 • Michael Greenstone, Adam Looney

Following the last five recessions in U.S. history, the economy added government jobs—an average of 1.7 million, in fact—that helped  spur our economic recovery.  In contrast, during our recovery from the Great Recession, the economy has shed more than 500,000 government jobs. In this month’s employment analysis, The Hamilton Project  explores the trajectory of public-sector employment since the Great Recession. The findings show that if the policy response to this recession had been similar to the response after other recent recessions, the economy would have about 2.2 million more jobs today.

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An Evidence-Based Approach to Improving Worker Training Programs

Papers • April 2013 • Michael Greenstone, Adam Looney

There is significant pressure facing policymakers at all levels of government to fund programs that provide the best results for the best value. Worker training programs provide one example of where better use of evidence could dramatically improve outcomes for many Americans. In this month’s employment analysis, The Hamilton Project explores how the use of evidence and data could help workers determine which training programs can most effectively help them find employment and increase their earnings.

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Sequestration’s Threat to America’s Most Vulnerable

Papers • March 2013 • Michael Greenstone, Adam Looney

In this month’s employment analysis, The Hamilton Project looks at current poverty trends in the United States, the important role of government support programs, and how sequestration could remove critical aspects of the safety net in the midst of continued labor-market weakness. The Project finds sequestration could throw many American families back into poverty during this sensitive period of economic recovery by cutting the very programs that are helping them stay above water.

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Real Specifics: 15 Ways to Rethink the Federal Budget—Part II: Addressing Entitlements, Taxation and Revenues—Panel 2: Innovative Approaches to Tax Reform

February 28, 2013 • Video

Vice President and Co-Director of Economic Studies at The Brookings Institution Karen Dynan; Resident Scholar at the American Enterprise Institute Alan Viard; Senior Fellow and Policy Director of The Hamilton Project Adam Looney; Chief Economist at Pew Charitable Trusts Diane Lim; and Assistant Professor of Public Policy at the Harvard University John F. Kennedy School of Government Joseph E. Aldy participate in a roundtable discussion on innovative approaches to tax reform moderated by President of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities Robert Greenstein.

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15 Ideas for Smart Deficit Reduction

Papers • February 2013 • Michael Greenstone, Adam Looney

Hamilton Project Director Michael Greenstone and Policy Director Adam Looney preview The Project’s forthcoming budget report, which includes fifteen pragmatic, evidenced-based proposals to reduce the deficit and achieve broad-based economic benefits.

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Real Specifics: 15 Ways to Rethink the Federal Budget

February 20, 2013 • Video

Despite widespread agreement that the federal budget is on an unsustainable path, there is also widespread disagreement about what should be done. The Hamilton Project asked leading experts from a variety of backgrounds—the policy world, academia, and the private sector, and from both sides of the political aisle—to develop and share their ideas for addressing the deficit. The proposals will be released at two events scheduled for February 22 and February 26. In a dialogue previewing those events, Hamilton Project Director Michael Greenstone and Policy Director Adam Looney discuss some of the key ideas offered by the experts.

Greenstone stresses that the goal of the papers is to move beyond the fights and disagreements between President Obama and Congress and to provide some of the poetry, or some of the details, on how government might run better. The papers will also be featured in a book, 15 Ways to Rethink the Federal Budget, and will take on a wide-ranging set of topics, including immigration, transportation, health care, defense spending, and tax expenditures.

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The Benefits of a ‘Fix it First’ Approach

The Hamilton Project Blog • February 13, 2013

In last night’s State of the Union address, President Obama proposed a “Fix-it-First” approach to investing in our nation’s ailing infrastructure. This approach recognizes the value of the well-traveled network of roads and bridges that make up our nation’s existing highway system, and prioritizes the maintenance and rehabilitation of our deteriorating system. 

In “Fix It First, Expand It Second, Reward It Third: A New Strategy for America’s Highways," a paper commissioned by The Hamilton Project at Brookings, authors Matthew Kahn and David Levinson argue that the repair, maintenance, rehabilitation, reconstruction, and enhancement of our existing roads and bridges is the best way to maximize the benefits of infrastructure spending.  When first constructed decades ago, the interstate highway system led to economic gains by connecting people and businesses. The full benefits of that system has eroded as roads and bridges have deteriorated, contributing to congestion, longer travel times, increased wear and tear on vehicles, and even accidents. A fix-it-first approach would recoup the value we’re missing from using our current system inefficiently.

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Not All Cuts Are Created Equal:  Why Smart Deficit Reduction Matters

Papers • February 2013 • Michael Greenstone, Adam Looney

The federal budget deficit is still the nation’s major economic focus. In this month’s employment analysis, The Hamilton Project explores the potential impacts of enacted budget cuts, including the looming sequester, on America’s economic well-being. The Project finds that smart deficit reduction will require creative thinking about which budget areas can be made more efficient without damaging programs that are essential to promoting economic growth.

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The Economics of Immigration Reform

Papers • January 2013 • Michael Greenstone, Adam Looney

Immigration reform has taken center stage of the policy debate.  While most Americans agree that our immigration system is flawed, there remains a lack of understanding about immigration’s effects on wages, jobs, budgets, and the U.S. economy in general.  Two recent Hamilton Project papers provide important economic context for the issue and a potential path forward.

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The Fiscal Cliff Deal and Our Long-Run Budget Challenge

Papers • January 2013 • Michael Greenstone, Adam Looney

This week, lawmakers passed the American Taxpayer Relief Act to avoid much of the near-term drag on the economy that could have been triggered by the tax increases and spending cuts in the so-called fiscal cliff. In this month’s employment analysis, The Hamilton Project explores the projected effects of the bill on economic growth and the long-run budget deficit. The Project finds that the immediate budgetary effects of the bill are a positive step, but the debt-to-GDP level will continue to rise and lawmakers face more work in the months ahead.  

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How Long Will it Take to Get to 6.5 Percent Unemployment?

Papers • December 2012 • Michael Greenstone, Adam Looney

The Fed recently announced that it would keep interest rates at historic lows until the unemployment rate dropped below 6.5 percent, so long as inflation remained below 2.5 percent. In a new analysis, The Hamilton Project presents  a range of estimates of how long it will take for the unemployment rate to fall to 6.5 percent based on different rates of job growth and an assumption about the growth of the labor force.

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The Impact of Fiscal Cliff Negotiations on American Jobs: The Tradeoff Between Deficit Reduction and Economic Growth

Papers • December 2012 • Michael Greenstone, Adam Looney

As the year draws to a close, policymakers and the media have their sights fixed on the “fiscal cliff” – the rapidly approaching day on which federal law mandates precipitous cuts in spending and increases in taxes. In this month’s employment analysis, The Hamilton Project examines how various approaches to confronting the fiscal cliff are projected to impact the employment situation in the coming year. 

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Extending Unemployment Insurance — A Live Web Chat with THP Policy Director Adam Looney

Events • December 5, 2012 • Online Chat

The lame-duck Congress has a long “to-do” list in the final month of the year. Negotiations on a compromise to avoid the fiscal cliff are underway, and lawmakers on both sides of the aisle are also discussing whether or not to extend unemployment insurance for 12 million unemployed Americans before the benefits expire on December 29. What are the economic consequences of failing to extend unemployment benefits? Who will be most affected? What weight should we give to news from the Congressional Budget Office that extending benefits will add more than 300,000 jobs to the economy? On Wednesday, December 5, THP Policy Director Adam Looney will take your questions in a live web chat moderated by Vivyan Tran at POLITICO. For more information or to register for the webchat, click here.

Submit questions in advance to communications@brookings.edu.

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The Importance of Unemployment Insurance for American Families and the Economy

Papers • December 2012 • Michael Greenstone, Adam Looney

About two million U.S. residents stand to lose extended unemployment insurance benefits next month when legislation that temporarily increased how long people can claim benefits will expire. As lawmakers negotiate a path around the fiscal cliff and consider whether to extend these benefits, The Hamilton Project looks at the evidence on unemployment insurance, finding that the benefits of UI extension likely outweigh the costs.

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How Does Our Economic Future Compare with That of 2008? A Glimpse at America’s Road to Recovery

Papers • November 2012 • Michael Greenstone, Adam Looney

As Americans prepare to cast their ballots for president, many voters are pausing to assess the state of the economy. In this month’s employment analysis, The Hamilton Project reviews the available data to explore whether America’s economic future looks brighter today than it did four years ago and finds that the data clearly indicate a much rosier future for the United States than was the case in 2008.

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The Uncomfortable Truth About American Wages

Papers • October 2012 • Michael Greenstone, Adam Looney

The stagnation of wages in recent years has many causes, but reflects a failure to invest enough in the skills and productivity of the American workforce, Hamilton Project Director Michael Greenstone and Policy Director Adam Looney write in the New York Times' Economix.

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Regardless of the Cost, College Still Matters

Papers • October 2012 • Michael Greenstone, Adam Looney

There is ongoing debate about the rising cost of college and whether that investment is still worthwhile in today’s economy. In this month’s employment analysis, The Hamilton Project examines the rising cost of college over the last 30 years and finds that while college costs are growing, the increase in earnings one receives from a college degree—and, by extension, the cost of not going to college—are growing even faster. 

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Back to School:  Promoting Attainment and Achievement in K-12 Education

Events • September 27, 2012 • Washington, DC

On September 27th, The Hamilton Project at Brookings hosted a forum to discuss new approaches to promoting attainment and achievement in K-12 education.  The event included featured remarks by U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, highlighting recent progress on education reform, the difficult work still ahead, and the need for innovation to help advance reform efforts. 

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A Dozen Economic Facts About K-12 Education

Papers • September 2012 • Michael Greenstone, Adam Looney

The Hamilton Project explores both the condition of education in the United States and the economic evidence on several promising K-12 interventions that could improve the lives of Americans.

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Innovation is the Key to Better Education

Papers • September 2012 • Michael Greenstone, Adam Looney

Although innovation has revolutionized the American economy as a whole over the last century, the education sector has benefitted relatively little from these advances.In a forthcoming paper, The Hamilton Project compares the nation’s total expenditures on research and development by sector and finds spending on education lags behind other areas such as pharmaceuticals and medicine.

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Education Is The Key To Better Jobs

Papers • September 2012 • Michael Greenstone, Adam Looney

Is it enough to find a job, or should we be more focused on the quality of that job? There may be a range of perspectives on the best way to move our economy forward, but one element essential to any answer is education. The Hamilton Project examines the effects of education on income level and shows more education opens the gateway to better, higher-paying jobs.

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August Jobs Report:  The Private Sector Continues to Grow

Papers • August 2012 • Michael Greenstone, Adam Looney

The unemployment rate fell to 8.1 percent in August, according to today’s employment report, which is the lowest rate since the onset of the recession. The private sector added more than 100,000 jobs, continuing a steady recovery that has added 4.6 million jobs over the last 30 months. As of August, our nation faces a “jobs gap” of 11.3 million jobs.

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A Record Decline in Government Jobs: Implications for the Economy and America’s Workforce

The Hamilton Project Blog • August 3, 2012

The Hamilton Project examines the short- and long-term ramifications of declines in public-sector employment since the end of the Great Recession.

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A Record Decline in Government Jobs: Implications for the Economy and America’s Workforce

Papers • August 2012 • Michael Greenstone, Adam Looney

The Hamilton Project examines the short- and long-run impacts of public-sector job cuts since the Great Recession. If the share of government employment to population had remained at historical levels, the unemployment rate would be approximately 7.1 percent.

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The Role of Fiscal Stimulus in the Ongoing Recovery

The Hamilton Project Blog • July 6, 2012

The Hamilton Project examines the relationship between government spending and unemployment, finding that states that spent more during the Great Recession experienced a smaller increase in their unemployment rate.

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The Role of Fiscal Stimulus in the Ongoing Recovery

Papers • July 2012 • Michael Greenstone, Adam Looney

The Hamilton Project examines the relationship between government spending and unemployment, finding that states that spent more during the Great Recession experienced a smaller increase in their unemployment rate.

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Energy Policy Opportunities and Continuing Challenges in the Presence of Increased Supplies of Natural Gas and Petroleum

Papers • June 2012 • Michael Greenstone, Adam Looney

A new Hamilton Project framing memo summarizes recent changes in the energy sector, and lays out five principles for shaping energy and environmental policy. 

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The Role of Oil and Gas in Driving Job Growth

Papers • June 2012 • Michael Greenstone, Adam Looney

The Hamilton Project explores what increased domestic natural gas and oil production means for the American energy sector, the environment, and employment.

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The U.S. Immigration System: Potential Benefits of Reform

Papers • May 2012 • Michael Greenstone, Adam Looney

The Hamilton Project provides background information on the state of America’s immigration system, and discusses the economic benefits of reforming the system.

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What Immigration Means For U.S. Employment and Wages

Papers • May 2012 • Michael Greenstone, Adam Looney

Our nation’s immigration policy continues to be an issue of debate among policymakers, particularly the impact on the U.S. labor force. The Hamilton Project highlights the economic evidence on what immigration means for U.S. jobs and the economy.

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Economic Facts About Taxes: Rates, Revenues and Reform Options Photos

May 3, 2012 • Photo Galleries

On May 3, The Hamilton Project hosted a policy forum on the economic context for tax reform and the economic criteria that should be used when evaluating tax reform options.  As part of the event, the Project released a new policy memo, “A Dozen Facts About Tax Reform,” to help shed light on various aspects of the reform debate. Following opening remarks, former Council of Economic Advisers Chair Martin Feldstein and Lawrence H. Summers, former Assistant to the President for Economic Policy and former U.S. Treasury Secretary, discussed the broad economic case for tax reform. A second panel of experts debatde key principles for a successful tax reform effort, drawing from a range of experiences.  Participants included Business Roundtable President and former Michigan Governor John Engler; Center for American Progress Chair and Counselor John Podesta; NBER President and CEO James Poterba; and Brookings Senior Fellow Alice Rivlin.  After each panel, the speakers took audience questions.

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Economic Facts About Taxes: Welcome, Overview of “A Dozen Facts About Tax Reform,” and Roundtable: The Economic Case for Tax Reform

May 3, 2012 • Audio

Former Treasury Secretary and Hamilton Project Advisory Council member Robert E. Rubin welcomes the crowd at the event "Economic Facts About Taxes: Rates, Revenues and Reform Options," followed by an overview of “A Dozen Facts About Tax Reform" by Hamilton Project Policy Director Adam Looney.  Economics Editor of The Economist Zanny Minton Beddoes then moderates a discussion on the broad economic case for tax reform with former Council of Economic Advisers Chair Martin Feldstein and Lawrence H. Summers, former Assistant to the President for Economic Policy and former U.S. Treasury Secretary.
 

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Reductions in After-Tax Income as a Consequence of Eliminating Certain Tax Expenditures

May 3, 2012 • Charts

Eliminating or limiting tax expenditures are commonly endorsed tax reform options. However, as with other approaches to raising taxes, the distributional consequences of reducing tax expenditures depend largely on which tax expenditures are eliminated. This chart presents the distributional consequences of eliminating each of the six largest individual tax expenditures.

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Changes in Income and Tax Rates: The tax code has exacerbated increasing income inequality

May 3, 2012 • Charts

Earnings have risen dramatically at the top since 1979—by more than 250 percent for households in the top 1 percent of the income distribution. At the same time, many households at the middle and bottom have experienced stagnating incomes or even declines in earnings. Widening income inequality for workers has had significant consequences for American families, including greater disparities in the economic situations of children.

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Federal Spending vs. Tax Expenditures: Total tax expenditures are greater than many critical spending programs

May 3, 2012 • Charts

One of the primary reasons America’s tax revenues remain low relative to other industrialized countries is our use of special tax preferences, or “tax expenditures,” that provide individuals and businesses with opportunities to reduce their tax bills by undertaking certain actions. The magnitude of tax expenditures is comparable to the largest government spending programs; in total, they are about 8 percent of GDP.

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Before-Tax Profits Required to Pay $1 to Investors Across Sectors: Industry-specific tax breaks incentivize investment in specific industries.

May 3, 2012 • Charts

This chart shows how different effective corporate tax rates translate into pretax profitability. Companies in high-tax industries, such as steel, trucking, or utilities, must earn more than $1.40 in before-tax profits, on average, to return $1 to investors. On the other hand, companies in low-tax industries, such as biotechnology and Internet services and software, need to earn less than $1.20.

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Economic Facts About Taxes: Overview of “A Dozen Facts About Tax Reform”

May 3, 2012 • Video

Hamilton Project Policy Director Adam Looney provides an over of the new document “A Dozen Facts About Tax Reform” at the event "Economic Facts About Taxes: Rates, Revenues and Reform Options."

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A Dozen Economic Facts About Tax Reform

Papers • May 2012 • Michael Greenstone, Adam Looney

To provide an economic context for tax reform, The Hamilton Project has a new paper focusing on the role of our tax system in the long-run budget deficit, global competitiveness, and rising income inequality.

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Economic Facts About Taxes: Rates, Revenues and Reform Options

Events • May 3, 2012 • Washington, DC

Fiscal issues will rapidly come to the fore next fall as the federal government faces the looming expiration of the Bush-era tax cuts, the onset of the deficit “trigger,” and another debate on the debt limit. Across the political spectrum, one of the few points on which today’s policymakers can agree is that the tax code is in desperate need of reform. On May 3, The Hamilton Project hosted a policy forum on the economic context for tax reform and the economic criteria that should be used when evaluating tax reform options. 

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Increase in Pretax Earnings After a 10 Percent Tax Cut: Tax cuts have relatively small effects on the amounts people work.

May 2, 2012 • Charts

This chart uses the economic evidence from twenty-three published studies cited in Chetty (2011) to illustrate how a 10 percent cut in individual income tax rates might increase the pretax earnings of the typical tax-paying family earning about $70,000 per year.

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Paying Too Much for Energy? The True Costs of Our Energy Choices

Papers • April 2012 • Michael Greenstone, Adam Looney

In the Spring issue of Daedalus, Michael Greenstone and Adam Looney draw from previous Hamilton Project research to examine the “true social cost” of current energy consumption - nearly three times the amount that appears on utility bills.

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Just How Progressive is the U.S. Tax Code?

Papers • April 2012 • Michael Greenstone, Adam Looney

As tax time approaches, one focus of debate has been the progressivity of the U.S. tax code. Evidence shows that the current U.S. tax system is less progressive than the tax systems of other industrialized countries, and considerably less progressive today than it was just a few decades ago.

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The Truth about Taxes: Just About Everyone Pays Them

The Hamilton Project Blog • April 6, 2012

A popular tax myth is that a large segment of Americans do not pay taxes and instead freerideoff of our society.  The Hamilton Project exploresthis myth and finds that virtually allAmericanswill pay some form of taxduring their lifetime. 

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The Truth about Taxes: Just About Everyone Pays Them

Papers • April 2012 • Michael Greenstone, Adam Looney

A popular tax myth is that a large segment of Americans do not pay taxes and instead free ride off of our society.  The Hamilton Project explores this myth and finds that virtually all Americans will pay some form of tax during their lifetime. 

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Understanding the “Jobs Gap” and What it Says About America’s Evolving Workforce

The Hamilton Project Blog • March 9, 2012

The Hamilton Project examines how our nation’s changing demographics may impact the composition of America’s workforce in the years ahead.  By exploring these changes, we can better understand how long it will take the labor market to recover, and what the labor force may look like in the new economy.

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Understanding the “Jobs Gap” and What it Says About America’s Evolving Workforce

Papers • March 2012 • Michael Greenstone, Adam Looney

The Hamilton Project reexamines the current rate of labor force expansion, and how shifts in labor force participation will decrease the time it will take to close the “jobs gap.” As a result of new methodology based on population estimates, we now project that at a job creation rate of 208,000 per month, it will take until 2020 to close the jobs gap, rather than late 2023 as we had projected with the old method. 

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The Marriage Gap:  The Impact of Economic and Technological Change on Marriage Rates

The Hamilton Project Blog • February 3, 2012

The Hamilton Project examines the decline the marriagesover the last 50 years, highlighting thecorrelation between income level and likelihood of marrying. The decline in marriage is concentrated among less-educated, lower-income Americans.

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The Marriage Gap:  The Impact of Economic and Technological Change on Marriage Rates

Papers • February 2012 • Michael Greenstone, Adam Looney

The Hamilton Project examines the decline the marriages over the last 50 years, highlighting the correlation between income level and likelihood of marrying. The decline in marriage is concentrated among less-educated, lower-income Americans.

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Shrinking Job Opportunities: The Challenge of Putting Americans Back to Work

The Hamilton Project Blog • January 6, 2012

The Hamilton Project compares trends in unemployment duration before and after the Great Recession and finds that the probability of finding new employment is considerably lower today than it was before the recession.

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Shrinking Job Opportunities: The Challenge of Putting Americans Back to Work

Papers • January 2012 • Michael Greenstone, Adam Looney

The Hamilton Project compares trends in unemployment duration before and after the Great Recession and finds that the probability of finding new employment is considerably lower today than it was before the recession.

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What is Happening to America’s Less-Skilled Workers? The Importance of Education and Training in Today’s Economy

The Hamilton Project Blog • December 2, 2011

The Hamilton Project explores the employment and earnings trends facing America’s less-educated workers over the last few decades, and highlights training and workforce development opportunities that could be part of the policy solution.

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What is Happening to America’s Less-Skilled Workers? The Importance of Education and Training in Today’s Economy

Papers • December 2011 • Michael Greenstone, Adam Looney

The Hamilton Project explores the employment and earnings trends facing America’s less-educated workers over the last few decades, and highlights training and workforce development opportunities that could be part of the policy solution.

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Impacts of Training Program Earnings by Years After Training

November 30, 2011 • Charts

It is critical that worker training programs be rigorously evaluated so that scare training resources can be targeted toward the most effective programs.

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Federal Funding for DOL Training Programs, 1985-2011

November 30, 2011 • Charts

Federal spending on job training programs by the U.S. Department of Labor has gradually fallen since the 1980s, aside from a bump in 2009 from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

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Building America’s Job Skills with Effective Workforce Programs: A Training Strategy to Raise Wages and Increase Work Opportunities

Papers • November 2011 • Michael Greenstone, Adam Looney

Amid the Great Recession and rapid technological changes, both workers with less education and workers who have been displaced from long-tenured jobs face challenges because they lack the particular skills that employers demand for good-paying jobs. In a new Hamilton Project strategy paper, Michael Greenstone and Adam Looney address the importance of developing workers’ skills through training and workforce development programs, and examine newly available evidence on policies that boost job opportunities and wages.

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Earnings of Workers Who Lost Their Job in the Great Recession

November 4, 2011 • Charts

Recent research suggests that hardship for dislocated workers extends beyond periods of unemployment.  Once reemployed, workers typically earn significantly less than they did prior to job loss.

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Unemployment and Earnings Losses: The Long-Term Impacts of The Great Recession on American Workers

The Hamilton Project Blog • November 4, 2011

The Hamilton Project explores the experiences of workers who lost their jobs during the height of the Great Recession and finds that even those workers who have found new employment often earn significantly less than before.

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Unemployment and Earnings Losses: The Long-Term Impacts of The Great Recession on American Workers

Papers • November 2011 • Michael Greenstone, Adam Looney

The Hamilton Project explores the experiences of workers who lost their jobs during the height of the Great Recession and finds that even those workers who have found new employment often earn significantly less than before. 

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Change in Family Earnings of Children, 1975-2010

October 7, 2011 • Charts

Over the last 35 years, the opportunity gap for children whose parents are at different ends of the earnings distribution has grown.  Children at the 90th percentile of the distribution of family earnings have experienced a 45 percent increase, while children at the 25th percentile have experienced a decline of over 20 percent.

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What Is Happening to America’s Children? A Look At The Widening Opportunity Gap for Today’s Youth

The Hamilton Project Blog • October 7, 2011

Resources available to children can have long-term effects on their quality of life. The Project examines the family earnings devoted to the typical American child and finds that half of children are now worse off than their counterparts 35 years ago.

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What Is Happening to America’s Children? A Look At The Widening Opportunity Gap for Today’s Youth

Papers • October 2011 • Michael Greenstone, Adam Looney

Resources available to children can have long-term effects on their quality of life. The Project examines the family earnings devoted to the typical American child and finds that half of children are now worse off than their counterparts 35 years ago.

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Annual Earnings of Teachers and Non-Teachers

September 27, 2011 • Charts

Over the last 40 years, the salary gap between teachers and nonteachers has grown by over $10,000.

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Average Mathematics Test Scores for 17-Year-Old White and Black Students

September 27, 2011 • Charts

Investments in education have narrowed the black-white skill gap for much of the twentieth century, but has stagnated since the 1980s.

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Average Mathematics Test Scores for 15-Year-Olds, OECD Countries

September 27, 2011 • Charts

The United States scores below the OCED average in mathematics, despite spending $3,000 more per student than the OCED average.

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Average Math and Reading Test Scores for 17 Year Olds

September 27, 2011 • Charts

Over the last 30 years, math and reading test scores for high school seniors have barely moved.

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Improving Student Outcomes: Restoring America’s Education Potential

Papers • September 2011 • Michael Greenstone, Adam Looney

For decades, education has boosted U.S. productivity and earnings, forged a path out of poverty for many families, helped disadvantaged students narrow the learning gap with their peers, and developed a workforce that continues to be among the most productive and innovative on Earth.  However, in recent years educational attainment and performance have stagnated.  In this strategy paper, The Hamilton Project provides a dual-track approach to improving educational outcomes for K-12 students by addressing structural barriers and implementing short-term cost-effective reforms to improve student performance.

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Are We Short-Changing our Future? The Economic Imperative of Attracting Great Teachers

The Hamilton Project Blog • September 22, 2011

America’s workforce needs a strong education system to compete and research demonstrates the power of a good teacher to boost student achievement.  However, hiring and retaining effective teachers has become difficult, partly due to compensation.  In a new policy memo, The Hamilton Project explores the relative salary declines of teachers during the last four decades when compared to other professions.

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Are We Short-Changing our Future? The Economic Imperative of Attracting Great Teachers

Papers • September 2011 • Michael Greenstone, Adam Looney

America's workforce needs a strong eduction system to compete and research demonstrates the power of a good teacher to boost student achievement. However, hiring and retaining effective teachers has become difficult, partly due to compensation. In a new policy memo, The Hamilton Project explores the relative salary declines of teachers during the last four decades when compared to other professions.

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Decline in Employment Rates by State Since 2007

September 2, 2011 • Charts

While all states have lost jobs during the Great Recession, these losses have not been equally shared across the nation.

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Taking the Job Gap to the State Level: A Closer Look at the August Employment Numbers

Papers • September 2011 • Michael Greenstone, Adam Looney

As President Barack Obama prepares to give a major jobs address, Michael Greenstone and Adam Looney examine the “job gap” across the United States, looking at the areas of the country that remain hardest hit by the Great Recession.

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Taking the Job Gap to the State Level: A Closer Look at the August Employment Numbers

The Hamilton Project Blog • September 2, 2011

As President Barack Obama prepares to give a major jobs address, Michael Greenstone and Adam Looney examine the “job gap” across the United States, looking at the areas of the country that remain hardest hit by the Great Recession.

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Productivity and Compensation in the United States

August 5, 2011 • Charts

In the past 40 years, as the pace of innovation has slowed, American workers have experienced lower growth rates of productivity and compensation.

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Deaths from Major Infectious Disease

August 5, 2011 • Charts

Technological and medical innovations have drastically reduced the mortality rate and increased life expectancy in the United States

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Post-Secondary Degrees Awarded in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) Fields

August 5, 2011 • Charts

The United States lags far behind other countries in training students in the STEM fields that advance scientific and technological innovations.

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Cost of Computing Power Equal to an iPad2

August 5, 2011 • Charts

Since the advent of computers, consumers have enjoyed greater bang for their buck as computers have become increasingly powerful.

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Increasing Productivity and Boosting Wages: Is Innovation the Answer?

Papers • August 2011 • Michael Greenstone, Adam Looney

Examining data about the current state of the economy and job growth in June, Michael Greenstone and Adam Looney look at the role innovation could play in aiding the faltering economy by increasing productivity, boosting wages, and improving the quality of life for American families.

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A Dozen Economic Facts About Innovation

Papers • August 2011 • Michael Greenstone, Adam Looney

During the last century, medical, technical, and business  innovations have driven economic growth, increased wages, and improved living standards in the United States.  In recent years, however, those gains have stagnated.  The Hamilton Project examines the role of innovation in driving the U.S. economy, including its historical importance, the current pace of growth, and opportunities for investments to benefit America’s future.

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Increasing Productivity and Boosting Wages: Is Innovation the Answer?

The Hamilton Project Blog • August 5, 2011

Examining data about the current state of the economy and job growth in June, Michael Greenstone and Adam Looney look at the role innovation could play in aiding the faltering economy by increasing productivity, boosting wages, and improving the quality of life for American families.

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Trends: Reduced Earnings for Men in America

Papers • July 2011 • Michael Greenstone, Adam Looney

Over the past 40 years, U.S. GDP per capita has more than doubled, but the median male in the 25-64 age group now earns 28 percent less. Drawing on previous work by The Hamilton Project, Michael Greenstone and Adam Looney address some of the workforce challenges plaguing American men.

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The Great Recession May Be Over, but American Families Are Working Harder than Ever

The Hamilton Project Blog • July 8, 2011

Michael Greenstone and Adam Looney examine the trend in median earnings for the American family over the last 30 years. They find that the typical American family is earning more, but almost entirely because parents are working more.

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Median Earnings and Annual Hours Worked for Two-Parent Families

July 8, 2011 • Charts

Median wages for the American family have increased over the last twenty-five years, but these incresase are largely due to additional hours worked.

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The Great Recession May Be Over, but American Families Are Working Harder than Ever

Papers • July 2011 • Michael Greenstone, Adam Looney

Michael Greenstone and Adam Looney examine the trend in median earnings for the American family over the last 30 years. They find that the typical American family is earning more, but almost entirely because parents are working more.

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Where is the Best Place to Invest $102,000 — In Stocks, Bonds, or a College Degree?

The Hamilton Project Blog • June 25, 2011

Is college a worthwhile investment?  Hamilton Project director Michael Greenstone and policy director Adam Looney compare the value of a college degree to other investment options and find higher education provides, by far, the greatest rate of return.

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Rate of Return of College Compared to Alternative Investments

June 25, 2011 • Charts

Despite continued debate over the value of a college education, data shows that higher education has a much higher rate of return than any other investment.

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Where is the Best Place to Invest $102,000 — In Stocks, Bonds, or a College Degree?

Papers • June 2011 • Michael Greenstone, Adam Looney

Is college a worthwhile investment? Hamilton Project Director Michael Greenstone and Policy Director Adam Looney compare the value of a college degree to other investment options and find higher education provides, by far, the greatest rate of return. 

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How Do Recent College Grads Really Stack Up? Employment and Earnings for Graduates of the Great Recession

The Hamilton Project Blog • June 3, 2011

As the job market continues to struggle, there has been much debate about whether a college education has been worth the investment for recent graduates. Michael Greenstone and Adam Looney examine whether recent college graduates are better off, in terms of employment and earnings, than their counterparts who did not invest in a degree. 

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Earnings by Education Level

June 3, 2011 • Charts

In today’s economy, those young adults with a college degree are more likely to be employed and earn higher wages than their peers with a high school diploma only or less.

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How Do Recent College Grads Really Stack Up? Employment and Earnings for Graduates of the Great Recession

Papers • June 2011 • Michael Greenstone, Adam Looney

As the job market continues to struggle, there has been much debate about whether a college education has been worth the investment for recent graduates. Michael Greenstone and Adam Looney examine whether recent college graduates are better off, in terms of employment and earnings, than their counterparts who did not invest in a degree.

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Private and Social Costs of Electricity Generation by Source

May 18, 2011 • Charts

When energy sources are priced, including the social costs – environmental degregation and health risks, different winners and losers come out than when prices are simply those shown at the pump. 

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A Strategy for America’s Energy Future: Illuminating Energy’s Full Costs

Papers • May 2011 • Michael Greenstone, Adam Looney

America’s energy choices are built on the prices we see at the pump and our utility bills. Yet these prices mask the social costs arising from those energy choices, including shorter lives, higher health care expenses, a changing climate, and weakened national security. Michael Greenstone and Adam Looney provide four principles for reforming America’s energy policies to help level the playing field for all energy sources — moving away from a system that favors energy sources with lower prices at the pump but higher costs to society through health impacts and our ongoing reliance on foreign oil.

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America’s Energy Future: New Solutions to Fuel Economic Growth and Prosperity

Events • May 18, 2011 • Washington, DC

America’s current energy system poses long-term threats to national security, health, and the environment. On May 18, The Hamilton Project hosted a forum on America’s energy future, focusing on strategies to give all energy sources equal footing in the marketplace and expand America’s opportunities to utilize cleaner, low-cost sources of energy. 

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Counties Not Meeting Clean Air Act Standards

May 6, 2011 • Charts

The map above shows counties designated “non-attainment” by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency because their pollution concentrations of specific contaminants exceeded the National Ambient Air Quality Standards.

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We Are What We Breathe: The Impacts of Air Pollution on Employment and Productivity

The Hamilton Project Blog • May 6, 2011

Despite modest improvement in April jobs numbers, the job gap — the number of U.S. jobs that must be created to return to pre-recession levels — is just under 12 million. Michael Greenstone and Adam Looney also explore the impact of air pollution on long-term employment and the productivity of American workers.

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