In the News

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Smoking’s growing income gap

Bloomberg View • May 26, 2015 • Peter Orszag

"The income gap between smokers and nonsmokers has grown. And it's something companies may need to address directly in their efforts to help employees kick the habit..."

Seven wonders in my world

Delmarva now • May 25, 2015 • Gains Hawkins

"...I wonder how many people are aware of the shrinkage in public sector employees over the last several decades. GOPers I ask usually guess 30 percent. In fact, we now have the fewest federal employees since 1966. And according to research by The Hamilton Project, we now have the lowest level of public-private sector employment in 30 years — just 9 percent of the population..."

Paypal founder Peter Thiel: China must innovate or risk economic stagnation

South China Morning Post • May 24, 2015 • Alice Woodhouse

"The highly competitive nature of China’s start-up scene could limit the success of companies involved, according to venture capitalist and Paypal founder Peter Thiel. In Hong Kong to promote his book Zero to One, Thiel put forward his theory that having a monopoly is the key to success for start-ups competing in the world's second-largest economy..."

Free Lunch: Slice your cake and grow it too

Financial Times • May 21, 2015 • Martin Sandbu

"...The discussion, between Greg Mankiw, Justin Wolfers, Heather Boushey and Melissa Kearney, demonstrated the deep and lasting influence Okun's work had on the US economics profession - interested readers can watch it or read the transcript..."

Chinese drivers pay for roads. Why can’t Americans?

Bloomberg View • May 21, 2015 • Peter Orszag

'...A new paper from the Hamilton Project lays out several ways in which we could facilitate user fees in the U.S. The federal government could, for example, establish a single national standard for electronic toll collection, perhaps through a smartphone application that would function much like an E-ZPass. The authors also suggest a set of national guidelines for congestion pricing, with variable user fees that depend on traffic flows and so reduce demand on infrastructure at peak times..."

Student debt 101: dearth of data fuels common misperceptions

The Conversation • May 21, 2015 • Nick Hillman

"...Some researchers argue students can shoulder even more debt because the financial returns on education are so vast. From this perspective, we do not have a borrowing crisis – we have a repayment crisis, as argued by researchers at the Brookings' Hamilton Project. To fix it, policymakers should make repayment programs that are more responsive to students’ incomes..."

A better way to pay for our infrastructure fixes?

The Fiscal Times • May 21, 2015 • Rob Garver

"The study, by a trio of highly regarded experts working with the Brookings Institution’s Hamilton Project, proposes that over the long term, that better way might be to take infrastructure funding out of the hands of government officials — particularly federal officials — and largely automate it though the collection of user fees like road tolls and transit fares..."

Quality, not just quantity, of infrastructure needs attention

The Wall Street Journal • May 20, 2015 • Greg Ip

"...The Hamilton Project, a think tank, notes that federal spending per 1,000 miles traveled per vehicle varies from $12 in Georgia to $98 in Alaska. A similar number of miles were driven in Tennessee and New Jersey, but Tennessee received 42% more federal funding..."

How the minimum wage debate moved from capitol hill to city halls

NPR • May 20, 2015 • Danielle Kurtzleben

"...But there's a case for setting city-specific minimum wages nationwide. In a 2014 paper for the Hamilton Project, a part of the left-leaning think tank the Brookings Institution, MIT professor Arindrajit Dube agreed with this idea, arguing that "one-size-fits-all" minimum wages hurt people in cities with higher costs of living. His idea is to set local and state minimum wages at half the state or local median wage. That could cut the number of Americans in poverty by 2.2 million, he wrote. It's an argument city council members and mayors nationwide clearly have considered, and they certainly aren't going to wait for the federal government to act..."

Larry Summers: Economic growth is ‘not inspiring’

CNBC • May 20, 2015 • Matthew J. Belvedere

"Former Clinton Treasury Secretary Larry Summers said Wednesday he expects the U.S. economy to expand at a quicker pace than in the first quarter, but there are still hurdles. Summers, also a former Obama administration economic advisor, predicted growth in the low to mid 2 percent range for 2015. "That's not inspiring performance," he said, "but that's hardly reversion to recession."
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A periodic newsletter of events, policy briefs, and working papers from The Hamilton Project.