In the News

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Water sector ripe for innovation and investment, finds Stanford-led report

Stanford News • November 10, 2014 • Rob Jordan

The paper was released during "New Directions for U.S. Water Policy," a recent forum at Stanford that featured comments from California Gov. Jerry Brown, former U.S. Treasury Secretary Robert E. Rubin, Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg and a range of experts from federal and municipal agencies, universities, agricultural interests, businesses and nonprofits. The forum, co-hosted by the Stanford Woods Institute and The Hamilton Project at the Brookings Institution, focused national attention on the Western United States' ongoing drought, market mechanisms for mitigating water shortages, the path to water innovation and global warming's impacts on water resources.

We’ve Overlooked a Major Student-Debt Problem

Newser • November 10, 2014 • Jenn Gidman

Although spending on a four-year college degree brings in a 15% return, according to the Hamilton Project via the Washington Post, some graduate students aren't sure anything beyond that is worth it.

The Hamilton Project evaluates differences in U.S. water use

Water Technology • November 10, 2014

The release reported that despite these challenges, not all U.S. regions have the same water needs, and The Hamilton Project, using newly released data, presents an economic analysis and accompanying interactive feature to illustrate the variation in the level and nature of water use across the U.S.

US Water Consumption Lowest in Decades

Just Means • November 10, 2014 • RP Siegel

These numbers were rolled up at a national level. Drilling down into the numbers, as the folks at the Hamilton Project did, shows a wide variation in water usage across the various regions of the country. Regionally, most of the withdrawals for power generation occurred east of the Mississippi, though there is a substantial concentration in Southern California as well. As for irrigation, on the other hand, most of this took place west of the Mississippi, though there is also a dense pocket in Southern Florida.

The State of the U.S. Labor Market: Pre-November 2014 Jobs Release

Center for American Progress • November 6, 2014 • Michael Madowitz and Jackie Odum

As for job growth, during the economic expansion of the 1990s, the economy added at least 250,000 jobs per month 47 times. During the current expansion, which has now lasted roughly half as long, we have seen only six months of job growth greater than 250,000, which includes abnormal hiring involved with conducting the decennial census. Meanwhile, at the average rate of job growth over the past three years, The Hamilton Project estimates that we will not reach our former level of employment, when factoring in new labor-force entrants, until mid-2019.*

Americans Are Bad at Guessing How Long They’ll Live

Wall Street Journal • November 6, 2014 • Josh Zumbrun

In 1992, researchers at the University of Michigan‘s Health and Retirement Study began asking people in their late 50s to estimate their odds of living to the age of 75, and have followed them since. New research, being presented today at the Brookings Institution, shows just how poor a job those initial respondents have done. Among the people who thought they had no chance of living to age 75 (presumably, a group in very bad health in their late 50s), nearly half of them–49%–actually reached the age of 75. Among people who gave themselves 50-50 odds, a full 75% actually lived to age 75. In fact, aside from people who gave themselves 90% or 100% odds of living to age 75, nearly everyone was too pessimistic about their chances. (Though people who give themselves 100% odds aren’t being terribly realistic.) The paper’s authors Katharine Abraham from the University of Maryland and Benjamin Harris from Brookings, are presenting the data as part of a conference on retirement security. Their paper suggests that many people aren’t necessarily planning out their retirement savings in the right way.

A New Do-Nothing Congress

Bloomberg View • November 4, 2014 • Peter Orszag

The question of the day is, What difference will it make if Republicans take the Senate? The backdrop is a highly polarized political environment. Regardless of whether it's preferable for Congress to enact bipartisan laws, the moderates who produce them are so rare that only partisan legislation is likely to be considered. Getting such laws passed, though, requires that one party control not just the House and the Senate but also the White House. In a world where you need all three, having two as opposed to one doesn’t matter much.

Could Republicans Help End Mass Incarceration?

Harvard Political Review • November 4, 2014 • Farris Peale

State prisons host six times as many prisoners as federal prisons, and as such, bear the brunt of much of the cost of the prison system – and it is a high cost indeed. All in all, the Brookings Institution[‘s Hamilton Project] has found that prisons cost the government more than 80 billion dollars per year.

Will Retirees Come to Love Longevity Annuities?

Forbes • November 4, 2014 • Howard Gleckman

On Thursday, several retirement experts will tackle the challenges of longevity annuities at a Brookings Institution event. The program will begin with a presentation by Katharine Abraham of the University of Maryland, followed by two panels. In the first, David John of AARP, Henry Aaron of Brookings, and Ben Harris of the Hamilton Project will debate the pros and cons of these investments. David Wessel of the Hutchins Center on Fiscal and Monetary Policy will moderate.

DOL urged to reform annuity safe harbors

Benefits Pro • November 4, 2014 • Nick Thornton

Americans are not good at predicting their own death. In fact, data cited in a new Brookings Institution paper on the value of longevity annuities says that half of the people who think they won’t live to see age 75 actually do. And a lot of them live much longer. That’s part of the reason why University of Maryland professor Katharine Abraham and Brookings fellow Benjamin Harris write in favor of improving the regulatory framework around longevity annuities to encourage more plan sponsors to include the option in 401(k) menus.

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Hamilton Project Updates

A periodic newsletter of events, policy briefs, and working papers from The Hamilton Project.