On The Record Spotlight

In the News Icon

Why you can’t solve income inequality by sending people to college

"..."I am all for improving education," Summers told Wonkblog earlier this month. "But to suggest that improving education is the solution to inequality is, I think, an evasion."...Summers and his collaborators, the Upjohn Institute's Brad Hershbein and Melissa S. Kearney of the University of Maryland, calculated what would happen if they could wave their magic wands and give a college education to about 6.8 million American men who don't already have one. Relatively speaking, that's an enormous increase -- about the same proportion as the increase in the overall share of the population with a college degree since 1979..."

In the News Icon

Summers’ inequality simulation surprises

"...Former Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers released an analysis Tuesday that concludes that a college education helps address the gap... Summers co-authored an analysis published by the Hamilton Project, part of the center-left Brookings Institution. Summers simulated the effect that a college degree would have on a working-age man, with an eye toward showing what it’d do for earnings and earnings inequality..."

In the News Icon

New research shows education won’t fix inequality

"...But is education really the solution to inequality that it’s often presented as? A new paper from the Hamilton Project, co-authored by former Treasury Secretary and former Harvard University president Lawrence Summers, argues that the answer is no. Instead, the researchers assert, policymakers tend conflate two separate issues: helping lower-income Americans become more financially secure and decreasing inequality overall..."


In the News Icon

Why more education won’t fix economic inequality

"...Brad Hershbein, Melissa Kearney and Lawrence Summers offer a simple little simulation that shows the limits of education as an inequality-fighter. In short, more education would be great news for middle and lower-income Americans, increasing their pay and economic security. It just isn’t up to the task of meaningfully reducing inequality, which is being driven by the sharp upward movement of the very top of the income distribution..."


In the News Icon

More college degrees aren’t enough to wipe out inequality, paper says

"Better education would lift the earnings of men in the bottom half of the income scale but wouldn’t be enough to erase inequality between the rich and poor, according to a new paper...The study, by economists Brad Hershbein, Melissa Kearney and former Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers, simulates the impact of a bachelor’s degree on the population of men 25 to 64 who don’t have one."

In the News Icon

Obama colleagues Summers and Furman talk economic growth

"Former University President Lawrence H. Summers and Jason L. Furman ‘92, the current chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers, discussed domestic economic growth at a packed John F. Kennedy Jr. Forum at the Institute of Politics Monday night...Both men, who previously worked together as economic advisers in the Obama Administration, touched on concerns surrounding tepid growth in the U.S. economy overall, in addition to issues like income inequality, healthcare costs, and stagnant growth for the middle class..."

In the News Icon

Why More Bachelor’s Degrees Won’t Solve Inequality

"...What these analyses usually lack is a clear picture of what the world might look like if we successfully increased college graduation. But today, economists Larry Summers, Melissa Kearney, and Brad Hershbein have stepped up to offer an answer in a short paper for the Hamilton Project. The team finds that, yes, boosting bachelor's degree attainment would decrease inequality a bit, mostly by bringing lower-income workers a bit closer to the middle class..."


In the News Icon

Entitlement reform: Dead or alive?

"...In his recently released budget, Obama offered few new ideas for addressing long-term entitlement costs, a position that reflects the increasingly progressive tone coming from the White House in the president's final two years..."The combination of discretionary spending cuts, slower growth in health spending and tax rate increases has slowed the projected growth of debt, but not reversed it," Alice Rivlin, former budget director under President Clinton, told the Washington Examiner. "I would not advise the president to jump back on this issue right now."..."

In the News Icon

Alice M. Rivlin to receive the Economic Club of New York Award for leadership excellence

"Alice M. Rivlin, a senior fellow in the Economic Studies Department at the Brookings Institution; founding Director of the Congressional Budget Office and former Vice Chairman of the Federal Reserve System has been elected by the Economic Club of New York to receive its third Award for Leadership Excellence. Ms. Rivlin will receive the award and speak at a luncheon at the Waldorf Astoria in New York on Tuesday, April 21, 2015..."


In the News Icon

Why the TPP is a game changer

"...And the pamphlet’s populist message was the antithesis of the position Obama championed during a 2006 speech delivered to members of the Hamilton Project:
"I think that if you polled many of the people in this room, most of us are strong free traders and most of us believe in markets. Bob and I have had a running debate now for about a year about how do we, in fact, deal with the losers in a globalized economy..."

In the News Icon

Panel discussion: The impacts of climate change on water resources

"The Hamilton Project at Brookings and the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment hosted the forum, New Directions for U.S. Water Policy, in October of last year, which focused on the release of three new papers and featured panels discussing water markets, innovation, and climate change..."


In the News Icon

Grading the economy’s recovery

"Former WH budget director Peter Orszag explains says the focus on transparency and the Federal Reserve is misplaced. Orszag also says the economy "could be doing better."


In the News Icon

Despite anti-fraud rhetoric, Republican budgets omit funding to combat fraud and abuse

"The budgets that the House and Senate will consider this week leave out the funding that the 2011 Budget Control Act (BCA) specifically allows for “program integrity” activities to fight fraud and abuse in Medicare, Medicaid, and disability programs, despite the fact that these activities have a proven track record of saving money.  This action stands in contrast to Republican claims that their budgets will make government spending more “efficient and effective.”


In the News Icon

Maine’s minimum wage looks a little worse when factoring in prices

"...Economist Arindrajit Dube, a leading proponent of local minimum wages, has argued in various forums against that concern. In a recent paper for the Brookings Institution’s Hamilton Project, he advocated the approach Portland Mayor Michael Brennan tried in pushing for a municipal minimum wage hike. That method would set the minimum wage at about half the local median income..."


In the News Icon

It is actually illegal in Colorado to collect the rain that falls on your home

"...In a report for the [Hamilton Project at] Brookings Institution last October, he and co-authors Peter Culp and Gary Libecap suggest a menu of water contracts that farmers and cities could buy and sell.
“The perfect example is a dry year option, whereby a broccoli grower agrees not to grow broccoli in a dry season to let either a thirsty orchard producer or a city use the water,” Glennon said. The broccoli grower gets paid every year, wet or dry, for a steady stream of income. The orchard producer gets insurance that he’ll have enough water for his almond trees, even during a drought..."

In the News Icon

No voter consensus on debt-ceiling debate

"Almost half of U.S. registered voters said Congress should not increase the nation’s borrowing limit, according to a new Morning Consult poll. Twenty-four percent of respondents said lawmakers should pass a bill that would allow the federal government to borrow more money, while 27 percent have no opinion on the matter.
At the same time, a plurality – 40 percent – said an economic crisis would ensue if Capitol Hill failed to raise the country’s debt limit. That contrasts with the 30 percent who said no such catastrophe would ensue.
Alice Rivlin, former director of both the Congressional Budget Office and the Office of Management and Budget, said in an interview this week that the out-of-sync responses are due to the issue’s complexity..."

In the News Icon

Finding the Right Price for Water

"A Brookings [Hamilton Project] report finds that the current drought is serious indeed, but not unprecedented. Serious droughts occur almost every decade, and the current one is within historical range. Though it doesn't help that the driest regions of the country are also experiencing rapid population growth...The drought's cost to agriculture has been estimated to be as high as $1.5 billion. According to a report by The Hamilton Project, agriculture accounts for over 80 percent of water consumption in the American West..."


In the News Icon

Capitalism - What comes next?

"In this exclusive interview series, we speak to Nobel Prize Winning Economist, Edmund Phelps (Director of the Columbia University Center on Capitalism & Society and the McVickar Professor of Political Economy at Columbia University) and Professor Lawrence ‘Larry’ H. Summers (Charles W. Eliot University Professor and President Emeritus at Harvard University. He served as the 71st Secretary of the Treasury for President Clinton and the Director of the National Economic Council for President Obama). We look at the story of modern capitalism, the benefits it has brought, and the challenges it has created..." 


In the News Icon

Men, money and the marriage crisis

"...Here I’m very doubtful. The Matt Bruenig piece I cited in my last post makes that case, arguing that men in lower income deciles have seen their wages fall by as much as 34 percent since 1969; likewise, an earlier Hamilton Project estimate that found median male earnings declining by 28 percent over roughly that period. But both estimates are vulnerable to a pretty convincing critique, offered here and here by Scott Winship..."


In the News Icon

Push for better wages driven by New Orleans area families falling short

"...Louisiana also has more low-wage workers than nearly anywhere else in the country. According to an analysis by the Hamilton Project, an economic-policy initiative of the Brookings Institution, 34.76 percent of Louisiana workers earned 150 percent of the minimum wage or less in 2012, the latest year for which data was available..."


In the News Icon

Balancing the budget in ten years and no new revenue are flawed budget goals

“The House and Senate are expected to consider their respective budget resolutions starting next week.  Press reports suggest that the resolutions will likely be shaped in substantial part by two fiscal goals:  balancing the budget over the next ten years, which would likely require roughly $4½ trillion in policy savings, and using no new revenues to help achieve those large savings…”


In the News Icon

Altman: 5.5% jobless not telling true labor story

“The Federal Reserve better not rush to increase interest rates in June because the labor market is really weaker than it appears, former Deputy Treasury Secretary Roger Altman said Thursday.
"I don't think 5.5 percent [unemployment rate] is the best measure of labor market conditions," the former Clinton administration official said in a CNBC "Squawk Box " interview…”

In the News Icon

Is this the solution to the long-term unemployment problem?

“…One argument in favor of cutting such programs is that it leads to long-term dependency on government. While that hasn’t necessarily proven to be true, it has been the prevailing logic in reducing benefits, or allowing those benefits to run out — although many recipients have yet to find a new position. According to The Hamilton Project’s Adriana Kugler, reforming the way we think about unemployment insurance programs may be the key to solving the long-term unemployment problem once and for all…”


In the News Icon

The GOP’s political budget scorekeeping

“Tax cuts have been the lodestar of Republican economic policy ever since the Reagan revolution. The central tenet of supply-side economics is that lower marginal tax rates reduce the disincentive effects of taxation, thereby augmenting the economy’s capacity to produce…”


In the News Icon

EU off the bottom, expect slow recovery: Roger Altman

“Roger Altman, Evercore Partners chairman, shares his thoughts on the Fed's stress test for banks and the rapid decline of the euro.”


In the News Icon

Policymakers try to bridge a 4 million jobs gap

“…Yet, as analysts at the Brookings Institution’s Hamilton Project are quick to point out, America’s “jobs gap,” or the number of jobs the economy needs to create in order to return to pre-Great Recession employment levels while accounting for population changes, is still massive.
As of the end of February, the U.S. was still saddled with a jobs gap of four million positions…”

In the News Icon

In the News Icon

America’s unemployment insurance programs need to be reimagined

“…A new [Hamilton Project] Brookings study looks at what can be done to shorten the average length of unemployment, and considers how the current system of unemployment insurance could be revised to achieve this goal. The report, which is written by Adriana Kugler, a professor at Georgetown University and former chief economist at the U.S. Department of Labor, proposes a number of radical changes to the prerequisites for receiving unemployment-insurance payments…”


In the News Icon

After jobs dry up, what then?

“…Laura Tyson, a professor at the Haas School of Business at the University of California, said the Nordic countries, with their flexible labor markets and generous social safety nets, could be a model. But in many countries, that would require a fundamental rethink of what and whom governments tax and of where the tax revenue is invested…”


In the News Icon

Can Egypt do better at business?

“On March 13, Egypt will open a big economic development conference in Sharm el-Sheikh intended to show the world that it is fixing its economy and to attract foreign investment. The conference is pitched as a “key milestone of the government’s medium term economic development plan.”


In the News Icon

A deal worth getting right

“Over the next few months, the question of U.S. participation in the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal is likely to be resolved one way or the other. It is, to put it mildly, a highly controversial issue. Proponents believe a deal is essential to both our economic and geopolitical interests; opponents fear that it will primarily benefit corporations and the wealthy at the expense of middle-class living standards…”


In the News Icon

‘47 percent’ of U.S. jobs are at risk because of advancing technologies

"…It's a societal problem," Dr. Laura Tyson, professor of Business Administration and Economics, at the University of California, Berkeley's Haas School of Business, told me.
In the U.S., she notes, most job growth is already happening towards the bottom of the pay scale, much of which is driven by people whose traditional middle income manufacturing jobs have been lost to increasingly productive robots in the factory…”

In the News Icon

The state of the U.S. Job Market: Pre-March 2015 jobs release

“…As for job growth, during the economic expansion of the 1990s, the economy added at least250,000 jobs per month 47 times. During the current expansion, which has now lasted roughly half as long, we have seen only 13 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 may not reach our former level of employment, when factoring in new labor-force entrants, until as late as mid-2017.*”


In the News Icon

Hard math in a new economy

“…The truth is that technology has long served as an easy target for employment alarmists–in no small part because innovators tend to tout new efficiencies and cost savings foremost. But as a recent Brookings Institution [Hamilton Project] analysis put it, “Historically, technological progress has created winners and losers, but over the long run, [it] has tended to create more jobs than it has destroyed.”


In the News Icon

Altman says Putin’s Russia a weak country, may bend santions

"Roger Altman, the investment banker and former deputy U.S. Treasury secretary, said Russian President Vladimir Putin is more vulnerable than people realize to sanctions that will test his population’s patience.

“A lot of people misunderstand how profoundly weak Russia is,” Altman, the co-founder of Evercore Partners Inc., told Bloomberg Television’s Betty Liu in an interview Wednesday, citing a declining population, a hobbled banking system and a currency that has lost about half its value. “Russia is on the edge.”


In the News Icon

Robots are hurting middle class workers, and education won’t solve the problem, Larry Summers says

"Two weeks ago, the famous economist Larry Summers sat in a chair on a stage at the National Press Club, talked with several other smart people for an hour and briefly upended a major debate in economics.

The occasion was a forum, hosted by the Brookings Institution' Hamilton Project, on technological change and its effect on American workers. Summers, the former Treasury Secretary who is arguably the most influential economist in Democratic Party circles today, joined a discussion on whether rapidly advancing technology -- like robots -- is killing jobs and hurting incomes for the middle class..."


In the News Icon

To Fight Inequality, Tax Land

"In the lasting debate over Thomas Piketty’s book on outsized returns on capital, a significant fact has been obscured: If you exclude land and housing, capital has not risen as a share of the U.S. economy. If you're surprised, you're not the only one. Intuition suggests this capital-output ratio should be higher today than it was in the early 1900s..." 

In the News Icon

Signs of intelligent life in the economics profession

“The core problem is that there aren't enough jobs,” said [Larry Summers] the former Treasury Secretary under Bill Clinton and top economics adviser to Barack Obama. “If you help some people, you could help them get the jobs, but then someone else won't get the jobs. Unless you're doing things that have things that are affecting the demand for jobs, you're helping people win a race to get a finite number of jobs.” He made these comments at a conference at the Brookings Institution put on by the Hamilton Project, the economics think tank funded by Summers’ predecessor at the Clinton Treasury, Robert Rubin..."

In the News Icon

3-2 11 AM Garland, Technology and Economy

Garland talks to University of Maryland Economics Professor Melissa Kearney and about how the future of technology might affect the workplace and the economy.


In the News Icon

Competing on corporate tax

"Corporate tax reform has emerged as an area of potential bipartisan action in the United States Congress over the next few months. But fundamental questions about the right approach remain.
There is widespread agreement that the US corporate tax system is deeply flawed. The rate is too high; the base is too narrow; it is costly to administer; and it is riddled with credits, deductions, and special preferences that distort decisions, harming the economy..."

In the News Icon

A root cause of 21st century inequality: Wall Street

"...Last week, Larry Summers made very much the same point concerning our education-centric approach to inequality. Again, he pointed to the simple fact that the economy is not generating sufficient good jobs to remedy the stagnation and deterioration of incomes of the vast majority of the population. He made his remarks at an event sponsored by the Brookings Institute’s Hamilton Project..."


In the News Icon

Be calm, robots aren’t about to take your job, MIT economist says

"...But at panel discussion last week at the Hamilton Project, Mr. Summers said he sees two possibilities: Automation could be making existing workers more productive or taking over jobs and leaving them unemployed, which would be a negative outcome for labor. “But in either of those scenarios you would expect it to be producing a renaissance of higher productivity,” and yet that isn’t the case..."


In the News Icon

Here’s one business tax break an ex-White House economist wants to preserve

"...Laura Tyson, who served as director of President Bill Clinton’s National Economic Council and head of his Council of Economic Advisers, told a Senate hearing on Tuesday that Congress should keep a break for accelerated depreciation, as well as others that “actually enhance new investments.”


In the News Icon

India’s air pollution is so bad it’s reducing life expectancy by 3.2 years

"...A few years ago, however, economist Michael Greenstone and his colleagues found a way to conduct a quasi-natural experiment in China. They noticed that, back in the 1950s, the Chinese government started providing free winter heating via coal boilers to people living north of the Huai River. Meanwhile, those living south of the river didn't get the free boilers. This disparity gave the researchers a way to isolate the effects of air pollution..."


In the News Icon

We keep flunking forecasts on interest rates, distorting the budget outlook

"...Forecasters are regularly overestimating and thus regularly overstating, all else being equal, future interest payments on the debt. Misses like this tell you that forecasters are missing a change in the structure of the economy. Two candidates for why this is happening are a significant increase in global liquidity and what the economist Larry Summers has dubbed “secular stagnation.”

In the News Icon

Air pollution cutting 660 million lives short by 3 years: Report

"Air pollution is an urgent public health problem that deserves policy attention. In approaching the issue of air pollution as one of public health, it would be possible to break the perception and understanding that addressing environmental issues like air pollution and economic growth/development are somehow opposed to each other," Michael Greenstone of the University of Chicago, who led this study, told ET..."

In the News Icon

Blodget: We have enough jobs, they just need to pay better

"We all know how it works: Jobs die out. Technology creates new ones. But are there enough good paying jobs to replace the ones that have disappeared? It's an old question sparking new debate and former National Economic Council Director, Larry Summers, came out swinging last week. Summers appeared on a panel for the Hamilton Project at the Brookings Institution—all about the future of jobs in the machine age..."


In the News Icon

The search for a monetary-policy wizard and political moral hazard

"...Monetary policy is important, but it is not omnipotent. The relentless focus on monetary policy creates serious moral hazard by taking attention away from elected officials’ failure to act on the fiscal, public-investment and structural issues that are the key to short- and long-term economic success. Commensurately, focusing on central banks reduces public pressure on elected officials to act. And monetary-policy decisions themselves require a rigorous balancing of benefits and risks..."


In the News Icon

Rip Van Skillsgap

"There’s been quite a lot of commentary about the Hamilton Project conference on robots and all that. Let me just add my two cents about the “framing paper“. What strikes me about this paper — and in general what one still hears from many people inside the Beltway — is the continuing urge to make this mainly a story about the skills gap, of not enough workers having higher education or maybe the right kind of education..."

In the News Icon

Will your job exist in the future, or will a robot have replaced you?

"...That was the subject of a recent Hamilton Project paper and related conference, “The Future of Work in the Age of the Machine,” inspired by the New York Times best-seller “The Second Machine Age: Work, Progress and Prosperity in a Time of Brilliant Technologies,” co-authored by MIT professors Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee, who appeared in one of our Making Sen$e NewsHour stories last year..."


In the News Icon

The one where Larry Summers demolished the robots and skills arguments

"...They say Washington DC has had a huge crime decline, but I just saw one of the most vicious muggings I’m likely to see, one where David Autor and Larry Summers just tore this idea that a Machine Age is responsible for our economic plight apart on a panel yesterday at the Hamilton Project for the launch of a new Machine Age report. Summers, in particular, took an aggressive tone that is likely to be where liberal and Democratic Party mainstream economic thinking is in advance of 2016. It is a very, very good place..."


In the News Icon

Could a new MacGyver (a woman) get more people interested in engineering?

"...A new report by the Brookings Institution’s Hamilton Project argues that nurturing a healthy US economy in this era “will require a major commitment to increasing education and skill levels and also to fostering business and organization innovation.”


In the News Icon

U.S. advanced industries: Not so small after all

"With the Hamilton’s Project’s “jobs gap” showing we are 4 million jobs below pre-recession employment levels, one could question our spotlighting of “advanced industries” as a prerequisite for broad prosperity. That’s because the sector—characterized by high R&D spending and a disproportionate share of technical workers—employs just 8.7 percent of the workforce. And it’s true that the sector’s 12.3- million worker labor force, while sizable, is not massive..."


In the News Icon

The bad budget wars get ready to resume

"In the classic movie “All About Eve,” the iconic Bette Davis character warned everyone to “fasten your seat belts. It’s going to be a bumpy night.” In the strange world of federal budgeting, 2015 is shaping up to be a bumpy year. After two years of relative peace, Washington’s budget battles are set to resume..."


In the News Icon

Evening must-read: The Hamilton Project: Future of work event: Tweets

Live tweets from @hamiltonproj that were sent during the "Future of Work" event featured.


In the News Icon

It’s time for presidential candidates to reckon with robots

"...A new paper from economists at the Hamilton Project at the Brookings Institution sums up the tension nicely: “As rapidly advancing computer power and automation technology change the nature of work and the future of the economy,” Melissa Kearney, Brad Hershbein and David Boddy write, “our nation will face new and pressing challenges about how to educate more people for the jobs of the future, how to foster creation of high-paying jobs and how to support those who struggle economically during the transition.”


In the News Icon

Bartiromo: Larry Summers on global threats

"...The debate on whether to send weapons to aid Ukraine in its fight against Russia has also become a contested matter. Former Treasury secretary Larry Summers says it is more important for the U.S. to help Ukraine than it is to fight Russia. I caught up with the former Treasury secretary and head of the president's Council of Economic Advisers to talk Europe, the U.S. and Harvard, which is where he remains a professor..."


In the News Icon

Surprisingly, a voluntary climate treat could actually work

"Negotiators around the world are deliberating proposals for an international climate change treaty that will contain a glaring loophole: It won’t be binding. That’s less than ideal, but it’s still worthwhile for several important reasons..."

In the News Icon

Larry Summers: Not Time for Traditional Fed Playbook

"Former Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers says extraordinary economic conditions require extraordinary measures, and now is not the right time to raise interest rates."


In the News Icon

The Imprisoner’s Dilemma

"...Evidence of incarceration’s diminishing returns can be found outside of big data sets and regression models, too. It can also be found via a natural experiment. A report from the Brookings Institution’s Hamilton Project compared the prisoner releases from California’s realignment with similar releases in Italy, following clemency legislation passed by the Italian Parliament..." 


In the News Icon

Altman: If Putin reneges on Ukraine, U.S. Should…

"Former Clinton Deputy Treasury Secretary Roger Altman told CNBC on Thursday it's too early to know whether the Russia-Ukraine cease-fire agreement favors Moscow or Kiev..."


In the News Icon

The Many Causes of America’s Decline in Crime

"...Our findings do not exist in a vacuum. A body of empirical research is slowly coalescing around the ineffectiveness of increased incarceration. Last year, the Hamilton Project issued a report calling incarceration a “classic case of diminishing returns,” based on findings from California and Italy. The National Research Council issued a hefty report last year, finding that crime was not the cause of mass incarceration..."


In the News Icon

On-The-Job Training Vs. A College Education

"...The biggest winner of all? Chemical engineering majors, according to a study from the Hamilton Project at the Brookings Institute. On average, over a lifetime, college graduates earn $1.19 million; high-school graduates earn $580,000. Chemical engineering majors, however, will earn more than $2 million over the course of a career..."


In the News Icon

Statement from Tom Steyer on New Legislation to Combat Climate Change in California

"I join a generation of California business leaders and job creators in applauding Senate President Kevin de León and his colleagues for introducing landmark legislation to ensure California is reaching higher and building on its global leadership in meeting the climate challenge. These are achievable policy proposals that will create good-paying green jobs here in California, mitigate the impact of climate change, and leave a cleaner, safer, more stable world for the next generation..."


In the News Icon

Stopping Putin Without Firing a Shot

"The intensified fighting in Ukraine has discouraged and angered the West. Many are concluding that neither economic sanctions nor diplomacy—including last Friday’s emergency visit to Moscow by Germany’s Angela Merkel and France’s François Hollande —can deter Russia’s advance there..."

In the News Icon

Scott Walker’s Risky College Experiment

"It's hard to believe that Governor Scott Walker's proposal to cut $300 million from the University of Wisconsin’s budget over the next two years would allow the school to maintain its quality. Walker would prohibit the university from raising tuition during that period, but instead give university officials more flexibility in managing contracting and construction projects..."


In the News Icon

In Obama’s Budget, an Effort to Rein in Occupational Licensing

Studies from think tanks across the political spectrum have expressed concerns. The libertarian Institute for Justice has compiled a list of the occupations requiring licenses; it includes massage therapists, bartenders, funeral attendants, and shampooers. The Hamilton Project at the Brookings Institution likewise has called attention to the growing cost of these requirements.


In the News Icon

Larry Summers on What Business Can Do to Save the Middle Class

"...Enter a new report from the Center for American Progress, co-led by Larry Summers, the Harvard economist, and Ed Balls, a Member of the British Parliament. Their answer to inequality and stagnant living standards is “inclusive prosperity,” an economic agenda centered around middle-class growth..."


In the News Icon

Debt Lurks Above College Students

"...In a recent study conducted by The Hamilton Project, an economic policy initiative at the Brookings Institution, researchers found that a college degree in any major is important for advancing a student’s earnings potential..."


In the News Icon

Falling Marriage Rates Reveal Economic Fault Lines

"...A 2012 [Hamilton Project] study by the Brookings Institution found that only women in the top 10 percent of Americans in earnings saw their marriage rates increase between 1970 and 2011, whereas women in the bottom 65 percent in earnings had become much less likely to marry, with their marriage rate declining by more than 20 percentage points. This was also mirrored in the experiences of men in the study..."


In the News Icon

The State of the U.S. Job Market: Pre-February 2015 Jobs Release

"...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..."


In the News Icon

Is More Money Needed to Close K-12 Achievement Gap Between Low- and Middle-Income Students?

"...Another study in 2012, by the Hamilton Project think-tank, found that high-achieving charter schools were those who implemented strategies such extended school day or year, extensive tutoring for students and extensive professional development to improve teacher effectiveness -- all strategies that cost extra money.
 
The Hamilton Project paper estimates the extra costs at about $1,800 per student when these strategies were implemented in the Houston school system..."

In the News Icon

Larry Summers Talks Obama’s Budget Plan, Russian Sanctions

Larry Summers discusses the President's 2016 Budget proposal with Maria Bartiromo on Fox News.


In the News Icon

Will Massachusetts Take Obama’s Suggestion to Reform Professional Licensing?

"...In that sense, occupational licensure in Massachusetts mirrors a national trend. The Brookings Institute’s Hamilton Project found recently that, “In the early 1950s less than 5 percent of U.S. workers were required to have a license from a state government in order to perform their jobs legally. By 2008, the share of workers requiring a license to work was estimated to be almost 29 percent...”


In the News Icon

Obama Adopts Tax Reform Proposal from UMD Economics Professors

"...The second-earner tax credit was created by professors Melissa Kearney and Lesley Turner, who saw an inherent problem in the country’s tax code, which imposes extra costs on families with two sources of income.
Because family income is pooled under the current tax system, Kearney said, second income sources are taxed at much higher rates than if those workers were single...Kearney and Turner published their proposal in December 2013 with the Hamilton Project, a nonpartisan think tank aimed at helping middle-class families..." 

In the News Icon

Declining Fortunes - Middle Class Faced Threats Prior to Great Recession

"...More than half of U.S. families have annual incomes of $60,000 or less, and nearly half of the U.S. families live below 250 percent of the federal poverty line, which is $49,475 for a family of three, according to the Washington, D.C.-based Brookings Institute’s Hamilton Project. Evidence of the dwindling middle class varies depending on which part of the state is considered..."

In the News Icon

University Group Seeks Change in Cost Estimate on Carbon Emissions

"...Michael Greenstone, the director of the Energy Policy Institute at the University of Chicago, says that the estimate helps to weed out inefficient ideas that would cost more than the harm they would prevent. He says that the SCC is not just used by policymakers. Courts and businesses also refer to it when making some decisions..." 


In the News Icon

Summers Says U.S. Economic Optimism Tempered by Deflation Risks

"Former Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers said the U.S. economy still needs measures aimed at boosting growth, tempering his optimism on concern deflation remains a potentially bigger problem than inflation...."


In the News Icon

Indian state adopts environmental audit reforms after study shows they reduce pollution

The study was conducted by Esther Duflo of MIT, Michael Greenstone of the University of Chicago, Rohini Pande of the Harvard Kennedy School, and Nicholas Ryan of Yale, in partnership with the Gujarat Pollution Control Board and the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL) South Asia. It found that making environmental auditors more independent improved the accuracy of audit reports on plant pollution. In response, audited industrial plants reduced their pollution emissions.


In the News Icon

How job licensing increases the cost of college

As states have tried to fill gaps in their budgets in recent decades, they have turned to collecting increased fees by requiring that more professionals get a license. A study by the Brookings Institution’s Hamilton Project found that 30 percent of American workers need a license to perform their jobs; in the early 1950s, less than 5 percent did. About 800 occupations are licensed by at least one state. 


In the News Icon

Beware of Woolly-Minded Attacks on the Fed


In the News Icon

Your barber faces stricter licensing requirements than an EMT

A new post by Brookings’s Melissa  Kearney, Brad Hershbein and David Boddy points out that almost 30% of workers in the US need a license to do their job. Occupational licensing has increased quite a bit from its 1950s level of 5%, growing to 10% in the 70s, and now affects “workers of all skill levels,” reaching many more than “doctors, lawyers, nurses, and teachers.” Kearney, Hershbein and Boddy:


In the News Icon

Job Licenses in Spotlight as Uber Rises

"...In a study commissioned by the Brookings Institution’s Hamilton Project, Morris Kleiner of the University of Minnesota found that almost three out of 10 workers in the United States need a license from state governments to do their jobs, up from one in 20 in the 1950s. By cordoning off so many occupations, he estimates, professional licensing by state governments ultimately reduces employment by up to 2.8 million jobs..."


In the News Icon

The Cost-Cutting Power of Medicare


In the News Icon

In the News Icon

We cannot afford to diminish what TOPS does for Louisiana


In the News Icon

Promoting gender parity in the global workplace


In the News Icon

The Powers, and Limits, of E.C.B. Stimulus, as View From Davos


In the News Icon

In the News Icon

The mystery of the falling teen birth rate


In the News Icon

Explaining ‘middle-class economics’


In the News Icon

Larry Summers: The euro failed to live up to goals


In the News Icon

State of the Union Statement from Tom Steyer


In the News Icon

My Statement on the President’s New Tax Proposal


In the News Icon

We need to leave TOPS alone


In the News Icon

There are about as many solar jobs as coal jobs in the US

If power plants had to internalize all these social costs, then sources like wind, solar, or even nuclear power would be far more competitive — as this 2012 paper by economists Michael Greenstone and Adam Looney explained. (One way to do that might be through a carbon tax on fossil fuels.)


In the News Icon

Report on the Commission on Inclusive Prosperity

“…Our report is about embracing the new economic opportunities of the 21st century by finding ways to ensure they serve the vast majority of society. In previous eras, political institutions have responded to economic transformations to ensure prosperity is shared: the New Deal in the United States and the European social welfare state; the “third-way” politics of putting people first of Clinton and Blair by investing in people and reforming institutions…”


In the News Icon

What Brill’s ‘Bitter Pill’ Gets Wrong on Obamacare


In the News Icon

In the News Icon

The State of the U.S. Job Market: Pre-January 2015 Jobs Release


Recently On the Record

In the News Icon

Why you can’t solve income inequality by sending people to college

The Washington Post - Wonkblog • March 31, 2015 • Max Ehrenfreund

"..."I am all for improving education," Summers told Wonkblog earlier this month. "But to suggest that improving education is the solution to inequality is, I think, an evasion."...Summers and his collaborators, the Upjohn Institute's Brad Hershbein and Melissa S. Kearney of the University of Maryland, calculated what would happen if they could wave their magic wands and give a college education to about 6.8 million American men who don't already have one. Relatively speaking, that's an enormous increase -- about the same proportion as the increase in the overall share of the population with a college degree since 1979..."
In the News Icon

Summers’ inequality simulation surprises

McClatchy DC • March 31, 2015 • Kevin G. Hall

"...Former Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers released an analysis Tuesday that concludes that a college education helps address the gap... Summers co-authored an analysis published by the Hamilton Project, part of the center-left Brookings Institution. Summers simulated the effect that a college degree would have on a working-age man, with an eye toward showing what it’d do for earnings and earnings inequality..."
In the News Icon

New research shows education won’t fix inequality

Time • March 31, 2015 • Jacob Davidson

"...But is education really the solution to inequality that it’s often presented as? A new paper from the Hamilton Project, co-authored by former Treasury Secretary and former Harvard University president Lawrence Summers, argues that the answer is no. Instead, the researchers assert, policymakers tend conflate two separate issues: helping lower-income Americans become more financially secure and decreasing inequality overall..."

In the News Icon

Why more education won’t fix economic inequality

The New York Times - Upshot • March 31, 2015 • Neil Irwin

"...Brad Hershbein, Melissa Kearney and Lawrence Summers offer a simple little simulation that shows the limits of education as an inequality-fighter. In short, more education would be great news for middle and lower-income Americans, increasing their pay and economic security. It just isn’t up to the task of meaningfully reducing inequality, which is being driven by the sharp upward movement of the very top of the income distribution..."

In the News Icon

More college degrees aren’t enough to wipe out inequality, paper says

The Wall Street Journal • March 31, 2015 • Jeffrey Sparshott

"Better education would lift the earnings of men in the bottom half of the income scale but wouldn’t be enough to erase inequality between the rich and poor, according to a new paper...The study, by economists Brad Hershbein, Melissa Kearney and former Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers, simulates the impact of a bachelor’s degree on the population of men 25 to 64 who don’t have one."

Inside

{image_title}

In the News

Catch the latest headlines about our work.

{image_title}

Speeches & Testimony

Review speeches and testimony from The Hamilton Project experts.

{image_title}

Blog

Read more at The Hamilton Project blog.

Hamilton Project Updates

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