On The Record Spotlight

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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..."


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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..."


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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.”


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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..."


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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.”

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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..."

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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..."


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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..."


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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..."

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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..."


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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..."


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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.”


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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..."


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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..."


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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.


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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.”


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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..."


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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..."

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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."


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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..." 


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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..."


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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..."


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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..."


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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..."


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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..."

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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..."


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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.


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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..."


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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..."


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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..."


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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..."


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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..."

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Larry Summers Talks Obama’s Budget Plan, Russian Sanctions

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


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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...”


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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..." 

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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..."

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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..." 


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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...."


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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.


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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. 


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Beware of Woolly-Minded Attacks on the Fed


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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:


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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..."


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The Cost-Cutting Power of Medicare


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We cannot afford to diminish what TOPS does for Louisiana


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Promoting gender parity in the global workplace


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


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The mystery of the falling teen birth rate


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Explaining ‘middle-class economics’


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Larry Summers: The euro failed to live up to goals


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State of the Union Statement from Tom Steyer


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My Statement on the President’s New Tax Proposal


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We need to leave TOPS alone


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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.)


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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…”


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


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


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Student Loans Are Poorly Aligned With Graduate Earnings

Student-loan payments are the bane of many new graduates. A recent analysis by the Brookings Institution explains why: The typical new graduate is likely to devote 14 percent of his or her paycheck to student loans. That’s about half of what the average American spends on housing each month.


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Republican Leaders Deploying Untruths on 40-Hour Health Bill

"While political leaders often stretch the truth to make their case, they usually don’t claim the opposite of the truth.  That, however, is essentially what Republican congressional leaders are doing by claiming that a measure before the House tomorrow to alter a provision of health reform will safeguard the 40-hour work week and thereby protect workers.  House Ways and Means Chairman Paul Ryan claims in today’s USA Today, for example, that the bill will enable “more people [to] work full time.”  In fact, it clearly will do just the opposite..."


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Around the industry - January 2015

"...The severe drought in Western parts of the U.S. has called national attention to U.S. water resources. The current drought in California has cost the state billions of dollars in economic losses, and businesses across the nation report substantial concerns over water supplies. 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 nation..." 


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Sen. Bob Hertzberg, Edward Kleinbard and Laura Tyson: California tax reform should reflect shift to service economy


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Does Immigration Harm Working Americans?

"...It's said again and again that immigrants do not take jobs from natives. Here’s National Journal, reporting just last year, under the headline "Left and Right Agree: Immigrants Don't Take American Jobs": "...Most economists don’t find immigrants driving down wages or jobs, the Brookings Institution’s Michael Greenstone and Adam Looney wrote in May. In fact, “on average, immigrant workers increase the opportunities and incomes of Americans,” they write..." 

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Are low oil prices an opening for a carbon tax?


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State and local governments finally end years of anti-stimulus

"...The destructive austerity policies of state and local governments created an "anti-stimulus," with layoffs of public sector workers and cuts to spending that only served to undermine the gains from ARRA (see the second chart above). By May 2013, the Hamilton Project estimated those austerity policies cost 2.2 American million jobs and resulted in the slowest recovery since World War II.


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Let this be the year when we put a proper price on carbon

The case for carbon taxes has long been compelling. With the recent steep fall in oil prices and associated declines in other energy prices it is overwhelming. There is room for debate about the size of the tax and about how the proceeds should be deployed. But there should be no doubt that starting from the current zero tax rate on carbon, increased taxation would be desirable.

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Are More Criminal Justice Reforms on the Horizon in 2015?

The Brookings Institution’s Hamilton Project also shed light on the country’s $80 billion a year in direct corrections expenses in a recent report. And, more than a million people viewed the VlogBrothers’ four-minute video focusing on how the war on crime is failed policy and that, “It’s cruel, it’s shortsighted, and to continue this policy of mass incarceration would be foolish. We’re living inside of a massive $75 billion per year failed experiment.


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Obamacare and Effective Government

"When historians look back on the United States’ Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), President Barack Obama’s controversial 2010 health-care reform, we predict that they will not devote much attention to its regulations, its troubled insurance exchanges, or its website’s flawed launch. Instead, we think that they will focus on how “Obamacare” encouraged a wave of innovation that gradually tamed the spiraling costs of a dysfunctional system, even as millions of previously excluded Americans gained access to health insurance..."

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MTV has done more for the US teen birthrate than decades of policy

"...A recent study by Melissa Kearney, University of Maryland economics professor and director of the Brookings Institution’s Hamilton Project, showed a powerful connection linking 16 and Pregnant and Teen Mom with a plunging birth rate for teenage women in the US..."


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The Steep Cost of America’s High Incarceration Rate


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How a simple change to the tax code could help the middle class

The figure below, reproduced from a document prepared by The Hamilton Project, shows how the tax and transfer system changes the distribution of income for working-age families with children. The effect of the tax and transfer system is to expand the middle class by reducing the number of families located at either end of the income distribution and raising the number of families in the middle range.


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Can the U.S. Government Go Moneyball

"Between August 13 and September 4, 2002, the Oakland Athletics baseball team didn’t lose a single time. For twenty consecutive games—an American League record—a team of misfits and overlooked talent dominated Major League Baseball like never before. And they did so, incredibly, on a budget of just $40 million—less than a third that of the league’s richest teams..."


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Good Medicine for Bad Bankers

"Maybe someone should launch a reality show called “Bankers Behaving Badly.” Because too many of them are. That’s the conclusion of William Dudley , president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, one of America’s most powerful financial regulators and (full disclosure) a friend..."


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Why is everyone so busy?


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The State of Public Employment in 2014

Overall, the year was a mixed bag on the job front. In January, state and local governments shed 19,000 jobs; in September, they added 22,000; and in November, they only added 2,000 jobs. Most of the hiring is happening in public safety and education; in fact, a majority of the November jobs are seasonal education employees. According to a September report by the Hamilton Project, an economic policy initiative at the Brookings Institute, the public sector (including the federal sector) needs to add 1.6 million jobs to reach pre-recession employment levels. But, excluding December, state and local governments added barely over 100,000 jobs in 2014.


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Peter Thiel’s 3 Keys for Building A Successful Startup


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20 charts that will fill you with guilt and regret


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As Robots Grow Smarter, American Workers Struggle to Keep Up


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Water world: Can a solution to Utah’s thirst be found?

Utah's rate of 248 gallons of water per person, like other Western states, is linked to high outdoor use of potable or drinking water, and the region's dry climate. An analysis by the Brookings Institution's Hamilton Project shows Utah second to Idaho at 167 gallons per capita in domestic water use.


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Growth slowdowns: Middle-income trap vs. regression to the mean


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Quoted: Google’s Eric Schmidt On Fears About Artificial Intelligence


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Don’t Get Too Excited About the Budget Deal

Thanks to the spending bill that House and Senate leaders have negotiated, the federal government will avoid a shutdown. And that's great. Unfortunately, though, that’s the highest praise that can be attached to the deal.

Indeed, the agreement highlights three fundamental problems.


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Why repaying your student loan gets easier with time

But that may be the wrong way to think about it. A new study by the Brookings Institution suggests that focusing on starting salary can be misleading because many new grads see a rapid rise in pay -- a median hike of 65 percent -- in their first five years of employment. Much of that increase comes from graduates getting full-time employment and switching jobs as they look to advance their careers. In only a handful of college majors do earnings grow less than 25 percent over the first five years after a grad starts working.


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Boutique Investment Banks Gain Prestige

Over all, the current fortunes of these independent firms is a decided contrast from 20 years ago, when banks like Evercore Partners and Greenhill & Company were setting up. Persuading big companies to trust smaller mergers advisers, even ones with brand-name talent, was “damn hard,” said Roger Altman, a co-founder and the chairman of Evercore.


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Challenge of paying back debt varies widely by major and degree

"...The Hamilton Project, an economic policy initiative at the Brookings Institution, recently released a calculator that shows the percent of monthly income individuals will need to dedicate in order to repay their student loans, depending on their undergraduate major..."


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Reauthorizing No Child Left Behind: Four Recommendations to Advance Federalism in Education

Citations include: Robert Gordon, Thomas J. Kane, and Douglas O. Staiger, “Identifying Effective Teachers Using Performance on the Job,” Brookings Institution, The Hamilton Project, White Paper No. 2006-01, April 2006, http://www.oest.oas.org/iten/documentos/Investigacion/Teacher%20effectiveness%202006.pdf (accessed December 5, 2014).


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$1.1 trillion student loan bubble? Not so fast

An analysis conducted by researchers at the Hamilton Project, a left-of-center think tank, found that a person who entered college in 1980 could expect to earn about $260,000 more over the course of his life than someone who only earned a high school degree. Adjusted for inflation, that amount has risen to more than $450,000 for someone starting college in 2010.


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Crumbling infrastructure is a sign of lost collective faith


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


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These College Majors Have the Hardest Time Paying Off Student Loans


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A solution to the U.S water problem: People who use more water, pay more


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Policymakers Often Overstate Marginal Tax Rates for Lower-Income Workers and Gloss Over Tough Trade-Offs in Reducing Them


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Llegamos a la infoesfera… y ahora, ¿qué hacemos?


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The Rising Costs of US Income Inequality


Recently On the Record

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A root cause of 21st century inequality: Wall Street

Demos • February 25, 2015 • Wallace Turbeville

"...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..."

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

The Wall Street Journal • February 25, 2015 • Timothy Aeppel

"...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..."

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

Market Watch • February 24, 2015 • Robert Schroeder

"...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.”

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

Vox • February 24, 2015 • Brad Plumer

"...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..."

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

The New York Times - Upshot • February 23, 2015 • Jared Bernstein

"...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.”

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