On The Record Spotlight

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House, Senate moved toward passage of transportation patch

"...The Hamilton Project, an initiative of the Brookings Institution, suggests having the gas tax fluctuate inversely with the price of gasoline, so drivers pay less tax when fuel prices are high..."


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Short-term highway extension may be way out for Congress

The legislation we’ll be debating later this week will go for a significantly longer period of time. He noted that the goal remains a long-term highway bill. The Hamilton Project, an initiative of the Brookings Institution, suggests having the gas tax fluctuate inversely with the price of gasoline, so drivers pay less tax when fuel prices are high.


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Job licenses prove occupational hazard, warns White House

"...In a report published in March by the Hamilton Project, Morris Kleiner of the University of Minnesota called occupational licensing “one of the fastest growing labour market institutions in the United States since World War II”..."

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Education can’t fix inequality

"To test this theory, a team of researchers from the Hamilton Project at the Brookings Institution put together a simulation, where they estimated how different things would be if millions of high-school grads had made it through college. They found no meaningful change in overall inequality."


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It’s about to get easier for California farmers to conserve water—and sell it

"...Glennon argues that a stronger water market would internalize these costs. A report he co-authored for the Hamilton Project at the Brookings Institution lays out a novel way to do so: “Municipal and industrial folks should pay farmers modernize their irrigation infrastructure, in exchange for the water conserved,” he says. “By doing that, farmers would use less water, but grow the same amount of product so that they stay in business.”


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Is Uncle Sam baking the books on energy efficiency?

"...In a paper titled “Do Energy Efficiency Investments Deliver?,” Meredith Fowlie, Michael Greenstone and Catherine Wolfram compared the predicted and actual energy savings from more than 30,000 energy efficiency projects participating in the federal Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP), the largest residential energy efficiency program in the United States..."


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The future for emerging markets

Over the past year, the global economic environment changed markedly and in unexpected ways. Energy and commodity prices plunged. Growth in China (which accounts for about 40% of global growth) fell to its lowest rate since 1996, even as its stock market soared to unsustainable heights. The United States and the European Union ratcheted up economic sanctions on Russia in response to its military excursions in Ukraine, highlighting the geopolitical risks associated with cross-border investments. 

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Lifetime Income Series: Ten Economic Facts About Financial Well-Being in Retirement The Hamilton Project 2015-06-29

"This week Jim and John address The Hamilton Project, a report on retirement issued by the Brookings Institution. Most households in the United States find retirement planning a daunting challenge..."


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How should the US reform its retirement savings system?

A new paper from the Hamilton Project by John N. Friedman, an economist at Brown University, proposes important steps in reforming the current private retirement-savings system, but are they comprehensive enough given the depth of the problems?


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Kalamazoo promise ‘significantly’ increases college graduation rates, study finds

"...The paper, "Effects of the Kalamazoo Promise Scholarship on College Enrollment, Persistence and Completion," was released today by the W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research. It was co-authored by Tim Bartik, Brad Hershbein and Marta Lachowska..."


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This Problem is unexpectedly crushing many retirement dreams

"The home equity percentage of net worth is greatest among homeowners with the least wealth, reaching 50% for those with median net worth of $42,460, according to a report from The Hamilton Project, a think tank closely affiliated with the Brookings Institution."


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The limits of reforming the U.S. private-sector retirement system

"...Clearly, we need policy reforms that encourage greater retirement savings. A new paper from the Hamilton Project by John N. Friedman, an economist at Brown University, proposes important steps in reforming the current private retirement-savings system, but are they comprehensive enough given the depth of the problems?"


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One government subsidy it’s not crazy to turn down

"...Michael Greenstone of the University of Chicago, a former chief economist in the Obama administration’s Council of Economic Advisers, and Meredith Fowlie and Catherine Wolfram of the University of California at Berkeley used a randomized control trial to determine if the WAP savings predicted by engineering models were borne out in reality..."


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More students are going to space school—and it may be a better idea than you think

"...Overall, Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics students do well when it comes to career earnings, consistently dominating lists ranking valuable college majors. Aerospace engineering sits close to the top as the second most lucrative college major over the course of a lifetime, according to a list compiled by the Hamilton Project. The only thing outranking it is chemical engineering, a major that has its own prospects for future space careers..."


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Will tax breaks incentivize retirement savings? Think tank suggest rethinking them

"...The studies were released at a symposium hosted by The Hamilton Project, the arm of the Washington D.C.-based think tank that researches retirement policy. One of those papers, “Ten Economic Facts About Financial Well-Being in Retirement,” notes that tax breaks to promote savings account for the second largest federal tax expenditure, behind only tax breaks for employer-provided health insurance..."

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How hybrid annuities might fit into LTC reform

"Hybrid insurance products, such as deferred annuities with long-term care (LTC) riders, would be eligible for a LTC subsidy program proposed in a paper released this week by The Hamilton Project at Brookings, Washington, D.C. The paper also proposes modifications to the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA). These modifications would allow for penalty-free withdrawals from 401(k) and 403(b) retirement accounts as well as from individual retirement accounts (IRAs) to pay for LTC coverage purchased through the subsidy program..."

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Looking for the next crisis? Try student debt

"...As a 2012 economic analysis by The Hamilton Project, a policy research group, concluded: "The cost of college is growing, but the benefits of college — and, by extension, the cost of not going to college — are growing even faster."..."


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Steps on the path to public/private long-term care financing

"...McInerney spoke yesterday on a panel sponsored by the Hamilton Project at the Brookings Institution. Tom, Brookings scholar Alice Rivlin, and I were asked to comment on a new financing proposal  developed by UCLA economist Wes Yin..."


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Energy-efficiency programs ‘nudge’ consumers in the wrong direction

"...Michael Greenstone of the University of Chicago, and a former chief economist in the Obama administration’s Council of Economic Advisers, and Meredith Fowlie and Catherine Wolfram of the University of California at Berkeley used a randomized control trial to determine whether the savings for WAP predicted by engineering models were borne out in reality..."


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Economists find weatherization spending doesn’t pay off

"...A study from the University of Chicago found that federal investments in weatherization cost about twice as much as the energy savings generated. The findings released Tuesday are a blow to a program that’s been a mainstay of the Department of Energy since 1976, and is a key component of President Barack Obama’s plan to combat global warming. “For whatever reasons what the models show hasn’t been borne out in reality,” said Michael Greenstone, a Chicago economist and co-author of the research. “The realized savings are smaller than what was projected.”..."

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Climate change calls for science, not hope

"...Michael Greenstone, who runs the Energy Policy Institute at the University of Chicago and was one of the authors of the energy efficiency study, puts that in practical terms. “There is a limited appetite to devote resources to mitigating carbon emissions, so we should aim to pursue the least expensive ones,” he said. “There is a risk that we do a bunch of policies that make us feel better about ourselves but do not hit the climate target directly.”..."


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Home efficiency upgrades fall short, don’t pay: Study

"...The study, which used data from a random sample of 30,000 low-income Michigan households that were eligible for an Energy Department home weatherization program, found that the projected energy savings were 2.5 times greater than actual savings. As a result, energy bills didn't decline nearly enough to eventually pay for the initial cost of the upgrades. "The problem is that the real world is screwy," said Michael Greenstone, an energy economist and head of the Energy Policy Institute at the University of Chicago. "The models project much larger savings than are realized by homeowners."..."

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Ten headwinds coming at retirees

"...Second, these were the older boomers, the ones who got drugs, sex and rock ‘n’ roll when they were young and pensions during their working lives. It’s certainly not true of much of my g-g-generation. Indeed, baby boomers were the first to be experimented on with 401(k)s, inferior retirement plans but useful in siphoning income upwards. Now comes the Hamilton Project with a report on 10 challenges of what we might call the new face of retirement in America. Hint: It likely won’t pay for a secure life in Sun City..."

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Senate joins House in effort to deny DOL fiduciary funding

"...In a speech at an event sponsored by the Hamilton Project at Brookings, Mr. Perez said that finalizing the rule in the remaining 577 days of the Obama administration was “at or near the top of the list of the things we need to do to strengthen the middle class.” In talking to reporters, Mr. Perez added: “We're making real progress toward producing a final rule that will be … a win for consumers, a win for [advisory] businesses that want a level playing field and a win for retirees.”..."

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Labor secretary: ‘Stakes could not be higher’ in retirement rule fight

"Speaking at an event at hosted by the Hamilton Project in Washington, Perez took on industry objections to the rule his agency has proposed to make retirement investment plan brokers legally bound to act in their clients' best interest. Perez also made the issue personal, citing the example of a couple who he said were steered into a high-fee annuities by a bank investment broker who received kickbacks for doing so..."


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Study: $9.60 minimum wage may be about right for RI

"...In a recent policy memo for The Hamilton Project, a center-left think tank based at Washington’s Brookings Institution, Dube offered two proposals for how Rhode Island policymakers could decide on a higher minimum wage. “These state and local reforms can be an important part of the policy portfolio for reducing the incidence of poverty and for helping low-income families support themselves as they strive toward the middle class,” he argues..."


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Exchanges—they’re not just for health insurance

"...The insurance exchange idea is spreading beyond the health insurance exchanges set up under the Affordable Care Act (ACA)...A potential long-term care (LTC) exchange: The Hamilton Project at Brookings has proposed a LTC exchange as one of several LTC reforms the researchers envision..."


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A new study looks at federal energy-efficiency efforts—and the results are grim

"...That's the issue explored in a new working paper by Meredith Fowlie, Michael Greenstone, and Catherine Wolfram. The economists conducted a large randomized controlled trial of 30,000 homes in Michigan involving the federal Weatherization Assistance Program, which helps low-income families replace their furnaces, upgrade insulation, and seal up leaks along doors and windows. This experimental set-up allowed for a more rigorous evaluation of these weatherization efforts..."


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Africa’s moment to lead on climate

"Climate change is the greatest threat facing humanity today. To avoid catastrophe, we must dramatically reduce the carbon intensity of our modern energy systems, which have set us on a collision course with our planetary boundaries. This is the challenge leading up to three key international events this year: a July summit on financing for new global development goals, another in September to settle on those goals and — crucially — a global meeting in December to frame an agreement, and set meaningful targets, on climate change..."


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The Path to Water Innovation: Part 2 of 2

Modern Pumping Today featured the full Hamilton Project discussion paper "The Pate to Water Innovation," by Newsha K. Ajami, Barton H. Thompson Jr., and David G. Victor of the Stanford Woods Insittute for the Environment. 


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Case for higher minimum wage built on assumptions

"...The Hamilton Project, a unit of the Brookings Institution focused on the economy, bases its minimum wage research on the assumption that workers earning up to 150 percent of the new minimum wage would see a pay increase. For an increase to $13, that would mean workers earning up to $19.50..." 


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Re-entry program to announce mentors for female prison inmates

"...According to the Hamilton Project proposal for a national prisoner re-entry program, earnings for an ex-offender after returning home averages about $9,000 a year with no growth in earnings. Consequently, income of this amount does not offer a sustainable livelihood for a female ex-offender and her dependents, if any..." 


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Cut the fat from savings plans

"...Friedman, a professor of economics at Brown University and a scholar for the Hamilton Project, an economic policy initiative at The Brookings Institution, has proposed a two-step plan that he believes would make it easier for people to save and increase the likelihood that employers would provide the mechanisms for saving..."

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Brookings paper calls for radical retirement overhaul

"...In a Hamilton Project paper, the policy group at Brookings that addresses retirement security, John Friedman, an economist at Brown University, proposes Congress scrap all existing tax-preferred retirement savings plans and replace them with a single plan—the Universal Retirement Savings Account..."


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Doing more, not less, to save retirees from financial ruin

"...In a study for the Brookings Institution’s Hamilton Project, scheduled to be presented next week, Professor Friedman proposes that the government cap the tax deductibility on workers’ retirement savings — which are relatively inefficient at mobilizing additional saving — and use the money saved to provide tax credits for employers that increase their workers’ pension contributions..."


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The high economic and social costs of student loan debt

"...As a 2012 economic analysis by The Hamilton Project, a policy research group, concluded: "The cost of college is growing, but the benefits of college—and, by extension, the cost of not going to college—are growing even faster."


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Is the push for a $15-an-hour minimum wage a good idea?

"...The rough wonky consensus is expressed by a policy white paper Dube did for the Hamilton Project at the Brookings Institution. It's an interesting paper in part because Dube is a very left-wing guy, and the Hamilton Project is typically seen as the economic policy think tank of the Democratic Party's centrist wing, so the proposal reflects an idea that gains wide support from wonks across the left..."


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Tide tops in per-rider costs, for now

"...As has been widely reported, a new study from The Hamilton Project at the Brookings Institution found that The Tide required the largest per-passenger subsidy of any metropolitan rail line..."


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After plunge in oil prices, hope fades for group of long-beleaguered workers

"...More than 9 out of 10 oil and gas jobs are held by men without college degrees. Their median earnings topped out at $65,000 a year in 2013, according to Census Bureau data, double what similarly educated men make in the overall economy. Between 2008 and 2013, the median income for prime-working-age oil and gas drillers increased by 70 percent, according to an analysis by economist Brad Hershbein, a visiting fellow at the Brookings Institution’s Hamilton Project..."

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Here’s a really good reason to make your kids watch ‘Sesame Street’

"...A recently released study from Wellesley College economist Phillip B. Levine and University of Maryland economist Melissa Kearney found that watching "Sesame Street" had long-term educational benefits for young children. Researchers compared kids who lived where TV stations broadcast the PBS program in its early years with those who lacked such access to the show. The children who had the chance to watch "Sesame Street" were more likely to be at the appropriate grade level for their age in later years, according to the study..."


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Report: Fares exceed operating expenses at only 2% of U.S. transit systems

"As part of a new report between the Hamilton Project and Brookings, of the more than 1,800 mass transit systems in the U.S. roughly 2% reported fare revenue exceeded operating expenses in 2013, according to U.S. Department of Transportation figures..."


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Chart shows how much money US metro rail systems lose per passenger ride

"A recent report from the Hamilton Project shows how much money U.S. metro rail operators lose per passenger. The general rule is the more compact and dense a city is, the more money it saves on each light rail or metro rider..." 


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Wait, the T does something (mostly) right when it comes to revenue

"...The Hamilton Project is a a subset of the Brookings Institute (a nonprofit, policy research group) that focuses on economic strategy. They looked at how much money transit systems across the country lose per ride when compared to how much they earn per fare as revenue..."


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Surprise: The MBTA has one of the lowest average losses per passenger ride

"...According to The Hamilton Project, at least 10 metro rails see an average loss per passenger between $2.83 and $6.63. Boston is not one of them. In fact, Boston isn't even close. "Riders in the five largest systems—New York, Washington, DC, Boston, Chicago, and the San Francisco Bay Area—pay about a dollar less than the actual cost of each trip," writes Brookings..."

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How much money U.S. transit systems lose per trip, in 1 chart

"Alison Burke over at Brookings points us to the chart below, via the Hamilton Project, showing how much money major U.S. public transit systems lose per ride. The immediate if unsurprising takeaway is that every single metro rail system loses money. Only a handful of America’s 1,800-plus mass transit operations (metro trains as well as buses and other modes) generated more fare revenue in 2013 than they paid in costs, according to Hamilton..."


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Sesame Street’s powerful ability to help children

“The study demonstrates that the creators of the show fulfilled their goal, which was to help kids learn, particularly kids from disadvantaged backgrounds,” Melissa Kearney, study coauthor and professor of economics at the University of Maryland, tells Yahoo Parenting. Though the study looked at kids who were in school decades ago, the results suggest that children between ages 2 and 5 (the age group the show is primarily geared toward) who watch Sesame Street today will get the same educational leg up, says Kearney. 

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Study: Kids can learn as much from ‘Sesame Street’ as from preschool

"...The paper from the University of Maryland’s Melissa Kearney and Wellesley College’s Phillip Levine finds that the show has left children more likely to stay at the appropriate grade level for their age, an effect that is particularly pronounced among boys, African Americans and children who grow up in disadvantaged areas. After “Sesame Street” was introduced, children living in places where its broadcast could be more readily received saw a 14 percent drop in their likelihood of being behind in school..."

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Where the government can get better data

As the world grows ever better at gathering and making use of data, the question arises: Might the measurements and statistics that private businesses accumulate be used to help government statistical agencies that are under increasing budget pressure? Two recent studies suggest they can.


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The business case for sustainability

"Investors worldwide are increasingly seeking investment opportunities that promise to bring environmental and social benefits, in addition to market rates of return. If this trend continues, with the advancement of environmental or social objectives enhancing an investment’s value, it will strengthen the commitment to sustainability that is already gaining momentum among businesses around the world..."

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We Republicans lost on gay rights. That’s a good thing.

"...It’s clear from the reaction of many of America’s leading corporations, that Big Business wants to do the right thing for and by employees — all of them. And most CEOs of the Fortune 500 are Republicans. So, they are paving the way for more in our party to jump on board with gay rights. If it’s good for business, it’s generally good for the Republican Party..."

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An evening with Peter Thiel

"One of our greatest concerns today is how technology will alter our lives in the decades to come. Part of the Science & Democracy lecture series at Harvard, Peter Thiel, co-founder of Paypal and Palantir, offered new ways to propel the masses forward during this revolution of information technology..."


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Greek deal will ultimately get done: Roger Altman

"Roger Altman, Evercore Partners founder, thinks a deal will eventually be made between Greece and the eurozone but it could drag out."


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Larry Summers has economic fix for Europe

"Larry Summers, who was Bill Clinton's finance minister and Barack Obama's chief economic advisor, doesn't believe austerity can fix the eurozone. Instead, he proposes a massive infrastructure spending push."


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Top 10 world’s most power women of 2015: Angela Merkel, Hillary Clinton, Melinda Gates and others

"Forbes has come out with its annual list of world's 100 most powerful women for the year 2015... They were selected based on criteria like their fortune, media momentum, spheres of influence and impact.
Angela Merkel is world's most powerful woman for the year 2015, and others, who made it to top 10, are Hillary Clinton, Melinda Gates, Janet Yellen, Mary Barra, Christine Lagarde, Dilma Rousseff, Sheryl Sandberg, Susan Wojcicki and Michelle Obama..."

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Strengthen minimum wage - and EITC

A range of proposals related to the minimum wage and Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) have emerged in recent weeks, including a congressional proposal to restore the minimum wage to about half of the median wage and Warren Buffett's call for a major EITC expansion.


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What are societal costs associated with mass incarceration?

"...The Hamilton Project whose mission statement is to "advance America's promise of opportunity, prosperity, and growth," said in a 2014 report "elevated rates of crime and incarceration directly work against these principles" of economic growth and broad participation..."


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What are societal costs associated with mass incarceration?

"...The Hamilton Project whose mission statement is to "advance America's promise of opportunity, prosperity, and growth," said in a 2014 report "elevated rates of crime and incarceration directly work against these principles" of economic growth and broad participation..."


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Why is a billionaire climate activist bothering with GOP primaries?

"The amount of money spent in the 2016 election cycle is on track to double the roughly $2 billion spent in 2012. One reason is the rise of spending by millionaire and billionaire political activists on both sides of the aisle. Gwen Ifill talks to billionaire Tom Steyer of NextGen Climate, who has pledged millions on the issue of climate change."


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Smoking’s growing income gap

"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..."


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Seven wonders in my world

"...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..."


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

"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..."

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Free Lunch: Slice your cake and grow it too

"...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..."

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

'...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..."


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Student debt 101: dearth of data fuels common misperceptions

"...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..."


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A better way to pay for our infrastructure fixes?

"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..."


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Quality, not just quantity, of infrastructure needs attention

"...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..."


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

"...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..."

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Larry Summers: Economic growth is ‘not inspiring’

"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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Why the U.S. needs to listen to China

"The relationship between the United States and China involves cooperation and competition, but recently the latter has received more attention. Much of the mistrust between the two countries has its roots in geopolitical tensions—China’s assertive behavior in the East and South China Seas, for instance, or U.S. naval surveillance off China’s coasts. But economic tensions have played a large role as well..."


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Why the teen birth rate keeps dropping

"...He also credits several TV shows. MTV programs like 16 and Pregnant and Teen Mom show that becoming a mother before you’re ready is anything but glamorous. One 2014 study by economists Melissa Kearney and Phillip Levine, from the University of Maryland and Wellesley College, respectively, concluded that these shows led to an average 5.7 decline in teen births in the 18 months after their debuts..." 


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Marijuana and school failure

"...Further, daily use of marijuana by adolescents increased their risk of dropping out of high school by 66 percent, according to a recent Lancet analysis – and that dropout risk is even higher for the most socioeconomically disadvantaged, according to a report by the Brookings Institution’s Hamilton Project..."


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China’s great academic leap forward

"China is either at or near the so-called Lewis turning point, where it is no longer hugely productive to shift workers from agriculture to manufacturing. Now, growth will need to come increasingly from so-called total factor productivity, which itself is driven by technology and innovation, as Cai Fang, vice president of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, argues..." 


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New NEPC review examines report on education and inequality

"...The Hamilton Project report discusses three commonly held propositions about education’s economic power: (a) education is the critical factor in creating economic prosperity; (b) college and advanced degrees increase the earning power of individuals; and (c) a broad base of increased educational attainment will narrow income inequality. It asserts that the first proposition is true and that the second proposition is accurate, especially at the middle-income-and-below range. The report finds the third proposition inaccurate, concluding that a significant increase in educational attainment is not likely to significantly decrease wage inequality..."


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An afternoon with Peter Orszag and Jim Nussle

"The discussion revolved around evidence-based and data-driven policymaking. The two panelists, Jim Nussle, President and CEO of the Credit Union National Association, and Peter Orszag, Vice Chairman of Citigroup, had just the right background to incite the stimulating discussion that the audience sought. Orszag and Nussle co-edited Moneyball for Government. Following the style of Michael Lewis' best-seller, Moneyball, they suggested ways on how governments can leverage big data analytics. "This is not a cook book, however," Nussle insisted, "it's more like a travel book"; it is a framework for thinking about how to do evidence-based and data driven budgeting and programming..."


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The new economics of having it all

"...Brookings organized a panel discussion to mark the occasion and I was interested to see that my reverence for the book was not universally shared. (The video is well worth watching.) Brookings' Melissa Kearney spoke eloquently on behalf of all admirers, saying what I would have wanted to say about the enduring centrality of the Okun's trade-off. Harvard's Greg Mankiw in the main agreed. But Brookings' Justin Wolfers and Heather Boushey of the Washington Center for Equitable Growth seem to see Okun's book as not much more than a historical curiosity. Trade-offs, they think, are so 20th century..."


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NewsConference: Steyer, A Democratic Mover and a Shaker

"California Democrats convene in Anaheim this weekend. Top names dems from the state and throughout nation get together to unite their voices. The man to watch here is Tom Steyer, Bay area billionaire and environmentalist. He has bankrolled many democratic campaigns and ballot measures. He talks with NBC4’s Conan Nolan about his recent campaign against the oil industry, his analysis of Hillary Clinton and Senator boxer’s seat."


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Reform-minded Ukraine merits debt reduction

"Ukraine, the international community and its creditors will soon have to reach a conclusion about how to handle the country’s debt. The case for debt reduction is as strong as any that I have encountered over the past quarter century. How the issue is resolved will say much about the extent of international commitment to Ukraine and to resisting Russian aggression. Failure to achieve debt reduction would also confirm the view of those who believe that private financial interests disproportionately influence public policy..."

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Lifelong learning is a key

"...In another example, this study and another from the Brookings Institution’s Hamilton Project found annual and lifetime earnings can vary widely within specific majors. Top students in any field can far exceed the average expected income of that field, and low performers can lag badly. The same wide variation can be found when graduates choose paths within a field, such as private industry over a less-lucrative government job..."


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Why higher gas taxes would have been best way to save fuel

"...The second article, on the Brookings Brief blog, is adapted from Senate testimony on energy efficiency given by Ted Gayer, director of the Economic Studies program at the Brookings Institution, a D.C.-based policy think tank..."


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Spectacular death in Michigan no bar to success in Washington

"...The Hamilton Project at the Brookings Institution, in a ‘discussion paper’ entitled “Financing US Transportation Infrastructure in the 21st Century”, is promoting a close copy of Governor Snyder’s ratcheting gas tax. Others on the left want to boost the fuel tax by up to $ 0.15 per gallon, with various types of annual ratchets..."


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Would graduating more college students reduce wage inequality?

"After making these informal comments, Summers –together with Melissa Kearney and Brad Hershbein, both of the Hamilton Project at the Brookings Institution– produced a more formal analysis of how much increasing the share of college-educated workers could aid in reducing inequality. Their more formal analysis concluded “Increasing educational attainment will not significantly change overall earnings inequality” but would “reduce inequality in the bottom half of the earnings distribution, largely by pulling up the earnings of those near the 25th percentile.”..."


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Two Ways to Limit Medicare Costs

Medicare costs are rising a bit faster than they have during the past few years.  But by reinforcing some the changes that are already occurring, we can nip this increase in the bud -- and two developments show the way.


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Structuring infrastructure

"...To help the United States accelerate repairs and upgrades to roads, bridges and transit systems, Altman along with Princeton economist Alan Krueger and Aaron Klein, from the Bipartisan Policy Center think tank, published a new policy paper this week. They push for a 10-fold increase in appropriations for a federal infrastructure program, to $10 billion, which would back $400 billion in additional loans. More liberal accounting assumptions also would help, the trio write in their paper. And they have some good ideas about how to restructure user fees to make them fairer and fatter..."

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Noted for your evening procrastination for May 12, 2015

"New Hamilton Project blog post, "Six Economic Facts About Transportation Infrastructure in the United States," listed as a "Must Read" by Brad DeLong..."


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The Left Coast rocks on job growth | Jon Talton

"Still, the Hamilton Project noted that the nation still faced a jobs gap of 3.9 million — job growth that was lost because of the Great Recession..."


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Timeline compromise emerges as policy expiration looms — Shuster’s donor connections raise questions

"...The secretary then heads to Brookings this afternoon to speak about infrastructure financing alongside former Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell. After that panel, Rep. John Delaney and Alan Krueger take the stage.."


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It’s Infrastructure Week: More potholes than tax dollars to fill them

"...The Obama administration's preferred approach for transportation funding would tax U.S. companies' overseas profits. But it hasn't gained much traction either. How about Build America Bonds? That's a proposal in a new paper from The Hamilton Project, which suggests the bonds could be a short-term solution to the nation's infrastructure funding needs. More likely, Congress will come up with another short-term fix, kicking the proverbial can down the road..."


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Policymakers, financiers agree on infrastructure crisis, but no on funding mechanisms

"...The two were among nearly a dozen transportation and finance experts who discussed the country’s infrastructure crisis at a forum sponsored by the think tank, The Hamilton Project within the Brookings Institution. The forum was held at Brookings headquarters.The forum was opened by a Hamilton Project founder, former Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin, who was co-chairman of the investment giant Goldman Sachs before joining the administration of President Clinton in 1993."

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Brookings recommends US gax tax hikes

"The Brookings Institution, a think tank, has recommended indexing federal gas taxes so that they respond to retail gasoline price changes, as part of a solution to the lack of funding for the Highway Trust Fund. Short-term funding for the HTF, which will run out this month, was agreed in July last year to avoid cutbacks in transportation projects, and to provide time for the new Congress to work on an alternative longer-term solution. However, to date, there has been no sign of such a solution being agreed..."

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Employment is up. Why aren’t wages?

"...The [Hamilton Project at] Brookings Institution reports that median earnings (the level in the middle of the wage distribution) of working men aged 30 to 45 without a high school diploma, fell in inflation-adjusted terms by 20% between 1990 and 2013, to $25,500 from $31,900 (in 2013 dollars). For similarly uneducated women the decline was not as steep, but still a significant 12%..." 


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New jobs skyrocket in April while unemployment remains relatively unchanged

"...The Hamilton Project at Brookings still shows a 3.9 million job gap to bring employment to pre-recession levels of December 2007. The project reported that the economy needs to generate 249,000 jobs-per-month, a rate that will bring unemployment back to 2007 levels by January 2017..."


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As unemployment falls, Americans wait for paychecks to grow

"I think we're all expecting and really eager to see more pressure on wages," said Melissa Kearney director of Brookings Institution's Hamilton Project policy group. "There's still slack in the labor market."


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Brookings pitches gas tax ideas for infrastructure funding

"...Legislators (cough, Rep. Bill Shuster, cough) may be hating on raising the gas tax and using the proceeds to fund infrastructure and transportation, but The [Hamilton Project at] Brookings Institution sees value in the plan. Brookings proposed indexing the federal gas tax to inflation and linking it to changes in the price of oil as part of a larger report on funding infrastructure and transportation it plans to present next week. Under the Brookings proposal, the tax would rise when the price of gasoline falls — and vice versa — in order to limit the economic consequences of fluctuations in the after-tax retail price of gasoline..."


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Brookings pitches indexing gas tax to inflation

"In an infrastructure funding report released Thursday, the [Hamilton Project at] Brookings Institution proposes indexing the federal gas tax to inflation and linking it to changes in the price of oil. Pro’s Katy O'Donnell reports that, under the proposal, “the tax would rise when the price of gasoline falls — and vice versa — in order to limit the economic consequences of fluctuations in the after-tax retail price of gasoline. The authors suggest setting a floor and ceiling on the variations.”


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Report: Gas tax changes needed

"Washington should make changes to the gas tax and rely more on municipal bonds to help fill the gap in the Highway Trust Fund, the Brookings Institution says in a new paper...The think tank proposes linking the gas tax to gas prices, which it says would reduce price fluctuations at the pump. Under the plan, the gas tax would fall when gas prices rise, and then increase when prices are lower." 

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Paper proposes reviving BAB program reforming the Gas Tax

"The authors of a new paper from The Hamilton Project at Brookings propose four short-term and three long-term ways to address the need for infrastructure investment in the United States, including a revival of the Build America Bond program..."


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Raise the Gas Tax? Proposals for highway spending go outside the lines

"...A new report from the Brookings Institution’s Hamilton Project highlights falling spending on the country’s infrastructure and recommends a series of measures to improve roads, bridges, ports and other transportation nodes..."


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Subject choices drive grad earnings

“When people see a median, they think it’s destiny,” Mr Carnevale said. “It’s not. There are people above and people below.” Similarly, the Brookings Institution’s Hamilton Project found that lifetime earnings for economics majors at the 90th percentile are nearly triple those at the 10th, reflecting the range of destinations for such experts in government and the private sector. Some US states are trying to encourage students to pursue certain degree programs and steer clear of ones that may lead to lower-paying jobs or higher unemployment rates..."


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

"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 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 the United States may not reach its former level of employment, when factoring in new labor-force entrants, until as late as mid-2017."


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Retirement confidence is on the mend

"...Lack of education has become a big problem for many Americans. According to research from the Hamilton Project, the median, inflation-adjusted earnings of men without a high school degree fell by 20 percent between 1990 and 2013, and for women they fell by 12 percent. In contrast, both men and women with a bachelor's degree saw their earnings rise between 1990 and 2013, by 7 and 16 percent respectively..."


Recently On the Record

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House, Senate moved toward passage of transportation patch

Celeb Cafe • July 30, 2015 • Dave Harris

"...The Hamilton Project, an initiative of the Brookings Institution, suggests having the gas tax fluctuate inversely with the price of gasoline, so drivers pay less tax when fuel prices are high..."

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Short-term highway extension may be way out for Congress

Rapid News Network • July 29, 2015 • Jake Carter

The legislation we’ll be debating later this week will go for a significantly longer period of time. He noted that the goal remains a long-term highway bill. The Hamilton Project, an initiative of the Brookings Institution, suggests having the gas tax fluctuate inversely with the price of gasoline, so drivers pay less tax when fuel prices are high.

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Job licenses prove occupational hazard, warns White House

The Financial Times • July 28, 2015 • Sam Fleming

"...In a report published in March by the Hamilton Project, Morris Kleiner of the University of Minnesota called occupational licensing “one of the fastest growing labour market institutions in the United States since World War II”..."
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Education can’t fix inequality

The Boston Globe • July 27, 2015 • Evan Horowitz

"To test this theory, a team of researchers from the Hamilton Project at the Brookings Institution put together a simulation, where they estimated how different things would be if millions of high-school grads had made it through college. They found no meaningful change in overall inequality."

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It’s about to get easier for California farmers to conserve water—and sell it

The Atlantic - CityLab • July 10, 2015 • Laura Bliss

"...Glennon argues that a stronger water market would internalize these costs. A report he co-authored for the Hamilton Project at the Brookings Institution lays out a novel way to do so: “Municipal and industrial folks should pay farmers modernize their irrigation infrastructure, in exchange for the water conserved,” he says. “By doing that, farmers would use less water, but grow the same amount of product so that they stay in business.”

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