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Oct 19, 2017

The 51% Driving Growth through Women’s Economic Participation

The U.S. economy will not operate at its full potential unless government and employers remove impediments to full participation by women in the labor market. The failure to address structural problems in labor markets, tax, and employment policy that women face does more than hold back their careers and aspirations for a better life. Barriers to participation by women also act as brakes on the national economy, stifling the economy’s ability to grow. To address these problems, The Hamilton Project published this book featuring a host of public policies to promote women’s economic opportunity.

All Papers

Policy Proposal Dec 13, 2017

Decreasing the Patent Office’s Incentives to Grant Invalid Patents

There is general agreement that the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office issues too many invalid patents—those patents issued on an existing technology or on an obvious technological advancement—that are unnecessarily reducing consumer welfare, stunting productive research, and discouraging innovation. To address this, Frakes and Wasserman build upon new empirical evidence to propose three changes to the patent system that would reduce the issuance of invalid patents.

Policy Proposal Dec 13, 2017

Promoting Energy Innovation with Lessons from Drug Development

Despite progress toward a cleaner energy system, current U.S. policies appear insufficient to reduce emissions enough to avoid catastrophic climate change while sustaining economic growth. Energy innovation is a crucial part of addressing this problem, but a number of inefficiencies persist in the innovation system. To address this, Goldstein, Azoulay, Graff Zivin, and Bulović examine practices and institutions that successfully support the pharmaceutical innovation system and that hold important lessons for energy innovation.

Economic Facts Dec 13, 2017

Eleven Facts about Innovation and Patents

In this set of eleven economic facts, The Hamilton Project explores central features of the innovation system, including patents, research and development (R&D) investments, and science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education. Invalid patents and other challenges in the innovation pipeline can be overcome only if the determinants of innovation are well understood. Addressing these challenges advances The Hamilton Project’s core goal of promoting broadly shared economic growth.

Economic Analysis Nov 1, 2017

Lessons from the Rise of Women’s Labor Force Participation in Japan

After lagging behind U.S. women for more than forty years, Japanese prime-age women have now caught up and exceeded the U.S. rate of labor force participation. In this economic analysis, we seek to learn from a labor market that has been on an entirely different trajectory from that of the United States, and a country that has made women’s labor force participation a top macroeconomic priority.

Oct 19, 2017

The 51% Driving Growth through Women’s Economic Participation

The U.S. economy will not operate at its full potential unless government and employers remove impediments to full participation by women in the labor market. The failure to address structural problems in labor markets, tax, and employment policy that women face does more than hold back their careers and aspirations for a better life. Barriers to participation by women also act as brakes on the national economy, stifling the economy’s ability to grow. To address these problems, The Hamilton Project published this book featuring a host of public policies to promote women’s economic opportunity.

Policy Proposal Oct 19, 2017

Modernizing U.S. Labor Standards for 21st-Century Families

Women now make up almost half the U.S. workforce, and more than half of the U.S. population. Despite the central role women play in the economy, our labor laws and institutions do little to address the various ways in which women are held back at work. This not only hampers women’s economic well-being, but also has implications for U.S. productivity, labor force participation, and economic growth. In this paper, Ansel and Boushey propose policies aimed at boosting women’s economic outcomes: paid family leave, fair scheduling, and combatting wage discrimination. They show how enacting carefully designed policies will better address the challenges of today’s labor force, enhance women’s economic outcomes, and provide benefits for the national economy.

Framing Paper Oct 19, 2017

The Recent Decline in Women’s Labor Force Participation

While women’s labor force participation has increased substantially in the U.S. over the second half of the 20th century, this growth has stagnated and reversed since 2000. This pattern persists across women of varying races and ethnicities, educational backgrounds, ages, and marital statuses, and for women with and without children alike. Black, Schanzenbach, and Breitwieser note that this decline seems to be moving directly against the trends observed in other major OECD economies. 

Policy Proposal Oct 19, 2017

Expanding Access to Earned Sick Leave to Support Caregiving

The rapid growth of the older population in the United States will dramatically increase the need for elder care, most of which will be provided at home by family members. Supporting an older person sometimes comes at the cost of leaving the labor force, particularly for caregivers in jobs with an inflexible work schedule. This paper proposes a federal earned sick leave mandate guaranteeing one hour of flexible, multi-purpose sick leave for every 30 hours worked. By helping workers periodically adjust their work schedules to accommodate intermittent and urgent caregiving activities, paid sick leave would increase both home caregiving and employment, as fewer workers would be forced to choose between these activities. 

Policy Proposal Oct 19, 2017

Helping Women to Succeed in Higher Education: Supporting Student-Parents with Child Care

Women have surpassed men in college enrollment. This trend is particularly pronounced among nontraditional students, including part-time and older students—two groups that face significant challenges in higher education. For the 4.8 million college students who are parents, high-quality, reliable, and affordable child care is essential. Long proposes building on the Child Care Access Means Parents in School (CCAMPIS) Program to structure an institutional grant program that better supports the availability of high-quality child care for parents pursuing postsecondary credentials (student-parents). Compared with the existing federal program, the proposed program would be larger and better targeted to address the substantial needs of low-income student-parents.

Policy Proposal Oct 19, 2017

Public Investments in Child Care

Child care is a necessity for working women with young children. However, the costs of high-quality center-based child care in the United States—particularly for children under age five—are prohibitively high for many families. In this proposal, Elizabeth Cascio describes a multifaceted approach to child-care policy that reduces the financial burden of child care, encourages maternal employment, and supports child development. The proposal would replace existing federal child-care tax policies with a single refundable federal child-care tax credit that is more generous to lower-income families and families with children under the age of five. To address child care quality, Cascio proposes investments in Quality Rating and Improvement Systems and in expansion of universal preschool for four-year-olds. State and local governments could pursue these investments on their own or with federal assistance.

Policy Proposal Oct 19, 2017

A National Paid Parental Leave Policy for the United States

Despite widespread public support for paid parental leave, the United States is the only industrialized country without a national policy providing mothers with rights to paid leave following the birth of a child. Ruhm proposes a national paid leave program that entitles both mothers and fathers to 12 weeks of paid time off work. The proposal includes job protection during the leave, broad eligibility, and income-tiered wage replacement rates. The program would be financed by general revenues and administered by a new office established within the Social Security Administration, with program evaluation scheduled three to five years after initial implementation.

Policy Proposal Oct 19, 2017

Increasing the Economic Security of Older Women

Popular commentary often points to the lower lifetime earnings and longer expected life spans of women relative to men as a reason to be especially concerned about the economic risks women face as they age. Indeed, women aged 65 and older are twice as likely as their male counterparts to live in poverty. Disability and widowhood are major drivers of economic insecurity for women later in life. To reduce the risk of economic insecurity among older women, the authors propose to allow Social Security beneficiaries to forgo some benefits when claiming to finance greater benefits in the event of widowhood, disability, or both. The proposed changes would be voluntary and self-financing.

Policy Proposal Oct 19, 2017

Tax Policies to Encourage Women’s Labor Force Participation

Ordinarily, the progressive income tax system acts to mitigate differences in before-tax earnings. However, the tax treatment of married couples tends to raise the tax rate faced by the spouse who is the lower earner in a couple. This group of spouses, often referred to as secondary earners, is still predominantly female. Consequently, the current tax treatment of married couples reduces wives’ labor force participation and creates other inefficiencies. LaLumia proposes a new second-earner deduction equal to 15 percent of the earnings of a lower-earning spouse. The proposed deduction would raise the after-tax return to work for many wives, encouraging an increase in married women’s labor supply, and would reduce marriage penalties on average.

Framing Paper Oct 19, 2017

The Incomplete Progress of Women in the Labor Market

The gap between wages of men and women has fallen over the past several decades, reflecting women’s economic progress. Successive generations of women have obtained more education and received higher wages, entering a broader range of occupations that had previously been male-dominated. However, a significant gender wage gap remains. Nunn and Mumford point out that occupational segregation, differences in academic specialization, difficulty in balancing work and household responsibilities, and wage discrimination—among many other factors—likely underlie much of the remaining gender wage gap.

Policy Proposal Oct 19, 2017

Making Work Pay Better Through an Expanded Earned Income Tax Credit

The Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) is a refundable tax credit that promotes work. Despite the strong evidence for the effectiveness of the EITC and recent bipartisan expansions, the maximum EITC has been frozen in inflation-adjusted terms for most families since 1996, so the 25 million EITC families with fewer than three children have not seen a real increase in more than 20 years. The authors propose to build on the successes of the EITC with a ten percent across-the-board increase in the federal credit. This expansion would provide a meaningful offset to stagnating real wages, encourage more people to enter employment, lift approximately 600,000 individuals out of poverty, and improve health and education outcomes for millions of children.

Economic Facts Sep 24, 2017

Thirteen Facts about Wage Growth

One of the best measures economists use to determine Americans’ economic advancement is whether wages are rising, broadly and consistently. This document highlights the necessary conditions for broadly shared wage growth, trends closely related to stagnation in wages for many workers, and the recent history of wage growth, with an emphasis on the experience of the Great Recession and recovery. It concludes by discussing how public policies can effectively contribute to the growth in wages that is a core part of improving living standards for all Americans.

Economic Facts Apr 26, 2017

Eight Economic Facts on Higher Education

In this set of eight facts, the Hamilton Project offers evidence of the economic value of a postsecondary education. These facts document who is enrolling in and completing – or dropping out of – postsecondary programs and how this has changed over time. While there continues to be a sizeable earnings premium for postsecondary degree holders, these facts also describe the distribution of debt and default among student borrowers.

Policy Proposal Apr 26, 2017

Improving College and Career Outcomes of Low-Performing High School Students

In this proposal, the author shows that many students who perform at or below average in high school are not prepared for college and do not attain postsecondary degrees or high-value certificates. The author proposes a set of policies and practices, informed by his multimethod evaluation of the Florida College and Career Initiative (FCCRI), that would improve college and career outcomes at relatively low cost.

Policy Proposal Apr 26, 2017

Understanding and Addressing Teacher Shortages in the United States

While there is a popular perception of a national teacher shortage, the authors demonstrate that teacher shortages are in fact localized and subject-specific. Teacher hiring and retention are often difficult for schools that serve low-income students as well as in particular fields like STEM and special education. The authors propose complementary strategies that K-12 school districts, teacher education programs, and regulatory authorities can use to address these shortages.

Policy Proposal Apr 26, 2017

Labor Force to Lecture Hall: Pell Grants and Postsecondary Policies in Response to Job Loss

Currently, Pell Grants are designed to meet the needs of recent high school graduates. In this proposal, Turner explores the possibility of better tailoring Pell Grant eligibility and needs assessment to the circumstances of the adult unemployed. In addition to improving Pell access for these individuals, facilitating better matches between unemployment insurance recipients and post-secondary programs has the potential to enhance long-term labor market outcomes, which Turner proposes to carefully evaluate.