Featured Papers


Ten Economic Facts about Financial Well-Being in Retirement

Rising life expectancy and potentially exorbitant long-term care costs have increased the financial resources required to support oneself and one’s spouse in retirement and old age. This set of economic facts bring attention to trends in Americans’ financial security and preparedness for retirement.


Strengthening Risk Protection through Private Long-Term Care Insurance

Americans currently spend over $300 billion a year on long-term services and supports (LTSS), paid for through government programs, private insurance, and importantly, individuals’ own out-of-pocket spending. Wesley Yin proposes changes to the financing of long-term care (LTC) insurance so that individuals can have more-affordable and more-complete insurance against long-term services and supports (LTSS) expenses, and so insurance firms can manage their risks more efficiently.


Building on What Works: A Proposal to Modernize Retirement Savings

Workers rely more than ever on individually directed retirement savings vehicles, such as defined-contribution plans and IRAs, to provide the income necessary for a comfortable retirement. John Friedman proposes combining the various types of retirement accounts into a single Universal Retirement Saving Account and instituting tax credits for businesses that encourage workers to save. 


Financing U.S. Transportation Infrastructure in the 21st Century

The nation’s transportation infrastructure, it is widely agreed, is eroding and in need of long-term, innovative policy solutions and adequate investment. In this discussion paper, Roger Altman, Aaron Klein, and Alan Krueger propose improvement and expansion of the Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA) lending program, reauthorization of Build America Bonds, better utilization of the Army Corps of Engineers and the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund, and reform of the federal gas tax.


Profiles of Change: Employment, Earnings, and Occupations from 1990-2013

There has been tremendous focus in recent years on the plight of the typical American worker. In this economic analysis, The Hamilton Project takes a careful look at the data to examine what has been happening to America’s workers since 1990, paying particular interest to differences across workers with different levels of education. In addition, an accompanying interactive feature allows users to further explore these eight profiles by comparing employment, occupational, and earnings patterns between 1990 and 2013. 

Popular Papers


The “Ripple Effect” of a Minimum Wage Increase on American Workers

January 2014 • Melissa S. Kearney, Benjamin H. HarrisEconomic Security, Effective Government, Employment & Wages, Poverty

In this month’s Hamilton Project employment analysis, we consider the “ripple effects” of a minimum wage increase on near-minimum wage workers, finding that a minimum wage increase could benefit up to 35 million workers.


Major Decisions: What Graduates Earn Over Their Lifetimes

September 2014 • Brad Hershbein, Melissa S. KearneyEducation, Employment & Wages

The importance of a college education for the advancement of one’s life and career has been widely reported. However, there is much speculation about the likely trajectory of one’s lifetime earnings once they’ve chosen a major program to study.  To accompany a new interactive feature, The Hamilton Project explores the evidence behind career earnings by college major In this economic analysis.


What Immigration Means For U.S. Employment and Wages

May 2012 • Adam Looney, Michael GreenstoneEmployment & Wages, Global Economy

Our nation’s immigration policy continues to be an issue of debate among policymakers, particularly the impact on the U.S. labor force. The Hamilton Project highlights the economic evidence on what immigration means for U.S. jobs and the economy.


Regardless of the Cost, College Still Matters

October 2012 • Adam Looney, Michael GreenstoneEffective Government, Education, Employment & Wages, State & Local

There is ongoing debate about the rising cost of college and whether that investment is still worthwhile in today’s economy. In this month’s employment analysis, The Hamilton Project examines the rising cost of college over the last 30 years and finds that while college costs are growing, the increase in earnings one receives from a college degree—and, by extension, the cost of not going to college—are growing even faster. 


The Truth about Taxes: Just About Everyone Pays Them

April 2012 • Adam Looney, Michael GreenstoneEmployment & Wages, Tax Policy

A popular tax myth is that a large segment of Americans do not pay taxes and instead free ride off of our society.  The Hamilton Project explores this myth and finds that virtually all Americans will pay some form of tax during their lifetime. 

Browse Our Papers

Hamilton Project Updates

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