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Economic Analysis Jul 9, 2018

Where Work Pays: How Does Where You Live Matter for Your Earnings?

Educational and occupational choices matter for your earnings, but where you work matters, too. Employment opportunities and wages in some occupations vary substantially from state to state, county to county, and city to city. One location might be a great place to earn a living as a nurse but not as a construction worker (e.g., New Orleans, Louisiana), while a different location might be the opposite (e.g., Utica, New York). In this economic analysis we look at some of the ways that typical earnings in an occupation—and the value of those earnings after adjusting for taxes and cost of living—vary across the United States. We also examine some of the reasons why places have such different labor markets.

All Papers

Economic Analysis Jul 9, 2018

Where Work Pays: How Does Where You Live Matter for Your Earnings?

Educational and occupational choices matter for your earnings, but where you work matters, too. Employment opportunities and wages in some occupations vary substantially from state to state, county to county, and city to city. One location might be a great place to earn a living as a nurse but not as a construction worker (e.g., New Orleans, Louisiana), while a different location might be the opposite (e.g., Utica, New York). In this economic analysis we look at some of the ways that typical earnings in an occupation—and the value of those earnings after adjusting for taxes and cost of living—vary across the United States. We also examine some of the reasons why places have such different labor markets.

Economic Facts Jun 13, 2018

The State of Competition and Dynamism:
Facts about Concentration, Start-Ups, and Related Policies

Over the past few decades there have been troubling indications that dynamism and competition in the U.S. economy have declined. Markets are more concentrated than they were a few decades ago, and entrepreneurship is less common, with both the number and employment share of new firms well below the levels of previous decades. Carefully assessing these trends as they relate to public policy is necessary to achieving a more competitive, productive economy that generates broadly shared growth.

Policy Proposal Jun 13, 2018

Enhancing Competition with Data and Identity Portability

Users contribute information to many digital platforms. Regulators have recognized that when such data cannot be easily moved between platforms, this may lock those users in to incumbents and prevent innovative competitors from emerging. Gans argues that the same type of barriers exists with respect to networks of users. Users who move between platforms could lose the benefits of communications within their social network. He proposes to generalize data portability to a broader notion of identity portability whereby messages between verified connections can flow between platforms, thereby mitigating these broader switching costs and promoting competition.

Policy Proposal Jun 13, 2018

The Main Street Fund:
Investing in an Entrepreneurial Economy

State business incentives tilt the economic playing field in favor of large, incumbent firms and thereby discourage economic dynamism. However, basic collective action problems prevent any state from unilaterally eliminating these incentives, as businesses would migrate to states that continued to provide incentives. Chatterji proposes a federal Main Street Fund that would encourage states to redirect incentive payments towards initiatives that support new businesses and economic dynamism. These initiatives include management training for new entrepreneurs, increased occupational licensing reciprocity, investment in broadband infrastructure, and customized initiatives to support the creation and success of new businesses.

Policy Proposal Jun 13, 2018

Improving Efficiency in the Health-Care System:
Removing Anticompetitive Barriers for
Advanced Practice Registered Nurses and Physician Assistants

High levels of U.S. health-care spending and inadequate health outcomes make it vital for policymakers to explore opportunities for enhancing productivity in the health-care sector. However, the potential for these gains is sharply limited by anticompetitive policy barriers in the form of restrictive scope of practice laws imposed on physician assistants and advanced practice registered nurses. Adams and Markowitz examine evidence on the impacts of these restrictions, concluding that states should move to fully authorized scope of practice for these practitioners. The authors explore state and federal policies that could help facilitate this shift.

Strategy Paper Apr 25, 2018

Reducing Chronic Absenteeism
under the
Every Student Succeeds Act

In this Hamilton Project strategy paper, Lauren Bauer,  Patrick Liu, Diane Whitmore Schanzenbach, and Jay Shambaugh articulate a framework for states as they oversee implementation of statewide accountability plans under the Every Student Succeeds Act and describe how states differ in their approaches. The authors present novel analyses of the factors at the school and student levels that relate to chronic absenteeism and describe evidence-based strategies for schools as they work to reduce rates of chronic absence among students.

Policy Books Feb 27, 2018

Revitalizing Wage Growth
Policies to Get American Workers a Raise

One simple question—are wages rising?—is as central to the health of our democracy as it is to the health of our economy. This book presents evidence and analysis that detail why wages have been stagnant for so many workers, while also identifying public policies that could effectively contribute to the growth in productivity and wages that are core parts of improving living standards for all Americans. These proposals include greater support for policies that increase human capital, boost worker mobility, strengthen worker bargaining power, and sustain robust labor demand.

Policy Proposal Feb 27, 2018

Strengthening Labor Standards and Institutions to Promote Wage Growth

For most of the period since the 1970s the United States has suffered from two trends: stagnant wages for most workers and rising inequality. In this paper, Heidi Shierholz focuses on the erosion of labor standards, institutions, and norms that has reduced the bargaining power of low- and moderate-wage workers. She proposes a suite of remedies to help strengthen worker bargaining power and increase wages.

Policy Proposal Feb 27, 2018

Information Is Power: Fostering Labor Market Competition through Transparent Wages

One of the challenges of wage stagnation is asymmetric information, whereby employers have a greater knowledge of the distribution of wages relative to workers. This asymmetry of information is potentially suppressing wage growth as it limits workers’ ability and inclination to negotiate for higher pay. In this paper, Ben Harris advances a five-part proposal to improve wage transparency as a strategy for improving worker bargaining power, and ultimately, raising wages across the income distribution.

Policy Proposal Feb 27, 2018

Reforming Non-Competes to Support Workers

Firms use non-competes widely in order to minimize recruiting costs, safeguard investments, and protect intellectual property more easily than is achieved via non-disclosure agreements. But these benefits come at a cost to workers, whose career flexibility is compromised—often without their informed consent. In this paper, Matt Marx describes evidence from empirical research on non-compete agreements and recommends policies to balance the interests of firms and workers.  

Policy Proposal Feb 27, 2018

The Importance of Strong Labor Demand

By conventional measures, the U.S. job market has suffered some degree of slack for about 70 percent of the time since 1980. The absence of persistent, strong labor market demand has a significant negative impact on wages and incomes, with these costs falling disproportionately on the least advantaged. In this paper, Jared Bernstein offers a four-part proposal to increase labor demand along with earnings and employment opportunities.

Policy Proposal Feb 27, 2018

Coming and Going: Encouraging Geographic Mobility at College Entry and Exit to Lift Wages

Geography is an important part of economic opportunity—but due to monetary and nonmonetary costs of migration, college attendance is less likely for those who live farther from postsecondary institutions. The college educated have also become increasingly concentrated in larger labor markets, while at the same time mobility across markets is falling. Wozniak proposes two modifications to the existing Federal Student Aid programs to level the playing field on these dimensions. 

Policy Proposal Feb 27, 2018

Stagnation in Lifetime Incomes: An Overview of Trends and Potential Causes

Lifetime incomes have stagnated significantly since the 1960s, with young workers earning less than the previous generation early in their careers, resulting in lower lifetime incomes. These trends coincided with a stagnation of educational attainment for men, as well as rising income disparities among workers with some college experience. In light of these facts, this paper presents policy proposals that aim to boost wage growth for younger workers.

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.

Policy Books 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.