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Economic Facts Apr 21, 2016

Twelve Facts about Food Insecurity and SNAP

One in seven households was food insecure in 2014—meaning that at some time during the year the household had difficulty providing enough food for all of their members due to a lack of resources. To explore the persistent and troubling problem of hunger in America, The Hamilton Project offers the following 12 facts on food insecurity, SNAP, and other nutrition support programs.

All Papers

Economic Analysis Apr 29, 2016

Are Nutrition Policies Making Teenagers Hungry?

Households with teenagers report greater incidence of food insecurity than households with younger children. Yet for many teens, nutrition assistance programs such as School Lunch, School Breakfast, and SNAP are not providing enough calories to make it through the day. In a new economic analysis, The Hamilton Project explores how nutrition policies are leaving food insecure teenagers more vulnerable, and highlights policies to address this problem. 

Policy Proposal Mar 28, 2016

Learning What Works in Educational Technology with a Case Study of EDUSTAR

Innovations in technology hold great promise for application in education, and yet new educational technologies have yet to fundamentally advance student outcomes in K-12. In this policy memo, authors Aaron Chatterji and Benjamin Jones argue that the lack of rigorous evaluation currently available for educational technology tools must be addressed and articulate general principles that should guide the evaluation of educational technology. These evaluations have the promise to fill in critical information gaps and leverage the potential of new technologies to improve learning. They also present a case study of a new platform, EDUSTAR, conceived by the authors and implemented with a national nonprofit organization.

Policy Proposal Mar 28, 2016

Increasing Targeting, Flexibility, and Transparency in Title I of the ESEA

Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act distributes over $14 billion in federal funds to school districts to help disadvantaged students. Over its 50-year history, the aid formulas have become more complex, and the perceived restrictions on permissible uses of the funds have limited the ways that schools use the additional resources. The program is widely perceived as funding ineffective practices at the local level, and spreading federal funds too thinly. Gordon proposes reforms to make the Title I formula more transparent, streamlined and progressive by distributing additional resources to the neediest areas. In addition, she suggests improvements in federal guidance and fiscal compliance outreach efforts so that local districts understand the flexibility they have to spend the resources effectively. 

Policy Proposal Mar 28, 2016

Improving Academic Outcomes for Disadvantaged Students: Scaling Up Individualized Tutorials

Improving the educational outcomes of economically disadvantaged children is a policy priority in the United States, and yet relatively little progress has been made in recent decades. To address this issue, Roseanna Ander, Jonathan Guryan and Jens Ludwig propose scaling up a daily, individualized tutorial program that would allow students who have fallen behind grade level in math to reengage with regular classroom instruction, likely increasing their chances of graduating high school and achieving the many long-term economic benefits that go along with academic success.

Economic Facts Mar 24, 2016

Fourteen Economic Facts on Education and Economic Opportunity

There are many factors at work in determining educational outcomes; some of these are more easily addressed by policy reforms than others, and not all can be addressed directly within the K–12 education system. To illustrate the payoffs from increasing educational attainment, the challenges faced by our nation’s K–12 schools, and the promise of targeted childhood interventions, The Hamilton Project offers the following fourteen facts on education and economic opportunity.

Economic Analysis Feb 5, 2016

An Additional Measure of The Hamilton Project’s Jobs Gap Analysis

This month The Hamilton Project introduces an additional methodology, in addition to our standard monthly “jobs gap” measure (which calculates the number of jobs needed to return to the pre-recession employment-to-population ratio). Specifically, we add a new jobs gap measure calculating the number of jobs needed to reach the pre-recession unemployment rate after allowing for demographic shifts and changes in labor force participation. This will enable our readers to see the contrast between the two methods of estimating the jobs gap.

Policy Proposal Dec 7, 2015

A Proposal for Modernizing Labor Laws for Twenty-First Century Work: The “Independent Worker”

The rise of technological intermediaries enabling workers to engage in the gig economy has resulted in protracted legal battles over whether to classify these workers as “employees” or “independent contractors.” Seth Harris and Alan Krueger propose assigning benefits and protections to independent workers according to whether or not the new benefits meet three certain considerations, and seek to address several growing issues in the labor market.

Policy Proposal Oct 7, 2015

Getting the Most from Marketplaces: Smart Policies on Health Insurance Choice

Substantial evidence shows that consumers often lack the high-quality information to select the best insurance plan, and once they have selected a plan they are less likely to switch, even as better plans become available. In response, Ben Handel and Jonathan Kolstad propose that exchanges develop a personalized decision support tool to give consumers the information they need to select the best plan. Additionally, they propose that exchanges establish a system of smart defaults, where an algorithm is used to move consumers to new plans if those plans deliver more value. 

Policy Proposal Oct 7, 2015

A Floor-and-Trade Proposal to Improve the Delivery of Charity-Care Services by Nonprofit Hospitals

Substantial evidence shows that consumers often lack the high-quality information to select the best insurance plan, and once they have selected a plan they are less likely to switch, even as better plans become available. In response, David Dranove, Craig Garthwaite and Christopher Ody propose that exchanges develop a personalized decision support tool to give consumers the information they need to select the best plan. Additionally, they propose that exchanges establish a system of smart defaults, where an algorithm is used to move consumers to new plans if those plans deliver more value. 

Economic Facts Oct 6, 2015

Six Economic Facts about Health Care and Health Insurance Markets after the Affordable Care Act

It is still too soon to completely know the effects of the Affordable Care Act on the health-care system. But looking beyond these considerations, it appears that many enduring economic challenges persist in the markets. In particular challenges like accessing care, delivering high-quality care without waste, and managing new technology. The Hamilton Project offers six economic facts that highlight continuing challenges and complexities in health care and health insurance markets on which the policy debate should focus.

Policy Proposal Oct 5, 2015

Correcting Signals for Innovation in Health Care

When Americans select health insurance, they cannot choose what technologies and treatments to include in their coverage. The fact that Americans have little choice but to buy widely-inclusive coverage sends a distorted signal to medical technology developers—that society is willing to pay practically any price for treatments that offer only incremental health benefits over existing technology. Nicholas Bagley, Amitabh Chandra and Austin Frakt propose three reforms to make health insurance, and ultimately medical innovation, reflect what consumers value.

Policy Proposal Jun 23, 2015

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.

Policy Proposal May 7, 2015

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.

Economic Analysis Apr 20, 2015

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.

Economic Analysis Mar 30, 2015

Increasing Education: What it Will and Will Not Do for Earnings and Earnings Inequality

Scholars and public commentators have recently debated the impact of education on earnings and earnings inequality. Some have argued that improving education is not the sole solution to inequality. In this economic analysis, Brad Hershbein, Melissa Kearney and Lawrence H. Summers clarify the different elements of the public debate and note explicitly that these positions are not necessarily at odds.

Framing Paper Mar 9, 2015

Three Targeted Approaches to Expand Employment Opportunities

The United States has experienced a fairly steady recovery since the Great Recession—fifty-three consecutive months of positive job creation as of this writing—but there is room for continued improvement.This framing memo from The Hamilton Project discusses three proposals from prominent scholars, each of which addresses a specific challenge in a potentially cost-effective way to address both cyclical and longer-term labor market challenges and, suggests ways to help workers.

Policy Proposal Mar 9, 2015

Strengthening Reemployment in the Unemployment Insurance System

Helping unemployed workers return to work has long been a policy challenge in the United States, and the urgency of the problem tends to increase during and after economic downturns. In this paper, Adriana Kugler offers three pilot programs to reform the unemployment system by encouraging different ways to return to work. The first program would allow the unemployed to continue claiming benefits while receiving entrepreneurial training and other assistance for setting up a business. The second program would support the unemployed through temporary positions and internships that might lead to full-time jobs. The third program would provide partial benefits to claimants who accept part-time jobs.