Featured Papers

Policies to Address Poverty in America, Full Volume

The Hamilton Project asked academic experts to develop policy proposals confronting the various challenges of America’s poorest citizens, and to introduce innovative approaches to addressing poverty. When combined, the scope and impact of these proposals has the potential to vastly improve the lives of the poor. The resulting 14 policy memos are included in The Hamilton Project's Policies to Address Poverty in America. The main areas of focus include promoting early childhood development, supporting disadvantaged youth, building worker skills, and improving safety net and work support.


The Future of Work in the Age of the Machine

Recent developments in technology, including the proliferation of smart machines, networked communication, and digitization, have the potential to transform the economy in groundbreaking ways. In this framing paper, The Hamilton Project explores the debate about how computerization and machines might change the future of work and the economy, and what challenges and opportunities this presents for public policy.


The Hamilton Project Policy Response to the President’s 2016 Budget Proposal

The 2016 Budget has a number of specific features that embrace the approach that government policy should be evidence-based. The 2016 Budget offers proposals that would strengthen evidence-building capacity in specific policy areas; strengthen evidence-building capacity across government; and create new opportunities for innovative programs. In this memo The Hamilton Project provides an overview of evidenced-based policy recommendations from recent papers addressing a range of issues that are specifically mentioned in the 2016 Budget.


Reforming Occupational Licensing Policies

Evidence suggests that occupational licensing has had an important influence on wage determination, benefits, employment, and prices in ways that impose net costs on society with little improvement to service quality, health, and safety. To improve occupational licensing practices, Morris Kleiner proposes four specific reforms.


The Hamilton Project Policy Response to the 2015 State of the Union Address

In his 2015 State of the Union address, President Barack Obama emphasized the need to restore the link between hard work and growing opportunity for every American: especially low- and middle-income citizens.  The Hamilton Project highlights policy proposals that are most relevant to the goals and ideas explicitly promoted in the speech and reflective of the current policy context. These proposals offer smart, actionable ways forward on each of the particular policy goals. 


Major Decisions: Graduates’ Earnings Growth and Debt Repayment

In a new interactive feature and economic analysis, The Hamilton Project explores how the current student loan repayment system often creates a heavy burden on recent graduates by having them make payments in the beginning of their careers when their earnings are low. The accompanying interactive feature allows users to calculate the share of earnings necessary to service traditional loan repayment for 80 college majors.

Popular Papers


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.


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.


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. 


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.


Ten Economic Facts about Crime and Incarceration in the United States

May 2014 • Melissa S. Kearney, Benjamin H. HarrisEconomic Security, Effective Government, Poverty, State & Local

This Hamilton Project policy memo provides ten economic facts highlighting recent trends in crime and incarceration in the United States. Specifically, it explores the characteristics of criminal offenders and victims;  the historically unprecedented level of incarceration in the United States; and  evidence on both the fiscal and social implications of current policy on taxpayers and those imprisoned.

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Hamilton Project Updates

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