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.


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 elemnts of the public debate and note explicitly that these positions are not necessarily at odds.


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.


Minority and Women Entrepreneurs: Building Capital, Networks, and Skills

The United States has an enviable entrepreneurial culture and a track record of building new companies.Yet women and minority entrepreneurs often face even greater obstacles. In this discussion paper, Michael Barr calls for an expanded State Small
Business Credit Initiative and an enlarged and permanent New Markets Tax Credit to encourage private sector investment in new and small businesses.


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.


The Hamilton Project’s Jobs Gap Analysis: An Historical Perspective

As of the end of February 2015, our nation faces a jobs gap of 4.0 million jobs. In this economic analysis, The Hamilton Project explores the recent growth of jobs in the U.S. economy, and takes an historic look at past recessions and growth between 1981 and 2007.

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.


Major Decisions: Graduates’ Earnings Growth and Debt Repayment

November 2014 • Brad Hershbein, Benjamin H. Harris, Melissa S. KearneyEducation

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.

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