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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.

All Papers

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.

Economic Analysis Nov 20, 2014

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.

Economic Facts Oct 14, 2014

In Times of Drought: Nine Economic Facts about Water in the United States

The water crisis is as much an economic issue as it is an environmental one, and it demands focused national attention. This Hamilton Project policy memo presents nine economic facts about water in the United States, focusing on relevant background context to the water crisis as well as on supply and demand issues. This memo underscores three topics: the occurrence of drought in the United States, the importance of water to the U.S. economy, and barriers to efficient uses of water.