Papers: State & Local

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Tomorrow’s Catch: A Proposal to Strengthen the Economic Sustainability of U.S. Fisheries

September 2014 • Christopher CostelloEconomic Security, Effective Government, Energy & Environment, State & Local

In this Hamilton Project discussion paper, Christopher Costello of the University of California, Santa Barbara proposes that certain fisheries conduct an analysis of alternative fishery management structures, including different forms of catch shares, to improve the economic value of U.S. fisheries.

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What’s the Catch? Challenges and Opportunities of the U.S. Fishing Industry

September 2014 • Melissa S. Kearney, Benjamin H. Harris, Brad HershbeinEconomic Security, Effective Government, Energy & Environment, State & Local

In this policy memo, The Hamilton Project highlights the economic significance of U.S. fisheries, describes the current landscape of the industry and typical management practices, and explains the “tragedy of the commons” challenge facing this natural resource. The Project also explores possible approaches for improving the economic and ecological sustainability of U.S. fisheries by establishing better-defined property rights as an alternative to traditional management systems.
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Back to School: Hamilton Project Papers Aimed at Early Learning, K-12, and Higher Education

August 2014 • Education, Effective Government, State & Local

At the start of a new school year, The Hamilton Project highlights an array of policy proposals, economic facts, and economic analyses articulating the importance of education for the advancement and prosperity of Americans. 

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Designing Thoughtful Minimum Wage Policy at the State and Local Levels

June 2014 • Arindrajit DubeEconomic Security, Effective Government, Employment & Wages, Poverty, State & Local

In this policy memo, Arindrajit Dube proposes that state and local governments consider median wages and local costs when setting minimum wages, index the minimum wage for inflation, and engage in regional wage setting. This proposal aims to raise the earnings of low-wage workers with minimal negative impacts on employment. This proposal is chapter thirteen of The Hamilton Project’s Policies to Address Poverty in America, and a segment in Improving Safety Net and Work Support.

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Encouraging Work Sharing to Reduce Unemployment

June 2014 • Katharine Abraham, Susan HousemanEconomic Security, Effective Government, Employment & Wages, Poverty, State & Local

In this policy memo, Katharine G. Abraham and Susan N. Houseman propose that the federal government subsidize state work-sharing payments during economic downturns, make work sharing a requirement for state unemployment insurance systems, change federal requirements to modify provisions of state work-sharing plans that may discourage employer participation, and provide states with adequate funding to administer work-sharing programs. This proposal, targeted at workers who would otherwise become unemployed during cyclical downturns, aims to reduce the number of layoffs during economic downturns. This proposal is chapter twelve of The Hamilton Project’s Policies to Address Poverty in America, and a segment in Improving Safety Net and Work Support.

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Building on the Success of the Earned Income Tax Credit

June 2014 • Hilary HoynesEconomic Security, Effective Government, Employment & Wages, Poverty, State & Local, Tax Policy

In this policy memo, Hilary Hoynes proposes expanding the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) by raising the benefits for families with one child to be on par with the benefits for families with two children. This proposal aims to strengthen work incentives for low-income, one-child families; raise 410,000 people—including 131,000 children—out of poverty; and increase after-tax income by about $1,000 for one-child EITC beneficiaries, leading to improvements in health and children’s cognitive skills. This proposal is chapter eleven of The Hamilton Project’s Policies to Address Poverty in America, and a segment in Improving Safety Net and Work Support.

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Providing Disadvantaged Workers with Skills to Succeed in the Labor Market

June 2014 • Sheena McConnell, Irma Perez-Johnson, Jillian BerkEconomic Security, Education, Effective Government, Employment & Wages, Poverty, State & Local

In this policy memo, Sheena McConnell, Irma Perez-Johnson, and Jillian Berk offer proposals to help disadvantaged adult workers with the skills necessary to succeed in the labor market. The authors call for an increase in funding in the Workforce Investment Act Adult program. They also propose a series of four steps that state and local workforce boards can take to better assist disadvantaged adult workers in obtaining skills. This proposal is chapter nine of The Hamilton Project’s Policies to Address Poverty in America, and a segment in Building Skills.

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Improving Employment Outcomes for Disadvantaged Students

June 2014 • Harry J. HolzerEconomic Security, Education, Effective Government, Employment & Wages, Poverty, State & Local

In this policy memo, Harry J. Holzer proposes the creation of financial incentives for public colleges and university systems to offer classes in high-return fields and for employers to offer more training to their employees. This proposal, targeted at disadvantaged youth who have some academic preparation for higher education, aims to generate better labor market outcomes and wage gains. This proposal is chapter eight of The Hamilton Project’s Policies to Address Poverty in America, and a segment in Building Skills.

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Expanding Apprenticeship Opportunities in the United States

June 2014 • Robert LermanEconomic Security, Education, Effective Government, Employment & Wages, Poverty, State & Local

In this policy memo, Robert I. Lerman proposes a series of targeted federal and state-level initiatives to expand access to registered apprenticeship programs by creating marketing initiatives, building on existing youth apprenticeship programs, extending the use of federal subsidies, and designating occupational standards. This proposal, targeted toward at-risk youth and middle-skill adults in low-wage jobs, aims to improve human capital and raise earnings for apprentices. This proposal is chapter seven of The Hamilton Project’s Policies to Address Poverty in America, and a segment in Building Skills.

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Addressing the Academic Barriers to Higher Education

June 2014 • Bridget Terry LongEconomic Security, Education, Effective Government, Poverty, State & Local

In this policy memo, Bridget Terry Long proposes that school districts, community colleges, university systems, and state and federal governments reform the college remediation system by improving placement in remediation classes, providing better remediation services, and adopting measures to prevent the need for remediation. This proposal, targeted at disadvantaged, academically underprepared students in high school and college, aims to reduce the need for college-level remediation and to better match underprepared students with effective resources to equip them with the skills they need to succeed in college and in the workforce. This proposal is chapter six of The Hamilton Project’s Policies to Address Poverty in America, and a segment in Supporting Disadvantaged Youth.

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Expanding Summer Employment Opportunities for Low-Income Youth

June 2014 • Amy Ellen Schwartz, Jacob Leos-UrbelEconomic Security, Education, Effective Government, Employment & Wages, Poverty, State & Local

In this policy memo, Amy Ellen Schwartz and Jacob Leos-Urbel propose that the U.S. Department of Labor distribute federal grants to states for municipalities to provide summer employment to disadvantaged youth, first through a pilot program and then through a nationwide expansion. This proposal, targeted at low-income youth who are enrolled in or have recently graduated from high school, aims to increase school attendance, improve educational outcomes, and reduce violent behavior and crime. This proposal is chapter five of The Hamilton Project’s Policies to Address Poverty in America, and a segment in Supporting Disadvantaged Youth.

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Reducing Unintended Pregnancies for Low-Income Women

June 2014 • Isabel V. Sawhill, Joanna VenatorEconomic Security, Education, Effective Government, Health Care, Poverty, State & Local

In this policy memo, Isabel Sawhill and Joanna Venator propose that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Population Affairs, in conjunction with state governments, reduce unintended pregnancies through a social marketing campaign to encourage more young women to use long-acting reversible contraceptives (LARCs). This proposal, targeted at unmarried women between the ages of 15 and 30, aims to expand awareness so more low-income women use a LARC or other method of contraception, thereby reducing the number of unintended pregnancies and lowering the number of children born into poverty. This proposal is chapter three of The Hamilton Project’s Policies to Address Poverty in America, and a segment in Promoting Early Childhood Development.

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Addressing the Parenting Divide to Promote Early Childhood Development for Disadvantaged Children

June 2014 • Ariel KalilEconomic Security, Education, Effective Government, Poverty, State & Local

In this policy memo, Ariel Kalil proposes that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Administration for Children and Families create a task force supporting the collection of evidence to develop more-effective parenting interventions and to promote improved child development in early years. This proposal, targeted at low-income families with young children, will collect evidence on successful parenting interventions for young children through rigorous experiments, and will develop new interventions that are lower-cost and better-matched to families’ needs. This proposal is chapter two of The Hamilton Project’s Policies to Address Poverty in America, and a segment in Promoting Early Childhood Development.

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Expanding Preschool Access for Disadvantaged Children

June 2014 • Elizabeth U. Cascio, Diane Whitmore SchanzenbachEconomic Security, Education, Effective Government, Poverty, State & Local

In this policy memo, Elizabeth U. Cascio and Diane Whitmore Schanzenbach propose a framework for state and local governments calling for the establishment of  high-quality programs in areas where preschool programs do not exist, improved preschool quality in states and localities with subpar programs, and expanded access in areas where high-quality programs already exist. This proposal aims to reduce the income-based gap in school readiness between disadvantaged and higher-income preschool-aged children, and to improve school outcomes for disadvantaged preschool children. This proposal is chapter one of The Hamilton Project’s Policies to Address Poverty in America, and a segment in Promoting Early Childhood Development.

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Policies to Address Poverty in America, Introduction

June 2014 • Melissa S. Kearney, Benjamin H. Harris, Karen L. AndersonEconomic Security, Education, Effective Government, Employment & Wages, Poverty, State & Local, Tax Policy

The introduction to The Hamilton Project’s new volume, Policies to Address Poverty in America, presents an overview of America’s poverty crisis, and makes the case for why poverty belongs on the national policy agenda. The introduction also  frames the 14 policy proposals that are part of the volume, and the particular aspects of poverty they address. The proposals fall into four general categories: promoting early childhood development, supporting disadvantaged youth, building skills, and improving safety net and work support. 

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Supporting Low-Income Workers through Refundable Child-Care Credits

June 2014 • James P. ZiliakEconomic Security, Effective Government, Employment & Wages, Poverty, State & Local

In this policy memo, James P. Ziliak proposes converting the federal Child and Dependent Care Credit from a nonrefundable tax credit to a refundable one, capping eligibility at $70,000 and making the credit a progressive function of income, child age, and use of licensed care facilities. This proposal, targeted at low- and middle-income families with children under the age of twelve, aims to increase labor force participation, disposable income, and the use of higher-quality child care. This proposal is chapter ten of The Hamilton Project’s Policies to Address Poverty in America, and a segment in Improving Safety Net and Work Support.

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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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Think Before You Act: A New Approach to Preventing Youth Violence and Dropout

May 2014 • Jens Ludwig, Anuj ShahEconomic Security, Education, Effective Government, Poverty, State & Local

A growing body of research in psychology and behavioral economics suggests that a great deal of everyone’s behavior happens intuitively and automatically, with little deliberate thought. In this paper, Jens Ludwig and Anuj Shah propose a five-year strategy for scaling out behaviorally informed interventions—such as the "Becoming a Man" (BAM) program —to help disadvantaged youths recognize high-stakes situations in which their automatic responses could be maladaptive and may lead to trouble.
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A New Approach to Reducing Incarceration While Maintaining Low Rates of Crime

May 2014 • Steven Raphael, Michael StollEconomic Security, Effective Government, Poverty, State & Local

The United States incarcerates people at a higher rate than any other country in the world. Large increases in the U.S. incarceration rate over the past three decades have decreased crime but generated substantial costs. In this paper, Steven Raphael and Michael Stoll propose reforms that would reduce incarceration while maintaining a low crime rate.

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The Unequal Burden of Crime and Incarceration on America’s Poor

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

Previewing a forthcoming event and paper series, The Hamilton Project highlights the disproportionate burden of crime and incarceration on America’s poor. For too many Americans, that means living in a community in which opportunities are limited, and fear of violence has shaped daily lives and altered childhoods.

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The Hamilton Project Policy Response to the 2014 State of the Union Address

January 2014 • Economic Security, Education, Effective Government, Employment & Wages, Energy & Environment, Global Economy, Infrastructure, Poverty, State & Local, Tax Policy, Technology & Innovation

In his 2014 State of the Union address, President Barack Obama spoke of a “breakthrough year for America” and foreshadowed a “year of action.” He focused on ways to expand opportunities for Americans by enhancing employment and education options for low-and middle-income citizens, developing more robust worker training programs, investing in America through infrastructure investments and energy innovation, the importance of making progress on immigration reform, and more. Since its launch in 2006, The Hamilton Project has released a range of targeted policy proposals that provide innovative, evidence-based approaches to addressing many of the policy priorities set forth in the Presidents address.

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Strengthening SNAP for a More Food-Secure, Healthy America

December 2013 • Diane Whitmore SchanzenbachPoverty, Employment & Wages, Economic Security, Effective Government, State & Local

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)—formerly known as the Food Stamp Program—is an essential part of America’s social safety net. In a new Hamilton Project discussion paper, Diane Schanzenbach proposes five reforms that could strengthen SNAP, including incentives for participants to purchase healthier foods and improvements to the benefit formula.

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New Approaches to Promoting College Access for More Americans

June 2013 • Michael Greenstone, Adam LooneyEducation, State & Local, Employment & Wages, Economic Security, Effective Government

The role of education in improving social mobility is well-known, and new evidence identifies promising ways to help more low-income students improve their educational opportunities. In a new blog post, The Hamilton Project compares a range of interventions aimed at boosting college attendance and completion among low-income students.

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Using Data to Improve the Performance of Workforce Training

April 2013 • Louis S. Jacobson, Robert J. LaLondeEmployment & Wages, Economic Security, State & Local, Effective Government

Workforce training programs have the potential to improve the lives and incomes of millions of Americans by lifting many into the middle class and preventing others from falling out of it. Despite their promise, however, too many workers enroll in courses that they do not complete or complete courses that do not lead to better jobs, reducing the benefits to workers and the economic return to workforce investments. Louis Jacobson of New Horizons Economic Research and Robert LaLonde of the University of Chicago propose a competition to increase the return on training investments by developing the data and measures necessary to provide the information prospective trainees need, by presenting the information in user-friendly “report cards,” by providing help for prospective trainees to use the information effectively, and by creating incentives for states to implement permanent information systems once they prove cost-effective.

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Building on Recent Advances in Evidence-Based Policymaking

April 2013 • Jeffrey B. LiebmanEffective Government, State & Local

Over the past decade, and particularly over the past five years, new government strategies have begun to emerge—at the federal, state, and local levels—that offer the potential of simultaneously making better use of taxpayer dollars and speeding up progress in addressing serious social problems. Jeffrey Liebman of Harvard University discusses several of these strategies and outlines five steps that policymakers can take to better inform their work with evidence. He also proposes a grant competition that identifies and encourages innovation in ten social policy priority areas as well as federal support for state and local Pay for Success initiatives.

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Funding Transportation Infrastructure with User Fees

February 2013 • Jack Basso, Tyler DuvallInfrastructure, State & Local

Investments in infrastructure are essential for a vital economy. Tyler Duvall and Jack Basso suggest looking to user fees as a way to raise revenues, reduce congestion on major roadways, reduce pollution, and promote wiser infrastructure investments.

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

February 2013 • Economic Security, Education, Effective Government, Employment & Wages, Energy & Environment, Global Economy, Health Care, Infrastructure, Poverty, State & Local, Tax Policy, Technology & Innovation

In his State of the Union address, President Barack Obama outlined an ambitious second-term agenda focusing on policies to help strengthen America’s middle class through broad-based economic growth. Since its launch in 2006, The Hamilton Project has released a range of targeted policy proposals that provide innovative, evidence-based approaches to address many of the priorities set forth in this year’s address, which we offer as a resource to policymakers in response to specific ideas mentioned by the President this week.

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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. 

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A Record Decline in Government Jobs: Implications for the Economy and America’s Workforce

August 2012 • Adam Looney, Michael GreenstoneEmployment & Wages, Education, State & Local, Effective Government

The Hamilton Project examines the short- and long-run impacts of public-sector job cuts since the Great Recession. If the share of government employment to population had remained at historical levels, the unemployment rate would be approximately 7.1 percent.

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The Role of Fiscal Stimulus in the Ongoing Recovery

July 2012 • Adam Looney, Michael GreenstoneEmployment & Wages, Economic Security, Effective Government, State & Local

The Hamilton Project examines the relationship between government spending and unemployment, finding that states that spent more during the Great Recession experienced a smaller increase in their unemployment rate.

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Investing in the Future: An Economic Strategy for State and Local Governments in a Period of Tight Budgets

February 2011 • Adam Looney, Michael GreenstoneInfrastructure, Education, State & Local

Confronting near-term budget challenges, state and local governments are under tremendous pressure to focus on immediate needs at the expense of long-term investments. Michael Greenstone and Adam Looney highlight four policy principles for state and local governments with an emphasis on the importance of infrastructure investments for economic growth and prosperity.

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Public-Private Partnerships to Revamp U.S. Infrastructure

February 2011 • Eduardo Engel, Alexander Galetovic, Ronald FischerInfrastructure, Effective Government, State & Local

Eduardo Engel, Ronald Fischer, and Alexander Galetovic propose a series of best practices for state and local governments to follow when using public–private partnerships to provide infrastructure.

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Fix It First, Expand It Second, Reward It Third: A New Strategy for America’s Highways

February 2011 • David M. Levinson, Matthew E. KahnInfrastructure, State & Local, Effective Government

Matthew Kahn and David Levinson propose a reorganization of our national highway infrastructure priorities to preserve, maintain, and enhance existing infrastructure and the creation of the Federal Highway Bank to meet these goals.

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Lowering Borrowing Costs for States and Municipalities Through CommonMuni

February 2011 • Andrew Ang, Rick GreenInfrastructure, Effective Government, State & Local

Andrew Ang and Richard Green propose the establishment of CommonMuni, a not-for-profit advisory firm designed to reduce borrowing costs for municipalities by overcoming the difficulty individual municipalities and investors have coordinating with one another.

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The Mobility Bank: Increasing Residential Mobility to Boost Economic Mobility

October 2010 • Jens Ludwig, Steven RaphaelEconomic Security, Employment & Wages, State & Local

This paper proposes the creation of a “mobility bank” at a government cost of less than $1 billion per year to help finance the residential moves of U.S. workers relocating either to take offered jobs or to search for work, and to help them learn more about the employment options available in other parts of the country.

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Bringing Jobs to People: How Federal Policy Can Target Job Creation for Economically Distressed Areas

October 2010 • Timothy J. BartikEmployment & Wages, State & Local, Effective Government

This paper proposes three solutions to bring jobs to distressed areas: customized job training programs for businesses and employees, advice and consulting services through the Manufacturing Extension Partnership program, and a package of grants for local services and tax breaks through a reformed and revitalized Empowerment Zone program.

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An Economic Strategy to Renew American Communities

October 2010 • Michael Greenstone, Adam LooneyEmployment & Wages, State & Local

When hit by recessions or other economic shocks, some communities have persistently low rates of economic growth that cause them to fall behind the rest of the country. The recovery period for these distressed communities is longer and more painful than necessary. To address this situation, The Hamilton Project proposes a three-pronged approach: attract businesses to distressed areas, invest in displaced workers, and match workers to jobs.

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June’s Employment Numbers Highlight America’s Increasingly Distressed Communities

July 2010 • Adam Looney, Michael GreenstoneEconomic Security, Employment & Wages, Poverty, State & Local

June’s employment numbers highlight that our economic recovery is not yet on solid footing. An analysis by The Hamilton Project digs into the regional distribution of these unemployment trends and finds that, by one measure, the five hardest-hit states are Alabama, Delaware, Colorado, Georgia, and Utah.

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Stabilizing State and Local Budgets: A Proposal for Tax-Base Insurance

June 2008 • Akash Deep, Robert Z. LawrenceTax Policy, State & Local

Akash Deep and Robert Z. Lawrence propose an affordable federal instrument that could mitigate the adverse impact of tax-revenue shocks on communities by allowing them to buy tax-base insurance.

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