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.
Papers: State & Local
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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.
Bringing Jobs to People: How Federal Policy Can Target Job Creation for Economically Distressed Areas
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.
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.
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.
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.
Investing in the Future: An Economic Strategy for State and Local Governments in a Period of Tight Budgets
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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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A periodic newsletter of events, policy briefs, and working papers from The Hamilton Project.