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The need to improve our nation’s infrastructure is an issue on which many policy makers, at all levels of government and across the political aisle, can agree. Regrettably, the consensus essentially begins and ends with the need to address our nation’s infrastructure. In response, an innovative concept for funding and financing infrastructure investment has gained traction in recent years: public-private partnerships. In this blog post, THP assesses the pros and cons of public-private partnerships.
The last decade’s decline in productivity—coupled with very low interest rates and declining public investment—presents a challenge and an opportunity for economic policy. In response, many policymakers and experts have proposed investments in public infrastructure, raising questions about which types of infrastructure projects are worth pursuing and how to finance them effectively. On February 7, The Hamilton Project hosted a policy forum exploring fiscally responsible policy options for funding and financing infrastructure investments.
This paper seeks to provide an economic framework for evaluating infrastructure investments and their methods of funding and finance. Why should we invest in infrastructure, what projects should be selected, who should decide, and how should those investments be paid for are all questions that can be better answered with the help of sound economic theory and evidence.
In this economic analysis, THP analyzes the relationship between age, income, and measures of health status, as well as how these relationships have changed between the late 1970s and today. While overall there have been remarkable gains in life expectancy in the United States over the past half-century, these have not been reflected in other measures of health which have declined over time.
In this strategy paper, The Hamilton Project highlights rates of chronic absenteeism in elementary, middle and high schools throughout the United States. The interactive map illustrates THP’s research that shows that across the nation and in every state, rates of chronic absenteeism meaningfully differentiate between schools. This means that rates of chronic absenteeism are widely distributed across schools and that the lowest performing schools are clearly identifiable. Accordingly, an accompanying Hamilton Project report recommends the selection of chronic absenteeism when states choose a new measure of school accountability as mandated under the recently enacted federal education law.
There were approximately seven million Americans living under correctional supervision in 2014, and many more who have exited supervision in the United States. Accordingly, identifying and implementing effective reentry policies would yield far-reaching benefits for the formerly incarcerated, their communities, and society at large. On October 21, The Hamilton Project at the Brookings Institution hosted a forum exploring policy options aimed at creating more opportunities for people with criminal records and facilitating successful reentry for formerly incarcerated individuals.
In this set of economic facts, The Hamilton Project explores the characteristics of the populations of the currently incarcerated and individuals reentering their communities. In 2014, there were approximately seven million Americans living under correctional supervision and even more with criminal records. Successful reintegration is not just a concern for those who return from prison: it is also a matter of public safety and economic necessity. Reducing recidivism is critical for community safety; providing effective rehabilitation and skill development for those incarcerated and formerly incarcerated is critical to strengthening households and the economy.”
Recently, private prisons have become the focus of considerable attention. This economic analysis explores the growth of the private prison industry and provides an economic framework for evaluating them.
In the past 30 years, the U.S. labor market has shifted dramatically toward increasing demand and reward for noncognitive skills. These noncognitive skills – elsewhere called soft skills or social, emotional, and behavioral skills – include qualities like perseverance, conscientiousness, self-control, social skills, and leadership ability. To facilitate success in the modern labor market, education policies should address how schools and teachers develop noncognitive skills. In this set of economic facts, The Hamilton Project explores the development of noncognitive skills in education and the returns to noncognitive skills in the labor market.
In this Economic Analysis, The Hamilton Project explores the impact of Head Start on a new set of long-term outcomes, extending landmark analyses further into adulthood and considering the effect of Head Start on participants’ children. The Hamilton Project finds that Head Start has a significant impact on its participants' educational outcomes, social and behavioral development, and parenting practices later in life.
Today, the Department of Justice (DOJ) announced that it will reduce, and eventually end, the use of federal private prisons. In a new Hamilton Project blog post, Diane Schanzenbach and Megan Mumford explore recent developments in federal private prisons. These issues will be further explored in a forthcoming series of papers that the Hamilton Project will release in October 2016, with a focus on: reducing high rates of incarceration; reducing recidivism; and facilitating the successful reintegration of formerly incarcerated individuals.
During the past 100 years, life expectancy at birth has increased by about 25 years in the United States. However, in sharp contrast to this broader trend, certain demographics—notably older whites and low-income Americans—find their life expectancies either stagnating or declining. On June 29, The Hamilton Project at Brookings will host a policy forum addressing trends in American life expectancy, including the recent life expectancy divergence for certain demographics.