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One simple question—Are wages rising?—is as central to the health of our democracy as it is to the health of our economy. For the last few decades, the U.S. economy has experienced real wage stagnation. On February 28, The Hamilton Project at the Brookings Institution hosted a forum to explore the most effective policy options to revitalize wage growth.
One simple question—are wages rising?—is as central to the health of our democracy as it is to the health of our economy. This book presents evidence and analysis that detail why wages have been stagnant for so many workers, while also identifying public policies that could effectively contribute to the growth in productivity and wages that are core parts of improving living standards for all Americans. These proposals include greater support for policies that increase human capital, boost worker mobility, strengthen worker bargaining power, and sustain robust labor demand.
By conventional measures, the U.S. job market has suffered some degree of slack for about 70 percent of the time since 1980. The absence of persistent, strong labor market demand has a significant negative impact on wages and incomes, with these costs falling disproportionately on the least advantaged. In this paper, Jared Bernstein offers a four-part proposal to increase labor demand along with earnings and employment opportunities.