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Over the past few decades there have been troubling indications that dynamism and competition in the U.S. economy have declined. Markets are more concentrated than they were a few decades ago, and entrepreneurship is less common, with both the number and employment share of new firms well below the levels of previous decades. Carefully assessing these trends as they relate to public policy is necessary to achieving a more competitive, productive economy that generates broadly shared growth.
In this Hamilton Project strategy paper, Lauren Bauer, Patrick Liu, Diane Whitmore Schanzenbach, and Jay Shambaugh articulate a framework for states as they oversee implementation of statewide accountability plans under the Every Student Succeeds Act and describe how states differ in their approaches. The authors present novel analyses of the factors at the school and student levels that relate to chronic absenteeism and describe evidence-based strategies for schools as they work to reduce rates of chronic absence among students.
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.
Wages have stagnated in recent decades for typical workers. While a number of economic, policy, and technological developments bear some responsibility, economists have grown increasingly concerned that declining dynamism is an important cause. Declining dynamism may suggest a role for public policy in establishing the conditions for workers to successfully climb the job ladder.
One of the best measures economists use to determine Americans’ economic advancement is whether wages are rising, broadly and consistently. This document highlights the necessary conditions for broadly shared wage growth, trends closely related to stagnation in wages for many workers, and the recent history of wage growth, with an emphasis on the experience of the Great Recession and recovery. It concludes by discussing how public policies can effectively contribute to the growth in wages that is a core part of improving living standards for all Americans.