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A family getting by on $117,400 in San Francisco can now be considered 'low income', according to government figures. Jay Shambaugh and Ryan Nunn explain this phenomenon by breaking down the variation in earnings and cost of living across the U.S.
Educational and occupational choices matter for your earnings, but where you work matters, too. Employment opportunities and wages in some occupations vary substantially from state to state, county to county, and city to city. One location might be a great place to earn a living as a nurse but not as a construction worker (e.g., New Orleans, Louisiana), while a different location might be the opposite (e.g., Utica, New York). In this economic analysis we look at some of the ways that typical earnings in an occupation—and the value of those earnings after adjusting for taxes and cost of living—vary across the United States. We also examine some of the reasons why places have such different labor markets.
On June 13, The Hamilton Project at the Brookings Institution will host a forum to explore the most effective policy options to foster a more dynamic and competitive economy.
In this op-ed, Jay Shambaugh and Ryan Nunn describe the need for vigorous competition and more entrepreneurship in the U.S. economy and outline policies to spur new business creation and reduce market concentration.
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.
An estimated 15.5 million U.S. workers have alternative arrangements for their primary employment—this includes independent contractors, on-call workers, temporary help agency workers, and workers provided by contract firms. Alternative work arrangements may on the one hand represent flexibility of the U.S. labor market; on the other hand, such arrangements may indicate insufficient labor demand. These new arrangements likely require different labor market institutions to protect workers as well as new data to properly understand the state of the labor market.
Matt Marx of Boston University and Ryan Nunn of the Hamilton Project describe the conditions under which non-competes are used and explain how current practices limit entrepreneurship, information flow, and worker mobility
Revitalizing wage growth is crucial to raising living standards, yet U.S. wage growth has been disappointing both in recent years and over the last several decades. In this op-ed, Hamilton Project Director Jay Shambaugh and Policy Director Ryan Nunn outline several policy actions that could help lift wage growth.
Despite progress in recent years, women still face pay disparities in the labor market. In this blog, Hamilton Project Director Jay Shambaugh and Policy Director Ryan Nunn analyze the gender gap and present options for policies to reduce it.
Workers with a license tend to receive a wage premium relative to unlicensed workers. Using new data from the Current Population Survey, Ryan Nunn examines the ways that licensing affects workers, as well as their wages, tenure, and part-time status by age, race, gender and wage level.
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.