Global Economy

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The world economy is increasingly integrated, presenting vast opportunities for gains from America’s many competitive advantages, but also posing substantial risks to those displaced by new patterns of economic activity. The Hamilton Project’s innovative proposals will help Americans leverage new opportunities to compete and grow, and also provide economic security from the increased risks and uncertainties associated with a global economy.


Related to Global Economy

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The Hamilton Project Policy Response to the 2014 State of the Union Address

Papers • January 2014

In his 2014 State of the Union address, President Barack Obama spoke of a “breakthrough year for America” and foreshadowed a “year of action.” He focused on ways to expand opportunities for Americans by enhancing employment and education options for low-and middle-income citizens, developing more robust worker training programs, investing in America through infrastructure investments and energy innovation, the importance of making progress on immigration reform, and more. Since its launch in 2006, The Hamilton Project has released a range of targeted policy proposals that provide innovative, evidence-based approaches to addressing many of the policy priorities set forth in the Presidents address.

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What New Immigrants Could Mean for American Wages

Papers • August 2013 • Michael Greenstone, Adam Looney

In this month’s employment analysis, The Hamilton Project examines how future immigration trends could impact American wages, using targets set in the recently-passed Senate bill as a signpost. Understanding that S.744 is just the first piece of legislation out of the gate, the new analysis suggests that the average impact of new immigrants on the wages of U.S.-born workers would be positive (based on CBO estimates, the analysis assumes approximately 9.6 million additional immigrants by 2013 due to the legislation). The analysis also suggests that American workers are likely to gain through other channels, based on evidence that immigrants enhance purchasing power of consumers, increase demand for goods and services at businesses, and contribute to innovation that boost living standards over time.

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The Hamilton Project Policy Response to the State of the Union Address

Papers • February 2013

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.

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Overhauling the Temporary Work Visa System

Papers • February 2013 • Pia Orrenius, Giovanni Peri, Madeline Zavodny

In this paper the authors present a strategy to change the U.S. employment-based immigration system to make the system more efficient, increase the economic benefits of immigration and  raise revenues by using market-based auctions to allocate visas.

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The Economics of Immigration Reform

Papers • January 2013 • Michael Greenstone, Adam Looney

Immigration reform has taken center stage of the policy debate.  While most Americans agree that our immigration system is flawed, there remains a lack of understanding about immigration’s effects on wages, jobs, budgets, and the U.S. economy in general.  Two recent Hamilton Project papers provide important economic context for the issue and a potential path forward.

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A Strategy for U.S. Natural Gas Exports

Papers • June 2012 • Michael Levi

Michael Levi of the Council on Foreign Relations poses a framework for regulators to determine if exporting natural gas is in the public interest, arguing the upsides of exports outweigh the costs as long as the government acts to mitigate risk.

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The U.S. Immigration System: Potential Benefits of Reform

Papers • May 2012 • Adam Looney, Michael Greenstone

The Hamilton Project provides background information on the state of America’s immigration system, and discusses the economic benefits of reforming the system.

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Rationalizing U.S. Immigration Policy: Reforms for Simplicity, Fairness, and Economic Growth

Papers • May 2012 • Giovanni Peri

Giovanni Peri of UC Davis proposes a practical set of immigration reforms, starting with market-based changes to employment-based visas to better link visas with the labor market and ending with broad simplification in many areas of policy. 

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What Immigration Means For U.S. Employment and Wages

Papers • May 2012 • Adam Looney, Michael Greenstone

Our nation’s immigration policy continues to be an issue of debate among policymakers, particularly the impact on the U.S. labor force. The Hamilton Project highlights the economic evidence on what immigration means for U.S. jobs and the economy.

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Building America’s Job Skills with Effective Workforce Programs: A Training Strategy to Raise Wages and Increase Work Opportunities

Papers • November 2011 • Michael Greenstone, Adam Looney

Amid the Great Recession and rapid technological changes, both workers with less education and workers who have been displaced from long-tenured jobs face challenges because they lack the particular skills that employers demand for good-paying jobs. In a new Hamilton Project strategy paper, Michael Greenstone and Adam Looney address the importance of developing workers’ skills through training and workforce development programs, and examine newly available evidence on policies that boost job opportunities and wages.

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Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) Participation Rate and Unemployment Rate, by Year

December 19, 2013 • Charts

SNAP is a key program for providing assistance to Americans when they need support the most. This can be seen in the correlation between SNAP participation and unemployment rates; SNAP participation rises during economic downturns and falls during recoveries. In 2013, the average participation rate for SNAP was 19.4 percent of the U.S. population, serving 47.7 million individuals each month, compared to a pre-recession participation rate of only 11.3 percent in 2007. As shown in the figure above, SNAP historically has tracked rates of unemployment and economic downturns closely (denoted by the teal dotted line and gray bars, respectively). SNAP participation rates (as seen in the shaded blue area) are expected to fall as the economy continues to recover, as would be expected based on the pattern observed in previous recessions. By 2020, the participation rate is projected to revert to 2009 levels—about 14.3 percent of the population.

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Household Food spending as a Fraction of the Thrifty Food Plan Minimum Spending Target for Households under 200 percent of the Federal Poverty Level

December 19, 2013 • Charts

SNAP is designed to supplement recipients’ purchasing power so that through a combination of SNAP benefits and their own spending out of available cash resources recipients can afford to purchase enough food to feed their families under the Thrifty Food Plan (TFP). However, the TFP minimum spending target for food is based on outdated and inappropriate assumptions. In particular, the TFP implicitly assumes that households have unlimited time to prepare food, and therefore are able to cook meals primarily from scratch instead of using prepared ingredients. Over the past twenty years the majority of low-income families spent more on food than would have been suggested by the cost of a minimally adequate food budget that the benefit formula is based on. This difference in spending compared to the TFP target may indicate that some families face higher food prices than those assumed by the TFP.

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Rates of Food Insecurity, 1998-2012

December 19, 2013 • Charts

SNAP benefits are an effective tool for mitigating food insecurity since they increase a family’s ability to purchase food. A recent study by USDA revealed that SNAP participation is associated with a reduction in overall food insecurity rates by 10 percentage points over a six-month period from the time a household enters the program. Furthermore, food insecurity rates for children decreased by about one-third during this same period. Hunger in the United States spiked both during and after the Great Recession. In 2012 over 14 percent of all households were food insecure at some point throughout the year. Furthermore, 20 percent of households with children experienced food insecurity. These rates increased nearly 35 percent from their pre-recession levels.

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The Relationship Between Income Inequality and Social Mobility

July 18, 2013 • Charts

 

Many are concerned that rising income inequality will lead to declining social mobility. This figure, recently coined “The Great Gatsby Curve,” takes data from several countries at a single point in time to show the relationship between inequality and immobility. Inequality is measured using Gini coefficients, a common metric that economists use to determine how much of a nation’s income is concentrated among the wealthy; social mobility is measured using intergenerational earnings elasticity, an indicator of how much children’s future earnings depend on the earnings of their parents. Although, as the figure shows, higher levels of inequality are positively correlated with reductions in social mobility, we do not know whether inequality causes reductions in mobility. After all, there are many important factors that vary between countries that might explain this relationship. Nonetheless, this figure represents a provocative observation with potentially important policy ramifications.

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Changes in College Completion Over Time Across Countries

December 3, 2010 • Charts

In the 1970s and 1980s, the United States led the world in the share of the population that completed a college degree; by 2008 that lead had essentially vanished.

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High-Skill Immigration to the United States

September 28, 2010 • Charts

America is issuing a declining number of visas for high-skill workers.

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Immigration to the United States

September 28, 2010 • Charts

The United States experienced two waves of immigration over the last century.  The first peaked in 1910, while the second stemmed from immigration reform in 1965 and continues today.

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Net Taxpayer Cost or Benefit for U.S. Born and Immigrants by Age

September 28, 2010 • Charts

Immigrants and the U.S.-born have similar fiscal footprints, paying more in taxes than they consume in services over their lifetime.

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Impact of Immigration on Wages of U.S. Born Workers

September 28, 2010 • Charts

Immigration may have a modest positive effect on the average wage of U.S.-born workers.

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Education of U.S.-Born and Foreign-Born in the American Workforce

September 28, 2010 • Charts

Educational attainment of foreign-born workers in the American workforce varies widely.

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Testimony of Alan S. Blinder

January 26, 2012 • Alan S. Blinder

Advisory Council member Alan S. Blinder testifies before the Senate Budget Committee on his views on the economy and budget.

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Real Specifics:  15 Ways to Rethink the Federal Budget—Part II:  Addressing Entitlements, Taxation, and Revenues

February 26, 2013 • Washington, DC

On February 26th, The Hamilton Project hosted a forum featuring a diverse group of experts from around the country who discussed 13 targeted policy proposals that were released that day on reforming entitlement spending, tax reform, and how to create new sources of revenue and efficiency. The proposals provide specific strategies on how lawmakers can address many different areas of the budget, and address options to reduce both mandatory and discretionary spending.

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U.S. Immigration Policy:  The Border Between Reform and the Economy

May 15, 2012 • Washington, DC 20045

America’s immigration policy no longer serves the needs of our fast-changing global economy.   Failure to address immigration reform at the national level has resulted in missed opportunities to spur America’s economic growth and productivity.  On May 15, The Hamilton Project held a forum exploring the challenges and opportunities for immigration reform in today’s political and economic climate. 

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Crossing Borders: From Myth to Sound Immigration Policy

September 28, 2010 • Washington, DC

The Hamilton Project hosted a forum focused on the economics of immigration. A panel of economic experts helped distinguish economic reality from myth in the current debate, with particular regard to the impact of immigration on the wages of middle-class and lower-income workers; the living standards of Americans; and the demand for, and availability of, visas for highly skilled workers.

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Economic Growth Strategies for Developing Countries in an Era of Global Uncertainty

April 14, 2008 • Washington, DC

Together with the Commission on Growth & Development, The Hamilton Project hosted a policy roundtable on the role of economic growth in reducing poverty in developing nations. A panel of experts discussed policies to help developing nations move forward in this era of global uncertainty.

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Reforming Taxation in the Global Age

June 12, 2007 • Washington, DC

A two-part forum and release of a new set of policy proposals that address the challenges of reforming the U.S. tax system.

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Economic Security in a Changing World

September 15, 2006 • Washington, DC

The Project co-sponsored an event with The New Republic featuring four panel discussions focused on income instability among American families, economic security and growth, and new proposals for progress.

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Meeting the Challenge of the Global Economy: Trade, Economic Security, and Effective Government

July 25, 2006 • Washington, DC

The Hamilton Project convened a forum surrounding the release of a new set of policy papers examining trade and government reform policy with a discussion of the challenges presented by a global economy.

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Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) Participation Rate and Unemployment Rate, by Year

December 19, 2013 • Charts

SNAP is a key program for providing assistance to Americans when they need support the most. This can be seen in the correlation between SNAP participation and unemployment rates; SNAP participation rises during economic downturns and falls during recoveries. In 2013, the average participation rate for SNAP was 19.4 percent of the U.S. population, serving 47.7 million individuals each month, compared to a pre-recession participation rate of only 11.3 percent in 2007. As shown in the figure above, SNAP historically has tracked rates of unemployment and economic downturns closely (denoted by the teal dotted line and gray bars, respectively). SNAP participation rates (as seen in the shaded blue area) are expected to fall as the economy continues to recover, as would be expected based on the pattern observed in previous recessions. By 2020, the participation rate is projected to revert to 2009 levels—about 14.3 percent of the population.

charts Icon

Household Food spending as a Fraction of the Thrifty Food Plan Minimum Spending Target for Households under 200 percent of the Federal Poverty Level

December 19, 2013 • Charts

SNAP is designed to supplement recipients’ purchasing power so that through a combination of SNAP benefits and their own spending out of available cash resources recipients can afford to purchase enough food to feed their families under the Thrifty Food Plan (TFP). However, the TFP minimum spending target for food is based on outdated and inappropriate assumptions. In particular, the TFP implicitly assumes that households have unlimited time to prepare food, and therefore are able to cook meals primarily from scratch instead of using prepared ingredients. Over the past twenty years the majority of low-income families spent more on food than would have been suggested by the cost of a minimally adequate food budget that the benefit formula is based on. This difference in spending compared to the TFP target may indicate that some families face higher food prices than those assumed by the TFP.

charts Icon

Rates of Food Insecurity, 1998-2012

December 19, 2013 • Charts

SNAP benefits are an effective tool for mitigating food insecurity since they increase a family’s ability to purchase food. A recent study by USDA revealed that SNAP participation is associated with a reduction in overall food insecurity rates by 10 percentage points over a six-month period from the time a household enters the program. Furthermore, food insecurity rates for children decreased by about one-third during this same period. Hunger in the United States spiked both during and after the Great Recession. In 2012 over 14 percent of all households were food insecure at some point throughout the year. Furthermore, 20 percent of households with children experienced food insecurity. These rates increased nearly 35 percent from their pre-recession levels.

charts Icon

The Relationship Between Income Inequality and Social Mobility

July 18, 2013 • Charts

 

Many are concerned that rising income inequality will lead to declining social mobility. This figure, recently coined “The Great Gatsby Curve,” takes data from several countries at a single point in time to show the relationship between inequality and immobility. Inequality is measured using Gini coefficients, a common metric that economists use to determine how much of a nation’s income is concentrated among the wealthy; social mobility is measured using intergenerational earnings elasticity, an indicator of how much children’s future earnings depend on the earnings of their parents. Although, as the figure shows, higher levels of inequality are positively correlated with reductions in social mobility, we do not know whether inequality causes reductions in mobility. After all, there are many important factors that vary between countries that might explain this relationship. Nonetheless, this figure represents a provocative observation with potentially important policy ramifications.

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Real Specifics: 15 Ways to Rethink the Federal Budget—Part II: Addressing Entitlements, Taxation and Revenues—Panel 3: New Sources of Revenue and Efficiency

February 28, 2013 • Video

Senior Research Associate at The Urban Institute Benjamin H. Harris; Fellow and Policy Director of Economic Studies at The Brookings Institution Adele Morris; Assistant Vice President and Senior Economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas Pia Orrenius; Professor of International Economics at the University of Maryland School of Public Policy Phillip Swagel; and Associate Principal at McKinsey & Company Tyler Duvall participate in a roundtable discussion on new sources of revenue and efficiency moderated by Senior Fellow and Director of The Hamilton Project at The Brookings Institution Michael Greenstone.

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Real Specifics: 15 Ways to Rethink the Federal Budget—Part II: Addressing Entitlements, Taxation and Revenues—Panel 3: New Sources of Revenue and Efficiency

February 27, 2013 • Audio

 

Senior Research Associate at The Urban Institute Benjamin H. Harris; Fellow and Policy Director of Economic Studies at The Brookings Institution Adele Morris; Assistant Vice President and Senior Economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas Pia Orrenius; Professor of International Economics at the University of Maryland School of Public Policy Phillip Swagel; and Associate Principal at McKinsey & Company Tyler Duvall participate in a roundtable discussion on new sources of revenue and efficiency moderated by Senior Fellow and Director of The Hamilton Project at The Brookings Institution Michael Greenstone.

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U.S. Immigration Policy - Featured Remarks: The Economic Imperative for Immigration Reform

May 15, 2012 • Video

Cecilia Muñoz, Assistant to the President and Director of the White House Domestic Policy Council, gives featured remarks on the Obama Administration’s efforts to reform America’s broken immigration system and why that is an economic imperative.

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U.S. Immigration Policy - The Challenges and Opportunities for Immigration Reform in the United States

May 15, 2012 • Video

Council on Foreign Relations Senior Fellow Edward Alden moderates a discussion between former U.S. Senator Chuck Hagel (R-NE), Silver Lake Co-Founder Glenn Hutchins, National Council of La Raza President and CEO Janet Murguía, and UNITE HERE President John Wilhelm on many of the broader issues surrounding today’s immigration reform debate.

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U.S. Immigration Policy - Roundtable: A Market-Based Approach to Immigration Reform

May 15, 2012 • Video

UC Davis Economist Giovanni Peri presented a new proposal for a market-based approach to immigration reform, followed by a discussion of the proposal with National Public Radio Ombudsman Edward Schumacher-Matos, 3M Senior Vice President Legal Affairs and General Counsel Marschall Smith and Ocean Mist Farms Director of Human Resources Jorge Suarez, moderated by Hamilton Project Director Michael Greenstone.
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U.S. Immigration Policy - Welcome and Introductions

May 15, 2012 • Video

Former Treasury Secretary and Hamilton Project Advisory Council member Robert E. Rubin welcomes the crowd at The Hamilton Project event "U.S. Immigration Policy: The Border Between Reform and the Economy."

Hamilton Project Updates

A periodic newsletter of events, policy briefs, and working papers from The Hamilton Project.