State & Local

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State and local governments are under tremendous pressure to provide immediate services for their residents while also making long-term investments in education, health care, and infrastructure. In fact, roughly 91 percent of K-12 spending and more than 70 percent of public infrastructure spending is done by state and local governments. The Hamilton Project offers innovative policies to help states prioritize spending, make economically sound investments, and implement much-needed changes to help America remain competitive in an increasingly global economy.


Related to State & Local

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Smarter, Better, Faster: The Potential for Predictive Analytics and Rapid-Cycle Evaluation to Improve Program Development and Outcomes

Papers • June 2014 • Scott Cody, Andrew Asher

In this policy memo, Scott Cody and Andrew Asher propose that federal, state, and local agencies conduct thorough needs assessments to determine if predictive analytics and rapid-cycle evaluation can be used to improve the delivery of social services programs. This proposal aims to provide more effective services for individuals living in poverty by targeting services appropriately, and by identifying effective program improvements. This proposal is chapter fourteen of The Hamilton Project’s Policies to Address Poverty in America, and a segment in Improving Safety Net and Work Support.

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Designing Thoughtful Minimum Wage Policy at the State and Local Levels

Papers • June 2014 • Arindrajit Dube

In this policy memo, Arindrajit Dube proposes that state and local governments consider median wages and local costs when setting minimum wages, index the minimum wage for inflation, and engage in regional wage setting. This proposal aims to raise the earnings of low-wage workers with minimal negative impacts on employment. This proposal is chapter thirteen of The Hamilton Project’s Policies to Address Poverty in America, and a segment in Improving Safety Net and Work Support.

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Encouraging Work Sharing to Reduce Unemployment

Papers • June 2014 • Katharine Abraham, Susan Houseman

In this policy memo, Katharine G. Abraham and Susan N. Houseman propose that the federal government subsidize state work-sharing payments during economic downturns, make work sharing a requirement for state unemployment insurance systems, change federal requirements to modify provisions of state work-sharing plans that may discourage employer participation, and provide states with adequate funding to administer work-sharing programs. This proposal, targeted at workers who would otherwise become unemployed during cyclical downturns, aims to reduce the number of layoffs during economic downturns. This proposal is chapter twelve of The Hamilton Project’s Policies to Address Poverty in America, and a segment in Improving Safety Net and Work Support.

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Building on the Success of the Earned Income Tax Credit

Papers • June 2014 • Hilary Hoynes

In this policy memo, Hilary Hoynes proposes expanding the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) by raising the benefits for families with one child to be on par with the benefits for families with two children. This proposal aims to strengthen work incentives for low-income, one-child families; raise 410,000 people—including 131,000 children—out of poverty; and increase after-tax income by about $1,000 for one-child EITC beneficiaries, leading to improvements in health and children’s cognitive skills. This proposal is chapter eleven of The Hamilton Project’s Policies to Address Poverty in America, and a segment in Improving Safety Net and Work Support.

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Providing Disadvantaged Workers with Skills to Succeed in the Labor Market

Papers • June 2014 • Sheena McConnell, Irma Perez-Johnson, Jillian Berk

In this policy memo, Sheena McConnell, Irma Perez-Johnson, and Jillian Berk offer proposals to help disadvantaged adult workers with the skills necessary to succeed in the labor market. The authors call for an increase in funding in the Workforce Investment Act Adult program. They also propose a series of four steps that state and local workforce boards can take to better assist disadvantaged adult workers in obtaining skills. This proposal is chapter nine of The Hamilton Project’s Policies to Address Poverty in America, and a segment in Building Skills.

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Improving Employment Outcomes for Disadvantaged Students

Papers • June 2014 • Harry J. Holzer

In this policy memo, Harry J. Holzer proposes the creation of financial incentives for public colleges and university systems to offer classes in high-return fields and for employers to offer more training to their employees. This proposal, targeted at disadvantaged youth who have some academic preparation for higher education, aims to generate better labor market outcomes and wage gains. This proposal is chapter eight of The Hamilton Project’s Policies to Address Poverty in America, and a segment in Building Skills.

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Expanding Apprenticeship Opportunities in the United States

Papers • June 2014 • Robert Lerman

In this policy memo, Robert I. Lerman proposes a series of targeted federal and state-level initiatives to expand access to registered apprenticeship programs by creating marketing initiatives, building on existing youth apprenticeship programs, extending the use of federal subsidies, and designating occupational standards. This proposal, targeted toward at-risk youth and middle-skill adults in low-wage jobs, aims to improve human capital and raise earnings for apprentices. This proposal is chapter seven of The Hamilton Project’s Policies to Address Poverty in America, and a segment in Building Skills.

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Addressing the Academic Barriers to Higher Education

Papers • June 2014 • Bridget Terry Long

In this policy memo, Bridget Terry Long proposes that school districts, community colleges, university systems, and state and federal governments reform the college remediation system by improving placement in remediation classes, providing better remediation services, and adopting measures to prevent the need for remediation. This proposal, targeted at disadvantaged, academically underprepared students in high school and college, aims to reduce the need for college-level remediation and to better match underprepared students with effective resources to equip them with the skills they need to succeed in college and in the workforce. This proposal is chapter six of The Hamilton Project’s Policies to Address Poverty in America, and a segment in Supporting Disadvantaged Youth.

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Expanding Summer Employment Opportunities for Low-Income Youth

Papers • June 2014 • Amy Ellen Schwartz, Jacob Leos-Urbel

In this policy memo, Amy Ellen Schwartz and Jacob Leos-Urbel propose that the U.S. Department of Labor distribute federal grants to states for municipalities to provide summer employment to disadvantaged youth, first through a pilot program and then through a nationwide expansion. This proposal, targeted at low-income youth who are enrolled in or have recently graduated from high school, aims to increase school attendance, improve educational outcomes, and reduce violent behavior and crime. This proposal is chapter five of The Hamilton Project’s Policies to Address Poverty in America, and a segment in Supporting Disadvantaged Youth.

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Reducing Unintended Pregnancies for Low-Income Women

Papers • June 2014 • Isabel V. Sawhill, Joanna Venator

In this policy memo, Isabel Sawhill and Joanna Venator propose that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Population Affairs, in conjunction with state governments, reduce unintended pregnancies through a social marketing campaign to encourage more young women to use long-acting reversible contraceptives (LARCs). This proposal, targeted at unmarried women between the ages of 15 and 30, aims to expand awareness so more low-income women use a LARC or other method of contraception, thereby reducing the number of unintended pregnancies and lowering the number of children born into poverty. This proposal is chapter three of The Hamilton Project’s Policies to Address Poverty in America, and a segment in Promoting Early Childhood Development.

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State-by-State “Jobs Gap”

June 6, 2014 • Charts

Every month, The Hamilton Project tracks the “jobs gap,” which is the number of jobs that need to be created in order to return to pre-recession employment levels while still absorbing the workers entering the labor force each month. Here, the Project compares changes in employment levels since the onset of the Great Recession across states.

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Public Water and Transportation Spending by State and Local Governments

February 25, 2011 • Charts

State and local governments provide most of the funding for critical infrastructure systems, but spending has declined over the last 50 years.

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Change in Employment-to-Population Ratio Following 1980 Recession

October 13, 2010 • Charts

Employment gaps created during the 1980-1982 recessions still remain today.

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Comparing the Hardest Hit Counties in the 1980-1982 Recessions and the 2007-2009 Recessions

October 13, 2010 • Charts

The hardest hit counties in the 1980-1982 recessions differed dramatically from the hardest hit counties in the Great Recession from 2007-2009. 

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Income Per Capita in Hardest-Hit Counties During the 1980-1982 Recessions

October 13, 2010 • Charts

The hardest hit counties during the 1980-1982 recessions experienced sharper per-capita income declines during the recessions, as well as slower growth following the national recovery. 

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Policies for Tackling the Mortgage Mess

April 10, 2008 • Douglas W. Elmendorf

Hamilton Project scholar Doug Elmendorf testified before the Senate Banking Committee on possible policies for tackling the mortgage mess.

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Day Two: Addressing America’s Poverty Crisis

June 20, 2014 • Washington, DC

On Friday, June 20, The Hamilton Project continued its two-day anti-poverty summit, Addressing America’s Poverty Crisis. Day two of the summit focused on policies to improve the safety net and work support, including the role of work-share and minimum wage policies to support American workers.

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Day One: Addressing America’s Poverty Crisis

June 19, 2014 • Washington, DC

Day one of Addressing America's Poverty Crisis opened on Thursday, June 19, with discussions around policies to build skills, promote early childhood development, and support disadvantaged youth. The day kicked off with a CEO-level discussion on the importance of apprenticeship and skill training, followed by three roundtable discussions featuring academic scholars and experts. 

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Addressing America’s Poverty Crisis

June 19, 2014 • Washington, DC

On June 19–20, The Hamilton Project hosted a summit to discuss a range of policy approaches for combating poverty in the United States.  The Hamilton Project released 14 proposals from experts around the country, each intended to tackle a specific challenge related to poverty, including new approaches to building skills, promoting early childhood development, and supporting disadvantaged youth. The authors of the new proposals were joined by public and private sector experts to discuss these ideas as part of our two-day event.

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The Economic and Social Effects of Crime and Mass Incarceration in the United States

May 1, 2014 • Washington, DC

On May 1st, The Hamilton Project at Brookings will host a forum and release three new papers focusing on crime and incarceration in the United States. Former U.S. Treasury Secretary Robert E. Rubin will deliver opening remarks, and Senator Richard Durbin (D-IL) and Senator Mike Lee (R-UT) will join the forum to discuss the Smarter Sentencing Act of 2014, which was recently passed by the Senate Judiciary Committee with bi-partisan support.

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Back to School:  Promoting Attainment and Achievement in K-12 Education

September 27, 2012 • Washington, DC

On September 27th, The Hamilton Project at Brookings hosted a forum to discuss new approaches to promoting attainment and achievement in K-12 education.  The event included featured remarks by U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, highlighting recent progress on education reform, the difficult work still ahead, and the need for innovation to help advance reform efforts. 

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The Future of Housing and Credit Markets

September 23, 2008 • Washington, DC

The Project released new discussion papers and hosted panel discussions on housing and credit markets.  The first panel explored ways to reform low-income housing assistance, while the second focused on innovative mortgage ideas to help protect consumers.

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Missing Markets: Fostering Market-Based Solutions to Major Risks

June 5, 2008 • Washington, DC

The Hamilton Project hosted a discussion on what the government can do to foster market-based solutions to major risks.  Markets that could potentially mitigate or reduce some of the biggest risks faced by the American people and their broader communities are nonexistent or underutilized.

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Addressing the Foreclosure Crisis: A Hamilton Project Policy Discussion

March 14, 2008 • Washington, DC

The Hamilton Project hosted a conversation on proposed policy responses to the mortgage-foreclosure problem. Many Americans now owe more on their mortgages than their homes are worth; however, which policies provide the most effective remedy to the problem remains unanswered.

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Addressing America’s Poverty Crisis - Day 2, Panel 1 Audio

June 20, 2014 • Audio

Day two of The Hamilton Project’s anti-poverty summit, Addressing America’s Poverty Crisis, focused on policy proposals to improve safety net and work support. The first panel of the day discussed expansions to the Earned Income Tax Credit, reforms to the Child and Dependent  care tax credit, and the potential benefits of predictive analytics and rapid-cycle evaluation to improve social services. The authors, Scott Cody of Mathematica Policy Research, Hilary Hoynes of UC Berkely, and James Ziliak of the University of Kentucky, were joined in the roundtable discussion by Gordon Berlin of MDRC, and Robert Greenstein of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. Director of The Hamilton Project, Melissa Kearney, moderated the discussion.

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Addressing America’s Poverty Crisis - Day 2, Panel 2 Audio

June 20, 2014 • Audio

The second panel for day two of Addressing America’s Poverty Crisis focused on minimum wage policy at the state and local levels, and reducing unemployment through work sharing. Authors Arindrajit Dube of the University of Massachusetts Amherst and Katharine Abraham of the University of Maryland introduced their proposals, and were joined by Jared Bernstein of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, and Gregory Mankiw of Harvard University. Christopher Edley, Jr. of UC Berkely moderated the discussion.

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Addressing America’s Poverty Crisis - Day 2, Panel 1

June 20, 2014 • Video

Day two of The Hamilton Project’s anti-poverty summit, Addressing America’s Poverty Crisis, focused on policy proposals to improve safety net and work support. The first panel of the day discussed expansions to the Earned Income Tax Credit, reforms to the Child and Dependent  care tax credit, and the potential benefits of predictive analytics and rapid-cycle evaluation to improve social services. The authors, Scott Cody of Mathematica Policy Research, Hilary Hoynes of UC Berkely, and James Ziliak of the University of Kentucky, were joined in the roundtable discussion by Gordon Berlin of MDRC, and Robert Greenstein of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. Director of The Hamilton Project, Melissa Kearney, moderated the discussion.

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Addressing America’s Poverty Crisis - Day 2, Panel 2

June 20, 2014 • Video

The second panel for day two of Addressing America’s Poverty Crisis focused on minimum wage policy at the state and local levels, and reducing unemployment through work sharing. Authors Arindrajit Dube of the University of Massachusetts Amherst and Katharine Abraham of the University of Maryland introduced their proposals, and were joined by Jared Bernstein of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, and Gregory Mankiw of Harvard University. Christopher Edley, Jr. of UC Berkely moderated the discussion.

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Addressing America’s Poverty Crisis - Day 2

June 20, 2014 • Photo Galleries

On Friday, June 20, The Hamilton Project continued its two-day anti-poverty summit, Addressing America’s Poverty Crisis. Day two of the summit focused on policies to improve the safety net and work support, including the role of work-share and minimum wage policies to support American workers.

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Addressing America’s Poverty Crisis - Day 1, Framing Remarks Audio

June 19, 2014 • Audio

On day one of Addressing America’s Poverty Crisis, Hamilton Project Director Melissa S. Kearney delivered framing remarks on recent trends of poverty in the United States, and why fighting poverty needs to be a national policy priority. Kearney also presented the release of The Hamilton Project’s new volume, Policies to Address Poverty in America, which combines 14 proposals confronting specific issues related to poverty in America.

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Addressing America’s Poverty Crisis - Day 1, Panel 2 Audio

June 19, 2014 • Audio

The second panel for day one of Addressing America’s Poverty Crisis continued the conversation on building worker skills, and discussed new proposals on apprenticeship programs, funding training programs for low-skill workers, and financial incentives for colleges to better prepare disadvantaged students for work.  The panelists included Harry Holzer of Georgetown University, Robert Lerman of American University, Sheena McConnell of Mathematica Policy Research, and Rhandi Berth of the Wisconsin Regional Training Partnership. The discussion was moderated by Ralph Schlosstein of Evercore.

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Addressing America’s Poverty Crisis - Day 1, Panel 3 Audio

June 19, 2014 • Audio

The third panel for day one of Addressing America’s Poverty Crisis explored ways to support disadvantaged youth.  Philip Levine of Wellesley College, Amy Schwartz of New York University and Bridget Terry Long of Harvard Graduate School of Education introduced their proposals offering dynamic, evidence-based ideas for improving the lives of poor adolescents. These ideas include developing a better model for mentor programs, the importance of summer youth employment programs, and ways to improve remediation to improve higher education achievement for disadvantaged students.  The authors were joined by Deputy Mayor Linda Gibbs of the Health and Human Services of New York City. The discussion was moderated by Cecilia Rouse of Princeton University. 

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Addressing America’s Poverty Crisis - Day 1, Panel 3

June 19, 2014 • Video

The third panel for day one of Addressing America’s Poverty Crisis explored ways to support disadvantaged youth.  Philip Levine of Wellesley College, Amy Schwartz of New York University and Bridget Terry Long of Harvard Graduate School of Education introduced their proposals offering dynamic, evidence-based ideas for improving the lives of poor adolescents. These ideas include developing a better model for mentor programs, the importance of summer youth employment programs, and ways to improve remediation to encourage higher education achievement for disadvantaged students.  The authors were joined by Deputy Mayor Linda Gibbs of the Health and Human Services of New York City. The discussion was moderated by Cecilia Rouse of Princeton University. 

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State-by-State “Jobs Gap”

June 6, 2014 • Charts

Every month, The Hamilton Project tracks the “jobs gap,” which is the number of jobs that need to be created in order to return to pre-recession employment levels while still absorbing the workers entering the labor force each month. Here, the Project compares changes in employment levels since the onset of the Great Recession across states.

Hamilton Project Updates

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