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: Effective Government

Chart Jun 13, 2018

Fewer mergers are being blocked when at least five competitors would remain.

The Federal Trade Commission almost always blocks mergers that would leave only one or two remaining competitors, while mergers leaving three or four competitors are only sometimes challenged. In recent years, antitrust regulators have become much less likely to act against mergers that would leave five, six, or seven competitors, while becoming slightly more likely to block mergers that would leave only one to four competitors.

Chart Jun 13, 2018

Businesses are taking longer to form, while business applications have declined.

A new dataset from the Census Bureau—the Business Formation Statistics—reveals that the typical time between application and business formation has steadily increased in recent years, from 4.5 months to 5.7 months between 2004 and 2013. In addition, the number of high-propensity business applications, defined as those applications that have characteristics associated with becoming an employing business, has declined from about 350,000 in 2004 to 290,000 in 2013.

Chart Jun 13, 2018

State subsidies to businesses have tripled since 1990.

This chart documents the sharp rise in state and local use of targeted business incentives for export-base industries (businesses that sell outside the local area or compete with goods and services from outside the local area). These incentives—job creation, investment, and R&D tax credits, as well as property tax abatements and job training subsidies—collectively rose from 0.5 percent of business value added in 1990 to 1.4 percent in 2015.

Chart Jun 13, 2018

Occupational licensing is common and associated with diminished worker mobility.

More than a fifth of all employees hold licenses, but the fraction varies considerably across professions. Health-care practitioners and legal workers are the most likely to be licensed, with 73 and 61 percent of workers licensed, respectively. Additionally, licensed workers—who generally must pay to be relicensed after an interstate move—are much less likely to move across state lines than are comparable workers without licenses, but only slightly less likely to move within their state.

Chart Mar 2, 2017

Differences in Likelihood of Moving across States for Licensed and Certified Workers

This chart shows that workers who are licensed are different from otherwise comparable certified workers—i.e., workers with a job credential that is not legally required to practice—in their propensity to move. Though licensed workers move within state at about the same rate as comparable certified workers, licensed workers are much less likely to move across states than are certified workers.

Chart Mar 2, 2017

Employment Rates of Women by Marital Status and Children

One of the most important policy changes over the past quarter century was the shift to a work-based social safety net. The data for this chart, which shows the employment rates of women by marital status and number of children, come from the Current Population Survey, which helps answer a variety of important questions. Some of these questions are addressed in annual supplements, like the “Current Population Survey Annual Social and Economic Supplement,” conducted every March. 

Chart Mar 2, 2017

Unemployment and U-6 Rates

The Bureau of Labor Statistics publishes a number of alternative measures that add information to provide a more comprehensive picture of the labor market. One of these measures, called U-6, includes discouraged workers and others who are outside the labor force but want work, as well as those who have part-time work but would prefer full-time work. As shown in this chart, this measure is substantially higher than the traditional unemployment rate.

Chart May 7, 2013

Ratio of Government Employment to Population

While the private sector has added jobs to the economy in every month since March 2010, a total increase of approximately 6.8 million jobs through April 2013, the public sector has contracted. This figure shows the ratio of government employment to the civilian non-institutional population going back to 1980. For the twenty years prior to the Great Recession, this ratio stayed relatively constant, but since then it has dropped precipitously (except for the temporary uptick in 2010 when government employment rose to accommodate demand for U.S. Census workers). 

Chart Mar 14, 2013

Debt-to-GDP Ratio under Various Policy Assumptions, 2012-2023

Over the next ten years, approximately $4 trillion of deficit reduction are set to take place through the Budget Control Act of 2011 (BCA) the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 (ATRA) and the sequestration, which went into effect on March 1, 2013. This graph, from the introduction of The Hamilton Project’s 15 Ways to Rethink the Federal Budget shows how these policies are projected to affect the debt-to-GDP ratio over the next decade.