Robert Greenstein identifies priorities for expanding the Child Tax Credit. Pulling from research on the credit's impact, he urges strengthening the CTC for low-income children as much as possible.
Robert Greenstein identifies priorities for expanding the Child Tax Credit. Pulling from research on the credit's impact, he urges strengthening the CTC for low-income children as much as possible.
In this economic analysis, we determine the degree to which firms that are looking to hire a significant number of workers can expand employment (a “hot” labor market) or cannot (a “tight” labor market). This analysis suggests that a high job opening-to-unemployment rate ratio overstates how hard it is for firms to hire and that the job openings-to-hires and job opening-to-net hires ratios are worthwhile additions to the list of indicators that assess the state of the labor market.
Robert Greenstein looks back at the last four decades of social programs to assess factors affecting social programs' political strength, as well as their poverty-reducing impacts, their take-up rates, and issues related to program access.
A Hamilton Project analysis on how household balance sheets have evolved since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic finds that, in aggregate, households’ financial positions in 2022 are remarkedly improved relative to 2019.
Betsey Stevenson reviews what has happened to women’s employment and labor force participation in the recovery from the pandemic.
In a new economic analysis, Bradley Hardy, Georgetown University, and Trevon Logan, The Ohio State University, revisit their previous work for Hamilton Project and assess the economic recovery of Black Americans throughout the pandemic.
In these Economic Facts, the Hamilton Project reviews recent economic data to provide context for assessing the state of the economic recovery and highlight areas that remain short of a return to normal.
In a new framing paper, Mitchell Barnes, Lauren Bauer, Wendy Edelberg, Sara Estep, Robert Greenstein, and Moriah Macklin examine the U.S. social insurance system. They consider the social insurance system as a whole as well as its component parts, providing an overview of major federal programs in the areas of education and workforce development, health, income support, nutrition, and housing opportunity.
In this proposal, Elizabeth Davis and Aaron Sojourner of the University of Minnesota propose an ambitious vision to increase federal funding for Early Childhood Care and Education (ECE) to ensure every American family and child has access to high-quality affordable child care during the first five years of life.
In a new policy proposal, Tanya Byker and Elena Patel propose the creation of a federal Paid Parental and Medical Leave (PPML) program. The proposal would establish a partial wage replacement system, extended to all eligible wage employees, to supplement income during work disruptions due to the arrival of a child or due to a personal or a family member’s illness.
In this proposal Robert Collinson, Ingrid Gould Ellen, and Benjamin Keys propose a plan to support homeowners and renters to stabilize households and housing markets during future economic downturns. Their proposal would create new emergency rental assistance accounts for low-income households; implement an automatic, three-month forbearance period for vulnerable mortgage borrowers in response to elevated local unemployment; and establish a permanent tax credit exchange program that would allow states to exchange tax credits for direct subsidies at a fiscally neutral price when demand from tax credit investors falls.
In this proposal, Arindrajit Dube offers a comprehensive plan to reform and modernize the Unemployment Insurance (UI) system to reflect and align with the challenges of the current labor market. He recommends converting UI into a fully federal program; ensuring that more people who need UI are eligible; creating automatic triggers that extend the potential benefit duration when needed due to economic downturns; implementing more progressive replacement rates; and improving short time compensation, also known as “work sharing”.
Wendy Edelberg, Sara Estep, Stephanie Lu, and Emily Moss examine and offer new insights on the recent history of housing policy from the latter half of the 20th century to today, compare homeowner and renter experiences, and analyze housing assistance policies. The authors conclude that to increase housing stability, policymakers should improve housing policies to create better infrastructure and more-inclusive housing programs in addition to supplying additional funding.
In this economic analysis, Kristen E. Broady, Darlene Booth-Bell, Jason Coupet, and Moriah Macklin examine data on the 60 jobs that employ the most workers in the United States and have the highest and lowest susceptibility to automation in the next 10 to 20 years, with a particular focus on Black and Hispanic workers.
In this proposal, Harry Holzer outlines ways to boost students and workers in the American economy. He recommends enacting reforms to increase funding for the Higher Education Act of 1965, adding modest taxes on worker displacement, and creating a permanent version of the Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training (TAACCCT) grants to fund partnerships among community colleges, workforce institutions, and states.
The COVID-19 pandemic has presented the United States with a set of unique public health and economic challenges. Economically, the crisis has negatively affected businesses, the labor market, and households. In this set of 10 facts, Wendy Edelberg, Kristen Broady, Lauren Bauer, and Jimmy O’Donnell assess the extent of these economic damages and provide an overview of existing policy interventions.
The COVID-19 pandemic poses an existential threat to small businesses, with more than 400,000 lost since the crisis began. Many small businesses are financially fragile and not equipped to weather a prolonged period of substantially reduced revenues. In this proposal, Steven Hamilton of The George Washington University calls for a significant expansion of refundable tax credits to help support small businesses through this crisis.
In this blog post, Lauren Bauer, Abigail Pitts, Krista Ruffini, and Diane Whitmore Schanzenbach find that Pandemic EBT reduced food hardship experienced by low-income families with children and lifted at least 2.7-3.9 million children out of hunger.
Slowdowns in the economy are inevitable. While it may be tempting to rely on Federal Reserve policy as a lone response to recessions, this would be a mistake; we know that fiscal stimulus is effective. Rather than wait for a crisis to strike before designing discretionary fiscal policy, we would be better served by preparing in advance. Enacting evidence-based automatic stabilizer proposals before the next recession will help the next recovery start faster, make job creation stronger, and restore confidence to businesses and households.
Consumer spending, which makes up about 70 percent of aggregate expenditures in the economy, slows sharply during recessions. This slowdown can exacerbate employment losses and reduced production, making a recession even worse. Claudia Sahm proposes automatic direct payments to individuals to support consumer spending when the national unemployment rate rapidly rises.
The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is both an effective antipoverty program and a natural automatic stabilizer, expanding when the economy is weak and contracting when it is strong. Hilary Hoynes of the University of California, Berkeley and Diane Whitmore Schanzenbach of Northwestern University present reforms to strengthen SNAP’s countercyclical effects.
Work requirements impede SNAP’s dual role as a safety net and automatic stabilizer. This economic analysis provides new evidence about how waivers to these rules functioned during the Great Recession and how the USDA’s proposed rules would have worked had they been in effect from 2007 to present.
Interacting with the criminal justice system is an expensive proposition. Its reliance on bail to encourage return after pretrial release, on fines to punish and provide restitution, and on fees to fund the system implies that an individual’s economic means may determine how burdensome any interaction is. These nine economic facts characterize the current use of monetary sanctions in the criminal justice system, highlighting the economic and social costs that they pose to defendants and society.
The use of monetary sanctions to punish crimes ranging from minor traffic or public order offenses to the most serious felonies is ubiquitous in the United States. Nationally, millions of people hold billions of dollars of criminal debt from past monetary sanctions, much of which is regarded as uncollectible because of the limited financial resources of the debtors. In this paper, Beth Colgan of the University of California, Los Angeles School of Law describes the harms associated with unmanageable monetary sanctions as well as the evidence from day-fines pilot projects. Colgan builds on this evidence to propose a system for graduating sanctions according to ability to pay.
Policy debates often focus only on major decisions made in Washington, DC. But for many Americans, the decisions made much closer to home have just as large, if not larger, effects on day-to-day life. These nine economic facts highlight the important economic roles of state and local governments, emphasizing how their budgetary and regulatory decisions affect access to opportunity. Transportation and land-use policy receive particular attention given their large impacts on the patterns of economic activity.
High regional inequality is driven, in part, by local land-use regulations that prevent low- and middle-income workers from accessing high-productivity places. In this paper, Daniel Shoag of Harvard Kennedy School and Case Western Reserve University discusses the problems with current housing policies and their effects on economic growth and mobility. To remove these barriers, the author outlines local, state, and federal policy initiatives that can boost housing supply in booming parts of the country.
Two thirds of the jail population consist of defendants who have not been convicted. This paper characterizes key trends in pretrial detention and the bail system, examines the financial implications of bail for the typical household, and explores the costs and benefits of monetary bail and the private bail bonds industry.
In this framing paper, Ryan Nunn, Jimmy O'Donnell, and Jay Shambaugh evaluate the potential labor market impacts of several employment support policies, with particular attention devoted to a federal job guarantee. They conclude that while a job guarantee could lift employment rates and incomes for many participants, its effects on the currently employed and those out of the labor force are very uncertain.
This paper characterizes the types of individuals who would face work requirements in SNAP and Medicaid, describes what their work experiences are over a two-year period, and identifies the reasons why they are not working if they experience a period of unemployment or labor force nonparticipation. The analysis concludes that proposed work requirements would put at risk access to food assistance and health care for millions who are working, trying to work, or face barriers to working.
Ryan Nunn, Jana Parsons, and Jay Shambaugh investigate the factors that have created concentrated prosperity in the United States while leaving many places behind. They explore how economic activity has shifted, as well as the factors that are associated with success or failure for particular places.
Bradley Hardy, Trevon Logan, and John Parman describe the legacy of structural racism and its influence on economic outcomes for people and places today, outlining the role it should play in informing policy to improve economic conditions in lagging U.S. communities.
Many place-based policies have been unsuccessful, failing to deliver cost-effective benefits to disadvantaged communities; meanwhile areas across the county have large and rising concentration of poverty. David Neumark proposes that the federal government subsidize employment in places that are struggling, focusing on nonprofit jobs that contribute to local public goods.
Development economics research has made substantial progress in addressing poverty, poor health and education, and other problems of struggling areas. In this paper, Stephen C. Smith relates findings from the development economics literature to U.S. policy problems, highlighting programs and policies that have the potential to assist lagging areas in the United States.
For a century, the progress our nation made toward realizing broadly shared economic growth gave our economy much of its unparalleled strength. However, for the last several decades, that progress has seemed to stall. On critical measures such as household income, poverty, employment rates, and life expectancy, there exist yawning persistent gaps between the best- and worst-performing communities. These conditions demand a reconsideration of place-based policies. The evidence-based proposals contained in this volume can help restore the conditions of inclusive growth that make it possible for individuals from any part of the country to benefit from economic opportunity.
The U.S. economy will not operate at its full potential unless government and employers remove impediments to full participation by women in the labor market. The failure to address structural problems in labor markets, tax, and employment policy that women face does more than hold back their careers and aspirations for a better life. Barriers to participation by women also act as brakes on the national economy, stifling the economy’s ability to grow. To address these problems, The Hamilton Project published this book featuring a host of public policies to promote women’s economic opportunity.
Women now make up almost half the U.S. workforce, and more than half of the U.S. population. Despite the central role women play in the economy, our labor laws and institutions do little to address the various ways in which women are held back at work. This not only hampers women’s economic well-being, but also has implications for U.S. productivity, labor force participation, and economic growth. In this paper, Ansel and Boushey propose policies aimed at boosting women’s economic outcomes: paid family leave, fair scheduling, and combatting wage discrimination. They show how enacting carefully designed policies will better address the challenges of today’s labor force, enhance women’s economic outcomes, and provide benefits for the national economy.
Popular commentary often points to the lower lifetime earnings and longer expected life spans of women relative to men as a reason to be especially concerned about the economic risks women face as they age. Indeed, women aged 65 and older are twice as likely as their male counterparts to live in poverty. Disability and widowhood are major drivers of economic insecurity for women later in life. To reduce the risk of economic insecurity among older women, the authors propose to allow Social Security beneficiaries to forgo some benefits when claiming to finance greater benefits in the event of widowhood, disability, or both. The proposed changes would be voluntary and self-financing.
Who are the millions of people living in poverty in the United States? In this economic analysis, we characterize those who were living in poverty in 2016, as we reported for 2014 and 2015. We then extend these snapshots to examine the population living in poverty over time: how have the characteristics of those living in poverty changed over the past 30 years?
In this economic analysis, THP analyzes the relationship between age, income, and measures of health status, as well as how these relationships have changed between the late 1970s and today. While overall there have been remarkable gains in life expectancy in the United States over the past half-century, these have not been reflected in other measures of health which have declined over time.
Understanding the characteristics of the poor is crucial for crafting effective anti-poverty policies. In this Economic Analysis, The Hamilton Project documents characteristics of the 46.7 million Americans—14.8 percent of the population—who lived in poverty in 2014.
This economic analysis examines shifts in consumer spending patterns over the last thirty years, contrasting the experiences of low, middle, and high-income households. The analysis concludes that low-income households are spending a higher share of their budgets on basic needs—defined as the major budget components of housing, food, transportation, health care, and clothing—than they did three decades ago.
The experience of the Great Recession reveals important holes in the safety net. In particular, the central cash-assistance program in the United States, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), is failing to reach many poor families. In addition, the program does not automatically expand during economic downturns, when the need for the program is likely greatest and when additional consumer spending would be particularly helpful. To strengthen TANF, Marianne Bitler and Hilary Hoynes propose reforms to expand both the program’s reach and its responsiveness to cyclical downturns. They also propose ways to improve its transparency, which will help researchers and policymakers understand how the program works, who it supports, and how effectively it meets its goals.
The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) provides assistance to households that lack food security, with benefit allotments determined by the USDA’s Thrifty Food Plan (TFP). However, the assumptions underlying the TFP are based on increasingly unrealistic assumptions about food preferences, time availability, and prices faced by many SNAP recipients. As a result, SNAP is less effective than it could be. In this Hamilton Project paper, James Ziliak proposes a series of reforms to the TFP aimed at strengthening nutrition assistance.
In the years following the Great Recession, many economists and policymakers agree that fiscal stimulus was crucial to turning around the faltering economy and helped to save or create millions of jobs. What economists and policymakers do not agree on is whether the stimulus should have been larger, whether it contained the correct mix of tax cuts and targeted government spending, and how it could have best been delivered. In this Hamilton Project policy proposal, Alan Blinder tackles these questions using economic theory and recent evidence from the Great Recession to discuss how fiscal policy can be better designed to mitigate the effects of the next economic downturn.
Between December 2007 and June 2009 the United States experienced the most severe recession in the postwar period. Given the massive human cost of recessions, it is incumbent upon policy makers to assess the policy tools at their disposal and identify those that are most effective at hastening economic recovery during a downturn. In this document, The Hamilton Project describes how different groups of workers were affected by the Great Recession, what works in fiscal stimulus, what could be done differently in future recessions, and the fiscal preparedness of states for the next downturn.
Households with teenagers report greater incidence of food insecurity than households with younger children. Yet for many teens, nutrition assistance programs such as School Lunch, School Breakfast, and SNAP are not providing enough calories to make it through the day. In a new economic analysis, The Hamilton Project explores how nutrition policies are leaving food insecure teenagers more vulnerable, and highlights policies to address this problem.
One in seven households was food insecure in 2014—meaning that at some time during the year the household had difficulty providing enough food for all of their members due to a lack of resources. To explore the persistent and troubling problem of hunger in America, The Hamilton Project offers the following 12 facts on food insecurity, SNAP, and other nutrition support programs.
Rising life expectancy and potentially exorbitant long-term care costs have increased the financial resources required to support oneself and one’s spouse in retirement and old age. This set of economic facts offer bring attention to trends in Americans’ financial security and preparedness for retirement.
Workers rely more than ever on individually directed retirement savings vehicles, such as defined-contribution plans and IRAs, to provide the income necessary for a comfortable retirement. John Friedman proposes combining the various types of retirement accounts into a single Universal Retirement Saving Account and instituting tax credits for businesses that encourage workers to save.
Each month, The Hamilton Project calculates America’s “jobs gap,” or the number of jobs that the U.S. economy needs to create in order to return to pre-recession employment levels while absorbing the people who newly enter the labor force each month. In this month’s economic analysis, we have made changes to the appearance of the jobs gap chart and the methodology behind the jobs gap calculations. As of the end of July 2014, our nation faces a jobs gap of 5.7 million jobs.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
In this policy memo, Phillip B. Levine proposes that nongovernmental organizations—including nonprofits, foundations, and charitable organizations—as well as private-sector entities expand community-based mentoring programs, such as the Big Brothers Big Sisters program, in accordance with a set of best practices. This proposal, targeted at disadvantaged youth who have few or no adult role models in their lives, aims to improve educational and labor market outcomes for disadvantaged youth. This proposal is chapter four of The Hamilton Project’s Policies to Address Poverty in America, and a segment in Supporting Disadvantaged Youth.
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.
In this policy memo, Ariel Kalil proposes that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Administration for Children and Families create a task force supporting the collection of evidence to develop more-effective parenting interventions and to promote improved child development in early years. This proposal, targeted at low-income families with young children, will collect evidence on successful parenting interventions for young children through rigorous experiments, and will develop new interventions that are lower-cost and better-matched to families’ needs. This proposal is chapter two of The Hamilton Project’s Policies to Address Poverty in America, and a segment in Promoting Early Childhood Development.
In this policy memo, Elizabeth U. Cascio and Diane Whitmore Schanzenbach propose a framework for state and local governments calling for the establishment of high-quality programs in areas where preschool programs do not exist, improved preschool quality in states and localities with subpar programs, and expanded access in areas where high-quality programs already exist. This proposal aims to reduce the income-based gap in school readiness between disadvantaged and higher-income preschool-aged children, and to improve school outcomes for disadvantaged preschool children. This proposal is chapter one of The Hamilton Project’s Policies to Address Poverty in America, and a segment in Promoting Early Childhood Development.
The introduction to The Hamilton Project’s new volume, Policies to Address Poverty in America, presents an overview of America’s poverty crisis, and makes the case for why poverty belongs on the national policy agenda. The introduction also frames the 14 policy proposals that are part of the volume, and the particular aspects of poverty they address. The proposals fall into four general categories: promoting early childhood development, supporting disadvantaged youth, building skills, and improving safety net and work support.
This Hamilton Project policy memo provides ten economic facts highlighting recent trends in crime and incarceration in the United States. Specifically, it explores the characteristics of criminal offenders and victims; the historically unprecedented level of incarceration in the United States; and evidence on both the fiscal and social implications of current policy on taxpayers and those imprisoned.
A growing body of research in psychology and behavioral economics suggests that a great deal of everyone’s behavior happens intuitively and automatically, with little deliberate thought. In this paper, Jens Ludwig and Anuj Shah propose a five-year strategy for scaling out behaviorally informed interventions—such as the "Becoming a Man" (BAM) program —to help disadvantaged youths recognize high-stakes situations in which their automatic responses could be maladaptive and may lead to trouble.
The United States incarcerates people at a higher rate than any other country in the world. Large increases in the U.S. incarceration rate over the past three decades have decreased crime but generated substantial costs. In this paper, Steven Raphael and Michael Stoll propose reforms that would reduce incarceration while maintaining a low crime rate.
The Hamilton Project highlights the disproportionate burden of crime and incarceration on America’s poor. For too many Americans, that means living in a community in which opportunities are limited, and fear of violence has shaped daily lives and altered childhoods.
Many American families whose incomes are not low enough to officially place them in poverty live in economically precarious situations. This struggling lower-middle class consists of the 30 percent of working-age families with children who have incomes between 100 and 250 percent of the federal poverty level (FPL). These economic facts focus on two key challenges facing lower-middle-class families: food insecurity and the low return to work for families who lose tax and transfer benefits as their earnings increase.
The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)—formerly known as the Food Stamp Program—is an essential part of America’s social safety net. Diane Schanzenbach proposes five reforms that could strengthen SNAP, including incentives for participants to purchase healthier foods and improvements to the benefit formula.
The current tax system hampers low- and middle-income families who add secondary earners to the workforce to augment their primary breadwinner’s income. In a new Hamilton Project discussion paper, Melissa Kearney and Lesley Turner propose a secondary earner tax deduction that would help make work pay for dual-earner families.
In this economic analysis, The Hamilton Project focuses on two critical issues related to SNAP: (1) the widespread existence of both food insecurity and obesity among low-income children in the United States, and (2) the role of SNAP in fighting poverty during times of weak labor markets. SNAP participation rises and falls in lockstep with the unemployment rate, highlighting SNAP’s role as a safety-net program that bolsters family resources when employment and wages are low.
Despite the positive return to higher education, many Americans are concerned about their ability to pay for college, and there is increasing focus on the rising burden of student loans on recent graduates. Although average net tuition—the actual cost to students after grant aid, scholarships, and other financial aid—has increased somewhat over the last two decades, the volume of student debt has increased far more dramatically, as has the default rate on student loans. In this month’s employment analysis, The Hamilton Project examines possible explanations for the recent increases in student debt and default rates.
In this set of economic facts, The Hamilton Project examines the relationship between growing income inequality and social mobility in America. The memo explores the growing gap in educational opportunities and outcomes for students based on family income and the great potential of education to increase upward mobility for all Americans.
In this month’s employment analysis, The Hamilton Project looks at current poverty trends in the United States, the important role of government support programs, and how sequestration could remove critical aspects of the safety net in the midst of continued labor-market weakness. The Project finds sequestration could throw many American families back into poverty during this sensitive period of economic recovery by cutting the very programs that are helping them stay above water.
Karen Dynan examines the design of government incentives for personal savings, outlining how reforms to these programs would improve saving and economic security for low-income households and reduce expensive and ineffective federal subsidies for high-income households.
As Americans prepare to cast their ballots for president, many voters are pausing to assess the state of the economy. In this month’s employment analysis, The Hamilton Project reviews the available data to explore whether America’s economic future looks brighter today than it did four years ago and finds that the data clearly indicate a much rosier future for the United States than was the case in 2008.
The Hamilton Project provides background information on the state of America’s immigration system, and discusses the economic benefits of reforming the system.
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.
The Hamilton Project examines the decline the marriages over the last 50 years, highlighting the correlation between income level and likelihood of marrying. The decline in marriage is concentrated among less-educated, lower-income Americans.
Less educated workers often experience prolonged periods of unemployment and stagnating wages because they lack the skills necessary to compete in a global economy. In a new Hamilton Project paper, Harry J. Holzer proposes a set of competitive grants to fund education, training, and career counseling initiatives that feature private sector connections based on the experience of existing successful workforce development programs.
The Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program has failed to support the ongoing employment and economic self-sufficiency of workers with disabilities, leading to rapid growth in program expenditures and declining employment of Americans with disabilities. This proposal offers a blueprint for reversing this needless employment decline and stemming the dramatic growth of the SSDI program.
The October employment numbers, released today by the Labor Department, show tentative progress toward recovery. The U.S. economy is creating jobs for the first time in four months, with an increase of 151,000 jobs last month. The private sector added 159,000 jobs, continuing ten straight months of private sector job growth.
This paper proposes the creation of a “mobility bank” at a government cost of less than $1 billion per year to help finance the residential moves of U.S. workers relocating either to take offered jobs or to search for work, and to help them learn more about the employment options available in other parts of the country.
This policy memo explores some of the questions frequently raised around immigration in the United States and provides facts drawn from publicly available data sets and the academic literature.
As expected, July’s employment numbers suggest that the road to recovery will be long. The economy as a whole lost 131,000 jobs as layoffs of temporary Census workers continued. Private sector employment increased by 71,000 jobs, building on June’s increase of 31,000 jobs.
June’s employment numbers highlight that our economic recovery is not yet on solid footing. An analysis by The Hamilton Project digs into the regional distribution of these unemployment trends and finds that, by one measure, the five hardest-hit states are Alabama, Delaware, Colorado, Georgia, and Utah.
This paper argues that we must confront the challenges that pose a greater risk to our long-run prosperity than the Great Recession. America’s future growth requires reprioritizing expenditures toward increasing workforce productivity, innovation and infrastructure, savings, and government effectiveness.
The Hamilton Project held a policy forum and released a discussion paper by Rebecca Blank and Mark Greenberg on the need for a new national poverty measure that better reflects the actual economic conditions of low-income Americans.
Today, too many Americans are not fully sharing in our nation’s prosperity. This paper outlines the ways in which promoting economic growth, broad-based participation in growth, and economic security can be mutually reinforcing policy objectives.
This paper develops a new framework for understanding the mortgage markets based on behavioral economic insights and proposes a ‘sticky’ opt-out mortgage system.
Edgar Olsen examines shortfalls with the current system of low-income housing assistance and proposes a transition to an entitlement housing assistance program that relies exclusively on tenant-based assistance.
This paper argues that development of shared appreciation mortgage (SAM) markets in the United States would moderate the impending decline in homeownership and lower the risk of future housing crashes.
Jason Furman discusses the issue of missing markets for both societal and individual risk, highlighting reasons for the absence of these markets and proposing solutions to enable the development of new markets.
Catastrophe insurance helps spread risks and increases the ability of policyholders and the economy to recover from both natural disasters and terrorist attacks. This paper discusses several policy options to finance losses from catastrophic risk.
This paper proposes a policy that would increase the role of lifetime income products in future retirees’ overall retirement planning.
The livelihoods and living standards of many Americans are at stake in any discussion about stimulus. This paper considers several key questions on stimulus and provides principles and examples for effective implementation.
The New Hope program was designed to assist workers by providing work supports including access to quality child care and health insurance. This paper evaluates the program and provides recommendations for scaling it up nationally.
This paper proposes a new federal funding stream to identify, expand, and replicate the most successful state and local initiatives designed to spur the advancement of low-wage workers in the United States.
This paper offers a strategy to reduce poverty and strengthen growth across the income spectrum by helping people find jobs, investing in human capital, and creating a strong social safety net.
In the past three decades, American families have faced a dramatic increase in economic risk. This paper responds to this rise by proposing a broad-based, stop-loss insurance program designed to help families weather economic shocks.
American families face new economic risks even as our social safety net is fraying. This paper outlines a strategy for providing a basic level of economic security that is beneficial for families and for national economic growth.
Americans’ long-held belief that education and hard work advances each generation’ outlook has provided a powerful incentive for industrious activity, spurring the unprecedented economic growth that the United States has enjoyed for more than two centuries. Yet the fundamental principle that all citizens should have an opportunity to succeed is at risk today because the nation is neither paying its way nor investing adequately in its future. The Hamilton Project at Brookings advances innovative policy ideas for improving our nation’s economic policy.
Many middle- and low-income Americans retire without having accumulated sufficient savings to enjoy a comfortable retirement. This paper proposes changing the default features of retirement savings and creating new matching programs to incentivize people to save.