One simple question—Are wages rising?—is as central to the health of our democracy as it is to the health of our economy. For the last few decades, the U.S. economy has experienced real wage stagnation. On February 28, The Hamilton Project at the Brookings Institution hosted a forum to explore the most effective policy options to revitalize wage growth.
One simple question—are wages rising?—is as central to the health of our democracy as it is to the health of our economy. This book presents evidence and analysis that detail why wages have been stagnant for so many workers, while also identifying public policies that could effectively contribute to the growth in productivity and wages that are core parts of improving living standards for all Americans. These proposals include greater support for policies that increase human capital, boost worker mobility, strengthen worker bargaining power, and sustain robust labor demand.
Labor market collusion or monopsonization—the exercise of employer market power in labor markets—may contribute to wage stagnation, rising inequality, and declining productivity in the American economy, trends which have hit low-income workers especially hard. To address these problems, Alan Krueger and Eric Posner propose three policy reforms.
Through technological advances, businesses today are able to connect customers to services more seamlessly than ever before. However, the workers providing these services are difficult to classify within the traditional labor-law dichotomy of employees and independent contractors. On December 9, The Hamilton Project hosted a policy forum addressing these labor market challenges in the online gig economy, and released a new paper by Alan Krueger (Princeton University) and Seth Harris (Cornell University). The forum included two moderated roundtable discussions.
The rise of technological intermediaries enabling workers to engage in the gig economy has resulted in protracted legal battles over whether to classify these workers as “employees” or “independent contractors.” Seth Harris and Alan Krueger propose assigning benefits and protections to independent workers according to whether or not the new benefits meet three certain considerations, and seek to address several growing issues in the labor market.
On May 11, as part of Infrastructure Week, The Hamilton Project and Building America’s Future co-hosted a public forum discussing the challenges of U.S. infrastructure financing and potential policy solutions.
The nation’s transportation infrastructure, it is widely agreed, is eroding and in need of long-term, innovative policy solutions and adequate investment. In this discussion paper, Roger Altman, Aaron Klein, and Alan Krueger propose improvement and expansion of the Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA) lending program, reauthorization of Build America Bonds, better utilization of the Army Corps of Engineers and the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund, and reform of the federal gas tax.
On April 17th, The Hamilton Project at Brookings and Results for America, an initiative of America Achieves, co-hosted a forum and released two new papers on the important role of evidence in policymaking. U.S. Senator Rob Portman (R-OH), U.S. Senator Mark Warner (D-VA), Alan Krueger, Chair of the President’s Council of Economic Advisers, and other distinguished experts participated in roundtable discussions on the proposals and how evidence-based policymaking can improve the effectiveness of federally funded programs.
On November 30, The Hamilton Project at the Brookings Institution held a forum and released new policy proposals on training programs geared toward the needs of today’s workforce. In a rapidly changing global economy, the skills of some workers have become obsolete while other skills are in short supply. By collaborating with industry partners and using evidence about what works, training programs can better prepare workers for jobs with high-demand, both now and in the future.
The Hamilton Project partnered with the Center for American Progress to host a forum on the country’s employment situation. The event featured a discussion with New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and NEC director Lawrence H. Summers, moderated by PBS host Charlie Rose.
Even in early grades, a large skill gap exists between students from economically advantaged and disadvantaged families. This paper outlines a program based on evidence from studies of summer programs which will provide scholarships for economically disadvantaged children.