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Policy Proposals

Stagnation in lifetime incomes: An overview of trends and potential causes

February 27, 2018
Workers in a factory

The Problem

Lifetime incomes have stagnated significantly since the 1960s, with young workers earning less than the previous generation early in their careers, and failing to ever catch up. These trends coincided with a stagnation of educational attainment for men, as well as rising income disparities among workers with some college experience.

The Proposal

This paper presents policy proposals that aim to boost wage growth for younger workers by: (1) identifying promising labor market data collection practices to ensure that students are taught skills that are both valued in their local labor market and resilient to shifts in demand, and (2) providing targeted tuition subsidies for enrollment in two-year community colleges and technical colleges.


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