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Articles by Equitable Growth

Weekend reading: Studying the experiences of AANHPI communities in the United States edition

17 days ago

This is a post we publish each Friday with links to articles that touch on economic inequality and growth. The first section is a round-up of what Equitable Growth published this week and the second is relevant and interesting articles we’re highlighting from elsewhere. We won’t be the first to share these articles, but we hope by taking a look back at the whole week, we can put them in context.

Equitable Growth round-up

May is AANHPI Heritage Month in the United States, a period of time to commemorate the achievements and contributions of Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders. Kate Bahn and Carmen Sanchez Cumming look into the intersectional wage divides facing AANHPI women in the U.S. labor market, broadening the research in this area, which often

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Weekend reading: The U.S. anti-austerity tradition edition

24 days ago

This is a post we publish each Friday with links to articles that touch on economic inequality and growth. The first section is a round-up of what Equitable Growth published this week and the second is relevant and interesting articles we’re highlighting from elsewhere. We won’t be the first to share these articles, but we hope by taking a look back at the whole week, we can put them in context.

Equitable Growth round-up

Amid increased government spending to combat the coronavirus and the ensuing recession alongside overblown fears of inflation, some policymakers are pushing for austerity and against additional public investments. But U.S. history shows that anti-austerity policies are proven to bolster and grow the U.S. economy equitably. Nic Johnson, Robert Manduca, and

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Weekend reading: Tax evasion in the United States edition

May 14, 2021

This is a post we publish each Friday with links to articles that touch on economic inequality and growth. The first section is a round-up of what Equitable Growth published this week and the second is relevant and interesting articles we’re highlighting from elsewhere. We won’t be the first to share these articles, but we hope by taking a look back at the whole week, we can put them in context.

Equitable Growth round-up

Tax Day 2021 is Monday, May 17. As many Americans prepare to file their tax returns and await their refunds, Corey Husak writes that some of the wealthiest Americans will engage in complicated tax evasion techniques to avoid paying their fair share—costing the U.S. government up to $700 billion this year, according to Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen. This tax

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Weekend reading: Jobs and unemployment more than a year into the coronavirus recession edition

May 7, 2021

This is a post we publish each Friday with links to articles that touch on economic inequality and growth. The first section is a round-up of what Equitable Growth published this week and the second is relevant and interesting articles we’re highlighting from elsewhere. We won’t be the first to share these articles, but we hope by taking a look back at the whole week, we can put them in context.

Equitable Growth round-up

As the U.S. economy begins to show signs of recovery from the coronavirus recession, it’s important to remember that many Americans are experiencing job displacement, where their prior positions no longer exist. This type of job loss occurs amid shifting economic and business conditions, such as business closures, corporate downsizing, or outsourcing, and is

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Weekend reading: We’ve got the evidence for those big plans edition

April 30, 2021

This is a post we publish each Friday with links to articles that touch on economic inequality and growth. The first section is a round-up of what Equitable Growth published this week and the second is relevant and interesting articles we’re highlighting from elsewhere. We won’t be the first to share these articles, but we hope by taking a look back at the whole week, we can put them in context.

Equitable Growth round-up

As David Mitchell writes, the American Jobs Plan and the American Families Plan, described this week by President Joe Biden in his address to Congress, would make large-scale, and in some cases permanent, investments in the nation’s physical and human infrastructure. These measures would combat racial, income, and wealth inequality, and they would restructure

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Equitable Growth’s second annual academic research report

April 29, 2021

An update on what we’ve learned from our funded academic research and the new questions we seek to answer

The Washington Center for Equitable Growth is a nonprofit research and grantmaking organization dedicated to advancing evidence-backed ideas and policies that promote strong, stable, and broad-based economic growth. For 7 years, our grant program has supported scholarly research at U.S. colleges and universities aimed at deepening our understanding of how inequality affects economic growth and stability.

We place a priority on research that is relevant to policy debates, abetting the development of evidence-based policies. Equitable Growth’s in-house team of more than 40 staff helps bridge the gap between researchers and the policy process, engaging policymakers, as

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Overheating is not a concern for the U.S. economy

April 26, 2021

Critics of President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan and further public investments financed through a combination of tax increases and deficit spending—such as his administration’s proposed American Jobs Plan, at roughly $2 trillion, and the forthcoming American Families Plan—often argue that the U.S. economy will “overheat” if policymakers pump too much support into the U.S. economy too quickly.

Yet plans for further public investments should be judged primarily on the merits of those investments. Arguments that the U.S. economy will overheat ignore the need for additional investments in the economy and rely on the possibility of future policy errors to argue against needed investments today.

This factsheet explains how economists and policymakers

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Weekend reading: Inequities in U.S. taxation and homeownership edition

April 23, 2021

This is a post we publish each Friday with links to articles that touch on economic inequality and growth. The first section is a round-up of what Equitable Growth published this week and the second is relevant and interesting articles we’re highlighting from elsewhere. We won’t be the first to share these articles, but we hope by taking a look back at the whole week, we can put them in context.

Equitable Growth round-up

Shaun Harrison delves into the many ways the nation’s local, state, and federal tax systems discriminate on the basis of race and exacerbate racial income and wealth disparities. Economists Carlos Fernando Avenancio-León at Indiana University Bloomington, an Equitable Growth grantee, and Troup Howard at the University of California, Berkeley find that for

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Factsheet: What does the research say about the economics of paid leave?

April 22, 2021

The United States is the only advanced economy in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development that does not guarantee any paid family and medical leave to its entire workforce. Though 10 U.S. states and localities have currently implemented or have begun to implement programs for their residents, there is no nationwide paid family and medical leave plan that covers all workers across the country regardless of where they live or work.

As a result of this policy choice, U.S. workers, their families, and their employers often lack the resources and support they need during a family transition or health shock, including the arrival of a new child, an aging parent, a diagnosis of an illness, and personal injuries. When paid leave from work to deal with and adjust to

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Factsheet: What does the research say about care infrastructure?

April 15, 2021

The United States is emerging from the greatest health, economic, and caregiving crises in a century. Many policymakers are looking for ways to jumpstart the economy and, recognizing the tie between infrastructure and economic growth, have turned their sights on investments in U.S. physical and care infrastructure.

In March 2021, President Joe Biden proposed the American Jobs Plan and American Families Plan, a multipart proposal that would boost federal spending on the nation’s care and physical infrastructure. (See textbox for details.) Investments of this kind could help the U.S. economy recover from the coronavirus recession and lead toward sustainable, broad-based economic growth in the future.

Care infrastructure in the American Jobs Plan and American

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Investing in an equitable future

April 14, 2021

The United States faces four converging and overlapping challenges—a public health crisis and resulting economic one, a reckoning over structural racism, and the worsening effects of climate change—all of which require substantially greater public investment to overcome. Indeed, a growing body of research finds that declining public investment is damaging to U.S. communities and the overall strength of the economy because older infrastructure depreciates, and economic and social challenges go unaddressed.

The debate over the size and reach of recently proposed investments to restore and transform the U.S. economy is shaped, in part, by the nation’s weak and unequal recovery from the Great Recession more than a decade ago. There is ample evidence that the inadequacy of the

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Executive action to improve U.S. economic measurements

March 3, 2021

Relevant federal offices and agencies

White House Office of Management and BudgetInteragency Working Group on Equitable DataBureau of Economic Analysis, Department of CommerceOffice of Tax Policy, Department of the TreasuryRelevant laws and Executive orders

Internal Revenue Code, Section 5103(j)Executive Order On Advancing Racial Equity and Support for Underserved Communities Through the Federal Government (Executive Order #13985)
Overview

The rise of economic inequality over the past four decades has changed the U.S. economy in fundamental ways. Unfortunately, the data that our federal statistical agencies produce to measure the nation’s economic progress has not kept up with these structural changes. At the same time, historical racial economic disparities

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Executive action to combat wage theft against U.S. workers

February 24, 2021

Relevant federal offices and agencies:

Wage and Hour Division of the U.S. Department of LaborRelevant laws:

The Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 (29 U.S.C. § 203)
Overview

Wage theft against U.S. workers exacerbates the long-run problem of low and stagnant wages. When companies commit wage theft, they impoverish families and deprive workers of the just compensation for their hard work, robbing workers of the value they contribute to economic growth and exacerbating economic inequality.

The odds that a low-wage worker will be illegally paid less than the minimum wage ranges from 10 percent to 22 percent, depending on overall economic conditions, and each violation costs that worker an average of 20 percent of the pay they deserve. Women, people of color,

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Executive action to reform the cost-benefit analysis of U.S. tax regulations

February 24, 2021

Relevant federal offices and agencies:

Office of Information and Regulatory AffairsU.S. Department of the TreasuryRelevant laws and guidance:

Executive Order 12866Memorandum of Agreement, Review of Tax Regulations under Executive Order 12866
Overview

Beginning in April 2018, the federal government required a cost-benefit analysis for many more tax regulations than it had in the past. More than 2 years later, it is clear this experiment in cost-benefit analysis of tax regulations failed. The cost-benefit analyses released alongside regulations implementing the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 provide little information relevant to assessing the merits of those regulations. Moreover, while tax experts criticize many of the TCJA regulations for providing unmerited

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Executive action to coordinate antitrust and competition policies across the federal government

February 19, 2021

Relevant federal offices and agencies:

National Economic CouncilCouncil of Economic AdvisersOffice of Information and Regulatory Affairs, or OIRAOffice of Management and BudgetDomestic Policy Council
Overview

The U.S. economy is plagued by a problem of excessive market power, stemming, in part, from years of weakened competition and antitrust enforcement. Growing market power disrupts the operation of free and fair markets, and harms consumers, businesses, and workers. It exacerbates inequality and compounds the harms of structural racism.

But it is not too late to change course. A bold vision—one that relies on Congress reengaging on competition policy, the antitrust enforcement agencies adopting an affirmative agenda to strengthen deterrence, and the

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Executive action to coordinate federal countercyclical regulatory policy

February 17, 2021

This factsheet has been adapted from Yair Listokin’s Vision 2020 essay and his 2019 book, Law and Macroeconomics: Legal Remedies to Recessions.

Relevant federal offices and agencies:
• National Economic CouncilRelevant laws:• Executive Order 12835, Code of Federal Regulations

Overview

Traditional macroeconomic tools—fiscal policy from the U.S. Congress and monetary policy from the Federal Reserve—are critical but not sufficient responses to the current coronavirus recession. To round out the federal government’s actions to deal with the ongoing economic downturn, executive agencies should consider how their regulatory power can be aggressively leveraged to provide a much-needed, countercyclical boost to the ailing U.S. economy. Regulatory actions that encourage

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ASSA Round-up: Day 3

January 6, 2021

Today was the final day of the three-day annual meeting of the Allied Social Science Associations, which is organized by the American Economic Association. The conference, held virtually this year, featured hundreds of sessions covering a wide variety of economics and other social science research. We’ve already posted the abstracts of some of the papers that caught the attention of Equitable Growth Staff during Day One and Day Two, as well as links to the sessions at which they were presented. Following are additional papers from the first two days as well as some from today’s final slate of sessions.

“The Effect of Unfair Chances and Gender Discrimination on Labor Supply”

Nickolas Gagnon, Vienna University of Economics and Business, Kristof Bosmans, Maastricht University,

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ASSA Round-up: Day 2

January 5, 2021

Today was the second day of the three-day annual meeting of the Allied Social Science Associations, which is organized by the American Economic Association. The conference, held virtually this year, features hundreds of sessions covering a wide variety of economics and other social science research. Below are some of the papers and presentations that caught the attention of Equitable Growth staff during the second day (as well as more from yesterday). Included below are the abstracts from those papers as well as links to the sessions at which they were presented. Check out the highlights from yesterday as well, and come back after tomorrow’s program for more highlights.

“Assessing the Impacts of Paid Family and Medical Leave Laws on Employers: Insights from Surveys of

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ASSA Round-up: Day 1

January 3, 2021

Today was the first day of the three-day annual meeting of the Allied Social Science Associations, which is organized by the American Economic Association. The conference, held virtually this year, features hundreds of sessions covering a wide variety of economics and other social science research. Below are some of the papers and presentations that caught the attention of Equitable Growth staff during the first day. Included below are the abstracts from those papers as well as links to the sessions at which they were presented. Come back tomorrow evening for more highlights.

“Sharing is Caring: Inequality, Transfers and Growth in the National Accounts”

Marina Gindelsky, U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis

Abstract: Using the updated Distribution of Personal Income by the

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Lisa Cook, Hilary Hoynes, and Atif Mian join Equitable Growth Steering Committee

October 28, 2020

Equitable Growth welcomes three new Steering Committee members.The Washington Center for Equitable Growth announced today that three distinguished economists—Lisa D. Cook of Michigan State University, Hilary Hoynes of the University of California, Berkeley, and Atif Mian of Princeton University—have joined its Steering Committee to help guide the organization’s efforts to study economic inequality and its impact on economic growth and stability, and to build a new narrative about what makes the U.S. economy grow. As Steering Committee members, they will advise on the organization’s growing academic grants program and help strengthen connections to (and among) our academic community, especially in supporting the next generation of scholars.

“We’re thrilled that this trio of

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Equitable Growth’s Amanda Fischer joins others in comment letter to antirust regulator on harmful U.S. banking consolidation

October 27, 2020

A safe and strong banking sector is more important than ever as the coronavirus recession continues to strain individuals and families in the United States. In response to the U.S. Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division’s request for comments on its Bank Merger Review Guidelines, Washington Center for Equitable Growth Policy Director Amanda Fischer, along with Graham Steele, senior fellow at the American Economic Liberties Project and director of the Corporations and Society Initiative at Stanford University Graduate School of Business, and Sandeep Vaheesan, legal director at the Open Markets Institute, have submitted a comment letter to the Department. In the letter, Fischer, Steele, and Vaheesan argue that the Antitrust Division, along with banking regulators, must reverse

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Factsheet: New study shows that emergency paid sick leave reduced COVID-19 infections in the United States

October 26, 2020

Paid sick leave is an important public health tool in the fight against COVID-19.The United States is one of three high-income nations that does not guarantee paid sick leave for workers. As of March 2020, 25 percent of private-sector workers had no access to paid sick leave. This number is higher for part-time workers (55 percent) and low-income workers (69 percent).

Without access to paid sick leave, employees who are financially constrained may show up to work sick. When that happens, they risk passing their illness to others and impose costs on employers through lost productivity. Several studies demonstrate how paid sick leave guarantees at the state and local level can benefit public health and improve worker productivity, with one recent study finding an 11 percent

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Revamping U.S. small business rescue programs amid the coronavirus recession

August 27, 2020

Small firms need to be rescued with the same speed as large firms.The coronavirus economic rescue programs enacted by Congress this past spring failed to prevent layoffs and firm bankruptcies among the smallest employers in the United States. Existing resources, such as the Paycheck Protection Program, helped firms that needed a marginal boost to get through the worst of the shutdowns caused by the coronavirus pandemic. But the hardest-hit areas or businesses did not receive the help they needed because of the structure, timing, and delivery mechanisms of rescue aid.

What’s worse is that little data are available to evaluate whether rescue efforts have been equitable for Black and Latinx small business owners. Meanwhile, policy interventions through the Federal Reserve have

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Combating the market power of U.S. corporations over workers and consumers

August 26, 2020

U.S. antitrust laws, as interpreted and enforced today, are inadequate to confront and deter growing market power in the U.S. economy.Recent economic research establishes that the United States suffers from a growing market power problem. Market power, often referred to as monopoly power, means consumers pay more for the goods and services they need. Workers earn less. Small businesses have a harder time succeeding. Innovation slows. Market power exacerbates wealth inequality, too, because those who benefit from monopolies—the high-paid executives and stockholders of corporations—are wealthier, on average, than the consumers, workers, and small businesses who bear monopolies’ costs.

U.S. antitrust laws, as interpreted and enforced today, are inadequate to confront and deter

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Taxing wealth and investment income in the United States

August 25, 2020

The federal income tax does a poor job of taxing income derived from wealth. The root cause of this problem is that the tax code allows taxpayers to defer (without interest) paying tax on investment gains until assets are sold. Moreover, even when assets are sold, the investment gains are taxed at preferential rates. The top federal tax rate on wages and salaries is 37 percent while the top federal tax rate on investment gains is only 20 percent. Finally, if taxpayers can avoid selling assets until they die, the investment gains are wiped out for income tax purposes. The result is a two-tier tax system, where middle-class families pay full freight on their wages while wealthy, disproportionately White families pay reduced rates on their investment income.

Lawmakers in

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Achieving universal paid family and medical leave in the United States

August 24, 2020

Only 18 percent of private-sector workers have paid family leave and 44 percent have paid personal leave through their jobs.The coronavirus pandemic and the recession it caused lay bare a familiar challenge for U.S. workers—balancing family and job responsibilities without access to paid family and medical leave. When a new child arrives, loved ones get sick, or a serious illness strikes, people need time away from work. But even at these times of joy or stress, bills and expenses will keep coming, and families must find a way to cope with financial uncertainty. While some workers can count on their employers to provide them with paid leave, it is rare: Only 18 percent of private-sector workers have paid family leave and 44 percent have paid personal leave through their jobs.

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Building worker power in the United States

August 20, 2020

Union and AARP members rally in New York City on the city hall steps, March 2016.Wages have stagnated for most U.S. workers over the past 40 years while the labor market institutions that promote worker power have faltered in a pro-business and anti-worker policy environment. These two phenomena are two sides of the same coin—productivity decoupled from wage growth results in employers more able to exploit workers to produce more per hour worked while undercutting wages.

Labor market policies, such as minimum wages or premium pay amid the coronavirus pandemic, are not keeping up. Meanwhile, labor laws meant to protect collective action and unionization efforts, guarantee freedom from discrimination, and promote workplace safety are not well-enforced. Furthermore, trends such as

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Improving automatic stabilizers to combat U.S. economic recessions

August 19, 2020

Making recession aid more automatic will allow relief to start quickly, making the recession less severe.The new coronavirus pandemic and the recession it caused show that the typical set of economic policies used to fight recessions in the United States should be designed to automatically turn on and off in a downturn. It is impossible to predict when the economy will fall into a recession and, on the other end, when it will recover. Making recession aid more automatic will allow relief to start quickly, making the recession less severe. It also would commit Congress to stay the course until objective economic criteria are met and the recovery is well on its way.

Without this commitment, aid for the most vulnerable can be caught up in partisan politics and deal-making

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Addressing the U.S. racial economic mobility and inequality divides

August 18, 2020

Intentional policy action is necessary to correct the systemic and institutional barriers facing Black Americans.Economic mobility in the United States has been declining over the past half-century at the same time that economic inequality has been rising. Research by Harvard University economist and former Equitable Growth Steering Committee member Raj Chetty and his co-authors shows that rates of absolute intergenerational mobility have precipitously declined in the country during the latter part of the 20th century. People born in 1940 had about a 90 percent chance of growing up to earn more than their parents, but people born in 1980 had only about a 50 percent chance. Chetty also finds that Black Americans are more likely to experience downward mobility than White Americans,

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Reforming Unemployment Insurance across the United States

August 17, 2020

Unemployed men wait in line to file Social Security benefit claims, circa January 1938.Longstanding problems with the Unemployment Insurance system in the United States are immediately evident amid the coronavirus recession and echo the problems experienced during the Great Recession more than a decade ago. These include:

Administrative failures at state Unemployment Insurance agenciesLack of a permanent Unemployment Insurance program that includes the self-employed and others traditionally left out of the programLow benefit levels that require emergency top-offsThe temporary nature of fixes when recessions hit, which, in turn, requires renegotiations just months after political compromises are reachedThe current disarray in the Unemployment Insurance system is neither a

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