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One year later: Recession Ready and the coronavirus recession

4 days ago

Proposals put forth can help support communities, stabilize the economy amid coronavirus recession
One year ago, long before the risks of the new coronavirus and the ensuing recession enveloped our nation, the Washington Center for Equitable Growth, in partnership with The Hamilton Project, released Recession Ready: Fiscal Policies to Stabilize the American Economy. This book advanced a set of evidence-based policy ideas for shortening and easing the adverse consequences of the next recession with the use of triggers that would increase aid to households and states during an economic crisis and only recede when economic conditions warranted. Experts from academia and the policy community proposed six big ideas, including two new initiatives and four improvements to existing

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Coronavirus recession: How to get the U.S. economy back on track

10 days ago

Equitable Growth launches new lecture series with inaugural event featuring Claudia Sahm on the economic crisis
Amid our nation’s health and economic crises, government officials must do more. They must use research and evidence-based polices to support people today and strengthen our economic future. The Washington Center for Equitable Growth is dedicated to promoting research that elevates effective and inclusive policies. Our new lecture series will highlight the latest economic research in order to provide policymakers with evidence-backed solutions to advance sustainable, broad-based growth.
Our first lecture in the series on May 19 was online. Claudia Sahm, who joined Equitable Growth 6 months ago as the director of macroeconomic policy, inaugurated this lecture series.

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The latest research on the public health and economic costs and benefits of containing the coronavirus pandemic

April 6, 2020

Scientists around the world are scrambling to find and test anti-viral drugs and a new vaccine for COVID-19, the disease behind the coronavirus pandemic now sweeping the planet. Economists and other social scientists are equally busy attempting to unravel the economic and social consequences of the new coronavirus pandemic. These scholars are looking at a range of issues. Several examine the public health and economic costs and benefits, and the overall efficacy of social distancing. Others explore the links between the epidemiology of the disease and its economic consequences. And others are looking at U.S. historical lessons about the economic impact of the 1918 “Spanish flu” and the political impact of other recent public health scares.
We’ve selected 10 recently published

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Paid caregiving leave: A missing piece in the U.S. social insurance system

March 25, 2020

Amid the ongoing public health crisis from the COVID-19 pandemic, many individuals can expect to be called away from work to care for a sick loved one or a child out of school. To support these workers during the coronavirus recession and beyond, paid family and medical leave is receiving increased attention in the United States by policymakers, employers, media, and the public.

Download FilePaid caregiving leave: A missing piece in the U.S. social insurance system

Family leave encompasses several distinct types of leave, including leave to care for a newborn or newly adopted child (generally referred to as parental leave), as well as leave to care for a family member with a serious illness, whether that be a spouse, domestic

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What does the research say about paid family and medical leave policy design options in the United States?

March 25, 2020

Policymakers have failed to provide Americans with guaranteed paid family and medical leave at the federal level. As a result, working families across the United States must strike a delicate balance: attending to their own medical needs and caregiving responsibilities at the same time as they keep the economy humming through their activities in the workplace. When a new child joins a family, when a serious personal medical need strikes, or when a loved one has an acute need for care, workers need time off from work. To keep the lights on and a roof overhead, they need pay during this time. And when a public health crisis strikes, this need for paid time off for one’s personal health needs and caretaking responsibilities is amplified.

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What is paid medical leave and how does it support U.S. workers’ health and the U.S. economy?

March 25, 2020

When U.S. workers fall ill, it can be challenging to balance medical needs and job responsibilities. For short sicknesses, such as a cold or the flu, several days of rest at home might be all that is needed. With more significant illnesses or injuries, however, it may be impossible for a worker to return to the job for several weeks or even months. These workers face a significant dilemma. How can they take time to focus on their health without facing financial hardship? Even in times of illness, bills and expenses continue to add up. For these individuals, paid sick days are not enough to cover needed time off. Paid medical leave provides partial wage replacement to workers who need recovery periods longer than a few days.

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Economic experts propose policy responses to coronavirus recession

March 24, 2020

University of California, Berkeley economists Emmanuel Saez and Gabriel Zucman, in cooperation with Economics for Inclusive Prosperity, are hosting an invitation-only online conference today to discuss economic policy responses to the coronavirus recession.
In the days following the conference, Equitable Growth, in cooperation with UC Berkeley, Economics for Inclusive Prosperity, and the presenters, will publish a series of columns summarizing the proposals and discussion.
The discussion will include brief comments from eight economic policy experts, beginning with opening thoughts from Olivier Blanchard, senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics and the former chief economist of the International Monetary Fund, followed by:
Arindrajit Dube,

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In joint letter, Equitable Growth asks Congress to ‘stanch economic bleeding’ in COVID-19 legislative package

March 19, 2020

Heather Boushey, the president and CEO of the Washington Center for Equitable Growth, along with the leaders of three other Washington-based economic think tanks—the Center for American Progress, the Economic Policy Institute, and the Roosevelt Institute—told U.S. congressional leaders in a letter today that legislation to “stanch the economic bleeding” caused by public health actions to contain the COVID-19 virus must include not only direct cash payments but also substantial increases in programs for families most directly affected as well as other steps to support people, businesses, and the overall U.S. economy.
With economic activity across the nation shutting down, the four think tank leaders said that workers, families, and small businesses will continue to suffer significant

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Weekend reading: Working to close racial gaps in economics, the workforce, and education edition

February 28, 2020

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
We need more black women economists in the United States, argues Claudia Sahm in her most recent column covering the Federal Reserve. Not only is there just one black woman economist working at the Federal Reserve Board, but black women also make up a miniscule percentage of undergraduate economics students and recent Ph.D.s. This lack of diversity in the profession

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Weekend reading: Vision 2020 release edition

February 21, 2020

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
Equitable Growth this week released a book of 21 essays with innovative, evidence-based, and concrete ideas to shape the policy debate throughout this election cycle and for the next administration. The book, titled Vision 2020: Evidence for a Stronger Economy, covers a wide range of economic issues—including taxes, macroeconomics, racial and environmental justice,

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Equitable Growth introduces book of innovative policy ideas for 2020

February 18, 2020

The Washington Center for Equitable Growth today is publishing a collection of 21 essays, with innovative, evidence-based, and concrete policy ideas to shape the 2020 policy debate. The essays, which will be introduced at an event in Washington, DC, cover a wide range of economic issues, including taxes, macroeconomics, racial and environmental justice, labor market reform, and antitrust policies.
The new book, Vision 2020: Evidence for a Stronger Economy, builds on last fall’s Equitable Growth conference of the same name and features leading voices from academia tackling the most pressing economic issues facing Americans today.
Recent transformative shifts in economic thinking illustrate how inequality obstructs, subverts, and distorts broadly shared economic growth. Undoing the

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Weekend reading: Addressing racial gaps across the economy edition

February 14, 2020

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
A new Equitable Growth working paper looks at job displacement—a form of job loss reflecting economic structural changes rather than individual job performance—and its disparities by race over the past 40 years in the United States. The study, Kate Bahn explains in a blog post on the research, is the first academic study of black-white disparities in displacement

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Weekend reading: State of the Union’s inequality edition

February 7, 2020

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
Ahead of this week’s State of the Union address by President Donald Trump, Equitable Growth released a series of graphs highlighting the way inequality restricts, subverts, and obstructs widespread economic growth in the United States—and how big-picture numbers, such as Gross Domestic Product or the unemployment rate, hide how this inequality is actually affecting

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The State of the Union speech should not ignore inequality that obstructs, subverts, and distorts the U.S. economy

February 4, 2020

When President Donald Trump delivers his State of the Union address to Congress tonight, he will undoubtedly devote a significant portion of his speech to the U.S. economy. He will tout the low unemployment rate, the continuing growth of Gross Domestic Product and jobs, and rising stock markets.
Some of these metrics, such as jobs and unemployment, are incomplete measures for how average Americans are faring in the economy, given that wages are not growing commensurate with a tight labor market. GDP and the stock market are not at all useful. Since the 1980s, economic growth in the United States has not been broadly shared, with nearly all of the additional income going to the wealthy. And stock ownership is skewed significantly to those at the top of the income and wealth ladders.

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Weekend reading: Studying the Fed edition

January 31, 2020

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
The most important economic decision taken this week may have been made not by Congress or the executive branch, but by the Federal Reserve’s Federal Open Market Committee, argues our Director of Macroeconomic Policy Claudia Sahm in the debut of her new column. The connection between the Fed and its decisions and U.S. workers and their wages is stronger than you

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Examining the links between rising wage inequality and the decline of unions

May 31, 2018

The correlation between unions and economic inequality is well-documented, but has the decline of unions led to increasing inequality, or can this be explained by skill-biased technical change? As Equitable Growth Economist Kate Bahn writes in a new column for Slate, new research published via the National Bureau of Economic Research finds that “while education and skills training matter to worker productivity, they’re not sufficient to ensure economic security without workers’ power to bargain for better wages too.”
Princeton University economists Henry Farber, Daniel Herbst, and Ilyana Kuziemko, and Columbia University economist and Equitable Growth grantee Suresh Naidu used survey data compiled from a variety of historical sources to explore rising and declining union density

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Event recap: Research on Tap—Gender wage inequality

May 4, 2018

Last week, the Washington Center for Equitable Growth hosted the third installment of its “Research on Tap” conversation series. As the name implies, “Research on Tap” is a space for drinks, dialog, and debate. The event followed the release of Equitable Growth’s newest report, “Gender wage inequality: What we know and how we can fix it,” by Senior Fellow at the National Academy of Social Insurance, or NASI, Sarah Jane Glynn. The program brought together leading academics, policymakers, and advocates for an informal discussion about the causes of gender pay inequality; the economic consequences for individuals, families, and the broader U.S. economy; and the range of potential policy solutions.
Special guest Congresswoman Lois Frankel (D-FL-21), co-chair of the Bipartisan

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Equitable Growth’s Jobs Day Graphs: April 2018 Report Edition

May 4, 2018

Earlier this morning, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics released new data on the U.S. labor market during the month of April. Below are five graphs compiled by Equitable Growth staff highlighting important trends in the data.

1.
The prime employment rate held steady at 79.2 percent in April. This statistic is a good predictor of wage growth, so look to it when thinking about when wages will pick up.

2.
Looking at multiple measures of wage growth shows that it’s accelerating, but unlikely to shoot upward anytime soon.

3.
The share of the unemployed who’ve been out of work for more than 15 weeks ticked up in April, but the trend over the recovery is down. Those unemployed for 27 weeks or more were 22.8 percent of the unemployed in April 2017. They

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New technologies and the labor market

May 1, 2018

Working Paper 2018-05: Enghin Atalay, Phai Phongthiengtham, Sebastian Sotelo, Daniel Tannenbaum

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Authors:
Enghin Atalay, Assistant Professor of Economics, University of Wisconsin – MadisonPhai Phongthiengtham, Ph.D. student in Economics, University of Wisconsin – MadisonSebastian Sotelo, Assistant Professor of Economics, University of Michigan – Ann ArborDaniel Tannenbaum, Assistant Professor of Economics, University of Nebraska – Lincoln
Abstract:
Using newspaper job ad text from 1960 to 2000, we measure job tasks and the adoption of individual information and communication technologies (ICTs). Most new technologies are associated with an increase in

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Inequality of educational opportunity? Schools as mediators of the intergenerational transmission of income

April 23, 2018

Working Paper 2018-04: Jesse Rothstein

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Authors:
Jesse Rothstein, Professor of Public Policy and Economics, University of California, Berkeley
Abstract:
Chetty et al. (2014b) show that children from low-income families achieve higher adult incomes, relative to those from higher income families, in some commuting zones (CZs) than in others. I investigate whether children’s educational outcomes help to explain the between-CZ differences. I find little evidence that the quality of schools is a key mechanism driving variation in intergenerational mobility. While CZs with stronger intergenerational income transmission have somewhat stronger transmission of

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Estimating the marginal propensity to consume using the distributions of income, consumption, and wealth

April 19, 2018

Working Paper 2018-04: Jonathan Fisher, David Johnson, Jonathan Latner, Timothy Smeeding, Jeffrey Thompson

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Authors:
Jonathan Fisher, Research Scholar, Stanford UniveristyDavid Johnson, Director, Panel Study of Income Dynamics, University of MichiganJonathan Latner, Postdoctoral Research Associate, University of BambergTimothy Smeeding, Lee Rainwater Distinguished Professor of Public Affairs and Economics, University of Wisconsin-MadisonJeffrey Thompson, Principal Economist, Microeconomic Surveys Section, Federal Reserve Board of Governors
Abstract:
Recent studies of economic inequality almost always separately examine income inequality, consumption and

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The evolution of charter school quality

April 10, 2018

Working Paper 2018-04: Patrick Baude, Marcus Casey, Eric Hanushek, Greg Phelan, Steven Rivkin

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Authors:
Patrick L. Baude, Clinical Assistant Professor, University of Illinois at ChicagoMarcus Casey, Assistant Professor, University of Illinois at ChicagoEric A. Hanushek, Paul and Jean Hanna Senior Fellow, Stanford UniversityGreg Phelan, PhD Student, University of Texas at DallasSteven G. Rivkin, Professor of Economics, University of Illinois at Chicago
Abstract:
This work was done in conjunction with the Texas Schools Project at the University of Texas at Dallas. Ross Cole provided superb research assistance. The conclusions of this research do not necessarily

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Motherhood penalties in the U.S., 1986-2014

March 13, 2018

Working Paper 2018-03: Eunjung Jee, Joya Misra, Marta Murray-Close

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Authors:
Eunjung Jee, PhD Candidate, University of Massachusetts, AmherstJoya Misra, Professor of Sociology, University of Massachusetts, AmherstMarta Murray-Close, Research Economist, U.S. Census Bureau
Abstract:
Previous research has found that mothers earn less than childless women; this parenthood effect helps explain gender inequality as well. Although U.S. women’s educational levels and engagement in the labor market have changed over the last several decades, most studies do not analyze variation in the motherhood penalty over time. We know surprisingly little about how the labormarket

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Equitable Growth’s Jobs Day Graphs: February 2018 Report Edition

March 9, 2018

Earlier this morning, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics released new data on the U.S. labor market during the month of February. Below are five graphs compiled by Equitable Growth staff highlighting important trends in the data.

1.
The prime employment rate hit a new high for this expansion at 79.3 percent. However, that’s still below levels seen before the 2007-2009 Great Recession and the 2001 recession.

a

2.
After a big spike last month, the black unemployment rate fell to 6.8 percent in February, near it’s all-time low. But it’s still close to twice as high as the white unemployment rate.

3.
Wage growth for all workers fell back to Earth in February to 2.6 percent after a jump to 2.9% in the previous report. Nominal wage growth remains tepid.

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Inequality and aggregate demand

February 19, 2018

Working Paper 2018-02: Adrien Auclert & Matthew Rognlie

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Authors:
Adrien Auclert, Assistant Professor of Economics, Stanford UniversityMatthew Rognlie, Assistant Professor of Economics, Northwestern University
Abstract:
We explore the transmission mechanism of income inequality to output. In the short run, higher inequality reduces output because marginal propensities to consume are negatively correlated with incomes, but this effect is quantitatively small in the data and in our model. In the long run, the output effects of income inequality are small if inequality is caused by rising dispersion in individual fixed effects, but can be large if it is

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Kaldor and Piketty’s facts: The rise of monopoly power in the United States

February 12, 2018

Working Paper 2018-02: Gauti Eggertsson, Jacob Robbins, Ella Getz Wold

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Authors:
Gauti Eggertsson, Professor of Economics, Brown UniversityJacob A. Robbins, Ph.D. Candidate, Brown UniversityElla Getz Wold, Ph.D. Candidate, Brown University
Abstract:
The macroeconomic data of the last thirty years has overturned at least two of Kaldor’s famous stylized growth facts: constant interest rates, and a constant labor share. At the same time, the research of Piketty and others has introduced several new and surprising facts: an increase in the financial wealth-to-output ratio in the US, an increase in measured Tobin’s Q, and a divergence between the marginal

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Equitable Growth’s Jobs Day Graphs: January 2018 Report Edition

February 2, 2018

Earlier this morning, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics released new data on the U.S. labor market during the month of January. Below are five graphs compiled by Equitable Growth staff highlighting important trends in the data.

1.
Prime employment has leveled off at about 79%, a high for the recovery but lower than rates before the recession.

a

2.
After falling to an all-time low in December, African-American unemployment ticked up sharply in January.

3.
Nominal wage growth ticked up in January while inflation fell slightly in December.

4.
Employment was up sharply in the Education, Leisure and Hospitality, and Construction industries.

5.
After reaching highs for the recovery late last year, fewer workers are now entering employment from

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Sources of displaced workers’ long-term earnings losses

February 1, 2018

Working Paper 2018-02: Marta Lachowska, Alexandre Mas, Stephen Woodbury

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Authors:
Marta Lachowska, Senior Economist, W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment ResearchAlexandre Mas, Professor of Economics and Public Affairs, Princeton UniversityStephen A. Woodbury, Professor of Economics, Michigan State University
Abstract:
We estimate the earnings losses of a cohort of workers displaced during the Great Recession and decompose those long-term losses into components attributable to fewer work hours and to reduced hourly wage rates. We also examine the extent to which the reduced earnings, work hours, and wages of these displaced workers can be attributed to

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Equitable Growth’s Jobs Day Graphs: December 2017 Report Edition

January 5, 2018

Earlier this morning, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics released new data on the U.S. labor market during the month of December. Below are five graphs compiled by Equitable Growth staff highlighting important trends in the data.

1.
The prime employment rate hit a new high for the recovery as it edged above 79 percent. Yet it still hasn’t hit levels seen more than 10 years ago.

a

2.
The unemployment rate for black workers hit an all-time low in December at 6.8 percent. Racial inequities in the labor market are still large, but a tight labor maker is reducing some of them.

3.
Nominal wage growth in December once again remained stable. Seeing a clear acceleration in wage growth remains difficult in these data.

4.
The share of unemployed workers who

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Measuring population estimates of housing insecurity in the United States: A comprehensive approach

December 19, 2017

Working Paper 2017-12: Robynn Cox, Seva Rodnyansky, Benjamin Henwood, Suzanne Wenzel

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Authors:
Robynn Cox, Assistant Professor, University of Southern CaliforniaSeva Rodnyansky, PhD Candidate, University of Southern CaliforniaBenjamin Henwood, Assistant Professor, University of Southern CaliforniaSuzanne Wenzel, Professor, University of Southern California
Abstract:
This paper develops a simple comprehensive housing security scale based on a seven dimension definition of housing security set forth by Cox et al. (2017). We compare our scale to other common measures of housing insecurity and find that failing to use a comprehensive, multidimensional

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