Many Americans are being left behind by today’s modern, global economy, and they are justifiably angry about it. Growing numbers of people feel our economic and political systems are rigged against them. And it’s no wonder why.
State-level Minimum Zoning Mandates (MZMs) allowing landowners to build at a state-guaranteed minimum density, even in municipalities resistant to development, would be an effective means of encouraging denser housing development. These MZMs would improve housing affordability, spread economic opportunity more broadly, and limit the environmental impact of new development.
In this chapter, authors Jason Furman and Phillip Swagel propose two alternative policy options for promoting increased earnings and employment of low-income households: expanding the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) among childless workers, and implementing a wage subsidy for low-income workers that would be administered through employers.
In this chapter, author Robert Lerman argues that a large-scale apprenticeship program could address these challenges, while also yielding substantial additional gains for employers and the U.S. economy. He first reviews the evidence on apprenticeship, which suggests that increasing the availability of apprenticeships would increase youth employment and wages, improve workers’ transitions from school to careers, upgrade those skills that employers most value, broaden access to rewarding careers, increase economic productivity, and contribute to positive returns for employers and workers.
In order to stimulate employment in rural areas, author James P. Ziliak proposes a two-fold strategy of bringing “people to jobs” and “jobs to people,” an approach that combines people-based and place-based policies. The people-based policies include relocation assistance payments for those willing to make a permanent move to a new job, as well as a short- term credit for commuting expenses tied to a new job without residential relocation.
The U.S. economy in recent years has been characterized by slow average productivity growth and increasing productivity dispersion within industries. In this essay, author Chad Syverson discusses research into the potential causes of these patterns and outlines several policy changes that would yield expected productivity and wage benefits under general conditions.
The pursuit of economic opportunity for all Americans is as important to the health of the country’s economy as it is to the strength of its democracy. The promise that hard work and determination will yield economic success is a central American ideal, but it has been called into question as secular economic forces and institutional changes have reshaped the American economy and had an uneven impact on Americans’ ability to prosper.
In this chapter, author Michael R. Strain first discusses the wage-setting process and the conceptual issues that are of critical importance to any empirical investigation of the link between compensation and productivity. He then highlights some recent evidence suggesting that, contrary to the current narrative in some policy circles, the link between productivity and wages is strong.
This proposal recognizes the simultaneous need for more college educated workers and also for a higher level of labor market skill among non-college educated individuals. The authors propose to invest in the upskilling of the American workplace by better leveraging the potential of the community college sector.