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The Link Between Wages and Productivity Is Strong

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.

Expanding Economic Opportunity for More Americans

Over the course of the past year, the Aspen Economic Strategy Group collected policy ideas to address the barriers to broad-based economic opportunity and identified concrete proposals with bipartisan appeal. These proposals are presented here.

The Economics of Medicare for All

Garthwaite argues that the current public debate about Medicare For All fails to take into account the likely consequences that such a large change to the health-care system would bring about. For example, if such a system adopted the existing Medicare price schedule, the average quality of health services would likely decline.

The Faltering Escalator of Urban Opportunity

Since 1980, college-educated workers have been steadily moving into affluent cities while non-college workers have been moving out.  At the core of understanding why non-college workers (defined by author David Autor as workers without a bachelor's degree) are no longer flocking to the cities is the question of push versus pull.

Is the Decline of the Middle Class Greatly Exaggerated?

Professor Bruce Sacerdote of Dartmouth College asserts that claims about a vanishing middle class are not well-founded. The real challenges, he argues, are the rapidly changing nature of work and the skills demanded in the labor market; the unequal distribution of income growth in the United States in which median income and consumption are growing less quickly than the economy as a whole; and the deterioration of happiness and mental health indicators.

14 Facts about US Investments in Infrastructure and R&D

Bipartisan support in Congress is emerging for new strategic investments in science and technology, in addition to a trillion-dollar infrastructure deal. These proposals reflect an emerging consensus that large-scale government investments are necessary to support the US economy’s transition to sustainable energy sources, address underlying sources of domestic inequality, and promote American economic competitiveness.  In […]

Economic Strategy for Higher Wages and Expanded Labor Participation

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.

The Challenges of Leveraging Online Education for Economically Vulnerable Mid-Career Americans

This chapter lays out some of the central questions policymakers should ask when considering plans to leverage online education for economically vulnerable mid-career Americans, as well as the state of the evidence surrounding those questions. In short, existing research provides little clear evidence of successful models of online education for academically weaker students, suggesting that policymakers should proceed with caution.

Maintaining the Strength of American Capitalism

The essays contained in this volume seek to clarify the lines of debate on some of the greatest economic policy challenges of our time and present evidence- based analysis on how to address them. It examines the hypothesis that growing market concentration is inhibiting a dynamic and competitive economy.