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Securing Our Economic Future: Introduction

The United States is currently gripped by deep uncertainty and economic anxiety. At the time of this writing, the United States is six months into the COVID-19 pandemic. More than 190,000 Americans have died from COVID (CDC 2020); more than 13 million Americans remain unemployed (Bureau of Labor Statistics 2020); and tens of thousands of businesses remain closed (Grossman 2020). Meanwhile, protests against racial injustice continue across the country, and in a number of tragic instances, they have been overtaken by violence. Wildfires rage through the northern Pacific states. In Oregon, 40,000 people have been evacuated and more than 1,500 square miles have burned. California has already experienced three of the top four largest wildfires in its history in this year alone. Perhaps more than any time in recent memory, the economic future of our country feels uncertain.

Economic Perspectives on Infrastructure Investment

To determine the appropriate level of infrastructure spending, there is no alternative to aggregating the results of project-by-project cost-benefit analysis. With widespread variation in both the benefits and costs of projects within broad infrastructure asset classes, it is important to recognize that the returns to some additional highway lanes are much higher than others, and […]

Scaling Apprenticeship to Increase Human Capital

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.

A Policymaker’s Guide to Labor Force Participation

This chapter aims to provide policy makers with a useful framework for thinking about the question: “Why are so many people deciding that seeking work isn’t worth it?” After reviewing relevant facts and trends about labor force participation in the United States, we consider plausible explanations for the causes of decline.

Causes, Consequences, and Policy Responses to Market Concentration

Philippon asserts that growth in aggregate measures of market concentration since the early 2000s is largely attributable to the weakening of competition. Lower levels of competition, Philippon argues, are directly due to lax antitrust enforcement and barriers to market entry.

New York Times: How to Get Americans to Love Capitalism Again

American capitalism is at a serious inflection point. Many Americans, including the two of us, are alarmed by enormous levels of inequality and by declining economic mobility. We are concerned that in many cases American markets are no longer the most competitive in the world. And, we worry that our country’s long-term economic strength will slowly deteriorate because of an unsustainable fiscal trajectory that leaves future generations worse off.

Harnessing the Power of Markets to Solve the Climate Problem

Author Gilbert E. Metcalf of Tufts University argues that a carbon tax should be the centerpiece of any portfolio of policies that aim to achieve zero net emissions. However, a carbon tax alone is insufficient to achieve zero net emissions, and argues that regulation, federal support for innovation, and reforming current energy tax incentives and regulatory rulemaking should be part of a comprehensive climate policy agenda.

Climate Policy Enters Four Dimensions

David Keith (Harvard) and John Deutch (MIT) discuss mechanisms to manage climate risks, which they call the climate control mechanisms: emissions reduction, carbon dioxide removal (CDR), adaptation, and solar radiation modification (SRM). 

Aspen Economic Strategy Group Releases New Policy Analyses Examining the US Infrastructure Agenda

Three papers examine how infrastructure investments can promote economic growth and broader prosperity. Washington, DC, July 14, 2021 – The Aspen Economic Strategy Group (AESG) today released a set of three papers on infrastructure and technological innovation and their impact on the post-pandemic economic recovery.  These papers will be included in the group’s annual policy volume, […]