A national debate about the strength and fairness of American capitalism is taking place against a backdrop of vast levels of income and wealth inequality, growing pessimism about the state of economic opportunity and mobility, increased market concentration in many sectors, and a precarious fiscal situation.
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.
Rose argues that highly aggregated measures of concentration across industries, which are used in many of the most provocative studies, cannot be used to draw conclusions about concentration dynamics due to a host of methodological challenges. Instead, industry-level studies are necessary to accurately assess causal relationships.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.