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.
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.
The US economy lost a net of 8 million jobs between February 2020 and April 2021. Agreement is growing that people not actively seeking employment (inadequate labor supply) has been playing a major role in the slow recovery, as evidenced by factors including record job openings, the largest wage increases in decades, and other signs […]
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.
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.
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 […]
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.
Batchelder and Kamin argue the United States must raise new revenue in order to reduce high levels of economic disparity, finance much-needed new services and investments, and address the nation's long-term fiscal needs. They present a range of options that would raise tax revenue and increase the progressivity of the federal tax system. Policymakers can pursue a combination of incremental changes to increase revenues through the current tax system along with new tax structures to generate new revenue.
New members replace outgoing Biden-Harris administration appointees and include Atlanta Fed President & CEO Raphael Bostic and former U.S. Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew.