Issue Brief posted May 7, 2015
Can Changing Your Address Change Your Fortune?
Two economic research papers published this month show that where children live can have an impact on their prospects for success later in life. Parents already know that—and it is why houses in good neighborhoods often cost three or four times as much as houses in bad neighborhoods.
The new studies have garnered outsized attention, but the results are neither as…
Backgrounder posted March 11, 2015
Stagnant Wages: Fact or Fiction?
Recent data show that wages have been growing recently at rates comparable to their long-term trends. Measuring average wages accurately is more difficult than it sounds, so this paper looks at six metrics of wage and compensation to present a complete picture.
Since the beginning of 2013, wages have grown about 0.9 percent per year. Since 2006 (and thus including the…
Issue Brief posted February 24, 2015
Who Is Working Less?
Labor force participation in the past few years has been lower than at any time since the 1970s. Heritage Foundation research using Current Population Survey (CPS) data finds that labor force participation decreased more among low-income households than among high-income households. Our finding contradicts results found by Stanford University economist Robert Hall using a…
Backgrounder posted December 30, 2014
Accurate Budget Scores Require Dynamic Analysis
As the new Congress considers changes to the Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT) and Congressional Budget Office (CBO), it should promote improvement in the methods used for evaluating macroeconomic policy. Currently, the JCT and the CBO often use “static” scoring methods, which make very strong assumptions about equilibrium responses to policy changes, often assuming no…
Backgrounder posted September 12, 2014
Understanding Thomas Piketty and His Critics
Thomas Piketty’s Capital in the Twenty-First Century is a treatise on how wealth inequality evolves in capitalistic economies. It is the most talked-about and most critiqued economics book of 2014 because Piketty’s timing was perfect: He released the English edition when income inequality was being actively debated in the United States. President Barack Obama brought…
Backgrounder posted August 7, 2014
The Export-Import Bank: What the Scholarship Says
Much of the published support for the Export-Import Bank of the United States (Ex-Im Bank) is based on inaccurate views of the function of the bank or on mischaracterizations of the economics of providing export subsidies, which is the bank’s actual function. Export subsidies were extensively studied in a lengthy scholarly literature on “strategic trade policy,” which…
Backgrounder posted June 9, 2014
Stimulus or Austerity? Fiscal Policy in the Great Recession and European Debt Crisis
The Great Recession of 2008–2009 and the European debt crisis of 2010–2012 were the greatest interruption in economic growth since the Second World War. A debate has raged since the recession began between economists who believe that government spending is the problem and those who believe it is the solution. Available data show neither a uniform European “age of…
Special Report posted June 6, 2014
Europe’s Fiscal Crisis Revealed: An In-Depth Analysis of Spending, Austerity, and Growth
About the Authors
Appendix: Country Profiles
About the Authors
Alberto Alesina, PhD, is Nathaniel Ropes Professor of Political Economy at Harvard University. He is also a member of the National Bureau of Economic Research, the Center for Economic Policy Research, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the…
Issue Brief posted January 10, 2014
Heritage Jobs Report: Unemployment Drop Is Coal in America’s Stocking
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the unemployment rate fell to 6.7 percent in December from 7.0 percent in November, but the change was caused by people who gave up looking for work. Employers created only 74,000 jobs, a depressing drop from the previous three months. Labor force participation dropped to 62.8 percent, matching the lowest rate since 1978. The…
Issue Brief posted December 6, 2013
Heritage Employment Report: Slow Recovery Continues in November
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the recovery continued at a steady pace in November. The unemployment rate fell 0.3 percentage point while employers created 203,000 jobs. Although the numbers are initially impressive, they partly reflect the return of federal employees furloughed during the October government shutdown. Labor force participation fell over the…