Backgrounder posted November 23, 2015
Costly Mistakes: How Bad Policies Raise the Cost of Living
Government policy mistakes raise the prices of the things that Americans buy. An average American household can expect to pay an extra $4,440 each year thanks to just 12 such policy mistakes that have large costs and few benefits.
Local, state, and federal governments are all guilty of enforcing costly laws and regulations. At the federal level, the biggest costs come…
Backgrounder posted October 26, 2015
Stagnant Wages: What the Data Show
Recent data show that wages have been growing at rates comparable to their long-term trends. Measuring average wages accurately is more difficult than it sounds, so this Backgrounder examines six metrics of wage and compensation to present a complete picture.
Since the beginning of 2013, wages have grown between 1.1 percent and 1.9 percent per year. Over longer…
Issue Brief posted July 27, 2015
An Economic Crisis Is the Heart of Puerto Rico’s Financial Crisis
Puerto Rico faces a severe fiscal crisis, but this is merely a symptom of Puerto Rico’s primary disease: a lack of economic growth. Over the past decade, as Puerto Rico’s debt has expanded rapidly, the economy has contracted more than 10 percent. If the economy were growing, Puerto Rico would be much better positioned to address its fiscal crisis and might have averted it…
Issue Brief posted July 1, 2015
Puerto Rico Needs Economic Freedom, Not Bailouts
Puerto Rico is in a debt crisis, and Governor Alejandro García Padilla (D) has announced that “the debt is not payable” given the commonwealth’s large deficits and collapsing economy. Presenting a government-commissioned report, economist Anne Krueger explained that the origin of Puerto Rico’s debt is decades of stimulus spending and economic stagnation:
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…