Progress Paradoxes and Sustainable Growth: Insights from the New Science of Well-being

Progress Paradoxes and Sustainable Growth: Insights from the New Science of Well-being. Brookings Institution. Carol Graham. December 19, 2018

The past century is full of progress paradoxes, with unprecedented economic development, as evidenced by improvements in longevity, health, and literacy. At the same time, we face daunting challenges such as climate change, persistent poverty in poor and fragile states, and increasing income inequality and unhappiness in many of the richest countries. Remarkably, some of the most worrisome trends are in countries with rapid economic growth and falling poverty. Not surprisingly, there is much debate about the sustainability of our future. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 26 pages].

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Minimum Wages: What Does the Research Tell Us about the Effectiveness of Local Action?

Minimum Wages: What Does the Research Tell Us about the Effectiveness of Local Action? Urban Institute. John Marotta, Solomon Greene. January 16, 2019

As real wages stagnate, racial disparities grow, and housing prices soar in cities across the US, local governments are increasingly adopting laws and regulations that aim to reduce inequalities and improve access to economic opportunity for their residents. At the same time, states are increasingly enacting laws that limit or preempt local action in these areas, often relying on a thin or nonexistent evidence base to suggest that local regulation is inefficient or overly burdensome. Minimum wages are one domain that has become increasingly subject to state preemption, especially since 2013. Proponents of state preemption of minimum wages often cite concerns about having a patchwork of wage levels across the state, and claims that a higher local minimum wage puts the locale city or county at a competitive disadvantage relative to surrounding areas. Local minimum-wage laws can help ensure that workers can afford housing, food, and other basic necessities in locations where the cost of living is higher than in other parts of the country or state. In this brief, we synthesize the evidence on the effectiveness of minimum-wage laws and suggest areas in which further research could help policymakers, advocates, and the public improve local minimum-wage laws. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 13 pages].

Access to Justice

Access to Justice. American Academy of Arts & Sciences, Dædalus, Winter 2019.

“Access to Justice” – the first open access issue of Dædalus – features twenty-four essays that examine the national crisis in civil legal services facing poor and low-income Americans: from the challenges of providing quality legal assistance to more people, to the social and economic costs of an often unresponsive legal system, to the opportunities for improvement offered by new technologies, professional innovations, and fresh ways of thinking about the crisis. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[HTML format, various paging].

Work, Skills, Community: Restoring Opportunity for the Working Class

Work, Skills, Community: Restoring Opportunity for the Working Class. Brookings Institution. Oren Cass et al. November 26, 2018

In the wake of the 2016 election, Opportunity America convened a bipartisan study group, cosponsored by the American Enterprise Institute and the Brookings Institution, to consider the challenges facing working-class communities and craft a set of policy solutions. In November 2018, the group released its final report, Work, skills, community: Restoring opportunity for the working class – a slate of bipartisan proposals to create jobs, train and retrain workers and revitalize blue-collar communities. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 136 pages].

How to Design Carbon Dividends

How to Design Carbon Dividends. Urban Institute. Donald Marron, Elaine Maag. December 12, 2018

A robust carbon tax would generate considerable revenue. Some carbon tax advocates have suggested returning those revenues to Americans through direct payments, often called carbon dividends. We examine how to design these dividends considering two, sometimes conflicting, principles. Carbon dividends can be viewed as shared income from a communal property right, much as Alaskans share in income from the state’s oil resources. Dividends can also be viewed as rebating the carbon tax back to consumers. These views often have different implications for designing carbon dividends. Political and practical considerations are also important. With that in mind, we propose a carbon dividend design that combines beneficial features from both the communal property and tax rebate views. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 45 pages].

Why rural America needs cities

Why rural America needs cities. Brookings Institution. Nathan Arnosti and Amy Liu. November 30, 2018

The 2018 midterm elections affirmed that the deep geographic divides within the United States are here to stay. As they did in 2016, Americans living in rural areas overwhelmingly backed Republican candidates, fueled in part by the sense that the American economy is leaving them behind. The plight of rural America, and ideas for its economic revival, continues to animate policy discussions, including among Democrats concerned about their ability to appeal to blue-collar voters. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[HTML format, various paging].

The National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program (NEHRP): Issues in Brief

The National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program (NEHRP): Issues in Brief. Congressional Research Service, Library of Congress. Peter Folger. December 3, 2018

Portions of all 50 states and the District of Columbia are vulnerable to earthquake hazards, although risks vary greatly across the country and within individual states. Alaska is the most earthquake-prone state, experiencing a magnitude 7 earthquake almost every year and a magnitude 8 earthquake every 13 years, on average, since 1900. On December 1, 2018, a magnitude 7.0 earthquake struck north of Anchorage at 8:29 AM local time, causing extensive damage. Under the National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program (NEHRP), four federal agencies have responsibility for long-term earthquake risk reduction: the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), the National Science Foundation (NSF), the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). These agencies assess U.S. earthquake hazards, deliver notifications of seismic events, develop measures to reduce earthquake hazards, and conduct research to help reduce overall U.S. vulnerability to earthquakes. Congressional oversight of the NEHRP program encompasses how well the four agencies coordinate their activities to address the earthquake hazard. Better coordination was a concern that led to changes to the program in legislation enacted in 2004 (the National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program Reauthorization Act of 2004; P.L. 108-360; 42 U.S.C. 7704).

[PDF format, 15 pages].