Risky Choices: Simulating Public Pension Funding Stress with Realistic Shocks

Risky Choices: Simulating Public Pension Funding Stress with Realistic Shocks. Brookings Institution.  James Farrell and Daniel Shoag. November 30, 2017

 Though they often fly under the radar in public discourse, state and local pension plans are among the most important institutions in the modern economy. They provide retirement benefits for nearly 10 million beneficiaries; have nearly 20 million members, and manage nearly $4 trillion in assets.[1] The huge scale of these plans means that seemingly obscure assumptions on investment returns and discount rates have enormous consequences. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

 [PDF format, 28 pages, 643.98 KB].

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Improving Child Welfare Outcomes: Balancing Investments in Prevention and Treatment

Improving Child Welfare Outcomes: Balancing Investments in Prevention and Treatment. RAND Corporation. Jeanne Ringelet al. December 13, 2017.

To provide objective analyses about the effects of prevention and treatment programs on improve child welfare outcomes, RAND researchers built a quantitative model that simulated how children enter and flow through the nation’s child welfare system. They then used the model to project how different policy options (preventive services, family preservation treatment efforts, kinship care treatment efforts, and a policy package that combined preventive services and kinship care) would affect a child’s pathway through the system, costs, and outcomes in early adulthood. This study is the first attempt to integrate maltreatment risk, detection, pathways through the system, and consequences in a comprehensive quantitative model that can be used to simulate the impact of policy changes. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 69 pages, 1.86 MB].

Child and Dependent Care Tax Benefits: How They Work and Who Receives Them

Child and Dependent Care Tax Benefits: How They Work and Who Receives Them. Congressional Research Service, Library of Congress. Margot L. Crandall-Hollick. October 26, 2017

Two tax provisions subsidize the child and dependent care expenses of working parents: the child and dependent care tax credit (CDCTC) and the exclusion for employer-sponsored child and dependent care.
The child and dependent care tax credit is a nonrefundable tax credit that reduces a taxpayer’s federal income tax liability based on child and dependent care expenses incurred. The policy objective is to assist taxpayers who work or who are looking for work. A taxpayer must meet a variety of eligibility criteria including incurring qualifying child and dependent care expenses for a qualifying individual and have earned income.

[PDF format, 20 pages, 842.02 KB].

Evaluating Policies to Transform Distressed Urban Neighborhoods

Evaluating Policies to Transform Distressed Urban Neighborhoods. Urban Institute. Laura Tach, Christopher Wimer. October 24, 2017

This memo synthesizes research on place-based policy interventions that target urban neighborhoods in four policy areas: economic development, human capital, housing, and crime prevention. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 10 pages, 517.39 KB].

Public Employee Pensions and Collective Bargaining Rights: Evidence from State and Local Government Finances

Public Employee Pensions and Collective Bargaining Rights: Evidence from State and Local Government Finances. Brookings Institution. Brigham R. Frandsen and Michael Webb. October 31, 2017

Despite the policy and press attention given to public unions and pensions, and their importance for state and local government finances and workers, research on the effects of collective bargaining rights on public employee pensions is surprisingly incomplete. This paper attempts to fill this gap. Using public employee retirement system financial data from the universe of state and local governments we exploit variation in the timing of state laws regarding public sector collective bargaining in a differences-in-differences framework, and find that collective bargaining requirements significantly and substantially increase government contributions to pensions, while reducing employee contributions. The increase in employer contributions is estimated to be about three times the size of the decrease in employee contributions; thus collective bargaining requirements significantly increase the overall generosity (and amount) of pension contributions and benefits. Collective bargaining requirements appear to have little effect on total public employment or payroll. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 21 pages, 476.33 KB].

Who is Poor in the United States?

Who is Poor in the United States? A Hamilton Project annual report. Brookings Institution. Jay Shambaugh, Lauren Bauer, and Audrey Breitwieser. October 12, 2017

In this economic analysis, the authors characterize those who were living in poverty in 2016, as they reported for 2014 and 2015. They then extend these snapshots to examine the population living in poverty over time: how have the characteristics of those living in poverty changed over the past 30 years? The authors focus particularly on the working-age poor. What share of the working-age poor are in the labor force? What are the most prevalent reasons for labor force nonparticipation among the working-age poor? For those who are working part-time and poor, is it involuntary or for reasons specific to their circumstances? [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 154 pages, 2.17 MB].

Workforce Development and Low-Income Adults and Youth: The Future under the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act of 2014

Workforce Development and Low-Income Adults and Youth: The Future under the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act of 2014. Urban Institute. Lauren Eyster, Demetra Smith Nightingale. September 26, 2017

After years of continuing resolutions, Congress replaced the Workforce Investment Act of 1998 (WIA) with the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act of 2014 (WIOA). WIOA continues WIA’s emphasis on universal services for both job seekers and employers, but includes provisions intended to improve the workforce development system overall. As state and local agencies and workforce boards implement changes introduced with WIOA, they must consider how they will serve customers with barriers to employment and improve current practices. This brief examines how services for low-income adults and youth may evolve under the new law, given experiences under WIA. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 16 pages, 259.95 KB].