City Budgets in an Era of Increased Uncertainty: Understanding the Fiscal Policy Space of Cities

City Budgets in an Era of Increased Uncertainty: Understanding the Fiscal Policy Space of Cities.  Brookings Institution. Michael A. Pagano and Christopher W. Hoene. July 18, 2018

 Cities in the United States are likely to shoulder additional responsibilities during the Trump administration, as federal leaders seek to cut the federal budget and workforce and reduce regulatory authority in Washington. Yet cities’ revenue sources and budgetary constraints vary greatly, shaping their ability to carry out new mandates or raise additional revenues. Some, like Atlanta and Miami, primarily raise revenues through property taxes, while others, like Kansas City and Philadelphia, are authorized by their state governments to collect sales and income taxes as well. Cities in Virginia and Vermont face no property tax or expenditure limitations, while cities in Colorado and California face severe limitations on both tax collections and expenditures. And state funding comprises more than a quarter of municipal budgets in states like Nebraska and New York, but less than seven percent of municipal budgets in Oklahoma and Texas. In other words, given their unique fiscal positions, cities will not respond uniformly to structural shifts—and potential devolution—within American federalism. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

 [PDF format, 44 pages].


Productivity and Pay: Is the Link Broken?

Productivity and Pay: Is the Link Broken? Peterson Institute for International Economics. Working Paper 18-5. Anna Stansbury (Harvard University) and Lawrence H. Summers (Harvard University). June 2018.

Since 1973 median compensation in the United States has diverged starkly from average labor productivity. Since 2000, average compensation has also begun to diverge from labor productivity. These divergences lead to the question: Holding all else equal, to what extent does productivity growth translate into compensation growth for typical American workers? The authors investigate this question by regressing median, average, and production/nonsupervisory compensation growth on productivity growth in various specifications. They find substantial evidence of linkage between productivity and compensation: Over 1973–2016, one percentage point higher productivity growth has been associated with 0.7 to 1 percentage point higher median and average compensation growth and with 0.4 to 0.7 percentage point higher production/nonsupervisory compensation growth. These results suggest that other factors orthogonal to productivity have been acting to suppress typical compensation even as productivity growth has been acting to raise it. Several theories of the cause of this productivity-compensation divergence focus on technological progress. These theories have a testable implication: Periods of higher productivity growth should be associated with periods of faster productivity-pay divergence. Testing this over the postwar period in the United States, the authors do not find substantial evidence of co-movement between productivity growth and either the labor share or the mean/median compensation ratio. This tends to militate against pure technology-based theories of the productivity-compensation divergence. Together these results suggest that faster future productivity growth is likely to boost median and average compensation growth close to one-for-one. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 51 pages].

State of the News Media

State of the News Media. Pew Research Center. July 25, 2018.

Data and trends about key sectors in the U.S. news media industry

Since 2004, Pew Research Center has issued an annual report on key audience and economic indicators for a variety of sectors within the U.S. news media industry. These data speak to the shifting ways in which Americans seek out news and information, how news organizations get their revenue, and the resources available to American journalists as they seek to inform the public about important events of the day. The press is sometimes called the fourth branch of government, but in the U.S., it’s also very much a business – one whose ability to serve the public is dependent on its ability to attract eyeballs and dollars.

Over the years, the Center’s approach to these indicators has evolved along with the industry, carefully considering the metrics, sectors and format in which the data appear. Instead of a single summary report, our approach is to roll out a series of fact sheets showcasing the most important current and historical data points for each sector – in an easy-to-digest format – a few at a time. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[HTML format, various paging].



Employer Engagement by Community-Based Organizations: Meeting the Needs of Job Seekers with Barriers to Success in the Labor Market

Employer Engagement by Community-Based Organizations: Meeting the Needs of Job Seekers with Barriers to Success in the Labor Market. Urban Institute. Shayne Spaulding, David Blount. May 22, 2018

 Employers need skilled workers to fill open jobs. Yet some workers face barriers to employment, even as the national unemployment rate dips to its lowest level in nearly two decades. These workers might face such challenges as a lack of skills, gaps in employment, or previous involvement in the criminal justice system.

Workforce development programs can help these workers overcome barriers to employment, helping them become a valuable resource to employers. Community-based organizations (CBOs) rooted in local communities and neighborhoods strive to engage employers and build trusting relationships with them to help workers get jobs and succeed at work while ensuring that employment programs meet employer needs. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

 [PDF format, 28 pages].

Oil and Gas Activities within the National Wildlife Refuge System

Oil and Gas Activities within the National Wildlife Refuge System. Congressional Research Service, Library of Congress. R. Eliot Crafton, Laura B. Comay, Marc Humphries. May 9, 2018

 Oil- and gas-related wells are documented in 110 (approximately 18%) of the 605 units of the National Wildlife Refuge System (NWRS). The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), in the Department of the Interior (DOI), administers the NWRS, which includes primarily national wildlife refuges, along with wetland management districts and waterfowl production areas. The wells in the NWRS most commonly involve nonfederal oil and gas resources but sometimes encompass federal resources. Oil and gas development in the NWRS has the potential to adversely impact wildlife and/or the environment, and some see it as contrary to the mission and purposes for which the NWRS was established. Others think that some levels of oil and gas activity may take place in refuges without harming the system’s central mission of wildlife conservation and that such activity could benefit the U.S. economy and provide greater energy security. FWS, which administers nonfederal mineral activities on refuge lands, and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), which administers federal mineral activities on refuge lands, have developed regulations that seek to minimize the adverse impacts of oil and gas development in the NWRS, among other purposes.

 [PDF format, 23 pages].

How FDA Approves Drugs and Regulates Their Safety and Effectiveness

How FDA Approves Drugs and Regulates Their Safety and Effectiveness.  Congressional Research Service, Library of Congress. Agata Dabrowska, Susan Thaul. May 8, 2018

 The Food and Drug Administration (FDA), a regulatory agency within the Department of Health and Human Services, regulates the safety and effectiveness of drugs sold in the United States. FDA divides that responsibility into two phases. In the preapproval (premarket) phase, FDA reviews manufacturers’ applications to market drugs in the United States; a drug may not be sold unless it has FDA approval. Once a drug is on the market, FDA continues its oversight of drug safety and effectiveness. That postapproval (postmarket) phase lasts as long as the drug is on the market. Beginning with the Food and Drugs Act of 1906, Congress and the President have incrementally refined and expanded FDA’s responsibilities regarding drug approval and regulation.

 [PDF format, 31 pages].



Small Business: Access to Capital and Job Creation

Small Business: Access to Capital and Job Creation.  Congressional Research Service, Library of Congress. Robert Jay Dilger. June 1, 2018

 The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) administers several programs to support small businesses, including loan guaranty and venture capital programs to enhance small business access to capital; contracting programs to increase small business opportunities in federal contracting; direct loan programs for businesses, homeowners, and renters to assist their recovery from natural disasters; and small business management and technical assistance training programs to assist business formation and expansion. Congressional interest in these programs has increased in recent years, primarily because assisting small business is viewed as a means to enhance economic growth.

[PDF format, 31 pages].