America’s Broken Political System: Fresh at Project Syndicate

Project Syndicate: America’s Broken Political System: Whether or not the tax bill survives the conference process and becomes law, the big news won’t change: the Anglo-Saxon model of representative government is in serious trouble. And there is no solution in sight. For some 400 years, the Anglo-Saxon governance model–exemplified by the republican semi-principality of the Netherlands, the constitutional monarchy of the United Kingdom, and the constitutional republic of the United States of America–was widely regarded as having hit the sweet spot of liberty, security, and prosperity. The greater the divergence from that model, historical experience seemed to confirm, the higher the likelihood of repression, insecurity, and poverty. So countries were frequently and strongly advised to emulate those institutions.

Nobody would dare offer that same advice today… Read MOAR at Project Syndicate

Must-read: John Stoehr: Thomas Frank and the Illusion of Presidential Omnipotence

Must-Read: John Stoehr: Thomas Frank and the Illusion of Presidential Omnipotence: “In Listen, Liberal, Frank describes President-elect Barack Obama, as the financial crisis is beginning to unfold, as…

…a ‘living, breathing evidence that our sclerotic system could still function, that we could rise to the challenge, that could change course. It was the perfect opportunity for transformation.’ Yet, Frank says, that transformation didn’t happen. So Obama and the Democrats failed. But what could they have been done differently? While he excels at calling the Democrats to account, Frank falls short in offering policy recommendations, even rough sketches of policy. There are none. Populists don’t take such questions seriously, because such questions assume that knowledge, method, and procedure are more important than believing in the righteousness of the cause. Frank is no exception….

Frank and Sanders are right in one very big way—inequities of wealth, income, and power threaten our lives, livelihoods, and republican democracy. All of us need big bold ideas and the political courage to see them realized. Being right in one very big way is the primary strength of populism. Progressives do the work, but populists are the voices of conscience, the moral scolds, the screaming Jeremiahs. But they are wrong too. The current president has done more with more resistance in the name of progress than any president since nobody knows. Along with flawed-but-good health care reform, financial regulation, and sustainable energy policy, Obama has achieved: gender-equity laws; minimum wage rules for government contractors; a labor relations board that serves labor; and a tax rule barring corporate ‘inversions.’ And he formally ended two wars…

Well, Obama could have pushed the paper on appointments–a head of FHFA willing to use the GSEs as tools of macro policy should that become necessary, and a filled up-Federal Reserve Board to counteract the baneful influence of too-many regional bank presidents who did not understand the situation and would not learn. He could have used bank reliance on TARP money to take equity–and then shut down their lobbying efforts in opposition to Dodd-Frank. Given that Republican obstructionism was very predictable, the right move was to pass a very large Reconciliation package in January 2009: a carbon tax to deal with global warming, Medicare-for-all, a first Recovery Act and the path greased for a second Recovery Act to be passed by a bare majority should it become necessary, plus an infrastructure bank. Then you could bargain back to the cap-and-trade policies you really wanted from a position in which failure to come to the table was much more painful for the Republicans than coming to the negotiating table. There were lots of things that could have been done.

But in some ways what I have just written confirms Stoehr’s overall point: there were things that Obama could have done, or tried to do. But Sanders and Frank appear ignorant of them…

U.S. Census highlights rising economic inequality

The U.S. Census Bureau’s latest set of annual reports on income, poverty, and health insurance coverage in the United States demonstrates that economists and policy makers alike need to come to grips with the short- and long-term affects of economic inequality on economic growth and prosperity. The two reports present data for 2013, four and half years after the official start of the economic recovery from the Great Recession that began in December 2007 and ended in June 2009. Although there are a few bright spots, most of the data reported are dismal and the implications for income inequality are disturbing.

Most tellingly, the long-term trend lines in rising income inequality are essentially unchanged over more than four decades—across several business cycles—which means we need to understand the short- and long-term factors that result in stagnant incomes for all but the most wealthy. So let’s parse the numbers.

The first report deals with income and poverty while the second report describes health insurance coverage. The first report found that real median household income (the income of the household in the middle of the income distribution) in 2013 was stagnant for the second year in a row after having fallen for the four consecutive years after 2007. At $51,900, median household income was still 8 percent, or nearly $4,500, below its level in 2007, roughly equal to what it was nearly 20 years ago in 1995, and less than what it was in 1989. The only racial or ethnic group to experience a statistically significant increase in annual income last year was members of Hispanic households, who earned 3.5 percent more in 2013 than in 2012.

The median earnings of full-time, year-round workers did not improve, though the number of such workers increased by 2.8 million, which reflects the growth in jobs in 2013 and the gradual shift from part-time to full-time work that has been ongoing since 2010. The gap between the median earnings of men and women who worked full time, year round, was slightly reduced, but the gap was not statistically different from what it was in 2012—meaning that the data are not precise enough for the Census Bureau to state unequivocally that the earnings gap had narrowed.

Moreover, the reported improvement in the female-to-male earnings ratio, from 77 cents on the dollar in 2012 to 78 cents last year, was not just a function of an increase in the earnings of women, something we could all celebrate, but also a function of the long-term continuing stagnation in the earnings of full-time, year-round, male workers. This is a worrisome phenomenon. In fact, the median earnings of full-time, year-round male workers were no higher in 2013 than they were more than 40 years ago in 1972.

One positive finding in this year’s poverty-and-income report is that the overall poverty rate declined from 15 percent in 2012 to 14.5 percent in 2013. As the report notes, this was the first decrease in the poverty rate since 2006. However, the report cannot tell us how much of the reduction in poverty was due to an improvement in the economy and in earnings versus an increase in government transfer payments to low income households or other factors.

Almost the entire decline in poverty is attributable to a reduction in the poverty of children under the age of 18 alongside a reduction in the poverty rate of Hispanics. The poverty rate for children fell from 21.8 percent to 19.9 percent, and an estimated 1.4 million fewer children lived in poverty. The poverty rate among Hispanics dropped from 25.6 percent to 23.5 percent, indicating that nearly 900,000 Hispanics (almost 600,000 of whom were children under age18) were no longer living in poverty.

Still, some 45.3 million people were living in poverty in 2013, including 14.7 million children. And, as was true in prior years, those with the highest poverty rates include women, children, people of color, and the disabled.

The Census bureau report measures income inequality in a wide variety of ways. They include:

  • Six different income ratios such as the 90th/10th ratio, which is the income of the household that is earning more than 90 percent of other households (i.e. the household at the 90th percentile) divided by the income of the household earning less than 90 percent of households (i.e. the household at the 10th percentile).
  • The Gini coefficient, which summarizes the income dispersion in a number that varies from 0 to 1 and indicates greater inequality as it approaches 1.
  • The Mean logarithmic deviation of income, which is a measure of the gap between the median and average income.
  • The Theil index, which summarizes the dispersion of income in a number that varies from 0 to 1 with higher numbers indicating more inequality.
  • The Atkinson measure, which suggests the end of the income distribution that contributed most to inequality.

None of the measures in the report indicates any reduction in income inequality in 2013 relative to 2012. By every measure, income inequality in 2013 was higher than in previous years or equally as high as has ever been reported by the Census bureau since it started collecting these data in 1967.

Here are just two cases in point. The household income at the high earning 90th percentile was 12.1 times greater than the income of the household at the low earning 10th percentile—the widest gap ever reported by the Census Bureau. Similarly, the Gini index of income inequality, one of the most commonly used measures of income inequality, was 0.476 and indistinguishable from the record high of 0.477 reported in 2012 and 2011.

It should be noted, too, that the income data reported by the Census Bureau understate the degree of income inequality. The reason: research shows that the data, derived from a survey of people, tends to overstate the incomes of low earners and understate the incomes of high earners. Thus, the true distribution of income is more uneven than indicated by the reported data.

The bottom line is that after nearly five years of economic recovery and growth in national income most Americans have not experienced an increase in their earnings while the earnings of those at the top have largely returned to their pre-recession level. The wages of men in particular have stagnated while women, children, and people of color have suffered in disproportionate numbers from the ravages of poverty. By every measure, income inequality is at a record high or on par with the record highs reported by Census in 2012 and 2011.

The second report, which deals with health insurance coverage, provides additional data that confirm the high degree of inequality revealed in the first report. Unfortunately, because of a redesign in the questions asked of respondents, it is not possible to compare results from this year’s report to prior years.  Thus, the second report does not provide a perspective on whether or not inequality in health insurance coverage is growing. A different Census Bureau study, the American Community Survey, provides annual estimates of health insurance coverage that have closely followed trends in the Current Population Survey Annual Social and Economic Supplement, also commonly known as the March CPS. The American Community Survey data suggest that there have been recent improvements in health insurance: the percent of the population without health insurance fell from 15.5 percent in 2010 to 14.5 percent in 2013.


The most recent Census Bureau survey found that nearly 42 million residents, or 13.4 percent of the population, did not have health insurance coverage for the entire 2013 calendar year. The lower a household’s income, the more likely they were to lack health insurance. For example, 24.9 percent of households living in poverty had no health insurance during the year while only 5.3 percent of households earning more than $150,000 lacked insurance in 2013. Those most eligible for government provided health insurance typically had the highest insurance coverage. For instance, only 1.6 percent of those over age 65 and 7.6 percent of those under age 19 lacked insurance compared to 18.4 percent of the rest of the population. Race and ethnicity also influence coverage as nearly a quarter of all Hispanics and 1 in 6 blacks lacked health insurance coverage compared to just 1 in 10 non-Hispanic whites.


The quality of health care that people get tends to be a function of both insurance coverage and the quality of health insurance. While these data provide information about coverage, they tell us nothing about the quality of health insurance. But, from other sources we know that lower income households, blacks, and Hispanics tend to have poorer quality insurance even when they are covered which further exacerbates inequality in health care services.

A central concern of the Washington Center on Equitable Growth is that these high and persistent levels of income inequality and other forms of inequality, such as in health care, may have detrimental effects on long-term economic growth and the well-being of most Americans. Though the Census Bureau data provide a useful snapshot at a particular moment in time of the levels of income, poverty, health insurance, and income inequality, they do not tell us what is causing these levels or their economic implications.

To promote rapid and widely shared growth may require attention to both short and long-run demand and supply factors. For instance, we may need to better understand the role that demand plays in promoting business sales, creating jobs, and boosting wages. Likewise, we may need to better comprehend the productivity or long-term supply side effects of investments in the health, education, and training of people. In the coming years, Equitable Growth will analyze the data ourselves and provide annual grants to other academics across an array of social sciences in an attempt to provide answers.

A post-war history of U.S. economic growth

Five years removed from the end of the Great Recession, economists, policymakers, investors, business leaders, and everyday Americans from all walks of life remain concerned about the future of economic growth in the United States. The severity of that two-year recession and the lackluster recovery ever since sparks fear among economists and policymakers that the U.S. economy is in for a perhaps new and long period of slow growth. Economist Tyler Cowen of George Mason University raised this concern in his book “The Great Stagnation.” And Harvard University economist and former Treasury Secretary Larry Summers recently warned about secular stagnation where the economy suffers from a prolonged period of inadequate demand.

Read a PDF of the full document with all citations

While these fears are surfacing today, the anemic economic conditions that prevail at present and from which these concerns spring may be the result of structural changes in the U.S. economy over the past 40 years. Since the mid-1970s, the U.S. economy has undergone a variety of changes that may help or hinder economic growth over the long-term, among them:

  • An employment shift from manufacturing to services
  • The advent of the Internet
  • The entrance of women into the paid labor force
  • The greater participation of people of color in all sectors of the economy
  • The greater openness of the economy to international trade
  • The ever-evolving role of government
  • A rapid increase in income inequality

The mission of the Washington Center for Equitable Growth is to understand whether and how these structural changes, particularly the rise in inequality, affect economic growth and stability. But before we can understand how these forces may affect economic growth, we need a baseline understanding of how the U.S. economy grew in the past.

This report helps in that endeavor by looking at the past 65 years of economic growth in the United States—measured by examining our country’s Gross Domestic Product, both its rate of growth and sources of growth, from 1948 to 2014. The starting point, of course, is what this oft-cited statistic GDP actually measures. GDP is comprised of aggregate statistics based upon four major components: consumption, investment, government expenditures, and net exports.

The report then looks at the overall growth of real (inflation adjusted) per capita GDP as well as the contributions of each component to growth over time, specifically over business cycles, or patterns of economic recessions and expansions. (See graph.)


Based on the overall trends, we divide the post-World War II into three eras of growth—the booming post-war period to the early 1970s (the fourth quarter of 1948 to the fourth quarter of 1973), the transition period to the early-1980s characterized by a series of economic shocks and high inflation (the fourth quarter of 1973 to the third quarter of 1981), and the ensuing period of low economic volatility and heightened growth known as the Great Moderation up until the start of the Great Recession in 2007 (the third quarter of 1981 to the fourth quarter of 2007).(See graph.)


Specifically, economic growth in the third period, leading up to the Great Recession, was:

  • Not as brisk as it once was
  • More dependent upon consumption
  • Held back by net exports
  • Less driven by government expenditures and investment

The current business cycle, starting with the beginning of the Great Recession, appears to be the beginning of a new era—one tentatively defined by tepid consumer demand, stagnant real-wage gains, and growing economic inequality.

This report will have achieved its purpose if it spurs new thinking about how exactly we can and should promote economic growth in the United States.

Is Piketty’s treatment of housing an excuse to ignore him?

French economist Thomas Piketty’s treatment of housing as capital in his blockbuster “Capital in the 21st Century” is not an excuse to ignore his predictions about rising economic inequality. “Capital in the 21st Century” is clear from the beginning that housing—and real estate generally—ought to be included in the definition of “capital” for the book’s purpose, which is to examine the aggregate effect of accumulated wealth that produces an annual return through no effort on the part of its owner.

A whole set of Piketty “rebuttalsattacks that treatment of housing as capital. The critics focus on that aspect of his analysis because a large proportion of the increase in the capital-to-income ratio that he emphasizes is thanks to the accumulation of housing and real estate at market prices. In some countries, the rise in the value of housing accounts for all of the increase in the capital-to-income ratio since 1970. And even beyond housing, Piketty’s approach is not consistent with standard neo-classical economic theory in several important ways—and so the critics have looked to housing as a reason to cling to their theory in the face of his countervailing facts.

But if housing were not counted as part of capital in Piketty’s analysis then the wealth distribution patterns he explores would be even more skewed. He identifies one key historical phenomenon that is unique to the 20th century—the rise of what he calls a  “patrimonial middle class,” that is, non-trivial, inheritable wealth holdings by those between the 50th and 90th percentiles of the wealth distribution in advanced economies, rather than the top decile holding nearly all the wealth as was true in the 19th century and previously.

So, even though total capital accumulated (as a percentage of national income) has already reached the level where it was in the late 19th century, inequality has not yet attained its prior height, at least not in Europe, because that capital is partly held by the middle class. And their wealth is largely in housing.

This means that removing housing from consideration would by fiat skew the wealth distribution as much as Piketty predicts it will be skewed in the future if that patrimonial middle class dwindles, which is the dire outcome his whole book warns against. In other words, the arguments put forward as part of an attempt to discount Piketty’s prediction about the rise in capital’s share of income would, if accepted, put his prediction about the evolution of wealth inequality into effect mechanically. So how should economists interpret housing wealth?

Is housing capital?

Claim:  Housing is not “productive” capital, like machines or factories or even farmland.

Response: In fact, housing is productive in the sense that it produces a good—shelter, broadly conceived—that economic agents value. Someone who owns his or her home doesn’t have to pay rent, and the owner of an investment property will earn rent exactly as does the owner of some piece of “productive” capital equipment. Second, capital functions as a store of value, and not simply as an input to production—a function that Piketty’s historical data show has been vital over the long run.

To take the argument a bit further, the value in real estate is often a matter of proximity—of “location, location, location”—and proximity to productive economic activity or to agents whom it is valuable to know is a very real economic resource. That proximity is capitalized as real estate. An identicallysized and equipped dwelling in Manhattan, Kansas costs much less than one in the more famous Manhattan because of the productivity and amenity benefits that come from living and working near many other people in New York City.

Arguably, in a world of increasing population density, location has been getting more important, and incumbent owners of real estate have been the main beneficiaries. Klaus Desmet at the University of Charles III and Esteban Rossi-Hansberg at Princeton University have a 2014 paper called “Spatial Development” that emphasizes population densification as the cause of productivity gains, location rent dynamics, and inter-sectoral employment flows in the United States. Piketty doesn’t discuss spatial trends as such, but the dynamics of housing wealth are entirely consistent with the argument in “Capital in the 21st Century.”

Excluding housing and real estate from the capital stock is convenient if the goal is to dismiss Piketty’s data and predictions, but that interpretation is not warranted by economic theory or empirical analysis.

How should the value of housing be calculated?

 Claim: Piketty’s use the market price of housing distorts his analysis because housing should be priced according to its discounted rental stream, which is a measure of its “fundamental value.” The market price is subject to bubble dynamics, which according to the standard economic theory of bubbles would occur when the price deviates from some notion of its fundamental value, such as if a fruit tree were to cost more than the appropriately discounted sum of all the fruit it will ever produce.

Response: This critique fails for the same reason the argument that housing isn’t capital fails—because capital, broadly conceived to include wealth, is a store of value, and thus the stream of annual rent from its users isn’t the only relevant aspect of the return to its owner. The price of housing in central metropolitan areas has been on an upward march for the past several decades, in part because economic agents foresee dynamics of the kind described by economists Desmet and Rossi-Hansberg and in part because investing in real estate abroad is an effective way for the wealthy global elite to stash their cash overseas. At times, this has given rise to the property bubbles observed in Japan before 1990 and in the United States before 2006, but the resulting firesales do not erase the long-run trend. The fluctuation in housing market prices probably occurs in part because of misperceptions or misevaluations of the timing of long-run trends, but that does not imply the trend doesn’t exist.

Is housing really as substitutable with labor as Piketty assumes?

Claim:  Including housing in the stock of capital should reduce Piketty’s assumed value for the marginal rate of substitution between capital and labor, and hence his prediction of an increasing capital share of income. Piketty’s assumption that the marginal rate of substitution between capital and labor is greater than one is important since it implies that the aggregate rental rate of capital will not decline by as much as the stock of capital increases.  In other words, workers face no threat of losing their jobs just because more houses exist since there’s “no way to substitute a house for a worker.”

Response: Piketty’s main argument that the marginal rate of substitution is greater than one—that workers are indeed threatened by capital accumulation, including housing—is based on the dual U-shaped historical evolutions of the capital-to-income ratio and capital’s share of income in the very long run. That implies that when capital is accumulated, the resulting decline in the price of capital is not large enough to offset the increase in its quantity. Hence, the total share of income going to capital is higher when there’s more capital. If the marginal rate of substitution were less than one, the capital share would move inversely with the capital-to-income ratio, and if it were equal to one, as neo-classical theorists generally assume, the capital share would not change at all with the capital-to-income ratio.

All the evidence that the marginal rate of substitution between capital and labor is less than one cited by the critics is drawn from relatively short-run studies of the tradeoff between capital and labor at the firm- or industry-level, and there are very good reasons to believe that long-run elasticities are higher. Piketty’s long-run, aggregate evidence already includes the historical value of housing in capital, so this critique doesn’t bring anything more to the table—Piketty already has an excellent empirical case for assuming the marginal rate of substitution is high: the dual U shapes cited above.

Moreover, the aggregate marginal rate of substitution incorporates a much larger range of empirical economic phenomena than simply how easy it is to substitute between two factors in the production of a single good. So interpretations that adhere narrowly to that premise—such as econometric estimates at the firm or industry level—are bound to fail. The neo-classical argument holds that the price of capital is determined by its marginal productivity, and that marginal productivity declines mechanically as the quantity of capital increases. That is the so-called Ricardian scarcity principle, named for the 19th century thinker David Ricardo.

The rate at which it declines depends on how substitutable capital and labor are. The argument that they are not very substitutable implies that additional capital is relatively useless—and hence that its price will get much lower as its quantity increases. Notably, if what is relevant about housing and its value dynamics is that it acts as a store of value, then there’s no reason to believe that diminishing marginal productivity is operative. That concept relates to the additional output produced by increasing the use of one input in production while holding all others constant, but there’s no production going on if what’s being amassed is a store of value.

In this sense, housing wealth accumulation is like hording a precious metal: how useful the metal is in the production of other goods is irrelevant to the value of the horde. Finally, there are strong empirical reasons to believe that the price of housing, and of capital in general, is not only determined by marginal productivity as in the traditional, neo-classical macroeconomic model. That is the subject of my next response.

Are housing price increases due to supply restrictions?

 Claim: There’s been a great deal of research into the dynamics of the housing market since the housing bubble burst, starting in 2006, and especially the unsurprising conclusion that local housing supply elasticity is related to price dynamics, and further, that political pressure by homeowners and the mortgage lending industry, especially on the west coast of the United States, has constrained housing supply and led to the enormous price swings. Those supply restrictions have nothing to do with the rise in the capital-to-income ratio and the reasons for it proposed by Piketty.

Response: This explanation for housing price dynamics isn’t actually distinct from Piketty’s narrative. The Economist commentator Ryan Avent wrote about this eloquently: “Over the last few decades technological changes have greatly increased the return to locating in large cities filled with skilled people. Being in such places makes workers more productive and raises the income they are able to earn. But skilled cities have not allowed housing supply to expand to meet rising demand. Housing has therefore been rationed by price, pushing less productive workers toward cities where housing supply growth is higher and housing cost growth is lower.

As a result, fewer people live in the most productive places, and quite a lot of the gain from employment in productive places is captured by landowners earning rents thanks to artificial housing scarcity. This may mean lower overall productivity, more income inequality, and more income flowing to capital rather than labour.” In other words, what we have here is collective political action to make sure the price of housing remains high just as increases in the bargaining power of capital relative to labor have contributed to the decline of the labor share. There is no room in the neoclassical model for these effects—only for the Ricardian scarcity principle and diminishing marginal productivity—but that doesn’t mean they aren’t there.

The answers are clear

Piketty’s framework, including his decision to count housing as capital, does not map directly onto the standard neoclassical economic growth model—but his approach is more consistent with empirical reality in several key ways. The critics who want to cling to their outdated theories have latched onto his interpretation of housing as a way to do so, but given their theory’s many empirical shortcomings, they are seriously misguided.

“Expanding Economic Opportunity for Women and Families”

Heather Boushey, Executive Director and Chief Economist, Washington Center for Equitable Growth, testifying before the  U.S. Senate Budget Committee  on “Expanding Economic Opportunity for Women and Families”

Enabling Women to Succeed Builds Strong Families and a Growing Economy

I would like to thank Chairman Murray, Ranking Member Sessions, and the rest of the Committee for inviting me here today to testify.

My name is Heather Boushey and I am Executive Director and Chief Economist of the Washington Center for Equitable Growth. The Center is a new project devoted to understanding what grows our economy, with a particular emphasis on understanding whether and how rising levels of economic inequality affect economic growth and stability.

It is an honor to be invited here today to discuss how working women are critical for economic growth, and how federal policy can further advance women’s economic progress. My testimony today highlights the many aspects of our economy where gender inequality and economic inequality go hand in hand—to the detriment of many families and our nation’s economy—and also where economic inequality among women threatens family well-being and economic growth. Government policies can address these gaps in order to help women succeed, so our economy can succeed.

There are three takeaways from my testimony:

  • Women, their families, and the economy have greatly benefited from women’s entry into the labor force.
  • Yet there are barriers to women’s work that manifest themselves differently across the income distribution, which means that not all women realize their full economic potential.
  • There are a variety of ways that federal policy can encourage women’s labor force participation, among them tax credits and early childhood education programs, which provide critical support for low-income workers and working families. Federal policies such as pay equity and flexible work-family policies can grow our economy by encouraging greater labor force participation among women and increasing women’s contributions to family income.

Women’s employment is critical for families and the economy

Women’s entry into the labor force is one of the most important transformations to our labor force in recent decades. Between 1970 and 2000, the share of women in the labor force steadily increased, from 43.3 percent to 59.9 percent.[i] Today, most women work full time. Before the Great Recession in 2007, the share of women who worked 35 hours or more per week was 75.3 percent.[ii]

Women’s movement into the labor force also transformed how they spend their days, which is increasingly important for families’ economic wellbeing.  About two-thirds of mothers are family breadwinners—those bringing home all of the family’s earnings or at least as much as their partners—or co-breadwinners—those bringing home at least one-quarter of their families’ earnings.[iii] Between 1967 and 2007, the most recent economic peak, the share of mothers who were breadwinners or co-breadwinners rose from 27.7 percent to 62.8 percent, and has increased slightly since then as the economic recession wore on.[iv] (See Figure 1.)

Figure 1. Share of mothers who are breadwinners or co-breadwinners, 1967 to 2010


Figure source: Sarah Jane Glynn, The New Breadwinners: 2010 Update (Washington, DC: Center for American Progress, 2012).

Women’s increased work is important for family incomes and for economic growth. In a paper we released last month, my colleagues Eileen Appelbaum, John Schmitt and I find that between 1979 and 2012, our nation’s gross domestic product increased by almost 11 percent due to women’s changed employment patterns.[v] This translates to about $1.7 trillion in output in today’s dollars. We find that women’s economic contribution is roughly equivalent to U.S. spending on Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid in 2012.[vi]

Continuing women’s economic progress

Over the past four decades, women have made great economic gains, but more can be done to help women realize their full economic potential. Gender inequality in the workforce still persists between men and women. Additionally, while some women have made great gains in the workforce, too many women are being left behind.

Between 1960 and 2000, women’s labor force participation steadily grew and the gender pay gap steadily shrank. But progress has stalled for more than a decade. The share of women in the labor force has not significantly increased since 2000, hovering a bit below 60 percent.[vii] Similarly, in 2012 the female-to-male earnings ratio remained at about 77 percent, the same as in 2002.[viii]

To be sure, some women have pulled ahead and experienced increases in incomes despite the recent slow-down in women’s entry in the workforce. But not all women have experienced these gains. Between 2000 and 2007, for example, higher-wage women saw their real wages increase by four times the amount of women with poorly paid jobs.[ix]

One reason is that while some women have made progress entering into professional or male-dominated occupations, many women continue to work in female-dominated occupations that still pay low wages. In 2012, 43.6 percent of women worked in just 20 types of jobs, among them secretary, nurse, teacher, and salesperson. (See Table 1.)

Table 1. Top 20 occupations for women and men, 2012


Women across the wage distribution need more access to work-family policies in order to better balance the dual demands of work and home. Polices such as paid sick days, paid family leave, and schedule flexibility would fill an important inequality gap for workers, especially women. This basket of work-family policies would allow both women and men to remain in the labor force while dealing with life’s emergencies.

The United States is an outlier among other developed nations in not offering work-family policies to workers.[x] Nor have employers in our country stepped in to provide these benefits. In 2013, only 61 percent of workers had employer-provided paid sick days.[xi] An even smaller share of workers—only 12 percent—had access to employer-provided paid leave, which can be used to recover from an illness or care for a family member.[xii]

Despite playing a larger role as family breadwinners, women today continue to be more likely than men to provide care to their families. The lack of family friendly policies make it harder for women to stay employed and provide financially for their families. Women who have to quit their jobs in order to provide care harm their future earnings potential. The U.S. Census Bureau found that new mothers who have access to paid maternity leave are more likely to return to their previous employer. About 98 percent of those who return to the same employer do so at their previous pay level or higher. Conversely, less than 70 percent of women who change employers after giving birth earn the same level of pay or higher.[xiii]

Work-family policies are critical for the strength and size of our labor force. In a 2013 study by Cornell University economists Francine D. Blau and Lawrence M. Kahn, the authors argue that likely one reason why the United States fell from the sixth-highest female labor-force participation rate among 22 Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development countries in 1990 to the 17th-highest rate in 2010 was because it failed to keep up with other nations and adopt family-friendly policies.[xiv]

Although most workers do not have access to these important policies, low-wage workers disproportionately lack access to policies to balance work and care. Employers often view policies such as paid leave or paid sick days as perks for higher-paid workers. Too often workers who need these benefits the most—such as low- and middle-wage, young, and less-educated workers—do not have access to them. Workers whose wages are in the lowest 25 percent of average wages are approximately four times less likely to have access to paid family and medical leave than those in the highest 25 percent.[xv]

The lack of benefits for women earning the least in our economy is unhealthy for their families, the labor force, and the economy. Poorly paid jobs that do not provide these work-family benefits often offer nonstandard work or varying schedules, which often result in high employee turnover.[xvi] There is more we can do to boost women’s economic progress, and thereby boost the strength of the entire economy.

Federal policy can help working women succeed

Federal policies can encourage women’s work and increase family income. Specifically, these six policies are tailored to achieve the results we need for our families and our economy:

  • The Earned Income Tax Credit, Child Tax Credit, and Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit
  • The 21st Century Work Tax Act
  • Broader and less expensive access to child care and early childhood education programs
  • Work-family policies, such as family and medical leave insurance, as proposed in the Family and Medical Insurance Leave Act
  • Pay equity
  • Raising the minimum wage

Let’s examine each of these policies briefly in more detail.

Tax credits

With most working women playing the dual roles of breadwinner and caregiver, tax credits can help increase the financial security of American families. The Earned Income Tax Credit is a fully refundable tax credit for low-income working families. The credit is larger for those with dependent children.[xvii] The Earned Income Tax Credit is an effective anti-poverty policy that encourages work, especially among low-income single mothers.[xviii] In 2012, this tax credit lifted 6.5 million people out of poverty, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.[xix]

Additionally, there are two other tax credits that help most working families—rather than just low-income families—offset the cost of raising children. The Child Tax Credit refunds families up to $1,000 per year, per eligible child.[xx] The Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit refunds families a percentage of total child-care costs, usually 20 percent to 35 percent.[xxi] The percentage of expenses refunded to families decreases as income rises. However, unlike the Earned Income Tax Credit or Child Tax Credit, this tax credit is not refundable, which means that only families who owe income taxes can benefit from the credit.[xxii]

Tax credits can benefit both our current and our future workforce. Tax credits provide families with additional income that can be spent on children’s skill development. For example, economist Gordon B. Dahl at the University of California-San Diego and economist Lance Lochner at the University of Western Ontario find evidence that increases in family income due to the Earned Income Tax Credit increase children’s math and reading test scores.[xxiii]

The 21st Century Worker Tax Act

The 21st Century Worker Tax Cut Act, introduced by Chairman Murray, would help promote women’s economic progress in two ways. First, the act proposes a new tax cut that would let low- and middle-income two-earner families keep more of what they earn. The tax cut would provide a 20 percent deduction on a secondary earner’s income.[xxiv] Furthermore, it would provide an additional benefit to low-income two-earner families. The 20 percent deduction would reduce their earned income for calculating the Earned Income Tax Credit and thus provide a higher refundable benefit.[xxv]

This deduction will benefit working mothers and their families in two ways. By deducting a portion of the secondary earner’s income, the cut would encourage mothers’ workforce participation, thereby helping them to better financially support their families. And it would help low-income working mothers offset the costs of child care through an enhanced refundable Earned Income Tax Credit. This would again further encourage mothers’ workforce participation and boost family income. It is estimated that the tax cut would benefit 7.3 million working families.[xxvi]

Second, the 21st Century Worker Act also would help support childless working women. The Act would increase the Earned Income Tax Credit for childless workers to about $1,400 in 2015.[xxvii] Furthermore, it would increase income eligibility and expand the eligibility age for childless workers so more would be eligible for this tax credit.[xxviii] It is estimated that the Act would benefit 13 million childless workers.[xxix] With women making up nearly two-thirds of minimum wage workers,[xxx] this expansion would increase the financial security of low-income women, and provide them with a better shot at the middle class.

Child care

In order to work and remain in the labor force, mothers need affordable high-quality child care. As mentioned earlier, tax credits help families manage their child care expenses, but child care remains very expensive for most families. In 2011, the average cost for a 4-year old in center-based care ranged from less than $4,000 a year to more than $15,000 a year.[xxxi] With most working women earning less than $30,000 a year, many cannot afford care or spend a large portion of their earnings on care.[xxxii]

In addition to making child care less expensive, policy should address so called “child care cliffs” for families receiving child-care assistance. In certain states, a slight increase in parent’s earnings can push them over the income threshold for child-care assistance, which can result in a sharp increase in child care expenses.[xxxiii] Unable to pay for high-quality care, working mothers could turn down a raise or ask for a pay cut to avoid going over the “cliff.”[xxxiv]

Early childhood education is one of the most important investments in our future workforce. But not all child care meets the standards to be considered an early childhood education program. It is important that policies expand access to high-quality early childhood education programs, especially to low-income children. Research finds that children who participate in early childhood education programs are more likely to do better in school, graduate and attend college, and are less likely to get involved with crime and become teenage parents.[xxxv] There are also large benefits to society. An academic study found that for every $1 invested in high-quality preschool, the U.S. economy saves $7 in future public costs due to increases in workers’ productivity, reduced remedial education costs, and reduced crime.[xxxvi]

Head Start

The Bipartisan Budget Act of 2013, also known as the Murray-Ryan Budget Agreement, made important steps toward expanding early childhood education programs to working families. The Act provided about $8.6 billion in Head Start funding and for the President’s Early Head Start-Child Care Partnerships. This amount reversed the entire sequester cut to Head Start, about a half billion more than 2013 funding.[xxxvii] In fiscal year 2014, more low-income families can utilize this comprehensive early childhood program. About 57,000 children were dropped from the program in 2013.[xxxviii]

Family and Medical Leave Insurance

Women need polices to help them balance work and family care so they can remain in the workforce and help grow our economy. Family and medical leave insurance—also known as paid leave—would provide a critical support for workers—men and women alike—allowing them to take temporary leave from work to recover form an illness or care for a loved one.

The Family and Medical Insurance Leave Act of 2013, also known as the FAMILY Act, would relieve the financial burden of taking unpaid time off, providing paid leave for nearly every U.S. worker.[xxxix] Introduced by Representative Rosa DeLauro and Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, the FAMILY Act draws on what we have learned from states that have family leave insurance and from other federal benefit programs.

Today, only three states provide paid leave to their workers: California, New Jersey, and Rhode Island.[xl] These three states provide years of useful experience to other states interested in providing paid leave to their workers. To encourage states to offer paid leave programs, the President’s Fiscal Year 2015 budget requests a $5 million State Paid Leave Fund.[xli]

Paid leave makes it easier for women to work and have higher lifetime earnings. Research by economist Christopher J. Ruhm at the University of Virginia and researcher Jackqueline L. Teague find that paid parental leave policies are associated with higher employment-to-population ratios and decreased unemployment for all workers.[xlii] Ruhm and Teague also find that moderate leaves—10 weeks to 25 weeks—are associated with higher labor-force participation rates for women.[xliii]

By remaining in the labor force, women are able to earn more during their careers, increasing families’ financial security.[xliv] Furthermore, there is evidence that these work-family policies could also help close the wage gap between workers who provide care and those who do not.[xlv]

Pay equity

The pay gap today persists for all women. On average, working women only make 77 cents for every dollar earned by men.[xlvi] This gap means that women make $11,084 less than men per year in median earnings.[xlvii] If women were paid the same amount as their male counterparts, their additional earnings could help improve their families’ financial security as well as provide additional tax revenue to the government.

Making sure that women receive equal pay for equal work not only affects their lifetime earnings but also strengthens the economy. The Institute for Women’s Policy Research finds that if women had received pay equal to their male counterparts in 2012, the U.S. economy would have produced $447.6 billion in additional income.[xlviii] This is equal to 2.9 percent of 2012 gross domestic product, or about equal to the entire economy of the state of Virginia.[xlix]

The President’s Fiscal Year 2015 budget requests $1.1 million to help eliminate pay discrimination among federal contractors. The funds would be used by the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs to strengthen enforcement efforts.[l]

Minimum wage

Raising the minimum wage is critical for closing the wage gap. Low-wage workers are disproportionately women. Nearly two-thirds of minimum wage workers are women.[li]

Raising the minimum wage would provide many women—who represent 49.2 percent of total U.S. employment[lii]—with the economic security they need to succeed. According to calculations from the Economic Policy Institute, approximately 28 million workers would see a raise if the minimum wage were raised to $10.10 by July 2016.[liii] Fifty-five percent of the affected workers would be women. This share varies by state, and is as high as 63.3 percent in Mississippi.[liv]


Women’s employment is critical to their families and to our nation’s economy. Federal policy can do more to help women realize their full economic potential no matter where they are on the income ladder.

The Murray-Ryan Budget agreement has helped promote women’s economic progress in the workforce, but there will be more work to do after the deal expires.

We need to preserve tax credits such as the Earned Income Tax Credit and funding for early childhood education programs such as Head Start. Women are more likely to be low-wage workers, which means they and their families are more vulnerable to spending cuts. Passing the 21st Century Worker Tax Cut Act would provide two critical tax credits to low-wage working women, helping increase their earnings and give them a better shot at entering the middle class.

In addition, ensuring pay equity and providing work-family supports such as the FAMILY Act to all working women will further their economic progress. Closing the wage gap and raising the minimum wage boosts women’s earnings and could generate additional tax revenue. Work-family policies help breadwinner mothers remain in the labor force and better financially provide for their families.

As a critical driver of economic growth, women need polices that expand workforce opportunities. Yet to help all women succeed, polices must acknowledge that barriers to women’s work manifest themselves differently across the income distribution.  To echo House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, “when [all] women succeed, America succeeds.”[lv]


[i]           U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Women in the Labor Force: A Databook (Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Labor, 2013), Table 2.

[ii]          U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Women in the Labor Force: A Databook, Table 20.

[iii]         Heather Boushey, “The New Breadwinners,” in The Shriver Report: A Woman’s Nation Changes Everything, ed. Heather Boushey and Ann O’Leary (Washington, DC: Center for American Progress, 2009); Sarah Jane Glynn, The New Breadwinners: 2010 Update (Washington, DC: Center for American Progress, 2012).

[iv]         Sarah Jane Glynn, “The New Breadwinners: 2010 Update.”

[v]          Eileen Appelbaum, Heather Boushey, and John Schmitt, Economic Importance of Women’s Rising Hours of Work: Time to Update Employment Standards (Washington, DC: Center for American Progress and the Center for Economic and Policy Research, 2014).

[vi]         Ibid.

[vii]        U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Women in the Labor Force: A Databook, Table 2.

[viii]       Carmen DeNavas-Walt, Bernadette D. Proctor, and Jessica C. Smith, Income, Poverty, and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States: 2012 (Washington, DC: U.S. Census Bureau, 2013), Table A-4.

[ix]         The statistic refers to the 90th to 10th wage percentile ratio. Lawrence Mishel and others, State of Working America, 12th ed. (Washington, DC: Economic Policy Institute, 2013), Table 4-6,

[x]          Jody Heymann, Alison Earle, and Jeffrey Hayes, The Work, Family, Equity Index: How Does the U.S. Measure Up? (Montreal, Canada: Institute for Health and Social Policy, McGill University, 2009),

[xi]         U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, “Table 32. Leave Benefits: Access, Private Industry Workers, National Compensation Survey, March 2013” (U.S. Department of Labor, 2013),

[xii]        U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, “Table 32. Leave Benefits: Access, Private Industry Workers, National Compensation Survey, March 2013.”

[xiii]       Lynda Laughlin, Maternity Leave and Employment Patterns of First-Time Mothers: 1961–2008 (Washington, DC: U.S. Bureau of the Census, 2011), Table 11,

[xiv]        Francine D. Blau and Lawrence M. Kahn, Female Labor Supply: Why Is the US Falling Behind? (Bonn, Germany: Institute for the Study of Labor, 2013).

[xv]         U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, “Table 32. Leave Benefits: Access, Private Industry Workers, National Compensation Survey, March 2013.”

[xvi]        Susan J. Lambert and Julia R. Henly, “Nonstandard Work and Child-care Needs of Low-income Parents.” In Suzanne M. Bianchi, Lynne M. Casper, and Rosalind B. King, eds., Work, Family, Health, and Well-being (Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc., 2005), pp. 473–92.

[xvii]       Elaine Maag and Adam Carasso, “Taxation and the Family: What Is the Earned Income Tax Credit?” (Washington, DC: Tax Policy Center, 2014),

[xviii]      Nada Eissa and Jeffrey B. Liebman, “Labor Supply Response to the Earned Income Tax Credit,” The Quarterly Journal of Economics 111, no. 2 (1996): 605–37; Chuck Marr, Chye-Ching Huang, and Arloc Sherman, Earned Income Tax Credit Promotes Work, Encourages Children’s Success at School, Research Finds (Washington, DC: Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, 2014),

[xix]        Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, The Earned Income Tax Credit (Washington, DC: Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, 2014),

[xx]         Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, Policy Basics: The Child Tax Credit (Washington, DC: Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, 2014),

[xxi]        Elaine Maag, “The Tax Policy Briefing Book: Taxation and the Family: How Does the Tax System Subsidize Child Care Expenses?” (Washington, DC: Tax Policy Center, 2013),

[xxii]       Maag, “The Tax Policy Briefing Book: Taxation and the Family: How Does the Tax System Subsidize Child Care Expenses?”

[xxiii]      Gordon B. Dahl and Lance J. Lochner, “The Impact of Family Income on Child Achievement: Evidence from the Earned Income Tax Credit,” American Economic Review 102, no. 5 (August 2012): 1927–56.

[xxiv]      21st Century Worker Tax Cut Act, S. 2162, 113 Cong. 2 sess. (2014).

[xxv]       U.S. Senator Patty Murray, “Senator Patty Murray Introduces The 21st Century Worker Tax Cut Act,” Press release, March 26, 2014,

[xxvii]     U.S. Senator Patty Murray, “Senator Patty Murray Introduces The 21st Century Worker Tax Cut Act.”

[xxviii]    Ibid.

[xxix]      U.S. Senate Budget Committee, “The 21st Century Worker Tax Act.”

[xxx]       David Madland and Keith Miller, “Raising the Minimum Wage Would Boost the Incomes of Millions of Women and Their Families” (Center for American Progress Action Fund, 2013),

[xxxi]      Melissa Boteach and Shawn Fremstad, “Putting Women at the Center of Policymaking,” in The Shriver Report: A Woman’s Nation Pushes Back from the Brink (Washington, DC: Center for American Progress, 2014), 244–79.

[xxxii]     Ibid.

[xxxiii]    Ibid.

[xxxiv]      Ibid; NBC News, “Working Americans turn down pay raise to avoid ‘cliff effect’,” May 24, 2013,

[xxxv]     James J. Heckman and Dimitriy V. Masterov, “The Productivity Argument for Investing in Young Children,” Review of Agricultural Economics 29 (2007): 446–93.

[xxxvi]    Arthur J. Reynolds et al., “Age 21 Cost-Benefit Analysis of the Title I Chicago Child-Parent Centers,” Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis 24, no. 4 (Winter 2002): 267–303.

[xxxvii]   Committee on Appropriations – Democrats, “Summary of Omnibus Appropriations Act,” United States House of Representatives, (last accessed May 2014); Harry Stein, “The Omnibus Spending Bill Reveals the Economic Consequences of the Murray-Ryan Budget Deal” (Center for American Progress, 2014),

[xxxviii]  Stein, “The Omnibus Spending Bill Reveals the Economic Consequences of the Murray-Ryan Budget Deal.”

[xxxix]    National Partnership for Women and Families, “Fact Sheet: The Family and Medical Insurance Leave Act (FAMILY Act)” (Washington, DC: National Partnership for Women & Families, 2014),

[xl]         National Partnership for Women and Families, “Paid Family & Medical Leave: An Overview,” (2012),; Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training, “Temporary Disability Insurance,” (last accessed May 2014).

[xli]        Department of Labor, FY 2015 Department of Labor Budget in Brief (Washington, DC: Department of Labor, 2014),

[xlii]       Christopher Ruhm and Jackqueline L. Teague, “Parental Leave Policies in Europe and North America,” Gender and the Family Issues in the Workplace, 1997, 133–56.

[xliii]      Ibid.

[xliv]       MetLife Mature Market Institute, The MetLife Study of Caregiving Costs to Working Caregivers: Double Jeopardy for Baby Boomers Caring for Their Parents (Westport, CT: MetLife Mature Market Institute, 2011).

[xlv]        Jane Waldfogel, “The Family Gap for Young Women in the United States and Britain: Can Maternity Leave Make a Difference?,” Journal of Labor Economics 16, no. 3 (1998): 505–45.

[xlvi]       DeNavas-Walt, Proctor, and Smith, Income, Poverty, and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States: 2012, Table A-4.

[xlvii]      National Women’s Law Center, “How the Wage Gap Hurts Women and Families,” (Washington, DC: National Women’s Law Center, 2013),

[xlviii]     Heidi Hartmann and Jeffrey Hayes, How Equal Pay for Working Women Would Reduce Poverty and Grow the American Economy (Washington, DC: Institute for Women’s Policy Research, 2014).

[xlix]       Ibid; U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, Widespread Economic Growth in 2012, News release, June 6, 2013), Table 4,

[l]           Department of Labor, FY 2015 Department of Labor Budget in Brief.

[li]          Madland and Miller, “Raising the Minimum Wage Would Boost the Incomes of Millions of Women and Their Families.”

[lii]         David Cooper, Raising the Federal Minimum Wage to $10.10 Would Lift Wages for Million and Provide a Modest Economic Boost, (Washington, DC: Economic Policy Institute, 2013),

[liii]        Ibid.

[liv]        Ibid.

[lv]         Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, “When Women Succeed, America Succeeds: An Economic Agenda for Women and Families,” (last accessed May 2014).

Lunchtime Must-Read: Ricardo Hausmann: Technological Diffusion and Economic Theory

Ricardo Hausmann: Technological Diffusion and Economic Theory: “One idea about which economists agree almost unanimously is that…

…huge income difference between rich and poor countries [are] attributable to neither capital nor education, but rather to “technology”… [which] sounds more meaningful than confessing our ignorance, [but] it really is not…. Devices can be put in a container and shipped around the world, while recipes, blueprints, and how-to manuals can be posted online…. So the Internet and free trade should make the ideas and devices that we call “technology” available everywhere…. Daron Acemoglu and James Robinson’s book Why Nations Fail… [argues] essentially that technology does not diffuse because the ruling elite does not want it to…. I am also struck by how often governments that embrace the goal of shared growth–post-apartheid South Africa is a good example–fail to achieve it. Such governments promote schooling, free trade, property rights, social programs, and the Internet, and yet their countries’ economies remain stuck. If technology is just devices and ideas, what is holding them back?

The problem is that a key component of technology is knowhow, which… neither involves nor can be acquired through comprehension… tacit knowledge… an ability to recognize patterns and respond with effective actions…. Knowhow moves to new areas when the brains that hold it move there. Once there, they can train others. Moreover, now that knowhow is becoming increasingly collective, not individual, diffusion is becoming even slower…. Progress happens by moving into what the theoretical biologist Stuart Kauffman calls the “adjacent possible”… technology does not diffuse because of the nature of technology itself.

Afternoon Must-Read: Danielle Kurtzleben: Don’t Panic About Slow Economic Growth Last quarter. Panic About 6 Years of It

Danielle Kurtzleben: Don’t panic about slow economic growth last quarter. Panic about 6 years of it: “Individual-quarter GDP charts miss the bigger picture…

…that this recovery is truly, phenomenally disappointing. Economists Atif Mian, professor of economics and public policy at Princeton University, and Amir Sufi, professor of finance at the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business, show this in a new post today on their House of Debt blog:

Don t panic about slow economic growth last quarter Panic about 6 years of it Vox

Evening Must-Read: Martin Wolf: A more equal society will not hinder growth –

Martin Wolf: A more equal society will not hinder growth: “Over the past half century, notes the IMF…

inequality has been rising in high-income countries and falling in developing countries… the difference between market and post-intervention inequality in high-income economies is smaller than elsewhere…. Inequality reduces growth. The direct impact of redistribution is negligibly negative. But the indirect effect, via reduced inequality, is beneficial to growth…. Increasing already very high levels of redistribution will harm growth. Yet, below the policy extreme, further redistribution does not harm growth…. Not only does inequality damage growth, but efforts to remedy it are, on the whole, not harmful. These are just statistical relationships derived from data that cover a large number of heterogeneous countries. Nonetheless, the findings suggest that trade-offs between redistribution and growth need not be a big worry…”

Why I Do Not Credit Claims That America’s Poor Have in Truth Been Getting Much Richer Over the Past Generation…

The Richer You Are the Older You ll Get Real Time Economics WSJ

Joseph Zumbrun: The Richer You Are the Older You’ll Get: Economist Barry Bosworth at the Brookings Institution…

…crunched the numbers and found that the richer you are, the longer you’ll live. And it’s a gap that is widening, particularly among women…