Weekend reading

This is a weekly post we publish on Fridays with links to articles that touch on economic inequality and growth. The first section is a round-up of what Equitable Growth has published this week and the second is work we’re highlighting from elsewhere. We won’t be the first to share these articles, but we hope by taking a look back at the whole week, we can put them in context.

Equitable Growth round-up

Although the number of hours that people work has declined in most countries since 1979, that hasn’t been the case for most Americans. What’s worse, new research shows that Americans are working more “strange hours,” or nights and weekends. Bridget Ansel explains how these unorthodox schedules hurt workers’ individual and familial well-being.

Two weeks ago, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission formally adopted a significant reform in the Jumpstart Our Business Startups (JOBS) Act that allows companies to crowdsource their funding through the internet. Nick Bunker, however, is a bit skeptical of whether this is a good idea.

J.W. Mason, a John Jay College economist and Roosevelt Institute fellow, made the case earlier this year that the U.S. financial system has become more focused on getting cash out of firms instead of channeling money to companies that invest it. Nick Bunker points out that this practice of “disgorging the cash” can undermine economic growth.

Links from around the web

In the ‘80s and ‘90s, a number of economists thought that monetary union would encourage cross-border investment and trade, resulting in slower inflation, faster productivity growth, dampened business cycles, and converging living standards. Matt Klein argues, however, that this didn’t work in the case of the Euro, and that the single currency was flawed to begin with. [ft alphaville]

Twenty-nine percent of the U.S. workforce has a required state license for their profession—up from just 5 percent in the 1950s. The President’s Council of Economic Advisers thinks the expansion of these licenses is hurting the economy by making it harder for people to start their own businesses, but Lydia DePillis explains why pushing back against occupational licensing isn’t so easy. [wa post]

A number of economists have long suggested an association between full employment and higher pay—their thinking being that employers have to offer higher pay if they want to get and retain the employees they need. With that said, Jared Bernstein projects what wage growth might look like once we hit full employment. [jared bernstein blog]

Recent research from Princeton University economists Anne Case and Angus Deaton shows that the mortality rate for white Americans ages 45 to 54 has been on the rise since 1999. But is economic instability really the reason for this increasing mortality rate, as many have speculated? Lane Kenworthy isn’t so sure. [lane kenworthy]

Many Americans still like to misrepresent the French as lazy and unemployed, but that simply isn’t true. In fact, as Paul Krugman points out, France actually has a higher share of prime-age workers (ages 25 to 54) with jobs than the United States. [ny times]

November 13, 2015

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