Weekend reading: “If you liked those links, check out these” edition

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 published this week and the second is the 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

Discrimination in the U.S. labor market is a very real thing. Looking at new research on racial differences in bail bonds, Heather Boushey writes about the unfortunate power of stereotypes in decision making.

The Federal Reserve hiked interest rates last week believing that inflation will soon increase as the U.S. labor market is already quite tight. But if this forecast—based on the Phillips Curve—a good guide these days? Doesn’t seem like it.

In the latest installment of Equitable Growth in Conversation, Heather Boushey talks to former Administrator of the Wage and Hour Division of the U.S. Department of Labor David Weil about his research on the “fissured workplace,” the influence of monopsony power, and his experience in government.

Links from around the web

Senate Republicans introduce a health care bill this week that will make significant changes to the current law, the Affordable Care Act. Margot Sanger-Katz writes how the new bill, if enacted, will shift money from the poor to the rich, increasing inequality. [the upshot]

The proposed acquisition of Whole Foods Market Inc. by Amazon.com Inc.  has the potential to reduce prices for consumers in the short run. That would make it seem like a success under current antitrust law. Lina Khan argues that standard no longer makes sense. [nyt]

Amazon is well known for its propensity to quickly invest in a number of services and products in an attempt to try something new. Comparing Amazon to the more reticent General Electric Co., Grep Ip argues the U.S. economy needs more companies will to take a flyer on investment. [wsj]

“Ultimately, the Fed sees the risks associated with undershooting the natural rate of unemployment as greater than those of low inflation,” writes Tim Duy in a discussion of the Federal Reserve’s confusing U.S. labor market projections. [bloomberg]

The United States is on the precipice of some significant demographic changes as the U.S. Census Bureau projects the population will get older and less white. What part of the country looks most like our demographic future? According to Jed Kolko, it’s Las Vegas. [fivethirtyeight]

Friday figure

History of Labor Participation Interactive
An interactive look at participation in the labor force by age
Click an area on the chart to isolate that category. Slide along the GDP growth graph under the chart to look at a different time period.
Slide to pick a year (recessions are shaded), red lines indicate a major change to the CPS survey.
Note: This chart is updated monthly. Data is from the Census Bureau's Current Population Survey. Basic monthly data are used and all months are averaged together for each year. The survey was revised in 1989 and 1994; changes to both question wording and survey weights result in discontinuities in these years that may not be attributable to real changes in the economy. GDP data from: US. Bureau of Economic Analysis, Gross Domestic Product [GDP], retrieved from FRED, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis https://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/series/GDP. Recession data from: Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, NBER based Recession Indicators for the United States from the Period following the Peak through the Trough [USREC], retrieved from FRED, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis https://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/series/USREC, March 1, 2016.

Figure is from “An interactive history of U.S. labor force participation” by Austin Clemens and Nick Bunker

June 23, 2017


Nick Bunker
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