Weekend reading: “Read this in 3D” 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

Many workers in the United States who are paid by the hour are increasingly subject to unpredictable schedules. A new report from Heather Boushey and Bridget Ansel argues that these schedules have economic consequences for individuals, firms, and the broader U.S. economy. The coauthors break down the report in a blog post here.

On Tuesday, Equitable Growth released its latest round of working papers with the research covering trends in inequality, the creation of a data set of historical state and local minimum wages, and the impact of the Great Recession in Detroit.

Kavya Vaghul writes on the new research on the impact of the latest recession on the financial well-being of low and moderate income households in the Detroit area. These households were struggling before and the recession only made things worse.

Researchers and policymakers examining inequality often focus solely on income even though wealth and consumption inequality occasionally have their time in the spotlight. But how about looking at how the three trends interact? Two of our new working papers do just that.

In recent years, corporate profits have increased relative to the gross domestic product of the U.S. economy. But U.S. corporate tax revenue as a share of GDP hasn’t increased. Is the corporate income tax so flawed we should scrap it? Or does it need a big overhaul?

Links from around the web

Larry Summers continues his series outlining his disappointment with the proceedings at the Jackson Hole conference last month. “On balance, I think the Fed’s complacency about its current toolbox is unwarranted.” [larrysummers.com]

Speaking of the Federal Reserve, Tim Duy writes on the possibility of the central bank continuing to push the unemployment rate lower. “The Fed seems to place almost zero weight on the probability that the natural rate of unemployment is significantly below their estimates.” [fed watch]

One potential future prospect for the labor markets of high-income countries is that the majority of workers will end up in “make-work” jobs that have very low productivity. But is that already happening? Matt Klein looks at the data and finds that since 1990, 96 percent of net job growth has happened in industries where productivity growth is low or hard to measure. [ft alphaville]

Some jobs are likely to vanish and employment in these occupations is not evenly distributed across the United States. Emily Badger looks at a new report that tries to understand which parts of the country are most likely to see jobs disappear in the long run. [wonkblog]

In economic circles, a now famous graph of global income growth since 1988 shows strong growth for the middle and the top of the income distribution. But how would that graph look for smaller locations such as, say, the 50 states?  Quoctrung Bui makes those graphs and writes them up. [the upshot]

Friday figure

Smeeding income/wealth mobility
Whether it's wealth or income, those at the top and the bottom are very likely to stay there
Chance an individual starting in a quintile ends up in each quintile later in life.

Figure from “Inequality of income, wealth, or consumption? How about all three?” by Nick Bunker

September 9, 2016


Nick Bunker
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