Weekend reading: the fiscal multipliers, childcare, and maximum employment 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

Recessions are risky affairs. But who is most at risk when gross domestic product fluctuates? A new paper looks at how changes in GDP translates into changes in earnings for different groups in the United States.

Equitable Growth released two new papers as part of its working paper series this week. The papers look at how workers value alternative work arrangements and the impact of fiscal stimulus.

Harvard University economist Gabriel Chodorow-Reich, the author of the second paper, writes on how taking results from studies looking at the impact of fiscal policy across places shows a large fiscal multiplier at the national level.

Does an aging population necessarily mean that economic growth will slow down? A new paper argues that robots and increased investment in technology will come to the rescue.

Bridget Ansel and Matt Markezich go to the data and show the extent to which the United States spends far less on childcare than other high-income countries.

Data on unionization membership in 2016 was released on February 26, showing a decline in the unionization rate to 10.7 percent. Heather Boushey writes on the force behind the long-term decline in unionization.

Links from around the web

The decline in the labor force participation rate for men has drawn quite a bit of attention recently. But women have been dropping out of the labor force as well. Their reasons for doing so, as Patricia Cohen explains, are very different than men’s. [nyt]

One of those reasons is prohibitively expensive child care. Bryce Covert dives into the problems with the broken system in the United States. [elle]

What do we mean by “maximum employment”? Most people define it as the rate at which inflation starts accelerating. But Ryan Avent argues that we need to come up with a new definition that considers the options workers have. [the economist]

Maximum employment is usually defined by looking at the unemployment rate. But due to changes in the labor force participation rate, the official U.S. unemployment rate might not be a great measure right now. Jordan Weissmann makes the case for looking at the prime-age employment rate instead. [slate]

There are many reasons economists are worried about the future pace of economic growth. One such reason is the decline in idea generation. Dietz Vollrath writes on a new paper looking at the decline in new ideas, but cautions that we shouldn’t panic just yet. [growth economics]

What President Trump doesn’t understand about job creation and destruction, as explained by Equitable Growth’s Nick Bunker [Vox}

Friday figure

Figure from “Falling behind the rest of the world: Childcare in the United States” by Bridget Ansel and Matt Markezich

January 27, 2017


Nick Bunker
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