Our projects are designed to empower policy makers to create positive change. With a focus on collaboration and outreach, we provide original, standards-based research on key policy issues.
SCEPA joined with the Economic Policy Institute on Capitol Hill to brief congressional staff and policy experts on tax expenditures, or incentives given through the tax code without scrutiny by Congress.
SCEPA economists are working on the prospects for a more progressive economic order to emerge from the shock of the recession. They have published papers and documents that place current events in a longer-term context as well as policy proposals to deal with short-term concerns. They are also documenting the emerging discussion of how the discipline of economics is reacting to the Great Recession and the questioning of conventional economic analysis.
Lance Taylor, a SCEPA Faculty Fellow, presents an overview of his new book, Maynard’s Revenge, in a Google Tech Talk.
The book, published this November by Harvard University Press, is a timely analysis of mainstream macroeconomics, posing the need for a more useful and realistic economic analysis that can provide a better understanding of the ongoing global financial and economic crisis.
The government spends $143 billion through tax breaks in an effort to expand pension coverage and security. Yet, over half of the American workforce does not have a pension. Retirement insecurity hurts business plans, workers’ lives and retiree well-being. Reform is needed.
SCEPA’s Guaranteeing Retirement Income Project, sponsored by the Rockefeller Foundation and in collaboration with Demos and the Economic Policy Institute, has a plan to guarantee safe and secure retirement income for all Americans.
- Published on Tuesday, June 24, 2014
On June 23, 2014, SCEPA Director Teresa Ghilarducci appeared on MSNBC's UP with Steve Kornacki along with Neera Tanden from the Center for American Progress and Paul Sonn with the National Employment Law Project to discuss the bigger economic picture that necessitates raising the minimum wage. The panel discussed the facts that productivity gains have far eclipsed wage gains, that the federal minimum wage has been stagnant since 2009, and that the average hourly pay has declined over the past 12 months. The panel overwhelming agreed the best way to address these structural economic issues is through increased collective bargaining. A recent working paper by Teresa Ghilarducci and Joelle Saad-Lessler find two factors that significantly impact the likelihood of obtaining employer-offered benefits - time spent unemployed and union status. Therefore, attempts to raise wages must address the decline in workers' bargaining power and change the norms relating to benefits and wage provision. The City of Seattle has taken the largest step in addressing the wage gap by elevating their minimum wage to $15 an hour, while Massachusetts offers the highest state level minimum wage at $11 an hour. Teresa Ghilarducci ended the MSNBC panel with a summary of the advantages of unionization for both workers and employers.
- Published on Tuesday, June 24, 2014
On Tuesday, June 17th, the New York City Central Labor Council, AFL-CIO, joined SCEPA to host 'Confronting New York City's Retirement Crisis,' a conference with New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer and New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli.
At the event, Scott Stringer committed to address the retirement crisis head-on with the creation of an advisory panel to examine reform measures to provide retirement security for all New Yorkers.
- Published on Monday, June 23, 2014
SCEPA's newly published 'Retirement Readiness in New York City: Trends in Plan Sponsorship, Participation and Income Security,' conducted at the request of New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer, reveals a 17% drop (from 49% to 41%) between 2001 and 2011 in the percentage of New York City workers participating in a retirement plan at work. Only 12% of New Yorkers had a defined benefit (DB) plan. A DB plan guarantees workers a pension, whereas defined contribution (DC) plans such as 401(k)s and IRAs, do not. As a result, those with DB plans maintained an average income replacement rate of 90% versus those with a DC plan who had an average of replacement rate of 48%.
The consequences of declining employer-sponsored plans and low replacement rates threaten workers' standard of living in retirement and raise the spector of increased poverty levels among the city's older residents. This research makes clear that the current system of retirement savings only protects the dwindline number of workers with traditional DB plans from a significant reduction in their living standards at retirement.