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 Friday, May 02, 2014
by Worldly Philosopher Anthony Bonen
Recently, Paul Krugman (here, here and here) has taken a keen interest in a heterodox economist’s critique of mainstream economics (and not for the first time). In reponse, Tom Palley has issued solid rejoinders to Krugman and Simon Wren-Lewis. However, I fear the brilliant and (rightfully) esteemed Nobel laureate has missed the key point of heterodox’s frustration with marginal productivity theory. So, I follow his call to “continue to debate how we do economics.”
A key issue in distribution debates is the fair remuneration of capital and labor. Marginal productivity theory says, very basically, that the real wage and the (real) rate of profit are equal to the marginal increase in production added by the last unit of labor and capital, respectively.
Many economists, Krugman points out, do not believe this to be a cardinal truth of capitalist economies. Rather, he says [my emphasis]:
"there are plenty of economists who are willing to use marginal-product models (as gadgets, not as fundamental truth) who don’t at all accept the sanctity of the market distribution of income."
That word – gadget – really stunned me. It sounds benign, innocuous even. Yet marginal product models are no mere “gadget”. They are the entrée for modern macroeconomics.
- Published on Thursday, April 24, 2014
The report studies CEO-to-worker compensation ratios across industries, finding Accommodation and Food Services to be the most unequal sector in the economy. This fact is driven by the extreme pay disparity of the fast food industry, which is also one of the fastest growing employers in the nation.
Demos' research supports the renewed call, started by Robert Reich's Inequality for All and Thomas Piketty's Capital in the Twenty-First Century, among others, to question increasing inequality, it's link to economic instability and what is driving it.
- Published on Wednesday, April 23, 2014
The Bipartisan Policy Center (BPC) today launched its Personal Savings Initiative (PSI). The initiative will examine whether savings rates and available savings vehicles are meeting the retirement goals of Americans and the nation's investment needs.
Co-chaired by former Senate Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad, a Democrat, and Jim Lockhart, former Deputy Commissioner of the Social Security Administration under President George W. Bush, the initiative will issue recommendations from a bipartisan commission, which includes SCEPA Director Teresa Ghilarducci.
According to Forbes' coverage of the launch announcement, "Lockhart cited a recent Gallup poll that found that not having enough money for retirement is the top financial worry among middle-aged Americans. Then he recapped some sobering retirement statistics to show why the issue is so important and why Congress should take it up."
The initiative will address important financial security issues, including, but not limited to:
- The impact of federal policies on private savings.
- The finances and operation of Social Security Disability Insurance and its interaction with private disability insurance.
- Interaction of Social Security with personal savings, especially those in tax-advantaged retirement savings vehicles.
- The impact of long-term care needs on retirement security.
- The role of homeownership and student debt.
During 2014, the PSI will hold roundtables and issue a series of white papers highlighting challenges related to retirement savings, defined contribution accounts, annuities, Social Security Disability Insurance, and the intersection among housing, higher-education debt, and savings. The commission will develop a set of policy recommendations and model their impact on personal savings, retirement readiness, the macro economy and the federal budget to be presented in a final report in early 2015.