Located in New York City, SCEPA is at the center of a network of leaders dedicated to progressive and innovative education and ideas.
SCEPA faculty are investigating the economics of climate change, from mitigation proposals to implementation.
SCEPA focuses on the U.S. economy, with an awareness of the global context of domestic economic developments.
A research institute within The New School’s Economics Department, SCEPA is dedicated to collaboration between today’s experts and tomorrow’s leading economists.
SCEPA is working to reform a retirement system that is failing Americans.
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.
by Eloy Fisher, SCEPA Research Assistant
Foreign Policy magazine's special report, "Unconventional Wisdom," features commentary challenging the world's most dangerous thinking. It includes an article by James Galbraith, an economist and University of Texas professor, who makes an unconventional argument supporting lowering - rather than raising - the retirement age.
The strength of Galbraith's argument is that retirement reform can indeed be an effective policy tool against the financial crisis. If the right policy prescriptions address all three prongs of the issue - an appropriate determination of the retirement age, strengthening pension income, and providing medical care for the elderly - this could serve to unclog the labor market, lower unemployment, and increase productivity and entrepreneurship.
A critique of his article is that he does not address pension income and medical care, and how to fund and arrange both. Lowering the retirement age will increase the amount of people eligible to receive benefits, and, therefore, increase costs in the current hybrid PAYGO system. Unfortunately, I cannot fully agree with Galbraith's argument for two reasons. First, cheap imports are likely to become a thing of the past (with inflation increasing in China, news reports warn the age of cheap clothing will soon be over). Second, productivity gains are far from certain. These gains depend on current innovation, which is rapidly moving elsewhere, allowing others to reap its rewards.
This uncertainty is an opportunity. Social insurance programs were created during the New Deal to address the problem of how to achieve income stability and prevent old age poverty. Pension income, however, needs to be supplemented (and financed) somehow. For this reason, one could argue that people need to save more. A sensible solution would be making Guaranteed Retirement Accounts mandatory, a revenue-neutral plan to supplement basic Social Security to achieve the objective of preventing downward vertical mobility for working Americans.
Reporter James Pilcher reports on the state of retirement in Cincinnati and the massive losses 401k retirement accounts sustained as a result of the recession. He questions what the new normalcy of retirement will be now that traditional retirement accounts are on the decline and 401k accounts do not seem to be enough.
Teresa Ghilarducci's response to the article shows that there is a way to ensure that every American have a secure retirement.
by Joelle Saad-Lessler, SCEPA Economist/Statistician
On Sunday Jan 9, 2011, I attended a panel discussion at the ASSA meetings in Denver, Colorado on the budget deficit. The session was chaired by Gregory Mankiw, and the participants were Douglas Holtz-Eakin, Douglas Elmendorf, Alan Auerbach, and Donald Marron. The speakers highlighted the difficulties involved in reducing the deficit, and the importance of tackling this issue sooner, rather than later. The panelists also commented on the recommendations of the Bowles-Simpson commission. Namely, they all agreed that the commission failed to deal with the biggest driver of rising budget deficits – health care costs. The reason the Bowles-Simpson commission chose to tackle Social Security was because the problems of Social Security are relatively tractable. It is a program where policy makers have access to various dials and levers they can fiddle with to get a definitive impact. However, with health care, there are no clear dials to turn or levers to push. In other words, health care costs continue to defy efforts to contain them.