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.
On August 8, 2013, SCEPA Faculty Fellow Rick McGahey, author of our monthly analysis of the employment report, published an opinion piece on CNN.com weighing in on the deliberations for the next chairman of the Federal Reserve.
Rather than focusing on the candidates' policy positions, McGahey focuses on the role of the Fed Chairman to regulate the country's banks, asking if contender Larry Summers would be a tough regulator?
The title of the article, "Don't Let Larry Summers Lead the Fed," gives a clear answer on the author's stance. To support his position, McGahey gives a solid history of Summers past positions to support his argument that this candidate would be more lapdog than watchdog.
by Rick McGahey, SCEPA Faculty Fellow
This morning’s release of July’s employment report shows a weak, anemic economy, stuck in low gear and incapable of generating widely shared prosperity without stronger government assistance. The unemployment rate trended down slightly, to 7.4 percent, but the job creation number is the bad news. Only 162,000 new jobs were reported, well below the consensus forecast of 183,000. At July’s job creation rate, it will take us almost 5 years to reach full employment, an unemployment rate of 5.5 percent.
These weak jobs numbers are consistent with reported slow economic growth. Second quarter GDP was 1.7 percent, following a very weak 1.1 percent rate in the first quarter, meaning our average growth rate for the first half of 2013 was 1.4 percent.
Some of this weakness is due to the impact of government spending cuts—the federal “sequestration” that has gone into effect. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates these spending cuts will hold down economic growth in FY2014 by 0.7 percent of GDP, and cost us 900,000 dearly needed jobs. (They also note that long-term deficit reduction is necessary for economic stability, but the time for that program is after we restore healthy economic growth.)
Yet the sequestration spending levels, originally discussed as a one-time cut to appease House Republicans, are now becoming the new baseline for federal spending. And just last week, Republicans had to stop a vote on transportation and infrastructure spending because the cuts were too deep to accept, while the Tea Party caucus wanted even deeper cuts, a recipe for further economic decline.
President Obama recently gave a strong speech on job creation in Jacksonville, Florida, and we can only hope he will keep hammering this message (and not confuse the issue by also emphasizing deficit reduction, as he too often does). The American economy is going nowhere fast, and today’s jobs report only underscores the problem.
A recent article in Institutional Investor by Fran Hawthorne, "Claims that 401(k)s Beat Defined Benefit Plans Stirs Controversy," analyzes the findings of an Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI) Issue Brief that claims that defined contribution (DC) plans do better than defined denefit (DB) plans for all income levels.
Hawthorne's critique points out the weaknesses of the EBRI study. These include the fact that the study includes only data on voluntary 401(k) plans, which have higher contribution rates than the more prevalent automatic enrollment plans, that it uses unrealistically high rates of return on stocks, and that it ignores the fact that employers contribute 'free money' toward DB plans, but do not need to contribute to DC plans.
Hawthorne is thorough. However, she overlooks two significant problems. First, EBRI overstates the retirement plan coverage and participation rates for workers, especially following an unemployment spell; this is especially important in the aftermath of the Great Recession. Second, the study uses an implausibly high growth rate of average hourly earnings. EBRI's findings are partly a result of these skewed assumptions.
These concerns are spelled out in a Huffington Post Business blog, by SCEPA Director Teresa Ghilarducci and SCEPA Research Economist Joelle Saad-Lessler.