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, March 11, 2011
As part of the Schwartz Center for Economic Policy Analysis and the Economics Department Spring Lecture Series, Truman Bewley of Yale University presented a lecture Tuesday March 2 on "An Interview Study of the Pricing Process"
- Published on Tuesday, March 08, 2011
Recently, there has been a flurry of activity in the 401(k) debate (see below). The New York Times and the Wall Street Journal both spotlighted the issue in the past few weeks. In one of the articles, SCEPA's director, Dr. Teresa Ghilarducci, highlighted the drawbacks of these plans with respect to more traditional defined benefit pensions, which have been slowly replaced by 401(k) plans. The articles are linked below.
A consensus amongst experts seems to be slowly taking shape:
1. High administrative fees make 401(k) plans undesirable.
2. Tax expenditures originally devised to help middle-income families actually accrue to top earners and not working savers.
3. During recessions, 401(k)s lose their value, act as a de-stabilizing influence in the economy and offer low income replacement rates for those unfortunate enough to retire during downturns.
Yet, the reports offer a glimmer of hope. Some experts are giving careful thought as to the consequences of 401(k)s and how to deal with their misgivings. Indeed, the option of extending these plans for wider participation seems to be slowly fading away. This will open space for new alternatives and an honest and frank conversation regarding the retirement needs of American families.
1. Greenhouse, Steven. "Making the Most Out of Less." New York Times, March 3, 2011.
2. Greenhouse, Steven. "Pension Funds Strained, States Look at 401(k) Plans." New York Times, February 28, 2011.
3. Ghilarducci, Teresa. "A Bad Deal for Taxpayers." New York Times Room for Debate. February 28, 2011.
4. Munnell. Alicia. "High Risks, High Costs." New York Times Room for Debate. February 28, 2011.
5. Browning, E.S. "Retiring Boomers Find 401(k) Plans Fall Short". The Wall Street Journal. February 19, 2011.
6. Konzal, Mike. "Buried by Bad Mortgages". New York Times Room for Debate. February 4, 2011.
Also, Pensions and Investments magazine is full of resources about plans to overhaul state pension funds.
7. Diamond, Randy. "DB Plans in Cross Hairs in State Budget Battles". Pensions and Investments, March 7, 2011.
- Published on Friday, March 04, 2011
Next week, The Brian Lehrer Show will be focusing on public and private pensions and alternatives to the current retirement saving systems. As part of their series, they will be speaking with two representatives of SCEPA's Guaranteed Retirement Income Project. On Tuesday, March 15th, SCEPA Director Teresa Ghilarducci will be joining the show to discuss public pensions. On Wednesday, March 16th, Robert Hiltonsmith, policy analyst at Demos, our project partner, will be discussing the findings of his recent report "The Failure of the 401(k)."
The Brian Lehrer show broadcasts in New York on FM and AM from 10a.m. to noon and worldwide on the web at www.wnyc.org.