- On Capitol Hill
- On Wall Street
- In the Press
- Policy Reform Work
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.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics today reported an unemployment rate of 3.7% for workers aged 55 and older in October. However, the unemployment rate fails to reflect the increasing concentration of older workers in low-wage service jobs.
First, older workers are more likely than younger workers to be in low-wage jobs. A low-wage job pays less than two-thirds the median wage, or $539 per week. In September, 27.1% of full-time workers aged 55 and older were in low-wage jobs compared to 19.0% of younger workers.
Second, the share of older workers in low-wage jobs has increased over time, while the share for younger workers has stayed the same. The September share of older workers in low-wage jobs, 27.1%, is 1.4 percentage points higher than the share ten years ago (25.7%).
Third, women are the majority of workers in seven of the top 10 low-wage jobs for older workers, primarily service occupations. They make up more than 75% of older workers in four of the top ten jobs, despite being a minority of older workers.
Older workers in low-paying service jobs face extra difficulty saving for retirement. This may be a particular problem for older women workers who are unlikely to have access to a retirement plan. Living paycheck to paycheck, even those with coverage have little room to cut consumption to increase retirement savings.
To enjoy a secure retirement, low-wage workers need a retirement plan, not a low wage job. The need is becoming ever more pressing as the Social Security Full Retirement Age is increased, equivalent to a cut in benefits for those who do not delay retirement. Guaranteed Retirement Accounts (GRAs) supplement Social Security in combating old-age poverty by providing all workers a retirement savings vehicle with low fees and guaranteed growth, allowing even low-wage workers a path to secure retirement.
This fall, SCEPA Economist Willi Semmler is serving as a visiting professor in the department of economics and law at La Sapienza University of Rome. Invited by Professor Giovanni Di Bartolomeo, he is collaborating with faculty to research financial markets, the macroeconomy, and the financing of climate policies.
Semmler is an internationally recognized expert in the field of climate economics and leads SCEPA's Economics of Climate Change project. His recent work includes the Oxford Handbook on the Macroeconomics of Global Warming with Lucas Bernard and numerous papers on the economics of climate change and green bonds. Earlier this year, Semmler served as senior research associate at the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA) in Laxenburg, Austria, where he worked on models of economic growth under environmental constraints.
SCEPA Director Teresa Ghilarducci was named to Next Avenue’s 2016 list of Influencers in Aging for her work to reform the broken retirement savings system by giving every American a Guaranteed Retirement Account. Each year, the Influencers in Aging list recognizes 50 thought leaders at the forefront of changing how we age and how we think about aging. Influencers are leaders in improving the lives of older adults and their families and communities. Below is Next Avenue's insert describing Ghilarducci's work.