Topic: Economic Growth and Productivity

Spin Alert: DOE loans are losing money, not making profits

By Donald Marron  ::  November 17th, 2014

The Department of Energy snookered the media last week with a report that seems to show that its clean energy lending programs are profitable. “Remember Solyndra? Those loans are making money,” went a typical headline. Unfortunately, that’s not true. Taxpayers are losing money on DOE lending. Less than originally expected, and less than you would […]

Read More

Is marriage a solution to income inequality?

By Zach McDade  ::  October 29th, 2014

A new report sponsored by the American Enterprise Institute and the Institute for Family Studies provides evidence that marriage may be a solution to income inequality. As the figure below (taken from the report) shows, married and unmarried households have had growing inequality in incomes. Median family income grew substantially between 1979 and 2012 for […]

Read More


Hurricane Sandy: What we still haven’t learned

By Carlos Martín  ::  October 29th, 2014

Exactly two years ago, Superstorm Sandy made landfall in southern New Jersey. Within hours, its impacts were felt across more than a dozen states, particularly the densely populated New York and New Jersey coasts. Along with its toll on human lives, Sandy—the second-costliest hurricane in US history—dramatically altered livelihoods. One year ago, we posed a […]

Read More

If voters approve hikes in November, 29 states will have minimum wages above the federal rate

By Richard C. Auxier  ::  October 22nd, 2014

Discussions about income inequality have put raising the minimum wage on the political agenda. But because opposition in Congress blocked an increase to the national rate of $7.25, the debate has moved to the states. This November, minimum wage increases are on the ballot in five states: Alaska, Arkansas, Illinois, Nebraska, and South Dakota. The […]

Read More

Food and medical benefits don’t reach many eligible families in need

By Pam Loprest  ::  October 8th, 2014

Evidence shows that public benefits for food and medical needs can lift families out of poverty and support their ability to get and keep jobs, but only if assistance gets to those in need. In five states alone—Colorado, Idaho, Illinois, North Carolina, and South Carolina—over 1.1 million people eligible for food and medical assistance were […]

Read More


A promising solution for the prolonged youth employment crisis

By Zach McDade  ::  October 3rd, 2014

Today’s September jobs report brought some good news for the “jobless recovery”: last month, our economy added an estimated 248,000 new jobs, helping drive the unemployment rate down to 5.9 percent, a six-year low. But the employment situation remains dire for young people, especially young people of color, who face jobless rates up to three […]

Read More

Want the best return on your tax dollar investment? Invest in children

By Heather Hahn  ::  September 30th, 2014

It is no secret that investments in children’s health, education, and overall well-being pay high dividends for taxpayers and the economy as a whole. So why will the federal government be shrinking its investment in children over the next decade? High-quality early childhood programs and K-12 education, stable housing, and adequate nutrition help children grow […]

Read More


The $300 billion question: How should we budget for federal lending?

By Donald Marron  ::  September 29th, 2014

Lending programs create special challenges for federal budgeting. So special, in fact, that the Congressional Budget Office estimates their budget effects two different ways. According to official budget rules, taxpayers will earn more than $200 billion over the next decade from new student loans, mortgage guarantees, and the Export-Import Bank. According to an alternative that […]

Read More

“Elevate the debate”: Marking the next step in Urban’s evolution

By Sarah Rosen Wartell  ::  September 29th, 2014

    In recent months, you may have noticed Urban has begun to use data visualization, video, graphics, multimedia, and magazine-style features to convey insights from research. Today, we bring you another change: a new logo and look. Evolution has always been a part of Urban’s identity. Urban was founded to assess the War on […]

Read More