Topic: Economic Growth and Productivity


Raising the standards of data journalism

By Jon Schwabish  ::  December 19th, 2014

Looking back, 2014 may be known as the Year of Data-Driven Journalism. Journalists’ use of more and better data will probably, ultimately lead to better stories and a better understanding of important issues, but there are some growing pains (for example, here, here, and here). As a social science researcher, some of these growing pains, […]

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How Congress meddles with the District of Columbia: Marijuana edition

By Richard C. Auxier  ::  December 17th, 2014

Congress’ last-minute agreement to fund the federal government through September includes a provision banning the District of Columbia from regulating and taxing marijuana. District voters overwhelmingly supported legalizing marijuana in a November ballot measure, and the DC Council recently held hearings on the possibility of public sale and taxation of the drug. None of these […]

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10 ideas for improving data to support healthy communities and end poverty

By Ellen Seidman  ::  December 15th, 2014

This month, the Urban Institute and the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco released What Counts: Harnessing Data for America’s Communities, a book of short, accessible essays and a website. What Counts helps answer some of the major questions raised by the prior volume in the series, Investing in What Works for America’s Communities, namely […]

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Boxed in by pension funding gaps, states must think outside the box

By Richard Johnson  ::  December 8th, 2014

States and municipalities across the country have responded to growing funding gaps in their pension plans by cutting benefits or requiring employees to contribute more. These steps may improve plan finances, but they often backfire, undermining employees’ retirement security and making it harder for governments to attract and retain qualified workers. Instead of simple cost […]

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The complicated economic benefit of lower gas prices

By Zach McDade  ::  December 4th, 2014

You’ve probably noticed and appreciated the recent fall in gas prices—about 40 percent down from their summer peak. Many headlines have touted the drop’s short-term benefit to the economy, stimulating spending by leaving more money in consumers’ wallets. And the economic benefit may be even greater than current headlines suggest for very low-income workers. The […]

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A bipartisan call for better evidence to inform policy

By Margery Turner  ::  December 1st, 2014

Senate Budget Committee Chairman Patty Murray (D-WA) and House Budget Committee Chairman (soon to be Ways and Means Committee Chairman) Paul Ryan (R-WI) have offered a welcome respite from partisan rancor with their proposal for an evidence-based policymaking commission. The commission would make recommendations about how to expand the use of data to evaluate both […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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