This chapter aims to provide policy makers with a useful framework for thinking about the question: “Why are so many people deciding that seeking work isn’t worth it?” After reviewing relevant facts and trends about labor force participation in the United States, we consider plausible explanations for the causes of decline.
Career and technical education (CTE) is widely viewed as an important alternative to traditional four-year colleges, a means of increasing the earnings of U.S.workers, and an effective response to the changing skill requirements of U.S. employers. While abundant evidence confirms that CTE offerings at public institutions can increase the earnings and employment rates of graduates, substantial barriers to successful expansion of high-quality CTE remain.
Incarceration rates in the United States have more than tripled in recent decades as rehabilitation has gradually taken a back seat to a policy agenda emphasizing punishment and incapacitation. This raises important questions about the effectiveness of state and federal prisons in the United States, and about whether the resources required for long prison sentences would be better spent improving prison conditions and expanding rehabilitation programs.
Over the course of the past year, the Aspen Economic Strategy Group collected policy ideas to address the barriers to broad-based economic opportunity and identified concrete proposals with bipartisan appeal. These proposals are presented here.
A national debate about the strength and fairness of American capitalism is taking place against a backdrop of vast levels of income and wealth inequality, growing pessimism about the state of economic opportunity and mobility, increased market concentration in many sectors, and a precarious fiscal situation.
The essays contained in this volume seek to clarify the lines of debate on some of the greatest economic policy challenges of our time and present evidence- based analysis on how to address them. It examines the hypothesis that growing market concentration is inhibiting a dynamic and competitive economy.
Van Reenen argues the U.S. should pursue a robust innovation policy composed of tax credits, direct subsidies, and human capital investments, which have been shown to spur innovation and wage growth. He proposes combining these approaches into a 10-year $1 trillion Grand Innovation Challenge, which would reinvigorate R&D investment, promote American technological leadership, and advance policy goals of inclusive growth.
Kearney and Mogstad argue that, in practice, a UBI would be an extremely expensive, inefficiently targeted, and potentially harmful policy that would solve none of the economic challenges it purports to address.