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  • Author: Mauricio Cá¡rdenas, Joshua Meltzer
  • Publication Date: 07-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: A trio of trade agreements now pending before Congress would benefit the United States both economically and strategically. Carefully developed accords with South Korea, Colombia and Panama will boost U.S. exports significantly, especially in the key automotive, agricultural and commercial services sectors. Among the other benefits are: increased U.S. competitiveness enhancement of U.S. diplomatic and economic postures in East Asia and Latin America new investment opportunities better enforcement of labor regulation and improved transparency in these trading partners' regulatory systems.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Economics, International Trade and Finance, Treaties and Agreements, Labor Issues
  • Political Geography: Kenya, United States, Israel, Colombia, Latin America
  • Author: William A. Galston
  • Publication Date: 06-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: When experts and pundits are asked what the president and Congress should do to promote economic growth, they typically respond with a list of policies, often mixed with stylistic and political suggestions. Few focus on institutional change, which is too easy to conflate with yawn-inducing “governmental reorganization.”
  • Topic: Economics, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Grover J. (Russ) Whitehurst
  • Publication Date: 06-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: A nation's education system is a pillar of its economic strength and international competitiveness. The National Bureau of Economic Research analyzed data from 146 countries, collected between 1950 and 2010, and found that each year of additional average schooling attained by a population translates into at least a two percent increase in economic output. A 2007 World Bank policy research working paper reported similar results. Based on these findings, if the United States increased the average years of schooling completed by its adult population from the current 12 years to 13 years—that is, added one year of postsecondary education—our gross domestic product would rise by more than $280 billion.
  • Topic: Economics, Education
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Martin Neil Baily, Karen Dynan, Douglas J. Elliott
  • Publication Date: 06-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: As the nation strives to recover from the “Great Recession,” job creation remains one of the biggest challenges to renewed prosperity. Small businesses have been among the most powerful generators of new jobs historically, suggesting the value of a stronger focus on supporting small businesses— especially high-growth firms—and encouraging entrepreneurship. Choosing the right policies will require public and private decision-makers to establish clear goals, such as increasing employment, raising the overall return on investment, and generating innovations with broader benefits for society. Good mechanisms will also be needed for gauging their progress and ultimate success. This brief examines policy recommendations to strengthen the small business sector and provide a platform for effective programs. These recommendations draw heavily from ideas discussed at a conference held at the Brookings Institution with academic experts, successful private-sector entrepreneurs, and government policymakers, including leaders from the Small Business Administration. The gathering was intended to spur the development of creative solutions in the private and public sectors to foster lasting economic growth.
  • Topic: Economics, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: R. Kent Weaver
  • Publication Date: 06-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: Efforts by President George W. Bush to promote major reforms in the Social Security retirement program have not led to policy change, but rather to increased polarization between the two parties. And the longer we wait to address Social Security's long-term funding problem, the bigger and more painful the changes will need to be.
  • Topic: Economics, Government, Politics
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Anthony Downs
  • Publication Date: 10-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: U.S. stock markets are gyrating on news of an apparent credit crunch generated by defaults among subprime home mortgage loans. Such frenzy has spurred Wall Street to cry capital crisis. However, there is no shortage of capital – only a shortage of confidence in some of the instruments Wall Street has invented. Much financial capital is still out there looking for a home.
  • Topic: Economics, Markets
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: David L. Caprara, John Bridgeland, Harris Wofford
  • Publication Date: 07-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: As policy-makers search for ways to share the best of America with the world, they should start with our international volunteers, who embody this country's spirit of generosity, resourcefulness and hope. With the support of Congress and the Bush Administration, volunteers can become the first face of America to communities in many nations, while advancing concrete initiatives that lift up the lives of the poor throughout the world.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Economics, Humanitarian Aid
  • Political Geography: United States, America
  • Author: David de Ferranti, Anthony J. Ody
  • Publication Date: 03-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), typically employing between 10 and 250 workers, form the backbone of modern economies and can be crucial engines of development through their role as seedbeds of innovation. In much of the developing world, though, SMEs are under-represented, stifled by perverse regulatory climates and poor access to inputs. A critical missing ingredient is often capital.
  • Topic: International Relations, Development, Economics
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Britany Affolter-Caine, Justin Austin
  • Publication Date: 10-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: The Great Lakes region of the United States is a unique economic, social, and cultural area made up of all or part of 12 states, including the western portions of New York, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia; northern Kentucky; all of Ohio, Indiana, Michigan, Illinois, and Wisconsin; and eastern Minnesota, Iowa, and Missouri. Home to 97 million people, this region is defined by a shared geography and natural resources, a dynamic political and economic history, and strong principles of social organization that together have shaped its growth and development. One of the largest industrial production centers and consumer marketplaces in the world, this highly urbanized “mega-region” is a vital global hub of economic activity and growth.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Industrial Policy
  • Political Geography: United States, New York, North America, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, West Virginia, North Kentucky, East Minnesota, Iowa, Missouri
  • Author: William H. Frey, Alan Berube, Audrey Singer, Jill H. Wilson
  • Publication Date: 10-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: Beyond the suburbs, at the far edges of metropolitan areas, communities both new and old are developing the capacity to house large flows of incoming residents.
  • Topic: Demographics, Development, Economics
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Publication Date: 10-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: For all its challenges Maine stands within reach of a new prosperity—if it takes bold action and focuses its limited resources on a few critical investments. The moment is urgent. After decades of industrial restructuring and drift, the pace of transformation is quickening, and the slow replacement of the old order is yielding a new one that may bring better lives for Mainers. New population growth is bringing new people and new wealth to the state.
  • Topic: Economics, Government
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Bruce Katz
  • Publication Date: 10-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: The relationship between the federal government and American cities is intricate and complex. Majoy federal policies on tax, trade, transportation, and immigration have a substantial influence on the health and vitality of city economies and the shape of metropolitan growth and development. Other federal policies on education, job training, wages, financial services, health care, and housing help shape the life opportunities of urban residents, particularly those who earn low or moderate incomes. Each of these policies influences and is influenced by the nation's changing demographic and economic reality, which in turn has significant implications for cities.
  • Topic: Demographics, Development, Economics
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Lily L. Batchelder, Jr. Fred T. Goldberg, Peter R. Orszag
  • Publication Date: 08-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: The federal tax code provides about $500 billion each year in incentives intended to encourage socially-valued activities, including homeownership, charitable contributions, health insurance, and education. The vast majority of these incentives operate through deductions or other approaches that link the size of the tax break to a household's marginal tax bracket, which means that higher-income taxpayers receive larger incentives than lower-income taxpayers. Such an approach is often appropriate for provisions, such as deductions for business expenses, designed to measure income or ability to pay. But such an approach for incentives intended to promote socially-valued activities excludes more than a third of America, and misses an important opportunity to increase efficiency and economic growth.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Development, Economics
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Erica Downs, Peter C. Evans
  • Publication Date: 05-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: The efforts of China's national oil companies to secure upstream oil assets abroad have attracted attention from U.S. officials and policymakers. Congress has taken notice, as indicated by the request of the Chairman of the U.S. House of Representatives Resources Committee Richard W. Pombo—triggered by the bid made by China National Offshore Oil Corporation Ltd. for Unocal in 2005—for a study by the Department of Energy of the economic and national security implications of China's energy demand. The report, released in February 2006, concludes that the foreign investments of China's national oil companies do not pose an economic challenge to the U.S. However, one issue the report mentions only in passing that merits further attention is how the Chinese government's financial support for some of these investments can undermine an open and competitive world oil market.
  • Topic: Security, Economics, Energy Policy
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Asia
  • Author: Daniel T. Lichter, Andrea Kane
  • Publication Date: 04-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: Most social scientists acknowledge that, on balance, single parents, stepparents, or cohabiting couples are no substitute for childrearing by two married parents. Yet, new data from the federal government show that a record number of babies—nearly 1.5 million—were born to unmarried women in the United States in 2004. Empirical evidence of this sort has leveraged political support for the Bush administration's “Healthy Marriage Initiative.” Congress recently approved major funding for this initiative as part of welfare reform reauthorization. Approximately $100 million per year will be available for research, demonstration, and technical assistance projects to promote healthy marriage through such activities as public advertising campaigns, relationship and marriage education in high schools, and relationship and marriage skills for both unmarried and married couples. In addition, about $50 million per year will be available to promote responsible fatherhood.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Economics, Government, Human Welfare
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: James C. Capretta
  • Publication Date: 03-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: Although Social Security reform appears to be off of the national agenda for now, real funding problems remain for America's popular retirement program that policymakers need to address. The payroll taxes that support Social Security's “pay–as-you-go” system will begin to fall short of outlays in 2017 and will be sufficient to finance only 74 percent of scheduled annual benefits by 2041, when the Social Security trust fund is projected to be exhausted.
  • Topic: International Relations, Economics
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, Germany, Sweden
  • Publication Date: 01-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: Autism spectrum disorders have become among the most common and severe developmental disabilities facing children—and thus future generations of adults—in the United States today. More than in 200 young children may now be affected by a neurological condition on the spectrum (which includes autism, pervasive development disorder, and Asperger's syndrome or disorder). This fact has become increasingly well reported in recent months.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Health, Human Welfare
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Henry J. Aaron
  • Publication Date: 12-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: Providing all beneficial care to those who need it is rapidly becoming unaffordable, even for a nation as rich as the United States. The highly decentralized U.S. payment system is unique in its lack of effective levers for limiting health care spending, and managed care has largely been ineffective. A different solution, considered extreme by many in the United States, is rationing.
  • Topic: Economics, Health, Human Rights
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Henry J. Aaron
  • Publication Date: 12-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: The United States spends more on health care than any other nation. In 2003, medical spending made up more than 15 percent of U.S. GDP, and if historical trends persist, this share will climb to more than one-third of GDP by 2040. With medical technology advancing at an ever-increasing rate, the potential for spending on procedures not worth their costs is growing. But there are few good ideas for reining in medical costs without hurting patients.
  • Topic: Economics, Health, Human Welfare
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Robert E. Litan, Nicholas Warren, Lael Brainard
  • Publication Date: 07-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: With a new wave of white-collar offshoring coming fast on the heels of accelerated job losses in manufacturing, an ever-broader pool of American workers is finding that the nation's safety net has more holes than netting. The nation can and must do more to help insure the livelihoods of American workers in the face of structural shifts of whatever form, while preserving the benefits of an open and innovative economy. With technological change and offshoring accelerating job turnover and the pace at which workers' job-specific skills lose value, the time has come for the federal government to strengthen the existing safety net.
  • Topic: Economics, Government, Human Welfare
  • Political Geography: United States, America
  • Author: Allen Schick
  • Publication Date: 06-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: When George W. Bush leaves office in 2009, the federal government will owe at least $15,000 more for every American than it did when he became president eight years earlier. This unprecedented build-up of public debt will result from budget deficits projected to average more than $250 billion a year during the Bush presidency, plus more than one trillion dollars borrowed from social security trust funds. Although this budget projection may be high, there is far greater risk that actual deficits will exceed current estimates than that they will be lower.
  • Topic: International Relations, Economics, Government
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Audrey Singer, Anna Paulson
  • Publication Date: 10-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: Policymakers and academics are now catching up to financial institutions in their desire to understand how and why immigrants use U.S. financial markets. “Financial Access for Immigrants: Learning from Diverse Perspectives,” a conference co-sponsored by the Brookings Metropolitan Policy Program formerly the Center on Urban and Metropolitan Policy) and the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, was held at the Chicago Fed on April 15-16, 2004. It included presentations from scholars and practitioners who discussed recent research on the financial practices of immigrants as well as the practical experiences of for-profit and nonprofit institutions working to provide financial services to the immigrant community.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Migration
  • Political Geography: United States, Chicago
  • Author: David B. Sandalow
  • Publication Date: 08-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: The United States has vital interests in the oceans. U.S. national security depends on naval mobility. U.S. prosperity depends on underwater energy resources. Ocean fisheries help feed the United States and much of the world. On February 25, 2004, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee unanimously recommended that the United States accede to the Law of the Sea Convention, which sets forth a comprehensive framework of rules for governing the oceans. The recommendation followed two hearings in which the committee heard testimony supporting the Convention from the Bush administration, the armed services, ocean industries, and environmental groups, among others. Following the favorable report from Foreign Relations, other congressional committees held hearings at which several lawmakers raised concerns about the treaty. The United States should promptly join the Law of the Sea Convention. Doing so would help protect U.S. national security, advance U.S. economic interests, and protect the marine environment. Prompt action is needed to ensure that the United States is a party by November 2004, when the Convention is open to amendment for the first time.
  • Topic: Economics, International Law
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Charles L. Schultze
  • Publication Date: 08-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: Until the end of 2003, the United States had been experiencing a “jobless” recovery, with employment stagnating at levels well below those in 2000. A widespread perception has arisen that a major culprit behind the dearth of jobs was the growing practice of U.S. firms to relocate part of their domestic operations to lower-wage countries abroad. “Offshoring” presumably caused a reduction in U.S. output and a corresponding loss of jobs.
  • Topic: Economics, Government, Human Welfare
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: William G. Gale, Peter R. Orszag
  • Publication Date: 07-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: For decades, the U.S. private pension system has provided preferential tax treatment to employer-provided pensions, 401(k) plans, and individual retirement accounts relative to other forms of saving. The effectiveness of this system of subsidies is controversial. Despite the accumulation of vast amounts of wealth in pension accounts, concerns persist about the ability of the pension system to raise private and national saving, and in particular to improve saving outcomes among those households most in danger of inadequately preparing for retirement.
  • Topic: Economics, Government, Human Welfare
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Thomas J. Kane, Peter R. Orszag
  • Publication Date: 09-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: In recent years, many public colleges and universities around the country have announced double-digit increases in tuition. The recession and the resulting squeeze on state revenues are the immediate causes. However, the short-term crisis should not be allowed to obscure a longer-term shift in state financing of higher education, which began more than a decade ago. As states have struggled to respond to other demands on their budgets-primarily due to rising state Medicaid obligations-parents and students have been asked to pay an increasingly large share of the costs in public higher education.
  • Topic: Economics, Human Welfare
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: William Gale, Megan McNally, Janet Rothenberg Pack
  • Publication Date: 06-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: Participants in the annual symposium on The Brookings-Wharton Papers on Urban Affairs—convened by Brookings and the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School—present research on issues unique to urban areas as well as on broader economic and policy topics that can apply to urban settings. This year's participants focused on urban education and presented findings on the results of an experiment designed to detect cheating on standardized tests, the impact of school reform in an urban setting, the effect of school quality on housing values, and the determinants of improved academic performance. Two other studies addressed other urban economic issues: the increase in economic inequality across and within geographic regions, and local variation in land use regulations. This year's Brookings-Wharton symposium took place at Brookings in October 2002. The resulting bound volume is due out this month from the Brookings Institution Press.
  • Topic: Economics, Education, Human Welfare
  • Political Geography: United States, Pennsylvania
  • Author: Robert Litan, Richard Herring
  • Publication Date: 04-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: In 1999, after nearly twenty years of debate, the U.S. Congress finally passed legislation permitting bank affiliations with all sorts of other financial enterprises, and vice versa. In this step, the United States joined many other countries — especially in Europe and, more recently, Japan — in allowing the operation of financial conglomerates. But are financial conglomerates the wave of the future in finance? And if so, how are they to be regulated? These were the two central questions addressed in the fifth annual conference of the Brookings-Wharton Papers on Financial Services, an annual volume published by the Brookings Institution Press. The conference, held in October 2002 in Washington, D.C., convened financial services experts from around the world. The papers presented at the conference suggest, generally, that while the future may see more financial conglomerate activity than it has in the past, there still will be a role for specialist, or "monoline" financial companies. As for regulation, there is no settled model: some nations will pursue consolidated supervision, with authority over entire conglomerates vested in a single authority (often the central bank), while others will still regulate the pieces of diversified financial enterprises along structural lines.
  • Topic: Economics, Government, Industrial Policy, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, Washington
  • Author: William T. Dickens, George A. Akerlof, George L. Perry
  • Publication Date: 02-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: One of the most important choices any president-elect must make is how to organize and staff the National Security Council (NSC). Chief executives from John Fitzgerald Kennedy to William Jefferson Clinton have found their foreign policy held hostage to the management choices they made between election and inauguration.
  • Topic: Economics
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Jeffrey A. Frankel
  • Publication Date: 06-1999
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: The recent financial crises in many emerging market economies have raised anew questions about the appropriate exchange-rate regime and the use of capital controls as policy instruments. The use of both mechanisms should be tailored to each country's unique circumstances. Fixed exchange-rate mechanisms, such as dollarization (adopting the dollar as legal tender in place of the national currency), are suited to small open economies or those desperate to import monetary stability. Larger economies, such as the European Union (EU) and the United States, should allow their currencies to float. Intermediate regimes that fall between fixed- and floating-rate regimes—such as bands, baskets, and crawls (See Figure 1 for definitions)—are still appropriate for some countries. Certain well-targeted restrictions on the composition of capital flows might be appropriate for some emerging-market countries as temporary measures when inflows are particularly high.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe