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  • Author: Joshua Meltzer
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: This paper is about the potential of the Internet as a platform for international trade. A traditional understanding of the impact of the Internet on commerce is derived from the dot.com experience of the 1990s, where Internet companies such as Pets.com and Amazon sold goods online. Since then, the impact of the Internet on commerce has grown and changed. Certainly, the ability to sell goods online remains important. However, the key development is that the Internet is no longer only a digital storefront. Instead, the Internet as described in this working paper is a platform for businesses to sell to customers domestically and overseas, and is a business input that increases productivity and the ability of businesses to compete. Understanding the Internet as a platform for trade highlights its broad economic potential. It emphasizes how the commercial opportunities are no longer limited to Internet companies, but are now available for businesses in all sectors of the economy, from manufacturing to services. Moreover, the global nature of the Internet means that these opportunities are no longer limited to domestic markets, but are embraced wherever Internet access is available.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Science and Technology, Communications
  • Political Geography: Africa, United States, Europe
  • Author: Carol Graham
  • Publication Date: 01-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: The United States has long been viewed as the "land of opportunity," where those who work hard get ahead. Belief in this feature of American national identity has persisted even though inequality has been rising for de¬cades. In recent years, the trend toward extremes of income and wealth has accelerated significantly, owing to demographic shifts, the skills bias of the economy and fiscal policy. From 1997 to 2007, the share of income accru¬ing to the top 1 percent of U.S. households increased by 13.5 percentage points, which is equivalent to shifting $1.1 trillion in total annual income to this group - more than the total income of the bottom 40 percent of households. The precise impact of inequality on individual well-being remains controversial, partly because of the complex nature of the metrics needed to gauge it accurately, but also because why it matters depends on what it signals. If inequality is perceived to be the result of just reward for individual effort, then it can be a constructive signal of future opportunities. However, if it is perceived to be the result of an unfair system that rewards a privileged few, inequality can undermine incentives to work hard and invest in the future. In this sense, current U.S. trends have been largely destructive. Economic mobility, for example, has declined in recent decades and is now lower than in many other industrialized countries. There is also a strong intergenerational income correlation (about 0.5) in the U.S.; children of parents who earn 50 percent more than the average are likely to earn 25 percent above the average of their generation. In a world in which individuals' fates are increasingly linked and effective gover¬nance depends on some kind of consensus on social and distributive justice norms, growing income differentials in one country - especially one that has long served as a beacon of economic opportunity - can affect behavior elsewhere, both in terms of investments in education and the labor market and the propensity to protest. More generally, declining economic mobility in the U.S. could undermine confidence in the principles of market econo¬mies and democratic governance that America has espoused for decades - principles that are fundamental to many countries' development strategies.
  • Topic: Economics, Poverty, Social Stratification, Labor Issues
  • Political Geography: United States, Germany
  • Author: Robert Mosbacher, Jr.
  • Publication Date: 05-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: To tackle global poverty, it is essential to craft a new and dynamic approach to economic development that refl ects the realities of a 21st century global economy and incorporates the participation of a wide variety of new players, particularly from the private sector. While investment, trade and innovation all represent basic components of building healthy economies, this paper focuses primarily on strategies to increase both in-country and international private capital investment in order to create jobs. To that end, it concentrates on two areas: strengthening and reforming the existing structures, coordinating mechanisms and policies that support U. S. economic development efforts; and improving public-private partnership models to promote broader fi nancing to local businesses, greater human capital support and technical assistance and improved physical and ICT infrastructure.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Development, Economics, Emerging Markets, Poverty, Third World
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Alan Abramowitz, Ruy Teixeira
  • Publication Date: 04-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: Dramatic shifts have taken place in the American class structure since the World War II era. Consider education levels. Incredible as it may seem today, in 1940 three-quarters of adults 25 and over were high school dropout s (or never made it as far as high school), and just 5 percent had a four-year college degree or higher. But educational credentials exploded in the postwar period. By 1960, the proportion of adults lacking a high school diploma was down to 59 percent; by 1980, it was less than a third, and by 2007, it was down to only 14 percent. Concomitantly, the proportion with a BA or higher rose steadily and reached 29 percent in 2007. Moreover, those with some college (but not a four-year degree) constituted another 25 percent of the population, making a total of 54 percent who had at least some college education 1 . Quite a change: moving from a country where the typical adult was a high school dropout (more accurately, never even reached high school) to a country where the typical adult not only has a high school diploma, but some college as well.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Demographics, Economics
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Lael Brainard
  • Publication Date: 02-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: Compiled by Brookings Institution experts, this chart is part of a series of issue indices to be published during the 2008 Presidential election cycle. The policy issues included in this series were chosen by Brookings staff and represent the most critical topics facing America's next President. Available voting records and statements vary based on time in office. For candidates who have not been a Member of Congress, public statements are noted when available.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Politics
  • Political Geography: United States, America
  • Author: Bruce Katz
  • Publication Date: 01-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: Infrastructure has a dramatic effect on the economic competitiveness of our nation, the health of our environment and our quality of life. And infrastructure—freight ports, airports, bridges, roads, rail and transit networks, water and sewer systems, web of channel communications—is the connective tissue of our nation. Smart policies and investments can enhance and further national prosperity and the health and vitality of metropolitan areas, where the bulk of our population lives and jobs are located.
  • Topic: Debt, Economics, Political Economy
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Ruy Teixeira
  • Publication Date: 01-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: Political polarization in the United States has a number of causes, ranging from media hype to gerrymandering to hyper- ideological elites to cultural “sorting” between the parties. But there is another key contributor that is frequently overlooked: demographic and geographic changes in the electorate that have altered the sizes of different population groups and even shifted their political orientations over time. These changes have helped produce the current deadlock between coalitions of roughly equal size and opposed outlooks. But these same changes—since they will continue to alter group sizes and political orientations in the future—could also provide the impetus for unlocking this polarization and policy gridlock in the future.
  • Topic: Democratization, Economics, Politics
  • Political Geography: United States, America
  • Author: Lael Brainard, David Lipton
  • Publication Date: 08-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: From the vantage point of 2008, some of the most memorable initiatives of U.S. international economic leadership—the Paris and Louvre Accords, the support for Poland and Russia after the fall of communism, the Uruguay Round, and the Mexican Financing Loan—seem like quaint reminders of a simpler time. In the coming years, the exercise of international economic leadership will surely prove more complex than in the past. The very success of the American vision of a global spread of vibrant and competitive markets has created a huge, rapidly integrating private economy of trade and finance much less amenable to guidance, let alone control, by governments. Unlike in diplomacy and defense, where non state actors are growing in importance but still a side show, in inter- national economics, households, corporations, labor unions, and non-profits are now the dominant players in most parts of the world. While they respond to national laws and policies, their interests are varied and their operations often span borders.
  • Topic: Economics, International Political Economy, International Trade and Finance, Markets
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Paris, Poland, Uruguay, Mexico
  • Author: Harry J. Holzer
  • Publication Date: 12-2007
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: This paper proposes a new federal funding stream to identify, expand, and replicate the most successful state and local initiatives designed to spur the advancement of low-wage workers in the United States. In the Worker Advancement Grants for Employment in States (WAGES) program, the federal government would offer up to $5 billion annually in matching funds for increases in state, local, and private expenditures on worker advancement initiatives. To gain funding, states would have to develop local advancement “systems,” which would provide career-oriented education and training to youth, working poor adults and “hard-to-employ” workers. Partnerships would be developed between local training providers (like community colleges), employer associations, and intermediaries. Additional financial supports for the working poor—including child care, transportation, and stipends for working students—would have to be funded as well. Initially, the WAGES program would require states to compete for federal grants, which would ultimately be renewable. The program would generate a “learning system” in which states would have an incentive to innovate and use information from other initiatives. The federal government would provide substantial technical assistance and oversight. Performance measurement and rigorous evaluation would be required for program renewal; states achieving substantial worker advancement would be awarded major bonuses and more rapid renewal of funding.
  • Topic: Economics, Markets, Political Economy
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Ron Haskins
  • Publication Date: 08-2007
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: The idea of economic mobility in America often evokes a personal story. For many Americans, it is one of immigrant parents or grandparents, or even one's own journey and arrival. In recent decades, immigration has been rising steadily, with nearly one million legal immigrants entering the country per year throughout the 1990s and in the early years of this century, compared to only about 300,000 per year in the 1960s. In addition to legal immigrants, it is estimated that about 500,000 illegal immigrants now arrive each year.
  • Topic: Economics, Human Welfare, Migration
  • Political Geography: United States