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  • Author: Alan Berube
  • Publication Date: 11-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: Over the 30 years of its existence the federal Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) has been described variously as a wage supplement, a program to reduce tax burdens, an antipoverty tool, a welfare-to-work program, and a form of labor market insurance. The program has enjoyed expansions under both Republican and Democratic administrations, and in 2006, the EITC will provide more than $40 billion to low-income working families. The credit lifts nearly 5 million Americans above the poverty line each year. Moreover, because the EITC aids only those families with earnings from work, researchers have credited it with raising labor force participation levels and helping families transition from welfare to work.
  • Topic: Economics, Human Welfare, Markets
  • Political Geography: United States, America
  • Author: Yusef Freeman, John Talmage, Jamie Alderslade
  • Publication Date: 09-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: The study of the urban informal economy has expanded in the last thirty years, challenging researchers to find more accurate methods of quantifying its activity. This paper examines recent works that focused on the urban informal economy in particular, and evaluates different definitions and techniques for measuring it. Methods discussed include indirect estimation methods, such as currency demand, electricity consumption, and labor force statistical profiles, as well as direct estimation measures such as labor force and household surveys. This paper discusses the prospects for applying these largely macro-level methods to more micro-market analysis and speculates on the avail ability and usefulness of existing data sources in the United States. It concludes by suggesting that there is much room for further research on the size, determinants and implications of the informal economy in American cities and calls for new efforts to align different methods of measuring the inform al economy so they can be increasingly used to support decision-making processes in the public and private sectors.
  • Topic: Demographics, Economics, Markets
  • Political Geography: United States, America
  • Author: Royce Hanson, Hal Wolman, David Connolly, Katherine Pearson
  • Publication Date: 09-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: Business-led civic organizations have historically played an important role in urban policymaking, planning, and renewal. These elite organizations of CEOs of the area's largest employers could quickly mobilize their members' personal devotion to the community, their deal making talent, and their ability to commit corporate financial resources to their city's emerging needs.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Emerging Markets, Industrial Policy
  • Political Geography: America
  • Author: Sean Fremstad, Margy Waller
  • Publication Date: 08-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: State officials are spending Temporary Assistance funds quite differently from the early years after welfare reform. States now spend a majority of Temporary Assistance funds on benefits and services other than cash assistance, and the beneficiaries of these benefits and services include a substantial number of families who do not receive cash assistance.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Humanitarian Aid
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: David Rusk
  • Publication Date: 08-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: An analysis of the relationship between the annexation patterns and fiscal health of the nation's largest cities shows that: A city's ability to annex land from its surrounding county is a primary determinant of its fiscal health. Cities with greater abilities to annex have much higher bond rating scores. Of cities in large metropolitan areas, every city that expanded its boundaries by as little as 15 percent between 1950 and 2000 had a high bond rating in 2002. Conversely, all cities with low bond ratings are those that had been unable to expand their boundaries. The ability to annex land varies widely by region and state. Most high- bond-rated cities are located in “big box” states (primarily in the South and West) where land is more easily annexed. Most low-bond-rated cities are in “little box” states (primarily in the Northeast and Midwest) where land is more difficult, or impossible, to annex. Annexation is far from an outmoded, dying practice. During the 1990s, about 90 percent of the central cities that could annex additional land did so. Collectively, in just one decade they expanded their municipal territory by more than 3,000 square miles.
  • Topic: Demographics, Economics, Poverty
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Amy Liu, Matt Fellowes, Mia Mabanta
  • Publication Date: 08-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: A review of dozens of key social and economic indicators on the progress of recovery in the New Orleans region since the impact of Hurricane Katrina finds that: Housing rehabilitation, and demolition, are well underway while the housing market tightens, raising rent and home prices. Across the most hard-hit parishes in the New Orleans area, the pace of demolitions has accelerated in the last six months while the number of permits issued for rehab has nearly doubled in the city. Yet, housing is less affordable as rent prices in the region have increased by 39 percent over the year and home sale prices have spiked in suburban parishes. Across the city, public services and infrastructure remain thin and slow to rebound. Approximately half of all bus and streetcar routes are back up and running, while only 17 percent of buses are in use, a level of service that has not changed since January. Gas and electricity service is reaching only 41 and 60 percent of the pre-Katrina customer base, respectively. The labor force in the New Orleans region is 30 percent smaller today than one year ago and has grown slowly over the last six months; meanwhile, the unemployment rate remains higher than pre-Katrina. The New Orleans metro area lost 190,000 workers over the past year, with the health and education services industries suffering the largest percentage declines. In the past six months, the region has seen 3.4 percent more jobs but much of that may reflect the rise in new job seekers. The unemployment rate is now 7.2 percent, higher than last August. Since last August, over $100 billion in federal aid has been dedicated to serving families and communities impacted by hurricanes Katrina, Rita, and Wilma. In the meantime, the number of displaced and unemployed workers remains high. To date, the federal government has approved approximately $109 billion in federal aid to the Gulf Coast states most impacted by the storms. Of these funds, nearly half has been dedicated to emergency and longer-term housing. In the meantime, an estimated 278,000 workers are still displaced by the storm, 23 percent of whom remain unemployed.
  • Topic: Development, Disaster Relief, Economics, Environment
  • Author: Michael J. Rich, Robert P. Stoker
  • Publication Date: 08-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: In the wake of the devastation wrought by Hurricane Katrina, Congress enacted legislation creating Gulf Opportunity Zones (GO Zones) in localities in Alabama, Louisiana, and Missis- sippi that suffered the most extensive storm damage. Special tax incentives created in these areas are designed to encourage investment, job creation, and economic growth. While many studies have been done to evaluate the effectiveness of federal and state tax-based efforts to redevelop distressed areas, none of the learning has been reflected in policy debates about the Katrina recovery effort. The evidence suggests that tax incentives alone are not enough—they work better when combined with good planning, local capacity-building, and good governance across sectors. This paper will summarize the purpose of the Gulf Opportunity Zone tax program and explain how this latest endeavor reflects the 25-year evolution of federal efforts to use tax incentives as a core tool for revitalizing distressed areas.
  • Topic: Development, Disaster Relief, Economics, Environment
  • Political Geography: Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi
  • Author: Howard Wial, Alec Friedhoff
  • Publication Date: 07-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: Analysis of manufacturing employment and production in seven Great Lakes states and their metropolitan areas from 1995 through 2005 finds that: More than one-third of the nation's loss of manufacturing jobs between 2000 and 2005 occurred in seven Great Lakes states: Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. Between 1995 and 2005, the United States lost more than 3 million manufacturing jobs. Nearly all of this job loss occurred during the last five years, and 37.5 percent of the loss occurred in the seven Great Lakes states. Michigan lost the most manufacturing jobs between 2000 and 2005 (nearly 218,000), followed by Ohio, Illinois, and Pennsylvania. Despite these job losses, manufacturing remains a major driver of the nation's economy and the economy of the Great Lakes region. Because productivity was higher in manufacturing than in other sectors of the economy, in 2004, manufacturing accounted for a higher share of gross state product than its share of employment, both nationwide and in six of the seven states in the Great Lakes manufacturing belt. In addition, productivity in the manufacturing sector increased by 38 percent between 1997 and 2004, a much higher increase than the 24.4 percent growth in productivity for all non-farm businesses during that same time period. Manufacturing job losses were pervasive in Great Lakes metropolitan areas. All but one of the 25 largest manufacturing-dependent metropolitan areas in the Great Lakes region lost manufacturing jobs during the last decade (1995–2005), often at a faster rate than the United States as a whole. Chicago and Detroit lost the most manufacturing jobs in the last five years (over 100,000 jobs each), while Canton, OH, and Flint, MI, lost the greatest shares of manufacturing employment. The metropolitan areas in which manufacturing employment peaked between 1995 and 1997 tended to experience more severe manufacturing job losses between 1995 and 2005 than those in which manufacturing peaked later. The 13 metropolitan areas where manufacturing employment peaked between 1995 and 1997 saw an average 26.8 percent decline in manufacturing employment between 1995 and 2005. In the other 11 metropolitan areas where manufacturing employment peaked later, between 1998 and 2000, the average metropolitan area lost 18.9 percent of its manufacturing jobs during the decade. Manufacturing job losses were a major reason for slow overall job growth, and sometimes overall job losses, in Great Lakes metropolitan areas. Furthermore, employment gains in high-wage advanced service industries, which occurred in all but one of the 25 metropolitan areas studied, were not large enough to offset the loss of manufacturing jobs in most areas.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Demographics, Economics, Human Welfare
  • Political Geography: United States, New York, Pennsylvania, Chicago, Ohio, Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan
  • Author: Matt Fellowes
  • Publication Date: 07-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: Public and private leaders have a substantial, and widely overlooked, opportunity today to help lower income families get ahead by bringing down the inflated prices they pay for basic necessities, such as food and housing.
  • Topic: Demographics, Economics, Markets, Poverty
  • Author: Cynthia Taeuber
  • Publication Date: 06-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: Statistical agencies walk a fine line to meet the needs of two sets of customers: those who demand more detailed data to better understand complex policy questions, and those who demand that their responses to surveys or their use of public services be kept confidential.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Government, Science and Technology