Economic Roundup

Economic Roundup

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A February 17 Pew poll found a continuing decline in the favorability of labor unions, which are widely viewed as inhibiting American competitiveness.

On February 16, the House Oversight and Reform Committee held a hearing on the impact of the Recovery Act. Five highly critical Republican witnesses appeared; there were none from the administration.

Also on February 16, the McKinsey Global Institute released a study on the need to raise productivity in the U.S. in order to raise economic growth. Fortunately, there appear to be a number of ways that this is achievable, it says.

And on February 16, the Congressional Budget Office published a study on changes in the distribution of wages since 1979.

On February 16, the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis published a study by UCLA economist Lee Ohanian examining the lessons that have been learned from the Great Recession thus far.

On February 15, the Bank for International Settlements published a working paper that reviewed academic research on the transmission mechanism between the financial sector of the economy and the real sector.

A February 14 working paper from the National Bureau of Economic Research argues that drug policy ought to aim toward reducing the social cost of drugs rather than just discouraging their use. Given the huge cost of law enforcement and incarceration, a policy of decriminalization may be socially optimal.

A February 10 analysis by the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco expresses optimism that the economic recovery has become self-sustaining.

A February 8 working paper from the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia found that extended unemployment benefits raised the unemployment rate by 1.2 percentage points.

On January 20, the Institute of Economic Affairs published a study on redefining “poverty.”

Bruce Bartlett is an American historian and columnist who focuses on the intersection between politics and economics. He blogs daily and writes a weekly column at The Fiscal Times. Bartlett has written for Forbes Magazine and Creators Syndicate, and his work is informed by many years in government, including as a senior policy analyst in the Reagan White House. He is the author of seven books including the New York Times best-seller, Imposter: How George W. Bush Bankrupted America and Betrayed the Reagan Legacy (Doubleday, 2006).

Bruce Bartlett’s columns focus on the intersection of politics and economics. The author of seven books, he worked in government for many years and was senior policy analyst in the Reagan White House.