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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
  • Author: Sara Burr, Virginia Carlson
  • Publication Date: 03-2007
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: Access to credit is one of the cornerstones of wealth-building in the United States. Yet, between 35 million and 54 million persons are not participating in the credit market. Many individuals outside the credit mainstream are unable to access credit, or credit at competitive rates, because of the lack of traditional information, such as mortgage and credit card payments, available on their credit files. However, there is evidence that the inclusion of alternative data on credit-like payments, such as utility payments, in credit reporting can help bridge this information gap. The first step toward filling this gap requires utility companies to systematically report these data to the major credit bureaus.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Demographics, Development, Economics
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Joel Kotkin, William H. Frey
  • Publication Date: 03-2007
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: For most Americans, California evokes coastal images, the sunny beaches of south or the spectacular urban vistas of San Francisco Bay. Yet within California itself, the state's focus is shifting increasingly beyond the narrow strip of land between the coast- line and its first line of mountain ranges.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Environment
  • Political Geography: United States, America, California
  • Publication Date: 03-2007
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: Pennsylvania is at once the same and different, three years after the release of the 2003 Brookings Institution report “Back to Prosperity,” which proposed a new vision for how Pennsylvania might revitalize its cities, towns, and regions in order to compete more energetically in today's global economy.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Government
  • Political Geography: United States, Pennsylvania
  • Publication Date: 05-2007
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: On the eve of its second Mardi Gras since Katrina, New Orleans stands poised to gain a larger economic benefit from the event than in did in 2006. Twenty additional hotels have opened since last year's Mardi Gras, and the New Orleans airport is now accommodating 100,000 more arriving passengers each month.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Environment
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Brooke DeRenzis, Martha Ross
  • Publication Date: 03-2007
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: Washington's future as a vibrant, inclusive city depends on its commitment to rebuilding the middle class from within. The District has experienced job growth, big increases in city revenues, and remarkable commercial and residential development over the past several years. Still, one out of every three DC residents is low-income, and many residents live in areas of concentrated poverty. More than most cities, Washington is a city of high and low incomes, with a small and declining middle class.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Development, Economics
  • Political Geography: United States, Washington
  • Publication Date: 02-2007
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: The beginning of 2007 offers a conflicting picture of the global economy for those trying to discern trends, challenges and opportunities. Concerns about energy security and climate sustainability are converging — finally bringing consensus in sight on the need for action in the United States. But prospects for breaking the global stalemate are still years away. Though some developing countries are succeeding in bringing hundreds of millions out of poverty, too many are still mired in a doom spiral of conflict, poverty and disease— despite the entry of new philanthropists, advocates and global corporations into the field of development. China's projected 9.6 percent growth rate is sending ripples to the farthest reaches of the planet—creating opportunities but also significant risks. The United States remains in the “goldilocks” zone, but this is premised on continued borrowing from abroad at historically unprecedented rates while many Americans fret about widening inequality and narrowing opportunity. While the United States concentrates on civil war in the Middle East, most leaders in the region are preoccupied with putting an outsized cohort of young people to work and on the road to becoming productive citizens.
  • Topic: International Relations, Security, Economics, Energy Policy
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Middle East
  • Author: Howard Wial, Robert Atkinson
  • Publication Date: 02-2007
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: In the months running up to the 2004 election the issue of off- shoring—the movement of jobs from the United States to other nations—seemed to be on the front pages of newspapers every day. Some of the concern was about the loss of manufacturing jobs to lower-wage countries such as China and Mexico, a process that had been going on for decades. The offshoring of service jobs, though, was something new. Service workers—including college- educated professionals—who previously thought their jobs immune to foreign competition began to worry about this new source of job in security. Policymakers concerned about the American standard of living wondered whether service offshoring would eliminate the United States' advantage in high technology industries.
  • Topic: Demographics, Economics, Government, Poverty
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Mexico
  • Author: Christopher B. Leinberger
  • Publication Date: 01-2007
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: Over the past decade, the real estate field has begun applying many of the development strategies employed by a number of iconic developers active before 1940. J.C. Nichols (Country Club Plaza in Kansas City), George Merrick (Coral Gables, Florida), the Rockefeller family (Rockefeller Center), and others have become role models, their major developments emulated in recently revived downtowns, suburban town centers, New Urbanism projects, and transit oriented developments. But while nearly all of the attention today has been on the urban design lessons of these developers and their projects, there are financing lessons they can teach us as well.
  • Topic: Demographics, Development, Economics, Markets
  • Political Geography: United States, Florida
  • Author: Bruce Katz, Alan Berube
  • Publication Date: 11-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: This summary report provides an overview of The State of American Cities. It addresses four major questions that are explored in further detail in the topic report: What are the current trends and drivers of change in US cities? What factors measure and explain city success in the U.S? What policies have promoted the success of US cities? What can English cities learn from this? The report argues that whilst the US and England are marked by significant cultural and political differences in their views on cities, the two nations are undergoing similar economic and demographic transitions that pave the way for a useful comparative policy dialogue on urban areas.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Economics
  • Political Geography: United States, United Kingdom, America, Europe, England
  • Author: Norman J. Ornstein, Thomas E. Mann
  • Publication Date: 11-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: The Framers of our nation created a political system built upon three vibrant, assertive, and active branches of government, with a series of checks and balances in place to make sure that no single branch or individual could accumulate too much power and threaten the rights and freedoms of citizens, and to create a deliberative process to make good public policy. Congress, the first branch of government, was designed to be the linchpin of this system, the body closest to the people, with the most robust specified powers.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Politics
  • Political Geography: United States
  • 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: 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: 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: George Galster, Jackie Cutsinger, Jason C. Booza
  • Publication Date: 06-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: Middle-income families, the icon of the American Dream, have become a somewhat less prominent part of the American demographic profile over the last quartercentury. Numerous researchers have documented how growing economic inequality in the U.S., characterized by an increasing bifurcation of the income distribution, has slowed the growth of a once-broad American middle class.
  • Topic: Demographics, Economics, Human Welfare
  • Political Geography: United States, America
  • Author: Tiana Wertheim, Tim Flacke
  • Publication Date: 05-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: For families struggling to make ends meet on earnings from low-wage jobs, the federal Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) has become an essential form of support, boosting the size of annual tax refunds by as much as several thousand dollars. The program is widely recognized for its accessibility (working through the tax code and tax filing system), administrative efficiency and simplicity, and its effectiveness in lifting working poor house- holds out of poverty. Why then shouldn't the EITC serve as a model for other programs for working families, particularly in parts of the country where high costs of living create added difficulties for lower-income residents?
  • Topic: Demographics, Economics, Poverty
  • Political Geography: United States, San Francisco
  • Author: Pari Sabety
  • Publication Date: 05-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: While some neighborhoods in American cities are resurgent, many others remain stubbornly entrenched in a cycle of underinvestment. A contributing factor is that—despite thriving immigrant populations, high volumes of cash transactions, and relatively stable housing markets—these neighborhoods are victims of an urban information gap which undervalues their commercial potential. The importance of good information for private and public investments is widely acknowledged, but fragmented funding, lack of standards, and spotty data has impeded either effective or universal use of these tools. This paper sets forth seven steps for practitioners and investors to follow in investing in local community information initiatives and, in turn, close the urban information gap and accelerate investment in these markets.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Poverty
  • Political Geography: United States, America
  • Author: Audrey Singer, Jeremy Smith, Robin Newberger, Anna Paulson
  • Publication Date: 05-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: The United States has long benefited from the aspirations, talents, and hard work of the many immigrants who have settled here. Each generation has debated the costs of immigration and its benefits and grappled with how best to incorporate immigrants into U.S. society. The unparalleled size and growth of the contemporary immigrant population means that these conversations and debates continue today in communities throughout the country. The well-being of the nation increasingly depends on whether immigrants' economic progress keeps up with their demographic growth.
  • Topic: Economics, Markets, Migration
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Matt Fellowes
  • Publication Date: 05-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: Everyday, more than 27,000 employees in the credit bureau industry walk into over 1,000 locations around the country and process over 66 million items of information. Out of this massive churning of activity, credit bureaus produce consumer credit reports and scores, two of the most powerful determinants of modern American consumer life.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Economics, Markets
  • Political Geography: United States, America
  • Author: Joseph Cortright
  • Publication Date: 03-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: In recent years, "cluster strategies" have become a popular economic development approach among state and local policymakers and economic development practitioners. An industry cluster is a group of firms, and related economic actors and institutions, that are located near one another and that draw productive advantage from their mutual proximity and connections. Cluster analysis can help diagnose a region's economic strengths and challenges and identify realistic ways to shape the region's economic future. Yet many policymakers and practitioners have only a limited understanding of what clusters are and how to build economic development strategies around them.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Government
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: David Warren, Robert Puentes
  • Publication Date: 02-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: One of the more encouraging metropolitan policy trends over the last several years is the increased attention on America's older, inner-ring, “first” suburbs. Beginning generally with Myron Orfield's Metropolitics in 1997, a slow but steady stream of research has started to shine a bright light on these places and begun to establish the notion that first suburbs have their own unique set of characteristics and challenges that set them apart from the rest of metropolitan America. Since then first suburbs in a few regions have assumed a small, but significant, role in advancing research and policy discussions about metropolitan growth and development.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Migration
  • Political Geography: United States, America
  • Author: Robert L. Axtell
  • Publication Date: 02-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: Recently discovered facts concerning the size distribution of U.S. firms are recapitulated—in short, these sizes are closely approximated by the Zipf distribution, a Pareto (power law) distribution with exponent of unity. Interesting consequences of this result are then developed, having primarily to do with formulae for the distribution's moments, and difficulties of reasonably characterizing a 'typical' firm. Then, a leading candidate explanation for these data—the Kesten random growth process—is assessed in terms of its realism vis-á-vis actual firm growth. Insofar as it has fluctuations that are quite different in character from actual firm size variability, the Kesten and related stochastic growth processes qualify more as fables of firm growth than as credible explanations. Finally, new explanations of the facts are proposed by considering firms to be partitions of the set of all workers. Assuming all partitions to be equally likely, the observed distribution of firm sizes is hypothesized to be the distribution of block sizes in the most likely partitions. An alternative derivation of this distribution as a constrained optimization problem is also described. Given that these calculations involve unimaginably vast magnitudes, it seems just short of fantastic to consider them relevant empirically.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Industrial Policy
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Publication Date: 01-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: This brief describes a new information tool developed by the Urban Markets Initiative to quantify, for the first time, the impact of transportation costs on the affordability of housing choices. This brief explains the background, creation, and purpose of this new tool. The first section provides a project overview and a short summary of the method used to create the Affordability Index. The next section highlights the results from testing the index in a seven-county area in and around Minneapolis-St. Paul, MN. To demonstrate the usefulness of this tool at a neighborhood level, the third section projects the effect of transportation and housing choices on three hypothetical low- and moderate-income families in each of four different neighborhoods in the Twin Cities. The brief concludes with suggested policy recommendations and applications of the new tool for various actors in the housing market, and for regulators, planners, and funders in the transportation and land use arenas at all levels of government.
  • Topic: Economics, Emerging Markets, Government
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Martin E. Robins, Anne Strauss-Weider
  • Publication Date: 01-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: All the products consumers use and all the products businesses use get to market via America's freight system. And though Americans are utterly dependent on the freight system and its carriers, there is little understanding of the system's impact on our daily personal and business lives on either the macro level—as the gate- way to the global economy—or the micro level—as deliverer of e-commerce purchases. Freight also affects the nation in other ways. U.S. Department of Transportation (U.S. DOT) statistics show that truck traffic makes up more than 30 percent of the traffic on about 20 percent of Interstate System mileage and is expected to grow substantially over the next 20 years. 2 And the dynamics related to some freight businesses have, in many locations, consumed inexpensive greenfields on the suburban fringe, lengthening trips, and exacerbating existing congestion problems.
  • Topic: Economics, Globalization
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Gary Burtless
  • Publication Date: 07-2005
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: Observers in many industrialized countries believe population aging represents a serious economic threat. Increases in the percentage of the population past retirement age may impose unsustainable burdens on future workers. Either taxes or government debt will have to rise substantially to pay for old-age income support. This paper considers the extent of these burdens and corrects the widespread impression that the burdens are unsupportable. Population aging means that contributions needed to support the retired elderly must rise. But this extra burden will be at least partly offset by a reduced need to support the dependent young, who will become relatively less numerous. The extra burden of an aging population would be smaller still if labor force participation rates among the working-age and elderly populations increased. Indeed, employment rates among the nonaged have risen in nearly all the industrialized countries as a growing percentage of women has entered the work force. Many countries, including the United States, have adopted policies to encourage work among people past the traditional retirement age.
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, International Relations, Economics, Government, Population
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: William G. Gale, Peter R. Orszag
  • Publication Date: 07-2005
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: Under traditional formulations, lower capital income tax rates reduce the user cost of capital and stimulate investment. The traditional approach, however, implictly or explicitly considers a revenue-neutral reduction in capital income taxation. We extend the traditional approach by considering a reduction in taxes that generates an increase in the budget deficit; the expanded budget deficit raises interest rates and the opportunity cost of investment. This provides a mechanism through which tax cuts can raise the cost of capital. Representative calculations show that, even with relatively modest interest rate effects, the net effect of making the Administration's recent tax cuts permanent or a 10-percent reduction in individual income tax rates would be to raise the user cost of capital. Thus, sustained tax cuts can raise the cost of capital and reduce investment.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Government
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: James C. Capretta
  • Publication Date: 07-2005
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: President Bush's top first-term objectives—in the aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks—were waging and winning the global war on terror, significantly enhancing our homeland security systems, and strengthening economic growth.1 With sluggish economic growth following the 2001 recession persisting in 2002 and 2003—due, in part, to the revelation of several corporate governance scandals and the aftermath of technology stock "bubble burst"—the President placed a high premium on tax relief proposals aimed at accelerating the pace of short and long-term economic growth. In this context, it is not at all surprising that large federal budget deficits emerged.
  • Topic: Security, Economics, Government
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Lex Rieffel, James W. Fox
  • Publication Date: 07-2005
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: The Millennium Challenge Account (MCA) proposed by President George W. Bush in March 2002 is an important step toward smarter US assistance to low-income countries. While it cannot yet be said to represent a revolution in development assistance, it is a welcome experiment and merits substantial funding by the Congress.
  • Topic: International Relations, Development, Economics, Human Welfare
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Rachel McCulloch, Chad P. Bown
  • Publication Date: 06-2005
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: The bilateral relationship with China has become a major focus of U.S. trade policy. This paper examines recent U.S. policy toward imports from China, highlighting important explicitly and implicitly discriminatory elements. Discriminatory restrictions on U.S. trade with China protect competing domestic industries as well as non-Chinese foreign suppliers with an established presence in the U.S. market. Unlike discriminatory U.S. treatment of Japan in the 1980s, in which "gray-area" measures like voluntary export restraints were prominent, most U.S. actions toward China are fully consistent with current WTO rules, including the special terms of China's 2001 WTO accession. However, as with earlier discriminatory actions directed primarily at Japan, U.S. trade policy toward China is likely to have complex effects on global trade flows and may produce outcomes far different from those intended.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Asia
  • Author: Andrew; Gaddy Eggers
  • Publication Date: 04-2004
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: This paper studies the effect of regional unemployment rates on subjective well-being in post-Soviet Russia. Research conducted in Europe and the United States has documented that higher unemployment rates lead to lower reported life-satisfaction. By contrast, our Russian study finds a small but significant effect in the other direction. We estimate that du ring the period of our study (1995-2001), each percentage point increase in the local unemployment rate was correlated with the average well-being of people in the region increasing by an amount equivalent to moving 2% of the population up one level in life satisfaction measured on a five-point scale. Our intuition is that the so-called comparison effect drives this result: when individuals observe their peers suffering in a troubled economy, they lower their standards of what is good enough. All else equal, they thus perceive themselves to be better off in worse times. In highlighting the dependence of subjective well-being scores on expectations and reference groups, we sound a note of caution against using happiness data from economies in crisis to draw macroeconomic policy conclusions.
  • Topic: Economics, Human Welfare
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Europe, Asia, Soviet Union
  • Author: Richard Bush
  • Publication Date: 04-2003
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: On the face of it, relations between China and Taiwan have improved significantly since the saber-rattling of 1999 and 2000. Economic relations have never been better. Two-way trade is around $40 billion annually, and the Mainland has become Taiwan's largest export market, displacing the United States. Taiwan companies continue to invest in the PRC at record rates, in order to keep their products competitive through cheaper Chinese labor. The product mix of Taiwan factories on the mainland is shifting from items like shoes and toys to high-end goods like semi-conductors and notebook computers. As machinery moves, so do people, and the number of Taiwan people living most of the time in the PRC is hundreds of thousands. With this growing economic interaction come shared interests and better mutual understanding. Neither side would benefit from conflict, and both know it. The chance of growing tensions seems low.
  • Topic: Economics, International Political Economy, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: United States, Taiwan, Asia
  • Author: Richard Bush, Dean Nowowiejski, Tomatsu Nakano
  • Publication Date: 04-2003
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: Most signs during the late summer and early fall of 2002 pointed to progress on the Korean peninsula. North Korean leader Kim Jong Il had finally grasped, it appeared, the need for international moderation and domestic reform. The United States seemed ready to respond in kind. But with the visit to Pyongyang in October of U.S. Assistant Secretary of State James Kelly – the first high-level contact since the Bush Administration came into office – the situation quickly unraveled. Instead of offering the “bold initiative” that was reportedly in the works, Kelly confronted his interlocutors with evidence that their government had mounted a new, clandestine uranium-based nuclear program. The North Koreans refused to disavow the program and insisted on their right to nuclear weapons. Kelly responded that the United States would not engage the DPRK unless and until it abandoned the program. The status of the 1994 U.S.-DPRK Agreed Framework, which had capped North Korea's plutonium-based program in return for international assistance in meeting its civilian energy needs, was uncertain at best. The Korean Peninsula Energy Development Organization (KEDO), the mechanism for providing that aid, stopped heavy fuel oil shipments to North Korea at the end of 2002 at American insistence.
  • Topic: Economics, International Political Economy, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: United States, Asia, Korea, Sinai Peninsula
  • Author: Martin Kenney, Donald Patton
  • Publication Date: 03-2003
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: Theory and recent research demonstrates that entrepreneurship is a spatially and socially embedded activity. In certain regions, dense support networks of institutions dedicated to assisting entrepreneurial start-ups have been established and a wide variety of authors have given credit to these networks for supporting regional entrepreneurship (Kenney and von Burg 1999; Saxenian 1994; Bahrami and Evans 2000). As Marshall (1890) recognized many, but not all, industries exhibit a strong clustering effect (see also, e.g., Storper and Walker 1988; Porter 1990; 1998). Research on these networks has been hampered by a lack of empirical data that contains spatial variables and identifies the relationship between various actors (i.e., venture capitalists, law firms and investment bankers) and the start-up firm. Thus research has been qualitative and anecdotal or when quantitative limited to certain industries usually biotechnology.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Non-Governmental Organization
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Andrew Schwartz
  • Publication Date: 02-2003
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: Why did Enron fail? The easy answer is that Enron was a fraud, a Ponzi scheme designed to enrich scoundrels. But beneath the off-balance sheet transactions and partnerships that have drawn such intense scrutiny, Enron's efforts to reduce complex products into tradable commodities represented one of the most promising ideas of the past twenty-five years. Enron's failure was due in part to a business strategy that regarded competitors as ruthless and uncompromising. That mentality led the company to reject the very real possibility that rivals could, working together, create the new markets that in turn would open up profit opportunities for all. Enron's brilliant vision of the New Economy didn't go far enough; it required a New Economy business model that emphasized cooperation among competitors.
  • Topic: Economics, Emerging Markets, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Jay Stowsky
  • Publication Date: 02-2003
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: For a brief period in the early 1990's the U.S. Department of Defense pursued an R policy that was explicitly “dual-use,” funding projects aimed at simultaneously developing both military and civilian applications of the same underlying technologies. The policy emerged from more than a decade of bipartisan agitation in Congress and segments of the military-industrial establishment, spurred by a shared belief that more advanced technologies now “spun on” from civilian to military applications than “spun off” in the other direction (US Department of Defense, Office of the Undersecretary for Acquisition, 1987; Gansler, 1989; Alic et al., 1992; Stowsky 1992, 1999). With the end of the Cold War and mushrooming budget deficits constraining defense spending, Pentagon planners saw dual-use development as a strategy for improving efficiency and lowering costs as well as enhancing quality by enabling the construction of sophisticated weapons systems off a more integrated civil-military technology base (US Congress, Office of Technology Assessment, 1995; US Department of Defense, 1995).
  • Topic: Defense Policy, Economics, Science and Technology
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Robert L. Axtell
  • Publication Date: 07-2002
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: Results on the formation of multi-agent teams are reviewed and extended. Conditions are specified under which it is individually rational for agents to spontaneously form coalitions in order to engage in collective action. In a cooperative setting the formation of such groups is to be expected. Here we show that in non-cooperative environments—presumably a more realistic context for a variety of both human and software agents—self-organized coalitions are capable of extracting welfare improvements. The Nash equilibria of these coalitional formation games are demonstrated to always exist and be unique. Certain free rider problems in such group formation dynamics lead to the possibility of dynamically unstable Nash equilibria, depending on the nature of intra-group compensation and coalition size. Yet coherent groups can still form, if only temporarily, as demonstrated by computational experiments. Such groups of agents can be either long-lived or transient. The macroscopic structure of these emergent 'bands' of agents is stationary in sufficiently large populations, despite constant adaptation at the agent level. It is argued that assumptions concerning attainment of agent-level (Nash) equilibrium, so ubiquitous in conventional economics and game theory, are difficult to justify behaviorally and highly restrictive theoretically, and are thus unlikely to serve either as fertile design objectives or robust operating principles for realistic multi-agent systems.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: United States, Latin America
  • Author: Timothy R. Gulden
  • Publication Date: 02-2002
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: This paper examines detailed records from the civil conflict in Guatemala between 1977 and 1986. It reveals a number of novel patterns which support the use of complex systems methods for understanding civil violence. It finds a surprising, non-linear relationship between ethnic mix and killing; thereby inviting analysis based on group dynamics. It shows the temporal texture of the conflict to be far from smooth, with a power spectrum that closely resembles that of other, better understood, complex systems. The distribution of incident sizes within the data seems to fall into two distinct sets, one of which, corresponding to "regular" conflict, is Zipf distributed, the other of which includes acts of genocide and is distributed differently. This difference may indicate that that agents of the state were proceeding under different types of orders. These results provide an empirical benchmark for the modeling of civil violence and may have implications for conflict prevention, peace keeping, and the post-conflict analysis of command structures.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: United States, Latin America, Central America, Guatemala
  • Author: Christopher D. Carroll
  • Publication Date: 12-2001
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: Since the foundational work of Keynes (1936), macroeconomists have emphasized the importance of agents' expectations in determining macroeconomic outcomes. Yet in recent decades macroeconomists have devoted almost no effort to modeling actual empirical expectations data, instead assuming all agents' expectations are 'rational.' This paper takes up the challenge of modeling empirical household expectations data, and shows that a simple, standard model from epidemiology does a remarkably good job of explaining the deviations of household inflation and unemployment expectations from the 'rational expectations' benchmark. Furthermore, a microfoundations or 'agent-based' version of the model may be able to explain, in a way that still permits aggregation, stark rejections of the pure rational expectations framework like Souleles's (2002) finding that members of different demographic groups have sharply different predictions for macroeconomic aggregates like the inflation rate.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: United States, Latin America
  • Author: Yann Bramoulle
  • Publication Date: 10-2001
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: I investigate complementarity games played on graphs, which model negative externalities embedded in structures of interaction. On the complete graph, the traditional economic analysis applies: the number of agents playing one strategy is proportional to its payoff. I show that, in general and contrary to coordination games, the structure crucially influences the equilibria. On an important class of graphs, called bipartite graphs, the equilibria do not depend on strategies' payoffs. On certain highly asymmetric graphs, an increase in the payoff of a strategy even decreases the number of agents playing this strategy. In most cases, equilibria do not maximize welfare.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: United States, Latin America