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  • Author: David S. Mitchell, Jeremy Smith
  • Publication Date: 01-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Aspen Institute
  • Abstract: On November 18, 2015, the Obama Administration's Department of Labor (DOL) published two important legal opinions that propose to give states new options for expanding retirement coverage for private-sector workers. These opinions open the door for states to move forward along one of two distinct paths: a payroll deduction plan that avoids ERISA, or a more traditional model that would fall under ERISA. This issue brief summarizes these rules and highlights the tradeoffs state policymakers will face when deciding which of these new avenues to pursue. The brief will be updated once the proposals are finalized.
  • Topic: Economics, Human Welfare, Labor Issues, Governance, Social Movement
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Vickie Choltz, Maureen Conway
  • Publication Date: 12-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Aspen Institute
  • Abstract: The Future of Work for Low-Income Workers and Families is a policy brief aimed at state policy advocates and policymakers seeking to help low-income workers and their families secure healthy economic livelihoods as the nature of work evolves in the United States. Published by the Working Poor Families Project in December 2015, the brief was written by Vickie Choitz, associate director of the Economic Opportunities Program, with Maureen Conway, vice president at the Aspen Institute and executive director of the Economic Opportunities Program. This brief reviews the major forces shaping the future of work, including changes in labor and employment practices, business models, access to income and benefits, worker rights and voice, education and training, and technology. Across these areas, we are seeing disruptive change in our economy and society resulting in increasing risk and challenges for low-income workers, in particular.
  • Topic: Security, Economics, Human Welfare, Social Stratification, Employment
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Annie Kim
  • Publication Date: 12-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Aspen Institute
  • Abstract: The 2015 Financial Security Summit, titled Reimagining Financial Security: Managing Risk and Building Wealth in an Era of Inequality, took place July 15–17 in Aspen, Colorado. The Summit agenda built on FSP's core themes of expanding retirement security and children’s savings accounts for low- and moderate-income families, and began to explore a broader vision of how to improve short- and long-term dimensions of financial wellbeing in a rapidly changing economy. Participant contributions helped shape new areas of focus for FSP going forward. This report incorporates those insights and provides an outline for future policy dialogue and directions.
  • Topic: Security, Economics, Human Welfare, Social Stratification, Employment
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Roger Ballentine, Andy Karsner
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Aspen Institute
  • Abstract: We are still in the early stages of a transformation of the U.S. electricity sector into a cleaner, more flexible, more resilient, and more dynamic system. The early history of investment in and adoption of clean energy technologies and practices has been mixed. The venture capital model has proven to be inadequate for scaling up clean energy, and anticipated policy developments have been slow to be realized. The sector-reshaping impact of unconventional gas, uneven capitalization of clean energy companies, and the mixed signals of government policymakers have slowed the march to a more distributed energy economy rooted in the greater use of renewables, the more efficient use of energy, and the optimization of information technologies in the energy sector.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Economics, Energy Policy, Industrial Policy, Markets, Science and Technology
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Colby Farber
  • Publication Date: 11-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Aspen Institute
  • Abstract: The 2014 Financial Security Summit examined how policymakers, the financial services industry, advocates, and academics can advance new policies and products to make it easier for households to build financial security and to reinvigorate the American Dream.
  • Topic: Debt, Economics, Governance, Reform
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Bill White, Leonard Coburn
  • Publication Date: 10-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Aspen Institute
  • Abstract: The evolution from energy scarcity to abundance in the United States creates dislocations. Technology, infrastructure, laws, regulations, trade flows, and environmental and security policies developed during American energy deficits must be adapted to cope with its new energy prosperity. Significant improvements in oil and gas technology are leading to production increases outpacing projections. A need for infrastructure development follows energy production, necessitating adaptations. Laws passed in the 1970s during times of energy disruptions require reconsideration in a period of relative plenty. The shift of the United States and Canada from an oil and gas importing region to an exporting region has enormous global implications. Policies need to be readjusted in light of new realities, and the effects of the oil and gas boom in North America will require new thinking by governments, industry and consumers.
  • Topic: Energy Policy, Oil, Natural Resources
  • Political Geography: United States, North America
  • Author: Alexander N. Pan
  • Publication Date: 09-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Aspen Institute
  • Abstract: Over the past decade, a growing segment of social entrepreneurs and small and growing businesses(SGBs) has emerged that seeks to utilize the power of invention to create products and companies that improve the lives of people living in poverty around the world. We call this class of entrepreneur-looking to develop and disseminate tangible products that will be manufactured and sold at high volumes via market mechanisms-an invention-based entrepreneur.1 ANDE believes that invention-based entrepreneurs are supported or impeded by a number of environmental factors, or the entrepreneurial ecosystem in which they work. While ANDE and our members have made significant progress toward strengthening these entrepreneurial ecosystems in emerging markets, invention-based entrepreneurs have a unique set of needs that differentiates them from typical SGBs. Consequently, we believe we can improve the ecosystem to support the growth of this industry, and thereby unleash the full potential impact of these invention-based entrepreneurs.
  • Topic: Emerging Markets, International Trade and Finance, Political Economy, Reform
  • Political Geography: United States, South Africa
  • Author: Dave Grossman (Rapporteur), Sue Tierney, Chair
  • Publication Date: 09-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Aspen Institute
  • Abstract: New federal regulations, changes in fuel prices and trends, the expansion of distributed energy resources, declines in U.S. electricity consumption, and advances in technology are all spurring utilities and regulators to respond and adapt. Discussions of the challenges and opportunities these forces present for the U.S. electricity sector – as well as how the industry and its regulators are adapting – formed the heart of the 2014 Aspen Institute Energy Policy Forum. This report summarizes and organizes some of the key insights from those discussions.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Energy Policy, Environment, Natural Resources, Nuclear Power
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Richard P. Adler
  • Publication Date: 08-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Aspen Institute
  • Abstract: In 1987, back at the dawn of the Internet age, two studies were published that provided perceptive looks at the evolution of electronic networks and the impact that they would likely have on the way business is conducted in the U.S. and globally. Both studies concluded that rapidly evolving information technologies were helping to break down old hierarchical business structures in favor of new, more decentralized models of economic activity.
  • Topic: Economics, Science and Technology, Communications, Mass Media
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: David Bollier
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Aspen Institute
  • Abstract: The structure and character of commerce has changed dramatically since the arrival of the World Wide Web and various digital technologies, particularly mobile phones and large, interconnected databases. Consumers now have much greater market power and choice. Markets can more easily scale, often globally. Co-production and fluid producer/consumer interactions are routine. Transactions themselves have become far cheaper and more easily consummated.
  • Topic: Foreign Exchange, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Science and Technology, Communications, Monetary Policy
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe