The following newsletter highlights CEPR's latest research, publications, events and much more.
CEPR on Paid Leave
A new report from CEPR and the CUNY Murphy Institute examines the impact of Connecticut's path-breaking paid sick leave law on business in the state. The report, “Good for Business? Connecticut’s Paid Leave Law” by CEPR Senior Economist Eileen Appelbaum and co-authors Ruth Milkman, Luke Elliott, and Teresa Kroeger, focuses on the experience of Connecticut employers with the state’s paid sick leave law, yielding valuable insight on the effect of such laws on businesses.
Eileen and Ruth surveyed 251 businesses in CT on their experiences with the law, and they conducted in-depth on-site interviews with managers at 15 covered organizations in the state. Their results show a modest, if any, impact on businesses in the state, contrary to fears expressed by business groups prior to passage of the legislation.
The CT paid sick days study has been receiving notice in the press, including this recent editorial in Connecticut’s The Day. The study was also featured in op-eds in The New Britain Heraldand The Connecticut Mirror. An Associated Press article appeared in numerous outlets including ABC News, Inc., the Durango Herald and the Houston Chronicle. The study was also mentioned in this article in Think Progress. CEPR Domestic Communications Director Alan Barber wrote this post on the study for the CEPR Blog.
CEPR on the Minimum Wage
An article that made the New York Times most-emailed list used data and analysis produced by CEPR Research Associate Janelle Jones and Senior Economist John Schmitt. CEPR was credited for supplying the data that produced the main graphic that ran with the piece and John was quoted saying: “Minimum-wage and low-wage workers are older and more educated than 10 or 20 years ago, yet they’re making wages below where they were 10 or 20 years ago after inflation. If you look back several decades, workers near the minimum wage were more likely to be teenagers — that’s the stereotype people had. It’s definitely not accurate anymore.” (The Times article was picked up by Salon, which also cites CEPR’s work.) John was also quoted in an Associated Press article that touched on similar themes.
CEPR Director of Domestic Policy Nicole Woo wrote this CEPR Blog post on the Senate HELP hearing on the CBO Report, held on March 12. John submitted a statement for the record, which you can read here. John’s statement draws from his previous analyses outlined in two earlier blog posts, “CBO and the Minimum Wage” and “CBO and the Minimum Wage, PT. 2.” And in this CEPR Blog post, Nicole and co-author CEPR Domestic Intern Jeffrey Gianattasio look at recent evidence that suggests that raising the minimum wage does not “kill jobs.”
John’s research showing little or no employment response to modest increases in the minimum wage was cited in this post by Joshua Holland for Moyers & Company (the post was also reprinted in Truthout). CEPR was also cited in this article in the Colorado Independent, this piece in CNN Money, and this piece on Bloomberg.com.
CEPR Co-director Dean Baker also weighed in, writing this in Beat the Press: “A Washington Post article giving the ‘inside story’ on how President Obama decided to push for a $10.10 minimum wage might have led readers to believe that it is only Republicans who claim to have economic evidence on their side in the minimum wage debate.” But Dean also gave kudos to Bloomberg for publishing “a very nice piece reviewing the employment history of Washington State, which has had the highest minimum wage in the country since 1998.”
CEPR on Venezuela
CEPR has continued to monitor the situation around the violent unrest in Venezuela closely, providing analysis of press coverage as well as writing op-eds, articles and numerous blog posts. CEPR Co-director Mark Weisbrot wrote several columns and op-eds on Venezuela, including a recent Boston Globe op-ed co-authored with Oliver Stone titled “Obama Wrong to Isolate Venezuela” that was picked up by the Huffington Post and re-printed in La Jornada, one of Mexico City’s leading newspapers. Mark also wrote several columns for the Guardian on the topic, including this one that contrasts the situation in Venezuela with events in the Ukraine. Describing his observations from on-the-ground in Caracas, Mark noted that the situation in Venezeula is widely misrepresented in western media, but “is a classic divide between right and left.”
Mark reiterated that theme in this other Guardian column, writing that Secretary of State John Kerry “doubled down in his fusillade of rhetoric against the government, accusing President Nicolás Maduro of waging a ‘terror campaign against his own people’. Kerry also threatened to invoke the Inter-American Democratic Charter of the OAS against Venezuela, as well as implementing sanctions.” As Mark explains, “The domestic politics of Kerry’s posturing are pretty simple. On the one hand, you have the right-wing Florida Cuban-American lobby and their neo-conservative allies screaming for overthrow. To the left of the far right there is, well, nothing. This White House cares very little about Latin America, and there are no electoral consequences for making most of the governments in the hemisphere more disgusted with Washington.”
CEPR’s Americas Blog provided in-depth analysis of the events in Venezuela as well. CEPR’s coverage began with this detailed overview by guest blogger Miguel Tinker Salas. CEPR Research Associate Jake Johnston contributed with several posts, including this post on the U.S. Congress’ proposed sanctions, this one on the Venezuelan Attorney General’s investigations of human rights abuses by security forces, this update on those who have been killed during the last month of protests in Venezuela, and this one on the OAS meeting held March 21. Jake also wrote this piece on the “Cubanization” of U.S. policy toward Venezuela.
CEPR International Communications Director Dan Beeton wrote analyzing the OAS’ recent history in responding to crises in Latin America, while CEPR International Intern Nate Singham penned this piece contrasting the role of the OAS and UNASUR, respectively, in mediating inter-regional conflicts and CEPR Research Assistant Stephan Lefebvre noted in this post that Lula da Silva, the former president of Brazil, sent a letter of support to Venezuelan president Nicolás Maduro.
Mark also contributed several posts to the blog, penning this critique of the New York Times’ reporting of Venezuela’s inflation rate, as well as a post titled “Venezuela: Who You Gonna Believe, the New York Times or Your Lying Eyes?” that pointed out that a news article in the NYT describing a government “crackdown” did not match the accompanying video of protesters violenting attacking police. In this post, Mark asks “Should the Media Report on Who is Killing Whom In Venezuela, When Death Tolls are Reported?” Mark wrote this post on Venezuela’s new exchange rate, and he remarked in this post that “It says something about overall media coverage of a subject when some of the most important news appears in the form of corrections,” – in this case a correction to an op-ed by opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez that had erroneously stated that the “more than 30” people killed in the violence were protesters, when in fact about half were security forces, bystanders and others apparently killed by the protesters themselves.
CEPR was cited on Venezuela in numerous media outlets as well. Mark was quoted in this recent article by Inter Press Service. CEPR Senior Associate for International Policy Alex Main was interviewed by KPFK’s Strategy Session (90.7, Los Angeles, CA), while Dan was interviewed by WPFW’s Latino Media Collective (Washington, DC). CEPR was also cited in this op-ed Al Jazeera America and this one for Truthout. Alex did this interview with RT Spanish, and Director of International Programs Deborah James debated Trinkunas and former Venezuela Supreme Court head Cecilia Sosa in this recent appearance on Voice of America’s Foro Interamericano.
CEPR on Public Sector Collective Bargaining
In their paper “Regulation of Public Sector Collective Bargaining in the States,” co-authors CEPR Program Assistant Milla Sanes and Senior Economist John Schmitt review the legal rights and limitations on public-sector bargaining in the 50 states and the District of Columbia. Given the legal complexities, they focused on three sets of workers who make up almost half of all unionized public-sector workers: teachers, police, and firefighters. For each group, they examined whether public-sector workers have the right to bargain collectively; whether that right includes the ability to bargain over wages; and whether public-sector workers have the right to strike.
CEPR on Full Employment
Dean and Jared Bernstein wrote a brief based on their book Getting Back to Full Employment: A Better Bargain for Working People for the Brookings Institution. Dean will be a panelist at an event at the National Press Club on April 2nd to focus greater attention on the goal of full employment. Dean and Jared also participated in a book discussion at the AFL-CIO on March 14th. Dean and Jared were introduced by AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka.
The Latest From the CEPR Blogsosphere:
The CEPR Blog
Dean wrote this post on the February jobs numbers, calling them “mixed.” Here is Dean on RT arguing that part of the recent economic weakness can be attributed to all this terrible weather. (You can read more about Dean’s take on the jobs numbers in CEPR’s Jobs Byte.)
CEPR Economist David Rosnick asked “Is It Really Time for the Fed to Worry About Inflation?”, while Dean asked “How Many Jobs Were Created on Bill Gates’ Estate?” Nicole penned this post on the Congressional Progressive Caucus’ Better Off Budget, while Jeffrey surveyed critiques of Thomas Piketty’s new book, Capital in the Twenty-First Century.
CEPR Senior Research Associate Shawn Fremstad wrote two posts on Paul Ryan. In this post he writes, “Reading Paul Ryan’s new report, The War on Poverty: 50 Years Later, I was most struck by how disconnected it is from the real-world economic concerns of today’s diverse working class (a term I use to designate people in roughly the bottom third of income/wealth distribution).” Shawn also asked “Will Paul Ryan Go for the Full Murray By Taking on White Working-Class ‘Culture’?”
The Americas Blog: Analysis Beyond the Echo Chamber
In addition to the extensive coverage of Venezuela mentioned above, The Americas Blog also featured this post by Nate’s analysis of local Ecuadorian elections and what they mean for the governing AP (Alianza PAIS) party. Nate also wrote this post on Bolivia’s transportation sector, which has received a significant boost under current president Evo Morales.
Beat the Press
This month in Beat the Press, Dean took on MSNBC and Abby Huntsman (twice) as well as the usual suspects Robert Samuelson, George Will and Greg Mankiw, and the not-so-usual suspects Paul Krugman and Brad DeLong. But the BTP prize went to the Washington Post. Here is Dean critiquing their coverage of health care reform (twice), budget numbers, pharmaceutical companies and patent monopolies (twice), Fannie and Freddie and the housing market in general, inflation and “silly Yellen bashing”. He also took on the WaPo’s Harold Meyerson for taking claims of unemployment resulting from new technological innovations too seriously.
In addition, Dean reminded us that locking up the banksters is not hard, and, for the 65,412th time, that “The Health Care Exchanges Need Healthy People, It Doesn't Matter If They Are Young.”
Haiti: Relief and Reconstruction Watch
CEPR’s Haiti Watch blog featured a post on the ongoing cholera epidemic in Haiti, noting that last month, the U.N. Independent Expert of Human Rights in Haiti, Gustavo Gallon, released his first report since taking over his post. As the BBC reports, Gallon called for “full compensation” of those who have been victims of the cholera epidemic in Haiti. However, while Gallón encouraged justice, the U.N. itself has continued to evade responsibility. The piece also examines why there has been little progress on the 10-year $2.2 billion cholera elimination plan.
CEPR’s newest blog, Director Watch, debuted last month. Director Watch, and its sister project, the Huffington Post’s Pay Pals, brings to light the performance of the companies that directors help oversee and the paychecks they and their CEOs collect, giving the public a much-needed and deserved look at a buddy system that effectively victimizes shareholders and working people alike.
In other CEPR News…
--Dean was on Bloomberg Business Week, explaining how expanded overtime pay won’t hurt small business.
--On Monday March 3, Dean participated in a panel discussion panel at the National Women Infants and Children’s (WIC) Association's 24th Annual Washington Leadership Conference. Dean and fellow panelist Bob Greenstein of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities discussed "Deficit Reduction Challenges: How Has the Macroeconomic Environment Changed in the Past Year?"
On March 6, Dean testified before the House Committee on Small Business on the effect of the President's health care law on the self-employed.
Dean traveled to England to participate in a conference on pensions. Held on March 20, the conferencebrought together papers reflecting new economic thinking in a dialogue between economists and practitioners, from academia, government and industry. Dean’s talk was titled “Retirement Security in Troubled Times: Lessons from the United States.”
On March 26 Dean was in Raleigh, North Carolina for a discussion on the economy sponsored by North Carolina Policy Watch. And on the 28, he spoke at a conference on economic and political inequality at the University of Kentucky.
--CEPR co-sponsored a screening of the new documentary “Revolutionary Medicine: A Story of the First Garifuna Hospital.” Held at Busboys and Poets on March 30, the event featured a question and answer session with Dr. Luther Castillo, community organizer and co-founder of the First Garifuna People's Hospital of Honduras. The screening was co-sponsored by the Sisters of Mercy and the Latin America Working Group Education Fund.
--On March 11, Shawn participated in an event held at the New America Foundation titled “50 Years Since the War on Poverty: Looking Back, Moving Forward”. And on the 27, he was a panelist at a congressional briefing sponsored by Representative Thomas Petri and the Institute for Women’s Policy Research titled “Improving Tax Credits for New Mothers and Reducing Marriage Penalties for Low-Income Americans.”
-- Eileen spoke about her new book Private Equity at Work at the University of Utah on March 28. Co-authored by professor Rosemary Batt of Cornell University, the book provides an unprecedented analysis of the little-understood inner workings of private equity and of the effects of leveraged buyouts on American companies and workers. (The book can be pre-ordered here, from Powells, or on Amazon. The official publication date is sometime next month, stay tuned!)
CEPR On the Road
CEPR may be coming to a city near you! (For more information on these upcoming events please check CEPR’s events page.) Eileen will be in Los Angeles on April 2 to discuss her book Private Equity at Work at an event at the UCLA Anderson School of Management, and on April 9 she will be at Rutgers University. Dean will be in Madison, WI on April 4 to talk about unemployment and inequality. He then travels to CA for two events. On the April 8th he will be in Santa Barbara where he will participate in an event titled “The Great Society at 50.” On the 9th, Dean will be at UCLA to discuss his book, Getting Back to Full Employment: A Better Bargain for Working People (available as a free download).