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CEPR News December 2013 Print
Written by Dawn Lobell   
Monday, 23 December 2013 11:00

The following newsletter highlights CEPR's latest research, publications, events and much more.

CEPR on Paid Family Leave
Twenty years ago, the Family and Medical Leave Act, or FMLA, was signed into law. The FMLA granted certain workers new and important rights, including the ability to take up to 12 weeks of job-protected leave after a birth or adoption, but it fell short in at least two important respects. CEPR and the Center for American Progress (CAP) released a joint report titled “Job Protection Isn’t Enough: Why America Needs Paid Parental Leave” to mark the occasion. It was authored by Heather Boushey and Jane Farrell of CAP and CEPR Senior Economist John Schmitt.

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Labor Market Policy Research Reports, December 14- December 20, 2013 Print
Written by Teresa Kroeger   
Friday, 20 December 2013 11:13

The following labor market policy research reports were recently released: 

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What Was (Is) the “War on Poverty” Anyway and Does it Matter Today? Print
Written by Shawn Fremstad   
Thursday, 19 December 2013 00:00

With January 8, 2014 marking the 50th anniversary of the State of the Union speech given by LBJ declaring war on poverty, we are likely to hear a fair amount of debate about whether it was a success or failure in coming months. The quality of this debate would be much improved if there were a historically grounded, non-symbolic definition of the war on poverty, so here’s my quick attempt at one (with apologies to real historians).

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Have Economists Underestimated the Impact of Fiscal Stimulus? Print
Written by Sebastian Gechert, Rafael Mentges, and Dean Baker   
Wednesday, 18 December 2013 11:06

The effects of fiscal policy on growth and employment are central to the debate on deficit reduction and stimulus. Unfortunately, there are sharp divisions among economists over the size of fiscal multipliers.

A major problem is identifying deliberate changes in fiscal policy, since the size of the budget deficit is in large part dependent on the state of the economy. Therefore it is necessary to find a way to distinguish between changes in the deficit that are the result of cyclical fluctuations and changes that are attributable to conscious policy.

Several identification schemes have been used to resolve the issue of endogeneity regarding the business cycle in fiscal multiplier estimations, among them a measure of the cyclically adjusted budget deficit, the cyclically adjusted primary balance (CAPB) in event studies (Alesina and Ardagna 2010), as well as the recursive approach (Fatás and Mihov 2001) and the one by Blanchard and Perotti (2002) in structural vector autoregressive (SVAR) models. However, adjusting for business cycle movements may not be enough in the presence of pronounced asset and credit market movements that influence the budget and GDP over and above what is generally recognized as business cycle swings.

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Parental Leave 20 Years After FMLA Print
Written by John Schmitt   
Monday, 16 December 2013 11:04

It has been 20 years since the passage of the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), a landmark piece of legislation that guaranteed covered workers the right to take up to 12 weeks of job-protected leave in the event of a birth or adoption or to deal with a serious health problem affecting the worker or a close relative.

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Rep. DeLauro Cites Eileen Appelbaum's New Book Unfinished Business at Press Conference Introducing the FAMILY Act Print
Written by Alan Barber   
Friday, 13 December 2013 16:44

On Thursday, December 12 legislation was introduced in the House and Senate that would provide workers with up to 12 weeks paid leave to recover from their own serious illness or disability or from childbirth or to care for seriously ill family members.

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Labor Market Policy Research Reports, December 7 - December 13, 2013 Print
Written by Teresa Kroeger   
Friday, 13 December 2013 12:03

The following labor market policy research reports were recently released: 

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Eye of the Beholder Print
Written by John Schmitt   
Thursday, 12 December 2013 16:04

Over the last few months, I have repeatedly heard opponents of raising the federal minimum wage argue that "85 percent" of the "most credible studies" find that increasing the minimum wage has a negative effect on employment.

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Can Paid Family Leave Increase Men’s Participation in Parenting? Print
Written by Eileen Appelbaum   
Thursday, 12 December 2013 00:00

A major source of gender inequality in the labor market is the earnings penalty that women typically experience when they become mothers. While outright gender discrimination has by no means been eliminated, it has been greatly reduced since the 1970s as women’s educational attainment and career aspirations have increased. Yet the pay gap between men and women remains and, in fact, widens steadily over the typical female career.  Motherhood appears to be central to this widening gap. Even mothers who do not significantly reduce their hours of paid work receive average earnings that are significantly less than those of comparable childless women. This ‘motherhood penalty’ is due in part to the persistently asymmetric gender division of parenting and other family responsibilities.

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Should the War on Poverty Be Judged by Whether It Enabled Seniors to “Break Free” from Social Security? Print
Written by Shawn Fremstad   
Wednesday, 11 December 2013 14:36

In a post highlighting some findings from a new Columbia paper on poverty trends over the last five decades, Brad Plumer writes:

"The 'war on poverty' has been less successful in helping people break free from the need for safety-net programs in the first place. That is, if you don't factor in all these programs, then the [share] of Americans with incomes below the poverty line has actually grown, from 26 percent in 1967 to 29 percent in 2012."

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Labor Market Policy Research Reports, November 23- December 6, 2013 Print
Written by Teresa Kroeger   
Tuesday, 10 December 2013 09:41

The following labor market policy research reports were recently released:

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Nelson Mandela and Martin Luther King on Poverty Measurement Print
Written by Shawn Fremstad   
Monday, 09 December 2013 14:27

Nelson Mandela’s extraordinary opening statement at his 1964 trial in Pretoria includes this on poverty:

"The government answers its critics by saying that Africans in South Africa are better off than the inhabitants of the other countries in Africa. I do not know whether this statement is true. But even if it is true, as far as the African people are concerned it is irrelevant. Our complaint is not that we are poor by comparison with people in other countries, but that we are poor by comparison with the white people in our own country, and that we are prevented by legislation from altering this imbalance."
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Jobs Data Flash: Broad Based Job Gains Lead to Big Drop in Unemployment Print
Written by Dean Baker   
Friday, 06 December 2013 00:00

The economy added 203,000 jobs in November after adding a revised 200,000 in October, the first time the economy has seen consecutive months of 200,000 plus job growth since November and December of last year. The strong job growth led to a drop of 0.3 percentage points in the unemployment rate to 7.0 percent. This drop was due to increased employment as the employment-to-population ratio rose by 0.3 pp to 58.6 percent, reversing a fall of the same amount reported for October.

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President’s Inequality Speech Pretty Good, Except for the Part Calling for Block Granting Food Stamps Print
Written by Shawn Fremstad   
Thursday, 05 December 2013 14:15


Wordle: Obama's Inequality Speech

I’m with Larry Mishel in thinking that President Obama mostly hit the right notes in his speech on inequality yesterday, while also agreeing with Larry and Dean Baker on some of the “misguided distractions” in the speech.

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Beyond the So-Called Poverty Line: The Income-Hardship Gradient Today Print
Written by Shawn Fremstad   
Wednesday, 04 December 2013 12:52

My former CBPP colleague Arloc Sherman has a great, just-the-facts post on the extent to which Americans experience economic hardship, like difficulty affording adequate food, living in overcrowded housing, not being able to pay rent or the mortgage on time, or having utilities cut off. As Sherman notes, Census recently found that several measures of specific economic hardships increased between 2005 between 2011.

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Work Sharing: A Win for Both Employees and Employers Print
Written by Nicole Woo   
Tuesday, 03 December 2013 10:20

In their new book, Jared Bernstein and CEPR's Dean Baker feature work sharing (a.k.a. short-time compensation) as a way to have more jobs in this economy. They highlight the program's striking success in Germany, where "its unemployment rate has actually fallen by more than 2.0 percentage points from its pre-crisis level, in spite of the fact that its economic growth has been no better than that of the United States."

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More Bad Mommies in Poverty From Nick Kristof Print
Written by Shawn Fremstad   
Monday, 02 December 2013 13:18

In his Thanksgiving Day column, Nick Kristof highlights Bad Mommies in Povertyincluding:

  1. Alcoholic Mommy of preschooler;
  2. Teenage Mommy who “drinks so much during pregnancy that her child is born with fetal alcohol effects”; and
  3. Abusive, Stressed-Out Single Mommy “who doesn’t read to her children and slaps them more than she hugs them.”
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CEPR News November 2013 Print
Written by Dawn Lobell   
Monday, 02 December 2013 12:53

The following newsletter highlights CEPR's latest research, publications, events and much more.

CEPR on Honduras

CEPR’s paper, “ Honduras Since the Coup: Economic and Social Outcomes,” [PDF] examines Honduras’ economy and finds that much of the economic and social progress experienced from 2006 – 2009 has been reversed in the years that followed. The paper, by CEPR researchers Jake Johnston and Stephan Lefebvre, shows that economic inequality in Honduras has increased dramatically since 2010, while poverty has worsened, unemployment has increased, and underemployment has risen dramatically, with many more workers receiving less than the minimum wage.

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Every Day Low Wages Print
Written by Janelle Jones and John Schmitt   
Wednesday, 27 November 2013 14:29

Workers at retail establishments across the country are gearing up for Black Friday sales. Workers at Walmart are also preparing for a series of actions across the country to protest low-wages at the retail giant.

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Miracle of Miracles: Good Reporting on Modern Family Structures in the NYT Print
Written by Shawn Fremstad   
Tuesday, 26 November 2013 16:02

Over the last year or so, the NYT has repeatedly dropped the ball in news stories and commentaries that involve modern family structures, particularly when it comes to working-class families and ones headed by an unmarried parent(s).

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