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News Archive

  • Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen sketched a bright outlook for the U.S. economy and for inflation prospects in the comin...
    Senate Democrats introduce bill to repeal opioid distribution law; Congress nearing deal to loosen bank regulations; Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen signals likely interest rate hike.
  • Six types of offshore wind generation structures.

    The Jones Act has received a lot of press in the wake of Hurricane Maria for inhibiting aid to Puerto Rico in their time of need. Nearly a decade after being signed into law, the Act has become the target of scrutiny, with politicians such as Senator McCain (R-AZ) calling for the amendment of the “antiquated” law [1]. In addition to its controversial role in disaster relief, many organizations (such as the National Renewable Energy Laboratory) have drawn attention to the bill’s consequences for offshore wind energy production – an area in which the US has traditionally been lacking [2].

  • Image: Man holding ISIS flag. Source: goo.gl/KPwtZa
    The information age has created a paradox: though our access to news articles is greater than ever, it is also easier to miss news, particularly that which does not seem alarming or directly relevant to our lives. One such topic is the recruitment by and funding of terrorist organizations in the Western Hemisphere. While terrorist attacks—whether successful or foiled—conjure prominent headlines, the issues of recruitment and funding are often largely overlooked by the media.
  • Addressing Personal-Income-Tax Manipulation
    In order to better understand the tax manipulation decision-making process—both legal uses of tax deductions and illegal tax evasion—this brief looks at the impact of gain/loss framing. Analysis of tax data confirms that tax decisions are influenced by “loss aversion.” For instance, taxpayers are more likely to pursue tax reduction activities when they make a loss smaller, as compared to when they make a gain larger. The brief looks at tools that policymakers have at their disposal for both deterring tax evasion and making exiting tax incentives maximally effective. The brief discusses instances when such gain/loss framing interventions might be deployed, and provides estimates around the size of the revenue responses they may generate. The author estimates that if tax filers who face losses experienced the lower motivation to manipulate shown by those facing gains, annual tax revenue would increase by $1.4 billion. Even attempts at marginal interventions, though smaller in predicted effects, might be financially worthwhile.
  • resident Trump will remove subsidies to health insurance companies that currently help pay out-of-pocket costs of low-inco...
    President Trump to decertify Iran nuclear deal; Trump to scrap critical health care subsidies for Obamacare; House Approves $36.5 billion hurricane and wildfire aid package; Inflation surges after hurricane increases gas prices, U.S. consumer price index increased 0.5% in September; U.S. retail sales rose 1.6% in September, driven by autos and gasoline purchases. 
  • Image: Flanked by Senators Cotton (L) and Perdue (R), President Trump endorses the RAISE Act in the Roosevelt Room of the ...
    On Wednesday, August 2, President Trump endorsed a piece of legislation authored by Senators Tom Cotton (R-AR) and David Perdue (R-GA) that would radically change immigration policy in the United States. [1] Known as the RAISE (Reforming American Immigration for a Strong Economy) Act, the goal of the bill is, in the words of the President, to “not only restore [America’s] competitive edge in the 21st century”, but to also “restore the sacred bonds of trust between America and its citizens.” [2] [3]
  • Faculty Affiliate Professor Michael Knoll.
    The Trump administration announced the outline of their tax reform plan last week. While many details have not been released, their blueprint includes reducing the corporate rate from 35% to 20%, eliminating the Estate Tax and the Alternative Minimum Tax, reducing the number tax brackets, and increasing the standard deduction. Faculty Affiliate Michael Knoll comments on the plan for WHYY Radio, adding that a reduction in corporate tax rate is widely agreed upon among economists, but the lost revenue will have to be made up elsewhere.
  • Penn Wharton PPI Faculty Affiliate, Professor Peter Cappelli

    Contract workers are in wide use today, and it’s easy to see why: The short-term financial gains are simply too alluring to pass up, says Faculty Affiliate Peter Cappelli.

    “Investors hate ‘employment’ because it seems like a fixed cost, even though most companies have no reluctance to get rid of employees, and many keep contractors around as long as their average employee,” says Cappelli, director of Wharton’s Center for Human Resources. “Even though it is typically more expensive per hour to hire contractors, it shows up on different budgets. But it also reflects a general short-term view of strategy: Rather than getting really good at something, which requires investing in competencies, we are going instead to just find new opportunities quickly.”

  • Penn Wharton PPI Faculty Affiliate, Professor Olivia S. Mitchell
    Older women in the U.S. are eager to work. And employers, facing a tight labor market and a dwindling supply of workers as older baby boomers retire, need these women. Yet women over 50 find the doors of American corporations are often closed to them, according to academic studies, employment experts and interviews with women struggling to get hiring managers to take them seriously. 

    For employers, the scarcity of workers shows no signs of abating. That will force them to look for talent in populations they might otherwise have ignored, says Faculty Affiliate Olivia Mitchell, a professor at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business. If they don’t explore those neglected pools, “they won’t find the trained, educated, mature workforce they need,” she says.
  • Penn Wharton PPI Faculty Affiliate, Professor Peter Cappelli
    “With their heavy emphasis on financial rewards and punishments and their end-of-year structure, [performance reviews] hold people accountable for past behavior at the expense of improving current performance and grooming talent for the future,” Faculty Affiliate Peter Cappelli wrote in the Harvard Business Review. “In contrast, regular conversations about performance and development change the focus to building the workforce your organization needs to be competitive both today and years from now.” 
  • Penn Wharton PPI Faculty Affiliate, Professor Susan M. Wachter
    What happens when big investment money moves into mass home ownership? Faculty Affiliate Susan Wachter comments on how private equity funds are changing the real estate market and rentals.
  • Faculty Affiliate Guy David.

    A couple of decades ago, hospitals and clinics did not advertise much to customers. Now, they are spending more and more each year on marketing, according to university professors who study advertising, and are keeping track. The optimism at the heart of these ad campaigns by care providers, feature slogans like “Thrive” and “Smile Out.” Is this spreading a message of false positivity?

    Thirty years ago, health care providers marketed to physicians more than consumers. The ads were drier, more factual, says Faculty Affiliate Guy David, an economist and professor of health care management at the University of Pennsylvania.

    “When the ads are more consumer-facing as opposed to professional-facing, the content tends to be more passionate,” David says.

  • Jobless claims fell significantly below analyst expectations this week.
    Trump to sign healthcare executive order; Jobless claims fall below estimates, producer prices rise; December rate hike very likely according to Fed minutes.
  • House appropriates $36.5 billion to disaster funding without spending offsets; Trump plans to make executive order on healthcare insurance market; Mortgage applications decrease 2.1% as interest rates reach highest level since July. 
  • Image: President Barack Obama signing the Affordable Care Act into law, 2010. Source: Wikimedia Commons.
    Republicans elected to the House of Representative, Senate, and the Presidency from 2012 to 2016 ran on the promise to “repeal and replace” the Affordable Care Act signed into law by former President Obama.  The Affordable Care Act, otherwise known as Obamacare, revolutionized the healthcare market completely by leveling an individual mandate, offering subsidies to those who could not afford to buy health care, and bringing more people into the insurance market to offset costs. [1]
  •  In a tweet Tuesday morning, the President indicated he’d use the “power of the pen” to “give great Healt...
    Trump indicates he may use executive order on health care; Working class Americans face growing debt burden; IMF raises worldwide economic outlook.
  • Scott Pruitt, Administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) said on Monday that he would sign a proposed...
    EPA head to sign rule on withdrawal from the Clean Power Plan; Houses passes budget, paving way for tax reform; U.S. deficit spending reached $668 billion in fiscal 2017.
  •  Image: Engineer directs students in the use of tracking. Source: U.S. Navy.
    A well-known study by Oxford professors estimates that in one or two decades, half of the number of U.S. jobs will become automated. [1] The projections for job computerization have moved beyond production occupations and have entered service and other non-routine jobs that required cognitive tasks. Some have even claimed that, in the future, Artificial Intelligence (AI) will do everything better than humans. [2]
  • Lightrail at a station in PA. 

    For much of the second half of the 20th Century, cities in the United States developed by suburbanizing – wealthier families fled urban cores and settled in outlying areas, where the size of one’s house became a preeminent status symbol. Yet over the last few decades, these trends have reversed, at least among young, well-educated millennials. Between 2010 and 2015, in all but six of the country’s 33 largest metropolitan areas, population growth among educated millennials in core cities eclipsed that of their surrounding suburbs, with such populations in 13 cities growing at more than double the rate of their suburbs. [1]

  • Estate tax rules proposed by President Obama will be withdrawn by the Treasury.
    Treasury to withdraw estate-tax rules proposed by the Obama administration; Service sector index registers highest reading in over 12 years; U.S. private sector adds 135,000 jobs in September, according to ADP. 
  • Source: http://www.hashtagsadtrump.com/huge-cuts-food-stamps-medicaid-trump-budget/

    On May 16th, President Donald Trump released his budget plan for the federal government. The plan proposed sharp cuts to many governmental departments while increasing the resources available to the military and defense agencies. The details of the proposed budget are portrayed in the diagram below. [4]

  • Car sales have peaked after the destruction of Hurricane Harvey.
    Supreme Court hears arguments on gerrymandering case; GOP tax plan hits political opposition; Auto sales boom post Harvey.
  • Congress is set to discuss tax reform this week. 
    Congress to vote on budget and tax reform this week; Tom Price resigns as Health and Human Services Secretary; U.S. manufacturing activity reaches a 13-year high, as construction spending increases.
  • Student Intern Rachel Huang asks about the role of the private sector in addressing climate change.
    The private sector has a huge role in addressing climate change and other environmental issues. This was on full display during and after President Trump’s announcement to withdraw the U.S. from the Paris Climate Agreement. Silicon Valley’s Elon Musk gathered huge criticism for his advisory role to the President, but, in a belief that he could do more good from the inside, he pushed for the Trump administration to stay committed to the Paris framework. Apple’s CEO Tim Cook also spoke with the President to persuade him to stay, however, the President chose to follow through with his campaign promises.
  • Photo: Example of a store closing after bankruptcy.

    Divestiture. It is a word anyone who follows mega-mergers and antitrust law hears on almost a daily basis. The first time that I thought about it was in a course I took, “Economic Analysis of Law” and the idea did not make too much sense. When companies merge aren’t they planning on creating some sort of new efficiency by becoming a larger company? Wouldn’t they be giving up any economies of scale by unloading a sizable chunk of their companies? That’s why when I stumbled across a New York Times article with some anecdotal evidence that supported my skepticism [Sagers, “Limits of Divestiture”], I wanted to delve deeper into the issue. During my summer at the FTC, I have been involved on a case that analyzed a divestiture remedy and I have been able to read some FTC resources to better verse myself on the subject.

  • The President temporarily lifted the restrictions of the Jones Act in order to expedite food and aid to Puerto Rico. The l...
    US Bombardier tax overshadows NAFTA trade talks; Trump lifts the Jones Act to speed aid to Puerto Rico; US proposed tax plan boosts dollar; Jobless claims spike on Irma.
  • Vikram Aiyer, Strategic Communications and Public Policy at Postmates
    The Penn Wharton Public Policy Initiative is pleased to announce that Vikram Aiyer will be our Visiting Fellow for the Fall 2017 semester.
  • Before International Tax Reform, We Need to Understand Why Firms Invert
    A wave of corporate inversions by U.S. firms over the past two decades has generated substantial debate in academic, business, and policy circles. The core of the debate hinges on a couple of key economic questions: Do U.S. tax laws disadvantage U.S.-domiciled companies relative to their foreign competitors? And, if so, do inversions improve the competitiveness of U.S. multinational firms both abroad and at home? This brief, summarizes both old and new research that views these questions through the lens of corporations’ global effective tax rates (ETRs), and finds that the stronger case seems to be that U.S.-domiciled corporations are often tax-disadvantaged and that they can improve their competitive position by inverting. Additional evidence also suggests that U.S. MNCs can increase their after-tax cash flow by inverting. Inversions indicate that something is fundamentally wrong with the tax system. The brief concludes by discussing two feasible paths forward for reform.
  • Penn Wharton PPI Faculty Affiliate, Professor Daniel Polsky
    The problem isn’t unique to marketplace plans, said Faculty Affiliate Daniel Polsky. “I would argue that the challenge isn’t necessarily a lack of primary care physicians, it’s a need to reorganize care to meet the needs of the population,” he added. “Team-based care is an opportunity to meet those needs.”
  • Penn Wharton PPI Faculty Affiliate, Professor Joao F. Gomes
    The changes to the political landscape in Germany – Europe’s largest economy — has implications both for the country and also for the European Union as a whole. It also brings up serious questions as to whether Merkel will be able to end her political career on a productive note – and about who will succeed her as de facto leader of the EU.

    “You can interpret the French election [of President Emmanuel Macron in May] in different ways, but neither one of these leaders comes up with a very strong mandate,” says Faculty Affiliate Joao Gomes.

 

PENN WHARTON PPI
RESOURCE SPOTLIGHT:

  • <h3>National Center for Education Statistics</h3><p><strong><img width="400" height="80" alt="" src="/live/image/gid/4/width/400/height/80/479_nces.rev.1407787656.jpg" class="lw_image lw_image479 lw_align_right" data-max-w="400" data-max-h="80"/>The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) is the primary federal entity for collecting and analyzing data related to education in the U.S. and other nations.</strong> NCES is located within the U.S. Department of Education and the Institute of Education Sciences. NCES has an extensive Statistical Standards Program that consults and advises on methodological and statistical aspects involved in the design, collection, and analysis of data collections in the Center. To learn more about the NCES, <a href="http://nces.ed.gov/about/" target="_blank">click here</a>.</p><p> Quick link to NCES Data Tools: <a href="http://nces.ed.gov/datatools/index.asp?DataToolSectionID=4" target="_blank">http://nces.ed.gov/datatools/index.asp?DataToolSectionID=4</a></p><p> Quick link to Quick Tables and Figures: <a href="http://nces.ed.gov/quicktables/" target="_blank">http://nces.ed.gov/quicktables/</a></p><p> Quick link to NCES Fast Facts (Note: The primary purpose of the Fast Facts website is to provide users with concise information on a range of educational issues, from early childhood to adult learning.): <a href="http://nces.ed.gov/fastfacts/" target="_blank">http://nces.ed.gov/fastfacts/#</a></p><p>See all <a href="/data-resources/">data and resources</a> »</p>
  • <h3>Federal Aviation Administration: Accident & Incident Data</h3><p><img width="100" height="100" alt="" src="/live/image/gid/4/width/100/height/100/80_faa-logo.rev.1402681347.jpg" class="lw_image lw_image80 lw_align_left" srcset="/live/image/scale/2x/gid/4/width/100/height/100/80_faa-logo.rev.1402681347.jpg 2x, /live/image/scale/3x/gid/4/width/100/height/100/80_faa-logo.rev.1402681347.jpg 3x" data-max-w="550" data-max-h="550"/>The NTSB issues an accident report following each investigation. These reports are available online for reports issued since 1996, with older reports coming online soon. The reports listing is sortable by the event date, report date, city, and state.</p><p> Quick link: <a href="http://www.faa.gov/data_research/accident_incident/" target="_blank">http://www.faa.gov/data_research/accident_incident/</a></p><p>See all <a href="/data-resources/">data and resources</a> »</p>
  • <h3>NOAA National Climatic Data Center</h3><p><img width="200" height="198" alt="" src="/live/image/gid/4/width/200/height/198/483_noaa_logo.rev.1407788692.jpg" class="lw_image lw_image483 lw_align_left" srcset="/live/image/scale/2x/gid/4/width/200/height/198/483_noaa_logo.rev.1407788692.jpg 2x, /live/image/scale/3x/gid/4/width/200/height/198/483_noaa_logo.rev.1407788692.jpg 3x" data-max-w="954" data-max-h="945"/>NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center (NCDC) is responsible for preserving, monitoring, assessing, and providing public access to the Nation’s treasure of <strong>climate and historical weather data and information</strong>.</p><p> Quick link to home page: <a href="http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/" target="_blank">http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/</a></p><p> Quick link to NCDC’s climate and weather datasets, products, and various web pages and resources: <a href="http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/data-access/quick-links" target="_blank">http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/data-access/quick-links</a></p><p> Quick link to Text & Map Search: <a href="http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/cdo-web/" target="_blank">http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/cdo-web/</a></p><p>See all <a href="/data-resources/">data and resources</a> »</p>
  • <h3>National Bureau of Economic Research (Public Use Data Archive)</h3><p><img width="180" height="43" alt="" src="/live/image/gid/4/width/180/height/43/478_nber.rev.1407530465.jpg" class="lw_image lw_image478 lw_align_right" data-max-w="329" data-max-h="79"/>Founded in 1920, the <strong>National Bureau of Economic Research</strong> is a private, nonprofit, nonpartisan research organization dedicated to promoting a greater understanding of how the economy works. The NBER is committed to undertaking and disseminating unbiased economic research among public policymakers, business professionals, and the academic community.</p><p> Quick Link to <strong>Public Use Data Archive</strong>: <a href="http://www.nber.org/data/" target="_blank">http://www.nber.org/data/</a></p><p>See all <a href="/data-resources/">data and resources</a> »</p>
  • <h3>Federal Reserve Economic Data (FRED®)</h3><p><strong><img width="180" height="79" alt="" src="/live/image/gid/4/width/180/height/79/481_fred-logo.rev.1407788243.jpg" class="lw_image lw_image481 lw_align_right" data-max-w="222" data-max-h="97"/>An online database consisting of more than 72,000 economic data time series from 54 national, international, public, and private sources.</strong> FRED®, created and maintained by Research Department at the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, goes far beyond simply providing data: It combines data with a powerful mix of tools that help the user understand, interact with, display, and disseminate the data.</p><p> Quick link to data page: <a href="http://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/tags/series" target="_blank">http://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/tags/series</a></p><p>See all <a href="/data-resources/">data and resources</a> »</p>
  • <h3>MapStats</h3><p> A feature of FedStats, MapStats allows users to search for <strong>state, county, city, congressional district, or Federal judicial district data</strong> (demographic, economic, and geographic).</p><p> Quick link: <a href="http://www.fedstats.gov/mapstats/" target="_blank">http://www.fedstats.gov/mapstats/</a></p><p>See all <a href="/data-resources/">data and resources</a> »</p>
  • <h3>The Penn World Table</h3><p> The Penn World Table provides purchasing power parity and national income accounts converted to international prices for 189 countries/territories for some or all of the years 1950-2010.</p><p><a href="https://pwt.sas.upenn.edu/php_site/pwt71/pwt71_form.php" target="_blank">Quick link.</a> </p><p>See all <a href="/data-resources/">data and resources</a> »</p>
  • <h3>HUD State of the Cities Data Systems</h3><p><strong><img width="200" height="200" alt="" src="/live/image/gid/4/width/200/height/200/482_hud_logo.rev.1407788472.jpg" class="lw_image lw_image482 lw_align_left" srcset="/live/image/scale/2x/gid/4/width/200/height/200/482_hud_logo.rev.1407788472.jpg 2x, /live/image/scale/3x/gid/4/width/200/height/200/482_hud_logo.rev.1407788472.jpg 3x" data-max-w="612" data-max-h="613"/>The SOCDS provides data for individual Metropolitan Areas, Central Cities, and Suburbs.</strong> It is a portal for non-national data made available through a number of outside institutions (e.g. Census, BLS, FBI and others).</p><p> Quick link: <a href="http://www.huduser.org/portal/datasets/socds.html" target="_blank">http://www.huduser.org/portal/datasets/socds.html</a></p><p>See all <a href="/data-resources/">data and resources</a> »</p>
  • <h3>Congressional Budget Office</h3><p><img width="180" height="180" alt="" src="/live/image/gid/4/width/180/height/180/380_cbo-logo.rev.1406822035.jpg" class="lw_image lw_image380 lw_align_right" data-max-w="180" data-max-h="180"/>Since its founding in 1974, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has produced independent analyses of budgetary and economic issues to support the Congressional budget process.</p><p> The agency is strictly nonpartisan and conducts objective, impartial analysis, which is evident in each of the dozens of reports and hundreds of cost estimates that its economists and policy analysts produce each year. CBO does not make policy recommendations, and each report and cost estimate discloses the agency’s assumptions and methodologies. <strong>CBO provides budgetary and economic information in a variety of ways and at various points in the legislative process.</strong> Products include baseline budget projections and economic forecasts, analysis of the President’s budget, cost estimates, analysis of federal mandates, working papers, and more.</p><p> Quick link to Products page: <a href="http://www.cbo.gov/about/our-products" target="_blank">http://www.cbo.gov/about/our-products</a></p><p> Quick link to Topics: <a href="http://www.cbo.gov/topics" target="_blank">http://www.cbo.gov/topics</a></p><p>See all <a href="/data-resources/">data and resources</a> »</p>
  • <h3>The World Bank Data (U.S.)</h3><p><img width="130" height="118" alt="" src="/live/image/gid/4/width/130/height/118/484_world-bank-logo.rev.1407788945.jpg" class="lw_image lw_image484 lw_align_left" srcset="/live/image/scale/2x/gid/4/width/130/height/118/484_world-bank-logo.rev.1407788945.jpg 2x, /live/image/scale/3x/gid/4/width/130/height/118/484_world-bank-logo.rev.1407788945.jpg 3x" data-max-w="1406" data-max-h="1275"/>The <strong>World Bank</strong> provides World Development Indicators, Surveys, and data on Finances and Climate Change.</p><p> Quick link: <a href="http://data.worldbank.org/country/united-states" target="_blank">http://data.worldbank.org/country/united-states</a></p><p>See all <a href="/data-resources/">data and resources</a> »</p>
  • <h3>Internal Revenue Service: Tax Statistics</h3><p><img width="155" height="200" alt="" src="/live/image/gid/4/width/155/height/200/486_irs_logo.rev.1407789424.jpg" class="lw_image lw_image486 lw_align_left" srcset="/live/image/scale/2x/gid/4/width/155/height/200/486_irs_logo.rev.1407789424.jpg 2x" data-max-w="463" data-max-h="596"/>Find statistics on business tax, individual tax, charitable and exempt organizations, IRS operations and budget, and income (SOI), as well as statistics by form, products, publications, papers, and other IRS data.</p><p> Quick link to <strong>Tax Statistics, where you will find a wide range of tables, articles, and data</strong> that describe and measure elements of the U.S. tax system: <a href="http://www.irs.gov/uac/Tax-Stats-2" target="_blank">http://www.irs.gov/uac/Tax-Stats-2</a></p><p>See all <a href="/data-resources/">data and resources</a> »</p>
  • <h3>USDA Nutrition Assistance Data</h3><p><img width="180" height="124" alt="" src="/live/image/gid/4/width/180/height/124/485_usda_logo.rev.1407789238.jpg" class="lw_image lw_image485 lw_align_right" srcset="/live/image/scale/2x/gid/4/width/180/height/124/485_usda_logo.rev.1407789238.jpg 2x, /live/image/scale/3x/gid/4/width/180/height/124/485_usda_logo.rev.1407789238.jpg 3x" data-max-w="1233" data-max-h="850"/>Data and research regarding the following <strong>USDA Nutrition Assistance</strong> programs are available through this site:</p><ul><li>Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) </li><li>Food Distribution Programs </li><li>School Meals </li><li>Women, Infants and Children </li></ul><p> Quick link: <a href="http://www.fns.usda.gov/data-and-statistics" target="_blank">http://www.fns.usda.gov/data-and-statistics</a></p><p>See all <a href="/data-resources/">data and resources</a> »</p>