Director of Research
Areas of expertise
Macroeconomics • Globalization • Social insurance • Public investment
Josh Bivens is the Director of Research at the Economic Policy Institute (EPI). His areas of research include macroeconomics, fiscal and monetary policy, the economics of globalization, social insurance, and public investment. He frequently appears as an economics expert on news shows, including the Public Broadcasting Service’s “NewsHour,” the “Melissa Harris-Perry” show on MSNBC, WAMU’s “The Diane Rehm Show,” American Public Media’s “Marketplace,” and programs of the BBC.
As a leading policy analyst, Bivens regularly testifies before the U.S. Congress on fiscal and monetary policy, the economic impact of regulations, and other issues. He has also provided analyses for the annual meeting of Project LINK of the United Nations and the Trade Union Advisory Committee (TUAC) of the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).
Bivens is the author of Failure by Design: The Story behind America’s Broken Economy (EPI and Cornell University Press) and Everybody Wins Except for Most of Us: What Economics Really Teaches About Globalization (EPI). He is the co-author of The State of Working America, 12th Edition (EPI and Cornell University Press) and a co-editor of Good Jobs, Bad Jobs, No Jobs: Labor Markets and Informal Work in Egypt, El Salvador, India, Russia and South Africa (EPI).
His academic articles have appeared in the International Review of Applied Economics, the Journal of Economic Issues and the Journal of Economic Perspectives. Bivens has also provided peer-reviewed articles to several edited collections, including The Handbook of the Political Economy of Financial Crises (Oxford University Press), Public Economics in the United States: How the Federal Government Analyzes and Influences the Economy (ABC-CLIO), and Restoring Shared Prosperity: A Policy Agenda from Leading Keynesian Economists (AFL-CIO and the Macroeconomic Policy Institute).
Prior to becoming Director of Research, Bivens was a research economist at EPI. Before coming to EPI, he was an assistant professor of economics at Roosevelt University and provided consulting services to Oxfam America. He has a Ph.D. in economics from the New School for Social Research and a bachelor’s degree from the University of Maryland at College Park.
Ph.D., Economics, New School for Social Research
B.A., Economics, University of Maryland at College Park
Search publications by Josh Bivens
American workers (and the policy wonks who criticize current trade policy on their behalf) are correct to think that the integration of the U.S. economy and the global economy has been done on terms that are bad for many—if not most—of them.
The Federal Reserve is widely expected to keep the interest rates it controls unchanged today. This decision would be welcome. It’s important, however, to not just applaud the decision, but to explain why it was the right one.
The Republican-led effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA) includes two large fiscal changes: a tax cut and a spending cut.1 Because the U.S.
January 27, 2017 | By Josh Bivens
| Economic Indicators
The Bureau of Economic Analysis reported this morning that gross domestic product (GDP, the widest measure of economic activity) grew at a 1.9 percent annualized rate in the last quarter of 2016, down from the 3.5 percent rate in the 3rd quarter.
While the crowds at the Women’s March were unprecedented, they represent just a
fraction of those who could lose health insurance if the Affordable Care Act were repealed.
It’s no secret that we at EPI have been skeptical about President Trump’s commitment to a policy agenda that would deliver the goods for low and middle-income Americans.
Josh Bivens appeared on C-SPAN’s “Washington Journal” to talk about the economic policy decisions of the Obama administration and the impact they’ve had on job creation, unemployment, wages, and the federal debt.
The closing days of the Obama years give us a chance to assess the president and his administration across a range of issues.
Today’s decision by the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates another 0.25 percent is a mistake. The point of raising rates should be to slow an economy that has been growing too fast—putting too much downward pressure on unemployment and empowering workers to demand and achieve wage gains in excess of productivity.
The election of Donald Trump alerted many to what should have been obvious long ago: the U.S. economy has failed to deliver the goods to vast swathes of American families for decades.
Last week I argued that the Trump-brokered deal with Carrier industries to keep 700 jobs in Indiana shouldn’t be treated as a triumph, but instead as a sellout of those unlucky workers who hadn’t managed to make themselves useful as PR props for Trump.
A policy effort to boost public investment should include both “core” infrastructure investments such as building roads and "noncore" public investments, such as improving early child care. Both provide high rates of return. Public finance is the most accountable way of financing infrastructure. Tax credits dangled to entice private financiers and developers provide no compelling efficiency gains and open up possibilities for corruption and crony capitalism.
Donald Trump is getting lots of mileage out of the alleged deal that has been struck to keep a Carrier plant from moving to Mexico from Indiana.
Across a broad range of crucial issues, the incoming Trump administration appears likely to betray the promises he made to the American middle class. Here’s a rough sketch of how.
President-elect Donald Trump has indicated that one of his first priorities will be a plan to boost infrastructure investment. Normally, this would be welcome news for those of us who have been arguing for years that increased public investment should be a top-tier economic priority. The still-sketchy details of Trump’s plan, however, are a cause for concern.
Progressive revenue increases would provide long-run financing for projected deficits but impose only minimal short-run fiscal drag. All other deficit-reduction measures would do clear economic damage if imposed in the short run.
The Fed’s Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) will debate again this week whether or not they should raise interest rates to slow the economic recovery in an effort to forestall potential inflation.
October 28, 2016 | By Josh Bivens
| Economic Indicators
Data released by Bureau of Economic Analysis today showed that gross domestic product (GDP)—the widest measure of economic activity—grew at a 2.9 percent (annualized) rate in the third quarter of 2016.
The national recovery since the end of the Great Recession has been needlessly held back by spending cuts at all levels of government.
There’s obviously plenty to criticize regarding Donald Trump’s claims and characterizations about the problems facing the U.S. economy during last night’s debate.
This week the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) will meet to decide whether or not to raise interest rates. By now this is a familiar debate.
Josh Bivens talked about his recent Economic Policy Institute report on U.S. economic recovery. He asserted that Republican policymakers are to blame for what he said is one of the slowest economic recoveries in recent history.
There’s no reason today to think we can’t replicate the outcome of the 1990s tight labor markets, we just need to make sure these tight labor markets rest on a solid foundation.
We are enduring one of the slowest economic recoveries in recent history, and the pace can be entirely explained by the fiscal austerity imposed by Republican members of Congress and also legislators and governors at the state level.
A well-designed financial transaction tax—a small levy placed on the sale of stocks, bonds, derivatives, and other investments—would be an efficient and progressive way to generate tax revenues.
The annual Social Security and Medicare trustees’ reports will be released today, prompting the usual scaremongering enabled by a widespread misunderstanding of how these programs operate and what deficits mean. As is always the case, it is helpful to separate out analyses of Social Security from Medicare, as they are different institutions facing very different challenges.
Globalization and secular stagnation make a sustained, coordinated fiscal expansion necessary for restoring growth to the global economy. Current politics in both the Unites States and Europe make this impossible in the short run. This means it’s likely to be a long time before we have a decent global economy, and that’s a real problem.
James Sherk at the Heritage Foundation has written a piece claiming that there has been no gap between growth in productivity and growth in pay. It’s written largely as an attempted debunking of our work, but since there’s not actually any bunk in this work, the attempt fails.
Today’s decision by the Federal Reserve to keep interest rates unchanged was the right one. There is no sign in the economic data that a durable acceleration in inflationary pressures is brewing and needs to be stopped by the Fed beginning to slow the economy.
Since the late 1970s, American economic growth has been slow and unequal relative to the period after World War II. This suggests that there was very little payoff to overall growth from rising inequality, and that there will be no growth penalty from strong efforts to check or reverse inequality. In fact, far from being in direct conflict, faster overall growth and progressive redistribution are likely complementary. What is even clearer is that an agenda that explicitly confronts rising inequality will unambiguously raise living standards growth for the bottom 90 percent. Actually, such an agenda is necessary for securing decent living standards growth for these households.