Research and Policy Director
Areas of expertise
Macroeconomics • Globalization • Social insurance • Public investment
Josh Bivens is the Research and Policy Director 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 Teachers 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 Research and Policy Director, 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
Last Thanksgiving I wrote a blog post in the “how to argue with your relatives at Thanksgiving” genre, providing some hard numbers for people who didn’t want to let their conservative relatives spout nonsense about economics with impunity at the holiday dinner table.
Friend and former colleague Jared Bernstein made a defense
of the ACA excise tax on expensive employer-provided health insurance plans a couple of days ago. It’s about as good a defense as there is of the excise tax, but at EPI we’re still largely unconvinced.
EPI’s Research and Policy Director Josh Bivens spoke with ABC 7 News (Washington, D.C.) about the implications of the upcoming 2015 debt ceiling debate.
A bit over four years ago, the U.S. economy threatened to breach the legislated (and totally arbitrary) national debt ceiling. There was no economic sign (high interest rates, for example) that argued that public debt was too high, and there were many economic signs that such debt was actually too low.
The Affordable Care Act is making the U.S. health system much more efficient and fair. One provision of it, however, remains controversial, even among those strongly supportive of the overall law.
This piece originally appeared in the Wall Street Journal’s Think Tank.
The Affordable Care Act took enormous strides toward providing access to health-care coverage to the tens of millions of uninsured Americans and reining in the skyrocketing costs of health care that heavily pressured households and public budgets, addressing what we consider the most glaring shortcomings of the U.S.
I’ve been arguing for the past year that until nominal wage growth picks up considerably, the Federal Reserve has little to fear about price inflation being pushed above its 2 percent target. The logic of focusing on wage growth is pretty easy to explain.
Today’s decision by the Federal Reserve to keep short-term rates unchanged is welcome. The data clearly indicate that much slack remains in the economy and inflation is not a danger the Fed needs to be worried about right now.
In the debate over the relationship between economy-wide productivity and typical workers’ pay the numbers are clear: typical workers’ pay hasn’t come close to keeping up with productivity, and a wide gap between the two has developed.
The case against the Federal Reserve raising short-term interest rates at the end of the Federal Open Market Committee meetings Thursday is so clearly strong that is should carry the day. The point of raising rates is to rein in an overheating economy that is threatening to push inflation outside the Fed’s comfort zone. But inflation has been running below the Fed’s target for years–and its recent moves have been down, not up.
September 10, 2015 | By Josh Bivens
| Economic Snapshot
Between 2000 and the second quarter of 2015, the share of income generated by corporations that went to workers’ wages (instead of going to capital incomes like profits) declined from 82.3 percent to 75.5 percent.
EPI Research and Policy Director Josh Bivens spoke with the Wall Street Journal about why the Federal Reserve shouldn’t raise interest rates.
The data series and methods we use to construct our graph of the growing gap between productivity and typical worker pay best capture how income generated in an average hour of work in the U.S. economy has not
trickled down to raise hourly pay for typical workers.
Recent volatility in stock markets in the U.S. and globally
has led many economic observers to conclude that the Federal Reserve is less likely to begin raising short-term interest rates at its September meetings. I’ve been on Team Don’t Raise for a while now, but I’m not excited about those joining the cause in light of recent stock market swings.
The stock market has taken a hit in the past few days, with concern over the Chinese economy driving a big selloff. How worried should we be? The short answer is: not very.
Catherine Rampell wrote a piece having some fun with the bidding war among GOP candidates about how much they can promise to raise economic growth rates.
In the Washington Post Fact Checker column today, Glenn Kessler got really exercised about Bernie Sanders’ totally accurate description of a Congressional Budget Office (CBO) report on job losses that will occur if spending caps in the Budget Control Act (BCA) are not loosened in coming years.
Today’s report that gross domestic product (GDP) rose at a 2.3 percent rate in the second quarter of 2015 is clearly an improvement over the 0.6 percent growth in the first quarter, but it indicates that growth for 2015 is likely to be disappointing.
The Federal Reserve can contribute to closing gender and racial wage gaps by setting a clear target for wage growth and not considering an interest-rate hike until wage growth has strengthened.
The Fed’s priorities should be spurring full employment and creating space for healthy wage growth.
This paper by EPI Research and Policy Director Josh Bivens was written for the Full Employment Project of Policy Futures, a new initiative at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.
The Environmental Protection Agency's proposed Clean Power Plan mandating reductions in greenhouse gas emissions from existing power plants would likely lead to a net increase of roughly 360,000 jobs in 2020, with jobs added falling to roughly 15,000 in 2030.
Three separate sources have recently “fact-checked” claims that Martin O’Malley made about American wages in his recent speech announcing his candidacy for the Democratic nomination.
On June 1, EPI Research and Policy Director Josh Bivens presented a report at the Brookings Institution on how monetary policy influences income inequality.
In a recent working paper presented at a symposium at the Brookings Institution’s Hutchins Center on Fiscal and Monetary Policy, EPI Research Director Josh Bivens assesses claims that the Federal Reserve’s very low interest rates and large-scale asset purchases (LSAPs), commonly known as quantitative easing, increased inequality by driving up the price of stocks and other assets.
In today’s U.S. economy, trade deficit reductions engineered by ending currency management would boost U.S. output and employment, and trade deficit reductions will (all else equal) always and everywhere
boost manufacturing employment.
EPI Research and Policy Director Josh Bivens talks about creating a budget based on lessons of inequality in the past, recovery in the present, and priorities for the future.
The American economy continues to struggle after the end of the Great Recession and five years of historically austere federal spending during an economic recovery.