Research and Policy Director
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June 17, 2016 | By Josh Bivens | BlogGlobalization 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.
June 16, 2016 | By Josh Bivens | BlogJames 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.
June 15, 2016 | By Josh Bivens | Press ReleasesToday’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.
Progressive redistribution without guilt: Using policy to shift economic power and make U.S. incomes grow fairer and faster
June 9, 2016 | By Josh Bivens | ReportSince 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.
June 3, 2016 | By Josh Bivens | BlogSome policy makers and observers have urged raising interest rates in June. Proponents argue that some inflation measures show faster growth than the Federal Reserve’s preferred measure and that a potential bubble in the commercial real estate market justifies a rate increase. Ultimately, both arguments hinge on thinking that too-slow growth in real estate construction should be solved by raising rates. Here’s why that is not convincing.
May 26, 2016 | By Josh Bivens | BlogSalaried workers not eligible for overtime often do not receive “current wages” for hours worked in excess of 40. Instead they often earn nothing. That is, a worker was paid a salary based on a 40-hour work week, but was then forced by employers to put in 45 or 50 or 55 hours of actual work with no additional compensation. If such a worker has the hours they’re forced to work cut from 45 to 40 but keeps the same weekly pay, then it is really silly to label this an increase in “underemployment,” and no economist worth their salt would do this.
May 26, 2016 | By Josh Bivens | BlogFederal budget season came and went this year without any budget proposal hitting the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives.
May 20, 2016 | By Josh Bivens | BlogWeak data had convinced many that the Federal Reserve was unlikely to raise interest rates in June, but in recent days multiple Fed policymakers have suggested that an increase should be on the table in the near future. What’s unclear is why.
April 29, 2016 | By Josh Bivens | BlogNeil Irwin wrote a piece on productivity growth in the New York Times that’s making the rounds. It’s a good piece, definitely worth reading.
News from EPI › Slow growth in the first quarter of 2016 supports the Fed’s decision to keep interest rates low
April 28, 2016 | By Josh Bivens | Press ReleasesThe Bureau of Economic Analysis reported this morning that gross domestic product (GDP), the broadest measure of economic activity, grew at just a 0.5 percent annualized rate in the first quarter of 2016.
April 20, 2016 | By Josh Bivens | BlogIt's been pointed out to me that yesterday’s blog post about a story by NPR’s Chris Arnold targeted too much ire at Arnold himself rather than the phenomenon he was reporting about. I think that’s probably right, and so I apologize to him for that. I was using Arnold’s story as a jumping off point for a discussion of a larger issue, and should have made that more clear. I do think my larger points about the substance of the topic under debate hold.
April 19, 2016 | By Josh Bivens | BlogTrade agreements in recent decades have not been simple good-faith exercises in trade liberalization. Instead, they have exposed some American workers to fierce international competition while locking in rules that expanded protections for others.
double down on such severe cuts, and yet it couldn’t even get a majority in a Republican-controlled House because it doesn’t call for large enough cuts. Or, to put it just as accurately, it failed because too many in the Republican caucus decided that it wouldn’t do quite enough damage to the economy. That’s the real story here.
April 7, 2016 | By Josh Bivens | BlogOnly an expansive reading of some of Sanders' rhetorical excesses would lead one to think he would pursue policies that radically restricted the access to U.S. markets currently enjoyed by our poorer trading partners’ exports. It is not an uncommon reaction to criticisms of today’s global trade regime to assume that this market access would clearly be significantly reduced if this status quo were overturned, but that’s far from obvious.
March 16, 2016 | By Josh Bivens | AudioEPI’s Josh Bivens spoke with “Marketplace” about the need for the Federal Reserve to hold off on raising interest rates amid sluggish wage growth.
Mission still not accomplished: To reach full employment we need to move fiscal policy from austerity to stimulus
March 16, 2016 | By Josh Bivens | ReportSince 2011, the Economic Policy Institute Policy Center (EPIPC) has provided advice and technical analysis of the annual budget proposal of the Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC).
March 16, 2016 | By Josh Bivens | BlogAll eyes will be on the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) today as they decide whether or not to follow up December’s interest rate hike (the first since 2006) with another.
March 4, 2016 | By Josh Bivens | Jobs PictureThe Labor Department reported this morning that 242,000 jobs were added to the U.S. economy in February, up from 172,000 in January.
March 2, 2016 | By Josh Bivens | BlogData on employment and unemployment in February will be released this coming Friday by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Notably, this is the last jobs official jobs data we’ll get before the Federal Reserve meets in two weeks to decide whether or not to follow up December’s quarter point interest rate increase with another rate hike.
March 2, 2016 | By Josh Bivens | TestimonyTestimony of EPI Research and Policy Director Josh Bivens before the U.S. House Judiciary Subcommittee on Regulatory Reform, Commercial and Antitrust Law hearing on the impact of Federal rules on the economy.
February 29, 2016 | By Josh Bivens | AudioEPI’s Josh Bivens spoke with public radio’s “Marketplace” about how hourly wages have remained stagnant despite a gradually improving economy.
February 11, 2016 | By Josh Bivens | Audiohttp://www.epi.org/files/2016/radio-2016-01-29-josh-bivens.mp3From time-to-time, EPI contributes segments for broadcast on Workers Independent News. In February 2016, EPI Communications Director Liz Rose interviewed Research and Policy Director Josh Bivens.
February 10, 2016 | By Josh Bivens | AudioIn an interview with public radio’s “Marketplace,” EPI’s Josh Bivens spoke about consumer spending and GDP.
February 10, 2016 | By Josh Bivens | BlogThe stakes in how we interpret recent signs on weak productivity growth are huge. If productivity growth is simply a given, and cannot be boosted by further efforts to close the aggregate demand shortfall, this means we’re actually much closer to full employment than otherwise, and, it means that the level of wage growth consistent with a fully healthy economy is closer to 3 percent than 4 percent. And since wage growth is now running around 2.5 percent, we’re getting close to this long-run wage target and hence close to hitting the inflation barrier—that is, crossing the line into economic overheating that will cause prices to rise faster than the Fed’s 2 percent target.