Archive for March 2012

College Comparisons

Paul Krugman has reproduced an OECD chart that was featured in  a recent post by Jared Bernstein. The graph of interest (below) contrasts the share of older and younger people in OECD countries that have the equivalent of a four-year college degree or more. The dark blue squares show the share of the population age […]

Can Europeans Blog?

Earlier this month, the Bruegel blog ran a long, provocative post titled “Europeans can’t blog.” The main point was this observation: It is striking to note that the online debate about European economic issues mostly takes place on American blogs. A couple of European blogs have contributed to change this landscape, but the European blogosphere remains […]

Health, Education, and the Minimum Wage

By John Schmitt and Marie-Eve Augier The current value of the federal minimum wage — $7.25 per hour — is often compared to the cost of living, the average wage in the economy, or the productivity of the average worker. By all of these benchmarks, the current federal minimum is well below its historical levels. But […]

The Minimum Wage is Too Damn Low

It is coming up on three years since the last increase in the federal minimum wage –to $7.25 per hour– in July 2009. By all of the most commonly used benchmarks – inflation, average wages, and productivity – the minimum wage is now far below its historical level. By all of these reference points, the value of the minimum […]

Jobs Day

Justin Wolfers correctly tweets this morning that: “As unemployment falls, so will long-term joblessness.” But, it could still take a very long time. The labor-market categories that Janelle Jones and I have been focusing on in two recent reports –the long-term unemployed, discouraged workers, the marginally attached, and those part-time for economic reasons– have so […]

Reinventing Low-Wage Work

I participated today in a great event organized by the Aspen Institute on “Reinventing Low-Wage Work.”  The focus was on the restaurant industry (though my comments were about low-wage work more generally). The featured speaker was Representative Donna Edwards, who discussed her bill –the WAGES Act– which would substantially raise the minimum wage that applies […]

Demographics of long-term labor-market hardship

In a CEPR report (pdf) out today, Janelle Jones and I examine the demographics –gender, race, and age– of long-term hardship in the labor market. The report follows up on a paper (pdf) we did in January that made the case for looking beyond the standard “long-term unemployment” measure, to include the “discouraged,” the “marginally […]

Health insurance for low-wage workers

Almost 40 percent of low-wage workers (defined as those in the bottom fifth of the wage distribution) have no health insurance from any source. Only about 25 percent of low-wage workers have coverage through their employers. Coverage rates have been on the decline for all workers over the last three decades, but the fall-off has […]


Yesterday’s New York Times has a high-production-values piece on differences in the recent labor-market performance of France and Germany. Reporter Steven Erlanger, whose foreign reporting I’ve admired in other contexts, builds the story around a comparison of two small towns –Sélestat and Emmendingen– located on either side of the French-German border. Unfortunately, the side-by-side comparison […]