The Women Who Are Taking On Wal-Mart

Denise Barlage and Venanzi Luna. Liz Cooke, CC BYPico Rivera is a dusty working-class Latino suburb of Los Angeles. After the school district, Wal-Mart is the city’s largest employer and the source of 10 percent of its tax revenue. More than 500 families in the town depend on income from the store.

Why We Must End Upward Pre-distributions To The Rich

pWhy We Must End Upward Pre-distributions To The RichYou often hear inequality has widened because globalization and technological change have made most people less competitive, while making the best educated more competitive. There’s some truth to this. The tasks most people used to do can now be done more cheaply by lower-paid workers abroad or by computer-driven machines.

The Actual Impact of the Trans-Pacific Partnership on Trade

The Impact of the Trans-Pacific Partnership on TradeThe United States International Trade Commission (USITC) recently came out with projections on the economic effects of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal. The USITC’s report is the third major study on the TPP from the past two years.

Rule-breaking Iceland Completes Its Miracle Economic Escape

In the red. Fishing boats ready for launch. Johnny Peacock/Flickr, CC BY-NC-NDDisgruntled Icelanders recently forced their prime minister to quit, and are threatening to hand power to self-styled pirates at an early election. But whereas other European voters are culling traditional parties out of weakness, Reykjavik’s are rebelling out of strength.

Reducing Energy Use Is A Big Winner For Business

Reducing Energy Use Is A Big Winner For BusinessCompanies could improve their profits by 2-10% each year by saving energy. That’s just one of the findings of ClimateWorks Australia’s Energy Productivity Index, a world-first attempt to assess companies' energy performance and help investors make better decisions.

The Federal Reserve Has An Urge to Raise Interest Rates

The Federal Reserve Has An Urge to Raise Interest RatesThe Federal Reserve Board's Open Market Committee (FOMC) decided not to raise interest rates at its meeting last week. However, the FOMC also made clear that a rate hike was still an option for its June meeting.

Having Trouble Picking The Right Health Insurance Plan? Let An Algorithm Decide

ibm watsonOne key goal of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) was to lower health care costs by giving consumers more choice over their insurer. Economic theory suggests that when consumers make informed and active choices in a competitive market, companies respond by lowering prices and improving the quality of their offerings.

What’s Destroying the American Middle Class?

What’s Killing the American Middle Class?A new study by the Pew Research Center spurred a rash of headlines last week about “the dying middle class.” But the word “dying” might be more appropriate if we were watching the regrettable but inevitable effects of natural forces at work.

Why the Economy Should Stop Growing And Just Grow Up

Why the Economy Should Stop Growing And Just Grow Up“How do we grow the economy?” is an obsolete question. Local initiatives across the world are looking for maturity instead as they rebuild caring, place-based communities and economies.

What Can Donald Trump Teach Us About the National Debt?

dean baker 5 9Many people might think that Donald Trump can only teach the country how to offend women, African Americans and a range of non-European ethnic groups. While that may be his area of expertise, it seems that his rants on dealing with debt may actually provide a teachable moment. As a result, the country, and possibly even the policy elites, may get a better understanding of when and how debt can pose a problem.

What Is Wrong With America's Civic Education

What Is Wrong With America's Civic EducationAny election demands knowledge, attention and wisdom from the whole electorate. When a campaign season does not seem to be going well, there’s often angst about whether the public has been sufficiently educated.

The Rise Of The Intelligent Automated Workforce

The Rise Of The Intelligent Automated WorkforceLosing jobs to technology is nothing new. Since the industrial revolution, roles that were once exclusively performed by humans have been slowly but steadily replaced by some form of automated machinery.

Yes, The Economy Really Is Rigged

Yes, The Economy Really Is RiggedI see Greg Mankiw used his NYT column to tell folks that politicians are spinning tales when they say the economy is rigged. I would say that economists spin tales when they tell you it is not. (Mankiw and I just ran through this argument on a panel in Boston last week.) Let's quickly run through the main points.

Why Big Cable Is Bad News for the Internet

Why Big Cable Is Bad News for the InternetI’m going to let you in on a little secret about the Internet: Big cable companies hate it. That’s a bad thing because for most Americans big cable companies are the on-ramps to the wired world.

Not Rocket Science, Oil Majors Must Adapt Or Die

The Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010 escalated industry costs and environmental concerns. Image: EPI2oh via FlickrAs profits and prices plummet, the oil conglomerates – some of the world’s biggest companies – have been warned they must change their ways or face extinction.

What’s Behind Huge Academic Gap At U.S. Public Schools?

"The socioeconomic profile of a district is a powerful predictor of the average test score performance of students in that district," says Sean Reardon. "Nonetheless, poverty is not destiny: There are districts with similarly low-income student populations where academic performance is higher than others." (Credit: Ian Koski/Flickr)"The socioeconomic profile of a district is a powerful predictor of the average test score performance of students in that district," says Sean Reardon. "Nonetheless, poverty is not destiny: There are districts with similarly low-income student populations where academic performance is higher than others."

Having Babies Before Age 25 May Cost Women More Income

"Children do not kill careers, but the earlier children arrive the more their mother's income suffers. There is a clear incentive for delaying," says coauthor Raul Santaeulalia-Llopis. (Credit: Thomas Angermann/Flickr)"Children do not kill careers, but the earlier children arrive the more their mother's income suffers. There is a clear incentive for delaying," says coauthor Raul Santaeulalia-Llopis.

How And Why China Became Africa's Biggest Aid Donor

How And Why China Became Africa's Biggest Aid DonorThe foreign aid arena in Africa has traditionally been dominated by the Organisation of Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries. However, over the past three decades non-traditional donors such as China, have emerged.

Why Efforts to Privatize The VA Health System Are A Scam

Why Efforts to Privatize The VA Health System Is A ScamThere are few areas where there is more bipartisan support than the need to provide adequate health care for the country's veterans. While many of us opposed the war in Iraq and other recent military adventures, we still recognize the need to provide medical services for the people who put their lives at risk.

Are Robots Really Taking Our Jobs?

Are Robots Really Taking Our Jobs?If you put water on the stove and heat it up, it will at first just get hotter and hotter. You may then conclude that heating water results only in hotter water. But at some point everything changes – the water starts to boil, turning from hot liquid into steam. Physicists call this a “phase transition.”

How The Ancients Invented The Modern World

the ancients 4 15True innovation is hard to find, as few things come out of nothing. Take the now ubiquitous selfie, for example. The format may have changed but the concept of making self-portraits is hundreds, if not thousands of years old. The same is true of many inventions that we typically think of as modern.

7 Ways We Are Already Beginning To Live Locally

7 Ways We Are Already Beginning To Live LocallyAs a chain of volcanic islands, Hawai‘i doesn’t have coal and natural gas readily available to generate electricity. The state depends on oil, shipped in by tanker, to generate electricity. In 2002, Kaua‘i Island Utility Cooperative (KIUC) became the first and only member-owned utility company in...

The Success Of Tesla's Model 3 Goes Far Beyond Its Affordability

The Success Of Tesla's Model 3 Goes Far Beyond Its AffordabilityTesla Motors has already established its electric cars as fast, well-sized and capable of competing with petrol cars in how far they can go without needing a recharge. Now, the US firm run by Elon Musk appears to have countered the final remaining negative perception of electric vehicles: price.

How The Supreme Court Made Economic Inequality A Whole Lot Worse

How The Supreme Court Made Economic Inequality A Whole Lot WorseEconomic inequality is now firmly on the public agenda as candidates and voters alike look for someone to blame for stagnant wages, entrenched poverty and a widening gap between rich and poor.

Why The High Cost Of Publicly Funded Cancer Drugs?

Why The High Cost Of Publicly Funded Cancer Drugs?Patients with prostate cancer in England and Wales will now have early access to abiraterone, a drug which can delay the need for chemotherapy. The drug previously cost £3,000 a month, and was not considered “cost-effective” for the NHS until cancers were more advanced – even though patients in Scotland had access to it.

Six Things A Tax Haven Expert Learned From The Panama Papers

Six Things A Tax Haven Expert Learned From The Panama PapersThe Panama Papers is a treasure trove of information on the activities and clientele of a large, but not atypical law firm operating in an offshore financial centre. In this case, it is a firm called Mossack Fonseca, based in Panama. It follows a series of spectacular leaks by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, including the HSBC files

Why It Makes Economic Sense To Wait On More Offshore Drilling

Activists surround Shell Oil rig in Seattle’s Elliot Bay to protest Arctic drilling plans. Daniella Beccaria/Flickr, CC BY-SAFrom chants of “Drill, Baby, Drill” to outrage over the BP oil spill, offshore drilling has been highly controversial in recent years. Some view it as a vastly underused revenue source, while others see it as a grave environmental threat. In parts of the Gulf of Mexico, drilling continues

If We Really Want An Ideas Boom, We Need More Women At The Top Tiers Of Science

Tanya Monro (left), Emma Johnston (centre) and Nalini Joshi (right) at the National Press Club. National Press Club of AustraliaOn Wednesday May 30, Emma Johnston, Nalini Joshi and Tanya Monro spoke at the National Press Club for a special Women Of Science event. Here they outline their views on how to promote greater participation by women at the top levels of science.

U.S. Income Inequality Highest Since The Great Depression

U.S. Income Inequality Highest Since The Great DepressionIncome inequality in the United States has been a major flashpoint during the 2016 presidential election, with much debate focused on whether America is divided between “the 1 percent” who make up the wealthy elite and the lagging middle and working classes.

Why We Have Been Measuring Inequality Wrong

Why We Have Been Measuring Inequality WrongDespite appearances to the contrary, this year’s presidential follies have managed to feature at least a few policy discussions amid all the name-calling. Income inequality in particular has animated voters on both sides of the partisan divide, but the solutions advocated by candidates from each party are markedly different.

How Gifted, Low-income Kids Are Left Behind

The current process of selection could be leaving out some low-income and minority kids. NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, CC BYIn 1983, the National Commission on Excellence in Education published A Nation At Risk: The Imperative for Educational Reform, which documented widespread academic underachievement at every level, concluding:

How Your Local Train Station Can Predict Health And Death

Mapping health outcomes and life expectancy against train stations reveals stark inequalities across cities. AAP/Tracey NearmyThe association between life expectancy and postcodes, neighbourhood locations or train stations has been demonstrated in many different locations around the world. These include London and Glasgow in the UK and across the US including California.

Clean Energy Could Save Hundreds Of Billions In Health Costs

Clean Energy Could Save Hundreds Of Billions In Health CostsIf the U.S. moved to electric vehicles, there would be a substantial cut in air pollution – and health benefits to go with it.In Paris late last year, the countries of the world pledged to reduce emissions to keep global warming “well below a 2 degree Celsius” rise in global average temperatures compared with preindustrial levels.

The Program Helping Youth Unify the Most Segregated City in America

The Program Helping Youth Unify the Most Segregated City in America

These south side Chicago “explorers” had never seen anything comparable to the legendary Union League Club. The esoteric artwork, luxurious decor, and dapper club members were a far cry from the neighborhood where the group of African American teenagers grew up. And there was no mistaking the reaction on members’ faces: There goes the neighborhood.

Why Intelligent Machines Won’t Leave Half The World Unemployed

Why Intelligent Machines Won’t Leave Half The World UnemployedIntelligent machines are good at some jobs that were once done by humans. Recent alarmist headlines this week claim artificial intelligence (AI) will put half of us out of work.

Birth Weight Drops With Income In US

Birth Weight Drops With Income In USHealth disparities are common in developed countries, including the United States, but at what age those inequities take root and how they vary between countries is less clear.

What's Behind The Curtain Of The Oscar Academy's Old Boys' Club

What's Behind The Curtain Of The Oscar Academy's Old Boys' ClubIn what’s becoming an annual occurrence, we’re in the midst of a highly publicized debate over the lack of diversity among the Oscar-nominated performers and filmmakers. Outside groups, including the NAACP, are up in arms. Several celebrities – some of them Academy members – have announced their intention to boycott the big night.

Fulfilling Martin Luther King Jr.'s Dream With Higher Education

Fulfilling Martin Luther King Jr.'s Dream With Higher EducationFifty years ago, Martin Luther King Jr. wrote “Why We Can’t Wait” to dispel the notion that African Americans should be content to proceed on an incremental course toward full equality under the law and in the wider society. King observed,

How A Basic Income For All Could Change How We Think About Inequality

How A Basic Income For All Could Change How We Think About InequalityThe idea of a basic income for every person has been popping up regularly in recent years. Economists, think tanks, activists and politicians from different stripes have toyed with the idea of governments giving every citizen or resident a minimum income off which to live. This cash transfer could either replace or supplement existing welfare payments.

Why We Need Less Work And More Leisure

Why We  Need Less Work And More LeisureThe next Administration should make reducing work time a major focus. In addition to mandated paid sick days and paid family leave — proposals that have received some welcome attention thus far on the presidential campaign trail — policymakers should go much further and enact measures aimed at shortening workweeks and work years.

How Microcredit Has Hurt The Poor And Destroyed Informal Business

How Microcredit Has Hurt The Poor And Destroyed Informal BusinessPost-apartheid South Africa provides ample evidence of the debilitating trajectory of the microcredit movement. The expansion of microcredit and the informal microenterprise sector was one of the policy responses of the first democratically elected government.

How To Solve US Rental Housing Affordability

rental afordabilityWe just learned America’s rental affordability crisis is as bad as it’s ever been. Unfortunately, it’s about to get a whole lot worse.

The Psychology Of The Christmas Miracle

The Psychology Of The Christmas MiracleFew events encapsulate our infatuation with a well-told story as much as Christmas. As a culture, we are dependent on stories as a tool with which to negotiate our daily lives and make sense of the world around us. In particular, we love magical ones because they allow us to temporarily suspend our disbelief and revel in the joys of doing so.

Why Is Mark Zuckerberg Ploughing Billions Into Personalised Learning?

Why Is Mark Zuckerberg Ploughing Billions Into Personalised LearningFacebook founder Mark Zuckerberg believes personalised learning is the answer to many of education’s current woes, and is one of the four key areas that he and his wife Prescilla Chan’s US$45 billion Chan Zuckerberg Initiative will fund.

What Should America Do With Its $2-per-gallon Gas Windfall?

What Should America Do With Its $2-per-gallon Gas Windfall?American consumers have been enjoying Christmas since July – that is, July 2014, when the average price for all grades of gasoline peaked at US$3.75 per gallon, according to the Energy Information Administration.

As Big Business Goes Green, Green Bonds Are Ready For Takeoff

As Big Business Goes Green, Green Bonds Are Ready For TakeoffThe climate summit in Paris has shown that global big business is now also on board with the transition to a low-carbon economy. However, the most promising instruments in finance for promoting green investing, particularly green bonds, have been around for almost a decade now, starting with the European Investment Bank (EIB) Climate Awareness Bond in 2007.

Does Wearing A School Uniform Improve Student Behavior?

Does Wearing A School Uniform Improve Student Behavior?

In a growing number of school districts across the nation, students must wear a uniform. This is not the stereotypical school uniform associated with Catholic schools – pleated plaid skirt with a blouse for girls; a button-down shirt, a necktie and dark pants for boys. Instead, these are mostly khaki and blue or khaki and red shirt/blouse and skirt/pants uniforms.

How Do We Create Liveable Cities?

How Do We Create Liveable Cities? Liveable communities and resilient cities are buzzwords of the moment. But exactly how do you define a “liveable” community or city? Our research focuses on this exact question.

How No Strings Attached Money Changes Teens

How No Strings Attached Money Changes Poor Teens

Increasing poor families’ income can significantly improve their children’s psychological well-being, according to new research.

Women Cardiologists Earn About $100K Less Than Men

Women Cardiologists Earn About $100K Less Than MenWomen cardiologists often earn less than men—even when taking into account the different types of work they do—a new study suggests. Further, the ranks of women cardiologists remain disproportionally small compared to those in medicine overall.

"Some Of My Friends Are Black" Racism

Some Of My Friends Are Black RacismBen Carson has now overtaken Donald Trump in the national polls as the GOP front-runner. As a black man, I’m not at all sure how I should feel about this.

More Technology Doesn’t Mean Less Inequality

technology and inequalityThe digital divide in Australia is narrowing as more people become internet users. Three billion people globally are online today, with some eight new users every second.

Just What Does Motivate Students To Work Harder?

Just What Does Motivate Students To Work Harder?Rewarding teachers financially for student achievement is an increasingly common practice, despite mixed evidence as to whether it improves results. Some scholars have instead suggested paying students.

Something Not Rotten in Denmark

Something Not Rotten in DenmarkNo doubt surprising many of the people watching the Democratic presidential debate, Bernie Sanders cited Denmark as a role model for how to help working people. Hillary Clinton demurred slightly, declaring that “we are not Denmark,” but agreed that Denmark is an inspiring example.

Why Do Female Comedians Disappear After Dark?

Why Do Female Comedians Disappear After Dark?With Trevor Noah debuting as host of The Daily Show, much of the conversation has centered on the 31-year-old South African’s race and age.

How Corporations Made Our Justice System Just for Them

How Corporations Made Our Justice System Just for ThemThe Supreme Court twisted a 1925 law to undermine the interests of citizens, employees and small business. Companies, of course, hire arbitration firms that rule in favor of companies.

To Cut Costs, Some College Students Are Buying Less Food And Even Going Hungry

To Cut Costs, Some College Students Are Buying Less Food And Even Going HungryStudies have long shown that a college student’s odds of achieving financial security and a better quality of life improve when he or she earns a degree. But what are some of the obstacles that prevent degree attainment?

Tell Me About Labor Day 2028?

Tell Me About Labor Day 2028?In 1928, famed British economist John Maynard Keynes predicted that technology would advance so far in a hundred years – by 2028 – that it will replace all work, and no one will need to worry about making money.

Do Sex And Violence Actually Sell?

Do Sex And Violence Actually Sell?Conventional wisdom has long held that sex sells in advertising. Advertisers often use sexual ads under the assumption that they attract attention and, therefore, are an effective way to promote products and services. Many continue to pursue this strategy for brands ranging from intimate wear (Victoria’s Secret) to fast food (such as Carl’s Jr).

Autism Costs In US Could Reach $1 Trillion By 2025

Autism Costs In U.S. Could Reach $1 Trillion By 2025Economists have tallied up how much it will likely cost to care for all Americans with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) this year: $268 billion. In 10 years that number is expected to climb to $461 billion, but they say it could top out at $1 trillion if ASD prevalence continues to increase.

How Latin America Is Tackling Inequality

How Latin America Is Tackling Inequality A recent OECD report has shown that income inequality has increased in the majority of OECD countries – and in some, at historic speed.

To See The Legacy Of Slavery, Look At Present-day School Systems

To See The Legacy Of Slavery, Look At Present-day School SystemsNone of us alive today had any direct involvement in slavery in America, but we continue to be affected by its legacy and could even be perpetuating it in subtle, everyday ways. One of the ways the legacy of slavery manifests is through the school system.

The Untold Story Of Chinese Restaurants In America

The Untold Story Of Chinese Restaurants In AmericaVirtually every American community has Chinese restaurants — and the story of how this came to be is fascinating and highly revealing about the often unintended impact of U.S. immigration rules. This ethnic food industry started to grow rapidly in the early 20th century, at a time when anti-Chinese sentiment was pervasive.

Innovative Plan Offers Group Health Insurance to Coworking Members

Innovative Plan Offers Group Health Insurance to Coworking MembersHealth insurance for freelancers can be expensive. When employed by a company, health insurance is generally covered, but strike out on your own and you find yourself paying several hundred dollars or more per month for minimal coverage. As freelancers are expected to make up fifty percent of the U.S. workforce by 2020, one can’t help but think there has to be a better way—and there is.

Why The Stress Of Poverty Is Linked To Aging In The Urban Poor

Why The Stress Of Poverty Is Linked To Aging In The Urban PoorFor a new study, researchers measured telomere length of poor and moderate-income whites, African-Americans, and people of Mexican descent in Detroit neighborhoods to determine the impact of living conditions on health.

The TPP Gang That Can’t Shoot Straight

The TPP Gang That Can’t Shoot StraightThe push for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is reaching its final stages as the House of Representatives will soon take the key vote on fast-track trade authority which will almost certainly determine the pact’s outcome

Unions Play A Positive Role In Making Companies More Competitive

Unions Play A Positive Role In Making Companies More CompetitiveWhen Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker put pen to paper to create America’s 25th right-to-work state last month, it became clear that the “labor question” is once again gnawing at the nation’s psyche. Do unions bring value to our economy or are they just obstacles to growth?

With Harsher Disciplinary Measures, School Systems Fail Black Kids

With Harsher Disciplinary Measures, School Systems Fail Black KidsAlthough it has been over 60 years since the Brown v Board of Education decision, black students are still more likely to receive out-of-school suspensions for minor violations of the code of conduct. As a result, they are more likely to drop out of school or enter the juvenile justice system.

We Need New Jobs As The Machines Do More Of Our Work

We Need New Jobs As The Machines Do More Of Our WorkWe might be living longer than ever before, but the government’s plan to keep older people in the workforce may not be that easy. The predictions are that by 2055 the nation will have a population of 39.7 million people with the number of people aged 65 and over expected to double, a testament to healthier lifestyles and medical science.

Students Are Opting Out Of Testing. How Did We Get Here?

Students Are Opting Out Of Testing. How Did We Get Here?“Opt Out,” a civil disobedience movement against state-mandated testing in elementary and secondary education, is growing rapidly across the United States. Last year, Opt Out protests occurred in about half the states. This year, the movement has found support across all 50 states.

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