04/19/2018

News

The impact of federal tax reform on state corporate income taxes

Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) heralded the most significant changes to our federal tax system in over thirty years, affecting both individual and corporate income taxes. The corporate tax changes to a large degree reflected a realization that our federal corporate income tax system was in need of fundamental reform. Our combined federal and […]

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Small Business Policy Index 2018: Ranking the States on Policy Measures and Costs Impacting Small Business and Entrpreneurship

SBE Council President and CEO Karen Kerrigan said: “Fortunately for entrepreneurs and small businesses, the policy environment in terms of taxes and regulations has improved at the federal level over the past year. There is a concerted effort and real action to reduce tax and regulatory burdens on small businesses and entrepreneurs, which has improved […]

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National Solar Jobs Census 2017

The latest Solar Jobs Census found that 250,271 Americans work in solar as of 2017. This is a 3.8% decline, or about 9,800 fewer jobs, since 2016, marking the first time that jobs have decreased since the first Solar Jobs Census was released in 2010. At the same time, the long-term trend continues to show […]

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Is Occupational Licensing a Barrier to Interstate Migration?

Occupational licensure, one of the most significant labor market regulations in the United States, may restrict the interstate movement of workers. We analyze the interstate migration of 22 licensed occupations. Using an empirical strategy that controls or unobservable characteristics that drive long-distance moves, we find that the between-state migration rate for individuals in occupations with state-specific licensing exam requirements is 36 percent lower relative to members of other occupations. embers of licensed occupations with national licensing exams show no evidence of limited interstate migration. 

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Stress-Testing States

One of the few great inescapable facts in the field of economics is the reality of the business cycle. No matter how high-flying an economy might appear, another recession is coming sooner or later. It can be difficult, if not impossible, to regularly predict when one might occur, or how severe it may be, but recessions and their place in the business cycle are an accepted fact of economic life. Therefore, preparing for recessions is an equally inescapable concept.

It has been more than eight years since the end of the last recession, the third longest period of expansion in U.S. history, and many are rightfully beginning to look ahead to the next economic downturn. However, one of the most effective ways to look forward is to look back and make sure that we have adequately learned the lessons of the Great Recession. Nowhere is this type of postmortem more appropriate than for state and local governments.

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Mobility Report Cards: The Role of Colleges in Intergenerational Mobility

We characterize rates of intergenerational income mobility at each college in the United States using administrative data for over 30 million college students from 1999-2013. We document four results. First, access to colleges varies greatly by parent income. For example, children whose parents are in the top 1% of the income distribution are 77 times more likely to attend an Ivy League college than those whose parents are in the bottom income quintile. Second, children from low and high-income families have very similar earnings outcomes conditional on the college they attend, indicating that there is little mismatch of low socioeconomic status students to selective colleges. Third, upward mobility rates – measured, for instance, by the fraction of students who come from families in the bottom income quintile and reach the top quintile – vary substantially across colleges. Much of this variation is driven by di↵erences in the fraction of students from low-income families across colleges whose students have similar earnings outcomes. Mid-tier public universities such as the City University of New York and California State colleges tend to have the highest rates of bottom-to-top quintile mobility.

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The Fading American Dream: Trends In Absolute Income Mobility Since 1940

We estimate rates of “absolute income mobility” – the fraction of children who earn more than their parents – by combining historical data from Census and CPS cross-sections with panel data for recent birth cohorts from de-identified tax records. Our approach overcomes the key data limitation that has hampered research on trends in intergenerational mobility: the lack of large panel datasets linking parents and children. We find that rates of absolute mobility have fallen from approximately 90%for children born in 1940 to 50% for children born in the 1980s. The result that absolute mobility has fallen sharply over the past half century is robust to the choice of price deflator, the definition of income, and accounting for taxes and transfers. In counterfactual simulations, we find that increasing GDP growth rates alone cannot restore absolute mobility to the rates experienced by children born in the 1940s. In contrast, changing the distribution of growth across income groups to the more equal distribution experienced by the 1940 birth cohort would reverse more than 70% of the decline in mobility. These results imply that reviving the “American Dream” of high rates of absolute mobility would require economic growth that is spread more broadly across the income distribution.     

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Energy Efficiency Jobs in America

As the largest sector within the nation’s clean energy economy, energy efficiency accounts for about three out of every four American clean energy jobs. In total, these technologies support almost 1.9 million jobs across the country, and 889,050 of these workers spend the majority of their time supporting the energy efficiency portion of their business.2 Employers across the roughly 165,000 establishments that conduct energy efficiency work are optimistic about business growth, projecting a collective 13 percent employment growth rate over 2016—or an additional 245,000 jobs.

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The New Map of Economic Growth and Recovery

“This analysis surveys the economic landscape emerging from the Great Recession and compares it to previous recovery periods. It identifies differences in the strength and geography of county-level growth in employment and business establishments — two key markers of economic dynamism — and uncovers three significant transformations in the economy. The first and most unambiguously troubling is a collapse in the number of new firms in the economy. The second is the increasing geographic concentration of recovery-era businesses and jobs into a smaller number of more populous counties. The third is the shift in the counties driving the nation’s economic recoveries from smaller to larger ones. Together, the findings capture an economy veering towards a less broadly dynamic, less entrepreneurial, and more geographically concentrated equilibrium — more reliant than ever on a few high-performing geographies abundant in talent and capital to carry national rates of growth.”

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Report on the Economic Well-Being of U.S. Households in 2015

The report, based on the Board’s third annual Survey of Household Economics and Decisionmaking, presents a contrasting picture of the financial well-being of U.S. families. Aggregate-level results show several signs of improvement. Sixty-nine percent of respondents said they are either “living comfortably” or “doing okay,” up 4 percentage points from 2014 and up 6 percentage points from 2013. Seventy-seven percent of non-retired adults without a disability are confident that they have the skills necessary to get the kind of job that they want now–an increase of 10 percentage points from the 2013 survey results.

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The Pension Pac-Man: How Pension Debt Eats Away at Teacher Salaries

Why aren’t teacher salaries rising? . . . It’s not for lack of money. Even after adjusting for inflation and rising student enrollment, total school spending is up by about 29 percent over the last 20 years. . . This puzzle can be explained by three trends eating into teachers’ takehome pay: rising health care costs, declining student/teacher ratios, and rising retirement costs. . . Today, states are paying an average of 12 percent of each teacher’s salary just for debt costs.

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State Retiree Health Plan Spending

States’ actual expenditures for OPEB totaled $18.4 billion in 2013, or 1.6 percent of state-generated revenue. . . . If states had instead set aside the amount suggested by actuaries to pay for OPEB liabilities, their total payments that year would have more than doubled to $48 billion—4 percent of state-generated revenue—and spending to fully fund OPEB obligations would have outpaced what states contributed to active state employee health premiums.

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Trends in the Joblessness and Incarceration of Young Men

The share of young men who are jobless or incar- cerated has been rising. In 1980, 11 percent of young men were jobless or incarcerated; in 2014, 16 percent were (see the figure on page 3). Specifi- cally, 10 percent of young men were jobless in 1980, and 1 percent were incarcerated; those shares rose to 13 percent and 3 percent in 2014. . . Young men who are jobless or incarcerated can be expected to have lower lifetime earnings and less stable family lives, on average, than their counterparts who are employed or in school. In the short term, their lower earnings will reduce tax revenues and increase spending on income support programs, and the incarceration of those in federal prison imposes costs on the federal government. Farther in the future, they will probably earn less than they would have if they had gained more work experi- ence or education when young, resulting in a smaller economy and lower tax revenues.

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Failure to Act: Closing the Infrastructure Investment Gap for America’s Economic Future

The Failure to Act report series answers this key question — how does the nation’s failure to act to improve the condition of U.S. infrastructure systems affect the nation’s economic performance? In 2011 and 2012, ASCE released four Failure to Act reports in a series covering 10 infrastructure sectors that are critical to the economic prosperity of the U.S.

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Paychecks, Paydays, and the Online Platform Economy

The Online Platform Economy adds an important new element to existing labor markets, however. Simply put, landing a platform job is easier and quicker. Individuals can, and do, generate additional income on labor platforms in a timely fashion when they experience a dip in regular earnings. This is a potentially far better option to mitigate or weather volatility, if the alternatives are to constrain spending or take on additional credit. Moreover, this option meets a target need. Participation in labor platforms is highest precisely among those who experience the highest levels of income volatility—the young, the poor, and individuals living in the West.

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