American Economy Essays

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Wage growth is weak for a tight labor market—and the pace of wage growth is uneven across race and gender.

Elise Gould and Valerie Wilson highlight the failure of today’s tighter labor market to deliver strong wage growth and close race- and gender-based wage gaps.

In fact, racial and gender wage gaps have widened since the 1990s—most dramatically for black college graduates.

Wage growth is being held back by political decisions and the Trump administration is on the wrong side of key debates.

This Labor Day, EPI experts have contributed essays on remaining obstacles blocking workers looking for faster wage growth and greater economic opportunity.

These essays look beyond the relatively happy news of low unemployment in the very recent past and focus instead on the deep-seated economic roots of workers’ disempowerment.The importance of having well-defined and strongly protected property rights is now widely recognized among economists and policymakers.A private property system gives individuals the exclusive right to use their resources as they see fit.She points out that the shrinking share of workers who can bargain collectively as part of a union—which coincides with slowing wage growth—is not a natural outcome of market trends.Interest in being in a union is as high as ever, but union representation has fallen because of a decades-long assault on unions from conservative policymakers.That translates into higher standards of living for all.It is only in the last few decades, however, that economists have accepted the importance of property rights.Daniel Costa explains how employers have weaponized the nation’s immigration system to keep both immigrant and U. Prosperity and property rights are inextricably linked.That dominion over what is theirs leads property users to take full account of all the benefits and costs of employing those resources in a particular manner.The process of weighing costs and benefits produces what economists call efficient outcomes.


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