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July 23, 2024

How the 2017 Tax Law Made Itemized Charitable Giving a Luxury Good

Key Points Read the PDF. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) of 2017 included some of the most far-reaching changes to the US income tax code in a generation. In addition to reducing statutory tax rates for individuals and corporations, the law adjusted the tax base. Among its most significant changes to the individual…

July 10, 2024

Has Income Growth between Generations of Americans Stalled?

A defining aspect of the American dream is that the economic well-being of each generation surpasses that of the previous one. However, commentators have questioned whether this holds true for the most recent generations. A 2022 Gallup poll found that only 42 percent of Americans expect today’s young people to have a better life than…

June 26, 2024

Reducing Racial Disparities in Foster Care Might Endanger Black Children

To what lengths should we go to reduce racial disparities in the child welfare system? In 2021 the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors voted to require the Department of Children and Family Services to pilot a program of “blind removals.” The program, which had been tried to great fanfare in a couple of other jurisdictions, essentially…

June 26, 2024

American Workers Are Doing Great. They Could Be Doing Even Better.

Editor’s note: This is one of a pair of essays responding to the Economic Innovation Group’s report, “The American Worker: Toward a New Consensus”, by Adam Ozimek, John Lettieri, and Benjamin Glasner. The other is by Paul Krugman of the New York Times. To the Economic Innovation Group’s attempt to articulate a “new consensus” about the American…

June 23, 2024

Is Systemic Racism Responsible for the Increase in Child Mortality Rates?

How is it that in the richest country on Earth, life expectancy has been falling? This is the question that many policymakers and consumers of news have been asking themselves of late. Between COVID-19, drugs and the consequences of obesity (including high blood pressure and cardiovascular problems), we are digging ourselves an early grave. Still,…

June 18, 2024

A Unified Theory of Education

When it comes to education, these have been the best of times and the worst of times. In 2021, Arizona adopted the nation’s first universal education-savings-account (ESA) program. In 2022, West Virginia adopted the second. That trickle became a flood in 2023, with states from Arkansas to Utah to Ohio adopting their own programs. Around…

June 18, 2024

Economic Opportunity and Social Mobility

Years ago, I worked at the Pew Charitable Trusts on something called the Economic Mobility Project. In 2009, we commissioned a survey covering opportunity, mobility, and the American Dream. One revealing question we asked was the following: The term American Dream means different things to different people. Here are some ways some people have described…

June 17, 2024

Child Support Policy: Areas of Emerging Agreement and Ongoing Debate

The Child Support Enforcement (CSE) system is important in providing resources to children who live apart from one of their parents. This is especially true in poor households. In this paper, we summarize the case in favor of the current CSE system, and address some key critiques. We then consider some long-term issues of concern,…

June 15, 2024

Reimagining Early Education

For years, conservatives have dropped the ball on early childhood education policy, almost entirely ceding the playing field to the left. This has led to programs that lack guidance from some important conservative intuitions, like fiscal restraint, the centrality of family and the power of markets. Early childhood education is a crucial kitchen-table issue for…

June 13, 2024

The Family-to-Prison-or-College Pipeline: Married Fathers and Young Men’s Transition to Adulthood

A growing minority of young men are floundering. “Failure to launch” is a description that’s all too common. Consider working a stable job—a decent proxy for whether someone has their life together. For young men (ages 16-24), labor force participation rates are dropping. In 1980, the share of young men who were looking for or had a…