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Research Archive

February 29, 2024

The Age of Uncertainty—and Opportunity: Work in the Age of AI

Abstract The question of how artificial intelligence will affect jobs, skills, and the future of work is open-ended, and answers have been uncertain and contradictory. As AI has advanced, forecasts of labor market impacts have increasingly emphasized AI’s potential to automate tasks that require skills—including creativity, writing, and social and emotional learning—previously believed to be beyond the technology’s reach. In the face…

February 29, 2024

Addressing the False Claims from Industry Groups on Pilot Testing SNAP Restrictions

The House Agriculture Committee recently released an appropriations bill for fiscal year 2024 that sets aside $2 million to implement five pilot programs that would make certain unhealthy items ineligible for purchase with SNAP benefits. (For context, the $2 million represents roughly 0.000016% of the overall SNAP budget). The purpose of these pilot projects is…

February 7, 2024

Solving Benefit Cliffs in SNAP

At their best, safety net policies in the US reduce poverty by spurring upward mobility among the most disadvantaged. This requires identifying disadvantaged families and scaling benefits according to their need, all while trying to encourage employment and other mobility-inducing behaviors in the process. When safety net programs do not meet this charge, families can…

February 7, 2024

Child Tax Credit Bill Would Increase Marriage Penalties for Working Single Mothers

H.R. 7024, the Tax Relief for American Families and Workers Act of 2024, was passed by the House last week and is now moving to the Senate for consideration. The bill would change the Child Tax Credit (CTC) in several ways. The two most contentious changes are a one-year lookback for the refundable portion of…

January 30, 2024

How Sensitive Are Single Mothers’ Work Decisions to a Change in Incentives? Correcting Misperceptions of the Evidence

Let’s start with a table. (With apologies to our mobile audience…) Evidence on Extensive Margin Employment Elasticities for Single Mothers   Reported Revised Consistent w/ 0.75? Notes Reviews or Based on Reviews Corinth et al. (2021, rev 2022) 0.75 —   p. 22; based on midpoint of McClelland and Mok (2012), p. 5 (below); unpublished…

January 29, 2024

Per-Child Benefit in Wyden-Smith Child Tax Credit Bill Would Discourage Full-Time Work for Families with Multiple Children

The Wyden-Smith proposed tax legislation would make four changes to the Child Tax Credit (CTC). First, it would increase the cap on the refundable portion of the CTC, eventually to the same amount as the maximum non-refundable CTC. Second, it would begin indexing the maximum non-refundable CTC with inflation. Third, it would apply a one-year lookback for…

January 29, 2024

The Value of a Bachelor’s Degree

Key Points As public confidence in higher education has declined, Americans have become less sanguine about the bachelor’s degree and skeptical of its potential return on investment. Nonetheless, four-year degrees continue to be associated with significant economic and noneconomic benefits for individuals and communities. For those who want to attend college, have adequate financing options, and can finish their degrees, the benefits of…

January 29, 2024

Let’s Not Turn the Child Tax Credit Into Welfare

A renewed effort to expand the child tax credit (CTC) is currently making its way through Congress. The proposed policy would increase benefits for low-income families—especially those with multiple children—automatically grow the credit with inflation, and most contentiously, eliminate the work requirement for families who had earnings in the prior year. In debating these changes and even…

January 26, 2024

Please Congress: Make Fiscal Sanity a Priority

Sometimes I don’t understand Republicans in the House of Representatives. When they are threatening government shutdowns, they make a great show of saying their highest priority is getting a handle on out-of-control federal spending, reducing the deficit, and bringing down our national debt. And yet, when an obvious opportunity falls in their lap to reduce…

January 21, 2024

Portland’s Encampment Kids

I’m standing outside the Central Police Precinct in downtown Portland, Oregon. Officer Eli Arnold and I have bicycled over to meet two of his colleagues, returned from a drug bust. We examine the proceeds of the crime on the hood of a squad car. The officers weigh the fentanyl powder on a small scale, record…