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Research Archive

March 1, 2024

Study What You Love or Study What Will Make You Money?

There’s a better way to think about—and talk to young people about—college. When it comes to education, adolescents and young adults face a dilemma: to follow their intrinsic interests or to choose a course of study they think (or have been told) will secure their economic futures. For most, to ask this question is to…

March 1, 2024

How Should Students Think About College?

In recent years, there has been a marked decline in public confidence in higher education, sparking debate on the value of a bachelor’s degree. In a new report published by AEI’s Center on Opportunity and Social Mobility, we seek to add some much-needed nuance to an increasingly go/no-go debate. Despite public perception, the bachelor’s degree continues to have great…

March 1, 2024

The Biden Administration’s War on Flexibility at Work

One of the signal errors of Biden administration policy has been its tendency to take regulatory actions that reduce the flexibility of the economy generally and the labor market in particular. The latest example of this problem is a new US Department of Labor rule aimed at reclassifying millions of “gig” workers—people who work in contract roles—as employees. The…

March 1, 2024

Get Ready for AI-Driven Skill Democratization

For decades, automation has been a rough road for middle-skill workers. These jobs used to provide plentiful, family-supporting employment opportunities for those with only a high school education or even less. Robotics and, to a lesser extent, trade dramatically reduced the number of middle-skill jobs leading to what economists called a “polarized” labor market: many high-skilled and low-skilled…

February 22, 2024

A Slow Start for Skills-Based Hiring

Growing second-thoughts on bachelors’ degrees and labor market pressures have caused employers to move toward more inclusive recruitment practices through “skills-based hiring.” This approach prioritizes the specific abilities and competencies relevant to a job over traditional educational credentials, including college degrees, based on the theory that degrees often have little to no connection to ability….

February 20, 2024

Planning a Career in the Age of AI

After decades of industrial robots, factory layoffs, and outsourcing, automation has finally arrived in the cubicle. A recent Wall Street Journal article spotlighted how the new “robots for the mind”—the complex algorithms and language models of generative AI—are creating rising uncertainty in the professional class.  In the past, automation has generally been more of a concern for blue-collar workers, especially those in the…

February 16, 2024

The Overlooked Benefits of Work-from-Home Opportunities

The traditional boundaries that define where and how we work are rapidly dissolving. Driven by advancing technology and worker demand, work-from-home (WFH) opportunities remain common across a range of industries and are growing in popularity. This shift, while significant for all, holds particular promise for one demographic: moms.  A recent study by Emma Harrington and Matthew E. Kahn delves into…

January 31, 2024

Perspective: The ‘social workplace’ and why it matters to Zoomers

Social connections are increasingly as important as pay to younger workers. A mission-led workplace can help In his 1759 book “The Theory of Moral Sentiments,” Adam Smith observed that human sociality is the taproot of economics. The instinct to “truck, barter and exchange,” Smith argued, arises out of our need for others and is the…

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 23, 2024

Can Workforce Development Programs Improve Labor Force Participation?

Harry Holzer, a Senior Fellow at Brookings and a key contributor to AEI’s Workforce Futures Initiative (WFI), published a recent analysis of the potential of the publicly-funded US workforce system to reduce unemployment and boost labor force participation. To my mind, he makes a strong argument for increasing basic supports for work engagement as a way of getting chronically…