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David Card and Alan B. Krueger have already made national news with their pathbreaking research on the minimum wage. Here they present a powerful new challenge to the conventional view that higher minimum wages reduce jobs for low-wage workers. In a work that has important implications for public policy as well as for the direction of economic research, the authors put standard economic theory to the test, using data from a series of recent episodes, including the 1992 increase in New Jersey's minimum wage, the 1988 rise in California's minimum wage, and the 1990-91 increases in the federal minimum wage. In each case they present a battery of evidence showing that increases in the minimum wage lead to increases in pay, but no loss in jobs.
A distinctive feature of Card and Krueger's research is the use of empirical methods borrowed from the natural sciences, including comparisons between the "treatment" and "control" groups formed when the minimum wage rises for some workers but not for others. In addition, the authors critically reexamine the previous literature on the minimum wage and find that it, too, lacks support for the claim that a higher minimum wage cuts jobs. Finally, the effects of the minimum wage on family earnings, poverty outcomes, and the stock market valuation of low-wage employers are documented. Overall, this book calls into question the standard model of the labor market that has dominated economists' thinking on the minimum wage. In addition, it will shift the terms of the debate on the minimum wage in Washington and in state legislatures throughout the country.
With a new preface discussing new data, Myth and Measurement continues to shift the terms of the debate on the minimum wage.
Many popular ideas about terrorists and why they seek to harm us are fueled by falsehoods and misinformation. Leading politicians and scholars have argued that poverty and lack of education breed terrorism, despite the wealth of evidence showing that most terrorists come from middle-class, and often college-educated, backgrounds. In What Makes a Terrorist, Alan Krueger argues that if we are to correctly assess the root causes of terrorism and successfully address the threat, we must think more like economists do.
Krueger is an influential economist who has applied rigorous statistical analysis to a range of tough issues, from the minimum wage and education to the occurrence of hate crimes. In this book, he explains why our tactics in the fight against terrorism must be based on more than anecdote and speculation. Krueger closely examines the factors that motivate individuals to participate in terrorism, drawing inferences from terrorists' own backgrounds and the economic, social, and political conditions in the societies from which they come. He describes which countries are the most likely breeding grounds for terrorists, and which ones are most likely to be their targets. Krueger addresses the economic and psychological consequences of terrorism. He puts the terrorist threat squarely into perspective, revealing how our nation's sizeable economy is diverse and resilient enough to withstand the comparatively limited effects of most terrorist strikes. And he calls on the media to be more responsible in reporting on terrorism.
What Makes a Terrorist brings needed clarity to one of the greatest challenges of our time.
The surge of inequality in income and wealth in the United States over the past twenty-five years has reversed the steady progress toward greater equality that had been underway throughout most of the twentieth century. This economic development has defied historical patterns and surprised many economists, producing vigorous debate. Inequality in America: What Role for Human Capital Policies? examines the ways in which human capital policies can address this important problem. Taking it as a given that potentially low-income workers would benefit from more human capital in the form of market skills and education, James Heckman and Alan Krueger discuss which policies would be most effective in providing it: should we devote more resources to the entire public school system, or to specialized programs like Head Start? Would relaxing credit restraints encourage more students to attend college? Does vocational training actually work? What is the best balance of private and public sector programs?
The book preserves the character of the symposium at which the papers were originally presented, recreating its atmosphere of lively debate. It begins with separate arguments by Krueger and Heckman (writing with Pedro Carneiro), which are followed by comments from other economists. Krueger and Heckman and Carneiro then offer separate responses to the comments and final rejoinders.
Surely everyone wants to know the source of happiness, and indeed, economists and social scientists are increasingly interested in the study and effects of subjective well-being. Putting forward a rigorous method and new data for measuring, comparing, and analyzing the relationship between well-being and the way people spend their time—across countries, demographic groups, and history—this book will help set the agenda of research and policy for decades to come.
It does so by introducing a system of National Time Accounting (NTA), which relies on individuals’ own evaluations of their emotional experiences during various uses of time, a distinct departure from subjective measures such as life satisfaction and objective measures such as the Gross Domestic Product. A distinguished group of contributors here summarize the NTA method, provide illustrative findings about well-being based on NTA, and subject the approach to a rigorous conceptual and methodological critique that advances the field. As subjective well-being is topical in economics, psychology, and other social sciences, this book should have cross-disciplinary appeal.
A large central government providing numerous public services has long been a hallmark of Swedish society, which is also well-known for its pursuit of equality. Yet in the 1990s, Sweden moved away from this tradition in education, introducing market-oriented reforms that decentralized authority over public schools and encouraged competition between private and public schools. Many wondered if this approach would improve educational quality, or if it might expand inequality that Sweden has fought so hard to hold down. In The Market Comes to Education in Sweden, economists Anders Björklund, Melissa Clark, Per-Anders Edin, Peter Fredriksson, and Alan Krueger measure the impact of Sweden's bold experiment in governing and help answer the questions that societies across the globe have been debating as they try to improve their children's education.
The Market Comes to Education in Sweden injects some much-needed objectivity into the heavily politicized debate about the effectiveness of educational reform. While advocates for reform herald the effectiveness of competition in improving outcomes, others suggest that the reforms will grossly increase educational inequality for young people. The authors find that increased competition did help improve students' math and language skills, but only slightly, and with no effect on the performance of foreign-born students and those with low-educated parents. They also find some signs of increasing school segregation and wider inequality in student performance, but nothing near the doomsday scenarios many feared. In fact, the authors note that the relationship between family background and school performance has hardly budged since before the reforms were enacted. The authors conclude by providing valuable recommendations for school reform, such as strengthening school evaluation criteria, which are essential for parents, students, and governments to make competent decisions regarding education.
Whether or not the market-oriented reforms to Sweden's educational system succeed will have far reaching implications for other countries considering the same course of action. The Market Comes to Education in Sweden offers firm empirical answers to the questions raised by school reform and brings crucial facts to the debate over the future of schooling in countries across the world.