The US Labor Market: Questions and Challenges for Public Policy

Public policy faces serious challenges in today’s labor market: low workforce participation and high unemployment among many Americans, technological innovation, globalization, persistent poverty, education and training, and public policy’s unintended consequences are just a few.

Asking the right questions is a good place to start, and this volume asks some of the most important: Should we be concerned about economic mobility and inequality? What is the relationship between productivity and compensation, immigrants and native workers, public policy and labor supply, and corporate taxes and employment? How can we make work pay, and build workers’ skills?

A competitive market in ideas is the best mechanism to understand the world, and to find the best solutions to problems. This volume makes manifest that proposition, answering each of the questions outlined above—twice, with two papers authored by economists. Each paper offers a different point of view and a different emphasis. This volume will inform policy for many years to come, helping to move policy in a direction that will better allow all of us to contribute, and to lead lives of fulfillment through work.

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