The State of Working America (An Economic Policy Institute Book)
Elise Gould, Heidi Shierholz
Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub
From reviews of previous editions―
"The State of Working America remains unrivaled as the most-trusted source for a comprehensive understanding of how working Americans and their families are faring in today's economy."―Robert B. Reich
"It is the inequality of wealth, argue the authors, rather than new technology (as some would have it), that is responsible for the failure of America's workplace to keep pace with the country's economic growth. The State of Working America is a well-written, soundly argued, and important reference book."―Library Journal
"An indispensable work on family income, wages, taxes, employment, and the distribution of wealth.”―New York Review of Books
Since 1988, The State of Working America has provided a comprehensive answer to a question newly in vogue in this age of Occupy Wall Street: To what extent has overall economic growth translated into rising living standards for the vast majority of American workers and their families? In the 12th edition, Lawrence Mishel, Josh Bivens, Elise Gould, and Heidi Shierholz analyze a trove of data on income, jobs, mobility, poverty, wages, and wealth to demonstrate that rising economic inequality over the past three decades has decoupled overall economic growth from growth in the living standards of the vast majority.
The new edition of The State of Working America also expands on this analysis of American living standards, most notably by placing the Great Recession in historical context. The severe economic downturn that began in December 2007 came on the heels of a historically weak recovery following the 2001 recession, a recovery that saw many measures of living standards stagnate. The authors view the past decade as “lost” in terms of living standards growth, and warn that millions of American households face another decade of lost opportunity.
Especially troubling, the authors stress, is that while overall economic performance in the decades before the Great Recession was more than sufficient to broadly raise living standards, broad-based growth was blocked by rising inequality driven largely by policy choices. A determinedly data-driven narrative, The State of Working America remains the most comprehensive resource about the economic experience of working Americans.
population analyzed by various income data sources and measures. At first glance, these estimates are perhaps surprisingly bimodal. For example, CPS data show that the share of overall average household money income growth attributable to the top 5 percent of households in the household money income distribution was 37 percent (a contribution far in excess of their share of the population). A study that supplements CPS data with estimates of taxes paid and of in-kind incomes from
percent in 1979 to 16.7 percent in 2007, while the share with less than a high school degree dropped by more than half, from 22.4 percent to 9.8 percent. The fact that increases in educational attainment at the top of the income distribution have not dramatically outpaced increases in educational attainment lower down the distribution means that educational upgrading cannot explain the dramatic increases in income inequality over this period. Figure 2U is very similar to Figure 2T, charting
Some college 9.8% 21.5 25.6 31.3 32.5 32.4 College graduate 9.4 10.6 13.5 14.2 16.7 Advanced degree 5.1 5.5 3.7 4.2 5.6 9.6% 7.3% 6.4% 4.9% Fourth fifth Less than high school 17.4% High school only 39.7 37.4 33.6 31.1 28.2 Some college 23.5 28.3 32.2 32.3 32.6 College graduate 11.4 15.7 19.2 21.8 23.8 Advanced degree 8.0 9.1 7.7 8.4 10.6 80th–<95th percentile Less than high school 11.3% High school only 35.7 28.1 23.1 20.8 18.7 Some
-34>7 backgrounds, tend to marry higher-earning men, and this weakens the association between their families’ income while young and their incomes as adults. However, daughters of low-earning fathers in the United States are less likely to make it to the top 40 percent than daughters in the other countries pictured. The impact of race, wealth, and education on mobility According to polling data, more than 80 percent of Americans say they believe that hard work, ambition, staying healthy,
Chapter 7) seen in the late 1990s. This chapter focuses on the hourly pay levels of the workforce and its subgroups in order to distinguish changes in earnings resulting from more (or less) pay from those stemming from more (or less) work. Also, the hourly wage can be said to represent the “true” price of labor (exclusive of benefits, which we analyze separately). Moreover, changes in the distribution of annual earnings have been predominantly driven by changes in the distribution of hourly