Weaknesses in the UK Economy Under Austerity

Economists for Rational Economic Policies, a UK-based network, has published “The Cracks Begin to Show: A Review of the UK Economy in 2015.” This study argues that, despite assurances from the conservative British government to the contrary, the austerity policies adopted by that government have been unsuccessful in reducing government deficits and debt at the promised rate. At the same time, they argue that the UK government’s austerity policies have led to major reductions in public services and especially for services that support people in poverty.

>> Read "The Cracks Begin to Show"
>> Watch the authors interviewed on The Real News Network: Interview Part 1Interview Part 2

Top 100 Industrial Greenhouse Gas Polluters

The second edition of the Greenhouse 100 Index, by James K. Boyce and Michael Ash of the University of Massachusetts Amherst Economics Department and PERI, ranks U.S. industrial polluters on the basis of their emissions of greenhouse gases in 2014. According to Professor Boyce, who directs PERI’s Development, Peacebuilding, and Environment program, “The Greenhouse 100 index informs communities, consumers, and investors which large companies release the most climate pollutants into our air.  People have a right to know about corporate responsibility for global climate change. Legislators need to understand the effects of corporate behavior on their constituents.”

>> Greenhouse 100 Index site
>> Greenhouse 100 technical notes
>> Read the press release about the new Greenhouse 100 Index
>> Michael Ash interviewed about the Greenhouse 100 Index on The Real News Network

Does Raising the Minimum Wage Lead to Price Increases?

One of the arguments against raising the minimum wage is that the additional cost to employers would be passed through to consumers in the form of higher prices. While some research has found this to be the case, economists Daniel MacDonald and Eric Nillson find that the so-called “pass-through effect” is concentrated on the month that the wage change goes into effect, and that these price increases are also much smaller than what previous researchers have estimated. MacDonald and Nillson also find the extent of any price increases depends on the specific conditions under which minimum wage increases occur.  

>> Read “The Effects of Increasing the Minimum Wage on Prices: Analyzing the Incidence of Policy Design and Context”

Infant Mortality and Public Health Spending in India

India’s economy has grown in the last 30 years, but health outcomes, including the infant mortality rate, have not improved as one would expect. One of the possible explanations is India’s low level of public spending on health care—at 1 percent of GDP, lower than most other nations’. Andrew J. Barenberg, Deepankar Basu, and Ceren Soylu find that an increase in public health expenditure by 1 percent of state-level GDP is associated with a reduction in the IMR by about 8 infant deaths per 1000 births.

>> Read "The Effect of Public Health Expenditure on Infant Mortality: Evidence from a Panel of Indian states, 1983-84 to 2011-12"

Greening the Global Economy

In his new book, Greening the Global Economy, PERI Co-Director Robert Pollin takes on the widely-held belief that protecting the environment and expanding job opportunities are conflicting goals. Pollin shows that reducing greenhouse gas emissions to target goals is achievable through steady, large-scale investments—about 1.5 percent of global GDP per year—in energy efficiency and clean renewable energy sources. Furthermore, he shows how these investments can support healthy rates of economic growth and expand employment opportunities. A global green investment project will also create new opportunities for small-scale and cooperative energy systems to flourish in both advanced and developing economies.

>> Purchase Greening the Global Economy

>> Watch Robert Pollin on C-Span: "Book Discussion on Greening the Global Economy and Climate Change"

>> Read Robert Pollin in Quartz: "There's a workable plan for lowering global emissions by 40% in 20 years"

>> Read an interview with Robert Pollin in The American Prospect: "How to Slash Emissions While Creating Jobs"

>> Read Robert Pollin in The Nation: “The New Green Economy: Think We Can’t Stabilize the Climate While Fostering Growth? Think Again”

>> Listen to Robert Pollin on The Leonard Lopate Show on WNYC: "How to Clean the Air and Stimulate the Economy Simultaneously"