Race, Ethnicity and Income Disparities in Exposure to Air Toxics

People of color and low-income communities tend to face disproportionate pollution hazards in the United States. But patterns of environmental inequality may vary from place to place. In this working paper, Klara Zwickl, Michael Ash, and James K. Boyce (Director of PERI’s Program on Development, Peacebuilding, and the Environment) investigate two questions: Do racial and ethnic disparities in exposure to industrial air toxics decline with rising incomes? And given inter-regional differences in the history of industrial development, patterns of immigration, and the extent of residential segregation, are there significant variations across regions in patterns of environmental inequality?

>> Read “Regional variation in environmental inequality: Industrial air toxics exposure in U.S. cities”

Macroeconomic Policy in Sub-Saharan Africa

The current prevailing approach to macroeconomic policy in Africa might be described as trying to "do no harm" — i.e. gross mismanagement, such as unsustainable debts or rapid inflation. But this approach shortchanges African countries. The challenge is to replenish the economic toolkit available to African countries and allowing macroeconomic policy to play a more developmental role.

James Heintz, PERI Associate Director, writes in a chapter in The Industrial Policy Revolution II: Africa in the 21st Century about three areas of macroeconomic policy – real exchange rate, monetary policy, and fiscal policy – that have implications for industrial development in Africa.

>> Read further description, “How Macroeconomic Policy Can Support Economic Development in Sub-Saharan African Countries”

>> Purchase The Industrial Policy Revolution II: Africa in the 21st Century

How Big is Too Big? Finance's Impact on the Health of the Economy

“How Big is Too Big? What Should Finance Do and How Much Should It Be Cut Down To Size?”: These are the questions posed at a recent panel at the Eastern Economics Association Conference organized by PERI Co-Director Gerald Epstein. Three presentations from Epstein’s co-authors reported on results from a research project funded by the Institute for New Economic Thinking. The project addresses various aspects of impacts of finance on the health of the economy, in the U.S. and other advanced capitalist countries. The presentations raise serious questions concerning the social efficiency of finance as currently constituted. 

>> Read description of the Eastern Economics Association panel 

Download presentations:
>> Understanding Financial Innovation
>> Intersectoral Financial Flows and Non-Financial Corporate Investment in the USA and Europe
>> Intra-Financial Lending, Credit, and Capital Formation

Download working papers:
>> Long-term trends in Intra-Financial Sector Lending in the US: 1950-2012
>> Intra-Financial Lending, Credit, and Capital Formation
>> Sectoral Net Lending in Six Financial Sectors

Economic Reform is a Human Right

In this article in The Nation, PERI Associate Director James Heintz and Radhika Balakrishnan argue that when we equate civil and political rights with the concept of “human rights,” we ignore the right to work, the right to health, the right to an adequate standard of living — those which provide powerful tools to assess and conduct economic policy. Economic and social rights were threatened by the global economic crisis, and provide the most compelling basis for an alternative set of policies.

>> Read “Economic Reform is a Human Right

Coal Miners and the Green Agenda

In his latest column in New Labor Forum, PERI Co-Director Robert Pollin addresses two issues concerning President Obama's Climate Action Plan. First, contrary to the President's proposal, there is no realistic prospect for "clean coal" technologies to enable U.S. coal production to continue at anything close to its current level while still achieving reasonable greenhouse gas emissions targets. The second concern is: how can we provide adequate transition assistance for the roughly 50,000 coal industry workers whose jobs will be lost through the necessary coal industry contraction? Pollin builds from the idea of the late labor leader Tony Mazzocchi for a "Superfund" to support workers displaced by necessary environmental transitions. 

>>Read "Coal Miners and the Green Agenda"