Charts of the Week: Women presidential advisors; COVID-19 comparisons

"A Team" gender breakdown chart

In this week’s Charts of the Week, new research on women in senior White House / executive branch positions, and also on COVID-19.

Women on the president’s “A Team”

"A Team" gender breakdown chartKathryn Dunn Tenpas’s new research shows that “though the president’s closest advisers are typically men, over the last three decades women have made important breakthroughs.” Her analysis of the president’s “A Team”—the most influential advisors—shows that the composition of women in these positions grew from 5% under President Reagan to 34% under President Obama, but has dipped to 23% under President Trump. Despite progress in attaining positions and increasing salaries,  Tenpas concludes that the “percentage of female ‘Decision Makers’ is astoundingly low, particularly in light of the broader gains that women have made in American politics over these many years.”

How US health outcomes on COVID-19 compare to other OECD countries

new virus outcomes

In his new report, Harry Holzer examines data on the health and employment outcomes of U.S. policy responses to COVID-19 compared to other OECD countries (the group of 37 market economies). Total virus cases are higher, and deaths 50% higher in the U.S., Holzer finds, while new cases and new deaths are three times and two times higher, respectively.

How US EMPLOYMENT outcomes on COVID-19 compare to other OECD countries

unemployment rateHarry Holzer also examines U.S. employment outcomes relative to OECD countries following varying degrees of lockdown in these countries. “The rise in unemployment in the US from January until April—11.1 percentage points,” he finds, “is larger than that observed for any other OECD country that we consider here.”

Holzer notes that the United States’ delay in shutting down and imposing emergency measures, compared to OECD countries, “no doubt aggravated the ultimate severity of the crisis, in both economic and health terms.” He adds that “by failing to develop a federal strategy for ‘test and trace’ and for careful data-based reopening, the US has experienced nearly the least progress of any industrial nation in combating the spread of the virus.”