THIS ISSUE of the Brookings Papers on Economic Activity contains articles,
a report, and discussions presented at the fifty-sixth conference of
the Brookings Panel on Economic Activity, which was held in Washington,
D.C., on April 7 and 8, 1994. The first article examines how
changing U.S. trade patterns, particularly trade with developing countries,
have affected U.S. manufacturingT. he second article presents a
detailed empirical study of the role that saving incentive plans, such as
401(k)s and individual retirement accounts, have played in personal and
national saving over the past several decades. The third article explores
the connection between employer-provided health insurance for retirees
and the decision to retire, focusing primarily on the age at retirement.
The fourth article looks at recent economic performance in
Mexico and the effects of the currency overvaluation that has emerged.
The report in this issue examines the reported weakness in the growth
of U.S. real wages and compensation over the past 20 years.