10:00 am EST - 3:30 pm EST

Past Event

From bridges to education: Best bets for public investment

Monday, January 09, 2017

10:00 am - 3:30 pm EST

Brookings Institution
Falk Auditorium

1775 Massachusetts Avenue N.W.
Washington, DC

President-elect Trump and many members of Congress propose to spend a lot more on public investment. Where should that money be directed to get the highest return? Based on what evidence? Which spending on physical infrastructure pays off most over time—roads, airports, water systems? Which spending on education, child-health, and other similar programs is most likely to yield higher wages and faster productivity growth in the future?

On January 9, the Hutchins Center on Fiscal and Monetary Policy at Brookings investigated these and other questions about public investment in both physical infrastructure and human capital, beginning with keynote remarks from Larry Summers and a response from Harvard’s Ed Glaeser. The day’s events also included a discussion of practical and political challenges to directing investment spending to areas where the returns are likely to be greatest, as well as two new papers: one examining the evidence – or lack thereof – on the long-run benefits of investing in education; the other asking similar questions about income transfers, such as Medicaid and housing assistance, for children. The program concluded with a moderated discussion between Representatives Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) and Tom Reed (R-Ny.), where they expanded upon the challenges of translating evidence into policy in their respective districts.

Where should the money go?

Human capital - panel 1

Human capital - panel 2

Moving from evidence to policy

The political realities and challenges of public investment