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Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Spring 2018 Edition

The Brookings Papers on Economic Activity (BPEA) is an academic journal published twice a year by the Economic Studies program at Brookings. Each edition of the journal includes five or six new papers on macroeconomic topics currently impacting public policy.

Below you’ll find six new papers submitted to the Spring 2018 journal and presented at Brookings on March 8-9. The papers include a look at place-based employment interventions to save America’s heartland, the effects of automation on jobs and wages, remaining systemic risks in the mortgage market, the macroeconomic effects of the 2017 tax bill, and much more.

The final, peer-reviewed versions of each paper will be published later this year. Sign up here to learn more about subscribing to the journal to read the final papers. Visit the BPEA search page or the best of BPEA to browse research presented at past conferences from 1970 to present.

Chrysler auto assembly workers work on the line assembling chassis for Jeep Grand Cherokees and Dodge Durangos at the Chrysler Jefferson North Assembly plant in Detroit, Michigan.

The slow-down in economic convergence across the U.S. and the concentration of long-term male joblessness in pockets of despair requires place-based policies that target jobless hotspots, according to new research published in the Brookings Papers on Economic Activity (BPEA) by Harvard’s Benjamin Austin, Edward Glaeser, and Larry Summers. 

Automation has not reduced aggregate employment—rather, it has created more jobs than it has displaced—but the fruits of these innovations have not raised labor earnings by nearly as rapidly as they’ve raised productivity, according to new research by MIT’s David Autor and Utrecht University’s Anna Salomons. 

Children are reflected in a vehicle's rear-view mirror.

Virtually all gains in spending on the social safety net for children since 1990 have gone to families with earnings. The poorest children, whose parents have no earned income, have seen a decrease in benefits from $48 billion in 1990 to $32 billion in 2015, according to new research from Hilary Hoynes of the University of California, Berkeley and Diane Schanzenbach of Northwestern University.  

U.S. Dollar notes are seen.

A boom in nonbank mortgage lending has exposed the mortgage market to unacknowledged liquidity risk, according to new research by You Suk Kim, Steven M. Laufer, and Karen M. Pence of the Federal Reserve Board and Richard Stanton and Nancy E. Wallace of the University of California, Berkeley. 

Townhomes line a street in Fairfax.

In a new paper that considers several proposals for redesigning the current mortgage market to provide more efficient debt relief to homeowners in times of crisis, Columbia University’s Tomasz Piskorski and Stanford University’s Amit Seru stress the challenges posed by the varying nature of economic conditions across the country over time and how those conditions interact with housing markets. 

Tax documents are seen prior to a House Ways and Means Committee markup of the bill.

The 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act is estimated to raise the GDP growth rate by 0.9 percentage points a year over the next two years, finds Harvard University’s Robert Barro and Jason Furman as part of a broader analysis of the long-term economic impact of the tax changes.

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