Public policy is rightly concerned with fostering a vibrant labor market in which individuals can earn their own success, realize their potential, and enjoy the dignity that hard work provides. But public policy faces serious challenges in today?s labor market: low workforce participa... tion and high unemployment among many Americans, technological innovation, globalization, persistent poverty, education and training, and public policy?s unintended consequences are just a few. Which characteristics of today?s labor market demand attention? Which are simply realities to be accepted? And how should policy respond? Asking the right questions is a good place to start, and this volume asks some of the most important: Should we be concerned about economic mobility and inequality? What is the relationship between productivity and compensation, immigrants and native workers, public policy and labor supply, and corporate taxes and employment? How can we make work pay, and build workers? skills? What can be done for workers who are difficult to employ? A competitive market in ideas is the best mechanism to understand the world, and to find the best solutions to problems. This volume makes manifest that proposition, answering each of the questions outlined above?twice, with two papers authored by economists. Each paper offers a different point of view and a different emphasis. This volume will inform policy for many years to come, helping to move policy in a direction that will better allow all of us to contribute, and to lead lives of fulfillment through work.
This volume explores nine major questions regarding the labor market on which respected economists disagree. The purpose of the volume is to elevate the public debate about labor-market policy questions by exposing the public to this range of reasonable viewpoints.
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