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Research Roundup: Effective Job Creation Proposals, The State of the Economy for Workers, and More

In this week’s research roundup: New resources from Economic Policy Institute on eleven effective job creation proposals, Keystone Research Center andPolicy Matters Ohio on the declining economic situation for workers in Pennsylvania and Ohio, Gallup-Healthways tracking the well-being of residents of all 50 states, Pew Charitable Trusts on factors influencing the downward mobility of the middle class, Young Invincibles on how students returning to college this fall can get covered by health insurance, and Public Citizen why the SEC should mandate disclosure of corporate political activity.

Putting America back to work: Policies for job creation and stronger economic growth — This briefing paper by the Economic Policy Institute outlines eleven effective job creation proposals that the authors judge would make a “real difference in job creation” over the next 24 months. Included in the highlighted policies are proposals to: temporarily renew the payroll tax cut, renew the Emergency Unemployment Compensation program, increasing employment by 528,000 jobs, pass the federal transportation bill, restore the increased federal Medicaid matching rate, enact a direct job creation program rebuilding infrastructure, invest in renewable energy and energy efficiency, enact a job creation tax credit, and implement a federally subsidized work-sharing program.

State of Working Pennsylvania 2011 and State of Working Ohio 2011 — These two reports published by the Keystone Research Center and Policy Matters Ohio, both members of the Economic Analysis Research Network — take stock of the economic situation for workers in their respective states, and find much common cause for concern. In Pennsylvania, over a quarter of workers experienced joblessness or worked part time while wanting more hours over the past year, wages have been stagnant with only the highest-paid 5% of earners experiencing significant wage gains over the past eight year, and for every job opening in the state there are eight unemployed or underemployed workers. In Ohio, the authors of the report found that Ohio had seen the worst wage decline of any state in the nation between 2000 and 2010 and that the percentage of people employed or looking for work has fallen four straight years to 65.2 percent, “the lowest level since the late 1980s.”

2011 Well-Being Index— This biannual survey released by Gallup-Healthways measures the well-being of residents of all 50 states by tracking “55 individual items that together provide a comprehensive picture of Americans’ physical and emotional health, financial and workplace wellbeing, and access to basic necessities.” The wealth of data available from the survey includes rankings by state of various health and well-being measures from 2008, 2009, and 2010.

Downward Mobility from the Middle Class: Waking Up from the American Dream — This extensive analysis by Pew Charitable Trusts aims to measure movement in the middle class in the United States, and finds that a full one-third of Americans who were raised in the middle class (defined in the report as those between the 30th and 70th percentiles of the income distribution) fall out of the middle class as adults. The report attempts to identify the factors that lead to this downward mobility and how they affect individuals differently based on race and gender, and finds that “marital status, education, test scores and drug use have a strong influence on whether a middle-class child loses economic ground as an adult.”

Back to School Toolkit — This online toolkit provided by Young Invincibles allows students returning to college this fall to access the resources they need to get health insurance coverage in their state. It allows students to find out their insurance options, how to join their parent’s insurance plan, and how some of the new provisions of the Affordable Care Act affect them as they return to campus.

Fulfilling Kennedy’s Promise: Why the SEC Should Mandate Disclosure of Corporate Political Activity — This new report from Public Citizen and Harvard Law School examines Standard and Poors 500 companies and concludes that corporations with pro-disclosure policies may be more valuable than those without such policies, or as the authors conclude, that “despite reflexive opposition to compulsory disclosure of political spending from many self-appointed advocates of the business community, preliminary data suggest that such a requirement might benefit corporate valuations or, at the least, pose no threat of a detrimental effect.”