“A Little Is Better Than Zero” or “Pay Enough or Don’t Pay at All”? Evidence on the Size of Pay-for-Performance Across the Sectors

Source: Chung-An Chen, Public Personnel Management, Vol. 47 no. 2, June 2018
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From the abstract:
Regarding the effect of pay-for-performance (PFP), standard economic reasoning suggests that “a little is better than zero,” meaning that even small performance payments can improve employees’ work morale. An alternative view, “pay enough or don’t pay at all,” suggests that paying too little may instead erode employees’ work morale. Using the U.S. General Social Survey (GSS) data, the present study finds evidence that the two views actually complement each other: Small payments can improve employees’ work effort (e.g., working hours), but can also potentially compromise their work attitudes (e.g., job satisfaction). In addition, employees in different working sectors may have different understanding of what “small size” really means. Findings are followed by theoretical and practical implications.

Rethinking the Determination of the Value of Labor Power

Source: Guido Starosta, Alejandro Fitzsimons, Review of Radical Political Economics, Vol. 50 no. 1, Summer 2018
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
This article critically examines the received wisdom on the value of labor power that posits the workers’ material reproduction and the class struggle as two independent factors that determine the bundle of wage-goods consumed by the working class. It shows that this reading has no solid textual basis on Marx’s writings. Furthermore, it argues that it rests on a problematic separation of the actual immanent unity between materiality and social form in the capitalist mode of production.

Poor People’s Campaign

Source: Economic Policy Institute, 2018

Fifty years ago, Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference organized the Poor People’s Campaign to demand economic justice and human rights for all Americans. On the 50th anniversary of the Poor People’s Campaign, EPI is producing a series of snapshots illuminating why poverty persists and how public policy has helped or fallen short in the goal of eradicating poverty.

Articles include:
50 years after the Poor People’s Campaign, poverty persists because of a stingy safety net and a dysfunctional labor market
Source: Elise Gould and Jessica Schieder, Economic Policy Institute, Economic Snapshot, May 24, 2018

Poverty persists 50 years after the Poor People’s Campaign: Black poverty rates are more than twice as high as white poverty rates
Source: Elise Gould and Jessica Schieder, Economic Policy Institute, Economic Snapshot, May 17, 2018

How Have Pension Cuts Affected Public Sector Competitiveness?

Source: Laura D. Quinby, Geoffrey T. Sanzenbacher, and Jean-Pierre Aubry, ons for the 2014 improvements, according to their, Issue Brief, April 9, 2018

State and local data from 2005 to 2014 show the impact pension cuts have on the ability of governments to recruit, retain, and retire talented employees.

Key findings:
One of the central findings is that, especially for new hires, the implementation of pension reform hampered governments’ ability to attract new employees. This is important to note in an environment where governments are experiencing increases in retirements and are competing for talent at a time when unemployment rates, especially for those with college degrees, are relatively low.

Consumer Arbitrations with The American Arbitration Association 2009 to Present

Source: Yale Law School Consumer Arbitration Data Archive, Last Updated: May 24, 2018

This website reposts data previously posted on the American Arbitration Association’s website: https://www.adr.org/consumer. The AAA describes the data on their website: “The AAA maintains an online Consumer Arbitration Statistics report based on consumer cases filed with the AAA for at least the last five years. This report is made available pursuant to state statutes such as the California Code of Civil Procedure §1281.96 and Maryland Commercial Law §§ 14-3901 to 3905 and updated quarterly, as required by law.”

In practice, each time the AAA adds the latest quarter of data, it takes down the earliest quarter. This website aids researchers by retaining the data each quarter in exactly the format in which it was originally posted. We are retaining and posting this data because we have found it useful in trying to understand the effect of mandates for consumers to arbitrate.

Caveats are in order. A first limitation of the data is the absence of access to the underlying materials, which are held privately. As the AAA explains, it does not independently verify what arbitrators report to it. A second problem is that coding errors can occur at both individual and aggregate levels. For example, when researching consumer arbitration between 2015 and 2016, we identified sixty-two cases in the set that were described as seeking the same amount ($607,525.40) and in which each consumer was listed as having received the same award ($585.71). AAA research staff responded to our inquiries, identified a computer coding error affecting these cases as well as other cases, and posted corrected data. But no red flags told other researchers that the data had been corrected. Thus, a vivid example of a potential error may be found through culling thousands of entries and then seeking clarification, but the general public has no systematic method of checking the accuracy of the data posted by AAA. ….

Another site that has usable AAA data is Level Playing Field (http://levelplayingfield.io), and there could be other sites as well. ….

Is the U.S. Economy Growing Faster? Can It Grow Faster?

Source: Marc Labonte, Jeffrey M. Stupak, Congressional Research Service, CRS Insight, IN10897, May 8, 2018

The current economic expansion has been characterized by slower economic growth than the preceding 10 expansions. At 2.2%, average annual growth in this expansion has been slower than in the preceding 10 expansions (see Figure 1). President Trump has pledged to increase growth to 3%, an increase of 0.8 percentage points. This Insight examines recent economic growth and factors that could foster or hinder a higher rate in the future. ….

The Budget and Economic Outlook: 2018 to 2028
Source: Congressional Budget Office, publication no. 53651, April 2018

In CBO’s baseline projections, which incorporate the assumption that current laws governing taxes and spending generally remain unchanged, the federal budget deficit grows substantially over the next few years. Later on, between 2023 and 2028, it stabilizes in relation to the size of the economy, though at a high level by historical standards.

As a result, federal debt is projected to be on a steadily rising trajectory throughout the coming decade. Debt held by the public, which has doubled in the past 10 years as a percentage of gross domestic product (GDP), approaches 100 percent of GDP by 2028 in CBO’s projections. That amount is far greater than the debt in any year since just after World War II. Moreover, if lawmakers changed current law to maintain certain current policies—preventing a significant increase in individual income taxes in 2026 and drops in funding for defense and nondefense discretionary programs in 2020, for example—the result would be even larger increases in debt.

The Federal Budget: Overview and Issues for FY2019 and Beyond

Source: Grant A. Driessen, Congressional Research Service, CRS Report, R45202, May 21, 2018

The federal budget is a central component of the congressional “power of the purse.” Each fiscal year, Congress and the President engage in a number of activities that influence short- and long-run revenue and expenditure trends. This report offers context for the current budget debate and tracks legislative events related to the federal budget. …. Trends resulting from current federal fiscal policies are generally thought by economists to be unsustainable in the long term. Projections suggest that achieving a sustainable long-term trajectory for the federal budget would require deficit reduction. Reductions in deficits could be accomplished through revenue increases, spending reductions, or some combination of the two. ….

DACA Rescission: Legal Issues and Litigation Status

Source: Ben Harrington, Congressional Research Service, CRS Legal Sidebar, LSB10136, May 23, 2018

…. Collectively, the lawsuits to preserve DACA and to force its termination raise the related issues of whether DHS offered an adequate justification for the DACA rescission and whether DHS lacks, as Attorney General Sessions concluded, statutory and constitutional authority to administer DACA.

Enactment of statutory protections for certain childhood arrivals would likely moot the lawsuits in substantial part or entirely, but a range of legislative proposals to this effect—including those considered during open debate on the Senate floor in February 2018 in the wake of a government shutdown over the childhood arrivals issue—have not resulted in new law. Some Members have continued to pursue similar legislative efforts, however. ….