New Hope: Fulfilling America’s Promise to “Make Work Pay”

Source: Brookings Institution, The Hamilton Project

Despite the political rhetoric of “making work pay,” in 2005 some 3.7 million households included a full-time worker and yet lived in poverty. Our paper makes the case for a national program offering the kind of work supports that were part of the New Hope program, a policy experiment that operated for three years in Milwaukee, Wisconsin in the mid- to late-1990s. New Hope was created by a coalition of community activists and business leaders. It provided a set of work supports for full-time workers—parents and nonparents, men and women—that would lift them out of poverty, ensure that they had access to quality child care and health insurance and, if needed, provide a temporary community service job to help get them on their feet.

A random-assignment evaluation of New Hope showed that the program reduced poverty, increased employment and, perhaps most importantly, boosted the achievement and positive behavior of children. We estimate that a scaled-up New Hope program would cost roughly $3,300 per participant per year and that, with reasonable assumptions regarding the valuation of child impacts, would yield benefits well in excess of costs.

Evidence from other states and two Canadian provinces suggest that New Hope could be implemented by states. Given the different ways in which states would likely implement the New Hope model to fit their unique needs and delivery systems, we propose a five-year demonstration and evaluation in five states.

Full-text (36 pages)

Projections of Education Statistics to 2016

Source: National Center for Education Statistics

This edition of Projections of Education Statistics provides projections for key education statistics, including enrollment, graduates, teachers, and expenditures in elementary and secondary schools. Included are national data on enrollment and graduates for the past 15 years and projections to the year 2016, as well as state-level data on enrollment in public elementary and secondary schools and public high school graduates to the year 2016.

Direct to PDF and Other Formats

303.1 Million, U.S. Population Projection Announced; Nevada Once Again Fastest-Growing State; Louisiana Rebounds

Source: U.S. Census Bureau

As our nation prepares to ring in the new year, the U.S. Census Bureau today projected the Jan. 1, 2008, population will be 303,146,284 — up 2,842,103 or 0.9 percent from New Year’s Day 2007.

In January, the United States is expected to register one birth every eight seconds and one death every 11 seconds.

Nevada Once Again Fastest-Growing State; Louisiana Rebounds

From the report:
Nevada returned to the top as the nation’s fastest-growing state, with a population increase of 2.9 percent between July 1, 2006, and July 1, 2007, according to estimates released today by the U.S. Census Bureau.
Arizona, fastest-growing between 2005 and 2006, slipped to second place.

Meanwhile, Louisiana began to rebound from its post-Hurricane Katrina population loss, gaining nearly 50,000 people from July 1, 2006, to July 1, 2007, for a total population of 4.3 million. The state lost 250,000 residents during the previous one-year period. Texas gained more people than any other state: Its 2006-2007 increase of almost 500,000 was ahead of runner-up California, which added slightly more than 300,000. California remains the most populous state with about 37 million people.

The Census Bureau also released a population estimate for Puerto Rico, which was 3.9 million on July 1, 2007.

Population Estimate Tables

Executive Compensation Reader

Source: U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission

From the press release:
Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Christopher Cox today launched the first-ever online tool that enables investors to easily and instantly compare what 500 of the largest American companies are paying their top executives. The new database highlights the power of interactive data to transform financial disclosure.

The Executive Compensation Reader – available today on the SEC’s Web site at – builds on the Commission’s new requirements that went into effect earlier this year to dramatically enhance clarity and completeness of executive compensation disclosure.

By tagging the executive compensation figures in XBRL, the computer language of interactive data, the SEC has created a new online tool to help investors more efficiently view Summary Compensation Tables and certain other data in the proxy statements of large companies. Investors can quickly glimpse the total annual pay as well as dollar amounts for salary, bonus, stock, options and company perks. They can instantly compare those executive compensation figures with other companies by sorting according to industry or size.

The SEC’s new Web tool includes information in XBRL for 500 large companies that have filed proxy statements with the Commission. The new tool includes direct links to companies’ proxy statements, including footnotes and the companies’ explanation of their compensation decisions.

2008-09 Editions of the Occupational Outlook Handbook and the Career Guide to Industries Available on the Internet

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

From the news release:
The 2008-09 editions of the Occupational Outlook Handbook and the Career Guide to Industries were issued today by the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the U.S. Department of Labor on the Bureau’s Internet site. The Handbook and the Career Guide can be accessed on the Internet at and, respectively. Print versions of both publications are expected to be available by Spring 2008.

The Occupational Outlook Handbook has been a nationally recognized source of career information since the late 1940s. The Career Guide to Industries was developed as a companion publication to the Handbook in the early 1990s. These publications provide comprehensive, up-to-date, and reliable labor market information that has helped millions of Americans plan their future work lives. The Handbook and the Career Guide discuss prospective changes in the job market and the qualifications sought by employers, information that is widely used by counselors, students, job seekers, education and training officials, and researchers.

Bending the Curve: Options for Achieving Savings and Improving Value in U.S. Health Spending

Source: The Commonwealth Fund

U.S. health spending is projected to increase from 16 percent of GDP in 2006 to 20 percent in 2016–from $2 trillion to $4 trillion. Meanwhile, the number of uninsured Americans continues to rise. In this report prepared for The Commonwealth Fund Commission on a High Performance Health System, the authors examine 15 federal policy options that have the potential to lower health spending relative to projected trends. They include policies that would: produce and use better information for health care decision-making, promote health and enhance disease prevention, align financial incentives with quality and efficiency, and correct price signals in health care markets. Combining policies would capture the synergistic benefits of individual changes. If implemented along with universal health insurance, a combination of selected options could save $1.5 trillion in national health expenditures over 10 years, while also improving value in terms of access, quality, and health care outcomes.

NGA Center Survey Reveals Homeland Security Challenges Facing States

Source: National Governors Association

States are working more closely and more effectively with federal agencies than ever before to share information that could prevent terrorist attacks, but their relationship with the federal government in a number of other key security areas remains a work in progress, according to a new issue brief from the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices (NGA Center).

The brief examines the challenges facing state homeland security directors and highlights the results of an annual survey of the 56 state, D.C. and territorial homeland security directors who collectively comprise the Governors Homeland Security Advisors Council (GHSAC). GHSAC was created by the NGA Center in 2006 to provide a forum for state homeland security officials to share ideas and best practices and to review and analyze the impacts of federal homeland security activities on the states.

Full Document (PDF; 137 KB)

13 States Face Total Budget Shortfall of at Least $23 Billion in 2009; 11 Others Expect Budget Problems

Source: Center on Budget and Policy Priorities

According to a new report, thirteen states, including several of the nation’s largest, face a combined budget shortfall of at least $23 billion for fiscal 2009. Another 11 states expect budget problems next year or the year after. The initial reports for 2009, which runs from June 2008 to June 2009 for most states, suggest states are returning to a time of budget deficits.

Some of the fiscal problems are due to economic conditions outside states’ control. The bursting of the housing bubble has reduced state sales tax revenue collections from sales of furniture, appliances, construction materials, and the like. Property tax revenues have also been affected, and local governments will be looking to states to help address the squeeze on local and education budgets.

In many states, however, these economic problems are being magnified by endemic budget weaknesses created by past state decisions about taxes and expenditures. Some states have relied on one-time revenues (such as the sale of state assets) to balance their budgets, have enacted tax cuts — often multi-year — without accurately assessing their affordability, and have failed to address structural weaknesses in their budgets.

Comparing Employer-Provided Medical Care Benefits for Lower and Higher Wage Full-Time Workers

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

According to a new report, higher wage workers are considerably more likely to have access to employer-provided medical plans and to participate in such plans when they are offered to them. Higher wage workers also pay a smaller portion of their health insurance premiums than do lower wage workers.

Modernizing the Federal Government: Paying for Performance

Source: RAND Corporation

Enhancing the performance of the civil service has been a central objective of the United States since the Civil Service Reform Act of 1978 authorized a performance-based component to federal salary structures. In 2003, the National Commission on the Public Service, also known as the Volcker Commission, recommended that explicit pay-for-performance (PFP) systems be adopted more broadly throughout the federal government. The authors compare several proposals aimed at enhancing the role of PFP in the federal government: a White House proposal (the Working for America Act), which recommends that the entire federal workforce be converted to PFP systems by 2010; and three bills in the 110th Congress. This occasional paper examines the advantages and pitfalls of explicit PFP schemes compared with the largely seniority-based salary system that still covers more than half of federal civil servants. The authors consider why using PFP in the public sector is challenging, what can be learned from the social science literature, recent practical experience, and growing congressional opposition to PFP.

Summary (PDF; 115 KB)
Full Document (PDF; 350 KB)
See also: Policy Insight, Volume 1, Issue 6, December 2007 — Pay for Performance