Economic Policy

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Economic policies are the end results of economic planning: the decisions governments make to influence the production, consumption, and sharing of wealth. RAND research has explored economic policies from the local to the international level, including their effects on international trade and foreign relations, their relation to policies focusing on public health and the environment, and their impact on economic growth and recessions.

  • Office of the California Employment Development Department in Sacramento, California, September 20, 2018, photo courtesy of the California Employment Development Department

    Commentary

    Will States Take the Wrong Lesson About Unemployment Insurance's Failings?

    By shoring up all state-run Unemployment Insurance programs equally, Congress set a precedent that it will intervene to raise benefits at no cost to state trust funds. From the states' perspective, why hike taxes on businesses to maintain robust unemployment benefits if Congress will step in when the economy goes south?

    Mar 18, 2021

  • Figure looks down on another figure from a higher stack of blocks, photo by francescoch/Getty Images

    Commentary

    Shared Prosperity: The Crying Need for Inclusive Globalization

    The disaffection of a wide swath of the American population has been linked to the political polarization of the country, as well as its divisive tendencies. While globalization is not the only reason for this disaffection, it is an apt lens through which to view the revolt against elitism, expertise, and changing demographics.

    Feb 23, 2021

Explore Economic Policy

  • A pedestrian passes a help wanted sign in the door of a hardware store in Cambridge, Massachusetts, July 8, 2022, photo by Brian Snyder/Reuters

    Commentary

    How COVID-19 Transformed the Jobs Market

    The COVID-19 pandemic initially devastated the U.S. economy. It also exposed and exacerbated existing inequities in society. But in as yet unpredictable ways, it may have accelerated profound changes in how labor works today.

    Dec 1, 2022

  • China's President Xi Jinping speaks ahead of the 25th anniversary of the former British colony's handover to Chinese rule, in Hong Kong, China, June 30, 2022, photo by Selim Chtayti/Pool/Reuters

    Commentary

    Xi Jinping Is Weaker Than You Think

    Although Xi wields significant influence over Chinese domestic politics—certainly more than his most recent predecessors—he still needs support from the Party elite. And on that front, some cracks are showing.

    Oct 14, 2022

  • A sign advertising for workers outside of a gas station in Danville, Pennsylvania, March 29, 2022, photo by Paul Weaver/Reuters

    Commentary

    Got a Labor Shortage? Make It Easier to Work

    If the United States wants to avoid a long-term worker shortage, it should look to what policy can—but has failed to—fully address. We have a long history using carrots and sticks, but this is a problem we may not be able to cajole or punish our way out of. Finding workers can be as simple as giving more people a chance to work.

    Aug 2, 2022

  • A man walks past the New York State Department of Labor offices in Brooklyn, New York, March 25, 2020, photo by Anthony Behar/Reuters

    Commentary

    Is a Recession Coming? A Key Indicator Is Also the King of Mixed Messages

    When fears of inflation arise in the United States, people start paying a lot of attention to weekly unemployment-insurance claims, as an early indicator of layoffs that could augur a broader slump. But unemployment claims are a flawed gauge that may be particularly skewed by the pandemic.

    May 27, 2022

  • RAND Weekly Recap

    Blog

    Extremism Online, Russia's Military, Preventing Police Killings: RAND Weekly Recap

    This weekly recap focuses on the internet's role in stoking extremism and hate, how Russia has failed its military personnel, a research roadmap to help prevent police killings in the United States, and more.

    May 20, 2022

  • People stand in line in front of Huawei's new flagship store, as it officially opens in Shanghai, China, June 24, 2020, photo by Aly Song/Reuters

    Report

    Business Community Support for U.S. Policies Toward China

    Policies implemented by the Trump administration were designed to confront China over its problematic behaviors, such as theft of technology and intellectual property. U.S. businesses agreed with the policies, but questioned some of the tactics used. How can Washington address corporate concerns and still compete against China?

    May 16, 2022

  • Clouds of pollution released by an industrial plant, photo by rui_noronha/Getty Images

    Commentary

    How Could the United States Incentivize Investors to Decarbonize the Economy?

    While mandatory climate-related disclosure may improve information and decisionmaking for investors, it alone is unlikely to accelerate investment in decarbonization at the rate needed. To motivate private investment in climate mitigation, policymakers could explore additional policies.

    May 12, 2022

  • Report

    Report

    Disruption Without Change: The Consequences of COVID-19 on the Global Economic Balance

    The author reviews the economic track record of the United States, its competitors, and its allies to discern how economic changes induced by the COVID-19 pandemic could affect geopolitical competition and the security environment.

    Mar 21, 2022

  • Wind turbines surrounded by fog in Costa Rica, photo by OGphoto/Getty Images

    Report

    A Green Costa Rican COVID-19 Recovery

    Before COVID-19 hit, Costa Rica had been taking a leading role in addressing the effects of climate change by investing in decarbonization. Could these same investments also accelerate Costa Rica's pandemic economic recovery and help address historical inequities?

    Feb 24, 2022

  • Report

    Report

    Proceedings of the U.S.-Japan Socioeconomic Policy Research Exchange: The Rise of Telework Under COVID-19 and the Growth of Cryptocurrency

    This volume captures insights from two conferences that brought together leading U.S. and Japanese experts to explore the implications of recent growth in teleworking, working from home, cryptocurrency, and blockchain in the United States and Japan.

    Jan 5, 2022

  • RAND Weekly Recap

    Blog

    Addressing Anti-Asian Racism, Stabilizing U.S. Rivalries, the Debt-Ceiling Fight: RAND Weekly Recap

    This weekly recap focuses on countering anti-Asian racism, the instability of U.S. rivalries with Russia and China, the rise in extremist online activity, and more.

    Dec 3, 2021

  • Composite image for the U.S. Capitol dome with clouds in the sky and U.S. currency superimposed on the sky, photo by Douglas Rissing/Getty Images

    Commentary

    Nuclear Strategists Know How Dangerous the Debt Fight Is

    Nuclear-war strategists' work offers a warning for Congress: The more times a game is played, the more treacherous it becomes, because when both sides believe catastrophe will always be averted in the end, each behaves more rashly. In the debt-ceiling dispute, the United States could end up defaulting precisely because each side keeps waiting for the other to blink.

    Nov 29, 2021

  • President Biden listens to co-owner Mike Siegel as he visits WS Jenks and Sons hardware store, a small business that has benefited from a Paycheck Protection Program loan, in Washington, D.C., March 9, 2021, photo by Yuri Gripas/Pool/Sipa USA/Reuters

    Commentary

    Will Unemployment Insurance Be Reformed? Ask Businesses, Not Workers

    The expiration of pandemic benefits points to the flaw at the heart of unemployment insurance: The constituency that pays for benefits isn't the constituency who receives them. Lasting reform to the unemployment insurance system will mean finding a way to benefit employers directly.

    Sep 15, 2021

  • Journal Article

    Journal Article

    Addressing America's Crisis of Despair and Economic Recovery: A Call for a Coordinated Effort

    This policy paper proposes a new federal interagency task force to address our nation's crisis of despair as a critical first step to sustainable economic recovery.

    Aug 4, 2021

  • People take part in the celebrations for the National Liberation Day near the Arch of Reunification in the city of Pyongyang, North Korea, August 14, 2005, photo by Yuri Maltsev/Reuters

    Commentary

    An Economic Blueprint for North Korea

    It would be simplistic to think that developing detailed blueprints for economic development in North Korea could on its own cut through decades of conflict and mistrust, triggering political and economic reform. But by expanding the terms of the debate it might move the needle on peace.

    Jun 4, 2021

  • People take part in the celebrations for the National Liberation Day near the Arch of Reunification in the city of Pyongyang, North Korea, August 14, 2005, photo by Yuri Maltsev/Reuters

    Report

    From Hermit Kingdom to Open for Business

    When the situation in North Korea becomes conducive to foreign investment and development, what might it take to kick-start the country's economy?

    May 25, 2021

  • A hearing to examine U.S. Special Operations Command and U.S. Cyber Command in review of the Defense Authorization Request for fiscal year 2022 and the Future Years Defense Program, on Capitol Hill, March 25, 2021, photo by Andrew Harnik/Pool/Sipa USA

    Report

    How Does Defense Spending Affect Economic Growth?

    Prioritizing defense spending over infrastructure investment might undermine economic growth. Given that the size and health of the U.S. economy are ultimately the basis for the nation's military power, policymakers should consider that the economic effects of defense spending have consequences for long-term security.

    May 7, 2021

  • A woman wearing a mask and gloves holds a sign that says she lost her job due to COVID-19, photo by tataks/Getty Images

    Multimedia

    RAND Remote: Changing Unemployment and the Post-Pandemic Workforce

    In this RAND Remote conversation, Kathryn Edwards discusses ways the pandemic is changing how we treat unemployment. She describes options for workforce recovery, including drawing women workers back into the labor force.

    Apr 29, 2021

  • Game pieces atop stacks of coins of various heights, depicting income inequity, photo by Andrii Zastrozhnov/Getty Images

    Research Brief

    A New Approach to Measuring Income Inequality

    A new method for measuring income inequality reveals that, from 1975 to 2018, the only group for which actual income gains exceeded U.S. GDP growth was the group near the 99th percentile of income distribution.

    Apr 29, 2021