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.

  • People line up outside the Kentucky Career Center before opening to find assistance with their unemployment claims in Frankfort, Kentucky, June 18, 2020, photo by Bryan Woolston/Reuters

    Commentary

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

    Mar 18, 2021

    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?

  • 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

    Feb 23, 2021

    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.

Explore Economic Policy

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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

  • Rose Carter, of Lexington, waits in a line outside a temporary unemployment office established by the Kentucky Labor Cabinet at the State Capitol Annex in Frankfort, Kentucky, June 17, 2020, photo by Bryan Woolston/Reuters

    Commentary

    The Pandemic Is Completely Changing the Way We Treat Unemployment

    Unemployment insurance is the most important fiscal response the United States has during a recession, because it sends timely, targeted, and temporary financial assistance to those directly affected by the downturn. What the CARES Act created—remarkably high benefits for more workers—was a short-term experiment born of necessity, but it could have a lasting influence on public policy.

    Feb 1, 2021

  • Signage posted on the entrance of the New York State Department of Labor offices in the Brooklyn borough of New York City, March 20, 2020, photo by Andrew Kelly/Reuters

    Commentary

    A Bell That Can't Be Unrung: The CARES Act and Unemployment Insurance

    The CARES Act broadcasted to everyone that Unemployment Insurance can do better by workers and employers. Congress can debate the hows of permanent reform, but its actions in 2020 proved the need.

    Jan 7, 2021

  • New members of Congress are sworn in during the first session of the 117th Congress at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, DC, January 3, 2021, photo by Tasos Katopodis/Reuters

    Commentary

    Unemployment Insurance and the Failure to Reform

    Unemployment Insurance is the primary U.S. policy tool for sustaining workers during periods of high unemployment. But it has a history of being repeatedly neglected. Federal reform has been stalled for nearly 50 years.

    Jan 5, 2021

  • Unemployment Insurance

    Multimedia

    Unemployment Insurance: Why Does It Vary Across States?

    RAND economist Kathryn Edwards discusses the variance of unemployment insurance across states and its effect on how workers are financially supported.

    Sep 28, 2020

  • Members of parliament attend the first session of the newly elected parliament in Kutaisi, Georgia, November 18, 2016, photo by David Mdzinarishvili/Reuters

    Commentary

    Georgia: From COVID-19 to a Critical Test of Democracy

    Georgia has successfully dealt with the COVID-19 outbreak but now must meet the task of conducting free, fair, and transparent parliamentary elections on October 31 and dealing with the economic impacts of the pandemic.

    Sep 23, 2020

  • A worried mother holding her baby while working, photo by damircudic/Getty Images

    Multimedia

    Tracking the Effects of COVID-19 on Lives and Livelihoods

    RAND's Shanthi Nataraj draws on key findings from the RAND American Life Panel to explore how the pandemic is affecting Americans' physical and mental health, their daily lives, and their financial well-being.

    Sep 17, 2020

  • North Korean leader Kim Jong Un visits a drill of long-range artillery sub-units of the Korean People's Army, March 2, 2020, photo by KCNA/Reuters

    Report

    How Does North Korean Leadership Make Decisions?

    With talks between the United States and North Korea at a standstill, U.S. policymakers must consider what the regime might do next and know what signs or decisions to look for. Will Kim open the DPRK economy? What if conventional deterrence fails on the Korean Peninsula? And what could lead to the use of nuclear weapons?

    Aug 20, 2020

  • U.S. dollars and other currencies lie in a charity receptacle at Toronto Pearson International Airport in Canada, June 13, 2018, photo by Chris Helgren/Reuters

    Report

    Economic Competition in the 21st Century

    One can think of economic competition in two broad ways. The first is competition as an outcome: the ability to boost standards of living through domestic policies. The second is competition as an action, where economic policies also pursue geopolitical goals.

    Jul 17, 2020

  • The Unequal Nature of Damage from COVID-19

    Multimedia

    The Unequal Nature of the Damage from COVID-19

    Shanthi Nataraj, senior economist with the RAND Corporation, explains which communities and businesses have been hit hardest by the COVID-19 pandemic.

    Jul 7, 2020

  • When Should We Stop Social Distancing?

    Multimedia

    When Should We Stop Social Distancing?

    RAND's Jeanne Ringel describes a new decisionmaking tool that models the effect of non-pharmaceutical COVID-19 interventions on health and economic outcomes.

    Jun 24, 2020

  • People stacking hands together in the park, photo by Rawpixel/Getty Images

    Commentary

    What Elinor Ostrom Teaches Us About Avoiding the 'Tragedy of the Commons' in Delivering the Public Interest in the Post COVID-19 World

    The public interest can be an elusive concept, especially when trying to distinguish between shared and individual interests, a problem brought into sharper focus as we try to find the right path to a post COVID-19 world. Governments are seeking to do the best for their societies with limited information. As more data is being acquired, how can public policy achieve common interest?

    Jun 22, 2020

  • Tables are marked off at J. Christopher's restaurant that now offers dine-in service on April 27, 2020 in Decatur, Georgia.

    Multimedia

    The Health and Economic Tradeoffs of Reopening America

    In this Call with the Experts podcast, RAND researchers consider the health and economic effects of relaxing social distancing restrictions.

    May 1, 2020

  • Commercial trucks cross over the Ambassador Bridge at the international border crossing during the COVID-19 outbreak, in Detroit, Michigan, March 18, 2020, photo by Rebecca Cook/Reuters

    Commentary

    Supply Chain Disruptions Due to COVID-19 and Social Distancing

    There are significant epidemiological and economic risks and uncertainties with physical distancing policies put into effect in the United States to reduce the growth of COVID-19. We have estimated the economy-wide impacts of a set of these policies to provide a sense of their likely economic toll.

    Apr 28, 2020