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.

  • 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

    Jan 5, 2021

    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.

  • 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

    Jul 17, 2020

    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.

Explore Economic Policy

  • 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 will discuss ways the pandemic is changing how we treat unemployment. She'll describe options for workforce recovery, including drawing women workers back into the labor force.

    Apr 29, 2021

  • 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?

    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

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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

  • New York Governor Andrew Cuomo speaks during a COVID-19 news conference at the Javits Center, New York City, March 27, 2020, photo by Jeenah Moon/Reuters

    Q&A

    Who Calls the Shots During a Pandemic, the U.S. Government or States? Q&A with RAND Experts

    The tension between the federal government and state and local authorities has highlighted a fundamental challenge of fighting the COVID-19 pandemic: Who's in charge?

    Apr 16, 2020

  • Coronavirus Pandemic Causes Climate Of Anxiety And Changing Routines In America

    Multimedia

    Who Has Jurisdiction Over a Pandemic, the U.S. Government or States?

    RAND experts discuss the recent buildup of tensions between the federal government and state and local authorities. When it comes to planning for and fighting the COVID-19 pandemic, who's in charge?

    Apr 15, 2020

  • Temporary closed signage is seen at a store in Manhattan following the outbreak of COVID-19, in New York City, March 15, 2020, photo by Jeenah Moon/Reuters

    Commentary

    The Danger of Converting a Health Crisis into a Financial Crisis

    The impulse to do something to help businesses right now is well-intended, but lending to companies that were highly leveraged pre-crisis is a risky bet. Assistance could be best directed toward sound enterprises that are likely to survive and contribute to boosting the economy in the coming years.

    Apr 13, 2020

  • People wait in line to file for unemployment following an outbreak of COVID-19 at an Arkansas Workforce Center in Fort Smith, Arkansas, April 6, 2020, photo by Nick Oxford/Reuters

    Commentary

    Millions Need Unemployment Benefits. Unfortunately, the Delivery System Is Broken

    More than 10 million Americans filed for unemployment insurance in March as businesses closed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Washington's stimulus package enacted welcome measures to tide people over, but these temporary fixes don't address some serious structural problems.

    Apr 6, 2020