Economics

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Economics is a discipline concerned with the consumption, production, and transfer of wealth by and among individuals (microeconomics) and communities or nations (macroeconomics); subspecialties range from economic development and planning to health economics and international economic relations. RAND's many economists contribute to multidisciplinary research projects by exploring the intersections where economics informs social, military, and governmental policy decisions.

  • Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, U.S. President Donald Trump, and UAE Foreign Minister Abdullah bin Zayed sign the Abraham Accords in Washington, September 15, 2020, photo by Tom Brenner/Reuters

    Report

    The Abraham Accords Could Have Wide-Reaching Economic Benefits

    Mar 18, 2021

    The Abraham Accords between Israel and Muslim nations represent a possible new chapter in the region's development—away from conflict and toward a shared vision of economic prosperity. Israel's partners could gain 150,000 new jobs. And that could grow to 4 million new jobs over a decade if other nations join.

  • 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

    Apr 30, 2021

    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.

Explore Economics

  • A Taiwanese coast guard points at a map showing the waters surrounding Matsu islands and mainland Chinese coast, at a coast guard office on Nangan island, the main island of the Taiwan-controlled Matsu islands, January 28, 2021, photo by Ann Wang/Reuters

    Testimony

    U.S. Allied and Partner Support for Taiwan

    As the Biden administration assesses its Taiwan policy, it is important to examine how U.S. allies and partners in the Indo-Pacific might respond to a potential conflict over Taiwan. What factors might influence their willingness to help the United States defend Taiwan? And how might they respond if the United States did not come to Taiwan's defense?

    Feb 18, 2021

  • Stethoscope and electronic tablet on top of a health care billing statement, photo by jittawit.21/Getty Images

    Report

    Increasing Price Transparency in Health Care: Key Themes and Policy Options from a Technical Expert Panel

    RAND researchers examine current price transparency efforts and their features, describe barriers to more widespread availability and use of price information, and discuss possible ways to overcome those barriers.

    Feb 16, 2021

  • U.S. Department of Homeland Security seal on the podium during the groundbreaking ceremony for the new Ajo Border Patrol Station in Why, Arizona, August 19, 2010, photo by Lee Roberts/USACE

    Commentary

    The Essential Role of DHS in the Economic Recovery from COVID-19

    The name Department of Homeland Security belies an important set of roles, missions, and functions of the department related to the economic security of the United States. Wielding these powers to their full extent during the COVID-19 pandemic could set the conditions for a more rapid recovery.

    Feb 11, 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

  • News Release

    News Release

    Prescription Drug Prices in the United States Are 2.56 Times Those in Other Countries

    Prescription drug prices in the United States are significantly higher than in other nations, with prices in the United States averaging 2.56 times those seen in 32 other nations.

    Jan 28, 2021

  • Bottles of drugs on the shelf at the Rock Canyon Pharmacy, in Provo, Utah, May 9, 2019, photo by George Frey/Reuters

    Report

    U.S. Prescription Drug Prices Are 2.56 Times Those in Other Countries

    Prices for prescription drugs in the United States in 2018 were 256 percent of those in 32 comparison countries. For brand-name drugs, U.S. prices were 344 percent higher. But for generic drugs, they were only 84 percent of the average paid in other nations.

    Jan 28, 2021

  • A man paying for health care services at a reception desk, photo by kokouu/Getty Images

    Report

    The 10Plan: An Alternative Approach to Health Care Financing

    The 10Plan would require individuals to pay a copayment for each encounter but no premiums up front. They'd have Medicare rates, and could pay cash or borrow from the government at a low interest rate to pay for services. How would health care spending and federal costs change under the plan?

    Jan 25, 2021

  • Blog

    Political Violence, COVID-19 Vaccine Questions, Mental Health Care: RAND Weekly Recap

    This weekly recap focuses on why we need to brace for more political violence after the Capitol attack, COVID-19 vaccine questions and answers, how to reform the U.S. mental health system, and more.

    Jan 15, 2021

  • A woman stands on a ruined building after Hurricane Eta, in Wawa Bar, a Miskito indigenous community in Puerto Cabezas, Nicaragua, November 23, 2020, photo by Katlyn Holland/CRS /Latin America News Agency/Reuters

    Commentary

    Lessons for Central America's Recovery from Hurricanes

    As the global community works to assist Central America in recovering from the disastrous 2020 hurricane season, other recent recovery efforts offer helpful lessons, both for the governments of the region as well as outsiders providing resources and support.

    Jan 11, 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

  • A woman from Minnesota holds up her U.S. bottle of NovoLog insulin and a Canadian box of NovoRapid, which she bought at a pharmacy in Ontario, Canada, June 29, 2019, photo by Geoff Robins/The Canadian Press via AP

    Essay

    The Astronomical Price of Insulin Hurts American Families

    More than 30 million Americans have diabetes, and nearly a quarter of them use insulin to manage their symptoms and prevent life-threatening complications. The price they have to pay for insulin is more than ten times higher than the average prices in 32 other countries combined.

    Jan 6, 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

  • Bangladesh's Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and China's Premier Li Keqiang shake hands during a signing ceremony at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China July 4, 2019, photo by Mark Schiefelbein/Pool via Reuters

    Commentary

    China Isn't Backing Down in South Asia

    Much to India's frustration, China's influence is on the rise across South Asia. India will probably have to work overtime, and in concert with like-minded partners such as Australia, Japan, and the United States to complicate and rein in China's successes in the region.

    Dec 30, 2020

  • A consignment of USAID medical equipment is offloaded at the Roberts International Airport in Monrovia, August 24, 2014, photo by James Giahyue/Reuters

    Commentary

    Why We 'Send Them Money'

    Why does the United States send foreign countries American taxpayer money? The answer, in short, is because it serves U.S. self-interest to do so. Aid is not some act of charity at the American taxpayers' expense; it can help keep Americans safer, more prosperous, and secure.

    Dec 30, 2020

  • Chilean president Sebastián Piñera receives the first shipment of COVID-19 vaccines in Santiago de Chile, Chile, December 24, 2020, photo by Sebastian Rodríguez/Presidencia/Reuters

    Commentary

    Vaccine Nationalism Has Real Economic Consequences

    Vaccine nationalism, in which countries prioritize their domestic needs at the expense of others, will have significant global economic consequences. Major economies actually have more to gain by helping to make an effective COVID-19 vaccine widely available globally.

    Dec 30, 2020

  • Asian male patient getting vaccinated against coronavirus in hospital

    Research Brief

    The economic benefits of equitable global access to COVID-19 vaccines

    Researchers used a global macroeconomic model to examine the economic effects of vaccine nationalism. This brief highlights the cost to 30 high-income countries if low and middle-income countries miss out on initial access to COVID-19 vaccines.

    Dec 17, 2020

  • People walk near India Gate on a smoggy afternoon in New Delhi, India, November 15, 2020, photo by Adnan Abidi/Reuters

    Commentary

    Curb Climate Change After COVID-19? Fast-Growing India and Brazil Are Key

    India and Brazil are facing pressure to launch recoveries after the economic devastation caused by the pandemic. Will they backslide on their Paris climate agreement commitments, or will the expected return of the United States to the pact encourage them to build a more sustainable economic future?

    Dec 15, 2020

  • Overhead view of a container ship in port, photo by CHUNYIP WONG/Getty Images

    Commentary

    RCEP Forms the World's Largest Trading Bloc. What Does This Mean for Global Trade?

    In November, 15 nations signed the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), a free-trade agreement of economic and political significance eight years in the making. Why have some heralded RCEP as a landmark agreement?

    Dec 9, 2020

  • A lightbulb depicting innovation and technology, photo by Blackboard/Adobe Stock

    Report

    China's Propensity for Innovation in the 21st Century

    China aspires to be a major creator of new technologies and novel value-adding applications for those that already exist. How far will China be able to go toward achieving this goal? And what information is needed to better understand China’s propensity for innovation?

    Dec 3, 2020

  • Journal Article

    Journal Article

    Estimating the Global Economic Benefits of Physically Active Populations Over 30 Years (2020–2050)

    We assess the potential benefits of increased physical activity for the global economy for 23 countries and the rest of the world from 2020 to 2050. The main factors taken into account in the economic assessment are excess mortality and lower productivity.

    Dec 1, 2020