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Brookings Institution Press

Brookings Institution Press

Website: http://www.brookings.edu/press

In its research, The Brookings Institution functions as an independent analyst and critic, committed to publishing its findings for the information of the public. In its conferences and activities, it serves as a bridge between scholarship and public policy, bringing new knowledge to the attention of decisionmakers and affording scholars a better insight into public policy issues.

Publication and dissemination of public policy research are essential parts of the Brookings mission. The Press publishes books that result from the Institution's own research and books of a similar nature written by outside authors.


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Brookings Institution Press

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Boosting Paychecks

The Politics of Supporting America's Working Poor

Daniel P. Gitterman

When most people think of policies designed to help the poor, welfare is the first program that comes to mind. Traditionally welfare has served individuals who do not work —hence much of the stigma that some attach to the program. An equally important strand of American social policy, however, is meant to support low-wage workers and their families. In Boosting Paychecks, Daniel Gitterman illuminates this often neglected part of the American safety net.

Gitterman focuses on two sets of policy instruments that have been used to aid the working poor since the early twentieth century: the federal tax code and the minimum wage. The income tax code can be fine-tuned in many ways —through exemptions, deductions, credits, changing tax brackets and rates —to alter the amount of income workers are left with at the end of the day. In addition, it interacts with the minimum wage to determine the economic well-being of many lowincome households. Boosting Paychecks analyzes the partisan politics that have shaped these policies since the New Deal era, with particular attention paid to the past three decades. It also examines the degree to which they have succeeded in lifting low-wage workers and their families out of poverty.

Forging a new political bargain that balances labor market flexibility with security for poor working families is one of the most critical challenges facing government today. Boosting Paychecks sheds new light on the scope of this challenge and the political constraints and opportunities policymakers face.

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Borrowing to Live

Consumer and Mortgage Credit Revisited

edited by Nicolas P. Retsinas and Eric S. Belsky

Americans are awash in debt, and the U.S. economy is in trouble. Credit undergirds daily life more than ever —it has become one of the defining aspects of American life, and the ramifications are becoming clearer by the day. The already considerable damage from a depressed housing market has been exacerbated by the subprime lender implosion, sending shock waves through the financial sector, international economies, and government at all levels. Most low- or moderate-income people borrow, but that should not be construed as uniformly poor judgment or lack of disciplines —Americans are not borrowing merely to keep up with the Joneses, but too often simply to stay afloat.

In Borrowing to Live, the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University brings together a group of experts drawn from the best of academia, research, and public services. Together with editors Nicolas Retsinas and Eric Belsky, they dissect the worrisome current state of consumer and mortgage credit in the United States and help point the way out of the current struggles.

Contributors: Michael S. Barr, Eric S. Belsky, Raphael W. Bostic, Shawn Cole, Amy Crews Cutts, Kathleen C. Engel, Ren S. Essene, Elaine Kempson, Patricia A. McCoy, William A. Merrill, Sendhil Mullainathan, Anthony Pennington-Cross, Elizabeth Renuart, Eldar Shafir, Edna R. Sawady, Jennifer Tescher, John Thompson, Peter Tufano, Susan M. Wachter

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Brain Gain

Rethinking U.S. Immigration Policy

Darrell M. West

Many of America's greatest artists, scientists, investors, educators, and entrepreneurs have come from abroad. Rather than suffering from the "brain drain" of talented and educated individuals emigrating, the United States has benefited greatly over the years from the "brain gain" of immigration. These gifted immigrants have engineered advances in energy, information technology, international commerce, sports, arts, and culture. To stay competitive, the United States must institute more of an open-door policy to attract unique talents from other nations. Yet Americans resist such a policy despite their own immigrant histories and the substantial social, economic, intellectual, and cultural benefits of welcoming newcomers. Why?

In Brain Gain, Darrell West asserts that perception or "vision" is one reason reform in immigration policy is so politically difficult. Public discourse tends to emphasize the perceived negatives. Fear too often trumps optimism and reason. And democracy is messy, with policy principles that are often difficult to reconcile.

The seeming irrationality of U.S. immigration policy arises from a variety of thorny and interrelated factors: particularistic politics and fragmented institutions, public concern regarding education and employment, anger over taxes and social services, and ambivalence about national identity, culture, and language. Add to that stew a myopic (or worse) press, persistent fears of terrorism, and the difficulties of implementing border enforcement and legal justice.

West prescribes a series of reforms that will put America on a better course and enhance its long-term social and economic prosperity. Reconceptualizing immigration as a way to enhance innovation and competitiveness, the author notes, will help us find the next Sergey Brin, the next Andrew Grove, or even the next Albert Einstein.

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Brazil as an Economic Superpower?

Understanding Brazil's Changing Role in the Global Economy

edited by Lael Brainard and Leonardo Martinez-Diaz

In Brazil, the confluence of strong global demand for the country's major products, global successes for its major corporations, and steady results from its economic policies is building confidence and even reviving dreams of grandeza —the greatness that has proven elusive in the past. Even as the current economic crisis tempers expectations of the future, the trends identified in this book suggest that Brazil will continue its path toward becoming a leading economic power in the future.

Once seen as an economic backwater, Brazil now occupies key niches in energy, agriculture, service industries, and even high technology. Yet Latin America's largest nation still struggles with endemic inequality issues and deep-seated ambivalence toward global economic integration.

Scholars and policy practitioners from Brazil, the United States, and Europe recently gathered to investigate the present state and likely future of the Brazilian economy. This important volume is the timely result. In Brazil as an Economic Superpower? international authorities focus on five key topics: agribusiness, energy, trade, social investment, and multinational corporations. Their analyses and expertise provide not only a unique and authoritative picture of the Brazilian economy but also a useful lens through which to view the changing global economy as a whole.

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The Broadband Problem

Anatomy of a Market Failure and a Policy Dilemma

Charles H. Ferguson

As the Internet revolution continues to unfold and transform telecommunications, pressure is building for faster, less expensive, and more widely accessible broadband service. Such a development would facilitate improved and less expensive traditional applications such as voice telephony and web browsing. It would also enable new and useful applications such as Internet-based television, videoconferencing, and software distribution. Broadband has great potential to improve efficiency and productivity, even to improve national security in some cases. Broadband service and affordability, however, have consistently lagged well behind demand and progress in information technology, with damaging results. The Internet revolution remains incomplete and threatens to stagnate if the situation continues. In The Broadband Problem, economist and technology entrepreneur Charles H. Ferguson explains the causes and ramifications of this damaging bottleneck, and he offers suggestions on improving the current state of affairs. He asserts that current telecommunications law and policy have not provided sufficient levels of new entry, competition, and innovation in the local telecom market. The continuing dominance of ILECs (incumbent local exchange carriers) in that market impedes the healthy, and much-needed, development of an efficient broadband market. The result of these policy and market failures is inadequate technological progress, innovation, and productivity in advanced Internet services and telecommunication services generally. The broadband problem is holding us back, and thus must be addressed and solved. With this important volume, Charles Ferguson has contributed mightily to that mission.

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Brookings Papers on Economic Activity

2000 through current issue

Published twice a year, Brookings Papers on Economic Activity (BPEA) offers authoritative, in-depth research on economic development. For over thirty years, BPEA has been an indispensable source for scholars and policymakers seeking objective analysis of major macroeconomic issues.

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Brookings Papers on Education Policy

2000 - 2007

Published annually, Brookings Papers on Education Policy (BPEP) analyzes policies intended to improve student performance. In each volume, analysts review the current situation in education and consider programs for reform.

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Brookings Trade Forum

2000 - 2008/2009

Brookings Trade Forum provides comprehensive analysis on current and emerging issues of international trade and macroeconomics. Practitioners and academics contribute to each volume, with papers that provide an in-depth look at a particular topic.

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Brookings-Wharton Papers on Financial Services

2000 - 2004

Brookings-Wharton Papers on Financial Services, an annual series from the Brookings Institution and the Financial Institutions Center at the Wharton School, provides timely and insightful analyses of the financial services industry.

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Brookings-Wharton Papers on Urban Affairs

2000 - 2009

Designed to reach a wide audience of scholars and policymakers, Brookings-Wharton Papers on Urban Affairs provides accessible research on urban areas and issues, including studies on urban sprawl, crime, taxes, education, poverty, and related subjects.

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