Blog postings by CEPR staff and updates on the latest briefings and activities at the Center for Economic and Policy Research.

Director of International Programs, Deborah James spoke on a panel on comparative constitutional reform in Latin America at the National Lawyers Guild Convention in Washington, D.C. Add a comment
Heather Boushey spoke on a panel that explored the trend of media stories that show working mothers as either leaving their careers or dreaming of doing so. The discussion was moderated by E.J. Graff, a senior researcher at Brandeis University, and also included Joan Williams, Distinguished Professor of Law, University of California; Ellen Bravo, author of Taking On the Big Boys: Why Feminism Is Good for Families and Business and the Nation; and Linda Hirshman, lawyer and professor emeritus at Brandeis University.
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Dean Baker live-blogged the Republican presidential debate for the New York Times, along with two other economists - Russell Roberts, professor of Economics at George Mason University, and William Niskanen, with the Cato Institute.
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While in London, Mark Weisbrot gave another talk titled "The Venezuelan Social Economy: The Optimistic Scenario" at Canning House, which is home to the Foreign Office, Latin American embassies and business journalists. More details on Mark's trip - including his time in Madrid, Spain - to come.

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Mark Weisbrot went to London, England where he spoke at the Annual General Meeting of Compass. Mark was on a panel with Neal Lawson, the founder of Compass and John Crudass, a Labor MP, and he spoke on issues including the lessons of economic progress and political change in Latin America, and the prospect for progressives in the forthcoming US Presidential election. Add a comment
Nobel Prize-winning economist James Heckman wrote a commentary in the journal "Capitalism and Society" praising Dean Baker and John Schmitt's work in a co-authored piece, "Are Protective Labor Market Institutions at the Root of Unemployment? A Critical Review of the Evidence". Add a comment
John Schmitt, Dean Baker, Mark Weisbrot, David Rosnick, and Ben Zipperer contributed CEPR publications to a new book, "Neoliberalism, Globalization and Inequalities: Consequences for Health and Quality of Life". Chapter titles include:
  • "Is Globalization Undermining the Welfare State? The Evolution of the Welfare State in Developed Capitalist Countries"
  • "The Scorecard on Development: 25 Years of Diminished Progress"
  • "Economic Efficiency versus Social Equality? The U.S. Liberal Model versus The European Social Model"
  • "Is the United States a Good Model for Reducing Social Exclusion in Europe?"
  • "Labor Markets and Economic Inequality in the United States Since the End of the 1970s"
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Dean Baker went to Charleston, West Virginia to talk with several members of the state House and Senate about the advantages of a state-run system of voluntary retirement accounts similar to the one that Washington State is implementing. Dean also testified before the U.S. Senate pension committee on the topic. In the evening, he spoke to an overflow crowd at a local bookstore about his book, The Conservative Nanny State: How the Wealthy Use the Government to Stay Rich and Get Richer.
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A new book, Bad Samaritans, by CEPR Senior Research Associate and Cambridge University professor Ha-Joon Chang sparked a debate on development and macroeconomic policies on the Financial Times website. Economists including Edmund Phelps, Nobel laureate in Economics, Anne Krueger, former First Deputy Managing Director of the IMF, and others wrote responses to a book review by Martin Wolf, Financial Times Chief Economics Commentator. Chang responded as well. Add a comment
Mark Weisbrot spoke on freedom of the press in Latin America as part of a panel at a National Press Club event that included journalists from Mexico and Venezuela and representatives from the Due Process of Law Foundation and the Washington Office on Latin America. Add a comment
Mark Weisbrot was invited to speak by the Heinrich Böll Foundation as part of the foundation's Summer School on Gender and Macroeconomics . He discussed the role of international financial institutions (IFI's) in the long-term economic failure of developing countries.
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Dean Baker debated C. Eugene Steuerle, senior fellow at the Urban Institute, on the questionable urgency of Social Security reform. The event, hosted by the Urban Institute, was very well attended and the two discussed such topics as spousal benefits, the role of health care costs, and increasing the age of retirement. Both agreed to promoting honesty and accuracy in the Social Security debate. Add a comment
Over 30 DC-area residents (and some of their children) attended a screening of "The Motherhood Manifesto" co-sponsored by CEPR. Steffany Stern, National Partnership for Women and Families, introduced the film and gave an overview of proposed state and national legislation to set a minimum number of paid sick days for workers. After the film, Liz Chimienti moderated a discussion with Karen Minatelli, DC Employment Justice Center, on local campaigns to improve work/family balance, including the Paid Sick and Safe Days Act of 2007. Add a comment

Heather Boushey testified in front of the DC City Council Workforce Development and Government Operations Committee on the impact of the Paid Sick and Safe Days Act of 2007, which would require employers to provide paid sick days to all workers in the District.

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At the annual meeting of the Society for the Advancement of Socio-Economics (SASE) in Copenhagen, Denmark, John Schmitt gave a talk on low-wage employment in the United States. The workshop he participated in, sponsored by the Russell Sage Foundation, compared low-wage work in the United States with the situation in Denmark, France, Germany, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom. Over 500 academics from Europe and the United States took part in the SASE conference. Add a comment

Heather Boushey and Liz Chimienti traveled to Des Moines, IA where State Senator Jack Hatch and State Representatives Wayne Ford and Ako Abdul-Samad joined Elaine Ditsler of the Iowa Policy Project in releasing Bridging the Gaps in Iowa. Eight media outlets attended the press conference and stories have run in the Sioux City Journal, Quad City Times , Mason City Globe Gazette, Cedar Rapids Gazette, and Radio Iowa. Heather Boushey and Elaine Ditsler also discussed the findings in a meeting with state legislators and administrators, and in a workshop at the 2007 Iowa Community Action Annual Training Conference. A big thank you to Kristi Lohmeier of Iowa Policy Project for setting up these very successful meetings!

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Dean Baker gave a presentation on Corporate Taxes and Double Standards at the Taming the Giant Corporation conference organized by the Center for the Study of Responsive Law. He discussed how corporations and the wealthy have devised ways to avoid paying taxes and have changed the tax rules to their benefit — resulting in more taxes for everyone else. He was joined on his panel by Katie Redford, Co-Founder and US Office Director of EarthRights International, and Lucy Komisar, Founder of the Komisarscoop.com and co-chair of Tax Justice Network-USA. Add a comment
Mark Weisbrot presented on a panel entitled Globalization: Understanding the Debate for the World Affairs Journalism Fellowships Orientation, sponsored by the International Center for Journalists. In his presentation, Mark discussed the importance of accuracy in reporting on economic issues and talked about some common misperceptions and biases in media reports on the global economy. He was joined by fellow panelist Joseph Quinlan, Fellow, Center for Transatlantic Relations at the Johns Hopkins Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS). Toby McIntosh, Managing Editor of the Daily Report for Executives, moderated the panel. Add a comment

CEPR hosted two events with Pablo Solón Romero Oroza, Plenipotentiary Representative for Integration and Trade Issues, Bolivian Ministry of Foreign Relations. CEPR sponsored a press breakfast on May 31 and a public presentation on June 1, on foreign investment in Bolivia. Much of the discussion focused on Bolivia’s precedent-setting move to withdraw from the investment dispute settlement arm of the World Bank, the International Center for the Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID). CEPR co-Director Mark Weisbrot introduced Ambassador Solón at both events and also provided background information on some of the issues.

The right of investors to sue governments directly, including for governmental regulatory actions that may diminish their profits, is a recent phenomenon, which the vast majority of such cases having been filed in just the last five years. It was a significant shift of power from governments to corporations, and one that some of the new democracies in Latin America seek to reverse, as they reclaim control over their natural resources and respond to the demands of their voters.

Among those attending the press breakfast were reporters from the Wall Street Journal, Reuters, Associated Press, Washington Trade Daily, the Spanish News Agency EFE, and by phone from South America, Bloomberg News and CNN.

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Pablo Solón Romero Oroza (at right) sits down with journalists to discuss the investment climate in Bolivia, May 31, 2007.  At left is CEPR Co-Director Mark Weisbrot.

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Over 400 social scientists signed a letter urging Congress to continue funding the Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP). The President's FY08 budget would eliminate funding for the survey. The SIPP provides critical information on the effectiveness of Medicaid, Social Security, Food Stamps, unemployment insurance and other programs. CEPR coordinated the sign-on letter. Add a comment
Dean Baker was in the San Francisco Bay Area to talk about his two recent books, The United States Since 1980 and The Conservative Nanny State. Add a comment