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

In response to President Bush's trip to Latin America, CEPR's international team -- Dan Beeton, Jeremy Bigwood, Belen Cadena, Luis Sandoval and Mark Weisbrot -- has been busy providing analysis and commentary on the Latin American economy. See press interviews and other resources on our Latin America webpage. Add a comment
In a presentation at the 23rd Annual Washington Economic Policy Conference, Dean Baker discussed the effects that the housing bubble has on mortgages and potentially will have as prices return to historically-standard levels. Other members of the panel were Douglas Ducan, Chief Economist, Mortgage Bankers Associaiton of America, and Anthony Yezer, Professor of Economics at the George Washington University. The panel was moderated by Carl Tannenbaum, Chief Economist, LaSalle Bank. The National Association for Business Economics and the Association for University Business and Economic Research hosted the conference. Add a comment
Mark Weisbrot spoke at the fifth annual Ecumenical Advocacy Days in Crystal City, VA, on the economic and political changes taking place in Latin America. Over 1,000 international faith leaders and activists were part of the four-day event. Add a comment
Mark Weisbrot spoke at a briefing on the World Trade Organization (WTO) for Congressional staff. He discussed the shrinking gains from trade that are to be expected from a successful Doha Round of WTO negotiations, and weighed them against the potential losses to developing countries. Mark pointed out that - according to the World Bank's research - developing countries have very little to gain from the further trade liberalization that would be required under the Doha Round, while they would meanwhile have to make costly changes, including adopting new rules and tariff reductions that would limit their development options. Add a comment
Dean Baker discussed his book, The Conservative Nanny State: How the Wealthy Use the Government to Stay Rich and Get Richer, at the Modern Times Bookstore in San Francisco. Add a comment
As part of CEPR's Bridging the Gaps initiative, the Chicago-based organization Heartland Alliance released its 2007 Report on Illinois Poverty. The report describes income gains for poor and middle-income Illinois families, including eligibility gap findings for food stamps, housing support and TANF. Bridging the Gaps is a partnership of state and national groups that measures how much it costs for families to make ends meet -- and examines how they are coping. The partner states are Illinois, Iowa, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Texas, Washington and the District of Columbia. Add a comment
CEPR is expanding! We are excited to announce a new partnership with Inclusion. Through policy papers, research, op-eds and a blog, Inclusion advances a progressive long-term vision for producing a fairer, more sustainable world -- including improved wages, job quality, benefits, opportunities and more. Inclusion co-founders Shawn Fremstad, Rachel Gragg and Margy Waller have, between them, worked for the White House Domestic Policy Council in the Clinton Administration, Senator Paul Wellstone, the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, the Brookings Institution and the Center for Community Change. Add a comment
CEPR is pleased to welcome a new Senior Research Associate, economist Roberto Frenkel. He is Principal Research Associate at the State and Society Research Center (Centro de Estudios de Estado y Sociedad—CEDES) and Professor at the University of Buenos Aires (Universidad de Buenos Aires) in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Today, CEPR released his article, Argentina: The Central Bank in the Foreign Exchange Market. The original article (in Spanish) was published in La Nación on December 31, 2006. For more information on Roberto Frenkel, see his biography or his full CV (in Spanish). Add a comment
Heather Boushey moderated a panel on work/family class issues at a Barnard College conference, The Work/Family Dilemma: A Better Balance. The event featured a variety of speakers discussing low-income working women, the difficulties they face in supporting their families, and future policy proposals. Add a comment

Dean Baker submitted testimony to the House Ways and Means Committee hearing, The Causes of Economic Hardship for the Middle Class. Dean argues that the upward redistribution of wealth over the last 25 years was primarily the result of policy changes and not simply the natural workings of the market. He discusses four policy areas that should be improved: trade and immigration, Federal Reserve Board, labor-management, and corporate governance.

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After a year of drafting letters and organizing researchers to oppose the elimination of the Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP), we are pleased that Congress has fully funded the SIPP for another year. More on the SIPP can be found at http://www.ceprdata.org/savesipp/index.php. Add a comment

Mark Weisbrot participated in a Financial Times online chat on Venezuela with FT's Latin America editor Richard Lapper and economist Francisco Rodríguez (includes transcript).

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CEPR Board Member Peter Barnes, co-founder of Working Assets, came to Washington, DC this week to discuss his new book, Capitalism 3.0: A Guide to Reclaiming the Commons. At the bookstore cafe Busboys and Poets, he talked about his vision for fixing capitalism to protect the commons and share resources for environmental and social goods.

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CEPR Director of Finance and Administration Nicole Woo presents Peter Barnes with a CEPR t-shirt.

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At a press breakfast in Washington, DC, Mark Weisbrot discussed the state of U.S.-Latin American relations with Dr. Riordan Roett, Director of Western Hemisphere Studies for the Johns Hopkins Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS). They examined how a new wave of Latin American leaders is changing the face of the region and its relations with the U.S., multilateral institutions, international financial markets, and foreign investors, while at the same time, U.S. influence in the region has waned significantly under the Bush administration. Audio files available. Add a comment
CEPR's Heather Boushey and Liz Chimienti joined John Quinterno from the North Carolina Budget and Tax Center to discuss the Bridging the Gaps project with researchers and advocates in Raleigh, Charlotte and Asheville, NC. Heather presented initial findings on the number of people eligible and receiving six public work supports in North Carolina. She also received feedback on the project from several of the governor’s staff. The trip was covered in the Asheville Citizen-Times. Add a comment
Dean Baker and Heather Boushey traveled to Chicago last week to participate in the Allied Social Sciences Association (ASSA) conference. Heather gave two presentations. In the first, she joined Randy Albelda from the University of Massachusetts-Boston to present the initial findings of the Bridging the Gaps project: Bridging the Gaps: Can Single Mothers Package Earnings and Government Benefits to Make Ends Meet? Heather's second talk, The Wage-Curve: Cognitive Ability, Schooling, Race, Unemployment Probabilities and the Black-White Wage Gap, was presented with William M. Rodgers, III from Rutgers University and William E. Spriggs from Howard University.
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For the next six weeks, John Schmitt will be working for CEPR from Barcelona, where he will be teaching at the Pompeu Fabra University. John has been a visiting professor there since 1999. This year he'll be giving two courses, one on political economy and another on labor markets. Add a comment
Thanks to Public Citizen for hosting our annual holiday party, and to CEPR's friends and supporters for helping us celebrate! Add a comment
Dean Baker spoke at a Center for American Progress lunch panel on The Economic and Policy Implications of the Housing Bubble (includes video and transcript). Excerpt from Dean's remarks: "I know everyone talks about housing -- the American dream -- and if you’re running for office you’d better say that, but...what we want to have is, on the one hand, people to have good, decent, safe, and secure housing. That can be done through rent. Secondly, we want people to be able to save for their retirement, for their kids’ education, or whatever it might be. Obviously one way to do that is through homeownership, but that’s not the only way to do that." Add a comment
The Center for Economic and Policy Research is celebrating our 7th anniversary this month. Thanks to all our colleagues, friends and funders for supporting us through the years. For a list of our activities since September, check out the latest CEPR Update. Add a comment
CEPR launched its newly designed website. New features include a growing library of radio and audio files (see Multimedia); an issue-by-issue list of our publications and commentaries (see Issues); and an RSS feed that enables subscribers to automatically receive our latest reports and op-eds. CEPR’s communications director Lynn Erskine led the hardworking web-transition team of Rozina Ali, Kathryn Bogel, Nihar Bhatt, and Rebecca Ray. Add a comment