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

CEPR has been busy working to save the Survey for Income and Program Participation (SIPP), an extremely valuable source of data for social science researchers. The president’s FY07 budget calls for elimination of the Census survey, effective September 2006. To see what we've been doing to keep this data source, visit the “Save the SIPP” page on the ceprDATA website. On Wednesday, CEPR sent a letter to Congress from over 400 researchers opposing the survey's elimination. CEPR is currently collecting signatures for a similar sign-on letter from organizations. Add a comment

Mark Weisbrot presented on the current state of U.S.-Latin American relations and the 25-year economic failure in Latin America as part of the opening panel for the first National Solidarity Conference on Venezuela at the Elliott School of International Affairs at George Washington University. Other speakers on the panel included Antonio Gonzales, President of the Southwest Voter Registration Project and Bill Fletcher, President, TransAfrica Forum. Dan Hellinger, Chair of the Political Science Department at Webster University, moderated the panel. Mark also presented a more detailed workshop on the Latin American economies to an overflow crowd later in the day.


Add a comment
Heather Boushey met with Netherland's Minister of Social Affairs and Employment, Aart Jan de Geus, and other Dutch officials to discuss her work on women’s labor force participation and childcare. They will be using CEPR's analysis to help create more family-friendly government policies in the Netherlands. Also in attendance were Maarten Anthony Ruijs, Secretary General for the Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment, Peter Stein, Head of Section Labor and Care, and Elke Merks-Schaapveld, First Secretary for Economic Affairs. Add a comment
Economist Heather Boushey and policy analyst Liz Chimienti escaped DC’s cold weather by meeting in Houston with our Texas partners in CEPR’s Bridging the Gaps project. This innovative program is investigating the "effective coverage" of social policy – by examining how many families eligible for social assistance are actually receiving benefits. While in Texas, Heather and Liz will be presenting initial findings on effective coverage and gathering feedback from our Texas partners for the next phases of research. Add a comment
Today, CEPR and the Institute for America's Future jointly released a report, The Excess Cost of the Medicare Drug Benefit. The report, written by Dean Baker, finds that provisions in the 2003 Medicare Modernization Act designed to benefit private insurance companies and the pharmaceutical industry will cost taxpayers over $800 billion over the next decade. You can check out the press release by the Institute for America's Future here. Add a comment

thumb_detroit_news_2006_02_16CEPR made the front page of the Detroit News! "Auto Cuts Slam Blacks" (Feb. 16, 2006) highlighted our recent report, "The Decline in African-American Representation in Unions and Auto Manufacturing, 1979-2004," and its effect on local auto manufacturing employees. The report, by John Schmitt and Ben Zipperer, coincided with Ford's announcement of layoffs and has picked up a lot of media coverage. John has appeared on several radio shows, including WGNU in St. Louis and WBAI in New York.

In other news, John Schmitt is guest lecturing at Johns Hopkins University for a class in the Masters Degree in Public Health this afternoon. He will be talking about economic inequality in the United States and the economic and political forces contributing to it.

Add a comment
Mark Weisbrot traveled to La Paz, Bolivia from February 16-19, to present CEPR’s analysis to hundreds of government officials, NGO’s, business people, and other members of civil society. Other presenters from the United States included Jeff Vogt, Senior Associate for Rights and Development for the Washington Office on Latin America, Lori Wallach, Executive Director of Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch, and Steve Suppan, Director of Research for the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy.  Mark also met with other members of the government and NGOs. You can see CEPR's briefing paper on Bolivia's economic situation here. Add a comment
The President's FY2007 budget calls for the elimination the Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP). CEPR is circulating a sign-on letter to researchers, particularly SIPP users, who are concerned about access to quality government microdata. If you are a social science researcher and would like to see the letter to consider signing it, please click here. Tentative closing for the sign-on letter is March 1, 2006.  Add a comment
Mark Weisbrot was back on Capitol Hill this afternoon to speak at a Congressional staff meeting sponsored by Congressman Raul Grijalva. The event, Venezuela, the United States, and the Americas: Fact and Fiction, was well attended, and staffers from over 20 Members of Congress (from both sides of the aisle) were present. Add a comment
Heather Boushey spoke today at the Business and Professional Women's 2006 Policy & Action Conference on the subject, How Research Impacts Policy. Having several examples to choose from, she discussed CEPR's work on Social Security, the minimum wage, and John Schmitt and Dean Baker's new paper on the Current Population Survey. Joining Heather on the panel were Sherryn Craig (American Cancer Society), Samir Luther (Human Rights Campaign Foundation), and Ana Unruh Cohen (Center for American Progress). Heather also presented a poster at the conference on her paper "Are Women Opting Out? Debunking the Myth," which was very well received. Add a comment
Mark Weisbrot traveled to Capitol Hill this afternoon to participate in the Georgetown Public Policy Institute's 12th annual public policy conference, Breaking Through the Noise of Democracy: Uniting Policy and Politics to Strike the Right Chord for Social Good. Mark spoke on a panel entitled, "How Can Uniting Local and Global Interests Advance Pro-poor Growth?" to a standing-room-only audience. Other panelists included Vijaya Ramachandran (assistant professor for public policy, Georgetown University), Robert Holzmann (Director for Social Protection, World Bank), Anwar Ibrahim (former Finance Minister of Malaysia), and Andrew S. Natsios (immediate past Director, USAID). Add a comment

In a small ceremony involving beer and brownies, CEPR's union and management this afternoon signed the much-anticipated 2006-2007 union contract. CEPR employees have been proud members of the International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers, Local #70, AFL-CIO, since 2003. (Co-director Dean Baker was himself a founding member of Local 70 in the late 1990s.)




Add a comment
Mark Weisbrot presented on the economic reforms of the last 25 years in Latin America, and the diminished influence of the IMF, at the 6th Polycentric World Social Forum – Americas and the 2nd Americas Social Forum that took place from January 25-29. Over one hundred people attended this workshop. Add a comment
More union news: CEPR released a briefing paper that details some of the effects of the shrinking auto manufacturing industry: "The Decline in African-American Representation in Unions and Auto Manufacturing, 1979-2004." The brief finds that layoffs in the auto industry will disproportionately hurt African Americans. You can find the accompanying press release here. Add a comment
CEPR produced a Union Byte, an analysis of the annual "Union Members" report, which is released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The report details union membership over the course of the previous year. John Schmitt and Ben Zipperer, co-authors of the Byte, point out some amazing news: For the first time ever, manufacturing workers are no more likely to be represented by a union than the average U.S. worker. This observation challenges the conventional perception that manufacturing workers are more likely to be members of a union than any other employment sector. Add a comment

CEPR economist Dean Baker participated in a health care briefing organized by representative John Conyers in an event called "The New Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Program: Problems & Solutions." Dean spoke on a panel with other experts on the new Medicare program, including Roger Hickey (Campaign for America's Future), Dr. Elena Rios (National Hispanic Medical Association), Gwynn Gillenwater (American Association for People with Disabilities), Edward King (National Senior Citizens Law Center), and Carolyn Rachel (DC Department of Health). Dean presented findings from his paper, The Savings from an Efficient Medicare Prescription Drug Plan, to a standing-room only audience in the Rayburn House Office Building.

To learn more about the new Medicare program, you can read the paper or check out Dean's op-ed, published in the Sacramento Bee on November 25, 2005: Bush Drug Plan an Expensive, Complicated Turkey.

Add a comment

Dean Baker and Heather Boushey travel north to Boston to participate in the annual meeting of the Allied Social Science Associations from January 6-8. You can check out the conference here: Program Announcement

Heather will be presenting three different papers, and Dean will be a respondent at two panels.

Add a comment
International policy analyst Dan Beeton just got back from Hong Kong, where he followed the WTO talks that compromised the development round (or Doha round). The text that emerged from Hong Kong seems to be the bare minimum needed to keep negotiations from total collapse, although provisions on services and tariff cuts, among other issues, could prove damaging to developing countries if implemented. To find out more about CEPR's analysis of the talks, check out our press release: Costs of WTO 'Development Round' Could Outweigh Benefits for Developing Countries.
Add a comment
Heather Boushey spoke at the Capitol building at a book briefing on the changing face of workforce development, and the implications for working moms. Add a comment

Its a busy day for CEPR!  This morning, we participated in a press conference on the Fair Minimum Wage Act of 2005, a bill introduced to the House by Steny Hoyer and to the Senate by Senator Kennedy.  Heather Boushey spoke about the impact that the higher minimum wage could have for millions of low wage families.


In addition, tonight is CEPR's holiday party: all friends of CEPR are welcome to attend the event located at Public Citizen's office at 1600 20th St., NW, from 5:30 - 7:30 pm. Add a comment
International Policy Analyst Dan Beeton is in Hong Kong for the Doha Development round of the WTO meetings. The meetings are being closely monitored by many international groups, and over 10,000 people are expected to travel to the city for the talks. Add a comment