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If you support racial equality, push for doubling the federal minimum wage

Claire Montialoux, economist and assistant professor of public policy | November 25, 2020

If America’s contemporary leaders are serious about reducing racial inequality, they must push for simple, bold measures, such as doubling the federal minimum wage. Otherwise, the country may miss an opportunity, after the largest protests for racial equality in U.S. history, to improve the lives of millions of people of color.

The virtues of virtual higher education

Shomit Ghose, Lecturer, Sutardja Center for Entrepreneurship & Technology | July 9, 2020

The COVID-19 crisis thrust the US higher education system into virtualized instruction, essentially overnight. Despite the limitations inherent in online education — including the revenue impact on institutions from reduced tuition — it brings students both access and scalability. Further, the combination of online and in-person education into “blended learning” can extend the reach of higher education, without compromising efficacy as a number of academic studies have shown.

COVID-19 and Tradeoffs between Life and Treasure

David Zilberman, professor, agriculture and resource economics | June 2, 2020

How can we assess COVID-19 policies? For example, how much should we restrict economic activity in light of the pandemic? How do we balance health risks with the costs of shutting down the economy? Living requires taking risks. To guide choices, it is useful to translate benefits, costs and risks into monetary terms. An early … Continue reading »

COVID: What the Epidemiology Models Are Missing

Stephen Maurer, Adj. Em. Prof. of Public Policy | May 7, 2020

Lately, the press has had a field day pointing out just how wrong epidemiology models can be. This shouldn’t be news, especially since most modelers never hid the fact that they had made some very bold assumptions. But it’s still important to ask just where the estimates went wrong. Most of the errors, it turns … Continue reading »

Higher Education is Key for the Post-COVID-19 Economic Recovery

John Aubrey Douglass, Senior Research Fellow - Public Policy and Higher Education, Center for Studies in Higher Education | April 27, 2020

The US economy is in a free fall. Businesses have closed and people have been laid off. Unemployment could reach 30 percent in some parts of the country, and if it does there are predictions that an additional 15 percent of the population will fall into poverty. Inequality may grow with a significant impact on … Continue reading »

Critical policy choices to keep the labor market intact

Sylvia Allegretto, Economist, Co-Chair of the Center on Wage and Employment Dynamics | April 2, 2020

A bold, creative solution is required in order to keep the labor market as close to intact as possible. The government should guarantee payrolls and benefits. The unemployment insurance system simply is not prepared, nor built for such a catastrophe.

Babies don’t do social distancing

Lea J.E. Austin, co-director, Center for the Study of Child Care Employment |

During an unprecedented health crisis, Congress must bring urgency, energy and resources to support the early care and education industry.

Targeted intervention on COVID-19 must support businesses, workers

Gabriel Zucman, Assistant professor of economics | March 18, 2020

Co-authored with Emmanuel Saez, professor of economics Coronavirus threatens the world’s economic life, and current proposals from governments around the globe are failing to match the scale of the crisis. Today, the chancellor, Rishi Sunak, [UK Chancellor of the Exchequer] announced £330 billion of loans and that some companies would not have to pay business … Continue reading »

Why Does UC Berkeley Need $6 Billion?

John Aubrey Douglass, Senior Research Fellow - Public Policy and Higher Education, Center for Studies in Higher Education | March 12, 2020

  Berkeley’s annual Big Give launches today with the purpose of encouraging giving to Cal’s many academic schools. departments, and programs. With the increasing seriousness of the coronavirus, the presidential election, and a plunge in the stock market taking most of the bandwidth of Californians, we might hope that donors, large and small in net … Continue reading »

Lessons from Gordon C. Rausser on Leadership and Persistence

David Zilberman, professor, agriculture and resource economics | March 10, 2020

When I was young, I was fascinated by leaders like Churchill, Ben-Gurion, Gandhi, and even the two Roosevelts, who changed history. As I grew up, I realized that leadership occurs in business, academia, sports, and family life. When we started the BEAHRS Environmental Leadership Program, we targeted up-and-coming training leaders and needed to develop a … Continue reading »

Free college, not for all, but for those who need it

David Kirp, professor emeritus of public policy | January 16, 2020

The Democratic presidential candidates’ competing higher education plans got valuable airtime in the December debate. The fact that all of them are making affordable higher education a campaign issue is good news, but the fine print makes all the difference. Any proposal to spend federal dollars on higher education should concentrate on those who actually … Continue reading »