Does poverty cause terrorism?

On 11 September 2001 (9/11), some 17 years ago, four hijackings of US commercial planes by al-Qaida terrorists led to almost 3,000 deaths and over 6,000 injuries, and profoundly changed our sense of security. Those hijackings resulted in the destruction of the World Trade Center towers, massive damage to the US Pentagon, and a plane crash in rural Pennsylvania. The terrorists had intended the last plane to crash into the US Capitol or the White House. That intention failed when the plane plummeted from the sky due to passengers overwhelming the terrorists in the cockpit after learning of the other three crashes from cell phone calls. As a stunned nation watched the 24/7 news coverage of the events of 9/11, members of President Bush’s cabinet, some world leaders, and the news media tried to identify a simple root cause in order to identify subsequent action to limit future terrorist attacks.

On 22 March 2002, President Bush said in a speech in Monterrey, Mexico, that “we fight against poverty because hope is the answer to terror.” In response, President Bush redirected some US aid to help fight the war on terror. Despite his speech and wish to alleviate world poverty, much of the increased aid went to bolster recipient countries’ offensives against resident terrorist groups that presented terrorism risks to the United States. The US aid did not really reduce poverty in the recipient countries to eliminate an alleged root cause of terrorism.

There is an irony about using tied foreign aid to fight terrorism on behalf of the United States or other Western donor countries. Some scholars asserted that foreign policy positions of Western countries (e.g., support of unpopular leaders or the imposition of Western liberal-based policies) sparked terrorism. If that is true, then US-tied aid can be a stimulus, rather than an inhibitor, of such terrorist attacks on US interests at home and abroad. Aid-recipient regimes may be viewed by their citizens as US puppets, thereby enraging citizens to engage in terrorist attacks to voice their displeasure. That reaction suits the resident terrorists. Additionally, grievances subsequently may follow if the aid skews the income distribution more in favor of the ruling class.

The alleged linkage between poverty and terrorism generated extensive academic research on this relationship. The well-being of a country’s citizens generally is measured by income per capita or the average income earnings of its citizens, which is total gross domestic product divided by population. Low income per capita is equated to poverty because the typical person has little to live on.

When researchers explored the relationship between terrorist attacks and income per capita, their findings were inconclusive. That was true for domestic and transnational terrorism. Unlike transnational terrorism, domestic terrorism involves perpetrators and victims from just the host country of the attack. Some articles found that more terrorist attacks took place in countries with greater income per capita, so that richer countries experienced more, rather than fewer, attacks than poorer countries. Relatively few studies uncovered the hypothesized low income per capita or poverty linkage with more terrorist attacks, consistent with the views of President Bush, media commentators, and others. Some articles found no relationship between income per capita and terrorism.

The well-being of a country’s citizens generally is measured by income per capita or the average income earnings of its citizens, which is total gross domestic product divided by population.

A recent study by Walter Enders, Gary Hoover, and Todd Sandler indicated that poor and rich countries experienced the least terrorism. In their global sample of countries, middle-income countries suffered the most domestic and transnational terrorist attacks. The storyline behind those results is that people in really poor countries are more concerned with their subsistence and surviving another day. Thus, they possess little means or interests in partaking in risky and time-consuming terrorist campaigns even when they harbor grievances. By contrast, citizens in rich countries generally have few grievances that may erupt in terrorism. Moreover, rich countries possess the manpower and hardware to crush domestic terrorist groups or to project their might abroad to annihilate foreign-based terrorist groups. A good example of power projection is the deployment of US drone attacks in Iraq, Pakistan, Syria, and Yemen.

In middle-income countries, terrorist groups can attract operatives to conduct terrorist attacks at home and abroad to air grievances and to issue political demands. Middle-income countries have less capability than rich countries to confront terrorist threats at home or on foreign soil.

Thus, unlike conventional wisdom, terrorism is not caused by poverty per se. Other simple root causes – e.g., globalization (increased cross-border exchanges) or increased immigration – also have been dismissed by researchers. Post-9/11 research showed that root causes differed by terrorist campaign, with no single genesis or easy fix for terrorism in general. Causes can include foreign policy disagreements, economic discrimination, regime change, religion-based grievances, and others. When the next large-scale terrorist attack occurs in the West, simple root causes again will be offered by political leaders and the media even though evidence does not support such assertions.

Featured image credit: Hanging Industry Stock by igorovsyannykov. CC0 via Pixabay.

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An interesting way to get people interested in domaining

Sometimes there are no words for a domain investor related video. You just let the cheesy waft over you. So sit back and watch a couple videos and relax. “I would say these videos are not appropriate if you have your children around, nothing terrible, but some language you might not want your kids hearing.” […]

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Philosopher of The Month: William Godwin [timeline]

This October, the OUP Philosophy team honours William Godwin (1756–1836) as their Philosopher of the Month. Godwin was a moral and political philosopher and a prolific writer, best-known for his political treatise ‘An Enquiry Concerning Political Justice’ and ‘Things as they were or Caleb Williams’, a political allegorical novel.

Born in East Anglia in 1756, Godwin came from the family of Religious Dissenting tradition and was trained to be a minister, following in his father’s footsteps. He had a change of heart and embarked on a literary career, espousing Enlightenment ideas. In 1796 he married Mary Wollstonecraft, the first major feminist philosopher and the author of A Vindication of the Rights of Woman and their daughter Mary Shelley, the famous writer of the gothic novel, Frankenstein, was born the following year.

Godwin was a key figure in the British radical republican milieu. An Enquiry concerning Political Justice, published in 1793, established him as a proponent of philosophical anarchism. It was written during the British crisis in the 1790s when liberty and the questions about the sacred, natural rights of man were on everyone’s mind. Godwin argues that governments should be abolished since they oppress and infringe liberty. Society can only progress if states encourage people to decide and think for themselves on the best course of action. In doing so, their minds and capacity for rational judgment would develop. Godwin argues that mankind has the potential for achieving perfection and this depends on the liberation of the human mind and the removal of authoritarian and irrational institutions. Thus there would be no place in society for state interventions, laws, punishments, or any other forms of political and social controls. Because of his belief in human perfectibility, he even speculates on the possibility of immortality and the elimination of illness and ageing.

The book is also famous for its controversial ‘fire cause’ passage in which he asks his readers to choose between the archbishop Fénelon and his chambermaid. If both were trapped in a burning room where the archbishop was writing his great work ‘The Adventures of Telemachus’, and we could only rescue one of them, should we not save the life of the former who will produce the greatest possible benefits for society? Even if chambermaid turns out to be someone dear, a wife, a mother, and a benefactor, Godwin argues that justice would require that we save the life which is more valuable.

Enquiry was a success upon publication and established his reputation as a philosopher and a writer. Godwin was revered by the first generation of Romantic poets such as Wordsworth, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, William Hazlitt, and Percy Bysshe Shelley. The book’s ideas would later influence the works of philosophers and thinkers such as Marx, Thoreau and Kropotkin.

For more on Godwin’s life and work, browse our interactive timeline below:

Featured image credit: Caspar David Friedrich, Mondaufgang am Meer, Moonrise over the Sea, 1822. Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons.

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Decades of music celebrating Audiovisual Heritage

In honor of World Day for Audiovisual Heritage (October 27) we’d like to take you on a brief tour through seven decades of digitized music and audio recordings from 1900 through 1970.  We’ve been working to digitize 78rpm discs for the Great 78 Project to preserve the heritage of the first half of the 20th century, and now we’re turning our eyes toward vinyl LPs that have fallen out of print in the Unlocked Recordings collection.

1905 – A Picnic For Two

1906 – Talmage on Infidelity (very judgy)


1912 – Till the Sands of the Desert Grow Cold

1916 – I’ll Take you Home Again, Kathleen


1920 – I Want a Jazzy Kiss (as opposed to a bluesy kiss)

1937 – A Cowboy Honeymoon (hint: includes yodeling)


1939 – The Red Army Chorus of the U.S.S.R. (when we were pals)

1945– Don’t you Worry ‘Bout That Mule” (spoiler alert – he ain’t goin’ blind)


1947 – Everything is Cool (so sayeth Bab’s 3 Bips & a Bop)

1950 – When both accordions and Hi-Fi were hip


1950 – “They’re all dressed up to go swinging and, Man, they’re a gas!” (Sonny Burke from the back cover)

1957 – Amongst fierce competition, this gem wins Most Nightmare Inducing Cover Image


1958 – Dance music from Israel

1959 – This intensely sleepy version of “Makin’ Whoopee” will send you to sleep in the lounge.


1960 – My next story is a little risque (and so is the one after that)

1961 – Recorded live at the Second City Cabaret Theatre, Chicago, Ill.


1961 – Easy winner for the worst song opening we’ve ever heard, enjoy Tiger Rag from The Percussive Twenties.

1962 – Significant improvement on the Tiger Rag from the Doowackadoodlers


1963 – “Adults only” saucy comedy

1966 – Organ-ized wins best pun, as well as having “Popular songs arranged for organ” by “Brazil’s #1 Organist”


1966 – The music stylings of Mrs. Miller are not to be missed – personal favorites are “Hard day’s night” and “These boots are made for walkin'”

1966 – The “You Don’t Have to be Jewish” Players are falling in love


1969 – The Begatting of the President

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It’s time to put the brakes on Saudi Arabia’s war in Yemen

By Daniel L. Byman, Michael E. O'Hanlon

As the Trump White House comes to grips with the Saudi government’s role in the killing of writer Jamal Khashoggi, it confronts a major dilemma that has bedeviled previous American administrations: How do we punish a country with which the United States is locked in a relationship of profound mutual dependence?

The kingdom needs American military protection, despite having the world’s third-largest military budget and lots of shiny Western weaponry. And the United States, despite the North American shale revolution, still relies on Saudi oil (in the sense that the world oil market cannot function without it). The Saudis are also a vital partner for counterterrorism. For these reasons, American punishment for the murder of Khashoggi, a Post contributing columnist, is likely to consist of the usual wrist-slapping: no high-level summits for a while, a bit less pomp in any official meetings for some time after that and maybe a visa ban or two for complicit individuals. Congress, for its part, may issue a resolution expressing its collective outrage.

That would be a woefully inadequate response. The brazenness of the killing in Istanbul is stunning. Moreover, it targeted an American resident who was a powerful advocate of free speech and political accountability. The even bigger problem, however, is that this murder fits a pattern of outrageous and harmful Saudi behavior. The kingdom’s de facto leader, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, is a brash young man who has by now made many mistakes because of arrogance and inexperience—from his brutal and extralegal “anti-corruption drive” to his abduction of the Lebanese prime minister to his unnecessary public standoff with Qatar. Against this background, the Khashoggi murder is less an exceptional act of recklessness than an emblem of the new normal for the kingdom.

One tempting option would be to stop U.S. arms sales—a measure that could impose pain on Riyadh without disrupting America’s de facto security guarantee, or the world’s unquenchable thirst for Saudi hydrocarbons. Yet President Trump resists this step, arguing that American jobs are on the line.

But there’s a natural compromise. We should use this crisis as a chance to do what we should have been doing all along—namely, to force the Saudis (and, ideally, their key ally, the United Arab Emirates) to rethink their disastrous war in neighboring Yemen.

Three years into the Saudi intervention, there is no longer any reasonable argument for believing that what the Saudis are doing will work. Meanwhile, the intelligence support, logistics assistance and specific types of weaponry that we provide Saudi Arabia have made us complicit in all the airstrikes gone wrong and the ensuing carnage among civilians.

Complete victory over the Houthi-led and Iranian-supported forces of northern Yemen is not attainable for Saudi Arabia and its mostly southern and Sunni allies. Nor is it necessary. American, and Saudi, and broader regional interests can be adequately protected by continuing targeted strikes against al-Qaeda elements in Yemen, and reaching some kind of power-sharing agreement that would give Houthi factions more autonomy in northern Yemen with more resources for the rebuilding of the country. An ongoing Iranian presence there, while undesirable, is more tolerable than Iran’s foothold in the Levant. Over time, moreover, a more stable Yemen will need and want Iran less; Tehran thrives on chaos and conflict most of all.

To ensure that Riyadh takes such a more realistic approach in Yemen, Washington should make its military assistance for the war conditional. The United States has considerable influence. Saudi Arabia depends, in part, on the United States and U.S. contractors for intelligence and logistics. Riyadh also values America’s good opinion (and, if anything, values Trump’s support more than it did Obama’s), so it is sensitive to U.S. criticism.

The warring parties could start by declaring a pause in the bombing of Houthi targets and the opening of negotiations, followed by a large-scale infusion of humanitarian aid. The Americans would make it clear to Saudi Arabia that the pace of airstrikes will have to decline (and will reinforce this policy by delivering munitions “just in time” rather than in large batches). American planners should be co-located with Saudis, giving each side veto power over the use of any lethal ordinance.

None of this will solve all the problems between the United States and the kingdom. At least, though, we will no longer be compelled to follow the military lead of a young Saudi prince who has now proven to the world on multiple occasions that his judgment cannot be trusted.

      
 
 
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Honoring Pat Conroy: New Episode of Annotations

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First off, let me say: Happy 73rd Birthday, Pat Conroy!

Today, we both celebrate the wonderful, vibrant life of Conroy and mourn his loss.  As you’ll come to hear, Conroy was an stirring writer, beloved by many, and the subject of Our Prince of Scribes: Writers Remember Pat Conroy.  The collection comes from more than sixty contributors, including Barbara Streisand, Janis Ian, and Conroy’s close friends and family.  Each author in this collection shares a slightly different view of Conroy. Through their voices, a vibrant, multifaceted portrait of him comes to life and sheds new light on the writer and the man. Loosely following Conroy’s own chronology, the essays in Our Prince of Scribes wind through his river of a story, stopping at important ports of call. Cities he called home and longed to visit, along with each book he birthed, become characters that are as equally important as the people he touched and loved along the way.

Nicole Seitz and Jonathan Haupt lead the journey as editors of the collection and as panelists at the Decatur Book Festival this past September.  In the panel, they discuss their experience with Conroy, read a few excerpts from the book, and participate in an audience Q&A.

If you’d like to listen to previous episodes of Annotations, click here.

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Africa in the news: South Africa budget update and Ethiopia appoints first female president

By Dhruv Gandhi

South Africa projects lower growth and more borrowing

This week, South Africa’s medium-term budget update highlighted a worsening fiscal and growth outlook for the country. The growth forecast for 2018 was downgraded to 0.7 percent compared to 1.5 percent in February. Similarly, lower than expected revenue collection will push up the budget deficit to 4 percent of GDP from the 3.6 percent February forecast. The slower growth and larger budget deficits will have a knock on effect on the country’s debt, with the debt-to-GDP ratio expected to rise to 58.5 percent in 2021-2022 compared to earlier estimates of 56.2 percent. Moody’s, the only big three rating agency to rate South African debt as investment grade, called the budget update “credit negative.” 

Addressing the updated budget outlook, Finance Minister Tito Mboweni, focused on the need to address the management of state-owned enterprises and the rising public wage bill. He called for greater private sector investment in infrastructure, noting, “Too often, government spends money on infrastructure when it could be better and more effectively done by the private sector.” Addressing the economy at an investor conference on Friday, President Cyril Ramaphosa called himself in “economic repair mode.” Since coming to office earlier this year, President Ramaphosa has secured commitments for $35 billion in new investments out of a goal of $100 billion over the next five years.

Ethiopia appoints first female president and gender-balanced cabinet

On Thursday, Ethiopia appointed its first female president, Sahle-Work Zewde, currently the U.N. undersecretary-general. Her appointment comes after President Mulatu Teshome resigned from his post a year before the end of his term. The presidency is a ceremonial post in Ethiopia. The appointment of Ethiopia’s first female president follows Prime Minister Abiy’s announcement of a gender-balanced cabinet last week. Women were appointed to key positions including the defense ministry and the newly created ministry of peace, which will oversee various security agencies. In the cabinet reshuffle, Ethiopia also reduced the number of cabinet positions from 28 to 20. Ethiopia is the third country in Africa, after Rwanda and Seychelles to have a gender-balanced cabinet.

In other news, Ethiopia signed a peace agreement with the Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF) this week. The ONLF was also removed from a list of banned groups by parliament earlier this year. The agreement requires the group to “pursue its political obligations through peaceful means.”

Cameroon President Paul Biya wins seventh term

On Monday, Cameroon announced official results following presidential elections held on October 7, 2018. Incumbent President Paul Biya won reelection with 71 percent of the vote. This will be his seventh term in office and will allow him to govern until 2025. 

      
 
 
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The labor market is booming, why aren’t your wages?

By Ryan Nunn, Jay Shambaugh

On Oct. 16, the Bureau of Labor Statistics announced yet another piece of good news: the number of job openings has risen to more than 7.1 million, continuing a particularly rapid pace of expansion starting at the beginning of 2018.

However a critical measure of economic progress, wage growth, is telling a different story. Before adjusting for inflation, wage growth has been consistently low but positive during this business cycle.

Yet, as inflation has crept up in the last two years, real wage growth — pay increases after adjusting for inflation — has drifted toward zero. Although the annual rate of real wage growth was 1.4 percent in 2015-16, it has been just 0.4 percent in 2017-18.

This weak wage growth has occurred while labor markets strengthened in a variety of other ways. Nine years ago, the United States exited its last recession — the most severe in post-war history — as GDP resumed growth.

Then, in April 2010, the U.S. began an unprecedented run of job creation that continues through the present day. The unemployment rate has since fallen to 3.7 percent in September 2018 from a peak of 10.0 percent.

More recently, other economic indicators have begun to show strength as well:

  • The labor force participation rate of prime-age workers (ages 25-54) — which had been falling — has risen for the last three years;
  • this summer, the rate of people working part-time who have been unable to find full-time work fell to its pre-recession level; and
  • record numbers of Americans have a positive assessment of the nation’s economy.

This raises the question: If the labor market is showing signs of strength and Americans are feeling confident in our economy, why is wage growth so slow that there is nearly zero growth in wages after adjusting for inflation? In response, we have identified four plausible explanations which, in some instances, may potentially overlap.

Labor markets may be weaker than they appear. The prime-age (25-54) labor force participation rate is still more than 2 percentage points below its 1999 peak. Some of those out of the labor force may be available for employment, thereby helping hold down wage growth.

The share of prime-age workers that are employed has been a better predictor of wage growth than the unemployment rate recently.

On the other hand, whether this relationship is durable is less clear, and a large portion of nonparticipants are unable to work due to health conditions or caregiving responsibilities, and may not be available for employment.

Increasing employer concentration, and in some cases collusion between employers, has likely put downward pressure on wages by limiting worker bargaining power. Firms may be unwilling to raise wages to attract new workers, as this would require them to pay their current employees more.

However, it may also be that firms simply have not yet adapted to the tighter labor market of recent years and are only slowly raising wages.

Changes in labor market institutions have similarly reduced worker bargaining power, making it more difficult for them to benefit from a strong labor market. Limited collective bargaining and widespread use of no-poaching and non-compete agreements have diminished workers’ leverage in wage negotiations.

But just how much of recent wage growth slowdown (as opposed to longer-term trends) this explains is unclear.

The growth in productivity for workers and businesses has been low on average since the start of the recession. Lower productivity growth tends to hold back wage growth. Business and labor market dynamism have weakened, leading to an economy with mutually reinforcing low productivity growth and low wage growth.

Without fast-growing business startups and an abundance of upwardly mobile job-switchers, technological progress diffuses across the economy at a slower rate. This also means that fewer new firms are paying high wages to hire away workers from their current positions.

In some ways, the strong jobs and hours growth may help explain optimism despite low wage growth. Real median household income has continued to rise as more people are working more hours. This puts money in their pockets and likely boosts confidence even if workers are not earning more per hour.

As recent data indicate, a low unemployment rate does not mean the labor market is in perfect condition, and each of the explanations discussed above merit policy attention. Policymakers should supportmarket competition so that productivity growth translates into wage growth.

In addition, U.S. labor market institutions from the minimum wage to non-compete contracts should be structured to support workers. There are also many other steps one could take to boost productivity (ranging from education and training to research and development policy) that should help lift wages.

Finally, it will also be important to keep economic growth going to maintain labor market demand so that both employment — and eventually wages — continue to increase.

Jay Shambaugh is the director of The Hamilton Project and a senior fellow in Economic Studies at the Brookings Institution. He previously served as a member of the White House Council of Economic Advisers. Ryan Nunn is the policy director of The Hamilton Project and a fellow in Economic Studies at the Brookings Institution. He previously worked at the U.S. Department of the Treasury in the Office of Economic Policy.

      
 
 
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The labor market is booming, why aren’t your wages?

By Ryan Nunn, Jay Shambaugh

On Oct. 16, the Bureau of Labor Statistics announced yet another piece of good news: the number of job openings has risen to more than 7.1 million, continuing a particularly rapid pace of expansion starting at the beginning of 2018.

However a critical measure of economic progress, wage growth, is telling a different story. Before adjusting for inflation, wage growth has been consistently low but positive during this business cycle.

Yet, as inflation has crept up in the last two years, real wage growth — pay increases after adjusting for inflation — has drifted toward zero. Although the annual rate of real wage growth was 1.4 percent in 2015-16, it has been just 0.4 percent in 2017-18.

This weak wage growth has occurred while labor markets strengthened in a variety of other ways. Nine years ago, the United States exited its last recession — the most severe in post-war history — as GDP resumed growth.

Then, in April 2010, the U.S. began an unprecedented run of job creation that continues through the present day. The unemployment rate has since fallen to 3.7 percent in September 2018 from a peak of 10.0 percent.

More recently, other economic indicators have begun to show strength as well:

  • The labor force participation rate of prime-age workers (ages 25-54) — which had been falling — has risen for the last three years;
  • this summer, the rate of people working part-time who have been unable to find full-time work fell to its pre-recession level; and
  • record numbers of Americans have a positive assessment of the nation’s economy.

This raises the question: If the labor market is showing signs of strength and Americans are feeling confident in our economy, why is wage growth so slow that there is nearly zero growth in wages after adjusting for inflation? In response, we have identified four plausible explanations which, in some instances, may potentially overlap.

Labor markets may be weaker than they appear. The prime-age (25-54) labor force participation rate is still more than 2 percentage points below its 1999 peak. Some of those out of the labor force may be available for employment, thereby helping hold down wage growth.

The share of prime-age workers that are employed has been a better predictor of wage growth than the unemployment rate recently.

On the other hand, whether this relationship is durable is less clear, and a large portion of nonparticipants are unable to work due to health conditions or caregiving responsibilities, and may not be available for employment.

Increasing employer concentration, and in some cases collusion between employers, has likely put downward pressure on wages by limiting worker bargaining power. Firms may be unwilling to raise wages to attract new workers, as this would require them to pay their current employees more.

However, it may also be that firms simply have not yet adapted to the tighter labor market of recent years and are only slowly raising wages.

Changes in labor market institutions have similarly reduced worker bargaining power, making it more difficult for them to benefit from a strong labor market. Limited collective bargaining and widespread use of no-poaching and non-compete agreements have diminished workers’ leverage in wage negotiations.

But just how much of recent wage growth slowdown (as opposed to longer-term trends) this explains is unclear.

The growth in productivity for workers and businesses has been low on average since the start of the recession. Lower productivity growth tends to hold back wage growth. Business and labor market dynamism have weakened, leading to an economy with mutually reinforcing low productivity growth and low wage growth.

Without fast-growing business startups and an abundance of upwardly mobile job-switchers, technological progress diffuses across the economy at a slower rate. This also means that fewer new firms are paying high wages to hire away workers from their current positions.

In some ways, the strong jobs and hours growth may help explain optimism despite low wage growth. Real median household income has continued to rise as more people are working more hours. This puts money in their pockets and likely boosts confidence even if workers are not earning more per hour.

As recent data indicate, a low unemployment rate does not mean the labor market is in perfect condition, and each of the explanations discussed above merit policy attention. Policymakers should supportmarket competition so that productivity growth translates into wage growth.

In addition, U.S. labor market institutions from the minimum wage to non-compete contracts should be structured to support workers. There are also many other steps one could take to boost productivity (ranging from education and training to research and development policy) that should help lift wages.

Finally, it will also be important to keep economic growth going to maintain labor market demand so that both employment — and eventually wages — continue to increase.

Jay Shambaugh is the director of The Hamilton Project and a senior fellow in Economic Studies at the Brookings Institution. He previously served as a member of the White House Council of Economic Advisers. Ryan Nunn is the policy director of The Hamilton Project and a fellow in Economic Studies at the Brookings Institution. He previously worked at the U.S. Department of the Treasury in the Office of Economic Policy.

      
 
 
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Charts of the week: Data from the Primaries Project

By Fred Dews

In a new report from the Primaries Project, the authors write that “more and more people have realized that the key to understanding factions in American political parties is to understand congressional primaries.” Below are three charts taken from the many included in the new six-part report.

More challengers in Democratic House primaries in 2018

The percentage of Republican incumbents in the House of Representatives who have faced primary challenges has remained steady since 2010, whereas in 2018, 45 percent of Democratic incumbents faced challengers in the primaries. This is up from just under 28 percent two cycles ago. “This recent uptick is especially significant,” according to the report, “given that the Democratic Caucus in the House is quite small by modern historical standards.” However, only four House incumbents—two Republicans and two Democrats—lost their primary races this year.

Surge of Women Running in Congressional Primaries

Elaine Kamarck and Alexander Podkul write that the “[2018 primaries] cycle has made history for the large surge of women running in congressional primaries,” with the increase in Democratic women candidates particularly noteworthy. Kamarck and Podkul also observe that 39.9 percent of female non-incumbent candidates for the House won their primaries, compared to 24 percent of male non-incumbent candidates who won.

WOMEN CANDIDATES FOCUS ON DOMESTIC ISSUES, MEN ON INTERNATIONAL AND BUSINESS

Kamarck and Podkul’s research shows that “it’s clear that the women candidates are focused on domestic issues, while the men are focused on international and business issues.” Thus, they continued, “if more women are elected this November, it could mean some changes in the congressional agenda.”

You can access all of the analysis and data by visiting the full report at “Political polarization and congressional candidates in the 2018 primaries.”

 

      
 
 
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