People / Staff

Michael Mandel

Dr. Michael Mandel is chief economic strategist at the Progressive Policy Institute in Washington, where he supervises PPI’s research and policy work across a wide range of topics, including the data-driven economy, the impact of regulation on innovation, and policies to improve production, investment and job growth in the United States and globally. Mandel was co-principal investigator for a Sloan Foundation grant on “Measuring the Impact of Globalization.” Mandel has testified before Congress on impact of regulation on innovation.

Mandel also holds an appointment as senior fellow at Wharton’s Mack Institute for Innovation Management at the University of Pennsylvania, and serves as president and founder of South Mountain Economics LLC, which provides expertise on emerging occupations and emerging industries.  South Mountain Economics is best known for its research reports on the App Economy, which have been cited in a recent White House report, and publications such as the New York Times, Bloomberg, Boston Globe, the Financial Times, the Atlantic, Time, and Forbes.

Mandel received a Ph.D. in economics from Harvard University and formerly served as chief economist at BusinessWeek, where he directed the magazine’s coverage of the domestic and global economies. While at BusinessWeek, Michael was named one of the top 100 business journalists of the 20th century for his writings on innovation and growth. He received multiple awards for his work, including the Gerald Loeb Award for Business and Financial Journalism.  He is the author of four books including Rational Exuberance: Silencing the Enemies of Growth and Why the Future Is Better Than You Think. He is currently revising the third edition of his introductory economics textbook, Economics:The Basics.

Writings

Blog

By / 9.20.2017

Everyone knows that Chinese wages have soared in recent years. Factory pay is up 64% since 2011, according to one source. The yuan-dollar rate was 6.38 on September 20, 2011, compared to 6.57 today, virtually no change. So quick quiz. What do you think has happened to the price of imports from China since then? […]

Blog

By / 9.8.2017

Based on newly revised Bureau of Economic Analysis data, we find that rising labor compensation for health care workers accounted for $55 billion, or 40%, of the increase in personal health care spending in 2016. By comparison, in May, 2017, we calculated that pharmaceuticals accounted for only $15 billion, or 11% of the rise in personal health care […]

Blog

By / 9.6.2017

Kodak is regularly held up as an example of how a “real” innovation company behaves. For example, a recent New York Times story compared Apple unfavorably to Kodak, saying. “Think about the contrast between George Eastman, who pioneered fundamental innovations in photography, and Steve Jobs,” Mr. Summers wrote in 2014. “While Eastman’s innovations and their […]

Blog

By / 9.5.2017

The expansion of ecommerce is a significant plus for the income and living standards of high-school educated workers, not a minus. That’s welcome news, as demonstrated in our latest paper, “How Ecommerce Creates Jobs and Reduces Income Inequality:” We estimate that ecommerce jobs in fulfillment centers and ecommerce companies rose by 400,000 from December 2007 […]

Other

The last retail revolution, the rise of the big box store, was not a good thing for the typical sales clerk or cashier. “Warehouse clubs” and “supercenters” started popping up everywhere in the late 1980s. Retail productivity as measured by the government doubled from 1987 to 2007, as this new retail format was more efficient […]

Blog

By / 9.3.2017

We’re grateful to have our new report mentioned in Neil Irwin’s piece today in the New York Times about tech employment. The report, An Analysis of Job and Wage Growth in the Tech/Telecom Sector,  to be presented at the TPRC conference later this week, directly compares employment at today’s leading tech/telecom firms with employment at […]

Blog

By / 8.27.2017

Warning! Wonky post ahead. At PPI, we are focused on understanding where the new jobs of the future are coming from, and how policymakers can help foster their growth. That sometimes requires identifying underlying trends that may not be obvious. The growth of multiple networks of ecommerce fulfillment centers–built by retailers such as Amazon, Walmart, […]

Blog

By / 8.3.2017

It’s been well-documented that economic dynamism for many years has been concentrated geographically–in a few tech hubs like SF and NY, in the largest urban areas where young people flock, in coastal states. This geographical concentration appears to have been a major force underlying the 2016 election, where areas left behind by economic prosperity were […]

Blog

By / 7.31.2017

In an earlier post, I estimated that the expansion of ecommerce since 2007 is saving American households 64 million hours per week in shopping time.  What impact does this have on measured productivity? This is not an easy question. Unpaid shopping hours are part of  “household production,” which is generally excluded from official calculations of […]

Blog

By / 7.29.2017

We think of the United States as a low-inflation economy, with an overall price increase of 36% since 2000, or less than 2% a year.  But the fact is, the inflation  performance of different industries has varied greatly since 2000.  For example, the price of construction has gone up more than 100% since 2000, as […]