Updates / The Knowledge Economy

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By / 10.15.2017

With the publication of my WSJ op-ed, “Get Ready for the Internet of Goods,” it’s time to update our  ecommerce analysis for the third quarter. Rather than reaching back to 2007, as previously,  I want to focus on a more recent period. First, take a look at the chart below, which graphs the full-time equivalent […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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, […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

By / 7.24.2017

Which one is not like the others? Since 2000, American households have been hit by price increases which far exceed their ability to pay. Necessities like housing and food have skyrocketed in prices. Child care is 81% more expensive, passenger fares for foreign travel are up 63%, financial fees are higher by 41%. Even beer, […]