The hidden culprit behind stagnant wages – Nathan Wilmers

MIT Sloan Assistant Professor Nathan Wilmers

From The Hill

Slow wage growth since the Great Recession has been puzzling. As the economic recovery has clocked eight years of growth, unemployment has dropped, but real median wages have barely increased.

Commentators have looked for explanations in everything from the rise of artificial intelligence to the scarring effects of the decade-old economic crisis.

However, slow U.S. wage growth has a longer history. Relative to the rapid growth marking the post-World War II period, median real wages have grown little since the 1970s (except for the economic boom of the late 1990s).

A growing body of research points to the decline in worker bargaining power as a core explanation. The long membership decline of labor unions has made it harder for workers to demand higher pay.

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Blockchain: New MIT Research Looks Beyond the Hype – Christian Catalini

MIT Sloan Professor Christian Catalini

MIT Sloan Professor Christian Catalini

From Crowdfund Insider

With a market capitalization of approximately $12 billion and with the price of Bitcoin reaching towards its 2016 high, Bitcoin is both the most established and the most secure cryptocurrency. Its ascendancy has triggered both a great deal of enthusiasm and a fair share of concern.

On the utopian side, optimistic proponents assert that cryptocurrencies will free consumers from the tyranny of their domestic currencies, will force out entrenched financial players and payment systems, will reduce transaction costs for businesses and fees for consumers.

On the dystopian side, pessimistic opponents argue that cryptocurrencies may undermine traditional monetary policy, support illicit activity, or simply cannot meet the speed, scale and privacy requirements of real-world financial applications and marketplaces.

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Election rage shows why America needs a new social contract to ensure the economy works for all — Thomas Kochan

MIT Sloan Professor Thomas Kochan

MIT Sloan Professor Thomas Kochan

From The Conversation

The recent U.S. election exposed two major intersecting fault lines in America that, if left unchecked, could soon produce an era of social and economic upheaval unlike any in our history.

First, it revealed deep divisions across racial, ethnic and gender lines that led to a surge in hate crimes last year, particularly against Muslims. Addressing this will require a sustained effort to heal these growing divisions and will be very difficult to resolve without strong leadership and a renewed willingness to listen to each other’s concerns.

Second, it gave voice to the deep-seated frustrations and anger of those who feel left behind by economic forces and fear their children will experience a lower standard of living than they did.

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MIT Sloan Experts Twitter Chat: #OnDemandMIT – Andrew McAfee

Andrew McAfee, Co-Director of the Initiative on the Digital Economy

Andrew McAfee, Co-Director of the Initiative on the Digital Economy

How are digital and mobile platforms changing the way that the global economy and labor market are structured?

Join our MIT Sloan Experts (@mitsloanexperts) Twitter chat with Andrew McAfee (@amcafee), principal research scientist at the MIT Center for Digital Business, as he discusses the on-demand economy and the way that digital and mobile-oriented platforms are helping to connect consumers to the goods they seek.

The chat will take place on Thursday, March 3, from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. MIT Sloan Experts will host the chat.

How do you get involved? It’s simple! If you have a question or a response to one of MIT Sloan Experts’ questions, just include “#OnDemandMIT” in your tweet.

The #OnDemandMIT Twitter chat is a precursor to the On-Demand Economy Conference on March 15 at the MIT Media Lab in Cambridge, Mass. The conference gathers the leading thinkers at the intersection of technology and labor from academia, business, and policy with the goal of proactively answering questions about the impact of the on-demand economy on workers, companies and the labor market as a whole.

The end of China’s growth model — Yasheng Huang

MIT Sloan Prof. Yasheng Huang

MIT Sloan Prof. Yasheng Huang

From The Boston Globe

Stock markets continue to respond strongly to China’s economic woes, fearing a crippling slowdown since China suddenly devalued its currency two weeks ago — a move widely interpreted as a desperate attempt to support growth.

But Chinese growth in the future will be limited until the government makes fairly substantive structural reforms.

China’s growth model is one in which the role of the state in the economy has become more intrusive. For years, many US observers hailed China’s government-led and investment-heavy model as a pillar of strength. Their favorite comparison is between the spunky new airports in Beijing and Shanghai and the supposedly dilapidated New York JFK and Los Angeles airports. While comparison has an element of convenience to it — you have to depart from a US airport and arrive at a Chinese airport when you visit China — the “airportology’’ is flawed, because it doesn’t take into account that China has clearly overbuilt, and at a considerable cost to its middle class.

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