January 27, 2017

Dropping Knowledge

Michael Strain at the American Enterprise Institute recently published a paper examining whether and how firm employment instability affects workers’ earnings.  The conclusion: there is a connection and lower-skill workers experience even more volatility than higher-skill workers.

A New Slant

A recent article in Housing Policy Debate questioned whether Millennial preferences for urban living will continue.  Dowell Myers contends that three forces may see the generation move towards different housing choices: (1) we have passed the peak of Millennial adults entering society, (2) Millennial employment remains volatile, and (3) housing supply–both urban and suburban–is beginning to become more available providing different choices.

Professor Myers concludes: “Looking back on the Millennials’ urban years, we may find that there has been a lasting benefit for cities. All the gains of revitalization will not be lost, but planners should not be complacent about the permanent residence of Millennials. Much more needs to be done if we hope to cement urban residence by a larger share into middle age. Certainly all the participants will have a much better opinion of central cities than they did before the Millennial adventure began. In addition, maybe some of the negatives will be remediated as well, in particular curbing the excesses of gentrification. Meanwhile, the outward quest for better housing will likely carry Millennials into outlying central city and inner suburban neighborhoods that best fulfill their urban preferences.”

Put a different way: we will soon be discovering if lifestyle choices that attracted Millennials at age 25 continues to attract them at age 45.

Food for Thought

Mosaic reports on an Icelandic project that has demonstrated noteworthy progress in reducing underage drug and alcohol usage.  The approach was threefold: (1) persistent parent education, (2) structured youth activities designed to target the tendencies that lead to experimentation and risk taking, and (3) a teen curfew.  Within the U.S., West Virginia has explored a related approach, but the scalability of the Icelandic approach–particularly the curfew–is uncertain.

An interesting observation in the article: “A national programme along the lines of Youth in Iceland is unlikely to be introduced in the US, however. One major obstacle is that while in Iceland there is long-term commitment to the national project, community health programmes in the US are usually funded by short-term grants.”

Need to Know

February 17, 2017 – The Sanford School of Public Policy, Policy Bridge, and the Association for Public Policy Analysis & Management (APPAM) are hosting a forum which will explore how research being conducted in universities is informing policy.


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