Connect with us

Economy

Which Economies Showed the Most Digital Progress in 2020? – Harvard Business Review

Published

 on


Over the last year, the pandemic has caused the global economy to contract by 4.4%. At the same time, one trend has accelerated worldwide: digitalization. As countries face repeated lockdowns, school closures, and shutdowns of entire industries, digital capabilities — whether for remote schooling, e-commerce, or working from home — have become more essential than ever. But how exactly has this played out around the world — and what do governments, businesses, and investors need to do to come out on top?

To explore these questions, our colleagues at Tufts University’s Fletcher School partnered with Mastercard to develop a third edition of the Digital Evolution Scorecard (following earlier editions published in HBR in 2015 and 2017). The 2020 edition is accompanied by an interactive policy simulator, and offers analysis of 90 economies based on a combination of 160 indicators across four key drivers: Supply Conditions, Demand Conditions, Institutional Environment, and Innovation and Change. Specifically, we used a combination of proprietary and public data from more than 45 different databases, as well as analyses conducted by the Fletcher School’s Digital Planet team, to explore the following questions across our core subject areas:

  • Supply Conditions: How developed is the infrastructure — both digital and physical —required to facilitate a digital ecosystem? This could include bandwidth availability, quality of roads necessary for e-commerce fulfillment, etc.
  • Demand Conditions: Are consumers willing and able to engage in the digital ecosystem? Do they have the tools and skills necessary to plug into the digital economy?
  • Institutional Environment: Do the country’s laws (and its government’s actions) support or hinder the development of digital technologies? Are governments investing in advancing digitalization? Are regulations governing the use and storage of data enabling growth, or creating barriers?
  • Innovation and Change: What is the state of key innovation ecosystem inputs (i.e., talent and capital), processes (i.e., collaborations between universities and industry), and outputs (i.e., new, scalable digital products and services)?

The scorecard takes in all this data and then assesses economies along two dimensions: the current state of the country’s digitalization and the pace of digitalization over time (as measured by the growth rate of the digitalization score over 12 years, 2008-2019). As shown in the graphic below, the resulting “atlas” for the digital planet segments economies into four distinct zones: Stand Out, Stall Out, Break Out, and Watch Out.

Stand Out Economies

This zone includes economies with both high levels of existing digitalization and strong momentum in continuing to advance their digital capabilities. Three economies are particularly notable: South Korea, Singapore, and Hong Kong. These, along with others, such as Estonia, Taiwan, and the United Arab Emirates, are consistently top performers in this index, and have demonstrated both adaptability and institution-led support for innovation. Interestingly, the U.S. also shows remarkable momentum for an economy of its size and complexity, scoring second in digital evolution after Singapore.

So what does it take to be a Stand Out economy? While every case is different, our analysis suggests that the most successful of these countries prioritized:

  1. Expanding adoption of digital consumer tools (e-commerce, digital payments, entertainment, etc.)
  2. Attracting, training, and retaining digital talent
  3. Fostering digital entrepreneurial ventures
  4. Providing fast, universal, terrestrial (e.g. fiber optics) and mobile broadband internet access
  5. Specializing in the export of digital goods, services, or media
  6. Coordinating innovation between universities, businesses, and digital authorities

Break Out Economies

This zone is characterized by economies with limited existing digital infrastructure, but which are rapidly digitalizing. China is a noteworthy outlier in this group: Its digital evolution is significantly higher than that of all other economies, due in large part to its combination of rapidly growing demand and innovation. Indonesia and India are also notable members of this group, ranking third and fourth in momentum despite their large economies. In addition to these large emerging economies, midsize economies such as Kenya, Vietnam, Bangladesh, Rwanda, and Argentina have all displayed increasing digital momentum, suggesting the potential to rapidly digitalize for both post-Covid economic recovery and longer-term transformation.

Based on our analyses, we found that successful Break Out economies prioritized:

  1. Improving mobile internet access, affordability, and quality to foster more widespread adoption
  2. Strengthening institutional environments and developing digital regulations
  3. Generating investment in digital enterprises, funding digital R&D, training digital talent, and leveraging digital applications to create jobs
  4. Taking steps to reduce inequities in access to digital tools across gender, class, ethnicity, and geographic boundaries (though many access gaps still remain)

Stall Out Economies

This zone is characterized by economies — many of which are in the EU — that have mature digital landscapes, but which exhibit less momentum for continued advancement. In part, this is likely to due to the natural slowing of growth that accompanies maturity. Many in this zone have also intentionally chosen to slow their growth in order to ensure that they grow responsibly and inclusively. To regain momentum (without sacrificing these values), these countries should prioritize:

  1. Safeguarding against “digital plateaus” by continuing to invest in robust institutional foundations, regulatory environments, and capital markets to support ongoing innovation
  2. Continuing to use policy tools and regulation to ensure inclusive access to digital capabilities and to protect all consumers from privacy violations, cyberattacks, and other threats (while still keeping data accessible for new digital applications)
  3. Attracting, training, and retaining professionals with digital skills, often through reforming immigration policies
  4. Identifying new technological niches and fostering environments friendly to innovation in those areas

Watch Out Economies

Finally, this zone — which includes countries across Africa, Asia, Latin America and Southern Europe — is characterized by shortcomings in both existing digital capabilities and momentum for future development. Countries in the Watch Out zone can look to Break Out economies as role models and benchmarks for how to use digital growth as a lever for economic resilience. Particularly for those that demonstrate emerging or sustained digital demand, Watch Out economies should prioritize:

  1. Making long-term investments to address basic infrastructure gaps
  2. Creating an institutional environment that supports safe, widespread consumer adoption of digital products and services, especially those that enable productivity and job creation
  3. Promoting initiatives (particularly through public-private cooperation) that invest in digital access to historically disadvantaged segments of the population
  4. Promoting applications that solve pressing needs and could therefore act as catalysts for widespread adoption of digital tools (such as mobile payment platforms)

Understanding the 2020 Digital Evolution Scorecard in Light of the Pandemic

Of course, an analysis of global technology and economic trends over the past year would be incomplete without an examination of the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. Most interestingly, while a high Digital Evolution score has generally correlated with greater economic resilience to the disruptions of the pandemic, it hasn’t been a guarantee.

To explore this question, we mapped countries’ Digital Evolution scores against their percentage decrease in GDP growth from Q2 2019 to Q2 2020 (adjusted for inflation). As expected, we found that overall, the level of digital evolution helped explain at least 20% of a country’s economic resilience — or cushioning — against the pandemic’s economic impact. This cushioning comes from many sources: For example, more digitally-evolved economies tend to derive a larger share of their GDP from high tech sectors, where the workforce can shift to remote working more readily. In addition, digitally-evolved economies tend to be better at delivering public services online due to superior infrastructure, experience with digital transformation in much of the public sector, and accessible, affordable internet. Some even leveraged their superior digital evolution for contact tracing, exposure identification, data collection, and public health messaging that significantly minimized economic disruptions (South Korea and Taiwan offer excellent examples).

That said, this effect was not universal. Vietnam scored low on our digital evolution scorecard, but the impact of the pandemic on its economy has thus far remained smaller than expected. Vietnam is the only South East Asian country on track for economic growth this year, largely because the government was able to keep the virus under control through aggressive preemptive measures. In addition, the recent economic boom from Chinese manufacturing shifting to the more affordable Vietnamese market also helped the country to maintain its economic growth through the crisis.

On the opposite end, we also saw that the UK — a highly digitally-evolved economy — experienced an economic decline on par with India or Rwanda. Not only was the government response to the pandemic less than optimal, the composition of the UK economy also caused it to suffer disproportionately from social distancing and lockdowns: Services (which are are disproportionately reliant on in-person activities) make up around three quarters of the UK economy, and 10.9% of the country’s GDP comes from travel and tourism — all of which were severely curtailed due to social distancing requirements.

Overall, digital evolution is an essential contributor to economic resilience, but it is no panacea. The government’s Covid response, as well as the unique composition of its economy, can make a big difference as well.

***

Aside from the impact of the pandemic, this analysis also illustrated several more long-term trends around how the most successful countries are pursuing digital evolution:

1. More data privacy, less data protectionism.

Economies that provide secure, frictionless digital experiences nurture the most positive, engaged consumers, creating the most active digital ecosystems. These ecosystems then generate more data, which is the lifeblood of a competitive digital economy, enabling a virtuous cycle of growth. Economies such as Singapore, Japan, Canada, and the Netherlands illustrate this approach well, with a combination of open data flows and strong privacy protections.

Meanwhile, economies such as China, Russia, Iran, and Saudi Arabia represent a paradox: While significant state investment and control over their digital ecosystems can lead to higher digital momentum, these economies also impede the free flow of data, resulting in missed opportunities to further boost that momentum through digital products and applications that rely on widely accessible data. The growing popularity of data localization laws (i.e., regulations that limit the transfer of data across international borders) is ultimately making data less accessible, which not only hinders global growth, but often also diminishes countries’ own competitiveness by raising costs for digital businesses, reducing competition, and encouraging rent-seeking behavior among domestic actors.

To start to address these challenges, policymakers would do well to measure, monitor, and understand the value of what we call the “New GDP”: a country’s Gross Data Product. Once they’ve begun to understand their New GDP, economies can begin to unlock its full value by encouraging open data flows while providing adequate privacy protections for their citizens.

2. Mobile internet access is necessary — but not sufficient.

Mobile internet access has been a strong driver of momentum for Break Out economies, and it is the fastest route to getting the third of the global population that doesn’t yet have internet connectivity online. India is the preeminent example: Its internet connectivity has doubled in the last four years, and the country is on track to add 350 million smartphones by 2023.

However, mobile phones are merely the first step in unlocking the benefits of digitalization. The pandemic has illustrated how the quality of both access (i.e., reliable broadband versus sporadic satellite connections) and devices (i.e., laptops and tablets well-suited to learning and working versus low-end mobile phones) is a key component of economic resilience in a time of heavy reliance on digital technologies. For example, when the pandemic shut down in-person schooling in India, many children had to resort to WhatsApp to communicate with their teachers. Although the messaging app was certainly better than nothing, the limited growth of India’s digital ecosystem beyond mobile phones created major inequalities in access to essential education.

Given these considerations, less digitally-advanced economies would do well to focus on improving access to affordable mobile internet — but should not lose sight of the need to also invest in better devices and faster, more reliable access. This strategy has contributed to the high momentum demonstrated by Break Out zone economies such as Kenya, India, and Vietnam. And of course, China leads the pack globally when it comes to mobile adoption, thanks to a combination of massive investments in 4G infrastructure and a competitive mobile device marketplace including Xiaomi, Oppo, Huawei, and Vivo.

While investing in mobile is a great first step for economies with limited existing digital infrastructure, policymakers should endeavor to expand their gaze beyond simply increasing the number of mobile devices, recognizing that longer-term growth will depend on the quality of internet access, the devices, and the overall consumer experience.

3. The innovation-inclusion tradeoff.

Once economies reach a higher level of digital evolution, they often encounter a tradeoff between maintaining their rapid momentum and fostering institutions that prioritize digital inclusion — that is, the equitable distribution of digital development across class, gender, ethnicity, and geography. While smaller economies such as Singapore and Estonia may have an easier time maintaining their innovative edge while still ensuring an inclusive digital environment, larger, more complex economies can struggle to balance innovation with the bureaucracy needed to responsibly regulate that innovation.

For example, European economies — most of which fall into the Stall Out zone — hold six of the top 10 spots on our Digital Inclusion index. These economies have pioneered inclusive public policies such as ensuring affordable internet access, providing assistive technologies for the disabled, and investing in workers’ digital skills, and they are at the forefront of developing regulations for data governance and privacy. Many of these initiatives have (rightly) become a standard for the rest of the world — but that focus on inclusion has somewhat slowed slowed the pace of new digital development in many of these economies. These tradeoffs may well be worth making, but governments and citizens alike will benefit from clearly understanding and planning for their potential impact on digital momentum.

***

There is much that decision-makers from every country can learn from their positions on the 2020 Digital Evolution scorecard. But they can also learn from other countries — as benchmarks, role models, or even cautionary tales. For example, Singapore, Estonia, Taiwan, and the UAE have all established effective, self-reinforcing digital ecosystems through a combination of strong institutions and investment into attracting global capital and talent. They have also successfully leveraged these digital strengths to adapt to the challenges of the pandemic, demonstrating the importance of digital development for building economic resilience. Despite their small size, economies like these can serve as models for leaders around the world.

In addition, large economies with high digital momentum such as China, India, and Indonesia can serve as role models for other large developing economies, such as Brazil and Nigeria, that  may be looking to step up their digital momentum in the coming years. And smaller developing economies can look to midsize “leapfrog” nations such as Kenya, Vietnam, Bangladesh, Rwanda, and Argentina for examples of how digital momentum can rapidly transform an economy.

There are no one-size-fits-all solutions to digital evolution. Every country is unique, and the factors that enable one economy to succeed are far from certain to work in another. But despite these limitations, the 2020 Digital Evolution Scorecard can still offer clarity around the current state of both digital development and digital momentum around the world — as well as the impact of that digital evolution on countries’ responses to the pandemic. Insight into how the nations of the world have fared (and what policy choices helped them get where they are) is the first step for anyone interested in fostering digital growth and economic resilience — in their own community and around the globe.

The authors are grateful to Griffin Brewer, Christina Filipovic, and the Digital Planet team at the Fletcher School, and Paul Trueman at Mastercard.

Editor’s note: Every ranking or index is just one way to analyze and compare companies or places, based on a specific methodology and data set. At HBR, we believe that a well-designed index can provide useful insights, even though by definition it is a snapshot of a bigger picture. We always urge you to read the methodology carefully.

Let’s block ads! (Why?)



Source link

Continue Reading

Economy

What does the economy need now? 4 suggestions for Biden's coronavirus relief bill – The Conversation US

Published

 on


Editor’s note: The Biden administration has made it clear it wants to inject more money into the U.S. economy and provide more aid for priorities like vaccines, reopening schools and state governments. We asked four economists to share what’s on the top of their wish lists for Biden and Congress, and why.

A better way to save businesses while helping workers

Steven Pressman, Colorado State University

Since March, 20,000 U.S. businesses have failed every month, on average. Small companies, which employ nearly half of all workers, have been hit hardest. The U.S. economy will struggle to recover without significant support for small businesses and their workers.

One way Congress addressed these problems back in March is by offering small companies forgivable loans if they kept workers on their payroll for 10 weeks. While helpful, the Paycheck Protection Program came with major flaws, such as a design that led to lots of fraud. In addition, billions of dollars went to companies that didn’t need it, while some of those in greatest need couldn’t secure adequate funds.

The U.K. had a different solution. Its government created the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, a form of wage and job insurance for workers. The government pays up to 80% of usual wages – subject to an income cap – to furloughed workers that companies retain as employees. Companies cover another 20% of usual wages. Low-income workers also receive additional monthly payments of up to the equivalent of about US$500.

Workers can be partially furloughed, working three or four days per week rather than five. This solves the problem of what to do about workers whose hours get cut or who go from full-time to part-time status.

The plan has helped companies reduce their labor costs, while maintaining flexibility to bring workers back when conditions allow. Importantly, aid goes to workers – not companies – which has ensured workers and their incomes have been protected throughout the crisis. And aid goes only to workers whose companies experience problems due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Unemployment rates in the two countries tell part of the British success story. In the U.K., unemployment increased gradually last year from 4% pre-pandemic to 4.9% in October. U.S. unemployment, in contrast, almost doubled from 3.5% to 6.7% in the that same period, peaking at nearly 15% in April.

The U.K. program has provided support to workers throughout the pandemic’s ups and downs. The Paycheck Protection Program was meant to be temporary, although more funds were added in December.

In the U.K., fraud has been limited because companies don’t get the money. And the government has encouraged workers to become whistleblowers, while imposing large penalties on the officers of companies engaged in fraud.

Rather than continuing to fund the Paycheck Protection Program, Congress and the president should switch gears and enact a program like the U.K.‘s that will see America through the crisis, however long it lasts.

Protesters display placards during a demonstration to support for tenants and homeowners at risk of eviction in Boston on Oct. 11.
An eviction crisis looms for the Biden administration.
AP Photo/Steven Senne

Addressing the eviction crisis

Melanie Long, College of Wooster

The sharp rise in unemployment due to the pandemic has left many Americans struggling to pay the bills. Renters have been among the most vulnerable.

Compared with homeowners, renters are more likely to be poor, young and either Black or Hispanic – the exact same demographic of those who have suffered the most from the pandemic’s economic fallout.

The result has been a looming eviction crisis that has been staved off by a patchwork of federal, state and local moratoriums. Millions of renters could face homelessness once existing moratoriums expire and accumulated back rent comes due.

About 9 million households have fallen behind on rent payments, with over 1 million estimated to owe $5,000 or more. This could also worsen the public health situation and slow the economic recovery.

To address this crisis, I believe Congress needs to both provide short-term solutions and long-term fixes.

For starters, it’s vital that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s eviction moratorium continue. On Jan. 20, Biden extended the moratorium – which was set to expire at the end of January – to March 31. But that will likely need to be extended further.

Another critical need is rental and housing assistance. Biden’s proposed stimulus package already includes $30 million to help renters and support struggling landlords. Adding even more assistance could have major economic benefits as low-income beneficiaries especially are likely to spend every extra penny on food and other goods, stimulating the economy.

Access to affordable housing has been worsening for years, especially in communities of color. The gap between black and white homeownership rates has widened since the 1960s. The fact that only 42% of Black Americans own their homes, compared with 72% of their white peers, means most of them are renters, making them more vulnerable to losing their homes. It’s also largely to blame for the stark racial wealth gap in the U.S., which in turn reduces economic growth.

Congress could begin to address these deeper problems by providing down payment assistance in historically redlined communities, which would help households that are not currently on the edge of a financial cliff take advantage of historically low interest rates as so many others have.

A woman tries to work on her computer while two young girls try to get her attention.
Women have borne the brunt of increased child care needs during the pandemic.
MoMo Productions/DigitalVision via Getty Images

Helping women get back to work

Veronika Dolar, SUNY Old Westbury

During the pandemic, unemployment has been felt most acutely by women.

Women in the U.S. lost a total of 156,000 jobs in December, even as men gained 14,000. There were nearly 2.1 million fewer women in the labor force at the end of 2020 than there were pre-pandemic.

One reason for this is that women are more heavily represented in sectors that saw the biggest job losses in December, such as hospitality and private education. But another important one is that women generally have been expected to increase their already disproportionate share of household child care duties after COVID-19 shut down schools.

All of this could lead to a significant decline in women’s total wages over time – one estimate puts it at $64.5 billion a year. This would result in a sharp drop in economic activity and billions in lost tax revenue for state and federal budgets.

But Congress could help offset this outcome in several ways.

One of the most critical is helping parents find affordable child care facilities. More than a quarter of child care centers in the U.S. remain closed because of the pandemic, and those that are open are often unaffordable. Child care costs have increased 47% during the pandemic.

Biden wants to address this by providing $25 billion to directly support child care providers and $15 billion to help low-income families afford care.

While this funding would go a long way to ensuring mothers have access to affordable child care, the lack of flexibility at most providers means women with uncertain work hours or who need other accommodations will still struggle. A more comprehensive plan should include some support to hire babysitters or even child support vouchers that could be spent as needed.

The other side of this issue is ensuring new mothers and fathers can take time off work to care for their children themselves. Biden’s proposal includes up to 14 weeks of paid family and medical leave, which will help ensure women don’t have to choose between a new baby and their career.

Unemployment insurance reform

R. Andrew Butters, Indiana University

Millions of Americans who have lost their jobs as a result of the pandemic have relied on the unemployment insurance system to pay for bills, rent and food.

But that system, in terms of staffing and technology, wasn’t designed to handle the unprecedented need seen today. About 5 million people made continuing claims for jobless benefits in January. That’s down from a record 25 million in May but still near the highest the figure had ever been previously.

Aid packages passed in March and December extended the benefits to people who don’t normally receive them – such as gig workers and part-time employees – and included a federal supplement. But these changes added strain to the system and made it more difficult to prevent fraud and process legitimate claims.

[Deep knowledge, daily. Sign up for The Conversation’s newsletter.]

Keeping unemployment benefits flowing to people out of work due to the pandemic is essential to the economic recovery, both so that the unemployed can afford to live and also for the broader economy, which depends on consumer spending.

But this requires ensuring the system is effective and reaches everyone who needs help. Lawmakers could begin to do this by making some temporary changes permanent.

For example, traditionally, independent contractors, part-time employees and some other categories have been ineligible for unemployment benefits. In March, Congress created two programs that specifically provide them with benefits. But those programs expire in March. Lawmakers shouldn’t simply extend them again but ensure these growing segments of the workforce always have access to benefits.

Lawmakers could also make sure extended benefits – that is, allowing the unemployed to receive up to 50 rather than only 26 weeks of insurance – don’t expire in the March.

And I believe the relief package should also consider investing to help state offices hire more workers, update their technology infrastructure and coordinate more effectively with other states. This should lead to timelier and more accurate payments and protect against the most sophisticated attempts at fraud.

Let’s block ads! (Why?)



Source link

Continue Reading

Economy

Biden's rescue plan will give U.S. economy significant boost: Reuters poll – The Guardian

Published

 on


By Indradip Ghosh and Richa Rebello

BENGALURU (Reuters) – U.S. President Joe Biden’s proposed fiscal package will boost the coronavirus-hit economy significantly, according to a majority of economists in a Reuters poll, and they expect it to return to its pre-COVID-19 size within a year.

Biden has outlined a $1.9 trillion stimulus package proposal to jump-start the world’s largest economy, which has been at the epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic having lost over 400,000 lives, fueling optimism and sending Wall Street stocks to record highs on Thursday.

Hopes for an upswing in U.S. economic growth, helped by the huge stimulus plan, was reflected in the Jan. 19-22 Reuters poll of more 100 economists.

In response to an additional question, over 90%, or 42 of 46 economists, said the planned fiscal stimulus would boost the economy significantly.

“There are crosswinds to begin 2021 as fiscal stimulus helps to offset the virus and targeted lockdowns. The vaccine rollout will neutralize the latter over the course of the year,” said Michelle Meyer, U.S. economist at Bank of America Securities.

“And upside risks to our…growth forecast are building if the Democrat-controlled government can pass additional stimulus. The high level of virus cases is extremely disheartening but the more that the virus weighs on growth, the more likely that stimulus will be passed.”

For a Reuters poll graphic on the U.S. economic outlook:

https://fingfx.thomsonreuters.com/gfx/polling/oakveynqovr/Reuters%20Poll%20-%20U.S.%20economy%20outlook.png

The U.S. economy, which recovered at an annualized pace of 33.4% in the third quarter last year from a record slump of 31.4% in the second, grew 4.4% in the final three months of the year, the poll suggested.

Growth was expected to slow to 2.3% in the current quarter – marking the weakest prediction for the period since a poll in February 2020 – amid renewed restrictions.

But it was then expected to accelerate to 4.3%, 5.1%, 4.0% in the subsequent three quarters, a solid upgrade from 3.8%, 3.9% and 3.4% predicted for those periods last month.

On an annual basis, the economy – after likely contracting 3.5% last year – was expected to grow 4.0% this year and 3.3% in 2022, an upgrade from last month.

For a graphic on Reuters Poll – U.S. economy and Fed monetary policy – January 2021:

https://fingfx.thomsonreuters.com/gfx/polling/azgpoljbkvd/U.S.%20economy.PNG

Nearly 90%, or 49 of 56 economists, who expressed a view said that the U.S. economy would reach its pre-COVID-19 levels within a year, including 16 who expected it to do so within six months.

“Even without the stimulus package, we had already thought the economy would get back to pre-COVID levels by the middle of this year,” said Jacob Oubina, senior U.S. economist at RBC Capital Markets.

“With the new stimulus package there will be more direct money in people’s pockets, easily boosting the economy, provided a vaccine rollout progresses in a constructive manner.”

But unemployment was not predicted to fall below its pre-pandemic levels of around 3.5% until 2024 at least.

When asked what was more likely for inflation this year, only one said it would ease. The other 40 economists were almost evenly split between “a significant pickup” and price pressures remaining “about the same as last year.”

Still, the core Personal Consumption Expenditures (PCE) price index – the Federal Reserve’s preferred inflation gauge – was forecast to average below the target of 2% on an annual basis until 2024 at least, prompting the central bank to keep interest rates unchanged near zero over the forecast horizon.

“I don’t think it will be an increase in underlying (inflation) trend, it is sort of a rebound in prices that have been depressed during the pandemic,” said Scott Brown, chief economist at Raymond James.

(For other stories from the Reuters global long-term economic outlook polls package:)

(Reporting by Indradip Ghosh and Richa Rebello; Additional reporting by Manjul Paul; Polling by Mumal Rathore; Editing by Rahul Karunakar and Hugh Lawson)

Let’s block ads! (Why?)



Source link

Continue Reading

Economy

RELEASE: 10 Recommendations That Will Improve Maine's Economy and Democracy – Center For American Progress

Published

 on


RELEASE: 10 Recommendations That Will Improve Maine’s Economy and Democracy – Center for American Progress


Washington, D.C. — In Maine, more than 12 percent of residents live below the poverty line, and more than 1 in 3 families do not earn enough to pay for basic expenses. A new report from the Center for American Progress explains how strengthening worker power is key to reducing poverty and economic inequality in the state and how it would help to raise wages, close racial and gender pay gaps, and make the state’s democracy more responsive to the public.

While there are many steps the state could take to address these issues—including improving workplace health and safety standards, enforcing anti-discrimination rules, and reducing the influence of money in politics—ensuring that workers have a collective voice is crucial. Union membership in Maine has plummeted over the past 50 years. Today, only 5.5 percent of private sector workers belong to a union, despite the fact that research shows that unions help Mainers earn higher wages and benefits. Declining union membership has been accompanied by rising income equality in the state.

The report provides a blueprint for Maine policymakers to build worker power in their state, including these 10 policy recommendations:

  1. Provide workers a voice in setting and enforcing public health standards.
  2. Ensure that government spending creates good jobs.
  3. Improve workforce training by more fully involving worker organizations.
  4. Create workers’ boards to provide workers a voice in determining minimum industrywide pay and benefits.
  5. Partner with worker organizations and provide workers with a private right to action to ensure that workplace standards are enforced.
  6. Involve worker organizations in unemployment insurance modernization.
  7. Strengthen public sector unions.
  8. Use business permitting and licensing standards to support high-road businesses.
  9. Close loopholes that allow employers to skirt legal responsibilities and undermine worker power.
  10. Implement broad anti-retaliation protections.

“The COVID-19 crisis has exacerbated inequalities and shone a light on unsafe conditions in many Maine workplaces,” said David Madland, senior fellow at CAP and co-author of the report. “Weak worker protections and low rates of union membership have made it harder for workers to speak out and ensure that they are compensated fairly for their work. State policymakers can ensure a safer and more equitable economy for all Mainers by enacting reforms that strengthen workers’ voices on the job and in the economy.”

Read the report: “Strategies To Build Worker Power in Maine: 10 Recommendations That Will Improve Maine’s Economy and Democracy” by David Madland and Malkie Wall

For more information or to speak with an expert, contact Julia Cusick at .


The Center for American Progress is an independent nonpartisan
policy institute that is dedicated to improving the lives of all
Americans, through bold, progressive ideas, as well as strong
leadership and concerted action. Our aim is not just to change
the conversation, but to change the country.

© 2021 – Center for American Progress

Let’s block ads! (Why?)



Source link

Continue Reading

Trending