Heather Boushey

Heather Boushey is Executive Director and Chief Economist at the Washington Center for Equitable Growth and a Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress. 

Recent Articles

Piketty's Triumph

Three expert takes on Capital in the Twenty-First Century, French economist Thomas Piketty's data-driven magnum opus on inequality.

Courtesy of Fondation Jean Jaurès
In the 1990s, two young French economists then affiliated with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Thomas Piketty and Emmanuel Saez, began the first rigorous effort to gather facts on income inequality in developed countries going back decades. In the wake of the 2007 financial crash, fundamental questions about the economy that had long been ignored again garnered attention. Piketty and Saez’s research stood ready with data showing that elites in developed countries had, in recent years, grown far wealthier relative to the general population than most economists had suspected. By the past decade, according to Piketty and Saez, inequality had returned to levels nearing those of the early 20th century. Last fall, Piketty published his magnum opus, Capital in the Twenty-First Century , in France. The book seeks to model the history, recent trends, and back-to-the-19th-century future of capitalism. The American Prospect asked experts and scholars in the field of inequality to...

Piketty’s Triumph

Three expert takes on Capital in the Twenty-First Century, French economist Thomas Piketty's data-driven magnum opus on inequality.

Courtesy of Fondation Jean Jaurès
I n the 1990s, two young French economists then affiliated with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Thomas Piketty and Emmanuel Saez, began the first rigorous effort to gather facts on income inequality in developed countries going back decades. In the wake of the 2007 financial crash, fundamental questions about the economy that had long been ignored again garnered attention. Piketty and Saez’s research stood ready with data showing that elites in developed countries had, in recent years, grown far wealthier relative to the general population than most economists had suspected. By the past decade, according to Piketty and Saez, inequality had returned to levels nearing those of the early 20th century. Last fall, Piketty published his magnum opus, Capital in the Twenty-First Century , in France. The book seeks to model the history, recent trends, and back-to-the-19th-century future of capitalism. The American Prospect asked experts and scholars in the field of inequality to...

Housing Market to Economy: "I'll Stop When You Stop"

The housing market can't improve without a full jobs recovery.

(Flickr/clementine gallot)
As it turns out, reality isn't nearly as much fun as bubble-induced mania. New data on home prices show that in the 20 largest cities in the United States, prices plunged in March to their lowest point since the housing bubble burst in 2007. According to the Standard & Poor's Case-Shiller Index, home prices are worth a full third less than they did at their peak in April 2006, eliminating nearly all the real gains in home prices since early 2000. Prices continue to fall because of a glut of available homes, but also because of a paucity of jobs. With nearly one-in-ten workers still unemployed -- and many more working fewer hours than they would like -- families do not have the income or available credit to buy a house, even at the current bargain rates. And of those who already own one, a near-record high of 23.1 percent of them are sitting on a house that's "underwater" -- that is, the value of the mortgage is greater than the value of the house. At this point, with much of the...

Spending is the Key to Job Creation.

Today, TAPPED will feature a series of guest posts on progressive solutions to the unemployment problem. Heather Boushey is a senior economist at the Center for American Progress. The president has laid out a compelling vision for promoting long-term economic growth and creating high-quality jobs. Establishing a prudent financial regulatory structure, making investments in energy and climate, and reforming our health-care system will all encourage a more competitive U.S. economy. But none of these initiatives will immediately help the more than 15 million who are currently unemployed. To create jobs today, we need to do much more to fill in demand by giving businesses more customers. Unemployed workers have few dollars with which to purchase goods and services. Giving them jobs immediately boosts their family budget and allows them to buy goods and services, which then encourages businesses to hire to meet that demand. Joblessness is a self-perpetuating problem, and the simplest...

A Family-Leave Safety Net

Right now paid time off is a perk available to only privileged families. Here's how we can make it an option for all workers.

From our pink-collar jobs package, Women's Work : Unlike nearly every other developed nation, the U.S. government does not require that workers have access to paid leave from work for the birth of a child or to care for an ill family member. While some employers do the right thing and provide paid family leave to all their employees, most do not. Within a company, there may not even be a uniform policy. What this means is it's the workers at the top who are most likely to get benefits like paid family and medical leave, making it more of a perk than a right. The Census Bureau reports that 60 percent of new mothers with a bachelor's degree or higher received paid maternity leave, compared to only 22 percent of those with less than a high school degree. Low-wage workers are the least likely to get paid time off, even though they are the most likely to need workplace flexibility since they cannot afford paid help to care for loved ones. While some low-wage workers qualify for unpaid...

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