Josh Bivens

Josh Bivens researches macroeconomics, globalization and social insurance for the Economic Policy Institute. He is the author of Everybody Wins Except for Most of Us: What Economics Teaches About Globalization.

Recent Articles

Why the Search for the New York Federal Reserve’s Next President Is a Big Deal

Their stakeholders include the whole country—not just Wall Street.

(AP Photo/Rafiq Maqbool)
This article was originally published at the Working Economics Blog of the Economic Policy Institute. Those hoping to chart a new course in economic policy that delivers real gains, not just cynical rhetoric, to American workers have been closely following electoral politics throughout the country. But elections aren’t the only way change can happen. A case in point is the search currently under way to replace William Dudley as the president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. We have written plenty before about the importance of the Federal Reserve in determining whether American workers will have a chance to see serious wage growth in coming years. Put simply, the Federal Reserve controls the economy’s brakes . If they decide the pace of economic growth is fast enough to risk overheating, leading to an outbreak of accelerating inflation, they step on the brake. No other policy has a hope at creating jobs and delivering broad-based wage growth if the Fed uses this...

Janet Yellen Can Still Serve on the Fed Board

She may no longer be the chair, but she’s still a member—and could be a force for good.

(AP Photo/Dake Kang)
Recent reports indicate that President Trump will not re-appoint Janet Yellen as the chair of the Federal Reserve’s Board of Governors. Instead, the reports indicate that he will appoint a current member of the board, Jerome Powell. Choosing to pass over Yellen is an obvious mistake. Yellen is a world-recognized expert in macroeconomics and has enormous experience as a policymaker. Her performance as Fed chair has been widely and correctly praised . She takes the Fed’s mandate to maximize employment seriously and is data-driven. To be clear, I think she’s made a misstep or two in specific interest rate decisions, but with Yellen, those arguing with economic data have a real chance to be heard. Her recent speech at the Federal Reserve conference in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, also provided an admirable signal that she continued to take the Fed’s role as chief financial-sector watchdog seriously. This commitment to the Fed’s full employment mandate and its role...

Missing Workers: What the Unemployment Rate Isn't Saying About the Recovery

How complete is the recovery from the Great Recession? Look to wages, not the jobless rate. 

Dan Henry/Chattanooga Times Free Press via AP
Later this month the Federal Reserve will decide whether or not to begin raising short-term interest rates to slow the pace of economic recovery. If they do, it will be the second major step they have taken to pull back the historically unprecedented support that they’ve been providing the economy since the onset of the Great Recession in 2008. Late last year, they stopped purchasing long-term government bonds in an effort to push down long-term interest rates directly. A decision to raise rates would be an implicit statement by the Fed that the agonizingly slow economic recovery from the Great Recession has finally achieved self-sustaining escape velocity. This positive view of the economy’s health would likely surprise many Americans; in May 2015 more than half of respondents to CBS/ New York Times poll said that the economy was in “poor shape”. So what is the Fed basing its relatively optimistic view of the recovery on? Largely on the undeniable progress...

The Five Most Terrifying Things about the Sequester

AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite
The latest fiscal showdown concerns the “sequester”—across the board cuts to (almost entirely) discretionary spending that will total just over $1 trillion in the next decade, and which are set to take effect on March 1. What should those who have better things to do with their life than follow fiscal policy debates know about the sequester? 1. The sequester will hurt job-growth As we pointed out during the debates raging in the run-up to the “fiscal cliff," the sequester was the second-most damaging component of the austerity bundle set to take effect on January 1, 2013. The worst component was the non-renewal of the payroll tax cut, which is already dragging substantially on the economy . All told, if the sequester kicks in the economy will likely end the year with roughly 500-600,000 fewer jobs than if it were repealed. These are jobs the economy desperately needs . To be clear, the sequester alone won’t drive the U.S. economy back into outright...