The American Worker Project:

Toward a New Consensus

At the heart of the ongoing realignment of American politics is a fierce debate over how to improve the lives of workers. But too often missing from this debate is a shared understanding—rooted in facts and statistical evidence—of just how well American workers are doing in the first place.

Featuring original analysis from EIG scholars, public opinion research, and a wide-ranging series of guest essays, The American Worker Project is an effort to forge a much-needed consensus about the condition of American workers that transcends partisan and ideological divides. Achieving such a consensus is the first step toward a more productive debate about the ideas and policies that will ensure the economy delivers on its full potential—so that American workers can reach theirs.

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The American Worker: Toward a New Consensus

EIG presents a sweeping and original essay about the condition of American workers from 1980 to the present. Authors Adam Ozimek, John Lettieri, and Ben Glasner examine how the experience of the typical U.S. worker has evolved over the past four decades alongside seismic shifts in the composition of the labor force and the characteristics of work and workplaces. What they find is clear evidence that the typical worker is thriving as never before across a wide array of measures. Nevertheless, the pace of progress has slowed considerably, and policy failures have robbed workers of the rapid gains enjoyed by previous generations. The authors outline an agenda to close the gap between progress and potential.

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Guest Essays

  • Paul Krugman | The New York Times

  • Michael R. Strain | American Enterprise Institute

  • Steven J. Davis | Stanford University

  • Jason Furman | Harvard University