National Research Initiative
The American Enterprise Institute launched the National Research Initiative (NRI) in 2002 to support, publish and disseminate research by university-based academics and other intellectuals engaged in the exploration of pressing public policy issues.
Lawrence M. Mead’s (New York University) book “Expanding Work Programs for Poor Men” was published in May 2011 by AEI Press. As one of the original architects of welfare reform during the mid-’90s that required single mothers to work to receive assistance, Mead naturally prescribes a similar solution for his new target: nonworking men. Specifically, he suggests reaching out to poor men through existing programs such as child support and parole to help them connect to the labor market. Event: Adding Spring to the Safety Net: Expanding Work Programs for Poor Men
Richard Burkhauser (Cornell University) and Mary Daly’s (Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco) book on disability program reform, “The Declining Work and Welfare of People with Disabilities: What Went Wrong and a Strategy for Change, ” was published this September through AEI Press. Burkhauser and Daly draw reform proposals from two proven sources: welfare reform of the mid-’90s and the successful reform of the Dutch disability system. Tampering with disability programs is never politically popular, but with Social Security’s Disability Insurance Trust Fund facing insolvency in 2018, reform is more urgent than ever. Event: A “Work First” Fix for a Failing Disability System
In “The Road to Renewal: Private Investment in US Transportation Infrastructure,” R. Richard Geddes surveys the current state of the American transportation system and finds that, like the roads themselves, the existing policy approach is in desperate need of repair. Drawing on the basic economic principles behind supply, demand, competition and incentives, Geddes argues that a shift toward increased use of public–private partnerships—contractual agreements between public agencies and private parties that allow private participation in the design, construction, operation and delivery of transportation facilities—could significantly improve the quality of America's transportation infrastructure.
Recent US immigration reform proposals have focused almost exclusively on regulating the population of low-skilled foreign workers. But the United States is increasingly falling behind other developed nations in science, technology and economic growth. “High-Skilled Immigration in a Global Labor Market,” edited by Barry R. Chiswick, examines policies designed to attract and cultivate immigrants with exclusive skill sets—scientific, technical, engineering and management (STEM) workers with advanced degrees, extensive technical training and strong entrepreneurial skills.
In “The Material Well-Being of the Poor and the Middle Class Since 1980,” Bruce Meyer (University of Chicago) and James X. Sullivan (Notre Dame University) research consumption and income patterns and find that both the poor and middle classes, lifted by a rising economic tide, have actually made substantial gains in the past 30 years. In stark contrast to the prevailing narrative, Meyer and Sullivan find clear data that the middle-class Americans are better off today than they were three decades ago.
Please direct questions to the NRI program manager at NRI@aei.org or 202.862.5826.