Men without work: America’s invisible crisis - AEI

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On Tuesday at AEI, AEI’s Nicholas Eberstadt presented his new book “Men Without Work: America’s Invisible Crisis” (Templeton Press, September 2016). David Wessel of the Brookings Institution joined Dr. Eberstadt to discuss the findings.

Since the 1940s, the work rate (employment-to-population ratio) for men decreased, with 7 million men out of the labor force today. Dr. Eberstadt recognized that both supply and demand causes affect this trend, including institutional barriers, welfare policy, structural unemployment, and motivational factors. Mr. Wessel prompted everyone to consider how much of this trend is caused by the supply or the demand, citing changes in America’s manufacturing sector and the skills necessary for employment.

To examine this question, Dr. Eberstadt called for perspectives from across the political aisle and pointed to the need for further research, including studying the performance of ex-felons trying to enter the labor force and tracking disability payments that may be financing un-working lifestyle.
–Cecilia Joy Perez

Event Description

The stock market — and US personal wealth holdings — continue to set new records. The United States is now at or near “full employment,” at least according to received wisdom. But a closer look at the data reveals something else entirely. While “unemployment” is down, work rates have also fallen — and the male work rate is now at Depression-era levels. Today, 7 million men age 24 to 54 are neither working nor looking for work. The collapse of work for men, indeed, appears to be at the center of many of America’s current social and economic woes.

AEI invites you to the launch of Nicholas Eberstadt’s new book “Men Without Work: America’s Invisible Crisis,” an important new study of an underreported phenomenon: America’s growing army of un-working men.

Join the conversation on social media with @AEI on Twitter and Facebook.



3:00 PM
Nicholas Eberstadt, AEI
David Wessel, Brookings Institution

4:00 PM

Event Contact Information

For more information, please contact Cecilia Joy Pérez at [email protected], 202.862.7190.

Media Contact Information

For media inquiries, please contact [email protected], 202.862.5829

Speaker Biographies

Nicholas Eberstadt holds the Henry Wendt Chair in Political Economy at AEI, where he researches and writes extensively on demographics and economic development generally, and more specifically on international security in the Korean peninsula and Asia. Domestically, he focuses on poverty and social well-being. Dr. Eberstadt is also a senior adviser to the National Bureau of Asian Research (NBR). His latest book, “Men Without Work: America’s Invisible Crisis” (Templeton Press, 2016) uncovers a widely underreported phenomenon of the growing number of men who are neither working nor looking for work. Other works include “Russia’s Peacetime Demographic Crisis” (NBR, 2010) and “The End of North Korea” (AEI Press, 1999).

David Wessel is a senior fellow in economic studies at the Brookings Institution and director of the Hutchins Center on Fiscal and Monetary Policy, the mission of which is to improve the quality of fiscal and monetary policies and public understanding of them. His previous roles include economics editor of The Wall Street Journal. He is the author of “Red Ink: Inside the High-Stakes Politics of the Federal Budget” (Crown Business, 2012) and “In Fed We Trust: Ben Bernanke’s War on the Great Panic” (Crown Business, 2009). Mr. Wessel is a member of the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Data Users Advisory Committee. He teaches in the Dartmouth Tuck School of Business Global 2030 executive education program and has been a visiting journalism professor at Princeton University.

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