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Market-Based Solutions to Vital Economic Issues

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Following last week’s debate about the overheating economy, Kenan Institute experts return this week for round two – this time focusing on policy. In this week's insight, Kenan Institute’s Executive Director Greg Brown and Chief Economist Gerald Cohen debate the pandemic’s influence on U.S. fiscal policies.

As the U.S. continues to face COVID-19 and supply chain disruptions, experts debate just how worked up the economy is in its current state. This week’s insight serves as the first in a two-part point-counterpoint series, in which Kenan Institute Executive Director Greg Brown and Chief Economist Gerald Cohen hash out the arguments both for and against an overheating economy.

As the U.S. continues to face the effects of the pandemic and supply chain issues, Kenan Institute Executive Director Greg Brown and Chief Economist Gerald Cohen debate whether the overheated economy is ready to boil over – or if it’s simply simmering.

Kenan Institute Chief Economist Gerald Cohen highlights five hot topics – from labor shortages to cryptocurrency – that business leaders and policymakers will grapple with in 2022.

Kenan Institute Chief Economist Gerald Cohen highlights five hot topics – from labor shortages to cryptocurrency – that business leaders and policymakers will grapple with in 2022.

COVID-19 brought heightened focus to paid sick leave policies – a benefit to which roughly 25% of civilian workers don’t have access in the U.S. After sick leave mandates were temporarily implemented during the pandemic, UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School researchers found employment increased, particularly among low-skilled workers and in industries that previously had little access to paid sick leave. In this week's Kenan Insight, our experts explore possible drivers behind this finding as well as potential policy and business implications.

While the gender pay gap has received significant attention in recent years, little progress has been made to close it; in fact, in 2019, women still earned only 82 cents for every dollar received by their male counterparts for equal work. Policymakers in recent years have developed creative solutions aiming to close the gap, including bans prohibiting employers from asking for a job applicant’s salary history. However, in this week’s Kenan Insight, new research from our experts examines whether such well-intentioned bans are inadvertently lowering wages for all employees.

Christian Lundblad, UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School Professor of Finance and Kenan Institute Director of Research, joined WRAL's Debra Morgan to discuss the state's uneven economic recovery due to employee fear of being exposed to coronavirus. Lundblad said business vaccine mandates will help alleviate those fears and draw more people back to work.

While the COVID-19 pandemic was devastating for many, research shows its impact was not felt equally. Black Americans experienced disproportionate health and economic ramifications, which compounded the financial, social and psychological strain many felt pre-pandemic, and have contributed to growing inter-generational wealth disparities. In today’s Kenan Insight, our experts explore whether the multi-trillion dollar “Build Back Better” plan proposed by the Biden administration holds the potential to begin closing pervasive gaps in American society.

The COVID-19 pandemic increased economic inequities in a number of ways, including in access to external capital – and while 2020 marked a break-out year for venture-backed firms, the pandemic hit many main street businesses hard. In this Kenan Insight, we explore the forces driving the haves and have-nots in this new economic climate, as well as actionable policy solutions as government support programs wind down.

Kenan Institute Director of Research Christian Lundblad appeared on the Saturday, June 26 episode of WRAL's "On the Record." Lundblad joined host Lena Tillett, Virtue Events Owner Joye Speight, Pizzeria Toro Owner Gray Brooks and Zweli's Kitchen Owner Leonardo Williams to discuss the debate over how the government should be dealing with the post-COVID economy.

As the U.S. economy begins to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic and businesses grapple with ongoing labor shortages, the debate around increasing the federal minimum wage – which hasn’t budged in over a decade – has returned to the fore. In this Kenan Insight, we examine whether now is the right time to raise the standard minimum, why these benefits may come at a cost, and what approach might work best given the inevitable tradeoffs.