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Credit Crunch

Driving Out of the Red with Greener Cars

  • By
  • Lisa Margonelli,
  • New America Foundation
March 24, 2014

Income inequality in California is already high, and it continues to increase. This income inequality is exacerbated by unequal access to jobs, credit, and efficient vehicles. Wages in California's Central Valley are lower than in the rest of the state, and workers there must commute long distances, with little access to alternative transportation, in older, inefficient cars. As a result, some working families in the Central Valley spend as much as a third to half of their income on fueling and maintaining their vehicle.

Forget The Wealth Effect: It’s Time to Focus on The Income Effect to Understand the Sluggish Economy

October 1, 2013

by Peter W. Atwater

The “wealth effect” concept is remarkably simple: spending increases (decreases) as perceived wealth increases (decreases). When people perceive themselves to be richer, they spend more.

With the prices of stocks and bonds near all-time highs and home prices on the rebound, consumer spending should be on a tear. But it’s not -- much to the consternation of many economists, particularly those at the Federal Reserve. As a result, many believe the wealth effect is somehow broken.

Putting the Kibosh on Using Credit Checks in Hiring Decisions

May 14, 2013

Update 5/22/13: The original version of this post incorrectly used the term "credit score" in several places where "credit check" or "credit history" would have been more appropriate and accurate. The post has been edited to reflect that correction. Kevin Drum at Mother Jones has a piece that explains the process by which the credit reporting agencies deal with employee screening. Specifically, employers may request prospective employees' credit histories via a credit check, but these histories do not contain an actual credit score. Thank you to Greg Fisher at creditscoring.com for pointing out the error.

The use of credit checks to inform hiring decisions has been getting some much deserved scrutiny recently. Over the weekend, Charles Ellison for the Philadelphia Tribune and Gary Rivlin for the New York Times took a look at the practice of employers evaluating a job applicant's credit as part of the employment decision-making process. Ellison chronicles recent legislative efforts to curb the practice and points out that campaign finance data shows lawmakers are receiving sums of money from major credit reporting companies. Rivlin spoke with non-profit service providers and unemployed individuals who have experienced the negative effects of this phenomenon first hand.

On the surface, using credit checks as part of employment screening may seem like a simple, data-driven way for employers to ascertain a candidate's reliability. Upon closer inspection, however, using credit checks in this way is ineffective and exacerbates inequality.

Heads Up: Full-file Credit Reporting

September 13, 2012

A lot of people are probably vaguely aware that credit scores have become increasingly important in recent years. Access to credit is fairly critical for most families, as one of the big trends of the past 30 years has been families swapping in their savings habits for access to credit. That's a trend that has its own problems, but there are times when you have to deal with the world that you live in, and that's a world where credit reporting matters a great deal.

Asset Building News Week, June 17 - June 22

June 22, 2012
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The Asset Building News Week is a weekly Friday feature on The Ladder, the Asset Building Program blog, designed to help readers keep up with news and developments in the asset building field. This week's topics include the monetary policy, economic inequality, and financial services.

 

Monetary Policy

Why a Grexit Would Make Lehman Look Like Childs Play

June 5, 2012

This post originally appeared at TF Market Advisors.

by Peter Tchir

New America NYC Event: Minimum Rage

May 8, 2012

Millennials are the first downwardly mobile generation in decades, staring down a host of economic challenges--student debt, the rise of low-wage jobs, and the ballooning cost of tuition, food, and rent. Media regularly serve up sobering statistics about twentysomethings, while Occupy Wall Street struggles to stay on message. How will the Great Recession affect Millennials longterm? And do they have what it takes to fight back?

Programs:

The Pain in Spain

April 10, 2012

The eurozone crisis has re-emerged with rising borrowing costs in Italy and Spain and increasing concerns about the prospects for growth.

Bi-Sectoralism: It's the Economy Stupid II

February 27, 2012

This piece is coauthored by Bruce Jentleson, Professor at Duke University, and Jay Pelosky, Principal of J2Z Advisory. It originally appeared on the Huffington Post.

Inequality and the Global Crisis -- Evidence and Policies

  • By Raymond Torres, International Labour Organization
January 5, 2012

This presentation was part of the World Economic Roundtable.  A summary of the Roundtable session can be read here.

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