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The Reagan Question: Are You Better Off Now Than You Were Eight Years Ago?

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  • John Schmitt
  • Hye Jin Rho

Abstract

This paper updates Ronald Reagan's famous question during the 1980 presidential election: "Are you better off now than you were four years ago?" by comparing the state of the economy in 2000 and 2008. We use 25 indicators of economic well-being and economic performance and find that 23 of the 25 indicators are worse in 2008 than they were in 2000. Even after we limit comparisons to similar points across the business cycle, the same 23 indicators were worse at the most recent business-cycle peak (2007) than they were in 2000.

Suggested Citation

  • John Schmitt & Hye Jin Rho, 2008. "The Reagan Question: Are You Better Off Now Than You Were Eight Years Ago?," CEPR Reports and Issue Briefs 2008-27, Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR).
  • Handle: RePEc:epo:papers:2008-27
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    File URL: http://www.cepr.net/documents/publications/2008_Better_Off.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Frank Levy & Peter Temin, 2007. "Inequality and Institutions in 20th Century America," NBER Working Papers 13106, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. John Schmitt, 2008. "The Union Wage Advantage for Low-Wage Workers," CEPR Reports and Issue Briefs 2008-17, Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR).
    3. John Schmitt & Ben Zipperer, 2008. "The Decline in African-American Representation in Unions and Manufacturing, 1979-2007," CEPR Reports and Issue Briefs 2008-06, Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR).
    4. Barry T. Hirsch & Edward J. Schumacher, 2004. "Match Bias in Wage Gap Estimates Due to Earnings Imputation," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 22(3), pages 689-722, July.
    5. David G. Blanchflower & Alex Bryson, 2004. "What Effect Do Unions Have on Wages Now and Would Freeman and Medoff Be Surprised?," Journal of Labor Research, Transaction Publishers, vol. 25(3), pages 383-414, July.
    6. Heather Boushey & Shawn Fremstad & Rachel Gragg & Margy Waller, 2007. "Understanding Low-Wage Work in the United States," CEPR Reports and Issue Briefs 2007-09, Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR).
    7. John Schmitt, 2008. "Unions and Upward Mobility for Latino Workers," CEPR Reports and Issue Briefs 2008-28, Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR).
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    Keywords

    recession; business cycle;

    JEL classification:

    • E - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics
    • E2 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment

    NEP fields

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