Professor testifies in Congress

by Amy Hatch | 11/24/93 6:00am

Economics Professor David Blanchflower spoke last week to a Congressional panel about rising unemployment among American youth and minorities.

The Panel of Economic Advisors, which is part of the Congressional Budget Office, asked Blanchflower to speak on the labor market, employment consequences of the North American Free Trade Agreement, the Clinton health plan and proposed new job-training plans.

Blanchflower said his talk to the panel, which included four Nobel prize-winning economists, was called "The Bifurcated Labor Market." It focused on the future of low-wage, poorly-educated workers.

"We are going to have to deal with the problem of poverty, presuming that these problems are going to continue," he said.

Blanchflower said he presented an overview of the U.S. labor market and compared it to similar labor markets in other countries. He addressed youth employment, particularly with minorities, and the difficulty of finding jobs after graduation.

"Particularly we have to target ourselves on the young people who are hurting," Blanchflower said. "We have to look to do new things. Anything is worth trying to help these people. For some people there is no transition from school to work and for many others, it is a very difficult one. We worry about that."

Blanchflower said his speech was part of the panel's move to develop a plan to remedy the problems he addressed.

"I think they responded pretty well," Blanchflower said. "It's very hard to know what to do in this situation. The administration is definitely going to do something, but the type of action is still not clear."

During the past few years, Blanchflower has worked on a series of comparative studies that look at wage determination and inequality, the influence of trade unions, the growth of self-employment and the nature of training in the workplace in various countries.

Currently, Blanchflower is organizing a conference for the National Bureau of Economic Research.

He is also examining the causes and nature of youth unemployment.