Center on Wisconsin Strategy (COWS)

Based at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, COWS is a national think-and-do tank that promotes “high road” solutions to social problems. These treat shared growth and opportunity, environmental sustainability, and resilient democratic institutions as necessary and achievable complements in human development. COWS is nonpartisan but values-based. We seek a world of equal opportunity and security for all.

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  • Pulling Apart 2017: Focus on Wisconsin’s 1 Percent – August 2017

    As the economy grows, the gains are concentrated on the state’s richest residents. Inequality is on the rise, both nationally and in Wisconsin. Over the last 40 years, Wisconsin’s richest residents have experienced dramatic increases in income, yet the rest of the state’s residents have experienced little or no income growth. The widening chasm between […]

  • Wisconsin Job Watch: 4th Quarter 2016 Update

    Wisconsin ended 2016 with 2.93 million jobs. In terms of job growth, the year was not particularly strong or consistent. Wisconsin’s December job total is just slightly above the level reached at the end of the summer. In the last quarter of 2016, the Wisconsin labor market grew by 10,500 jobs, or an average of […]

  • Wisconsin’s Extreme Racial Disparity 2017

    Wisconsin has the regrettable distinction of ranking among the worst states in the nation in terms of racial equality. Various aspects of the disparity – from education to jobs and income to incarceration – have been documented consistently for more than a decade. These disparities are gaining increasing attention from activists and policy makers. Even […]

  • A New Jersey That Works for Working People

    New Jersey’s economy has not recovered from the recession like it could – and should – have. Economic difficulties that began with losses in manufacturing jobs throughout the 1980s have persisted. Despite a diverse population and a shift in land use from sprawling suburban growth to more infill development, job numbers and GDP are growing […]

  • State of Working Wisconsin 2016

    In The State of Working Wisconsin 2016, COWS finds that the long shadow of the Great Recession is finally lifting in Wisconsin. The state has more jobs than ever before, unemployment rates have fallen to pre-recession levels, and workers that want full-time work are having an easier time finding it. Labor market opportunities are more […]

  • A Pittsburgh that Works for Working People

    During the 20th Century, Pittsburgh was known for the steel industry and the broad middle class prosperity that was shared by many residents. Today, Pittsburgh is in the process of rebuilding its economy around new sectors, such as tech start-ups. The city has found some success in this economic transition, and the population has stabilized […]

  • The State of Working Wisconsin 2015: Facts & Figures

    For Labor Day weekend, COWS has released The State of Working Wisconsin 2015 Facts & Figures, an overview of the critical issues facing working people in the state. From the perspective of working Wisconsin, the news this weekend is not good. Wisconsin faces slow growth, extreme racial disparity in unemployment, long-term stagnation in wages, and […]

  • A District That Works: Policies to Promote Equity and Job Quality in our Nation’s Capital

    The District of Columbia is going through a period of great transformation. While it has successfully strengthened its fiscal health and its economy and population have grown, its prosperity has not been evenly distributed. However, it is not too late for the District to adopt measures that strengthen low income communities and communities of color […]

  • State of Working Wisconsin – 2014

    The State of Working Wisconsin 2014 uses the best and recent data available on jobs and wages to describe the serious economic challenges that Wisconsin continues to face.

  • Pulling Apart: Focus on Wisconsin’s 1%

    Income inequality continues to grow in Wisconsin and the United States, producing an ever-widening chasm between the rich and poor. Over the last 40 years, Wisconsin’s richest residents have experienced dramatic increases in income, while Wisconsinites not among the very highest earners saw their incomes stagnate or decline. Wisconsin’s growth and prosperity are not being […]