Meet our fellows

Fellows and alumni

DOCTORAL FELLOWS
Each year 8-12 new Doctoral Fellows are selected from Harvard's Ph.D. programs in the social sciences.
Meet the 2014-2015 fellows ▶

ON THE JOB MARKET
Hire a Harvard Ph.D.
Inequality doctoral fellows on the job market in AY 2015-16.
(Coming soon).

ALUMNI
Over 140 Inequality doctoral fellows have earned their Ph.D.'s.
See where they are now ▶

News Roundups

Seminar series

Newly released

The two papers presented by Professor Raj Chetty in his Malcolm Wiener Seminar, "The Effects of Exposure to Better Neighborhoods on Children's Long-Term Outcomes," have now been released for distribution:

For a discussion of this research, see Justin Wolfers (Ph.D. '01), "Why the New Research on Mobility Matters," New York Times (May 4, 2015).

COMING UP NEXT

LATEST NEWS AND COMMENTARY

Interview with Claudia Goldin

Interview with Claudia Goldin

May 24, 2015

Econ Focus—Magazine of the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond | Claudia Goldin discusses women in the labor force, the "grand convergence", the human capital century, and her latest project, "Women Working Longer."

Left Out

Left Out

May 21, 2015

Boston Review | Robert Putnam. Claude S. Fischer reviews Robert Putnam's Our Kids and Andrew Cherlin's Labor's Love Lost.

Comeback Cities

Comeback Cities

May 21, 2015

Centre for Cities (London) | Edward Glaeser lecture and discussion with BBC Newsnight economics correspondent Duncan Weldon. Audio and slides available; event video coming soon.

The Great Gatsby Curve: All heat, no light

The Great Gatsby Curve: All heat, no light

May 20, 2015

Brookings Institution—Social Mobility Memos | By Scott Winship.  Second of a series of memos on both sides of the "The Great Gatsby Curve" debate, including pieces by Alan Krueger (Princeton University) and Heather Boushey (Washington Center for Equitable Growth).

My Head Start

My Head Start

May 19, 2015

Huffington Post | On the 50th anniversary of Head Start, Ford Foundation president Darren Walker reflects on his own personal experience and cites research by David Deming (Faculty and Ph.D. '10)

Big moment for working parents

Big moment for working parents

May 19, 2015

MetroWest Daily News | By Jamie Eldridge (MA state senator, D-Acton) and Laura Tach (Ph.D. '10). Op-ed urging increase in the state's Earned Income Tax Credit.

Income Inequality in the U.S.

Income Inequality in the U.S.

May 18, 2015

Washington Journal (C-SPAN) | Guests Scott Winship (Ph.D. '09) and Michael Konczal (Roosevelt Institute)

Whose Fault is Ferguson? The Roots of Our National Discord

Whose Fault is Ferguson? The Roots of Our National Discord

May 18, 2015

Miller Center American Forum | Speaker: Orlando Patterson. Television broadcast: June 7th on many PBS stations (Note: Not carried in Boston-area). Audio and video will also be made available on the Miller Center website.

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LATEST ACADEMIC ARTICLES (BY OUR DOCTORAL FELLOWS)

Abeler, Johannes, and Simon Jäger. Forthcoming. “

Complex Tax Incentives

.” American Economic Journal: Economic Policy.Abstract
How does tax complexity affect people’s reaction to tax changes? To answer this question, we conduct an experiment in which subjects work for a piece rate and face taxes. One treatment features a simple, the other a complex tax system. The payoff-maximizing output level and the incentives around this optimum are, however, identical across treatments. We introduce the same sequence of additional taxes in both treatments. Subjects in the complex treatment underreact to new taxes; some ignore new taxes entirely. The underreaction is stronger for subjects with lower cognitive ability. Contrary to predictions from models of rational inattention, subjects are equally likely to ignore large or small incentive changes. 
Angrist, Joshua D, Sarah R Cohodes, Susan M Dynarski, Parag A Pathak, and Christopher R Walters. Forthcoming. “Stand and Deliver: Effects of Boston’S Charter High Schools on College Preparation, Entry, and Choice.” Journal of Labor Economics 34 (2). NBER Working Paper 19275. NBER version (2013)Abstract
We use admissions lotteries to estimate effects of attendance at Boston's charter high schools on college preparation and enrollment. Charter schools increase pass rates on Massachusetts' high-stakes exit exam, with large effects on the likelihood of qualifying for a state-sponsored scholarship. Charter attendance boosts SAT scores sharply, and also increases the likelihood of taking an Advanced Placement (AP) exam, the number of AP exams taken, and AP scores. Charters induce a substantial shift from two- to four-year institutions, though the effect on overall college enrollment is modest. Charter effects on college-related outcomes are strongly correlated with gains on earlier tests.
Desmond, Matthew, Carl Gershenson, and Barbara Kiviat. 2015. “Forced Relocation and Residential Instability Among Urban Renters.” Social Service Review 89. The University of Chicago Press: pp. 227-262. Publisher's VersionAbstract
Abstract Residential instability often brings about other forms of instability in families, schools, and communities that compromise the life chances of adults and children. Social scientists have found that low-income families move frequently without fully understanding why. Drawing on novel data of more than 1,000 Milwaukee renters, this article explores the relationship between forced relocation and residential instability. It finds that low incomes are associated with higher rates of mobility due to poorer renters’ greater exposure to forced displacement. Not only do higher rates of formal and informal eviction, landlord foreclosure, and building condemnation directly increase the mobility of poorer renters, but forced displacement also increases subsequent unforced mobility. A forced move often compels renters to accept substandard housing, which drives them to soon move again. This article reveals mechanisms of residential mobility among low-income renters, identifies previously undocumented consequences of forced displacement, and develops a more comprehensive model of residential instability and urban inequality.
Hwang, Jackelyn, Michael Hankinson, and Kreg Steven Brown. 2015. “Racial and Spatial Targeting: Segregation and Subprime Lending Within and Across Metropolitan Areas.” Social Forces 93 (3): 1081-1108. Publisher's VersionAbstract
Recent studies find that high levels of black-white segregation increased rates of foreclosures and subprime lending across US metropolitan areas during the housing crisis. These studies speculate that segregation created distinct geographic markets that enabled subprime lenders and brokers to leverage the spatial proximity of minorities to disproportionately target minority neighborhoods. Yet, the studies do not explicitly test whether the concentration of subprime loans in minority neighborhoods varied by segregation levels. We address this shortcoming by integrating neighborhood-level data and spatial measures of segregation to examine the relationship between segregation and subprime lending across the 100 largest US metropolitan areas. Controlling for alternative explanations of the housing crisis, we find that segregation is strongly associated with higher concentrations of subprime loans in clusters of minority census tracts but find no evidence of unequal lending patterns when we examine minority census tracts in an aspatial way. Moreover, residents of minority census tracts in segregated metropolitan areas had higher likelihoods of receiving subprime loans than their counterparts in less segregated metropolitan areas. Our findings demonstrate that segregation played a pivotal role in the housing crisis by creating relatively larger areas of concentrated minorities into which subprime loans could be efficiently and effectively channeled. These results are consistent with existing but untested theories on the relationship between segregation and the housing crisis in metropolitan areas.
Asad, Asad L. Forthcoming. “

Contexts of Reception, Post-Disaster Migration, and Socioeconomic Mobility

.” Population and Environment. Publisher's VersionAbstract
Current theories conceptualize return migration to New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina as an individual-level assessment of costs and benefits. Since relocation is cost prohibitive, return migration is thought to be unlikely for vulnerable populations. However, recent analyses of longitudinal survey data suggest that these individuals are likely to return to New Orleans over time despite achieving socioeconomic gains in the post-disaster location. I extend the “context of reception” approach from the sociology of immigration and draw on longitudinal data from the Resilience in the Survivors of Katrina Project to demonstrate how institutional, labor market, and social contexts influence the decision to return. Specifically, I show how subjective comparisons of the three contexts between origin and destination, perceived experiences of discrimination within each context, and changing contexts over time explain my sample’s divergent migration and mobility outcomes. I conclude with implications for future research on, and policy responses to, natural disasters.
Winner of 2014 Marvin E. Olsen Student Paper Award, Section on Environment and Technology, American Sociological Association.
Glaeser, Edward L, Joshua D Gottlieb, and Oren Ziv. Forthcoming. “

Unhappy Cities

.” Journal of Labor Economics.Abstract
There are persistent differences in self-reported subjective well-being across U.S. metropolitan areas, and residents of declining cities appear less happy than others. Yet some people continue to move to these areas, and newer residents appear to be as unhappy as longer term residents. While historical data on happiness are limited, the available facts suggest that cities that are now declining were also unhappy in their more prosperous past. These facts support the view that individuals don’t maximize happiness alone, but include it in the utility function along with other arguments. People may trade off happiness against other competing objectives.
Freeman, Richard B, and Wei Huang. Forthcoming. “Collaborating with People Like Me: Ethnic Co-Authorship Within the Us.” Journal of Labor Economics. NBER version (2014)Abstract
This study examines the ethnic identify of the co-authors of over 1.2 million papers with US addresses from 1985 to 2008. It finds a striking change in the ethnic composition of authors, with the proportion with English and European names falling while the proportion of names from China and other developing countries increases. The greater variety of ethnicity is associated with considerable homophily among research teams, as persons of similar ethnicity tend to work together far more frequently than can be explained by chance. The paper identifies a modest negative relation between homophily and the potential scientific contribution of the papers as measured by the impact factor of journals of publication and the number of citations, with the latter attributable to the previous publishing performance of authors. Using a Markov analysis to calculate a steady state rate of homophily, the paper finds that the rates is close to the steady state and thus likely to continue at high levels into the future. The analysis also finds that papers written by authors at different addresses and that cite larger numbers of references are more likely to get into high impact journals and to gain more citations than other papers.
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