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Minority Neighborhoods at the Bottom of L.A.'s Economic Ladder Tend to Stay There

March 17, 2017

L.A. Weekly | Jared Schachner, Ph.D. student in Sociology & Social Policy, discusses findings of a new study co-authored with Harvard's Robert J. Sampson, Henry Ford II Professor of the Social Sciences, and Robert D. Mare of UCLA. Their article, "Urban Income Inequality and the Great Recession in Sunbelt Form," appears in a new RSF Journal issue on  "Spatial Foundations of Inequality."
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Severe Inequality Is Incompatible with the American Dream

Severe Inequality Is Incompatible with the American Dream

December 10, 2016

The Atlantic | Features Robert Manduca, Ph.D. student in Sociology & Social Policy, a co-author of the study discussed in this article. The findings come from a new paper out of the Equality of Opportunity project, led by economists Raj Chetty of Stanford and Nathaniel Hendren of Harvard.
View the research

Inequality Is Killing The American Dream

Inequality Is Killing The American Dream

December 8, 2016

FiveThirtyEight | Explores the role of inequality in a new study of economic mobility by Raj Chetty, David Grusky, Maximilian Hell, Nathaniel Hendren (Assistant Professor of Economics, Harvard), Robert Manduca (Ph.D. student in Sociology & Social Policy, Harvard), and Jimmy Narang.

"But inequality was a much bigger driver [than economic growth]. The researchers analyzed a scenario in which growth followed its real-world path, but that growth was distributed more equally. In that scenario, the rate of mobility would rise to 80 percent, wiping out more than two-thirds of the 40-year decline.

Ultimately, Hendren said, restoring mobility will require both. 'You need growth, and you need it to be broad-based,' Hendren said."

American Dream collapsing for young adults, study says, as odds plunge that children will earn more than their parents

American Dream collapsing for young adults, study says, as odds plunge that children will earn more than their parents

December 8, 2016

Washington Post | Coverage of new study by Raj Chetty, David Grusky, Maximilian Hell, Nathaniel Hendren (Assistant Professor of Economics, Harvard), Robert Manduca (Ph.D. student in Sociology & Social Policy, Harvard), and Jimmy Narang.

"Previously, Chetty's team studied a different measure of mobility: the ability of children to move up or down America's income ladder as they grow up, when compared to other Americans. The new research attempts, for the first time, to quantify so-called "absolute mobility," which people often associate with the American Dream: the odds of a child earning more as an adult than his or her parents earned at the same age.

"The researchers say rising concentration of income among the richest Americans explains 70 percent of what has been a steady decline in absolute mobility from the baby boom generation to millennials, while a slowdown in economic growth explains just 30 percent...

"If you don’t have that kind of widespread economic growth across the income distribution, it’s tough to grow up and earn more than your parents,” Hendren said. “This is a distinct reason to focus on inequality."

The American Dream, Quantified at Last

The American Dream, Quantified at Last

December 8, 2016

The New York Times | Nathaniel Hendren, Assistant Professor of Economics, and Robert Manduca, Ph.D. student in Sociology & Social Policy, are among a team of researchers from Stanford, Harvard, and Berkeley who have released an important new study of economic mobility in the U.S., which finds that only half of Americans in their thirties earn more than their parents did at the same age. A few decades ago, nearly all did.

The team was led by economist Raj Chetty of Stanford and Nathaniel Hendren of Harvard, principal investigators for the Equality of Opportunity project, in collaboration with sociologist David Grusky of Stanford. The study incorporates results from an independent working paper by Inequality & Social Policy doctoral fellow Robert Manduca titled “Opportunity No More: Declining Absolute Mobility in the United States, 1940-2010.”
View the new study (PDF)
Learn more: Equality of Opportunity project

Donald Trump's infrastructure illusion

Donald Trump's infrastructure illusion

November 16, 2016

Chicago Tribune | Column cites research by Andrew Garin, Ph.D. candidate in Political Economy and Government, who examined the impact of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 on local employment growth. Using geographically-detailed data on highway construction, Garin found no effect on employment in the local of the construction site, showing that this was because the majority of contractors, selected by competitive bidding, commute from other local labor markets.
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Ph.D. fellow research cited in amicus brief to the U.S. Supreme Court in support of Fair Housing Act

Ph.D. fellow research cited in amicus brief to the U.S. Supreme Court in support of Fair Housing Act

October 10, 2016

Research by Inequality & Social Policy doctoral fellows Jackelyn Hwang (Ph.D. '15), Michael Hankinson, and Steven Brown is part of an amicus curiae brief filed in the U.S. Supreme Court in support of a robust enforcement of the Fair Housing Act to prevent and remedy discrimination in mortgage lending. 

Their research, published in Social Forces, examined the relationship between segregation and subprime lending across the 100 largest U.S. metropolitan areas. They found that residential segregation created “distinct geographic markets that enabled subprime lenders and brokers to leverage the spatial proximity of minorities to disproportionately target minority neighborhoods.” They conclude 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."

Learn more about their work:

Jackelyn Hwang (Ph.D. '15) is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at Princeton University. In fall 2017, she joins the faculty at Stanford University as Assistant Professor of Sociology.

Michael Hankinson is a Ph.D. candidate in Government & Social Policy.

Steven Brown is a Ph.D. candidate in Sociology and an affiliated scholar in the Executive Office at the Urban Institute. He is also a contributor to the Inequality and Mobility Initiative at the Urban Institute.

Equitable Growth's Inaugural Grantee Conference

Equitable Growth's Inaugural Grantee Conference

September 25, 2016

Washington Center for Equitable Growth | Grantees Ellora Dernoncourt (Ph.D. candidate in Economics), Beth Truesdale (Ph.D. candidate in Sociology), and Vanessa Williamson (Ph.D. '15), now a Fellow in Governance Studies at the Brookings Institution, were among those attending Equitable Growth's inaugural grantee conference. Also participating: Nathaniel Hendren, Assistant Professor of Economics,  and Elisabeth Jacobs (Ph.D. '08), Senior Director for Policy at Equitable Growth. View the program.