5 Big Ideas in Inequality: COVID-19 - III

THIS WEEK: COVID-19 |  NOV 09 2020

01:46 | Idea 1 - Elizabeth Wrigley-Field
10:41 | Idea 2 - Luke Shaefer
19:54 | Idea 3 - Caitlyn Collins
28:25 | Idea 4 - Bradley Hardy
37:16 | Idea 5 - Daniel Schneider
45:40 | Q&A 




Elizabeth Wrigley-FieldIDEA 1

What COVID can teach us about what's happening all the time in the United States—not just during pandemics

Elizabeth Wrigley-Field
Assistant Professor of Sociology
University of Minnesota

Elizabeth Wrigley-Field slide

"Racism produces a pandemic's worth of needless death every single year. That was true a century ago; it's still true today.

And so our tools for righting it should be pandemic-scale tools also. Our imagination and social ambition should not be limited by how accustomed the United States is to profound racial inequality."

For further reading

Wrigley-Field, Elizabeth. US racial inequality may be as deadly as COVID-19.  Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Sep 2020, 117 (36): 21854-21856.

Feigenbaum, James J., Christopher Muller, and Elizabeth Wrigley-Field. Regional and Racial Inequality in Infectious Disease Mortality in U.S. Cities, 1900–1948. Demography 56, 1371–1388 (2019).


H. Luke ShaeferIDEA 2

A child allowance

H. Luke Shaefer
Hermann and Amalie Kohn Professor of Social Justice and Social Policy
Associate Dean for Research and Policy Engagement
Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy
University of Michigan

"We would cut child poverty by 42 percent—42 percent—just with a $250 a month child allowance. We would cut child poverty among Black children by 50 percent. We would halve it. We would cut deep poverty by 50 percent.

This idea has been codified in a bill called the American Family Act in the Senate and in the House of Representatives that has huge support. Pretty much precisely this idea was recently adopted in the Biden tax plan. So this is now something that could become reality, and maybe not that long from now. 

If this happens...I think it will be great example of science and scholarship moving a body of work on a policy that has the potential to transform many lives."

Caitlyn CollinsIDEA 3

We need to build a policy infrastructure to support work-family justice

Caitlyn Collins
Assistant Professor of Sociology
Washington University in St. Louis

Caitlyn Collins slide

"The harms of pandemic have been mitigated in countries that already have these work-family policies in place.

We are seeing the fallout from our patchwork system of support now—and the results are disastrous."



Making Motherhood Work

How Women Manage Careers and Caregiving

By Caitlyn Collins
Princeton University Press, 2019.

The Free Market Has Failed U.S. Working Parents
By Caitlin Collins. Harvard Business Review (November 11, 2020).


Bradley HardyIDEA 4

Precarity of Black family budgets
An alternative lens to inequality dynamics amid COVID-19

Bradley Hardy
Associate Professor and Chair
Department of Public Administration and Policy
American University

Bradley Hardy slide

"[T]his is about how we discuss and consider inequality in America . . . There are these large, persistent racial income and wealth gaps . . . But what's important here is that this doesn't fully capture the daily and weekly experiences of many of our families that are quite economically insecure—that in fact much of their experience is one of precarity or higher income volatility.  

And this unpredictability of the earnings and income stream has all sorts of serious consequences."

Daniel SchneiderIDEA 5

There ought to be a law: Raise the floor on job quality for "essential workers"

Daniel Schneider
Professor of Public Policy and Sociology
Co-Director of The Shift Project
Harvard Kennedy School

Daniel Schneider slide

For further reading

The Shift Project  -  shift.hks.harvard.edu
Principal Investigators: Daniel Schneider and Kristen Harknett

Covid-19 Safety Measures Update
By Helen Ho, Daniel Schneider, and Kristen Harknett. The Shift Project (December 2020). Helen Ho is a PhD candidate in Public Policy and a Malcolm Hewitt Wiener PhD Scholar in Poverty and Justice.