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Latest Inequality & Social Policy In the News

Inspiring Memoirs Tell Journey From Child Farm Worker to Academic

Inspiring Memoirs Tell Journey From Child Farm Worker to Academic

December 7, 2015

NBC News | Tomás Jiménez (Ph.D. '05, now Stanford University),  talks about his father's influence on his childhood and his own scholarly work in this feature profile of his father, Professor Francisco Jiménez of Santa Clara University. Francisco Jiménez has recently published a fourth volume in an award-winning series of memoirs for young readers.

Can America Learn from Australia's Gun Laws?

Can America Learn from Australia's Gun Laws?

December 5, 2015

BBC World Service [transcript] | Andrew Leigh (Ph.D. '04) guests. Leigh analyzed the effects of Australia's gun laws in a 2010 paper, written when he was a professor of economics at Australian National University. He's now a member of the Australian Parliament.

The window tax—an open and shut case

The window tax—an open and shut case

December 4, 2015

Financial Times | Andrew Leigh (Ph.D. '04) research on Australia's "baby bonus" noted in an article about the ways in which people adjust behavior to avoid taxes.

How a Conservative-Led Australia Ended Mass Killings

How a Conservative-Led Australia Ended Mass Killings

December 4, 2015

The New York Times | Delves into 2010 study by Andrew Leigh (Ph.D. '04), which estimated that gun suicides per 100,000 people fell 65 percent, and the rate of gun homicides 59 percent, in the decade following Australia's adoption of a national gun control agreement. At the time of the study, Leigh was a professor of economics at Australian National University. He is now a Labor MP in Australia's Parliament.

Opportunity, responsibility, and security: A consensus plan for reducing poverty and restoring the American Dream

Opportunity, responsibility, and security: A consensus plan for reducing poverty and restoring the American Dream

December 3, 2015

A joint AEI-Brookings event | David T. Ellwood, a member of the working group that developed the plan, outlined three fundamental ideas that drove their work at a launch event held at the National Press Club. The proposal grew out a shared belief that poverty and economic mobility are urgent issues for the nation's future, and that if the U.S. is to move forward in reducing poverty and increasing opportunity, those on the political left and right must find a way to overcome the political polarization that threatens prospects for progress.

AEI and Brookings, with support from the Annie E. Casey Foundation and Ford Foundation, convened a group of 15 poverty experts, reflecting diverse ideological and intellectual perspectives, who worked over 14 months to identify core areas of agreement and to craft a comprehensive plan based on strong empirical evidence.
View the plan (PDF)
View event video ▶

Standardized testing works, depending on where you went to school

Standardized testing works, depending on where you went to school

December 2, 2015

Boston Globe | David Deming (Ph.D. '10, now faculty) discusses results from a new study, , which presents the first evidence of the influence of test-based accountability measures on long-term student outcomes. Co-authored with Sarah Cohodes (Ph.D. '15, now Columbia TC), Jennifer Jennings (NYU), and Christopher Jencks, the study appears in the winter 2016 issue of Education Next.

The steep cost of incarceration on women of color

The steep cost of incarceration on women of color

November 29, 2015

CNN Money | Bruce Western draws attention to "how profoundly gendered the whole incarceration story is," the ways in which the financial and caretaking burdens of incarceration fall heavily on females when loved ones are incarcerated.

Why the Economic Fates of America's Cities Diverged

Why the Economic Fates of America's Cities Diverged

November 28, 2015

The Atlantic | Highlights research by Daniel Shoag (Ph.D. '11, now Harvard Kennedy School faculty) and Peter Ganong (Harvard Ph.D. candidate in Economics) on the importance of regional income convergence in reducing U.S. wage inequality between 1940-1980 and explanations for declining convergence in recent decades.

Why White House Economists Worry About Land-Use Regulations

Why White House Economists Worry About Land-Use Regulations

November 20, 2015

Wall Street Journal | Delves into papers by Raven Molloy (Ph.D. '05, now Federal Reserve Board of Governors) and by Peter Ganong (a Harvard Ph.D. candidate in Economics) and Daniel Shoag (Ph.D. '11, now HKS faculty), which CEA Chair Jason Furman highlighted in a recent address on the links between land-use regulations, wages, inequality, and intergenerational mobility.

Electing to Ignore the Poorest of the Poor

Electing to Ignore the Poorest of the Poor

November 17, 2015

The New York Times | Quotes William Julius Wilson, Matthew Desmond, Robert Sampson, and Kristin Perkins (Ph.D. candidate in Sociology & Social Policy). 

Also highlights the launch of a new peer-reviewed, open-access journal, The Russell Sage Foundation Journal in the Social Sciences, which leads with a two-volume issue, 'Severe Deprivation in America', edited by Matthew Desmond and featuring articles by Inequality & Social Policy affiliates Christopher Wimer (Ph.D. '07), Kristin L. Perkins and Robert J. Sampson, Bruce Western, and David J. Harding (Ph.D. '05).
Severe Deprivation in America: Issue 1 ▶
Severe Deprivation in America: Issue 2 ▶

What's past is prologue

What's past is prologue

November 13, 2015

Harvard Gazette | MacArthur Fellow and best-selling author Ta-Nehisi Coates (center) joined a conversation with Bruce Western, Kathryn Edin (Johns Hopkins), and William Julius Wilson at the JFK Jr. Forum. 
See the video here ▶

Latest commentary and analysis

The Rights and Wrongs of Economics

The Rights and Wrongs of Economics

June 7, 2017
Harvard Kennedy School PolicyCast | Twenty years ago, Dani Rodrik predicted that too much globalization could lead to social disintegration and weakened democracies. Dani Rodrik is the Ford Foundation Professor of International Political Economy at Harvard Kennedy School.
How “the community” undermines the goals of participatory democracy

How “the community” undermines the goals of participatory democracy

June 5, 2017
Work in Progress | By Jeremy R. Levine (PhD '16), Assistant Professor of Organizational Studies, University of Michigan. Discusses the findings of his academic research, "The Paradox of Community Power: Cultural Processes and Elite Authority in Participatory Governance, published earlier this spring in Social Forces. 'Work in Progress' is a public blog of the American Sociological Association (ASA) for 'short-form sociology' on the economy, work, and inequality.
View the research
Ronald Ferguson interview - HarvardX

Can 'The Boston Basics' Help Close the Achievement Gap?

June 5, 2017
WBUR Radio Boston | WBUR talks with Ron Ferguson, director of the Achievement Gap Initiative at Harvard University and creator of The Boston Basics. The Boston Basics Campaign is partnering with hospitals, community health centers, childcare providers, libraries, and early learning centers across Boston to close skill gaps that emerge in early childhood, in the critical first years of brain development.
Ethnic and Racial Studies

Race, class, politics, and the disappearance of work: a rejoinder

June 5, 2017
Ethnic and Racial Studies | By William Julius Wilson, Lewis P. and Linda L. Geyser University Professor at Harvard. For its 40th anniversary special issue, Ethnic and Racial Studies is revisiting classic articles in context, including William Julius Wilson's "When Work Disappears" (1999). Here he responds to Harvard political scientist Jennifer Hochsdhild's review essay.
Ethnic and Racial Studies

Race, class, politics, and the disappearance of work

June 5, 2017
Ethnic and Racial Studies | By Jennifer L. Hochschlld. For its 40th anniversary special issue, Ethnic and Racial Studies reexamines classic articles in context. Here Harvard political scientist Jennifer Hochschild revisits "When Work Disappears" by William Julius Wilson, Lewis P. and Linda L. Geyser University Professor.
Neoliberal Social Justice: From Edward Brooke to Barack Obama

Neoliberal Social Justice: From Edward Brooke to Barack Obama

May 30, 2017
SSRC items | Leah Wright Rigueur, as part of the Social Science Research Council's “Reading Racial Conflict” series, critically engages with the career and the writings of Edward Brooke in a reflection on the arguments for and limits of capitalism to uplift African Americans out of poverty. She also deploys Brooke, the first popularly elected black senator in US history who served in the 1960s and 1970s, as a window onto how Barack Obama connects racial inequalities to access to the market.
Douglas W. Elmendorf

The Republican Health Care Debacle: How Not to Make Public Policy

May 24, 2017

Foreign Affairs | By Douglas W. Elmendorf. "The development and passage of the ACHA is a case study in how not to make public policy," writes Elmendorf. Douglas Elmendorf is Dean of the Harvard Kennedy School and Don K. Price Professor of Public Policy. He served as the director of the Congressional Budget Office from January 2009 through March 2015.

Opportunity and Inclusive Growth Insitute

Opportunity & Inclusive Growth Institute Conference

May 22, 2017

Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis | Robert Putnam, Peter and Isabel Malkin Professor of Public Policy, joined the inaugural conference of the Opportunity and Inclusive Growth Institute, where he spoke in the opening panel on segregation and inequality. Putnam and Harvard economist Lawrence Katz both serve on the Institute's Board of Advisors.

Why Opportunity and Inclusion Matter to America's Economic Strength
Lael Brainard of the Federal Reserve Board of Governors delivered the keynote address, highlighting issues of employment, household financial health, the geography of opportunity, and affordable housing. She also drew attention to insights generated by the Boston Fed's Workng Cities Challenge.
View text of remarks
 

Earlier this spring Governor Brainard delivered the 2017 Malcolm Wiener Lecture in International Political Economy in the JFK Jr. Forum at Harvard Kennedy School.

Investigating the Causes and Consequences of Inequality

Investigating the Causes and Consequences of Inequality

May 18, 2017

Harvard Kennedy School PolicyCast | Professor David Deming (PhD '10) sits down with PolicyCast host Matt Cadwallader to talk about his new Harvard Kennedy School course, The Causes and Consequences of Inequality (SUP-206). If traditional jobs like manufacturing aren’t coming back, how can the economy adapt? How can the American education system better prepare the next generation for the needs of the modern economy? Deming's research grapples with these questions.

Harvard Presidential Task Force on Inclusion and Belonging: A Discussion with the Co-Chairs

Harvard Presidential Task Force on Inclusion and Belonging: A Discussion with the Co-Chairs

May 17, 2017

Harvard Gazette | This past fall, Harvard President Drew Faust convened a University-wide task force to examine ways to help Harvard thrive as a place where all members of its increasingly diverse community feel that they truly belong. The task force is co-chaired by James Bryant Conant University Professor Danielle Allen, director of the Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics; Harvard Kennedy School Academic Dean Archon Fung, the Ford Foundation Professor of Democracy and Citizenship; and Vice President for Campus Services Meredith Weenick.

The task force’s co-chairs recently sat down with the Harvard Gazette to discuss this report, their first year, and what’s next for this important work.

U.S. Congress

The State of Social Capital in America

May 17, 2017

U.S. Congress Joint Economic Commitee | Professors Robert D. Putnam and Mario L. Small (PhD '01), joined by Charles Murray of the American Enterprise Institute and Yuval Levin, editor of National Affairs, testified before the Joint Economic Committee on the potential role for social capital in addressing U.S. economic and social challenges.

Robert Putnam, Peter and Isabel Malkin Professor of Public Policy, focused on two generational concerns: why social capital matters in narrowing the opportunity gap among today's children, and what a boomer generation "aging alone" portends for U.S. eldercare costs in the years ahead.
Read Robert Putnam testimony

Mario Small, Grafstein Family Professor of Sociology, discussed the evidence that "early education and childcare programs may be an especially effective venue to help low-income parents generate social capital,"..." that this social capital is beneficial, and that there is reason to believe that targeted interventions may help such programs maximize these benefits."
Read Mario Small testimony

How Massachusetts provides education policymakers with research insights: An interview with Carrie Conaway, Chief Strategy and Research Officer, Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education

How Massachusetts provides education policymakers with research insights: An interview with Carrie Conaway, Chief Strategy and Research Officer, Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education

May 12, 2017

Gov Innovator Podcast | Andy Feldman (PhD '07) interviews Carrie Conaway (AM '01), Chief Strategy and Research Officer for the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. Conaway was recently appointed by President Barack Obama to the National Board for Education Sciences. Feldman is currently a visiting fellow with the Center for Children and Families at the Brookings Institution.

The Ambition-Marriage Trade-Off Too Many Single Women Face

The Ambition-Marriage Trade-Off Too Many Single Women Face

May 8, 2017
Harvard Business Review | By Leonardo Bursztyn, Thomas Fujiwara, and Amanda Pallais. Harvard economist Amanda Pallais and co-authors discuss the findings of their latest research on marriage market incentives and labor market investments, forthcoming in the American Economic Review: "Many schooling and initial career decisions, such as whether to take advanced math in high school, major in engineering, or become an entrepreneur, occur early in life, when most women are single. These decisions can have labor market consequences with long-lasting effects," they write. 
View the research

Latest policy, research briefs, and expert testimony

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