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Latest Inequality & Social Policy In the News

Women in Elite Jobs Face Stubborn Pay Gap

Women in Elite Jobs Face Stubborn Pay Gap

May 17, 2016

Wall Street Journal | With insights from Claudia Goldin, Henry Lee Professor of Economics. Article includes interactive data visualization showing pay gaps by occupation.

The one thing rich parents do for their kids that makes all the difference

The one thing rich parents do for their kids that makes all the difference

May 10, 2016

Washington Post | Delves into research by Ann Owens (Ph.D. '12) of University of Southern California showing that growing income segregation since 1990 has been driven almost entirely by what's happening among families with children. Given considerable research showing the advantage of neighborhood context on children's outcomes, this has implications for widening gaps in future outcomes. View the study in the American Sociological Review.

Deeper learning: More crucial than ever, and yet too rare

Deeper learning: More crucial than ever, and yet too rare

May 10, 2016

Seattle Times | Article featuring Jal Mehta (Ph.D. '06), Associate Professor at Harvard Graduate School of Education, who explains what it means to be in search of deeper learning and why it has become more urgent in today's economy.

Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City

Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City

May 9, 2016

Commonweal | Frank Pasquale reviews Matthew Desmond's Evicted: "One cannot read Evicted and conclude that a few technocratic tweaks, embedded in some meliorist plan for improving the housing market, will suitably address the growing crisis of unstable and inadequate housing."

David Ellwood Named Director of the Malcolm Wiener Center for Social Policy

David Ellwood Named Director of the Malcolm Wiener Center for Social Policy

May 9, 2016

Harvard Kennedy School | David T. Ellwood, Scott M. Black Professor of Political Economy, has been named director of the Malcolm Wiener Center for Social Policy at Harvard Kennedy School, Dean Douglas Elmendorf announced today. Ellwood begins his appointment on July 1. Ellwood, who first joined the Harvard faculty in 1980, served as the eighth dean of Harvard Kennedy School from July 2004 through June 2015.

Black Americans See Gains in Life Expectancy

Black Americans See Gains in Life Expectancy

May 8, 2016

The New York Times | Quotes Robert J. Sampson, Henry Ford II Professor of the Social Sciences. Also David R. Williams, Florence Sprague Norman and Laura Smart Norman Professor of Public Health, who spoke about health disparities by race in the Inequality & Social Seminar Series, February 8, 2016.

Interview with Jennifer Hochschild

Interview with Jennifer Hochschild

May 6, 2016

E-International Relations | Jennifer Hochschild, Henry LaBarre Jayne Professor of Government and Professor of African and African American Studies, sits down for a discussion of what she sees as the most exciting research and debates she sees happening in her field, and what has prompted the most significant shifts in her thinking.

More Evidence for Lead Poisoning as a Key Crime Driver

More Evidence for Lead Poisoning as a Key Crime Driver

May 3, 2016

Talking Points Memo | Features research by James Feigenbaum (Ph.D. candidate in Economics) and Christopher Muller (Ph.D. '14, now an assistant professor of Sociology at UC Berkeley) linking lead exposure and violent crime in the early 20th century. Feigenbaum and Muller presented this work, which is forthcoming in Explorations in Economic History, in the Inequality Seminar on April 18. Read the Feigenbaum and Muller paper.

The Republican-big business alliance is fraying. Now what?

The Republican-big business alliance is fraying. Now what?

May 2, 2016

Vox | Features research by Alexander Hertel-Fernandez, Ph.D. candidate in Government & Social Policy, and Theda Skocpol, Victor S. Thomas Professor of Government & Social Policy, from their paper "Billionaires against Big Business: Growing Tensions in the Republican Party Coalition." 

Also cites Skocpol and Vanessa Williamson (Ph.D. '15, now a fellow at the Brookings Institution), The Tea Party and the Remaking of Republican Conservatism.

Does First-Class Inequality Lead to Air Rage?

Does First-Class Inequality Lead to Air Rage?

May 2, 2016

New York Magazine: Science of Us | Explores new study, published today in Proceedings of the National Academies of Sciences, by Katherine DeCelles (University of Toronto) and Michael I. Norton (Harvard Business School). Norton, a social psychologist, is the Harold M. Brierley Professor of Business Administration and a member of Harvard’s Behavioral Insights Group.
View the research 

Is There a Better Way to Pay for America's Schools?

Is There a Better Way to Pay for America's Schools?

May 1, 2016

NPR Weekend Edition | Nora Gordon (Ph.D. '02), Associate Professor of Public Policy at Georgetown University, explains how Title I, an anti-poverty program, privileges wealthy, high-spending states. The article notes that Gordon "has spent her career studying Title I and its effects on schools and has just released a few big ideas to improve it."

Latest commentary and analysis

Republicans Ride the Trump Tiger

Republicans Ride the Trump Tiger

May 30, 2016

Project Syndicate | By Theda Skopol, Victor S. Thomas Professor of Government and Sociology: "The Republicans will ride the beast they created – and hope that it does not consume them."

Bernie Sanders Post-Nevada, and the Problem of Hubris

Bernie Sanders Post-Nevada, and the Problem of Hubris

May 27, 2016

WBUR Cognoscenti | By Nancy L. Rosenbaum and Jane Mansbridge: "Sanders is facing a test of character. He can continue to try to ride the whirlwind, or he can come down to earth and take on the messy business of compromise." Rosenblum is the Senator Joseph Clark Professor of Ethics in Politics and Government in Harvard's Department of Government; Mansbridge is the Adams Professor of Political Leadership and Democratic Values at Harvard Kennedy School.

Prosperity and Equality

Prosperity and Equality

May 27, 2016

Harvard Magazine | Dean  Douglas Elmendorf of  the Harvard Kennedy School and Claudia Goldin, Harvard's Henry Lee Professor of Economics, were among the participants in "Building an Economy for Prosperity and Equality," the opening symposium of Radcliffe Day, which honored  Janet Yellen, Federal Reserve Chair, with this year's Radcliffe Medal. Harvard Magazine writes that the panel, which also included economists David Autor of MIT, Louise Sheiner of the Brookings Institution, and Celia Rouse of Princeton University as moderator, "featured some of the most interesting researchers addressing these problems...in a searching, intelligent exchange of the sort that rarely occurred in the debates televised during the primary season."
View the discussion [85 minutes] ▶

Christopher Jencks: Big Picture Directions for Future Research and Policy on the Problem of Poverty

Christopher Jencks: Big Picture Directions for Future Research and Policy on the Problem of Poverty

May 20, 2016

2nd Annual New Frontiers in Poverty Research Conference at Columbia University | Christopher Jencks, Malcolm Wiener Professor of Social Policy, and Sheldon Danziger, President of the Russell Sage Foundation, were the keynote speakers at the 2nd Annual New Frontiers in Poverty Research Conference at Columbia University.

Christopher Wimer (Ph.D. '07), Co-Director of the Center on Poverty and Social Policy at Columbia's Population Research Center, spoke about his latest work with Columbia colleagues, "Harnessing the Robin Hood Poverty Tracker to Understand New Dimensions of Poverty in New York City."

View video: Conference begins at 12:35 minute mark. Jencks's session begins at 3:26 hour mark.

When Landlords Discriminate

When Landlords Discriminate

May 19, 2016

Talk Poverty | By Philip ME Garboden and Eva Rosen (Ph.D. '14). Rosen is a  Postdoctoral Fellow in Sociology at Johns Hopkins University, in their Poverty and Inequality Research Lab. Garboden is a graduate student at Johns Hopkins.

Researchers Find Surprising Results After Testing A New Way To Measure Poverty

Researchers Find Surprising Results After Testing A New Way To Measure Poverty

May 19, 2016

NPR Morning Edition | Christopher Wimer (Ph.D. '07), Co-Director of the Center on Poverty and Social Policy at Columbia University, is working with colleagues on a better way to measure poverty in New York City. Visit the interactive website to learn more about the Robin Hood Poverty Tracker. Scott Winship (Ph.D. '09), Walter B. Wriston Fellow at the Manhattan Institute, agrees that the research reveals some useful findings but expresses reservations about the measures, arguing that they may misdirect attention and public resources from those who really are struggling.

Why the Very Poor Have Become Poorer

May 19, 2016


The New York Review of Books
By Christopher Jencks, Malcolm Wiener Professor of Social Policy. Jencks digs into the data to review $2.00 a Day: Living on Almost Nothing in America by Kathryn J. Edin and H. Luke Shaefer. Jencks examines the evidence for how the poor and the poorest of the poor have fared since the late-1960s, concluding that since 1999 "inequality has risen even among the poor."

The Destructive Legacy of Housing Segregation

The Destructive Legacy of Housing Segregation

May 17, 2016

The Atlantic | By Patrick Sharkey (Ph.D. '07), New York University. Less visible than the rise of economic inequality is the way it has altered America's urban neighborhoods. Two books—Evicted by Harvard's Matthew Desmond and Ghetto by Mitchell Duneier (Princeton)—should help change that, writes Sharkey.

A conversation: Matthew Desmond and Alex Kotlowitz

A conversation: Matthew Desmond and Alex Kotlowitz

May 15, 2016

Chicago Humanities Festival | Professor Matthew Desmond, a 2015 MacArthur Fellow and author of Evicted, joins author and journalist Alex Kotlowitz in conversation. Kotlowitz is the author of There Are No Children Here. The conversation was part of Our Cities, a day-long event presented by the Chicago Humanities Festival in collaboration with the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation in honor of the 35th anniversary of the MacArthur Fellows Program. View video [21 minutes].

White gloves, aluminum cans, and plasma

White gloves, aluminum cans, and plasma

May 11, 2016

Marketplace: The Uncertain Hour (podcast)| A look back at how families have fared in the two decades since welfare reform, with perspectives from David Ellwood, Scott M. Black Professor of Political Economy and Chair of the US Partnership on Mobility from Poverty [audio: 34 minutes].

How To Teach Ethics To Algorithms

How To Teach Ethics To Algorithms

May 10, 2016

Radio Boston | Michael Luca, Assistant Professor at Harvard Business School, argues algorithms need managers. He joins Radio Boston to explain how and why. [Audio: 10 minutes]

Latest policy, research briefs, and expert testimony

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).

Six Examples of the Long-Term Benefits of Anti-Poverty Programs

Six Examples of the Long-Term Benefits of Anti-Poverty Programs

May 11, 2015

Council of Economic Advisers | CEA Chairman Jason Furman web brief provides a more detailed detailed discussion of the research mentioned in his New York Times op-ed, "Smart Social Programs". This brief highlights research by  Sarah Cohodes (Ph.D. candidate in Public Policy), David Deming (faculty member and Ph.D. '10), Lawrence KatzJeffrey Liebman, Jonah Rockoff (Ph.D. '04), and Christopher Wimer (Ph.D. '07).