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Latest Inequality & Social Policy In the News

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.
View the research

Trump Campaign's Easy Answers Confront Hard Reality

Trump Campaign's Easy Answers Confront Hard Reality

November 15, 2016

The New York Times | Eduardo Porter column quotes Dani Rodrik, Ford Foundation Professor of International Political Economy: “What happens when Trump realizes he cannot adequately respond to the expectations he has raised?” he asked. “Does he respond to economic failure like all populists around the world do — by further polarizing the nation and deepening divisions based on identity? And what does that do the quality of our democracy?”... Read more about Trump Campaign's Easy Answers Confront Hard Reality

Trust Me

Trust Me

November 10, 2016

Freakonomics Radio | Societies where people trust one another are healthier and wealthier. In the U.S. (and the U.K. and elsewhere), social trust has been falling for decades. Features Robert Putnam, Peter and Isabel Malkin Professor of Public Policy, and Edward Glaeser, Fred and Eleanor Glimp Professor of Economics [audio + transcript].

Trump and Apocalyptic Thinking

Trump and Apocalyptic Thinking

November 10, 2016

Harvard Magazine | Coverage of "Dark and Stormy: Reflections on the Election,” a panel discussion with Harvard faculty members Jill Lepore (Kemper Professor of American History), David Laibson (Robert I. Goldman Professor of Economics), and Danielle Allen (Professor of Government and Director of the Safra Center for Ethics), hosted by the Mahindra Humanities Center.
View event video ▶

Faculty Analyze Climate Around Trump’s Victory

Faculty Analyze Climate Around Trump’s Victory

November 10, 2016

Harvard Crimson | Government professor Danielle Allen, economics professor David Laibson, and History professor Jill Lepore sat down to talk economics, politics, and demographics in the aftermath of President-elect Donald Trump's victory for a panel sponsored by Harvard's Mahindra Humanities Center.
Watch video

How Do We Unlearn Racism?

How Do We Unlearn Racism?

November 9, 2016

Complex | "Can our racism be unlearned? Experts believe perhaps it can, but that work starts with a better understanding of the nation's history." Features Khalil Gibran Muhammad, Professor of Race, History, and Public Policy at Harvard Kennedy School.

Why neither Trump nor Clinton’s plans will fix Social Security

Why neither Trump nor Clinton’s plans will fix Social Security

November 7, 2016

MarketWatch | Features Harvard Kennedy School professor Brigitte Madrian on policy measures that would specifically address the solvency of the Social Security system. Madrian was a member of the Bipartisan Policy Center’s (BPC) Commission on Retirement Security and Personal Savings, which recently issued the report cited in the article.

Schools that Work

Schools that Work

November 4, 2016

The New York Times | Sunday Review column by David Leonhardt highlights new evidence, "among the most rigorous," by Joshua Angrist (MIT), Sarah Cohodes (Ph.D. '15, now Columbia University), Susan Dynarski (University of Michigan), Parag Pathak (MIT), and Christopher Walters (UC Berkeley) showing impressive results from Boston's charter high schools. Among their findings, the article notes that "Boston's charters eliminate one-third to one-half of the white-black test-score gap in a single year."

“Relative to other things that social scientists and education policy people have tried to boost performance—class sizes, tracking, new buildings—these schools are producing spectacular gains,” said Angrist.
View the research

What's your ideal community? The answer is political

What's your ideal community? The answer is political

November 3, 2016

The New York Times | Features research by Ryan D. Enos, Associate Professor of Government, who "simulated the effects of added diversity in white suburbs by hiring Spanish speakers to board commuter trains outside Boston...'There are a lot of things we can experiment on, but context in itself is this widely diffuse and complex thing,' Mr. Enos said. Nailing down how we’re shaped by it, he said, 'is the most impossible problem in social science.'"
View the research

Michèle Lamont delivers keynote at COES-LSE Inequalities conference in Santiago

Michèle Lamont delivers keynote at COES-LSE Inequalities conference in Santiago

November 2, 2016

COES-LSE | Michèle Lamont gave the first keynote presentation at the 2016 COES-LSE Inequalities conference, an international conference jointly held by The Centre for Social Conflict and Cohesion Studies-COES and the International Inequalities Institute-LSE in Santiago, Chile, November 2-4, 2016. Lamont spoke on Getting Respect: Responding to Stigma and Discrimination in the United States, Brazil, and Israel, her new book published in September by Princeton University Press. The book is co-authored with a team of sociologists, including former Inequality & Social Policy doctoral fellows Graziella Moraes Silva (Ph.D. '10) and Jessica S. Welburn (Ph.D. '11), as well as Joshua Guetzkow, Nissim Mizrachi, Hanna Herzog & Elisa Reis. Lamont is the Robert I. Goldman Professor of European Studies and professor of sociology and of African and African American studies at Harvard University.

Vote 'yes' on Question 2

Vote 'yes' on Question 2

October 30, 2016

Boston Globe | Boston Globe editorial urges lifting the charter school cap, citing research by Sarah Cohodes (Ph.D. '15), Assistant Professor of Education and Public Policy at Teachers College, Columbia University, and co-authors Joshua Angrist, Susan Dynarski, Parag Pathak, and Christopher Walter. The research, "Stand and Deliver: Effects of Boston’s Charter High Schools on College Preparation, Entry, and Choice, appears in the Journal of Labor Economics 34,2 (2016).
Read the research

Latest awards

Congratulations, new Ph.D.'s!

Congratulations, new Ph.D.'s!

May 28, 2015

Sixteen Inequality & Social Policy doctoral fellows receive their Ph.D's. See what's next for these grads.

Roland Fryer is the 2015 John Bates Clark Medalist

Roland Fryer is the 2015 John Bates Clark Medalist

April 24, 2015

Awardee | Roland Fryer.
Awarded by the American Economics Association to "that American economist under the age of forty who is judged to have made the most significant contribution to economic thought and knowledge."

Latest commentary and analysis

Gentrification and its Discontents

Gentrification and its Discontents

May 5, 2017
Wall Street Journal | By Edward Glaeser, Fred and Eleanor Glimp Professor of Economics. Cities attract the rich with amenities and the poor with services. But they are failing the middle class. Edward Glaeser reviews “The New Urban Crisis” by Richard Florida.
Declaration of Independence

Thanks to this agency, we identified an unknown copy of the Declaration of Independence

May 3, 2017
Washington Post | By Danielle Allen, James Bryant Conant University Professor at Harvard. "In the middle of the 20th century, this research project would have consumed at least a lifetime, and possibly several. Without [these] digital resources...it is highly unlikely that a researcher would have been able to assemble the vast body of evidence necessary to make the identification that we have made."
Brookings Institution - Universal Child Allowance

Should the U.S. enact a universal child allowance?

May 1, 2017
Brookings Institution | The Center on Children and Families at Brookings hosted an event with leading experts to discuss the current safety net and potential benefits and costs of a Universal Child Allowance. Among the participants, Chris Wimer (PhD '07), Co-Director of the Center on Poverty and Social Policy at Columbia University, presented a proposal for a universal child allowance to reduce poverty and income instability among children. Scott Winship (PhD '09), Project Director with the U.S. Joint Economic Committee, participated as a panelist. 
What the Press Still Doesn't Get About Trump

What the Press Still Doesn't Get About Trump

April 28, 2017

Politico | Politco surveys a range of experts—among them, historian Leah Wright Rigueur, Assistant Professor at Harvard Kennedy School. Says Rigueur: We need to take Trump's tweets more seriously.

Op-Ed: How Boston Basics helps our children

Op-Ed: How Boston Basics helps our children

April 28, 2017

Jamaica Plain Gazette (and others) | By Mayor Martin Walsh and Ron Ferguson, Faculty Director of the Achievement Gap Initiative at Harvard University.

As the science tells us, 80 percent of a child’s brain growth happens during the first three years of life. Racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic skill gaps can become apparent by the age of two. How we engage our babies and toddlers in those first years are critical. We must foster stimulating learning environments across all households and neighborhoods in our city.

"That purpose is what brought organizations like the Black Philanthropy Fund, Boston Children’s Museum, the Achievement Gap Initiative at Harvard, Boston Medical Center, WGBH, and the City of Boston together to launch the Boston Basics campaign.

The Hamilton Project

Leveling the Playing Field: Policy Options to Improve Postsecondary Education and Career Outcomes

April 26, 2017

The Hamilton Project | A policy forum held at the Brookings Institution. The forum began with introductory remarks by former U.S. Treasury Secretary Robert E. Rubin, followed by three roundtable discussions. Papers by David J. Deming (PhD '10) and by Tara E. Watson (PhD '03) and Adam Looney (PhD'04) were the focus of two of the roundtables. View event video and dowload papers, full transcript, and presentation slides from the event webpage.

David Deming is Professor of Education and Economics at HGSE and Professor of Public Policy at Harvard Kennedy School. Tara Watson is Associate Professor of Economics at Williams College and served in the U.S. Treasury Department from 2015-2016 as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Microeconomic Analysis. Adam Looney is a senior fellow in Economic Studies at Brookings and served in the U.S. Treasury Department from 2013-2017 as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Tax Analysis.

Reforming land use regulations

Reforming land use regulations

April 24, 2017
Brookings Institution | By Edward Glaeser, Fred and Eleanor Glimp Professor of Economics at Harvard. "Land use controls that limit the growth of...successful cities mean that Americans increasingly live in places that make it easy to build, not in places with higher levels of productivity," writes Glaeser.
Edward Glaeser

Two Takes on the Fate of Future Cities

April 21, 2017
The Atlantic—CityLab | A conversation between Ed Glaeser and Richard Florida on what urban policy needs to work towards in an uncertain future. Edward Glaeser is Fred and Eleanor Glimp Professor of Economics at Harvard.
Ronald Ferguson interview - HarvardX

Family Engagement in Education: The Boston Basics - Supporting Child Development

April 19, 2017

HarvardX | Listen as Professor Ron Ferguson, from the Harvard Kennedy School, discusses the Boston Basics — five actions a parent or any caregiver can take to help young children thrive. [video: 2 minutes]

"The nugget for me [that most influenced our emphasis in Boston Basics] was 4 or 5 years ago looking at the early childhood longitudinal survey and seeing that racial and socioeconomic differences are not very apparent around the first birthday, but they are stark by the second birthday."

Jeffrey Liebman at Council on Foreign Relations

Behavioral Insights into Policymaking

April 18, 2017

Council on Foreign Relations | Part I of the Robert Menschel Economics Symposium: A conversation with psychologist Daniel Kahneman, recipient of the Nobel prize in economic sciences. Part II: A discussion on behavioral insights into policymaking with Jeffrey Liebman, Malcolm Wiener Professor of Public Policy at Harvard Kennedy School; Maya Shankar, founder and Chair of the White House Social and Behavioral Sciences Team (SBST) under President Obama; and Elspeth Kirkman, senior vice president with The Behavioral Insights Team, North America. (Video + transcript)
View Part I: Daniel Kahneman