News

Latest Inequality & Social Policy In the News

John Harvard's Journal: Kennedy School Centers

John Harvard's Journal: Kennedy School Centers

June 17, 2016

Harvard Magazine | Notes that David T. Ellwood, Scott M. Black professor of political economy and HKS Dean from 2004 to 2015, has been appointed director of the Malcolm Wiener Center for Social Policy. "He also chairs the U.S. Partnership on Mobility from Poverty, an academic-practitioner collaboration aiming to create expanded paths for economic and social advancement. Allison professor of economics Lawrence Katz and Beren professor of economics N. Gregory Mankiw are among the 24 members of the partnership."

Black Caucus urges Airbnb to take reports of racism seriously

Black Caucus urges Airbnb to take reports of racism seriously

June 16, 2016

TechCrunch | The Congressional Black Caucus has called on AirbnB take further action in addressing the issues of racism and discrimination on its platform, including measures like those suggested by HBS Assistant Professor Michael Luca in a recent Washington Post article. Luca and HBS colleagues Benjamin Edelman and Dan Svirsky are the authors of a much-cited study, "Racial Discrimination in the Sharing Economy: Evidence from an Experiment."
View the research

After mass shootings, Republicans make it easier to buy guns

After mass shootings, Republicans make it easier to buy guns

June 14, 2016

Washington Post | Discusses recent study by faculty affiliate Michael Luca, Deepak Malhotra, and Christopher Poliquin, all of Harvard Business School. Luca and colleagues find a 15% increase in the introduction of gun-related bills in state legislatures following a mass shooting, but no statistically significant increase in gun laws enacted in either Democrat-led or divided state legislatures. In contrast, in states with Republican-controlled legislatures, they find a 75% increase in laws passed to loosen gun restrictions. 
View the research

After Mass Shootings, It's Often Easier to Buy a Gun

After Mass Shootings, It's Often Easier to Buy a Gun

June 14, 2016

The New York Times | Discusses recent study by faculty affiliate Michael Luca, Deepak Malhotra, and Christopher Poliquin, all of Harvard Business School. Luca and colleagues find a 15% increase in the introduction of gun-related bills in state legislatures following a mass shooting, but no statistically significant increase in gun laws enacted in either Democrat-led or divided state legislatures. In contrast, in states with Republican-controlled legislatures, they find a 75% increase in laws passed to loosen gun restrictions. 
View the research

When passengers air their fury

When passengers air their fury

June 13, 2016

Harvard Gazette | What might situational microcosms of inequality—like that experienced by air passengers—reveal about how societal income and wealth inequality play out in everyday life? New study by social psychologist Michael I. Norton of Harvard Business School and Katherine A. DeCelles of University of Toronto examines episodes of "air rage" to shed light on the social behavioral consequences of inequality.
View the research in PNAS

Teaching the Teachers

Teaching the Teachers

June 11, 2016

The Economist | Cites and quotes Thomas Kane, Walter S. Gale Professor of Education: "Thomas Kane of Harvard University estimates that if African-American children were all taught by the top 25% of teachers, the gap between blacks and whites would close within eight years. He adds that if the average American teacher were as good as those at the top quartile the gap in test scores between America and Asian countries would be closed within four years."

Also highlights work of Roland Fryer, Henry Lee Professor of Economics: "In a vast study published in March, Roland Fryer of Harvard University found that “managed professional development”, where teachers receive precise instruction together with specific, regular feedback under the mentorship of a lead teacher, had large positive effects."

In Pursuit of Political Equality

In Pursuit of Political Equality

June 10, 2016

Wall Street Journal | Profile of political theorist Danielle Allen and a discussion of her new book, Equality and Education, which is being released this month by University of Chicago Press. Allen is Professor of Government and of Education and director of the Edmund J. Safra Center for Ethics at Harvard.

High Earners Are Going to Hate These Retirement Proposals

High Earners Are Going to Hate These Retirement Proposals

June 9, 2016

Bloomberg | A 146-page report on how to fix Social Security and more. Results and policy proposals from the two-year Bipartisan Policy Center Commission on Retirement Security and Personal Savings. Brigitte Madrian, Aetna Professor of Public Policy and Corporate Management at the Harvard Kennedy School, served on the commission.
View the report

Mehta Named Radcliffe Institute Fellow

Mehta Named Radcliffe Institute Fellow

June 9, 2016

Harvard Graduate School of Education | What Associate Professor Jal Mehta (Ph.D. '06) will be working on as a Radcliffe Institute fellow for the 2016-2017 academic year.

How Location Affects Economic and Educational Prospects

How Location Affects Economic and Educational Prospects

June 7, 2016

Harvard Kennedy School | Analyzing data on more than 100,000 Japanese- Americans interned during World War II, HKS Assistant Professor Daniel Shoag (Ph.D. '11) and co-author Nicholas Carollo (UCLA) provide new evidence on the causal effect of place. They find that camp assignment had large and lasting effects on long-term locations, on individual economic outcomes, and on economic outcomes in subsequent generations.
View the research

New book: Education and Equality, by Danielle Allen

New book: Education and Equality, by Danielle Allen

June 7, 2016

This month marks the launch of Danielle Allen's new book, Education and Equality, published by the University of Chicago Press. The Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics at Harvard, Harvard Book Store, and Boston Review will host a book discussion with Allen, Professor of Government and Education, as part of the Safra Center's new "Ethics in Your World" speaker series—Jun 7, 7:00-8:00 pm, Harvard Book Store (See event details).

The Disconnected

The Disconnected

June 3, 2016

Slate | Two decades after “welfare to work,” some women are navigating life without either welfare or work. Article accompanying a new Marketplace podcast, "The Uncertain Hour," which looks back at welfare reform 20 years later. Quotes David Ellwood, Scott M. Black Professor of Political Economy.

How Kids Learn Resilience

How Kids Learn Resilience

June 3, 2016

The Atlantic | Notes and discusses economist Roland Fryer's research on incentive schemes in public school systems with high poverty rates: "As a body of work, Fryer’s incentive studies have marked one of the biggest and most thorough educational experiments in American history." Fryer, Henry Lee Professor of Economics, generally found no effect on student achievement.

Latest commentary and analysis

The Lists Told Us Otherwise

The Lists Told Us Otherwise

December 26, 2016

n+ 1 | The Democratic collapse and the ascent of Trumpism. By Daniel Schlozman (Ph.D. '11), Assistant Professor of Political Science, Johns Hopkins University.

Schlozman is the author of When Movements Anchor Parties: Electoral Alignments in American History (Princeton University Press, 2015), winner of the 2016 Charles Tilly Distinguished Contribution to Scholarship Book Award, conferred by the Collective Behavior and Social Movements Section of the American Sociological Association.

Best of 2016: Part 1

Best of 2016: Part 1

December 23, 2016

TalkPoverty Radio | TalkPoverty Radio revisits some of its favorite interviews from 2016, beginning with Matthew Desmond, "whose 2016 book Evicted brings to center stage how eviction is both a cause and a consequence of poverty." Desmond is John L. Loeb Associate Professor of the Social Sciences at Harvard.

Monica Bell guests on Undisclosed

Monica Bell guests on Undisclosed

December 22, 2016

Undisclosed (S2, Addendum 21) | Monica Bell, Ph.D. candidate in Sociology & Social Policy, talks class, race, and geography and how these shape trust/distrust in the criminal justice system. On the criminal justice podcast Undisclosed. Learn more about Monica Bell's research at her homepage: scholar.harvard.edu/bell 

Residential Mobility by Whites Maintains Segregation Despite Recent Changes

Residential Mobility by Whites Maintains Segregation Despite Recent Changes

December 21, 2016

NYU Furman Center | By Jackelyn Hwang (Ph.D. '15), essay for the NYU Furman Center discussion series "The Dream Revisited." Hwang is postdoctoral research fellow at Princeton University, and in fall 2017 will join the Stanford University faculty as Assistant Professor of Sociology.

Trump Is Going After Health Care. Will Democrats Push Back?

Trump Is Going After Health Care. Will Democrats Push Back?

December 21, 2016

The New York Times | By Theda Skocpol, Victor S. Thomas Professor of Government and Sociology. "...Repealing Obamacare means eliminating the taxes that subsidize health care for low- and middle-income people," a point that must be made clear, Skocpol writes. "That huge and immediate tax cut for the rich would lead to the demise of subsidized health insurance for millions of less privileged Americans in rural, suburban, and urban communities."

Tomás Jiménez: Immigration, the American Identity, and the Election

Tomás Jiménez: Immigration, the American Identity, and the Election

December 16, 2016

Peninsula TV—The Game |  Tomás Jiménez (Ph.D. '05), Stanford Associate Professor of Sociology and Director of the program Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity, joins to talk about our history, where we are now, and where we might be going. Jiménez's newest book, due out in 2017, is The Other Side of Assimilation: How Immigrants are Changing American Life (University of California Press).

How Does Parental Satisfaction Vary across School Sectors?

How Does Parental Satisfaction Vary across School Sectors?

December 14, 2016

EdNext Podcast | Paul E. Peterson and Marty West discuss the findings of two polls on parental opinion. Paul Peterson is the Henry Lee Shattuck Professor of Government at Harvard. Martin West (Ph.D. '06) is an Associate Professor at the Harvard Graduate School of Eduation and editor-in-chief of Education Next.

What Do Parents Think of Their Children’s Schools?

What Do Parents Think of Their Children’s Schools?

December 13, 2016

Education Next |  By Samuel Barrows, Paul E. Peterson, and Martin R. West. EdNext poll compares charter, district, and private schools nationwide. 

Samuel Barrows (Ph.D. '14) isi a postdoctoral fellow at the Program on Education Policy and Governance (PEPG) at the Harvard Kennedy School. Paul E. Peterson is Henry Lee Shattuck Professor of Government at Harvard University and director of PEPG. Martin R. West (Ph.D '06), editor-in-chief of Education Next, is associate professor at the Harvard Graduate School of Education and deputy director of PEPG.

Trump’s Education Pick: A Win for Public-School Parents

Trump’s Education Pick: A Win for Public-School Parents

December 12, 2016

Wall Street Journal | By Paul E. Peterson, Henry Lee Shattuck Professor of Government and Director of the Program on Education Policy and Governnance at Harvard. Differences in satisfaction levels between parents with children in public schools versus private and charter schools—revealed in Education Next's 2016 national survey—suggest that school choice might be the answer for parents who want more for their kids, Peterson argues.

Want to Feel Less Time-Stressed? Here’s one surprisingly effective solution: Give some time away.

Want to Feel Less Time-Stressed? Here’s one surprisingly effective solution: Give some time away.

December 11, 2016

Wall Street Journal | By Cassie Mogilner Holmes (UCLA) and Michael I. Norton (HBS). "Our results show that spending time on others increases feelings of time affluence by increasing self-efficacy, or that (rare) feeling of being able to accomplish all that we set out to do."

Norton is the Harold M. Brierley Professor of Business Administration at the Harvard Business School, and a member of Harvard’s Behavioral Insights Group.

The everyday response to racism

The everyday response to racism

December 9, 2016

Harvard Gazette | Sociologist Michèle Lamont and colleagues examined how minority group identities help sculpt how they handle discrimination. Lamont and Graziella Moraes Silva (Ph.D. '10), two of the authors of a new book Getting Respect: Responding to Stigma and Discrimination in the United States, Brazil, and Israel, sat down for for a question-and-answer session to talk about the project and what its findings say about race relations in the United States.

Lamont is Professor of Sociology and African and African American studies, Director of the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs, and the Robert I. Goldman Professor of European Studies. Silva is now Assistant Professor of Sociology and Anthropology at The Graduate Institute in Geneva.

Is the American Dream Fading?

Is the American Dream Fading?

December 9, 2016

Pacific Standard | A conversation with Robert Manduca (Ph.D. student in Sociology & Social Policy), one of the authors of the economic mobility study making waves this week. Learn more about Robert Manduca's work: robertmanduca.com

Why Are Fewer Adults Surpassing Their Parents’ Incomes?

Why Are Fewer Adults Surpassing Their Parents’ Incomes?

December 9, 2016

FREOPP | By Scott Winship (Ph.D. '09), Visiting Fellow, Foundation for Research on Equal Opportunity. Winship digs into new Chetty et. al. paper released yesterday, "The Fading American Dream: Trends in Absolute Income Mobility Since 1940."

Latest policy, research briefs, and expert testimony

Michael Luca

Lessons from Yelp's Empirical Approach to Diversity

September 20, 2017
Harvard Business Review | By Rachel Williams, Gauri Subramani, Michael Luca, and Geoff Donaker. Michael Luca is the Lee J. Styslinger III Associate Professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business School.
The Gains of Greater Granularity: The Presence and Persistence of Problem Properties in Urban Neighborhoods

The Gains of Greater Granularity: The Presence and Persistence of Problem Properties in Urban Neighborhoods

September 5, 2017
Boston Area Research Initiative | In a recent paper, BARI Co-Directors Dan O’Brien and Chris Winship demonstrated the presence and persistence of ‘‘problem properties’’ with elevated levels of crime and disorder in Boston. Importantly, they find that this additional geographic detail offers a wealth of information beyond the traditional focus on at-risk neighborhoods, and even the more recent attention to hotspot street segments. (Continue reading)

Chris Winship is the Diker-Tishman Professor of Sociology at Harvard University and a member of the faculty at the Harvard Kennedy School. The paper was published in a special issue of the Journal of Quantitative Criminology on the Law of Concentration of Crime. 
View the research
Jeff Liebman

Using Data to Make More Rapid Progress in Addressing U.S. Social Problems

August 30, 2017
By Jeffrey Liebman, Malcolm Wiener Professor of Public Policy.

From the Government Performance Lab at Harvard Kennedy School:  In a new piece forthcoming in The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science (Jan 2018), Professor Jeffrey Liebman describes how high frequency use of data can move agencies from static evaluation of programs to real-time improvement in outcomes and to solutions to challenging social problems.... Read more about Using Data to Make More Rapid Progress in Addressing U.S. Social Problems
How the government can help simplify personal financial decision-making

How the government can help simplify personal financial decision-making

August 29, 2017

Harvard Kennedy School | "Low incomes, limited financial literacy, fraud, and deception are just a few of the many intractable economic and social factors that contribute to the financial difficulties that households face today...But poor financial outcomes also result from systematic psychological tendencies," some of which may be countered with government interventions that are both low-cost and scalable," Harvard Kennedy School Professor Brigitte Madrian and co-authors write in the latest issue of Behavioral Science & Policy. Their article outlines a set of interventions that the federal government "could feasibly test or implement to improve household nancial outcomes in a variety of domains: retirement, short-term savings, debt management, the take-up of government benefits, and tax optimization." 
View the research

Carola Frydman

Why Has CEO Pay Grown So Much Faster Than the Average Worker’s?

August 3, 2017

Kellogg Insight | Based on the research of Carola Frydman (PhD 2006) and Dimitris Papanikolaou. Carola Frydman is Associate Professor of Finance in the Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University. View the research: “In Search of Ideas: Technological Innovation and Executive Pay Inequality.” Journal of Financial Economics (Oct 2018).

View the research ►
Education Next

2017 EdNext Poll on School Reform released

August 1, 2017
Education Next | By Martin R. West, Michael B. Henderson, Paul E. Peterson, and Samuel Barrows. This article appears in print in the Winter 2018 issue of Education Next.
Scientific American

Natural Disasters by Location: Rich Leave and Poor Get Poorer

July 2, 2017
Scientific American | Each big catastrophe like a hurricane increases a U.S. county's poverty by 1 percent,  90 years of data show. By Leah Platt Boustan (PhD '06), Maria Lucia Yanguas, Matthew Kahn, and Paul W. Rhode, based on the authors' research. Leah Platt Boustan is a Professor of Economics at Princeton University.
Carlos Lastra-Anadon

Technological Change, Inequality, and the Collapse of the Liberal Order

June 17, 2017

G20 Insights | Carlos Lastra-Anadón, PhD candidate in Government & Social Policy, has co-authored a policy brief that has been selected to appear in "20 Solution Proposals for the G20" to be circulated to summit participants at the G20 Hamburg summit, July 7-8, 2017. Theirs is one of 20 policy recommendations "chosen for their novelty, implementability, and relevance to the G20 during the German presidency."

The brief is co-authored by Manuel Muñiz (Weatherhead Center for International Affairs, Harvard University), Karl Kaiser (Harvard University), Henning Meyer (London School of Economics), and Manuel Torres (Accenture).

Microeconomic insights

A most egalitarian profession: pharmacy and the evolution of a family-friendly occupation

June 8, 2017

Microeconomic Insights | By Claudia Goldin and Lawrence F. Katz. "How much of the earnings gap between men and women is because the latter choose jobs and occupations that enable flexibility in their work, predictability in their hours and bounds on their work schedule?," ask Harvard economics professors Claudia Goldin and Lawrence Katz. Here they summarize their recent article by the same title, pubilshed in 2016 in the Journal of Labor Economics.
View the research

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
How tax rates influence the migration of superstar inventors

How tax rates influence the migration of superstar inventors

May 24, 2017
Microeconomic Insights | By Ufak Akcigit (University of Chicago), Salome Baslandze (Einaudi Institute for Economics and Finance), and Stefanie Stantcheva (Harvard University). The authors summarize the findings from their recent American Economic Review article, "Taxation and the International Mobility of Inventors." Stantcheva is Associate Professor of Economics (effective 7/1) at Harvard.
View the research
International Ladies Garment Workers Union

Does union activism increase workers’ wages?

May 22, 2017
Work in Progress | By Nathan Wilmers, Ph.D. candidate in Sociology. Research findings from his recently-published article in Social Forces. Work in Progress is the American Sociological Association's blog for 'short-form sociology' on the economy, work, and inequality. 
View the research
Annual Review of Sociology

Wealth Inequality and Accumulation

May 12, 2017

Annual Review of Sociology | By Alexandra Killewald, Fabian T. Pfeffer, and Jared Schachner. Alexandra Killewald is Professor of Sociology at Harvard. Jared Schachner is a PhD candidate in Sociology and Social Policy.