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Latest Inequality & Social Policy In the News

Would Donald Trump Quit if He Wins the Election?

Would Donald Trump Quit if He Wins the Election?

July 7, 2016

The New York Times | Alexander Keyssar, who is working on a book on the Electoral College, explains that the process of succession would depend on “the precise moment at which he said, ‘Nah, never mind.'" Keyssar is the Matthew W. Stirling Jr. Professor of History and Social Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School.

Study Supports Suspicion That Police Are More Likely to Use Force on Blacks

Study Supports Suspicion That Police Are More Likely to Use Force on Blacks

July 7, 2016

The New York Times | Quotes Phillip Atiba Goff on the findings of "The Science of Justice: Race, Arrests, and the Use of Force," a new study significant for its assembly and empirical analysis of detailed use-of-force data in the nation's first national database on police behavior. Goff, a visiting scholar at the Malcolm Wiener Center for Social Policy from 2014-2016, is co-founder and president of the Center for Policing Equity, which released the report, and the Franklin A. Thomas Professor in Policing Equity at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice. Tracey (Shollenberger) Lloyd (Ph.D. '15), a research associate in the Justice Policy Center at the Urban Institute, is a co-author of the study.
View the study

How Anti-Growth Sentiment, Reflected in Zoning Laws, Thwarts Equality

How Anti-Growth Sentiment, Reflected in Zoning Laws, Thwarts Equality

July 3, 2016

The New York Times | "A growing body of economic literature suggests that anti-growth sentiment, when multiplied across countless unheralded local development battles, is a major factor in creating a stagnant and less equal American economy." Quotes Daniel Shoag (Ph.D. '11), Associate Professor at Harvard Kennedy School, and cites his research with Peter Ganong (Harvard Economics Ph.D. '16), who joins the University of Chicago Harris School faculty in 2017.
View the research

Women Working Longer

Women Working Longer

July 3, 2016

Forbes | Covers new study and recent NBER conference organized by economists Claudia Goldin and Lawrence Katz, Women Working Longer. The conference explored the growing numbers of women working full-time into their sixties and seventies, and the family and financial implications of this change.
View conference program and papers

MP Andrew Leigh reelected for third term

MP Andrew Leigh reelected for third term

July 3, 2016

The Sydney Morning Herald |Labor MP Andrew Leigh (Ph.D. '04) won his third term representing Canberra's north, clinching 65.8 percent of the two-party vote and a 3.3 percent swing.

What an Affordable Housing Moonshot Would Look Like

What an Affordable Housing Moonshot Would Look Like

July 1, 2016

Slate | Too many Americans live on the edge of eviction. Could a universal housing voucher program fix the problem? Draws on the work of Matthew Desmond, John L. Loeb Associate Professor of the Social Sciences and author of Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City (2016).

The Violence of Eviction

The Violence of Eviction

June 28, 2016

Dissent | Review essay by Mike Konczal explores Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City, by Matthew Desmond of Harvard, and Chain of Title: How Three Ordinary Americans Uncovered Wall Street’s Great Foreclosure Fraud, by David Dayen.

Summer jobs boost employment skills, academic aspirations, study finds

Summer jobs boost employment skills, academic aspirations, study finds

June 27, 2016

Boston Globe | New study by Alicia Sasser Modestino (Ph.D. '01) of Northeastern University and Trinh Nguyen of the Mayor’s Office of Workforce Development for the City of Boston. Modestino is a visiting scholar at the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, which released the study.

Donald Trump is Wrong: Campaigns Matter

Donald Trump is Wrong: Campaigns Matter

June 24, 2016

Pacific Standard | Coverage of new research by Ryan Enos, Associate Professor of Government, and Anthony Fowler of University of Chicago finds that “contrary to some expectations, large-scale campaigns can significantly increase the size and composition of the voting population, rather than simply mobilizing a small fraction of voters on the margin.”
View the research

After Brexit, a changed future

After Brexit, a changed future

June 24, 2016

Washington Post | Harvard analysts assess Brexit's implications, including Peter A. Hall, Krupp Foundation Professor of European Studies. "Euro-skeptical parties on the radical right and left of the political spectrum have been encouraged by the British vote to demand similar referenda in their own countries,” Hall said. “But mainstream political leaders are anxious to prevent this. They can only do so if they retain power, and that will be their first priority.  They can only do so if they can revive economic growth in Europe and limit the backlash against immigration. That will be very difficult to do.”

Health Policy Leaders Call on HHS to Test More Mandatory Bundled Payment Models

Health Policy Leaders Call on HHS to Test More Mandatory Bundled Payment Models

June 24, 2016

Center for American ProgressThe Center for American Progress, along with major leaders in the health policy community and physicians, issued a letter to Secretary of Health and Human Services Sylvia Burwell urging next steps on Medicare payment reform. Amitabh Chandra, Malcolm Wiener Professor of Social Policy is one of the 11 signatories.

How And Why Conservatives Are Trying To Bring Colorado Latinos Into Their Fold

How And Why Conservatives Are Trying To Bring Colorado Latinos Into Their Fold

June 22, 2016

Colorado Public Radio | Quotes Theda Skocpol, Victor S. Thomas Professor of Government and Sociology, who leads a team of researchers studying Libre and other advocacy groups and organizations operating around the Democratic and Republican parties. [text and audio: 5 minutes]

For more on the Libre Initiative, see the factual brief by Angie Bautista-Chavez (Ph.D. student in Government) and Sarah James (Ph.D. student in Government & Social Policy), produced for the Scholars Strategy Network.

Two Black Members of Congress condemn racism on Airbnb

Two Black Members of Congress condemn racism on Airbnb

June 21, 2016

NBCNews.com | Congressional Black Caucus Chairman G. K. Butterfield (D- NC), and Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D-Mo.) have issued a public letter calling on the CEO of Airbnb to address issues of discrimination on its platform. The letter specifically urges consideration of practical measures suggested by Michael Luca, Assistant Professor at Harvard Business School, in a recent article in the Washington Post. The article also highlights the findings of Luca's study with HBS colleagues Benjamin Edelman and Dan Svirsky, "Racial Discrimination in the Sharing Economy: Evidence from a Field Experiment."
View the research... Read more about Two Black Members of Congress condemn racism on Airbnb

With Trump in the Race, the Battleground is Everywhere

With Trump in the Race, the Battleground is Everywhere

June 21, 2016

FiveThirtyEight | New research by political scientists Bernard Fraga (Ph.D '13) of Indiana University and Eitan Hersh of Yale University finds, surprisingly, that nearly the entire U.S. has experienced very close electoral contests in recent years. "For readers who take comfort in the stability in competition that has characterized recent presidential elections," writes Hersh, "gird yourself."
View the research

What Makes Teams Tick

What Makes Teams Tick

June 21, 2016

Harvard Magazine | New findings by Michèle Lamont and co-authors Veronica Boix Mansilla and Kyoko Sato on what makes for successful interdisciplinary collaborations. Lamont is the Robert I. Goldman Professor of European Studies and Professor of Sociology and African and African American Studies at Harvard.

'If the goal was to get rid of poverty, we failed': the legacy of the 1996 welfare reform

'If the goal was to get rid of poverty, we failed': the legacy of the 1996 welfare reform

June 20, 2016

Vox | An in-depth look at welfare reform 20 years on: the history of US welfare policy and origins of welfare reform, implementation of the 1996 law, assessments of its effects on poverty, and the policy discussion today among poverty experts. Quoted or featured in the piece: Mary Jo Bane, David Ellwood, Christopher Jencks, and William Julius Wilson, all of the Harvard Kennedy School.

Inside the donor network: Studies unravel the influence of money in politics— on the right and left

Inside the donor network: Studies unravel the influence of money in politics— on the right and left

June 18, 2016

Salon | Recaps highlights from the workshop, Purchasing Power? The Next Generation of Research on Money and Politics, sponsored by the Scholars Strategy Network and hosted by the Open Society Foundations and the Ford Foundation in New York City, June 16-17, 2016. Features new research by Harvard's Theda Skocpol, Victor S. Thomas Professor of Government and Sociology, and by Alex Hertel-Fernandez (Ph.D. '16), Assistant Professor of Public and International Affairs at Columbia University.

The big change that could help poor people move to lower poverty neighborhoods

The big change that could help poor people move to lower poverty neighborhoods

June 17, 2016

Washington Post | Quotes and cites research of Eva Rosen (Ph.D. '14), now a postdoctoral fellow at Johns Hopkins University. Also cites research by faculty affiliate Matthew Desmond and Kristin L. Perkins (Ph.D. candidate in Sociology and Social Policy), and by Robert Collinson and Peter Ganong (Harvard Ph.D. '16, now Chicago Harris School of Public Policy).

Muslim Immigrants Have No Trouble Assimilating, Mr. Trump

Muslim Immigrants Have No Trouble Assimilating, Mr. Trump

June 17, 2016

BloombergView | Editorial column by Paula Dwyer quotes Mary C. Waters, M.E. Zukerman Professor of Sociology. Waters chaired the National Academy of Sciences panel on the Integration of Immigrants into American Society, which issued its report, also cited in the article, in fall 2015.

Latest commentary and analysis

Hearing on Impact of House Republican ACA Repeal Bill

Douglas Elmendorf joins Hearing on Impact of House Republican ACA Repeal Bill

March 16, 2017

Douglas Elmendorf, Dean of the Harvard Kennedy School, spoke as an expert witness before a House Democratic Caucus hearing on the impact of the Affordable Health Care Act, the House Republican health care bill.

"The health care legislation supported by the House Republican leadership would take our country backward, not forward. It would do that in at least 4 important ways," Elmendorf said.

Elmendorf highlighted its reversal of progress in expanding health insurance coverage, and the inability to afford health insurance—not freedom to choose—as the main driver behind the expected rise in the numbers of uninsured. The bill "would not represent shared sacrifice for the national good but rather targeted sacrifice by lower- and middle-income Americans," Elmendorf maintained, and "would take us backward by providing a large tax cut focused on the very top of the income distribution."

On the burden to lower- and middle-income Americans, Elmendorf noted that the bill "would leave the tax subsidies for higher-income Americans fully in place and clobber the tax subsidies -- and spending subsidies -- for lower-and middle-income Americans." At the same time, "one percent of households with the highest incomes would receive 40 percent of the gains from repealing the tax increases under the ACA," Elmendorf said, citing estimates by the Tax Policy Center.
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American apartheid

American apartheid

March 16, 2017

UVA Miller Center | By Orlando Patterson, John Cowles Professor of Sociology. Volume 9 in the Miller Center's First Year 2017 project, which examines the key issues the new U.S. president must confront. The current volume, "Grappling with Tensions Over Race," also includes essays by Elizabeth Hinton (Assistant Professor of History and of African and African American Studies at Harvard), Douglas A. Blackmon, and Michael Eric Dyson (Georgetown University)
See all essays

Dani Rodrik

How Much Europe Can Europe Tolerate?

March 14, 2017

Project Syndicate | By Dani Rodrik, Ford Foundation Professor of International Political Economy, Harvard Kennedy School. "Today, the Union is mired in a deep existential crisis, and its future is very much in doubt. The symptoms are everywhere: Brexit, crushing levels of youth unemployment in Greece and Spain, debt and stagnation in Italy, the rise of populist movements, and a backlash against immigrants and the euro. They all point to the need for a major overhaul of Europe’s institutions," Rodrik writes.

CBS News: Douglas Elmendorf

Fmr. CBO director on new health care bill report

March 13, 2017

CBS News | Douglas Elmendorf, Dean of the Harvard Kennedy School and Don K. Price Professor of Public Policy, joins CBSN's "Red & Blue" to discuss today's Congressional Budget Office report on the House Republican health care bill. Elmendorf served as director of the Congressional Budget Office from January 2009 to March 2015.
[Video: 8 minutes].

"...A bigger part of the reason people will lose health insurance coverage is they won’t be able to afford it, People are not maintaining access to health insurance coverage, or gaining access to health insurance coverage, in this legislation. People are being taken out of Medicaid. The subsidies are being cut back by 40% on average in insurance marketplaces. So the bill is not maintaining access and giving people freedom to choose as the Speaker suggested. It is reducing access very significantly.," Elmendorf said.

Bloomberg: Douglas Elmendorf

Why the CBO Report Is a Blow to the GOP Health Plan

March 13, 2017

Bloomberg | Douglas Elmendorf, Dean of the Harvard Kennedy School and former director of the Congressional Budget Office, reacts to the CBO scorecard on the GOP health plan. [video: 6 minutes]

Securities and Exchange Commission Evidence Summit

Securities and Exchange Commission Evidence Summit

March 10, 2017

U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission | Economist Brigitte Madrian of the Harvard Kennedy School spoke at an SEC "Evidence Summit," a public conference "to discuss...potential strategies for enhancing retail investors’ understanding of key investment characteristics such as fees, risks, returns, and conflicts of interest." 

The summit aimed to "marshal research from the fields of economics and cognitive sciences to help inform ways of thinking about investor behavior and identify areas for possible future research to be conducted under the auspices of an investor research initiative led by the Commission’s Office of the Investor Advocate."  An archive version of the webcast will be posted soon at SEC.gov.

Turning a March into a Movement

Turning a March into a Movement

March 9, 2017

HKS PolicyCast | If the Women’s March on Washington was a spark, what does it now take to fan that spark into a flame? In this week's roundtable discussion: Assistant Professor Leah Wright Rigueur, Women and Public Policy Program Executive Director Victoria Budson, and Adjunct Lecturer Tim McCarthy.

Trump attacks cities, but they’re the lifeblood of our country (Part 1)

Trump attacks cities, but they’re the lifeblood of our country (Part 1)

March 8, 2017

Washington Post | A conversation with Harvard economist Edward Glaeser. "Perhaps the most troubling division to me is the gap in prime age joblessness between urban and rural America. That gap is widening perilously," Glaeser says. "In 1980, only about nine percent of men between 25 and 54 were jobless in both urban and rural America. Today, the jobless rate is about 15 percent in America’s metropolitan areas, which is slightly below the national average, and about 19 percent outside of metropolitan America."

NABE Economic Policy Conference 2017

Economic Policy Conference: Fiscal Policy Perspectives

March 6, 2017

C-SPAN | National Association of Business Economics conference session with Douglas Elmendorf of the Harvard Kennedy School and Glenn Hubbard of Columbia Business School. Elmendorf, Dean and Don K. Price Professor of Public Policy, served as Director of the Congressional Budget Office from January 2009 through March 2015. Hubbard served as Chair of the White House Council of Economic Advisers from 2001 to 2003.
View conference program and materials

Robots are wealth creators and taxing them is illogical

Robots are wealth creators and taxing them is illogical

March 5, 2017

Financial Times | By Lawrence Summers, Charles W. Eliot University Professor "Why tax in ways that reduce the size of the pie rather than ways that assure that the larger pie is well distributed?," Summers writes. "There are many better approaches. Governments will, however, have to concern themselves with problems of structural joblessness. They likely will need to take a more explicit role in ensuring full employment than has been the practice in the US." This article also appeared in the Washington Post.

Race, Segregation, and Politics

Linking Multiracial Coalitions and Class-Based Appeals

March 4, 2017

NYU Furman Center | By Lawrence Bobo, W. E. B. Du Bois Professor of the Social Sciences, Harvard University. Part of the "The Dream Revisted: Race, Segregation, and Politics," a discussion with J. Phillip Thompson (MIT), and also featuring responses by Patrick Bayer (Duke) and Christina Greer (Fordham).

Why We Don’t Value Flextime Enough

Why We Don’t Value Flextime Enough

March 3, 2017

Wall Street Journal | By Ray Fisman (Boston University) and Michael Luca (Harvard Business School). Most American workers won’t trade less pay for a more flexible schedule, but they’re underestimating the role of free time in personal happiness, Fisman and Luca write. Among the research discussed in this article, a recent study by Alexandre Mas (Princeton University) and Amanda Pallais (Harvard Economics), "Valuing Alternative Work Arrangements."
View the research

'Deportation Nation'

'Deportation Nation'

March 2, 2017

Radio Open Source | Harvard's Mary Waters, John L. Loeb Professor of Sociology, and Roberto Gonzales, Assistant Professor at Harvard Graduate School of Education, join Daniel Kanstroom, Professor of Law at Boston College and author of  Deportation Nation: Outsiders in American History.

From Radio Open Source:
Mary Waters, sociologist at Harvard, is increasingly concerned by the parallels between mass deportation and mass incarceration. She termed the phenomenon “crimmigration.” In order to resist this system, she writes, “we need a model of a social movement that is not based in civil rights, because we have defined millions of people living in this country as being outside of civil society.

Roberto Gonzales spent 12 years following the lives of undocumented teenagers in Los Angeles. His heart-breaking account in Lives in Limbo paints a tragic portrait of squandered potential and unrealized dreams. For undocumented teenagers, adulthood marks a transition to illegality — a period of ever-narrowing opportunities. One teenager named Esperanza lamented to Roberto: “I would have been the walking truth instead of a walking shadow.”

What Could We Expect on Ed From a Justice Gorsuch?

What Could We Expect on Ed From a Justice Gorsuch?

March 1, 2017

EdNext Podcast | Arizona Supreme Court Justice Clint Bolick has been poring over Neil Gorsuch’s opinions as a federal judge to learn how he might approach the steady stream of education cases that inevitably make their way before the Supreme Court. He discusses his conclusions in this week's episode with Marty West, Associate Professor of Education  and executive edtor of Education Next.

Natasha Warikoo

The Diversity Bargain

February 28, 2017

C-SPAN Book TV | Professor Natasha Warikoo talks about her book The Diversity Bargain: And Other Dilemmas of Race, Admissions, and Meritocracy at Elite Universities, in which she examines what college students in the U.S. and Britain think about race and diversity programs. A presentation delivered at New York University by Natasha Warikoo (Ph.D. '05), Associate Professor at Harvard Graduate School of Education.

The GOP's Long History with Black Colleges

The GOP’s Long History With Black Colleges

February 27, 2017

Politico | By Theodore R. Johnson and Leah Wright Rigueur. "In the tenous relationship between Republican leaders and historically black schools, this is the way it's been for a long time," write Johnson and Rigueur. "Politics makes for strange bedfellows—as is undoubtedly true of Trump and Talladega—but the blend of political expediency and areas of ideological overlap have proved a strong enough elixir to bring the two together and sustain a relationship over time."

Leah Wright Rigueur is an assistant professor of public policy at the Harvard Kennedy School and the author of The Loneliness of the Black Republican: Pragmatic Politics and the Pursuit of Power. Theodore R. Johnson is an Eric and Wendy Schmidt Fellow at New America and an adjunct professor at Georgetown University’s McCourt School of Public Policy.

Bart Bonikowski

In Europe, nationalism rising

February 27, 2017

Harvard Gazette | Featuring interviews with Bart Bonikowski, Associate Professor of Sociology, and Michèle Lamont,  Robert I. Goldman Professor of European Studies and Professor of Sociology and of African and African American Studies.