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Latest Inequality & Social Policy In the News

How America Lost its Mojo

How America Lost its Mojo

May 27, 2016

The AtlanticAmericans are less likely to switch jobs, move to another state, or create new companies than they were 30 years ago (or 100 years ago). What’s going on? Cites research by Raven Molloy (Ph.D. '06, now a senior economist with the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System) and colleagues (See their BPEA paper). Also cites research by Peter Ganong and Daniel Shoag (Ph.D. '11, now Assistant Professor, HKS) linking rising housing prices in wealthy areas to declining income convergence (See their paper).

Chicago's Murder Problem

Chicago's Murder Problem

May 27, 2016

The New York Times | Why homicide rates in Chicago outpace those in New York, with insights from Robert Sampson, Henry Ford II Professor of the Social Sciences.

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] ▶

Janet Yellen Talks Policy and Inequality at Radcliffe Day Celebration

Janet Yellen Talks Policy and Inequality at Radcliffe Day Celebration

May 27, 2016

Harvard Magazine | Harvard's Commencement week concluded with a a program "honoring Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen, the recipient of this year’s Radcliffe Medal and one of today’s most publicly vocal advocates of shared prosperity." Harvard Magazine notes that "Yellen has been unapologetic in her view that promoting broadly shared prosperity is inherent in the Fed’s mandate, a role which has cemented her leadership in the public conversation on inequality."
View event video ▶

Janet Yellen to receive Radcliffe Medal

Janet Yellen to receive Radcliffe Medal

May 26, 2016

Harvard Gazette | Dean Douglas Elmendorf of  Harvard Kennedy School and Claudia Goldin, Henry Lee Professor of Economics at Harvard, are among the participants in a Radcliffe Day event on May 27 honoring Janet Yellen, Federal Reserve Chair and this year's Radcliffe Medalist. The day will open with the panel "Building an Economy for Prosperity and Equality," featuring Elmendorf and Goldin. Other Radcliffe Day participants include former Fed Chair Ben S. Bernanke; economics professor Gregory Mankiw of Harvard; Cecilia Rouse, Dean of the Woodrow Wilson School of International and Public Affairs at Princeton University; economics professor David Autor of MIT, and Louise Sheiner of the Brookings Institution. The day's events will be webcast live beginning at 10:30 am.

Inside the Eviction Epidemic

Inside the Eviction Epidemic

May 26, 2016

WNET Chasing the Dream: Poverty and Opportunity in America | Matthew Desmond, John L. Loeb Associate Professor of the Social Sciences, provides a firsthand look at the harsh realities of living in a trailer park [video segment: 8:27 minutes]. See the full documentary, The Last Trailer Park, which includes Desmond's interview [26:47 minutes].

Bringing Back Labor, Without the Unions

Bringing Back Labor, Without the Unions

May 24, 2016

Bloomberg View | Cites study by Bruce Western (Professor of Sociology and Daniel and Florence Guggenheim Professor of Criminal Justice) and Jake Rosenfeld (Washington University in St. Louis), which found that the decline of organized labor between 1973 and 2007 explains one-third of the rise in wage inequality among men during this time (See their ASR article), and by Richard Freeman (Herbert Ascherman Professor of Economics) and colleagues, which finds a "strong, though not necessarily causal link between unions, the middle class, and intergenerational mobility." (See Freeman et. al. study)

Neighborhoods Can Shape Success—Down to the Level of a City Block

Neighborhoods Can Shape Success—Down to the Level of a City Block

May 23, 2016

The Atlantic | A small but intriguing study done in West Philadelphia points to the importance of what researchers call microenvironments.  Features Laura Tach (Ph. '10) of Cornell University, lead author of the study. Also cites work of  Raj Chetty, Nathaniel Hendren and Lawrence Katz.

Not Leaving, Just Changing Jobs

Not Leaving, Just Changing Jobs

May 23, 2016

Education Next | By Paul E. Peterson, Henry Lee Shattuck Professor of Government. With this issue, Peterson passes leadership of the journal Education Next to Martin West (Ph.D. 06), Associate Professor of Education, who will now serve as editor-in-chief. Peterson will continue to serve as senior editor for the publication, which he and collaborators launched 17-years ago.

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.

The Complex Relationship between Data and Cities

The Complex Relationship between Data and Cities

May 18, 2016

The Atlantic CityLab |Checking in on the latest advancements, and the challenges that remain. Highlights work by faculty affiliate Robert Sampson and Jackelyn Hwang (Ph.D. '15, now a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at Princeton University), and a recent NBER paper by faculty affiliates Edward L. Glaeser and Michael Luca (with colleagues Scott Duke Kominers and Nikhil Naik), which uses computer visioning to better understand geographic differences in income and housing prices.

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.

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.

Latest commentary and analysis

New Laws for the New 'Gig Economy'

New Laws for the New 'Gig Economy'

June 23, 2016

WBUR - On Point | Lawrence Katz, Elisabeth Allison Professor of Economics; Gillian White of The Atlantic; and Seth Harris, former deputy U.S. Labor Secretary and former acting U.S. Labor Secretary guest.

Who is affirmative action for?

Who is affirmative action for?

June 23, 2016

Boston Globe | By Natasha Kumar Warikoo (Ph.D. '05), Associate Professor at Harvard Graduate School of Education. Why ultimately the narrow diversity defense of affirmative action is harmful, Warikoo argues. Draws from her forthcoming book based on research with undergraduates at Ivy League universities, The Diversity Bargain (University of Chicago Press).

Challenges in Measuring Regulatory Capture

Challenges in Measuring Regulatory Capture

June 22, 2016

RegBlog | By Daniel Carpenter, Allie S. Freed Professor of Government. "An executive order setting out clear criteria by which to measure regulatory capture would help provide much needed clarity and guidance for agencies and those tasked with assessing their behavior," writes Carpenter. This essay is part of a 15-part series, Rooting Out Regulatory Capture.

Why Diversity Programs Fail

Why Diversity Programs Fail

June 21, 2016

Harvard Business Review | By Frank Dobbin (Professor of Sociology) and Alexandra Kalev (Tel Aviv University). "Companies are basically doubling down on the same approaches they’ve used since the 1960s—which often make things worse, not better," the authors argue. "The very good news is that we know what does work—we just need to do more of it."

Bonus: Jump on the Bandwagon

Bonus: Jump on the Bandwagon

June 21, 2016

No Jargon [Podcast—Ep. 38] | Harvard economist Richard Freeman and Joseph Blasi and Douglas Kruse of Rutgers University stay post-interview to discuss why trade unions, business schools, and foundations should get on board with employee ownership and profit sharing programs. Subscribe  in iTunes, or listen to individual episodes at the SSN website.

When Workers Become Owners

When Workers Become Owners

June 21, 2016

No Jargon [Podcast—Ep. 38] | Harvard economist Richard Freeman joins Joseph Blasi and Douglas Kruse of Rutgers University to explain how sharing the ownership or profits of a company with workers can improve productivity, pay, and work life quality—all while reducing economic inequality. No Jargon presents interviews with top university scholars on the politics, policy problems, and social issues facing the nation. Subscribe  in iTunes, or listen to individual episodes at the SSN website.

Stagnationists are Simply Wrong

Stagnationists are Simply Wrong

June 16, 2016

Forbes | By Scott Winship (Ph.D. '09), Walter B. Wriston Fellow at the Manhattan Institute for Policy Research.

When it comes to subprime lending, both race and space matter

When it comes to subprime lending, both race and space matter

June 14, 2016

Work in Progress | By Jackelyn Hwang (Ph.D. '15, now a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the Office of Population Research at Princeton University) , Michael Hankinson (Ph.D. candidate in Government & Social Policy), and Kreg Steven Brown (Ph.D. candidate in Sociology).  A summary of the authors' research on "Racial and Spatial Targeting", which originally appeared in the journal Social Forces. Work in Progress is a public sociology blog of the American Sociological Association, dedicated to 'short-form sociology' on the economy, work, and inequality.

Where are the Jobs?, v. 2.0. Now with earnings data

Where are the Jobs?, v. 2.0. Now with earnings data

June 8, 2016

Robert Manduca, Ph.D. candidate in Sociology & Social Policy, has released a new version of his 'Where are the Jobs?' data visualization, now with earnings data. These interactive maps depict nearly every single job in the United States, one dot per job. Each plotted job is color-coded by sector and by earnings, allowing exploration of the spatial distribution of employment and pay in fine detail. The new maps also include previously unavailable data for Massachusetts. Manduca's research interests in this area focus on local economic development—how cities and regions can promote sustainable and inclusive economic growth. Learn more about his work at his website.

Anthony Jack: A New Voice for Diversity in Higher Ed

Anthony Jack: A New Voice for Diversity in Higher Ed

June 7, 2016

Harvard Alumni for Education (HAEd| Interview with Anthony Abraham Jack (Ph.D. '16), now Harvard Society of Fellows. "What I’m showing is that two students who come from similar backgrounds are experiencing college so differently. Why? And what are colleges doing to magnify those differences? Because the whole story is not just differences between the middle class and the working class. There are differences between those who have access to a middle class way of life and those who do not."

The US Partnership on Mobility from Poverty: An Idea Grows in Brooklyn

The US Partnership on Mobility from Poverty: An Idea Grows in Brooklyn

June 6, 2016

The Urban Institute | By David Ellwood and Nisha G. Patel. An introduction to the US Partnership on Mobility from Poverty, chaired by David Ellwood, Scott M. Black Professor of Political Economy at Harvard Kennedy School. The accompanying video, which highlights the first stages of group's work, also features partnership participant Lawrence Katz, Elisabeth Allison Professor of Economics. The partnership brings together 24 scholars and practitioners with the aim of discovering permanent ladders of mobility for the poor.
[Video 4:42 minutes]

The Tale of Two Cities: Inequality and Global Cities

The Tale of Two Cities: Inequality and Global Cities

June 3, 2016

Chicago Council of Global Affairs | Edward Glaeser, Fred and Eleanor Glimp Professor of Economics, participated in a plenary panel on urban inequality at the second annual Chicago Forum on Global Cites, hosted by the Chicago Council of Global Affairs and the Financial Times. [Text and event video]

In Vergara, low-income students pay...one way or another

In Vergara, low-income students pay...one way or another

June 3, 2016

Brookings Institution | By Thomas J. Kane, Walter H. Gale Professor of Education and a nonresident senior fellow at The Brookings Institution. "A decade from now, we will look back on the statutes challenged in the Vergara case as shameful examples of one group of adults putting their own interests ahead of children," Kane writes.

Getting federal stimulus money turned blue U.S. counties bluer, and red counties redder. How can that be?

Getting federal stimulus money turned blue U.S. counties bluer, and red counties redder. How can that be?

June 2, 2016

Washington Post | By Katherine Levine Einstein (Ph.D. '12), Kris-Stella Trump, and Vanessa Williamson (Ph.D. '14).  "Political science research has been finding increasingly polarized reactions to polling questions...But our work suggests that polarization is even deeper: The public, at least in this very high-profile instance, reacted to actual federal spending by growing more divided."

The authors draw from their research,"The Polarizing Effect of the Stimulus: Partisanship and Voter Responsiveness to the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act," recently published in Presidential Studies Quarterly.

Why the Education Department's New Equity Rule Might Not Be So Equal

Why the Education Department's New Equity Rule Might Not Be So Equal

June 1, 2016

The Atlantic | By Nora Gordon (Ph.D. '02), Associate Professor of Public Policy, Georgetown University: "On the surface, the proposed rule sounds like a win for poor kids...However, the practical and policy implications are far less straightforward than they first appear."