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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

Trump Should Support Bipartisan "Evidence Based" Revolution

Trump Should Support Bipartisan "Evidence Based" Revolution

February 22, 2017

Real Clear Policy | By Robert Doar and Andrew Feldman (Ph.D. '07). Feldman is a Visiting Fellow in the Center on Children and Families in the Economic Studies program at the Brookings Institution and a researcher with the Evidence-Based Policymaking Collaborative. Robert Doar is currently a fellow at the American Enterprise Institute.

Scientific American

Triumph of the City: Engines of Innovation

February 16, 2017

Scientific American | By Edward L. Glaeser, Fred and Eleanor Glimp Professor of Economics. "In fact, the crush of people living in close quarters fosters the kind of collaborative creativity that has produced some of humanity's best ideas, including the industrial revolution and the digital age. In the years ahead such collaborations can be expected to help solve the world's most pressing problems—poverty, energy shortages, climate change—and to promote fundamental political transitions," writes Glaeser....

Read more about Triumph of the City: Engines of Innovation
The most important phrase in the Pledge of Allegiance

The most important phrase in the Pledge of Allegiance

February 13, 2017

Washington Post | By Danielle Allen, James Bryant Conant University Professor and Director of the Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics at Harvard. "We need a Cleisthenic moment," is the thought on Allen's mind, referring to the faltering and then recovery of Athenian democracy in ancient Greece as Athenians rose up against the tyrant Peisistratos. The takeaway from Cleisthenic moment? "The Athenians reorganized their political institutions to ensure connections among rural, urban and coastal populations," an essential task if America is to secure liberty and justice for all, Allen writes.

Eviction, photo by John Montgomery

No place like home: America's eviction epidemic

February 12, 2017

The Guardian | Soaring rents and low wages have hit the poorest families in the US hard. Harvard sociologist Matthew Desmond introduces an extract from his heartbreaking book about the crisis.

Global Citizens, National Shirkers

Global Citizens, National Shirkers

February 10, 2017

Project Syndicate | By Dani Rodrik, Ford Foundation Professor of International Political Economy, Harvard Kennedy School.

David A. Moss

All hail partisan politics

February 9, 2017

Harvard Gazette | Harvard historian looks to the past, using case study method to suggest that dogged disputes can strengthen democracy. Interview with David Moss, Paul Whiton Cherington Professor at Harvard Business School and author of a new book, Democrcy: A Case Study (Harvard University Press, 2017).

Rubik's Cube: Equality

What's next? In the wake of the election, HKS faculty discuss the coming challenges

February 9, 2017

Harvard Kennedy School Magazine
Still fresh from the political earthquake of 2016, leading experts at the Harvard Kennedy School came together to assess the new landscape in a series of roundtables in November. Surveying the economy and social policy: Doug Elmendorf, Dean of the Harvard Kennedy School; David Ellwood, Isabelle and Scott Black Professor of Political Economy and Director of the Malcolm Wiener Center for Social Policy, and Brigitte Madrian, Aetna Professor of Public Policy and Corporate Management.

We were the victims of fake news

We were the victims of fake news

February 8, 2017

Brookings Institution | By Norm Eisen and Vanessa Williamson (Ph.D. '15),  both fellows in Governance Studies at the Brookings Institution. "This week, we discovered that our real work is being used to promote 'fake news'. As Yahoo News has reported, an obscure website, the “Center for Global Strategic Monitoring,” has been putting policy experts’ names on articles they did not write..."

Mary Waters

Integrating Immigrants with Mary C. Waters and John Skrentny

February 8, 2017

University of California Television (UCTV) | Mary C. Waters, John L. Loeb Professor of Sociology at Harvard and Chair of a National Academy of Sciences Report on immigrant integration, talks with sociologist John Skrentny, co-director of the Center for Comparative Immigration Studies at UC San Diego.

When Do Renters Behave Like Homeowners? High Rent, Price Anxiety, and NIMBYism

When Do Renters Behave Like Homeowners? High Rent, Price Anxiety, and NIMBYism

February 7, 2017

JCHS Housing Perspectives | By Michael Hankinson, Ph.D. candidate in Government & Social Policy. Hankinson's findings, "based on new national-level experimental data and city-specific behavioral data....help explain why it is so hard to build new housing in expensive cities even when there is citywide support for that housing."  Read the full paper in the Joint Center for Housing Studies Working Paper series, and learn more about Hankinson's work at his website.
mhankinson.com

Democracy: A Case Study

American Democracy is Not a Machine

February 7, 2017

Harvard University Press: Blog | Excerpt from new book by David A. Moss, Paul Whiton Cherington Professor at Harvard Business School. 

Democracy: A Case Study stems from a course that historian David Moss developed in order to bring the strengths of the Harvard Business School’s case study method to conversations about governance, citizenship, and democracy. In the spirit of that course, the book highlights nineteen key episodes in the history of American democracy...In the passage below, excerpted from the book’s Introduction and with reference to its cases, Moss explains why American democracy is better understood as a living organism than a machine...Continue reading»​​​​​​​

The Prophet of Profit

The Prophet of Profit

February 7, 2017

Slate | By Ray Fisman (Boston University) and Michael Luca (Harvard Business School). Betsy DeVos is right that some government services should be approached more like businesses. She’s wrong to think education is one of them, write Fisman and Luca.

"In understanding why different organizational forms have their distinct advantages, it’s useful to focus on the particular assumption that market participants can write a contract that ensures a good or service is delivered as expected," the authors explain.... Read more about The Prophet of Profit

Why Betsy DeVos’ vision of education does little to ensure equity

Why Betsy DeVos’ vision of education does little to ensure equity

February 6, 2017

The Hechinger Report | By Natasha Kumar Warikoo (Ph.D. '05), Associate Professor, Harvard Graduate School of Education. "Betsy DeVos promotes a vision for society that outwardly extols the idea of equity but in reality does little to ensure it," writes Warikoo.

Interview Series: How Incomplete is the Theory of the Firm? Q&A with Daniel Carpenter

Interview Series: How Incomplete is the Theory of the Firm? Q&A with Daniel Carpenter

February 6, 2017

ProMarket—Stigler Center Blog | Should the economic theory of the firm be modified? In March, Stigler Center at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, Harvard Business School, and Oxford University will hold a conference on this topic. Ahead of the conference, the Stigler Center is launching an interview series with influential scholars in the field.

Latest policy, research briefs, and expert testimony

Pretrial detention

Proposals for improving the U.S. Pretrial System

March 15, 2019

The Hamilton Project | By Will Dobbie (PhD 2013) and Crystal S. Yang (PhD 2013). Will Dobbie is now Assistant Professor of Economics and Public Affairs at Princeton University. Crystal S. Yang is Assistant Professor of Law at Harvard Law School.

Economics for Inclusive Prosperity

Economics for Inclusive Prosperity (EfIP) Launches

February 15, 2019

Dani Rodrik, Ford Foundation Professor of International Political Economy at Harvard Kennedy School, announced the launch of a new initiative - Economics for Inclusive Prosperity (EfIP) - a network of academic economists dedicated to producing creative policy ideas for an inclusive society and economy. Co-directing the initiative are Dani Rodrik, Suresh Naidu of Columbia University, and Gabriel Zucman of the University of California, Berkeley. Download the (free) EfIP eBook: Economics for Inclusive Prosperity: An Introduction and policy briefs.

View the EfIP eBook (pdf) ▶ 
View all policy briefs ▶

BPEA heartland

Saving the heartland: Place-based policies in 21st century America

March 8, 2018
Brookings Papers on Economic Activity | By Benjamin Austin, Edward Glaeser, and Lawrence Summers. Austin is a PhD candidate in Economics at Harvard. Glaeser is the Fred and Eleanor Glimp Professor of Economics at Harvard. Lawrence Summers is the Charles W. Eliot University Professor and President Emeritus at Harvard University.
Tax reform

Macroeconomic effects of the 2017 tax reform

March 8, 2018
Brookings Papers on Economic Activity | By Robert J. Barro and Jason Furman. Barro is Paul M. Warburg Professor of Economics at Harvard. Furman is Professor of the Practice of Economic Policy at Harvard Kennedy School. 
Lawrence F. Katz

Imagining a Future of Work That Fosters Mobility for All

February 1, 2018
U.S. Partnership on Mobility from Poverty | Idea paper by Lawrence Katz, Ai-Jen Poo, and Elaine Waxman. Lawrence Katz is Elisabeth Allison Professor of Economics at Harvard and a member of U.S. Partnership on Mobility from Poverty.
Restoring the American Dream: What Would It Take to Dramatically Increase Mobility from Poverty?

Restoring the American Dream: What Would It Take to Dramatically Increase Mobility from Poverty?

January 23, 2018

US Partnership on Mobility from Poverty | The US Partnership on Mobility from Poverty is a collaboration of 24 leading scholars, policy experts, and practitioners tasked with answering one big, bold, and exciting question: What would it take to dramatically increase mobility from poverty? This two-year project was funded by a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Co-authored by David T. Ellwood, Director of the Malcolm Wiener Center for Social Policy at Harvard Kennedy School, and Nisha G. Patel, Executive Director of the US Partnership on Mobility from Poverty, Urban Institute

David J. Deming

The Value of Soft Skills in the Labor Market

January 17, 2018
NBER Reporter | By David J. Deming (PhD '10), Professor at Harvard Kennedy School and Harvard Graduate School of Education. Deming provides an overview of the current state of research on soft skills in the labor market. His own work in this area, "The Growing Importance of Social Skills in the Labor Market," appears in the November 2017 issue of Quarterly Journal of Economics.
View the research
Can the Financial Benefit of Lobbying be Quantified?

Can the Financial Benefit of Lobbying be Quantified?

January 16, 2018
Washington Center for Equitable Growth | A look at a new paper by Inequality doctoral fellow Brian Libgober, PhD candidate in Government, and Daniel Carpenter, Allie S. Freed Professor of Government, "Lobbying with Lawyers: Financial Market Evidence for Banks' Influence on Rulemaking."
View the research
Does a Criminal Past Predict Worker Performance? Evidence from One of America’s Largest Employers

Does a Criminal Past Predict Worker Performance? Evidence from One of America’s Largest Employers

January 12, 2018
Social Forces | New research by Harvard's Devah Pager and collaborators  Jennifer Hickes Lundquist and Eiko Strader provides one of the first systematic assessments of workplace performance by those with criminal records. Examining military employment records, they find that, overall, the military's screening process can result in successful employment outcomes for those with felony convictions. An important question, they write, is whether the military's 'whole person' review can apply succssfully to the civilian sector. Pager is Professor of Sociology and Professor of Public Policy at Harvard.
An inside view of credit checks in hiring

An inside view of credit checks in hiring

October 14, 2017
Work in Progress | By Barbara Kiviat, PhD candidate in Sociology & Social Policy. Barbara Kiviat summarizes findings from her research, "The Art of Deciding with Data," recently published in Socio-Economic Review.  Work in Progress is the American Sociological Assocation's blog for short-form sociology on the economy, work, and inequality.
Jason Furman - PIIE Macroeconomic Policy Conference

Should Policymakers Care Whether Inequality is Helpful or Harmful for Growth?

October 13, 2017
Peterson Institute for International Economics | Presentation by Jason Furman (Harvard Kennedy School) at PIIE's "Rethinking Macroeconomic Policy Conference," with discussion by Dani Rodrik (Harvard Kennedy School), Tharman Shanmugaratnam, and Justin Wolfers (PhD '01). View the paper, slides, and conference videos at the conference webpage.