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Latest Inequality & Social Policy In the News

The Story Borrower

The Story Borrower

March 3, 2016

Harvard Graduate School of Education | Profile of Anthony Abraham Jack (Ph.D. candidate in Sociology), whose whose research looks at the stories of low-income, first-generation undergraduates at elite universities. “They are letting me borrow their stories and it motivates me like crazy,” he says.

Jack will join the HGSE faculty as an assistant professor in July 2019, following a prestigious fellowship at the Harvard Society of Fellows. He will also hold the Shutzer Assistant Professorship at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study.

Is This the End of Big-Money Politics?

Is This the End of Big-Money Politics?

March 3, 2016

The New Yorker | Draws from study on "The Koch Effect"  by Theda Skocpol, the Victor S. Thomas Professor of Government and Sociology, and Alex Hertel-Fernandez, Ph.D. candidate in Government & Social Policy. "In essence, the Harvard study concludes, the Kochs and their allied donors have financial influence over American politics that extends far beyond the Presidential race."... Read more about Is This the End of Big-Money Politics?

The costs of inequality: A goal of justice, a reality of unfairness

The costs of inequality: A goal of justice, a reality of unfairness

February 29, 2016

Harvard Gazette | Spotlights research in criminal justice by Bruce Western (Professor of Sociology, the Daniel and Florence Guggenheim Professor of Criminal Justice Policy, and Director of the Malcolm Wiener Center for Social Policy), Devah Pager (Professor of Sociology and Public Policy), Phillip Atiba Goff (Visiting scholar in the Malcolm Wiener Center and Co-founder of the Center for Policing Equity), and Vinny Schiraldi (Senior research fellow at the HKS Program in Criminal Justice Policy and Management and former commissioner of the New York City Department of Probation).  Fifth in a series on what Harvard scholars are doing to understand and find solutions to problems of inequality. This article also appeared at US News and World Report.

Variations on racial tension

Variations on racial tension

February 26, 2016

Harvard Gazette | Michèle Lamont, Robert I. Goldman Professor of European Studies and director of the Weatherhead Center, led a panel that traced evolving attitudes toward race and discrimination in Latin America, Europe, and the United States. With Patrick Simon, director of research at the National Institute of Demographic Studies in France, and Alejandro de la Fuente, Robert Woods Bliss Professor of Latin-American History at Harvard and director of the University’s soon-to-launch Afro-Latin American Research Institute.

America has locked up so many black people, it has warped our sense of reality

America has locked up so many black people, it has warped our sense of reality

February 26, 2016

Washington Post | Draws on work by Bruce Western, who argues that statistics on employment and economic activity that fail to take into account high rates of incarceration among black men in high-risk groups miss how deeply mass incarceration is connected to American poverty and economic inequality. Western is a Professor of Sociology, the Daniel and Florence Guggenheim Professor of Criminal Justice Policy, and director of the Malcolm Wiener Center for Social Policy.

The Great Expectations of Matthew Desmond

The Great Expectations of Matthew Desmond

February 24, 2016

The Chronicle Review—Chronicle of Higher Education | Matthew Desmond hopes to bring a fresh approach to the study of poverty by focusing on the trauma of eviction. "Before this work I didn’t know how bad it was," he says. "I don’t think a lot of us know the state of poverty today."

The scariest thing about the gig economy is how little we actually know about it

The scariest thing about the gig economy is how little we actually know about it

February 23, 2016

Quartz | “Individual workers who really value flexibility may be much better off” in the gig economy, says Lawrence Katz, an economics professor at Harvard who is studying gig work. But it could also be eroding standards for other workers. What if much bigger employers like Walmart pivoted to the Uber work model? There are always “effects on the equilibrium of the labor market,” Katz says.

The costs of inequality: Money = quality health care = longer life

The costs of inequality: Money = quality health care = longer life

February 22, 2016

Harvard Gazette | Features Amitabh Chandra, Malcolm Wiener Professor of Social Policy. Also David R. Williams, Florence Sprague Norman and Laura Smart Norman Professor of Public Health at the Harvard Chan School and professor of African and African-American Studies, who gave an Inequality & Social Policy Seminar on "Race, Racism, and Racial Inequalities in Health", Feb 8, 2016. Fourth in a series on what Harvard scholars are doing to understand and find solutions to problems of inequality. This article also appeared at US News and World Report.

In 'Evicted', Home is an Elusive Goal for America's Poor

In 'Evicted', Home is an Elusive Goal for America's Poor

February 21, 2016

The New York Times | Review of Matthew Desmond's, Evicted.  NYT book critic Jennifer Senior calls it "an exhaustively researched, vividly realized and, above all, unignorable book — after “Evicted,” it will no longer be possible to have a serious discussion about poverty without having a serious discussion about housing."

No Exceptions

No Exceptions

February 20, 2016

Harvard Ed Magazine | A look at the life and work of one of the Ed School's newest faculty members, Roland Fryer.

Kicked Out in America!

Kicked Out in America!

February 19, 2016

The New York Review of Books | Matthew Desmond's Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City.  Reviewed by Jason DeParle of The New York Times.

Can the Welfare State Survive the Refugee Crisis?

Can the Welfare State Survive the Refugee Crisis?

February 18, 2016

The Atlantic | Quotes George J. Borjas, Robert W. Scrivner Professor of Economics and Social Policy. Borjas is a member of the National Academy of Sciences Panel on the Economic and Fiscal Consequences of Immigration, whose report will be published later this year.

Latest commentary and analysis

Jason Furman

The real cost of the Republican tax cuts

November 1, 2017
Vox | By Jason Furman and Greg Leiserson. They’ll require spending cuts, or tax increases in other areas. Either could hurt many American families.
PBS NewsHour Making Sen$e

Achieving the American Dream may depend on where you live

October 26, 2017
PBS NewsHour Making Sen$e | The economists Nathaniel Hendren and Raj Chetty have co-authored studies on social mobility and income inequality. Hendren, who teaches at Harvard University, and Chetty, who teaches at Stanford University, recently spoke with PBS NewsHour’s Paul Solman for Thursday’s Making $ense segment. Here is an excerpt of their conversation, which was edited for length and clarity.
Mario Luis Small

How do we decide whom to rely on? A Q&A with Mario L. Small

October 23, 2017
OUPblogIn theory, the answer seems obvious: if the matter is personal, they will turn to a spouse, a family member, or someone close. In practice, what people actually do often belies these expectations. 

We sat down with Mario L. Small, author of Someone To Talk To, to answer some key questions into how we decide whom to rely on and understanding social networks. Small (PhD '01) is Grafstein Family Professor of Sociology at Harvard.
The Big Picture: Violence and Criminal Justice

The Big Picture: Violence and Criminal Justice

October 23, 2017
Public Books | By Patrick Sharkey (PhD '07'), Professor and Chair of the Department of Sociology at NYU. This is the 11th installment of The Big Picture, a public symposium on what’s at stake in Trump’s America, co-organized by Public Books and NYU’s Institute for Public Knowledge. 
William Julius Wilson

The Big Picture: Multiracial Cooperation

October 9, 2017
Public Books | By William Julius Wilson, Lewis P. and Linda L. Geyser University Professor at Harvard University. This is the first installment of The Big Picture, a public symposium on what’s at stake in Trump’s America, co-organized by Public Books and NYU’s Institute for Public Knowledge.
National Academies logo

National Academies Committee Meeting on the Impacts of Sexual Harassment in Academia

October 4, 2017
The National Academies  | The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine is undertaking a study on the impact of sexual harassment in academia on the career advancement of women in the scientific, technical, and medical workforce. To advance this discussion, the Committee on the Impacts of Sexual Harassment in Academia held a half-day meeting in Boston. Harvard's Frank Dobbin, a Professor of Sociology whose research has examined discrimination in the workplace and diversity management, spoke in the opening session. View the conference materials and presentation videos online.
Larry Katz

Interview with Lawrence Katz

September 25, 2017
The Region—Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis | Harvard's Lawrence Katz, Elisabeth Allison Professor of Economics, on the gender pay gap, fissuring workplaces, decling labor share and superstar firms, and the importance of moving to a good neighborhood early in a child's life. 

By Douglas Clement—Lawrence Katz is an institution in labor economics—indeed, in economics as a whole. As editor of the Quarterly Journal of Economics since 1991, principal investigator of the decades-long Moving to Opportunity Program, co-founder and co-scientific director of J-PAL North America and collaborator with Claudia Goldin in pathbreaking research on the causes and consequences of rising education levels, he has been a singular force in shaping the field. Continue reading ▶️ 
How Could Donald Trump and Brexit Happen?

How Could Donald Trump and Brexit Happen?

September 20, 2017
Social Europe | In this spotlight video, Social Europe Editor-in-Chief Henning Meyer discusses the roots of populism with Peter Hall, Krupp Foundation Professor of European Studies in the Department of Government and at the Minda de Gunzburg Center for European Studies of Harvard University. This conversation is also available as an audio podcast.
Danielle Allen

15 Professors of the Year: Danielle S. Allen

September 14, 2017
Fifteen Minutes Magazine - The Harvard Crimson |Danielle Allen, one of the 15 Professors of 2017, has been trying to shift the conversation from inequality to equality. An interview.
Archon Fung

It's the Gap, Stupid

September 1, 2017

Boston Review | By Archon Fung, Ford Foundation Professor of Democracy and Citizenship. In this essay, Fung explores three new books on inequality which "draw an important and disturbing picture of America as a system of compounding inequality driven by a hereditary meritocracy of professional elites." One of Boston Review's Top Ten Reads in Inequality in 2017.

The fall 2017 Harvard Inequality Seminar featured the authors of two of these books: Thomas Shapiro, author of Toxic Inequality, on November 13, and Richard V. Reeves, author of Dream Hoarders, on November 27, 2017. Joan C. Williams, author of White Working Class, spoke at Harvard's Inequality in America Symposium, organized by the FAS Division of Social Science on October 13, 2017.

Latest policy, research briefs, and expert testimony

Closing the Opportunity Gap Report

Closing the Opportunity Gap Report

March 16, 2016

The Saguaro Seminar—Harvard Kennedy School | In 2015, the Saguaro Seminar, led by Robert D. Putnam, Peter and Isabel Malkin Professor of Public Policy, launched the Closing the Opportunity Gap initiative. The initiative convened five working groups of the country’s leading experts in each of five areas: family and parenting, early childhood, K-12 education, community institutions, and “on-ramps” (like community college or apprenticeships).

Patrick Sharkey (Ph.D. '07) of New York University, a contributor to the community working group, co-authored the chapter on "Rebuilding Communities to Help Close the Opportunity Gap."

Economic Report of the President 2016

Economic Report of the President 2016

February 22, 2016

Council of Economic Advisers | Inequality (chapter 1) and early childhood disparities (chapter 4) were a central focus of this year's annual report, drawing extensively on research by many Inequality & Social Policy faculty and alumni. We are particularly partial to p. 182, which cites work by (then) doctoral fellow Sarah Cohodes et. al., "The Effect of Child Health Insurance Access on Schooling." Cohodes (Ph.D. '15) is now an Assistant Professor of Education and Public Policy at Teachers College, Columbia University.

What Do Unions Do for the Middle Class?

What Do Unions Do for the Middle Class?

January 13, 2016

Center for American Progress | New research by Richard B. Freeman and collaborators suggests that about one-third of the decline in the share of middle class workers is directly tied to the decreasing share of workers in unions. "The big question this research raises for Americans troubled by the decline of the middle class is whether the growth and level of inequality can be reduced without a strong labor movement,” said Freeman, Herbert Anchorman Professor of Economics at Harvard.
Get the report

Addressing Economic Challenges in an Evolving Health Care Market [Event]

Addressing Economic Challenges in an Evolving Health Care Market [Event]

October 7, 2015

The Hamilton Project  | Amitabh Chandra, Malcolm Wiener Professor of Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School, participated in a policy forum addressing economic challenges in an evolving health care market, with a focus on three new papers released in conjunction with the event. The event, held at The Brookings Institution, featured opening remarks by former U.S. Treasury Secretary Robert E. Rubin, and framing remarks by CEA Chairman Jason Furman.  View papers, presentation slides, and event video online.