News

Latest Inequality & Social Policy In the News

Good jobs without a degree? Boston's $3 million test

Good jobs without a degree? Boston's $3 million test

April 11, 2016

Christian Science Monitor | Facing problems of income inequality, US cities looking at new ways to create well-paying jobs for workers. With insights from Alicia Sasser Modestino (Ph.D. '01), associate professor at Northeastern University.

The Puzzles for Pollsters

The Puzzles for Pollsters

April 6, 2016

Harvard Gazette | Coverage of Political Analytics conference, which explored the field of data analytics and its potential applications to politics. Organized by Ryan Enos, Associate Professor of Government, and Kirk Goldsberry, a visiting scholar at Harvard's Center for Geographic Analysis, the event was hosted by the Center for American Political Studies at Harvard University.

When the Poor Move, Do They Move Up?

When the Poor Move, Do They Move Up?

April 6, 2016

The American Prospect | Quotes Patrick Sharkey (Ph.D. '07) of New York University, and Justin Wolfers (Ph.D. '01) of University of Michigan.

How Longer School Days Can Fight the Effects of Income Inequality

How Longer School Days Can Fight the Effects of Income Inequality

April 5, 2016

The Boston Globe Magazine| Cites faculty affiliates Robert Putnam on what affluent families spend on after-school, vacation, and summer learning opportunities for their children, and Roland Fryer on the benefits of increased school time as a predictor of student success. 

Boston hopes data can aid its efforts in fighting fires

Boston hopes data can aid its efforts in fighting fires

April 4, 2016

Boston Globe | Quotes Jeffrey B. Liebman, Malcolm Wiener Professor of Social Policy, who notes that "Over the past several years the City of Boston has emerged as a national leader in creatively using technology to improve public services." The article details a brief released by the Harvard Kennedy School Rapport Institute, which tracks how the city of Boston is using data and digital technology.

In poor neighborhoods, is it better to fix up or move out?

In poor neighborhoods, is it better to fix up or move out?

April 4, 2016

Christian Science Monitor | Quotes Robert J. Sampson (Henry Ford II Professor of the Social Sciences) on the limitations of focusing on moving people out of bad neighborhoods. Also cites finding by Raj Chetty (Stanford University) and Harvard's Nathaniel Hendren (Assistant Professor of Economics) that "the causal effects of place" account for 50-70 percent of the differences in intergenerational mobility.

With "Gigs" Instead of Jobs, Workers Bear New Burdens

With "Gigs" Instead of Jobs, Workers Bear New Burdens

March 31, 2016

The New York Times | Discusses implications of new research by Lawrence Katz (Elisabeth Allen Professor of Economics) and Alan Krueger (Princeton University) showing that proportion of American workers who don’t have traditional jobs — who instead work as independent contractors, through temporary services or on-call — has soared in the last decade. View the research.

The Lifelong Health Toll of Schoolyard Racism

The Lifelong Health Toll of Schoolyard Racism

March 29, 2016

Pacific Standard | Quotes and cites David R. Williams, the Florence Sprague Norman and Laura Smart Norman Professor of Public Health at the Harvard T.H Chan School of Public Health (HSPH) and Professor of African and African American Studies and of Sociology at Harvard University. Williams discussed this research in his Inequality & Social Policy Seminar presentation, Feb 8, 2016 (Read more). 

On Chicago’s West Side, no rebound from the recession

On Chicago’s West Side, no rebound from the recession

March 29, 2016

The Chicago Reporter | Article examining black joblessness quotes Devah Pager on the effects of a criminal record and racial discrimination that African-American job-seekers face. Pager is Professor of Sociology and Public Policy and Director of the Multidisciplinary Program in Inequality & Social Policy.

Contract Workforce Outpaces Growth in Silicon-Valley Style ‘Gig’ Jobs

Contract Workforce Outpaces Growth in Silicon-Valley Style ‘Gig’ Jobs

March 25, 2016

Wall Street Journal | Discusses new research by Lawrence Katz, Elisabeth Allen Professor of Economics at Harvard, and Alan Krueger of Princeton University, showing that that the number of workers in alternative arrangements—including contract work, on-call labor, and temp workers—has risen to nearly 16% of the workforce from 10% a decade ago, and what it means that a growing share of the workforce "has come untethered from stable employment and its attendant benefits and job protections."

... Read more about Contract Workforce Outpaces Growth in Silicon-Valley Style ‘Gig’ Jobs

The Dream Team That Could Fix Drug Pricing

The Dream Team That Could Fix Drug Pricing

March 24, 2016

Forbes | Among the suggestions, Amitabh Chandra, Malcolm Wiener Professor of Social Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School and a member of the Congressional Budget Office’s Panel of Health Advisors.

Undocumented US immigrants are far likelier to be working than American men

Undocumented US immigrants are far likelier to be working than American men

March 22, 2016

Quartz | Delves into new NBER working paper by George J. Borjas, which is described as an "ambitious attempt to shed light on how undocumented immigrants in the US have typically interacted with the U.S. labor market over the last two decades." Borjas is the Robert W. Scrivner Professor of Economics and Social Policy at Harvard Kennedy School. Read the original research: "The Labor Supply of Undocumented Immigrants."

Latest awards

Laura Tach named a 2015 William T. Grant Scholar

Laura Tach named a 2015 William T. Grant Scholar

April 8, 2015

Awardee | Laura Tach (Ph.D. '10). The William T. Grant Scholars program selects 4-6 promising early-career researchers each year in the social, behavioral, and health sciences and supports their professional development with five-year research awards.

New RSF grant: How Rigid is the Wealth Structure and Why?

New RSF grant: How Rigid is the Wealth Structure and Why?

March 12, 2015

Awardees | Alexandra Killewald and Fabian Pfeffer (University of Michigan) are the recipients of a Russell Sage Foundation grant, jointly funded with the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, to assess the strength and pattern of multigenerational wealth associations, and explore the role of intergenerational transfers, home ownership and marriage in wealth mobility across generations.

Latest commentary and analysis

Gentrification and its Discontents

Gentrification and its Discontents

May 5, 2017
Wall Street Journal | By Edward Glaeser, Fred and Eleanor Glimp Professor of Economics. Cities attract the rich with amenities and the poor with services. But they are failing the middle class. Edward Glaeser reviews “The New Urban Crisis” by Richard Florida.
Declaration of Independence

Thanks to this agency, we identified an unknown copy of the Declaration of Independence

May 3, 2017
Washington Post | By Danielle Allen, James Bryant Conant University Professor at Harvard. "In the middle of the 20th century, this research project would have consumed at least a lifetime, and possibly several. Without [these] digital resources...it is highly unlikely that a researcher would have been able to assemble the vast body of evidence necessary to make the identification that we have made."
Brookings Institution - Universal Child Allowance

Should the U.S. enact a universal child allowance?

May 1, 2017
Brookings Institution | The Center on Children and Families at Brookings hosted an event with leading experts to discuss the current safety net and potential benefits and costs of a Universal Child Allowance. Among the participants, Chris Wimer (PhD '07), Co-Director of the Center on Poverty and Social Policy at Columbia University, presented a proposal for a universal child allowance to reduce poverty and income instability among children. Scott Winship (PhD '09), Project Director with the U.S. Joint Economic Committee, participated as a panelist. 
What the Press Still Doesn't Get About Trump

What the Press Still Doesn't Get About Trump

April 28, 2017

Politico | Politco surveys a range of experts—among them, historian Leah Wright Rigueur, Assistant Professor at Harvard Kennedy School. Says Rigueur: We need to take Trump's tweets more seriously.

Op-Ed: How Boston Basics helps our children

Op-Ed: How Boston Basics helps our children

April 28, 2017

Jamaica Plain Gazette (and others) | By Mayor Martin Walsh and Ron Ferguson, Faculty Director of the Achievement Gap Initiative at Harvard University.

As the science tells us, 80 percent of a child’s brain growth happens during the first three years of life. Racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic skill gaps can become apparent by the age of two. How we engage our babies and toddlers in those first years are critical. We must foster stimulating learning environments across all households and neighborhoods in our city.

"That purpose is what brought organizations like the Black Philanthropy Fund, Boston Children’s Museum, the Achievement Gap Initiative at Harvard, Boston Medical Center, WGBH, and the City of Boston together to launch the Boston Basics campaign.

The Hamilton Project

Leveling the Playing Field: Policy Options to Improve Postsecondary Education and Career Outcomes

April 26, 2017

The Hamilton Project | A policy forum held at the Brookings Institution. The forum began with introductory remarks by former U.S. Treasury Secretary Robert E. Rubin, followed by three roundtable discussions. Papers by David J. Deming (PhD '10) and by Tara E. Watson (PhD '03) and Adam Looney (PhD'04) were the focus of two of the roundtables. View event video and dowload papers, full transcript, and presentation slides from the event webpage.

David Deming is Professor of Education and Economics at HGSE and Professor of Public Policy at Harvard Kennedy School. Tara Watson is Associate Professor of Economics at Williams College and served in the U.S. Treasury Department from 2015-2016 as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Microeconomic Analysis. Adam Looney is a senior fellow in Economic Studies at Brookings and served in the U.S. Treasury Department from 2013-2017 as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Tax Analysis.

Reforming land use regulations

Reforming land use regulations

April 24, 2017
Brookings Institution | By Edward Glaeser, Fred and Eleanor Glimp Professor of Economics at Harvard. "Land use controls that limit the growth of...successful cities mean that Americans increasingly live in places that make it easy to build, not in places with higher levels of productivity," writes Glaeser.
Edward Glaeser

Two Takes on the Fate of Future Cities

April 21, 2017
The Atlantic—CityLab | A conversation between Ed Glaeser and Richard Florida on what urban policy needs to work towards in an uncertain future. Edward Glaeser is Fred and Eleanor Glimp Professor of Economics at Harvard.
Ronald Ferguson interview - HarvardX

Family Engagement in Education: The Boston Basics - Supporting Child Development

April 19, 2017

HarvardX | Listen as Professor Ron Ferguson, from the Harvard Kennedy School, discusses the Boston Basics — five actions a parent or any caregiver can take to help young children thrive. [video: 2 minutes]

"The nugget for me [that most influenced our emphasis in Boston Basics] was 4 or 5 years ago looking at the early childhood longitudinal survey and seeing that racial and socioeconomic differences are not very apparent around the first birthday, but they are stark by the second birthday."

Jeffrey Liebman at Council on Foreign Relations

Behavioral Insights into Policymaking

April 18, 2017

Council on Foreign Relations | Part I of the Robert Menschel Economics Symposium: A conversation with psychologist Daniel Kahneman, recipient of the Nobel prize in economic sciences. Part II: A discussion on behavioral insights into policymaking with Jeffrey Liebman, Malcolm Wiener Professor of Public Policy at Harvard Kennedy School; Maya Shankar, founder and Chair of the White House Social and Behavioral Sciences Team (SBST) under President Obama; and Elspeth Kirkman, senior vice president with The Behavioral Insights Team, North America. (Video + transcript)
View Part I: Daniel Kahneman