The latest roundup...Ideas worth reading.
Multidisciplinary Program in Inequality & Social Policy at Harvard University. Part of the Malcolm Wiener Center for Social Policy, Harvard Kennedy School.



News roundup

Highlights from Inequality & Social Policy
at the Malcolm Wiener Center

We are proud to highlight the work of our Ph.D. fellows and recent Ph.D. fellow alumni in this month's issue. More below the fold, including analyses of the U.S. presidential election and policy implications.
After Piketty: The Agenda for Economics and Inequality
Ellora Derenoncourt, Ph.D. candidate in Economics, is a contributor to After Piketty, forthcoming from Harvard University Press in April 2017. Edited by Heather Boushey, J. Bradford DeLong, and Marshall Steinbaum, the 640 page volume brings together published reviews by Nobel laureates Paul Krugman and Robert Solow and newly-commissioned essays by Suresh Naidu, Laura Tyson, Michael Spence, Heather Boushey, Branko Milanovic, and others. Emmanuel Saez lays out an agenda for future research on inequality, while a variety of essays examine the book's implications for the social sciences more broadly. Piketty replies in a substantial concluding chapter.
Derenoncourt's chapter explores the historical and institutional origins of the wealth and income inequality documented in Piketty's Capital in the 21st Century. Drawing on the framework introduced by Daron Acemoglu, Simon Johnson, and James Robinson of extractive and inclusive institutions, Derenoncourt demonstrates how these institutions influence the distribution of economic outcomes in different countries and regions historically. In particular, she explores these questions in the context of slavery in the US South and European colonization in Africa and the Americas.

Learn more about her work:
Ellora Derenoncourt: Ph.D. fellow page ▶
Sentencing Reform in an Era of Racialized Mass Incarceration

Doctoral fellow Alix Winter, Ph.D. candidate in Sociology & Social Policy, and Matthew Clair, a Ph.D. candidate in Sociology, responded to the Massachusetts Sentencing Commission's invitation to comment on issues relating to sentencing policies and practices for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Winter and Clair provide "a brief overview of sociological research on mass incarceration, sentencing practices, and racial/ethnic minorities’ disproportionate contact with criminal justice institutions," drawing the Commission's attention to "empirical research pertaining to potential sentencing practices, policies, and principles that may assist the Commonwealth in reducing racial/ethnic sentencing disparities". They then draw on this research to make specific recommendations.

Clair and Winter co-authored a related academic article, “How Judges Think about Racial Disparities: Situational Decision-Making in the Criminal Justice System," published in Criminology earlier this year.

Learn more about their work:
Alix Winter homepage ▶
Matthew Clair homepage ▶

Upjohn Institute 2016 Dissertation Award: Simon Jäger

Upjohn Institute | Simon Jäger (Ph.D. in Economics, '16) has been awarded the Upjohn Institute's 2016 Dissertation Award for best dissertation in employment research. Jäger's work combines experimental and quasi-experimental methods with large administrative datasets to shed light on the functioning of labor markets and the origins and consequences of inequality. 

Currently a post-doctoral researcher at the Institute on Behavior and Inequality (briq) in Bonn, Jäger joins the MIT faculty in fall 2017 as Assistant Professor of Economics. 
Simon Jäger homepage ▶

Inaugural CIFAR Azrieli Global Scholars: Natalie Bau

CIFAR | Natalie Bau (Ph.D. in Public Policy, '15) is one of 18 exceptional early-career researchers from diverse science and social science fields selected to the inaugural cohort of the new CIFAR Azrieli Global Scholars Program, sponsored by the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research. CIFAR Azrieli Global Scholars receive two-year appointments with one of 14 research programs—Bau will pursue research on Institutions, Organizations, and Growth.

An Assistant Professor of Economics at the University of Toronto, Bau studies development and education economics, with an emphasis on the industrial organization of education markets. 
Natalie Bau homepage ▶

Receive this from a friend?
Join our mailing list

Insight and analysis

Black America Since MLK: And Still I Rise
November 15 and 22, 2016
PBS | Historian Leah Wright Rigueur of the Harvard Kennedy School is among those featured in this four-part documentary written and hosted by Henry Louis Gates, Jr. Watch Tuesday, November 15 and 22 at 8 pm on PBS.

Miss the premiere? Watch online or check local PBS listings for rebroadcast times.

Fixing Discrimination in Online Marketplaces
November 15, 2016
Harvard Business Review | By Ray Fisman (Boston University) and Michael Luca (Harvard Business School). Also cites economist Claudia Goldin's well-known article (with Cecilia Rouse) on the lessons we can learn from symphony orchestras.

See also
  • From Airbnb to eBay, the Best Ways to Combat Bias
    November 16, 2016
    Financial Times | Features work of Assistant Professor Michael Luca and colleagues at Harvard Business School. Also cites early work of Sendhil Mullainathan, Robert C. Waggoner Professor of Economics, and Claudia Goldin, Henry Lee Professor of Economics.

Election 2016

Choose your own post-mortem: Part 1
November 16, 2016
Brookings Institution | By Vanessa Williamson (Ph.D. '15) and Carly Knight, Ph.D. candidate in Sociology. Williamson is now a fellow in Governance Studies at Brookings.

Choose your own post-mortem: Part 2
November 16, 2016
Brookings Institution | By Vanessa Williamson (Ph.D. '15) and Carly Knight, Ph.D. candidate in Sociology.

Don’t blame the electoral college. Here’s how Democrats can take back politics.
November 15, 2016
Washington Post | By Danielle Allen, Professor of Government and a contributing columnist to the Post.

Trump Campaign's Easy Answers Confront Hard Reality
November 15, 2016
The New York Times | Eduardo Porter column quotes Dani Rodrik, Ford Foundation Professor of International Political Economy.

Straight Talk on Trade
November 15, 2016
Project Syndicate | By Dani Rodrik, Ford Foundation Professor of International Political Economy.

Where will the White House begin and the Trump Organization end?
November 14, 2016
Washington Post | By Danielle Allen, Professor of Government and Director of the Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics at Harvard.

Here’s why Trump is already waffling on Obamacare
November 12, 2016
Washington Post | By David Cutler, Otto Eckstein Professor of Applied Economics. "Repeal” wouldn’t be hard. “Replace” is another story.

Petition urging Electoral College to vote for Hillary Clinton goes viral but unlikely to succeed
November 11, 2016
International Business Times |  Alex Keyssar, Matthew W. Stirling Jr. Professor of History and Social Policy, interviewed about the Electoral College.

Theda Skocpol Responds to Judis
November 11, 2016
TPM Editor's Blog | Theda Skocpol, Victor S. Thomas Professor of Government and Sociology, responds to John Judis's article on why Trump won.

Pence, Trump, and the Ed Reform Agenda
November 11, 2016
Education Next | By Paul E. Peterson, Henry Lee Shattuck Professor of Government and Director of the Program on Education Policy and Governance at Harvard. One in a series, "Education Policy Under Donald Trump."

Trump and Apocalyptic Thinking
November 10, 2016
Harvard Magazine | Coverage of "Dark and Stormy: Reflections on the Election,” a panel discussion with Harvard faculty members Jill Lepore (Kemper Professor of American History), David Laibson (Robert I. Goldman Professor of Economics), and Danielle Allen (Professor of Government and Director of the Safra Center for Ethics), hosted by the Mahindra Humanities Center.
View event video ▶
  • Faculty Analyze Climate Around Trump’s Victory
    November 10, 2016
    Harvard Crimson | A discussion of economics, politics, and demographics in the aftermath of President-elect Donald Trump's victory. Panel sponsored by Harvard's Mahindra Humanities Center.

Election Autopsy
November 10, 2016
No Jargon [Podcast—Ep. 57] | With Theda Skocpol, Victor S. Thomas Professor of Government and Sociology and Director of the Scholars Strategy Network. What to expect from a Trump presidency. Analyzing the factors that swayed voters, Skocpol offers insight on what the Democrats need to do moving forward. 
What was the white working class thinking?
November 10, 2016
Harvard Business Review | Essay by legal scholar Joan C. Williams draws from Michèle Lamont's book, The Dignity of Working Men: Morality and the Boundaries of Race, Class, and Immigration. Lamont is Professor of Sociology and of African and African American Studies and the Robert I. Goldman Professor of European Studies at Harvard.

Why neither Christie nor Giuliani should be the next attorney general
November 10, 2016
Washington Post | By Danielle Allen, Professor of Government and Director of the Edmond Safra Center for Ethics at Harvard. "We need to de-politicize the judicial branch to preserve our constitutional fabric," argues Allen. "Appoint a nonpartisan legal figure with a deep record for integrity and public service, who is squeaky clean with regard to conflicts and the appearance of conflict...Only such an appointment will make it clear that the Justice Department will protect liberty and justice for all Americans. There could be no more important early signal for the president-elect to send."

Fear among some immigrants
November 10, 2016
Harvard Gazette | Interview with sociologist Roberto Gonzales, Assistant Professor at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. “DACA is going to be a low-hanging fruit, and canceling it will be a very quick and easy way to satisfy Trump’s base. The questions I have are: Will DACA, as we know it, continue? And what will it happen to those who have it?...Make no mistake about it,” he said. “It’s going to be a very difficult.”

Trumpcast: What does Trump’s Victory Mean for Education Policy?
November 10, 2016
EdNext Podcast | Education Next’s Paul E. Peterson (Henry Lee Shattuck Professor of Government) and Martin West (Ph.D ''06, Associate Professor of Education) talk about what education reforms they expect from President-elect Donald Trump. Will he move on school choice, the Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights, Title I portability, charter schools, or something entirely unexpected? 

Education in the Trump Presidency
November 10, 2016
HGSE Usable Knowledge | Five faculty members, including Thomas Kane, Walter H. Gale Professor of Economics and Education, share their thoughts on the election and its implications for education.

"As the mushroom cloud of uncertainty settles on Washington, D.C., educators should understand that the game moved out of Washington a year ago," says Kane. "The federal government handed the reins of K–12 education reform back to state and local leaders with the signing of the Every Student Succeeds Act in December 2015. We will soon see whether governors, state commissioners, school boards and district leaders are ready to step up and accept the challenge."

Trust Me
November 10, 2016
Freakonomics Radio | Societies where people trust one another are healthier and wealthier. In the U.S. (and the U.K. and elsewhere), social trust has been falling for decades. Features Robert Putnam, Peter and Isabel Malkin Professor of Public Policy, and Edward Glaeser, Fred and Eleanor Glimp Professor of Economics [audio + transcript].

What's the Biggest Fear of a Trump Presidency?
November 9, 2016
The New York Times | By Dani Rodrik, Ford Foundation Professor of International Political Economy at the Harvard Kennedy School. 

What will become of us under Trump? It depends on each of us.
November 9, 2016
Washington Post | By Danielle Allen, Professor of Government and contributing columnist. 

For President Trump, the Road Ahead
November 9, 2016
Harvard Gazette | Harvard analysts weigh in on the election of Donald Trump and what his presidency is likely to mean for the economy, politics, and society. Bart Bonikowski, Associate Professor of Sociology: Donald Trump's defeat of Hillary Clinton "marks a victory for the darkest forces in American politics.The United States as a society and a polity had the opportunity to stand against the politics of fear and resentment. It failed to do so...Ethno-nationalism has emerged victorious. The next four years are likely to be a trying time for the United States, and for the world."

What This Means, How This Happened, What To Do Now
November 9, 2016
Current Affairs | By Nathan J. Robinson, Ph.D. student in Sociology & Social Policy and founder and editor of Current Affairs.
  • Seeing Red in Trump's America
    November 10, 2016
    Radio OpenSource | Among this week's guests, Nathan J. Robinson, Ph.D. student in Sociology & Social Policy.
What the Tea Party tells us about the Trump presidency
November 9, 2016
Brookings Institution | By Vanessa Williamson (Ph.D. '15), fellow in Governance Studies at Brookings and co-author, with Theda Skocpol, of The Tea Party and The Remaking of Republican Conservatism.

Economic Opportunity and Trump's Win
November 9, 2016 | By Scott Winship (Ph.D. '09), Visiting Fellow, Foundation for Research on Equal Opportunity.

Why neither Trump nor Clinton’s plans will fix Social Security
November 7, 2016
MarketWatch | Features Harvard Kennedy School professor Brigitte Madrian on policy measures that would specifically address the solvency of the Social Security system. Madrian was a member of the Bipartisan Policy Center’s (BPC) Commission on Retirement Security and Personal Savings, which recently issued the report cited in the article.

Everyone is sure their side is going to win, even when it loses big. Here’s how we know.
November 7, 2016
Washington Post | By Ryan D. Enos, Associate Professor of Government at Harvard, and Eitan Hersh, Assistant Professor of Political Science at Yale University.

Chasing Electoral Ghosts: We looked at 130 million ballots from the 2012 election and found practically zero evidence of fraud.
November 7, 2016
Slate | By Sharad Goel (Stanford), Marc Meredith (University of Pennsylvania), Michael Morse (Ph.D. candidate in Government, J.D. candidate at Yale Law School), David Rothschild (Microsoft Research), and Houshmand Shirani-Mehr (Stanford).
View the research

U.S. Election Coverage: Leah Wright Rigueur
November 6, 2016
Al Jazeera English | Leah Wright Rigueur, Assistant Professor at Harvard Kennedy School, provided election analysis for Al Jazeera U.S. elections coverage team as they broadcast live from AJTV studios, November 6-9, 2016.

Why Do We Still Have the Electoral College? [lecture video]
November 3, 2016
Massachusetts Historical Society
Alexander Keyssar, Matthew W. Stirling Jr Professor of History and Social Policy, gave the 2016 Pauline Maier Memorial Lecture.

Who’s voting early? Latino turnout is surging, but white turnout is, too.
November 4, 2016
Washington Post | By Bernard L. Fraga (Ph.D '13), Assistant Professor of Political Science at Indiana University, and Brian Schaffner, University of Massachusetts Amherst.

Reports of Voter Intimidation Come in Alongside Early Voting
November 3, 2016
WNYC—The Takeaway | Guest: Leah Wright Rigueur, Assistant Professor at Harvard Kennedy School.

Can US Elections Be Rigged?
November 2, 2016
Harvard Kennedy School PolicyCast | Alex Keyssar, Matthew W. Stirling Jr. Professor of History and Social Policy, offers an historical perspective to modern worries about rigged elections and weighs the prevention of voter fraud against the risk of voter suppression.

Voter Discrimination Starts Well Before Election Day
November 1, 2016
Boston Review | By Ariel R. White (Ph.D. '16), Assistant Professor of Political Science, MIT. "Even if voter ID laws don’t dramatically affect minority turnout, we should be concerned about them. They levy a sort of tax on minority voters, who have to work harder to get information from local officials, jump through bureaucratic hoops to get ID they may not otherwise have, and face disproportionate scrutiny from pollworkers," writes White.

Why the establishment was blindsided by Donald Trump
October 28, 2016
Washington Post | By Danielle Allen, Professor of Government and Education. He has revealed the U.S. to be one nation living in two very different worlds, argues Allen, a political theorist and contributing columnist for the Post.
When Nonprofits Are the New City Leaders
November 10, 2016
The Atlantic—CityLab | Explores work by Ph.D. alum Jeremy Levine (Ph.D. '16), Assistant Professor of Organizational Studies, University of Michigan.
View the research—forthcoming in American Sociological Review.

See also
  • In many poor urban neighborhoods, nonprofits are superseding elected politicians as neighborhood representatives
    November 7, 2016
    LSE US Centre | By Jeremy R. Levine (Ph.D. '16), Assistant Professor of Organizational Studies at the University of Michigan. The past five decades have seen community based nonprofit organizations become an integral component of urban policy, a trend which has been accelerated by the growth of public-private partnerships. In new research using fieldwork in Boston, Massachusetts, Jeremy Levine finds that in some poor urban communities, nonprofits are actually taking the place of elected officials as legitimate community representatives. While this move towards private political representation means that urban policymakers need to reconsider how neighborhoods are represented and gain access to resources, they also raise questions of accountability.
China’s Sky-High Home Prices: Sustainable or a Bubble Waiting to Burst?
November 10, 2016
Bloomberg News | Discusses new paper, forthcoming in the Journal of Economic Perspectives, by Edward Glaeser, Wei Huang (Ph.D. '16), Yueran Ma, and Andrei Shleifer. Wei Huang is currently a Post-doctoral Fellow with the National Bureau of Economic Research.
View the research
How Do We Unlearn Racism?
November 9, 2016
Complex | "Can our racism be unlearned? Experts believe perhaps it can, but that work starts with a better understanding of the nation's history." Features Khalil Gibran Muhammad, Professor of Race, History, and Public Policy at Harvard Kennedy School.

5 Books You Need to Understand the Origins of Incarceration
November 8, 2016
The Nation | Khalil Gibran Muhammad's The Condemnation of Blackness: Race, Crime, and the Making of Modern Urban America (Harvard University Press, 2011) is among the works recommended by Elizabeth Hinton, Assistant Professor of History at Harvard and the author of From the War on Poverty to the War on Crime (Harvard University Press, 2016).
Schools that Work
November 4, 2016
The New York Times | Sunday Review column by David Leonhardt highlights new evidence, "among the most rigorous," by Joshua Angrist (MIT), Sarah Cohodes (Ph.D. '15, now Columbia University), Susan Dynarski (University of Michigan), Parag Pathak (MIT), and Christopher Walters (UC Berkeley) showing impressive results from Boston's charter high schools. Among their findings, the article notes that "Boston's charters eliminate one-third to one-half of the white-black test-score gap in a single year."

“Relative to other things that social scientists and education policy people have tried to boost performance—class sizes, tracking, new buildings—these schools are producing spectacular gains,” said Angrist.
View the research

How Many Charter Schools are Too Many?
November 3, 2016
Boston Globe | Features new work by Sarah Cohodes (Ph.D. '15), Assistant Professor of Education and Public Policy at Teachers College, Columbia University, and co-authors Elizabeth Setren (MIT), and Christopher Walters (UC Berkeley), which examines whether the gains in Boston charter schools can be replicated at larger scale.
View the research

Charter Question Splits Suburbs — Even Suburbs With No Charter Schools
November 3, 2016
WBUR—Edify | Features Thomas Kane, Walter H. Gale Professor of Education, who says he will vote 'yes" on 2, lifting the cap on charter schools, because he believes they'll provide opportunities to disadvantaged students: “The people who are most affected by this are the most in favor of it,” Kane says. “And the people who are the least affected by it are the people who are most opposed to it, but I think it’s because of a misunderstanding of what the issues are.”
[Text and audio]

Vote 'yes' on Question 2
October 30, 2016
Boston Globe | Boston Globe editorial urges lifting the charter school cap, citing research by Sarah Cohodes (Ph.D. '15), Assistant Professor of Education and Public Policy at Teachers College, Columbia University, and co-authors Joshua Angrist, Susan Dynarski, Parag Pathak, and Christopher Walter. The research, "Stand and Deliver: Effects of Boston’s Charter High Schools on College Preparation, Entry, and Choice, appears in the Journal of Labor Economics 34,2 (2016).
Read the research
Chart of the week: Do high taxes motivate star inventors to relocate?
November 4, 2016
American Economics Association | Is tax flight by the rich mostly a myth or a serious concern? Discusses new study co-authored by Stefanie Stantcheva, Assistant Professor of Economics, which appears in the October issue of the American Economic Review. The research is co-authored by Ufuk Akcigit, University of Chicago, and Salomé Baslandze, Einaudi Institute for Economics and Finance. 
View AER article (complimentary access)

How Are Those 27 Million Latino Voters Doing?
November 4, 2016
Bloomberg | Immigrants are rapidly closing the gap with longtime Americans, reports Bloomberg, highlighting "one of the most comprehensive studies [of Latino assimilation]  in recent years" by Van C. Tran (Ph.D. '11), Assistant Professor of Sociology at Columbia University. The study is co-authored by Nicol Valdez, a doctoral student at Columbia.
View the research
What's your ideal community? The answer is political
November 3, 2016
The New York Times | Features research by Ryan D. Enos, Associate Professor of Government, who "simulated the effects of added diversity in white suburbs by hiring Spanish speakers to board commuter trains outside Boston...'There are a lot of things we can experiment on, but context in itself is this widely diffuse and complex thing,' Mr. Enos said. Nailing down how we’re shaped by it, he said, 'is the most impossible problem in social science.'"
View the research

Research highlight: Are hospitals more like other businesses than we thought?
November 2, 2016
American Economics Association | Delves into new article by Harvard's Amitabh Chandra (Malcolm Wiener Professor of Social Policy), Amy Finkelstein (MIT), Adam Sacarny (Columbia University), and Chad Syverson (Chicago Booth).

"A study published in the August issue of American Economic Review found that hospitals – long thought to be economic islands apart from typical market pressures – are shaped by consumer-driven forces like in other industries. The findings challenge long-held beliefs about health care 'exceptionalism' and raise questions for policymakers as they consider reforms to the $3 trillion U.S. health care sector."
View the AER article (complimentary access)

An Interview with Matthew Desmond: The Author of 'Evicted' reveals why the housing crisis is one of the most pressing problems facing our nation.
November 2, 2016
Read it Forward | Interview with Matthew Desmond, author of Evicted and the John L. Loeb Associate Professor of the Social Sciences: "It's heartbreaking. I mean, when you watch a mother decide between buying food for her family or paying the rent, or, after a loved one dies, debating between paying for the funeral or paying the rent, you’re seeing people confront really terrible choices. Poverty is not pretty. Poverty is a very ugly thing."

"We're at a point right now where half of poor renters below the poverty line are spending over 50% of their income on housing and at least one in four is spending 70% of their income on housing. We can’t do anything about inequality if we don’t address that problem....A lot of times when we hear policy and prescriptions about how to ameliorate poverty in the U.S., they are talking about jobs. Good jobs, better jobs, great. But it’s half the solution. We have to address this other thing too."

Michèle Lamont delivers keynote at COES-LSE Inequalities conference in Santiago
November 2, 2016
COES-LSE | Michèle Lamont gave the first keynote presentation at the 2016 COES-LSE Inequalities conference, an international conference jointly held by The Centre for Social Conflict and Cohesion Studies-COES and the International Inequalities Institute-LSE in Santiago, Chile, November 2-4, 2016. Lamont spoke on Getting Respect: Responding to Stigma and Discrimination in the United States, Brazil, and Israel, her new book published in September by Princeton University Press. The book is co-authored with a team of sociologists, including Inequality & Social Policy doctoral fellow alumnae Graziella Moraes Silva (Ph.D. '10) and Jessica S. Welburn (Ph.D. '11), as well as Joshua Guetzkow, Nissim Mizrachi, Hanna Herzog & Elisa Reis. Lamont is the Robert I. Goldman Professor of European Studies and professor of sociology and of African and African American studies at Harvard University.

Solutions to Income Volatility: A Discussion with Elisabeth Jacobs
November 1, 2016
The Aspen Institute | Discussion with Elisabeth Jacobs (Ph.D. '08), Senior Director for Policy at the Washington Center for Equitable Growth. Her research focuses on economic inequality and mobility, family economic security, poverty, social insurance, and the politics of inequality. Here, she shares insights on how best to help families struggling with income volatility. 

The ‘gig economy’ is a lot more than Uber, but can it last as is?
October 30, 2016
Boston Globe | Cites Harvard's Lawrence Katz, Elisabeth Allison Professor of Economics, and Alan Krueger of Princeton University, co-authors of a recently released NBER paper, "The Rise and Nature of Alternative Work Arrangements in the United States, 1995-2015."
View the research

Small Factories Emerge as a Weapon in the Fight Against Poverty
October 28, 2016
The New York Times | Quotes Lawrence Katz, Elisabeth Allison Professor of Economics."In the 1950s, says Lawrence Katz, a prominent labor economist at Harvard, nearly one-third of the men who went to work after high school were employed in factories. Those jobs and that era are never coming back, Mr. Katz said, 'but a job as a physical therapist or a home health aide doesn’t fit the identity of someone who is a welder or a machinist...I call it an identity mismatch, and I think it’s a huge issue for men,' Mr. Katz said. 'Pure physical labor isn’t much valued today, but we need to try and rebuild the service sector for men without college degrees.'” 

The two reasons it really is harder to get a job than it used to be
October 28, 2016
Washington Post | Cites research on employer "upskilling" by Alicia Sasser Modestino (Ph.D. '01), Associate Professor of Public Policy and Urban Affairs and Economics at Northeastern University and Associate Director of its Dukakis Center; Daniel Shoag (PhD. '11), Associate Professor at the Harvard Kennedy School, and Joshua Ballance of the Boston Fed: "Upskilling: Do Employers Demand Greater Skill When Workers Are Plentiful?"
View the research
The Problem With How Higher Education Treats Diversity
October 28, 2016
The Atlantic | What is lost when disadvantaged students are forced to commodify their backgrounds for the sake of college admissions? A discussion of new book, The Diversity Bargain, by Natasha Warikoo (Ph.D. '05), Associate Professor at Harvard Graduate School of Education.
  • Book of the Week: The Diversity Bargain: And Other Dilemmas of Race, Admissions and Meritocracy at Elite Universities
    October 27, 2016
    Times Higher Education | Review of The Diversity Bargain, by Natasha Warikoo (Ph.D. '05), Associate Professor at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. "Here, Warikoo explores how such inequalities [in higher education] persist, particularly in relation to students’ understandings of race, meritocracy and inequality in elite universities in the US and the UK. By using the concept of “race frames” (lenses through which we observe, interpret and respond to our world), Warikoo considers the role of family, schooling and history in shaping how we see the world." The Diversity Bargain was published earlier this month by the University of Chicago Press.

Paying for Outcomes: Beyond the Social Impact Bond Buzz
October 28, 2016
Inside Story (Australia) | By Matt Tyler (MPP '17) and Ben Stephens (MPP '17). Harvard Kennedy School. Social impact bonds’ most valuable contribution could be to support the expansion of pay-for-success contracting to dramatically improve the lives of vulnerable Australians, write Tyler and Stephens.

We Put Financial Advisers to the Test—And They Failed
October 27, 2016
Wall Street Journal | Antoinette Schoar of MIT Sloan writes about her research with Harvard's Sendhil Mullainathan (Robert C. Waggoner Professor of Economics) and Markus Noeth of Hamburg University. "We sent “mystery shoppers” to financial advisers in the greater Boston area who impersonated regular customers seeking advice on how to invest their retirement savings outside of their 401(k) plans...What we learned is highly troubling."
Educator-researcher partnerships show promise in Houston Independent School District
October 26, 2016
Houston Chronicle | Interview with Ruth López Turley (Ph.D. '01), Professor of Sociology at Rice University and Director of the Houston Education Research Consortium.

"...Ruth López Turley seeks to close socioeconomic gaps in achievement...The Laredo native and Harvard-educated professor works to strengthen the connection between education research and practice, and founded a network of research institutions and public school districts that have partnered in 13 cities nationwide."

Generational Poverty: Trying to Solve Philly’s Most Enduring Problem
September 17, 2017
Philadelphia Magazine | Cites research by Leah Platt Boustan (Ph.D. '06), Professor of Economics at UCLA, and collaborators Ran Abramitzky (Stanford) and Katherine Eriksson (UC Davis), which suggests that the myth of upward mobility for European immigrants at the turn of the 20th century is not accurate:

"A paper published in the Journal of Political Economy follows what happened to two generations of European immigrants who arrived during the age of mass migration, between 1850 and 1913. The study is vast, comparing 21,000 immigrants from 16 separate European countries. What researchers found is that on average, those immigrants who had an economic advantage on their American counterparts when they got here maintained their lead. Those who arrived at a disadvantage stayed behind. And these gaps persisted through a second generation.

“People don’t like to think of America in this way,” says one of the paper’s authors, Leah Boustan. “That image of the hardworking immigrant who comes to America and makes it big, of each child doing better than his parents, is a big part of how we see ourselves. But the data suggests America is more like a caste system. We do about as well as our parents did.”
View the research


Danielle Allen named University Professor
November 14, 2016
Harvard Gazette
Renowned political philosopher Danielle Allen, director of Harvard’s Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics, professor of government in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences (FAS), and professor of education at the Graduate School of Education, has been named a University Professor, Harvard’s highest faculty honor.
Best Paper Award from Journal of Politics:
The Political Legacy of American Slavery

November 10, 2016
Maya Sen, Assistant Professor at the Harvard Kennedy School, and co-authors Avidit Acharya (Stanford) and Matthew Blackwell (Harvard Government Department), have been awarded the Joseph Bernd Award for the best article published in Journal of Politics in 2016. Their article, "The Political Legacy of American Slavery," is available open access.
View article (PDF)

Forthcoming academic publications by Ph.D. fellows

Hopkins, Daniel J., Marc Meredith, Michael Morse*, Sarah Smith, and Jesse Yonder. “Voting But For the Law: Evidence from Virginia on Photo Identification Requirements.” Forthcoming in Journal of Empirical Legal Studies.

Greenberg, Claire, Marc Meredith, and Michael Morse.The Growing and Broad Nature of Legal Financial Obligations: Evidence from Court Records in Alabama.” Forthcoming in Connecticut Law Review 48 (4).

Ho, Daniel, and Michael Morse.New Measurement Technologies: A Review and Application to Nuremberg and Justice Jackson.” Oxford Handbook of U.S. Judicial Behavior, edited by Lee Epstein and Stefanie A. Lindquist. Oxford University Press, forthcoming.

*Michael Morse is a Ph.D. candidate in Government at Harvard and a J.D. candidate at Yale Law School. 

Events of interest

Social Inclusion and Poverty Eradication:
A Two-Day International Workshop

Thur-Fri, Nov 17-18, 2016
Minda de Gunzburg Center for European Studies at Harvard.
Co-sponsored by Weatherhead Center for International Affairs.
Gabriel Zucman, "Distributional National Accounts: Methods and Estimates for the United States" (with Thomas Piketty and Emmanuel Saez)
Monday, Nov 21, 2016
Harvard Economics
EC 3450hf: The Public Economics and Fiscal Policy Seminar, held jointly with EC 3810chfra: The Labor Economics Workshop and EC 3410: The Monetary and Fiscal Policy Seminar.
Painting by Jessica Brilli.

Jacob S. Hacker, "American Amnesia: Forgetting What Made Us Prosper"
Thursday, Dec 1, 2016
Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study

Did we miss anything?

Please let us know!

On the web


News in your inbox

Oct 27, 2016
Sep 30, 2016
Sep 6, 2016
New Books
Aug 1, 2016
Jul 12, 2016
Jun 6, 2016

May 24, 2016
May 9, 2016
Mar 28, 2016
Mar 10, 2016
Feb 4, 2016
Jan 13, 2016
Books of 2015
Dec 16, 2015
Nov 23, 2015
Nov 10, 2015
Oct 10, 2015
Aug 31, 2015
Join our mailing list

Copyright © 2016 Multidisciplinary Program in Inequality & Social Policy at Harvard University, All rights reserved.
Part of the Malcolm Wiener Center for Social Policy. 

Multidisciplinary Program in Inequality & Social Policy
Harvard Kennedy School
Malcolm Wiener Center for Social Policy
79 JKF Street (Box 103)
Cambridge MA 02138


unsubscribe from this list    update subscription preferences   
Email Marketing Powered by Mailchimp