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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


Ph.D. students launch The Immigrant Doctors Project

Inequality & Social Policy fellows Adrienne Sabety (Ph.D. candidate in Health Policy) Heather Sarsons (Ph.D. candidate in Economics) are among a team of Harvard and MIT economists who have launched The Immigrant Doctors Project, a site that marshals data and analysis to illuminate the contributions that physicians from the six targeted countries in the President's travel ban make in the health care of many American communities.

The team includes Peter Ganong of the University of Chicago (Harvard Ph.D.'16); Harvard Ph.D. candidates Mitra Akhtari (Economics), Matthew Basilico (MD/PhD Economics), Valentin Bolotnyy (Economics), John Coglianese (Political Economy and Government), Jonathan Roth (Economics); and MIT Ph.D. candidates Otis Reid (Economics) and Michael Stepner (Economics).

The Immigrant Doctors Project worked with New York Attorney General's office in its filing against the revised immigration ban in State of Washington and State of Minnesota v. Trump (See Declaration of Mitra Akhtari, filed by the NY Attorney General: pdf) .The Immigrant Doctors Project also contributed material to an amicus brief in support of the plaintiffs in State of Hawaii v. Trump (pdf, p.14). Last week a federal judge in Hawaii issued a temporary freeze of the current Executive Order.

Drill down via an interactive map. Find answers to FAQs: Why focus on doctors? Are these numbers substantial? Are current visa holders still affected, even though they are exempt from the new executive order?

Take a look. Learn More. ▶️
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Insight and analysis

How Violence Warps Childhood Friendships in Chicago
March 20, 2017
NY Magazine—The Science of Us | A look at new research by Mario Luis Small (joint with Anjanette M. Chan), now out in Sociological Science. Small (Ph.D.'01) is Grafstein Family Professor of Sociology at Harvard.
View the research

What Inequality Looks Like Right Now
March 17, 2017
WGBH Innovation Hub | Alexandra Killewald, Professor of Sociology, guests to talk about wealth inequality.

Minority Neighborhoods at the Bottom of L.A.'s Economic Ladder Tend to Stay There
March 17, 2017
L.A. Weekly | Jared Schachner, Ph.D. student in Sociology & Social Policy, discusses findings of a new study co-authored with Harvard's Robert J. Sampson, Henry Ford II Professor of the Social Sciences, and Robert D. Mare of UCLA. Their article, "Urban Inequality and the Great Recession in Sunbelt Form," appears in a new RSF Journal issue on the "Spatial Foundations of Inequality." (See below). 

Spatial Foundations of Inequality

RSF: The Russell Sage Foundation Journal of the Social Sciences. Vol 3, Issue 2.

Issue editors
George Galster, Patrick Sharkey 

Spatial Foundations of Inequality: A Conceptual Model and Empirical Overview
By George Galster, Patrick Sharkey

Racial Residential Segregation of School-Age Children and Adults: The Role of Schooling as a Segregating Force
By Ann Owens 

Urban Income Inequality and the Great Recession in Sunbelt Form: Disentangling Individual and Neighborhood-Level Change in Los Angeles 
By Robert J Sampson,* Jared N Schachner,* and Robert D. Mare

* Robert J. Sampson is Henry Ford II Professor of the Social Sciences, Harvard University.

* Jared N. Schachner is a Ph.D. candidate in Sociology & Social Policy, Harvard University.

Alumni: Patrick Sharkey and Ann Owens both received their Ph.D. in  Sociology & Social Policy from Harvard.

The Health Care Bill

Douglas Elmendorf joins Hearing on Impact of House Republican ACA Repeal Bill
March 16, 2017
Douglas Elmendorf, Dean of the Harvard Kennedy School, spoke as an expert witness before a House Democratic Caucus hearing on the impact of the Affordable Health Care Act.

"The health care legislation supported by the House Republican leadership would take our country backward, not forward, Elmendorf said. "It would do that in at least four important ways..." 
Read more »
The removal of opportunities in this bill would not represent shared sacrifice for the national good but rather targeted sacrifice by lower- and middle-income Americans...[The Republican bill] would leave the tax subsidies for higher-income Americans fully in place and clobber the tax subsidies—and spending subsidies—for lower-and middle-income Americans.
The legislation would take us backward by providing a large tax cut focused on the very top of the income distribution...The one percent of households with the highest incomes would receive 40 percent of the gains from repealing the tax increases under the ACA, according to estimates by the Tax Policy Center.
Douglas Elmendorf, House Democrats' Hearing on the Impact of the Affordable Health Care Act
(Full text)
Fmr. CBO director on new health care bill report
March 13, 2017
CBS News | Douglas Elmendorf, Dean of the Harvard Kennedy School and Don K. Price Professor of Public Policy, joins CBSN's Red & Blue to discuss today's Congressional Budget Office report on the House Republican health care bill. Elmendorf served as director of the Congressional Budget Office from January 2009 to March 2015. (Video: 8 minutes)

Why the CBO Report Is a Blow to the GOP Health Plan
March 13, 2017
Bloomberg | Douglas Elmendorf reacts to the CBO scorecard on the GOP health plan. (video: 6 minutes)
A bigger part of the reason people will lose health insurance coverage is they won’t be able to afford it. People are not maintaining access to health insurance coverage, or gaining access to health insurance coverage, in this legislation. People are being taken out of Medicaid. The subsidies are being cut back by 40% on average in insurance marketplaces. So the bill is not maintaining access and giving people freedom to choose as the Speaker suggested. It is reducing access very significantly.
Douglas Elmendorf, CBS News
Should healthy people have to pay for chronic illnesses?
March 17, 2017
Washington Post | By David Cutler, Otto Eckstein Professor of Applied Economics. Paul Ryan wants to shift the burden of health-care costs. His plan is a moral and economic failure, Cutler writes.

Analysis: GOP plan to cost Obamacare enrollees $1,542 more a year
March 7, 2017
Vox | By David Cutler, John Bertko, Topher Spiro, and Emily Gee. 

See also
No, The CBO Was Not 'Way, Way Off' On Scoring Obamacare
March 14, 2017
TPM: Talking Points Memo | Harvard Kennedy School Dean Douglas Elmendorf and other budget experts assess what the CBO got right and what it got wrong in its 2010 projections for the Affordable Care Act. Elmendorf served as director of the Congressional Budget Office from January 2009 to March 2015.
  • The Congressional Budget Office, explained
    March 13, 2017
    Vox | CBO’s score of Republicans’ health plan is out, and it looks grim. Here’s why the agency has such influence, explains Vox. Douglas Elmendorf is among those interviewed.
Democrats, Republicans and the Explosive Politics of Health Insurance
February 6, 2017
Public Seminar | Video of Theda Skocpol presentation (part I) given at The New School. The Q&A (part II) may be viewed in here.
What if Sociologists Had as Much Influence as Economists?
March 17, 2017
The New York Times | "Another academic discipline may not have the ear of presidents but may actually do a better job of explaining what has gone wrong in large swaths of the United States and other advanced nations in recent years," argues Economic View columnist Neil Irwin. Features Harvard sociologist Michèle Lamont and highlights the lessons about poverty that Harvard sociologist Matthew Desmond's Evicted has illuminated.
Trump's Budget isn't Going Anywhere, says Ex-CBO Director
March 17, 2017
Bloomberg | Harvard Kennedy School Dean Douglas Elmendorf, former director of the Congressional Budget Office, joins to discuss Trump's budget proposal and look at growth potential for the U.S. economy. (video: 6 minutes)

Navigating Our Shameful, Maddeningly Complex Student Aid System
March 17, 2017
The New York Times | Quotes and cites research by Judith Scott-Clayton (Ph.D. '09), Associate Professor of Economics and Education at Columbia University Teachers College, and Susan Dynarski (University of Michigan) showing that lower-income students suffer disproportionately from inefficient complexity in financial aid.
View the research

Carrie Conaway elected president of AEFP
March 17, 2017
Association for Education Finance and Policy | Alumna Carrie Conaway was elected president of AEFP at its 42nd annual conference in Washington, D.C. Conaway is the chief strategy and research officer for the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. She was recently appointed by President Barack Obama to the National Board for Education Sciences.
American apartheid
March 16, 2017
UVA Miller Center | By Orlando Patterson, John Cowles Professor of Sociology. Volume 9 in the Miller Center's First Year 2017 project, which examines the key issues the new U.S. president must confront. The current volume, "Grappling with Tensions Over Race," also includes essays by Elizabeth Hinton (Assistant Professor of History and of African and African American Studies at Harvard), Douglas A. Blackmon, and Michael Eric Dyson (Georgetown University)
See all essays

The Increasing Significance of the Decline of Men
March 16, 2017
The New York Times | Women have fared better than men in adapting to a changing labor market. Thomas B. Edsall column cites David Deming (Ph.D.'10), Professor of Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School, and his work on the growing importance of social skills in the labor market. Also quoted: Richard Freeman, Herbert Ascherman Professor of Economics.
View the research
Three Harvard Experts Explain How Economics Can Shape Precision Medicines
March 16, 2017
Harvard Business School | Discusses a new article published in Science by Assistant Professor Ariel D. Stern (Ph.D. '14) of Harvard Business School, Associate Professor Brian M. Alexander of Harvard Medical School, and Amitabh Chandra, Malcolm Wiener Professor of Social Policy at Harvard Kennedy School.
View article in Science
What Trump’s tax returns tell us: The public needs to see more
March 16, 2017
Brookings Institution | By Vanessa Williamson (Ph.D. '15), Fellow in Governance Studies. Williamson is the author of a new book Read My Lips: Why Americans are Proud to Pay Taxes, published earlier this month by by Princeton University Press.

How Much Europe Can Europe Tolerate?
March 14, 2017
Project Syndicate | By Dani Rodrik, Ford Foundation Professor of International Political Economy, Harvard Kennedy School. "Today, the Union is mired in a deep existential crisis, and its future is very much in doubt. The symptoms are everywhere: Brexit, crushing levels of youth unemployment in Greece and Spain, debt and stagnation in Italy, the rise of populist movements, and a backlash against immigrants and the euro. They all point to the need for a major overhaul of Europe’s institutions," Rodrik writes.

The Left Might Have A Hard Time Replicating The Tea Party’s Success
March 13, 2017
FiveThirtyEight | Theda Skocpol, Victor S. Thomas Professor of Government and Sociology, provides perspective. Skocpol is co-author with Vanessa Williamson (Ph.D. '15), now a fellow at the Brookings Institution, of The Tea Party and the Remaking of Republican Conservatism (Oxford University Press, 2012).

Crime and the Adolescent Brain
March 11, 2017
The New York Times | Editorial cites a 2016 report by the Malcolm Wiener Center for Social Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School, "[which] found that raising the age for adult prosecution produced sharp reductions in arrests, court caseloads and incarceration costs. Sixteen-year-olds who are tried as juveniles are less likely to be rearrested than those tried as adults. And arrests for people under 18 dropped by an astonishing 68 percent while the crime rate has continued to decline."

Lael Chester (Research Fellow) and Vincent Schiraldi (Senior Research Fellow) of the Malcolm Wiener Center's Program in Criminal Justice Policy and Management authored the report.

Securities and Exchange Commission Evidence Summit
March 10, 2017
U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission | Economist Brigitte Madrian of the Harvard Kennedy School spoke at an SEC Evidence Summit, a public conference "to discuss...potential strategies for enhancing retail investors’ understanding of key investment characteristics such as fees, risks, returns, and conflicts of interest." 

The summit aimed to "marshal research from the fields of economics and cognitive sciences to help inform ways of thinking about investor behavior and identify areas for possible future research to be conducted under the auspices of an investor research initiative led by the Commission’s Office of the Investor Advocate."  An archive version of the webcast will be posted soon at

FDA Official Under Bush Is Trump’s Choice to Lead Agency
March 10, 2017
The New York Times | Daniel Carpenter, Allie S. Freed Professor of Government, comments on the nomination of Scott Gottlieb to head the Food and Drug Administration. 

Tips from history in an age of Trump, protests
March 10, 2017
Boston Globe | Four books with lessons for today's protestors, including Daniel Schlozman (Ph.D. '11), When Movements Anchor Parties: Electoral Alignments in American History, published by Princeton University Press and winner of the 2016 Charles Tilly Distinguished Contribution to Scholarship Book Award from the ASA's Collective Behavior and Social Movements Section. Schlozman is Assistant Professor of Political Science at Johns Hopkins University.

The political lexicon of a billionaire populist
March 9, 2017
Washington Post | Quoted: Bart Bonikowski, Associate Professor of Sociology.

Turning a March into a Movement
March 9, 2017
HKS PolicyCast | If the Women’s March on Washington was a spark, what does it now take to fan that spark into a flame? In this week's roundtable discussion: Assistant Professor Leah Wright Rigueur, Women and Public Policy Program Executive Director Victoria Budson, and Adjunct Lecturer Tim McCarthy.

‘Superstar Firms’ May Have Shrunk Workers’ Share of Income
March 8, 2017
The New York Times | Discusses a new study by David Autor (MIT), David Dorn (University of Zurich), Lawrence Katz (Harvard), Christina Patterson (MIT), and John Van Reenen (MIT), forthcoming in American Economic Review Papers and Proceedings.

“What’s different about new superstar firms is they don’t have the cadre of middle-class jobs for nonelite workers,” said Mr. Katz, an economics professor at Harvard. “That’s very worrisome,” he said, adding that “the trend is going on in country after country.”
View the research
Trump attacks cities, but they’re the lifeblood of our country (Part 1)
March 8, 2017
Washington Post | A conversation with Harvard economist Edward Glaeser. "Perhaps the most troubling division to me is the gap in prime age joblessness between urban and rural America. That gap is widening perilously," Glaeser says. "In 1980, only about nine percent of men between 25 and 54 were jobless in both urban and rural America. Today, the jobless rate is about 15 percent in America’s metropolitan areas, which is slightly below the national average, and about 19 percent outside of metropolitan America."

Trump attacks cities, but they’re the lifeblood of our country (Part 2)
March 8, 2017
Washington Post | In part 2 of his interview with Jennifer Rubin, Harvard economist Edward Glaeser "explains how we know cities — and not self-selecting city dwellers — are responsible for the city phenomenon, and what the federal government should be doing about it."

Government Performance Lab Awards Technical Assistance to Three States
March 8, 2017
Harvard Gazette | Jeffrey Liebman, Malcolm Wiener Professor of Public Policy and Director of the Government Performance Lab at Harvard Kennedy School, discusses new projects with state governments in California, Connecticut, and Illinois that aim to alleviate poverty, increase family stability, combat recidivism, and improve higher education.

Author interview: Democracy has always been a contact sport
March 8, 2017
HBS Working Knowledge | Author interview with David A. Moss, Paul Whiton Cherington Professor of Business Administration and author of Democracy: A Case Study (Harvard University Press, 2017).

How to Beat the Robots
March 7, 2017
The New York Times | Quoted: Lawrence Katz, Elisabeth Allison Professor of Economics. Also cites research by David Deming (Ph.D. '10), "The Growing Importance of Social Skills in the Labor Market." Deming is a professor at the Harvard Kennedy School and Harvard Graduate School of Education.
View the research

See also
  • Robots are wealth creators and taxing them is illogical
    March 5, 2017
    Financial Times | By Lawrence Summers, Charles W. Eliot University Professor "Why tax in ways that reduce the size of the pie rather than ways that assure that the larger pie is well distributed?," Summers writes. "There are many better approaches. Governments will, however, have to concern themselves with problems of structural joblessness. They likely will need to take a more explicit role in ensuring full employment than has been the practice in the US." This column also appeared in the Washington Post.
The economy and the odds of criminal recidivism
March 7, 2017
Journalist's Resource | Reviews new study by economist Crystal Yang (Ph.D. '13), Assistant Professor at Harvard Law School, which appears in the March 2017 issue of the Journal of Public Economics

In the study, "Local Labor Markets and Criminal Recidivism," Yang finds "that being released to a county with higher low-skilled wages significantly decreases the risk of recidivism," with the impact of favorable labor market conditions greater for black and first-time offenders. "Overall," Yang writes, "the findings suggest that the release of a large number of ex-offenders during the Great Recession likely had substantial consequences for recidivism," increasing the risk of recidivism by 5.5 to 9.6 percent.
View the research
Learn more about Crystal Yang's work

17 cities across the US have discovered a clever way to lower student absence rates
March 7, 2017
Business Insider | Cites research by behavioral scientist Todd Rogers, Associate Professor at the Harvard Kennedy School (joint with Avi Feller, UC Berkeley).
View the research On Race and Meritocracy in Academia
March 7, 2017
Pop Matters | Deep dive into Natasha Warikoo's new book, The Diversity Bargain and Other Dilemmas of Race, Admissions, and Meritocracy at Elite Universities (University of Chicago Press, 2016). Warikoo (Ph.D. '15), Associate Professor at Harvard Graduate School of Education.
Economic Policy Conference: Fiscal Policy Perspectives
March 6, 2017
C-SPAN | National Association of Business Economics conference session with Douglas Elmendorf of the Harvard Kennedy School and Glenn Hubbard of Columbia Business School. Elmendorf, Dean and Don K. Price Professor of Public Policy, served as Director of the Congressional Budget Office from January 2009 through March 2015. Hubbard served as Chair of the White House Council of Economic Advisers from 2001 to 2003.
View NABE conference materials

Linking Multiracial Coalitions and Class-Based Appeals
March 4, 2017
NYU Furman Center | By Lawrence Bobo, W. E. B. Du Bois Professor of the Social Sciences, Harvard University. Part of the "The Dream Revisited: Race, Segregation, and Politics," a discussion with J. Phillip Thompson (MIT), and also featuring responses by Patrick Bayer (Duke) and Christina Greer (Fordham).
Why We Don’t Value Flextime Enough
March 3, 2017
Wall Street Journal | By Ray Fisman (Boston University) and Michael Luca (Harvard Business School). Most American workers won’t trade less pay for a more flexible schedule, but they’re underestimating the role of free time in personal happiness, Fisman and Luca write. Among the research discussed in this article, a recent study by Alexandre Mas (Princeton University) and Amanda Pallais (Harvard Economics), "Valuing Alternative Work Arrangements."
View the research
Addressing recognition gaps: Destigmatization processes and the making of inequality
March 3 2017
LSE International Inequalities Institute | Harvard's Michèle Lamont presented her newest work on recognition gaps at LSE's International Inequalities Institute. Harvard audiences will have the opportunity to learn more about this research when Michèle Lamont speaks in the Harvard Inequality Seminar next Monday, March 27.
'Deportation Nation'
March 2, 2017
Radio Open Source | Harvard's Mary Waters, John L. Loeb Professor of Sociology, and Roberto Gonzales, Assistant Professor at Harvard Graduate School of Education, join Daniel Kanstroom, Professor of Law at Boston College and author of  Deportation Nation: Outsiders in American History.

"Mary Waters, sociologist at Harvard, is increasingly concerned by the parallels between mass deportation and mass incarceration. She termed the phenomenon 'crimmigration.' In order to resist this system, she writes, 'we need a model of a social movement that is not based in civil rights, because we have defined millions of people living in this country as being outside of civil society.'"

"Roberto Gonzales spent 12 years following the lives of undocumented teenagers in Los Angeles. His heart-breaking account in Lives in Limbo paints a tragic portrait of squandered potential and unrealized dreams. For undocumented teenagers, adulthood marks a transition to illegality — a period of ever-narrowing opportunities. One teenager named Esperanza lamented to Roberto: 'I would have been the walking truth instead of a walking shadow.'"

”Election 2016: How Did We Get Here and What Does it Mean?
March 2, 2017
American Historical Association—AHA Today | Recap of the American Historical Association's plenary session, "Election 2016: How Did We Get Here and What Does it Mean?," featuring Leah Wright Rigueur, Assistant Professor at the Harvard Kennedy School.

Trump Scapegoats Unauthorized Immigrants for Crime
March 1, 2017
The Atlantic | Cites Khalil Gibran Muhammad, Professor of History, Race, and Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School, on the ways in which racism and ethnic fears historically permeated newspaper coverage of crime and government crime statistics in the U.S.
Shaky Jobs, Sluggish Wages: Reasons Are at Home
February 28, 2017
The New York Times | "This reorganization of employment is playing a big role in keeping a lid on wages — and in driving income inequality — across a much broader swath of the economy than globalization can account for," writes Economic Scene columnist Eduardo Porter.

Cites recent study by Lawrence Katz of Harvard and Alan Krueger of Princeton, which concluded that temp agency workers, on-call workers, contract workers, and freelancers accounted for 94% of U.S. employment growth from 2005 to 2015. (View this research)

Also cites Katz on the pay gaps between firms as an important source of inequality: "Overall, Professor Katz estimates, the sorting of workers into high- and low-end employers accounts for a quarter to a third of the increase of wage inequality in the United States since 1980."
The GOP’s Long History With Black Colleges
February 27, 2017
Politico | By Theodore R. Johnson and Leah Wright Rigueur. "In the tenuous relationship between Republican leaders and historically black schools, this is the way it's been for a long time," write Johnson and Rigueur. "Politics makes for strange bedfellows—as is undoubtedly true of Trump and Talladega—but the blend of political expediency and areas of ideological overlap have proved a strong enough elixir to bring the two together and sustain a relationship over time."

Leah Wright Rigueur is an assistant professor of public policy at the Harvard Kennedy School and the author of The Loneliness of the Black Republican: Pragmatic Politics and the Pursuit of Power. Theodore R. Johnson is an Eric and Wendy Schmidt Fellow at New America and an adjunct professor at Georgetown University’s McCourt School of Public Policy.
The Immigration Debate We Need
February 27, 2017
The New York Times
By George J. Borjas, Robert W. Scrivner Professor of Economics and Social Policy, Harvard Kennedy School.

See also
In Europe, nationalism rising
February 27, 2017
Harvard Gazette | Featuring interviews with Bart Bonikowski, Associate Professor of Sociology, and Michèle Lamont,  Robert I. Goldman Professor of European Studies and Professor of Sociology and of African and African American Studies.

Just How Abnormal Is the Trump Presidency? Rating 20 Events
February 27, 2017
The New York Times | The New York Times consulted a panel of experts, among them Jennifer Hochschild, Henry LaBarre Jayne Professor of Government and Professor of African and African American Studies at Harvard, and Vesla Weaver (Ph.D. '07), Associate Professor of Political Science and Director of ISPS Center for the Study of Inequality at Yale University.

Economists Have Been Demoted in Washington. That’s a Bad Idea.
February 24, 2017
The New York Times | By Sendhil Mullainathan, Robert C. Waggoner Professor of Economics.

Do we need a new kind of economics?
February 24, 2017
Financial Times | FT Books Essay by Martin Sandu recalls an instructive insight from an international trade theory course at Harvard with Dani Rodrik, Ford Foundation Professor of International Political Economy.

See also
The Retraining Paradox
February 23, 2017
The New York Times Magazine | Many Americans need jobs, or want better jobs, while employers have good jobs they can’t fill. Matching them up is the tricky part. Quoted: Lawrence Katz, Elisabeth Allison Professor of Economics.

Dismal Voucher Results Surprise Researchers as DeVos Era Begins
February 23, 2017
The New York Times | Martin West, Associate Professor of Education, comments on a recent research finding unusually large negative effects of vouchers on children's test scores in Louisiana.

The article also cites research by Raj Chetty, John Friedman, and Jonah Rockoff (PhD '04, now Columbia Business School) linking teachers' impacts on test scores (teacher value-added) to improved adult outcomes on a variety of measures.

And it notes that "the new voucher studies stand in marked contrast to research findings that well-regulated charter schools in Massachusetts and elsewhere have a strong, positive impact on test scores," citing research by Sarah Cohodes (PhD '15, now Columbia Teachers College) and collaborators. Cohodes and Susan Dynarski summarize the evidence in a 2016 Brookings Institution report, "Massachusetts charter cap holds back disadvantaged students."

What Title I portability would mean for the distribution of federal education aid
February 23, 2017
Brookings Institution | By Nora Gordon (Ph.D. '02), Associate Professor of Public Policy, Georgetown University.

Washington must reduce policy uncertainty for small businesses
February 23, 2017
The Hill | Op-ed by Stan Veuger cites joint research with Daniel Shoag, Associate Professor at the Harvard Kennedy School, which found that increased local policy uncertainty contributed to the severity of the Great Recession. Their article, "Uncertainty and the Geography of the Great Recession," appears in the Journal of Monetary Economics (December 2016).
​​​​​​​View the research

When Bias Hurts Profits
February 22, 2017
Harvard Gazette | Details new study by economics professor Amanda Pallais and colleagues, which found that when minority employees in a French grocery chain worked for biased managers their job performance dropped from 79th to 53rd percentile on average. Pallais is the Paul Sack Associate Professor of Political Economy and Social Studies. The study is forthcoming in the Quarterly Journal of Economics.
View the research

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.
2017 Conference on Poverty and Inequality
February 25, 2017
Harvard Kennedy School | HKS MPP and MPA students held their second-annual student-run Conference on Poverty and Inequality, "Tacking Poverty and Inequality under a Trump Presidency," with support from the Malcolm Wiener Center for Social Policy.

Faculty participants included David Ellwood, Julie Boatright Wilson, Ronald Ferguson, Joshua Goodman, David Deming, and Quinton Mayne.
View the full program


'Evicted' wins National Book Critics Circle Award for nonfiction
March 16, 2017

Matthew Desmond, John L. Loeb Associate Professor of the Social Sciences, was recognized tonight with the 2016 National Books Critics Circle Award in Nonfiction for Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City.

"Just a few books have reframed the national conversation about poverty," wrote NBCC board member Elizabeth Taylor: "How the Other Half Lives: Studies among the Tenements of New York by Jacob Riis, The Other America by Michael Harrington, When Work Disappears: The World of the New Urban Poor by William Julius Wilson, There Are No Children Here: The Story of Two Boys Growing Up in the Other America by Alex Kotlowitz," wrote NBCC board member Elizabeth Taylor.

"With his ground-breaking book Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City, Matthew Desmond now forcefully shapes our understanding of poverty. His focus is on the dynamics of poverty, and with remarkable clarity explains why solutions directed at joblessness or low wages reflect a misunderstanding of the problem. He eloquently argues: poverty is a product of exploitation, and that eviction not just a condition of it but rather a cause of it."

Learn more about Matthew Desmond’s work
Stefanie Stantcheva wins NSF CAREER Award
March 13, 2017

Stefanie Stantcheva, Assistant Professor of Economics, is the recipient of a National Science Foundation Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Award, an NSF-wide initiative "that offers the National Science Foundation's most prestigious awards in support of early-career faculty." Stantcheva will investigate "Taxes and Innovation: Optimal Taxation and the Effects of Taxes on Entrepreneurs, Inventors, and Firms' Innovation."

Learn more about Stefanie Stantcheva’s work
Teachers College Convocation 2017 Medalists Announced: Khalil Gibran Muhammad
March 6, 2017

Khalil Gibran Muhammad, Professor of History, Race, and Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School, has been selected to receive Columbia University Teachers College Medal for Distinguished Service, the highest honor it bestows. Muhammad will address the graduates at TC's doctoral hooding ceremony on May 17.
Maya Sen named a Stanford CASBS Fellow for 2017-2018
February 28, 2017

Maya Sen, Assistant Professor at the Harvard Kennedy School, has been selected to be a Fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences (CASBS) at Stanford University for the 2017-2018 academic year. A political scientist, Sen's examines issues in the political economy of race relations, the American legal system, and law and politics. 

Learn more about Sen's work
Danielle Allen named 2017 SSRC Democracy Fellow
February 24, 2017

Social Science Research Council | The Anxieties of Democracy program announced that its 2017 Democracy Fellow will be Harvard's Danielle Allen, James Conant Bryant University Professor and Director of the Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics. As Democracy Fellow, Allen will spend November 2017 in residence at the Social Science Research Council headquarters in New York, where she will participate in a series of "Democracy in the City" public talks and debates, as well as a series of in-house Democracy Seminars. The theme of her residency: "Democracy and Justice."
PEN/John Kennedy Galbraith Award for NonFiction: Matthew Desmond
February 22, 2017

PEN America | Matthew Desmond's Evicted has been named the winner of the PEN/John Kenneth Galbraith Award for Nonfiction, a biennial award for a distinguished work of nonfiction "possessing notable literary merit and critical perspective and illuminating important contemporary issues."

Desmond, John L. Loeb Associate Professor of the Social Sciences at Harvard, will be honored at the PEN America Literary Awards Ceremony in NYC on March 27.

L.A. Times Book Prize Finalists Announced
February 22, 2017

Los Angeles Times  | The finalists for the Los Angeles Times Book Prizes were announced today, including Matthew Desmond's Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City in the current interest category. The prizes will be awarded on April 21, the evening before the L.A. Times Festival of Books begins on the USC campus.

2016 Discover Great New Writers Awards: Matthew Desmond
March 1, 2017

The winners of the 2016 Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers Awards in fiction and nonfiction were announced today in a ceremony in New York City. Matthew Desmond's Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City took first place in the non-fiction category. 

New books

Cuz: The Life and Times of Michael A.

By Danielle Allen, James Bryant Conant University Professor, Harvard University.

W.W. Norton & Company, September 2017.

"So tender yet courageous is this fierce family memoir that it makes mass incarceration nothing less than a new American tragedy."
After Piketty:
The Agenda for Economics and Inequality

Edited by Heather Boushey, J. Bradford DeLong, and Marshall Steinbaum.

Harvard University Press, April 2017.

Table of Contents
With chapters by

Ellora Derenoncourt, Ph.D. candidate in Economics.

Elisabeth Jacobs (Ph.D. '08), Senior Director for Policy, Washington Center for Equitable Growth.

“Piketty’s work did what decades of rising disparities couldn’t do: it reminded macro-economists that inequality matters. More starkly, it laid bare just how ill-equipped our existing frameworks are for understanding, predicting, and changing inequality.

"This extraordinary collection shows that our most nimble social scientists are responding to the challenge, collecting ideas about capital, technology, power, gender, race, and privilege that might help inform a broader understanding.”—Justin Wolfers (Ph.D. '01), University of Michigan.

"The essays in After Piketty offer new findings and admirably lay out an agenda that will influence future research on inequality, opportunity, and measurement for years to come.”—Miles Corak, University of Ottawa.
Read My Lips:
Why Americans Are Proud to Pay Taxes

Vanessa S. Williamson, (Ph.D. '15), Fellow in Governance Studies, Brookings Institution.

Princeton University Press, March 2017.

Read introduction (pdf)

"Adam Smith described taxes as a ‘badge of liberty.’ Surprised? Then you’ll be even more astonished by what Vanessa Williamson finds: Americans agree. Far from antitax warriors, most believe paying taxes is a vital form of civic participation. They’re sometimes confused, sometimes resentful (particularly of giveaways to the rich and powerful), but mostly shockingly sensible. So, Williamson asks, why aren't their representatives? Her brilliant answer is a must-read for anyone hoping to understand the distorted debate in Washington." —Jacob S. Hacker, Yale University.

New academic publications by PhD fellows

Radicalized legal status as a social determinant of health
Asad L. Asad* and Matthew Clair.* Forthcoming. Social Science & Medicine.

* Ph.D. candidates in Sociology.

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