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Multidisciplinary Program in Inequality & Social Policy at Harvard University


News roundup

Highlights from Inequality & Social Policy
at the Malcolm Wiener Center

When Teamwork Doesn't Work for Women
January 8, 2016
The New York Times

Research by Inequality & Social Policy Doctoral Fellow Heather Sarsons, Ph.D. candidate in Economics, generated considerable discussion following its coverage in The Upshot at NYTimes.

Sarsons examined collaboration among economists and found that when female economists co-author with men, they incur a substantial penalty in their tenure prospects that their male colleagues do not.

"The numbers," writes Justin Wolfers (Ph.D. '01, now University of Michigan) in his review of Sarsons's research, "tell a compelling story of men getting the credit whenever there is any ambiguity about who deserves credit for work performed in teams.

Click to enlarge
"And this is a very big deal: The bias that Ms. Sarsons documents is so large that it may 
account on its own for another statistic: [That while women in the field publish as much as men], female economists are twice as likely to be denied tenure as their male colleagues." 

Beyond the field of economics, the pattern that Sarsons pinpoints, suggests Wolfers, "may explain why women struggle to get ahead in other professions involving teamwork."

In contrast, in settings where attribution is more explicit, reducing the need to draw inferences (where biases can enter), Sarsons hypothesizes that we should see men and women benefiting in more equal measure from collaborative work. Her initial results from sociology, where authors are often listed in order of contribution, lend support to this idea: There she found no penalty to female coauthors.

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Insight & analysis

William Julius Wilson, Scholar of Race and Class, Looks Ahead
December 28, 2015
The Associated Press | William Julius Wilson, Lewis P. and Linda L. Geyser University Professor, spoke with The Associated Press about his decades of thinking and writing about race, class, education, and poverty and about how his ideas echo through today’s news stories, whether on income inequality or the Black Lives Matter movement.

Wilson is now embarking on a new project with colleagues at Harvard, "Multidimensional Inequality in the 20th Century," a study of race and poverty in the United States across domains ranging from labor markets to criminal justice. This article appeared in scores of news outlets including The New York Times, Washington Post, and ABC News.

The Republican Party's 50-State Solution
January 13, 2016
The New York Times | Drawing on research by Inequality & Social Policy faculty member Theda Skocpol and doctoral fellow Alex Hertel-Fernandez (Ph.D. candidate in Government & Social Policy), columnist Thomas Edsall analyzes how "sustained determination on the part of the conservative movement has paid off in an unprecedented realignment of power in state governments," which have proved to be more receptive to efforts by the Koch Brothers and other conservative allies to protect business interests.

Which Safety-Net Programs Responded to the Recession?
January 13, 2016
Forbes | By Scott Winship (Ph.D. '09, now Walter B. Wriston Fellow at the Manhattan Institute for Policy Research).

Inequality is a problem schools alone can't fix
January 12, 2016
The Guardian | Op-ed urging that British politicians and government minsters step up in addressing inequality by taking seriously the arguments of Our Kids, by Robert Putnam, Peter and Isabel Malkin Professor of Public Policy: "For what Our Kids shows is the desperate need to move discussion of disadvantage and social mobility beyond the school gate into the much more vexed territory of family, parenting, community and economic injustice."

Karl Rove is a bad historian: Race, the South, and the real story he doesn't tell about William McKinley and 1896
January 10, 2016
Salon | By Daniel Schlozman (Ph.D. '11, now Johns Hopkins University). Karl Rove's The Triumph of William McKinley: Why the Election of 1896 Still Matters gives Republicans a model for winning a durable national majority. McKinley also compiled the worst racial record of any Republican president who had yet held office. This story Karl Rove blithely ignores. 

Getting Social on the Job
January 8, 2016
WGBH Innovation Hub | Interview with David Deming (Ph.D. '10 and faculty) about his latest research on "The Growing Importance of Social Skills in the Labor Market,” which he presented in the Inequality Seminar this fall. Listen [12 minutes]

Lowering healthcare spending by tackling non-medical issues
January 8, 2016
Marketplace | Amitabh Chandra, Malcolm Wiener Professor of Social Policy, comments on a federal experiment to improve care and lower healthcare spending by focusing on social problems like homelessness and domestic violence. Chandra suggests that money could be better spent by increasing funding for community health centers and hospitals that serve low-income communities——interventions, he maintains, that we know improve health and are cost-effective.

Conservative Reforms to the Safety Net Will Reduce Poverty
January 8, 2016
Forbes | By Scott Winship (Ph.D. '09, now Walter B. Wriston Fellow, Manhattan Institute)
The (Mis)measurement of Income: What Has Been Happening with Income Inequality? How is the Tax Code Helping or Hurting? What Do You Need to Know for Today’s Political and Policy Debates?
January 7, 2016
Urban Institute [event video] | Roundtable sponsored by the American Tax Policy Institute, featuring alum Scott Winship (Ph.D. '09, now Walter B. Wriston Fellow, Manhattan Institute), Gary Burtless (Brookings Institution), and David Johnson (University of Michigan).
Trump Supporters Appear to be Misinformed, Not Uninformed
January 7, 2016
FiveThirtyEight | Analysis of why Donald Trump's support has proved to be so durable draws on findings of Jennifer Hochschild (Henry LaBarre Jayne Professor of Government) and Katherine Levine Einstein (Ph.D. '12, now Boston University) showing that there are incentives for politicians to keep citizens both misinformed and politically active.

The True Story of the Gender Pay Gap
January 7, 2016
Freakonomics Radio podcast [audio and transcript] | Interview with Claudia Goldin, Henry Lee Professor of Economics.
The 2016 Education Scholar Public Influence Rankings: Top Tens
January 7, 2016
Education Week | Inequality & Social Policy faculty and alumni are well-represented on this year's Education Week list of 200 influential education scholars, university-based scholars "who are doing the most to influence education policy and practice." Taking four of the top five spots among junior faculty are alumni Martin West, David Deming, and Jal Mehta (Harvard), and Judith Scott-Clayton (Columbia TC).

The Chinese 'tiger mom' in a tech and code-heavy world
January 7, 2016
CCTV America [video] | Van C. Tran (Ph.D. '11, now Columbia University) is interviewed on Chinese parenting styles.

First Generation? Second? For immigrants and their children, a question with meaning
January 6, 2016
Public Radio International [audio and transcript] | Van C. Tran (Ph.D. '11, now Columbia University) offers insights from his research on post-1965 immigrants and their children.

The Most Anticipated Books of 2016
January 6, 2016
Kirkus Reviews | Evicted, by Matthew Desmond, John L. Loeb Associate Professor in the Social Sciences, is named one of the most anticipated books of 2016: "This stunning, remarkable book—a scholar’s 21st-century How the Other Half Lives—demands a wide audience."

Economists Tackle the Refugee Crisis: 'There Are No Easy Solutions'
January 5, 2016
Wall Street Journal | George J. Borjas, Robert J. Scrivner Professor of Economics and Social Policy, was among the discussants for '60 million refugees', a panel held at the American Economic Association annual meeting in San Francisco. View panelists (Jan 4th) and webcast.

Racial Identity, and Its Hostilities, are on the Rise in American Politics
January 5, 2016
The New York Times | Economic Scene column analyzing growing racial and economic fault lines in American politics quotes earlier work by Alberto Alesina, Edward Glaeser, and Bruce Sacerdote and by William Julius Wilson.
Roland Fryer, le jeune prodige qui s'attaque aux inégalités raciales
January 2, 2016
L'Obs—Le Nouvel Observateur | Feature profile on Roland Fryer, Henry Lee Professor of Economics.

Books in 2016: A Literary Calendar
January 1, 2016
The Guardian | Matthew Desmond's Evicted is spotlighted among this year's notable new titles.

Why white people see black boys like Tamir Rice as older, bigger, and guiltier than they really are
December 28, 2015
Washington Post | Details findings of study by psychologist Phillip Atiba Goff, visiting scholar in the Malcolm Wiener Center. View the research, which Goff presented in the Inequality Seminar in spring 2014.

The Rise of Urban Public Boarding Schools
December 26, 2015
The Atlantic | Cites research by Roland Fryer, Henry Lee Professor of Economics: "The Potential of Urban Boarding Schools for the Poor: Evidence from Seed."

Oregon company makes a point of hiring ex-convicts
December 25, 2015
Marketplace | Devah Pager, Professor of Sociology and Public Policy, discusses her current research, which examines the job performance of those with criminal records in the military. Pager finds that "those with serious criminal pasts perform just as well if not better than their counterparts with no criminal records."

The Great Republican Revolt: Can the party reconcile the demands of its donors with the interests of its rank and file?
December 23, 2015
The Atlantic | Theda Skocpol, the Victor S. Thomas Professor of Government and Sociology, is cited on the beliefs of Tea Party supporters.
A New Investment Opportunity: Helping Ex-Convicts
December 21, 2015
The Atlantic | Jeffrey Liebman, Malcolm Wiener Professor of Public Policy, explains how Pay for Success programs can provide real-time data to learn more rapidly what works in connecting those leaving prison with jobs and reducing recidivism.
Does Inequality Matter? Foreign Affairs' Brain Trust Weighs In
December 13, 2015
Foreign Affairs [gated] | Theda Skocpol, the Victor S. Thomas Professor of Government and Sociology, is among a group of leading scholars asked to assess the political consequences of economic inequality in this online-only forum, which (unfortunately) requires registration or individual subscription to view.

The January-February print issue of Foreign Affairs leads with a series on inequality—"what causes it, why it matters, what can be done." The issue features articles by Ronald Inglehart (University of Michigan),
François Bourguignon (Paris School of Economics), Pierre Rosanvallon (College de France), Danielle Allen (Harvard University), and Anthony B. Atkinson (London School of Economics).


Roland Fryer: John Bates Clark Medal Award Ceremony [video]
January 4, 2016
Watch as Roland Fryer, Henry Lee Professor of Economics, receives the American Economic Association's John Bates Clark Medal, awarded to the "American economist under the age of forty who is judged to have made the most significant contribution to economic thought and knowledge."
[begins at 15:45].
"I deeply appreciate this award, not as an individual, but really in the spirit of a curator of a special heirloom... which I'll just hold onto for the true owners who have paved the way for all of us who use the tools of economics not just to calculate the odds for poor people, but to change the odds." 
-Roland G. Fryer, Jr.
2015-2016 New Scholar Grant Winners
December 21, 2015
Awardee | Deirdre Bloome (Ph.D. '14, now University of Michigan) is one of seven New Scholar grant recipients selected by Stanford's Center on Poverty and Inequality. Bloome will investigate how income mobility over the life course relates to inequality between people.

Upcoming events

Inequality Seminar

Monday, Jan 25

Please join us when the Inequality Seminar resumes Jan 25:

Intergenerational Earnings Mobility and the Inheritance of Employers

Miles Corak,
 Professor of Economics, University of Ottawa; and Visiting Professor of Economics, Harvard University.

Date: Mon, Jan 25, 2016.
Time: 12:00-1:45 pm
Place: Harvard Kennedy School: Allison Dining Rm.

Spring schedule will be announced soon.

Askwith Forum

Monday, Feb 1

The American Dream in Crisis: Can Education Restore Social Mobility?

Robert D. Putnam, Peter and Isabel Malkin Professor of Public Policy, Harvard Kennedy School. Author, Our Kids: The American Dream in Crisis.

Roland G. Fryer, Jr., Professor of Education, HGSE; Henry Lee Professor of Economics, Harvard University.

Meira Levinson, Professor of Education, HGSE.

See HGSE Event listing for details ►

Ph.D. fellows on the job market

Hire an Inequality & Social Policy fellow
Harvard Ph.D. candidates in Economics, Education, Government, Sociology, and Social Policy now on the academic job market.

New academic publications
by Ph.D. fellows*

Bonikowski, Bart*, and Noam Gidron*. Forthcoming. “The Populist Style in American Politics: Presidential Campaign Rhetoric, 1952-1996,” Social Forces.
(Authors' preprint)

Enos, Ryan D.*, and Noam Gidron*. Forthcoming. “Intergroup Behavioral Strategies as Contextually Determined: Experimental Evidence from Israel,” Journal of Politics.

* Faculty affiliate
* Doctoral fellow

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Books of 2015
Dec 16, 2015
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Oct 10, 2015
Aug 31, 2015
Jul 27, 2015
Year in Review

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Part of the Malcolm Wiener Center for Social Policy. 

Multidisciplinary Program in Inequality & Social Policy
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