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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.

09/06/2016

 

News roundup


Highlights from Inequality & Social Policy
at the Malcolm Wiener Center

A Moral Conscience for Economics
August 18, 2016
Harvard Magazine | Douglas Elmendorf, Dean of the Harvard Kennedy School, talks with Harvard Magazine about inequality, the state of economics, and the role of public policy in improving people's lives. 


"Redistribution is hard, and we as a society have not pursued it with sufficient vigor."
Photograph by Stephanie Mitchell | Harvard Public Affairs and Communications
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Insight and analysis

Nathaniel Hendren on Market Frictions and Inequality
August 5, 2016
HCEO at University of Chicago | Nathaniel Hendren, Assistant Professor of Economics at Harvard University, sits down for a short video interview to discuss his research, which addresses a broad range of issues at the intersection of theoretical and empirical work in public economics. Hendren talks about his work on insurance markets, on intergenerational mobility, important questions for future research and policy, and his perspectives on integrating theory and empirics. 

Asked about important issues that have not been addressed in any of these literatures: "I think the idea that place matters [for children’s outcomes and economic mobility] has generated interest in thinking about place as a potential role for policy." But what's really difficult, says Hendren, is thinking about the trade-offs between place-based and choice-based policies, as well as national approaches such as income tax measures. "I think all of these analyses will be part of an agenda in the next 5-10 years to really understand the relative benefits and tradeoffs of the different options we have for improving the opportunities faced by low-income kids.”

Related
Poor Students’ Futures Are on the Ballot in Massachusetts
September 3, 2016
Daily Beast | Highlights research findings by Sarah Cohodes (Ph.D. '15), Professor of Education and Public Policy at Teachers College, Columbia University. This work includes “Teaching to the Student: Charter School Effectiveness in Spite of Perverse Incentives,” Education Finance and Policy; and "Stand and Deliver: Effects of Boston’s Charter High Schools on College Preparation, Entry, and Choice,” by Joshua D. Angriest, Sarah Cohodes, Susan Dynarski, Parag A. Pathak, and Christopher R. Walters,  Journal of Labor Economics.
View the research

Trump and the Truth: Immigration and Crime
September 2, 2016
The New Yorker | Discusses what the research shows, highlighting work by Robert J. Sampson, Henry Ford II Professor of the Social Sciences.

The Array of Things is Coming to Chicago (and the World)
September 2, 2016
Chicago Magazine | What can we learn from environmental sensors in these new fixtures? Highlights pioneering work of Robert Sampson, Henry Ford II Professor of the Social Sciences, "doing Google Street View before there was a Google," and Edward Glaeser and colleagues, who have used a machine learning algorithm with Google Street View to answer social science questions.
 

APSA 2016

September 1-4, 2016

At the American Political Science Association (APSA) 112th annual meeting in Philadelphia, APSA President Jennifer Hochschild, Henry Henry LaBarre Jayne Professor of Government and Professor of African and African American Studies at Harvard, gave the presidential address, "Left Pessimism and Political Science."

Robert Putnam, Peter and Isabel Malkin Professor of Public Policy at Harvard, received the 2016 Aaron Wildavsky Enduring Contribution Award by the Public Policy Section of the American Political Science Association for Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community.

Ariel R. White (Ph.D. '16), now Assistant Professor of Political Science at MIT, was among the recipients of the Heinz I. Eulau Award for best article published in the American Political Science Review in the past calendar year. "What do I Need to Vote? Bureaucratic Discretion and Discrimination by Local Election Officials," was co-authored by Noah L. Nathan and Julie K. Faller, all Harvard Government Ph.D. candidates at the time of publication.
View the article

The inaugural Jane Mansbridge Award of the APSA National Womens' Caucus went to the group Women Also Know Stuff. Jane Mansbridge, Adams Professor of Political Leadership and Democratic Values at Harvard Kennedy School and 2012-13 President of the American Political Science Association, knows much stuff.
 

Trump's Outreach to Black Voters May Really Be About White Voters
September 2, 2016
NPR Morning Edition | Interview with Leah Wright Rigueur, Assistant Professor, Harvard Kennedy School.

Why Donald Trump went to church in Detroit
September 3, 2016
Christian Science Monitor | Quotes Leah Wright Rigueur, Assistant Professor at Harvard Kennedy School.

In Trump, black Republicans see plenty to lose
August 29, 2016
Boston Globe | With insights from Leah Wright Rigueur, Assistant Professor at Harvard Kennedy School.

Donald Trump "outreach" and "pivot" aimed at winning over nervous white voters
August 26, 2016
Salon | Salon's Chauncey DeVega talks with historian Leah Wright Rigueur of the Harvard Kennedy School and political scientists to clarify some common misconceptions about African-American politics.

Trump comes to town as political scientists study his populism
September 2, 2016
Philadelphia Inquirer | Jennifer Hochschild, APSA president and Henry LaBarre Jayne Professor of Government at Harvard, is interviewed about race, polarization, and Trump.

Clinton drug plan: Is it enough?
September 2, 2016
Marketplace | Marketplace talks with Amitabh Chandra, Malcolm Wiener Professor of Social Policy, for his analysis.

School reform: After freedom, what?
August 27, 2016
The Economist | Cites research by Roland Fryer, Henry Lee Professor of Economics at Harvard, and Will Dobbie (Ph.D. '13), Assistant Professor of Economics and Public Affairs at Princeton, on the essential qualities of the best charter schools. "In a new paper, Mr Dobbie and Mr Fryer found that although the best charter schools in Houston did better than equivalent state schools in tests and college admissions, attending one had no discernible impact on wages."
View this research

Wage war: Who are the main economic losers from low-skilled immigration?
August 27, 2016
The Economist | Dissects the economics research on the impact of on low-skilled migration on wages, including work by George J. Borjas, Robert W. Scrivner Professor of Economics and Social Policy at Harvard Kennedy School.
 
Tobin Project Holds Conference on Inequality and Decision Making
August 26, 2016
Tobin Project | A number of Inequality & Social Policy affiliates participated in the Tobin Project's Conference on Inequality and Decision-Making, held Aug 4-5 in Cambridge, MA. The conference, whose organizers included faculty members David Moss and Michael Norton of Harvard Business School, "brought together leading scholars from across the social and behavioral sciences to explore the effects of economic inequality on individual behavior and decision making."

"Participants examined the ways in which rising inequality might influence the perceptions, beliefs, and behaviors of Americans..., [with the aim] to improve understanding of the mechanisms through which inequality affects our democracy, economy, and society as a whole."

In addition to Moss and Norton, speakers included Inequality & Social Policy doctoral fellow Beth Truesdale (Ph.D. candidate in Sociology) and alumnae Jennifer Sheehy-Skeffington (Ph.D. '14) and Vanessa Williamson (Ph.D. '15), who presented pilot research at the conference. Robert Manduca (Ph.D. student in Sociology & Social Policy) presented research in progress on income inequality and structural change at a smaller doctoral student workshop organized by the Tobin Project on August 6.
View conference program 

Why you should save more than 3% in your 401(k)
August 26, 2016
San Francisco Chronicle | Quotes and cites early research by Brigitte Madrian, Aetna Professor of Public Policy and Corporate Management at the Harvard Kennedy School. 

Employees who are auto-enrolled in 401(k) plans often contribute a low 3 percent of pay because this is the most popular default contribution level. So how did this become the default? The Internal Revenue Service used 3 percent as a hypothetical example in two rulings in 1998 and 2000 to explain how 401(k) plans could automatically enroll workers without jeopardizing their tax benefits. 

 
Why the High Cost of Big-City Living is Bad for Everyone
August 25, 2016
The New Yorker | Summarizes an expanding body of research, including work by Peter Ganong and Daniel Shoag (Ph.D. '11), Associate Professor of Public Policy, which suggests that the unaffordability of wealthy cities is itself a source of decreasing opportunity and a contributor to income inequality.

See also
  • Why has regional income convergence declined?
    August 4, 2016
    The Brookings Institution | By Peter Ganong, Chicago Harris School of Public Policy, and Daniel Shoag (Ph.D. '11), Associate Professor of Public Policy, Harvard Kennedy School. For one hundred years, per capita incomes in poorer U.S. states have grown more rapidly than incomes in richer states, narrowing the gap between them. Over the past three decades, though, the rate of convergence has slowed sharply. It has become more difficult for poorer states to catch up with richer states.
    Download the paper

Understanding employers' responses to for-profit colleges
August 25, 2016
Work in Progress | By Nicole Deterding (Ph.D. '15) and David Pedulla (Stanford University). Deterding is a National Poverty Fellow in the Office of Planning, Research, and Evaluation (OPRE), U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services, and Institute for Research on Poverty, University of Wisconsin-Madison. Work in Progress is the American Sociological Association's blog for 'short-form sociology' on the economy, work, and inequality. This research has been published in Sociology of Education.
View the research

To Close The Wage Gap, Boston Hopes Salary Negotiation Workshops Will Create A Culture Shift
August 25, 2016
WBUR Boston | Quotes Claudia Goldin, Henry Lee Professor of Economics, who expresses doubt that such workshops will move the needle by much. Since women are disproportionately the caregivers, Goldin says, changing policies around child care, elder care and even extending the school day would have a much greater impact on closing the wage gap.

When African-American Voters Shifted Away from the GOP
August 25, 2016
NPR—All Things Considered | NPR's Robert Siegel talks with historian Leah Wright Rigueur, whose book, The Loneliness of the Black Republican: Pragmatic Politics and the Pursuit of Power, explores the history of the relationship between African-Americans and the Republican Party. Rigueur is an assistant professor at the Harvard Kennedy School.
 
Creating Mobility from Poverty: An Overview of Strategies
August 25, 2016
Urban Institute | By David Ellwood, Mary Bogle, Gregory Acs, Kelley S. Mikelson, and Susan J. Popkin. David Ellwood is the Scott M. Black Professor of Political Economy and Director of the Malcolm Wiener Center for Social Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School. This report is part of an evolving body of work informing the U.S. Partnership on Mobility from Poverty, which Ellwood chairs. 

See also
  • Disrupting the Poverty Cycle Conference 2016
    Boston: October 6-7, 2016
    David Ellwood will discuss the work of the U.S. Partnership on Mobility from Poverty at the Disrupting the Poverty Cycle Conference, organized by EMPath (Economic Mobility Pathways).
Are you a literary urbanist? Mayor Walsh has a reading list for you.
August 24, 2016
Boston Globe | On the Boston Mayor's reading list, two books by Inequality & Social Policy authors: Evicted by Matthew Desmond, John L. Loeb Associate Professor of the Social Sciences, and Villa Victoria by Mario Luis Small (Ph.D. '01), Grafstein Family Professor of Sociology at Harvard.

Summer jobs programs: What do we know?
August 23, 2016
Brookings Institution | By Alicia Sasser Modestino (Ph.D. '01), Associate Professor, School of Public Policy and Urban Affairs and Department of Economics, Northeastern University, and Associate Director of Northeastern's Dukakis Center for Urban and Regional Policy. Modestino has recently joined Brookings as a non-resident fellow in the Metropolitan Policy Program.

How Science Can Help Get Out the Vote
August 23, 2016
Scientific American | Research offers several proved strategies for boosting turnout on Election Day. Highlights work by behavioral scientist Todd Rogers, Associate Professor of Public Policy at Harvard Kennedy School.
 

ASA 2016

August 20-23, 2016

At the American Sociological Association (ASA) annual meeting in Seattle, authors Michèle Lamont, Robert I. Goldman Professor of European Studies and Professor of Sociology and of African and African American Studies at Harvard University, Jessica S. Welburn (Ph.D. '11), Assistant Professor of Sociology and African American Studies at University of Iowa, and Joshua Guetzkow of Hebrew University celebrated the publication of  their new book, Getting Respect: Responding to Stigma and Discrimination in the United States, Brazil, and Israel, Princeton University Press (Sept 2016).

Michèle Lamont now begins her term as 108th President of the American Sociological Association, with responsibility for organizing the 2017 ASA Annual Meeting in Montreal. She chose as a theme “Culture, Inequalities, and Social Inclusion across the Globe.” Read more about this thematic focus and Lamont's current work in this Harvard Sociology spotlight feature.

Mary C. Waters, M.E. Zukerman Professor of Sociology at Harvard, received the 2016 Distinguished Career Award from the ASA Section on International Migration. 

Jeremy Levine (Ph.D. '16), now Assistant Professor of Organizational Studies at the University of Michigan, received two ASA section awards for best graduate student paper in Community and Urban Sociology and in Political Sociology. "The Privatization of Political Representation: Community-Based Organizations as Nonelected Neighborhood Representatives" is forthcoming in American Sociological Review.
 

Welfare reform: Two views


20 Years Since Welfare 'Reform':
How Has America Fared?

August 22, 2016
The Atlantic | By Kathryn Edin and H. Luke Shaefer. "TANF offered states a lot of flexibility to innovate, to allow a flowering of new ideas to help the poor. But that’s not what the country got," write Edin and Shaefer. "States, not people, are using TANF to close the holes in their budgets. It is states, not people, who are falling prey to the “perverse disincentives” of welfare."

See also
  • Coping with Extreme Poverty on $2.00 a Day
    November 10, 2015
    Kathryn Edin, Bloomberg Distinguished Professor at Johns Hopkins University, and H. Luke Shaefer, Associate Professor at the University of Michigan, spoke about their book, $2.00 a Day: Living on Almost Nothing in America. With discussion by David T. Ellwood, Scott M. Black Professor of Political Economy, Harvard Kennedy School, and William Julius Wilson, Lewis P. and Linda L. Geyser University Professor, Harvard University. A Malcolm Wiener Center for Social Policy event at the Harvard Kennedy School.
    View the video 
Poverty After Welfare Reform
August 22, 2016
Manhattan Institute | By Scott Winship (Ph.D. '09), Walter B. Wriston Fellow at the Manhattan Institute.

See also
  • Did Welfare Reform Work?
    August 22, 2016
    Politico | Interview with Scott Winship (Ph.D.'09), Walter B. Wriston Fellow at the Manhattan Institute, who says yes. Twenty years after passage of Bill Clinton's controversial anti-poverty law, his major new report challenges its critics—and says it even offers a way forward.
     
  • Poverty in America: No money, no love
    August 18, 2016
    The Economist | A row over Bill Clinton's landmark welfare reform highlights how much deprivation survived it.

    Notes new report by Scott Winship (Ph.D. '09) of the Manhattan Institute, who, after factoring in non-cash benefits and underreported income, disagrees with negative assessments of the impact of 1996 welfare reform. "The only groups he finds to be worse off than they were in 1996, including childless households, were unaffected by the reform. Meanwhile, he argues that 'children, in particular those in single-mother families—are significantly less likely to be poor today than they were before.'”

    Happy Birthday, Welfare Reform
    August 25, 2016
    New York Daily News | By Scott Winship (Ph.D. '09), Walter B. Wriston Fellow, Manhattan Institute. "Welfare reform was the most successful anti-poverty legislation since the national expansion of food stamps in 1974. History will regard it as a model, not a mistake," Winship argues.
     
  • The Odd Conservative Argument that Food Stamps and Medicaid Saved the Poor from Welfare Reform
    August 26, 2016
    Slate | Jordan Weissmann reviews new report by Scott Winship (Ph.D. '09), Walter B. Wristin Fellow at the Manhattan Institute, and its debate with Kathryn Edin and H. Luke Shaefer, authors of $2.00 a Day: Living on Almost Nothing in America.
     
  • Twenty Years After Welfare Reform, Child Poverty is at an All-Time Low
    September 1, 2016
    Forbes | By Scott Winship (Ph.D. '09) of the Manhattan Institute responds to Slate Moneybox columnist Jordan Weissmann on the impact of the 1996 Clinton welfare reform.
     
  • Why the 1996 Welfare Reform Benefited Poor Children
    September 1, 2016
    National Review Online | By Scott Winship (Ph.D. '09), Walter B. Wriston Fellow, Manhattan Institute.
A Tale of Two Insurgencies
August 22, 2016
The American Interest | By Theda Skocpol, Victor S. Thomas Professor of Government and Sociology. 
 
Krishaun Branch speaking to Urban Prep class.
© 2016 Tod Lending, POV.
POV's 'All the Difference' to air Sept 12 on PBS
August 21, 2016
PBS | Filmed over five years, a new documentary follows two African-American teens from the South Side of Chicago on their journey to achieve their dream of graduating from college. Emmy-winning producer/director Tod Lending’s film is inspired by Wes Moore’s bestselling autobiographical book, The Other Wes Moore. Watch the trailer and learn more about the film at the link.

Moore, who also serves as an executive producer for the film, is a former a Harvard Inequality & Social Policy Galbraith Scholar ('01). The Galbraith Scholars initiative was an undergraduate summer program that gathered 12-16 students each year from colleges across the country to explore issues of inequality and social policy.

Ban the Box? An Effort to Stop Discrimination May Actually Increase It
August 19, 2016
The New York Times | By Sendhil Mullainathan, Robert C. Waggoner Professor of Economics.

Anti-immigrant ads like Trump’s sank the California GOP in the 90s
August 19, 2016
The Brookings Institution | By Vanessa Williamson (Ph.D. '15), Fellow in Governance Studies at Brookings.

Tuition is now a useless concept in higher education
August 19, 2016
The Washington Post | By Danielle Allen, Professor of Government and Education. "Tuition decisions made by elite colleges and universities are actually decisions about whom to subsidize," Allen writes. "The lower the sticker price, the more the well-to-do are being subsidized for an education that costs well above the sticker price."
 
Aiding the “Doubly Disadvantaged”
August 18, 2016
Harvard Magazine | Sociologist Anthony Jack (Ph.D. '16) explores the diversity of experience among low-income students, and what it means for colleges and professors to support an economically-diverse student body. Jack is a Junior Fellow with the Harvard Society of Fellows and will join the faculty as an Assistant Professor at the Harvard Graduate School of Education in fall 2018.
 
The 2016 Hutchins Forum
Race and the Race to the White House [video]

August 18, 2016
PBS NewsHour | The Hutchins Center for African and African American Research at Harvard University held its annual summer Hutchins Forum. Among the panelists: Inequality & Social Policy faculty affiliates Leah Wright Rigueur of the Harvard Kennedy School and Lawrence D. Bobo, W. E. B. Du Bois Professor of the Social Sciences at Harvard.
  • Henry Louis Gates, Jr., Harvard University
  • Charlayne Hunter-Gault, PBS NewsHour
     
  • Charles M. Blow, The New York Times
  • Donna Brazile, Democratic National Committee
  • Armstrong Williams, The Right Side
  • Leah Wright Rigueur, Harvard Kennedy School
  • Lawrence D. Bobo, Harvard University
Serve & Protect? A History of the Police
August 18, 2016
BackStory Radio | In the segment "Black, White, and Blue," Khalil Gibran Muhammad, Professor of History, Race and Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School, talks with Brian Balogh about how many ethnic groups have shed their criminal reputations through police service, and the more complicated legacy of early African-American officers.

U.S. Immigration Now Means Big Economic Payoff Later
August 18, 2016
Bloomberg Markets | Highlights research by Tarek A. Hassan (Ph.D. '09), Associate Professor of Finance and Economics, Chicago-Booth, which uses 130 years of historical migration to the U.S. and finds a positive causal effect of ancestry composition of U.S. counties and foreign direct investment. 
View the research 

Machine Learning: Of Prediction and Policy
August 18, 2016
The Economist | Cites Sendhil Mullainathan, Robert C. Waggoner Professor of Economics. Mullainathan spoke on "Prediction Policy Problems: Using Machine Learning to Address Social Problems," in the Inequality & Social Policy Seminar, Apr 27, 2015 (abstract + paper).

Post-Regulatory School Reform
August 18, 2016
Harvard Magazine | By Paul E. Peterson, Henry Lee Shattuck Professor of Government. With many students still at risk, choice and competition remain the country's best hope, Peterson argues.
 
Ten-year Trends in Public Opinion From the EdNext Poll
August 16, 2016
Education Next | By Paul E. Peterson, Michael B. Henderson (Ph.D '11), Martin R. West (Ph.D. '06), and Samuel Barrows (Ph.D. '14). Common Core and vouchers are down, but many other reforms still popular, the authors find.

Paul E. Peterson is professor and director of the Program on Education Policy and Governance at the Harvard Kennedy School. Michael B. Henderson is an assistant professor at Louisiana State University’s Manship School of Mass Communication and director of its Public Policy Research Lab. Martin R. West, editor-in chief of Education Next, is associate professor at the Harvard Graduate School of Education and deputy director of the Program on Education Policy and Governance at the Harvard Kennedy School, where Samuel Barrows is a postdoctoral fellow.

Inequality is a distraction. The real issue is growth.
August 16, 2016
Washington Post | By Scott Winship (Ph.D. '09), Walter B. Wriston fellow at the Manhattan Institute. A debate with Jared Bernstein, former chief economist to Vice President Biden, who provides the counterargument: "Inequality is deeply entrenched. We'll have to think big to fix it."
View counterargument

Column: Don't be fooled. Clinton and Democrats have their own race problem.
August 16, 2016
PBS NewsHour | By Leah Wright Rigueur, Assistant Professor at the Harvard Kennedy School. "The extremism of Donald Trump somewhat obscures the complex role that race has played in Hillary Clinton’s campaign," Rigueur writes. Second in a series of perspectives in advance of Thursday's 2016 Hutchins Forum: Race and the Race to the White House, in which Rigueur is a panelist.

New Yorkers in Subway Deserts Have Advice for L Train Riders: ‘Suck It Up’
August 15, 2016
The New York Times | Quotes Nathaniel Hendren, Assistant Professor of Economics, whose research with Raj Chetty found a link between commuting times and a child’s likelihood of escaping poverty. “Across the U.S., the pattern you see is that neighborhoods with shorter commute times produce better outcomes for low-income kids,” said Hendren."

Do charter schools help kids earn more as adults?
August 15, 2016
Houston Chronicle | In Texas, it appears not. A look at a new paper by Will Dobbie (Ph.D. '13), Assistant Professor of Economics and Public Affairs at Princeton, and Roland Fryer, Henry Lee Professor of Economics at Harvard. 
View the research

Obama's Criminal Justice Legacy
August 15, 2016
WNYC The Brian Lehrer Show | Conversation with Khalil Gibran Muhammad, who recently joined the Harvard Kennedy School faculty as Professor of History, Race, and Public Policy.

Clinton Abandons the Middle on Education
August 14, 2016
Wall Street Journal | By Paul E. Peterson and Martin R. West. Most rank-and-file Democrats disagree with the party platform, Peterson and West argue, drawing from a survey to be published next week in Education Next. Peterson is Henry Lee Shattuck Professor of Government at Harvard. West (Ph.D. '06) is Associate Professor of Education.

What We Learned About Trump's Supporters This Week
August 13, 2016
The New Yorker | Cites "Theda Skocpol's careful work [joint with Vanessa Williamson] on the Tea Party." The Tea Party and the Making of Republican Conservatism. Skocpol is the Victor S. Thomas Professor of Government and Sociology at Harvard. Williamson (Ph.D. '15) is a Fellow in Governance Studies at the Brookings Institution.

RNC looks to expand outreach to African-Americans
August 13, 2016
CNN | Features insights of Leah Wright Rigueur, Assistant Professor at the Harvard Kennedy School.

Creating Moves to Opportunity (CMTO) Letter to HUD to Support Regional Moving to Work (MTW) Designation
August 12, 2016
Cambridge Housing Authority | On August 12, the Creating Moves to Opportunity (CMTO) research team [which includes Harvard economists Lawrence Katz and Nathaniel Hendren] submitted a letter to HUD Secretary Castro to support regional Moving to Work (MTW) designation for Cambridge Housing Authority (CHA) and Boston Housing Authority (BHA). CMTO is a collaborative partnership of academic researchers and housing practitioners from 17 public housing authorities across the country.

CMTO is developing and piloting mobility interventions to increase moves to neighborhoods of opportunity for voucher holders. CMTO believes investment in and policies to improve opportunities in high-poverty neighborhoods are as critical as increasing moves to lower-poverty neighborhoods to improve upward economic mobility for low-income families.

Australia should 'pay for success' in tackling homelessness
August 12, 2016
ABC News (Australia) | By Matthew Tyler (MPP’17), Harvard Kennedy School. New programs for the homeless link taxpayer funding to outcomes, making service providers more accountable for the impacts their programs have on those they seek to serve, Tyler writes.
 
The False Economic Promise of Global Governance
August 11, 2016
Project Syndicate | By Dani Rodrik, Ford Foundation Professor of International Political Economy at the Harvard Kennedy School. The problems of our day have little to do with a lack of global cooperation, but rather are rooted in failures of domestic deliberation, Rodrik argues.  Improved democratic decision-making ought to be our focus.

"Perhaps the biggest policy letdown of our day is the failure of governments in advanced democracies to address rising inequality. This, too, has its roots in domestic politics—financial and business elites’ grip on the policymaking process and the narratives they have spun about the limits of redistributive policies," writes Rodrik.

Is the U.S. Due for Radically Raising Taxes for the Rich?
August 9, 2016
The Atlantic | Cites research by Stefanie Stantcheva, Assistant Professor of Economics (co-authored with Thomas Piketty and Emmanuel Saez). Stantcheva presented this work, "Optimal Taxation of Top Incomes: A Tale of Three Elasticities," in the Inequality & Social Policy Seminar Series in April 2015. It has since been published in the American Economic Journal: Economic Policy.
View the research

Why China Trade Hit U.S. Workers Unexpectedly Hard
August 11, 2016
Wall Street Journal | A growing body of academic research shows the U.S. workforce was hit harder than expected by trade with China. The Wall Street Journal summarizes some of the most important new research in this area, including work by Raven Molloy (Ph.D. '05) and colleagues, "Understanding declining fluidity in the U.S. labor market," forthcoming in Brookings Papers on Economic Activity. Molloy is chief of the real estate finance section of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System.
View the research

The Millions of Americans Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton Barely Mention: The Poor
August 11, 2016
The New York Times | Matthew Desmond, John L. Loeb Associate Professor of the Social Sciences quoted: “We don’t have a full-voiced condemnation of the level or extent of poverty in America today," said Matthew Desmond, a Harvard professor of sociology. "We aren’t having in our presidential debate right now a serious conversation about the fact that we are the richest democracy in the world, with the most poverty. It should be at the very top of the agenda.”

See also
  • Hillary Clinton's Poverty Agenda
    August 17, 2016
    The New York Times | Letter by Robert D. Putnam, Peter Malkin Professor of Public Policy, responds to the article, criticizing the suggestion that Hillary Clinton has not offered solutions for addressing poverty and thereby setting up "a false equivalency" with Donald Trump. "America’s poorest children and families have been forgotten by our leaders for too long," writes Putnam. "That was the argument of my book “Our Kids,” and why I agreed when Hillary Clinton asked me, along with 50 other experts, to serve on her policy working group on poverty and social mobility."
'Pay for Success' in the UK and the US
August 8, 2016
Oxford Government Review | By Jeffrey Liebman, Malcolm Wiener Professor of Public Policy, in the inaugural issue of the Oxford Government Review (p. 50). Liebman and Elizabeth Linos (Ph.D. '16) spoke at the Challenges of Government Conference 2016, held at the University of Oxford Blavatnik School of Government in May 2016. Conference summaries and videos are included at the link .

Using Behavioural Science to Improve the Government Workforce
August 8, 2016
Oxford Government Review |  By Elizabeth Linos (Ph.D. '16), in the inaugural issue of the Oxford Government Review (p. 41). Linos is currently VP and Head of Research and Evaluation at the Behavioral Insights Team in North America, where she works with city governments across the US to improve programs using behavioral science and to build capacity around rigorous evaluation. Lean more about Linos's research:
scholar.harvard.edu/elinos
 
This election isn't about right vs. left. It's about "we" vs. "I." A discussion with the author of 'Bowling Alone'
August 8, 2016
Vox | Discussion with Robert Putnam, Peter and Isabel Malkin Professor of Public Policy, Harvard University.
"I think the category of people that you're calling liberal cosmopolitans, really the upper and upper middle class of America, are increasingly disconnected from working-class America. I mean that in a very specific sense," Robert Putnam said. "Our residences are increasingly segregated by class. Our schools are increasingly segregated by class. Our extended families are increasingly separated by class."

As the nation's capital booms, poor tenants face eviction over as little as $25
August 8, 2016
Washington Post | Quotes Matthew Desmond, John L. Loeb Associate Professor of the Social Sciences, on the long-term impact of eviction lawsuits: “We have evidence that families that get evicted move from poor neighborhoods to even poorer ones, and the eviction record is a big mechanism for that.”

Growth and Fairness Aren't a Tradeoff
August 7, 2016
Washington Post | By Lawrence Summers, Charles W. Eliot University Professor. Summers makes the progressive case for championing pro-growth policies. This column also appeared in the Financial Times.

Could Donald Trump Drop Out? Some Bettors Seem to Think So
August 4, 2016
The New York Times | By Justin Wolfers (Ph.D. '01), Professor of Economics and Public Policy, University of Michigan and a regular columnist for The Upshot.
 
Why the G.O.P Can't Win Black Votes
August 4, 2016
The New York Times | By Leah Wright Rigueur, Assistant Professor of Public Policy, Harvard Kennedy School. "With every news cycle focused on Donald J. Trump’s latest misstep, it’s easy to overlook the fact that his campaign has drawn record low support from African-Americans — and that this achievement, as it were, illuminates something worrisome within the Republican Party itself."
 
Prison goes hand in hand with poverty and violence in the Northern Territory
August 3, 2016
The Guardian | By Bruce Western, Professor of Sociology and Daniel and Florence Guggenheim Professor of Criminal Justice Policy. With research teams from Harvard University, Western has been studying incarceration and its aftermath at Rikers Island, and more recently, in the Top End of the Northern Territory in Australia. Here he explores the parallels of mass incarceration, poverty, and racial inequality. 

Democrats are losing to Republicans at the state level, and badly. Here's why.
August 3, 2016
Vox | By Alexander Hertel-Fernandez and Theda Skocpol. "Faced with a loose-cannon 2016 GOP presidential nominee who disagrees with them on key issues, Charles and David Koch — the two billionaire "Koch brothers" — are directing the vast resources of their political network toward down-ballot races.This should alarm liberals greatly," write Hertel-Fernandez and Skocpol.

Alexander Hertel-Fernandez (Ph.D. '16) is an assistant professor of international and public affairs at Columbia University. Theda Skocpol is the Victor S. Thomas Professor of Government and Sociology at Harvard University.
 
The Miseries of Eviction: An Interview with Matthew Desmond
August 2, 2016
Current Affairs | Current Affairs speaks to the Harvard sociologist, Matthew Desmond, about his book “Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City.” Desmond is John L. Loeb Associate Professor of the Social Sciences.
 
The truth about the gender wage gap
August 1, 2016
Vox | An informative (illustrated!) guide to what economics research tells us about the gender wage gap, featuring Claudia Goldin, Henry Lee Professor of Economics.

 

New & noteworthy

The Racial Ecology of Lead Poisoning
Toxic Inequality in Chicago Neighborhoods 1995-2013


Robert J. Sampson, Henry Ford II Professor of the Social Sciences

Alix S. Winter, Ph.D. candidate in Sociology and Social Policy.

Du Bois Review: Social Science Research on Race 13:2 (2016): 1-23.

Free access to this article through Sept 30, 2016.
 

Inequality Seminar

Begins Mon, Sept 12
Differentiated Accountability and Education Production: Evidence from NCLB Waivers

Brian A. Jacob
Walter H. Annenberg Professor of Education Policy and Professor of Economics, Gerald R. Ford School ​of Public Policy, University of Michigan.

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

Announcement of the fall lineup coming this week.

Upcoming events

Mossavar-Rahmani Center for Business and Government


Five Easy Theses: Common-Sense Solutions to America's Greatest Economic Challenges
Thurs, Sept 8, 2016.

James M. Stone, Founder and chief executive of the Plymouth Rock group of insurance companies, and former chairman of the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission.

The U.S. confronts many seemingly intractable policy problems, but some we are entirely capable of solving, James M. Stone argues. In his new book, Five Easy ThesesStone presents specific solutions to shore up Social Security, rein in an out-of-control financial sector, reduce inequality, and make healthcare and education better and more affordable—and in so doing, makes the case that a more democratic, prosperous America is well within our reach.

Co-sponsored by the Malcolm Wiener Center for Social Policy, Harvard Kennedy School.
 

Ash Center


Conference on Race and Justice in the Age of Obama
Thurs, Oct 12-13, 2016

Khalil Gibran Muhammad, Professor of History, Race, and Public Policy, and Leah Wright Rigueur, Assistant Professor of Public Policy, will chair the conference.

Co-sponsored by the Malcolm Wiener Center for Social Policy, Harvard Kennedy School.
 

An Inequality & Social Policy event


10 Big Ideas
Inequality & Wealth Concentration
Thurs, Oct 13, 2016

Ten Harvard thinkers from across the social sciences bring diverse insights to bear on problems of inequality and wealth concentration.

What are the big ideas, the most important questions, that should guide work in this area going forward? What have we learned? What are the central puzzles yet to be solved? Where are the new frontiers in the study of inequality, and how can social policy stem the tide or lessen the adverse consequences of rising inequality?

Save and date! Speakers and event details will be announced soon.
 

Australian readers

Thomas Piketty: Is Increasing Inequality Inevitable?
Oct 23, 2016
Sydney Opera House

Andrew Leigh (Ph.D. '04), Shadow Assistant Treasurer and Member of Parliament, will be in conversation with Thomas Piketty, who will offer reflections on Capital in the 21st Century.

Photo credit: Look at the Sky by Jong Soo (Peter) Lee, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.

Resources


Empirical Research on Economic Inequality
[Open online textbook]

Maximilian Kasy, Associate Professor of Economics at Harvard, has made his fall 2015 course freely available in the form of open online textbook, complete with slides, exercises, and guest lectures. A great resource for economics research on inequality.
 
Race, Policing, and Justice
Harvard Kennedy School

An overview of of the research, perspectives, courses, and events underway at the Harvard Kennedy School in the area of race, policing, and justice.

New in books

Democracy
A Case Study


By David A. Moss, Paul Whiton Cherington Professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business School and founder of The Tobin Project.

Harvard University Press (2017).

Did we miss anything?


Please let us know!
inequality@harvard.edu

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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

Web: inequality.hks.harvard.edu
E-mail: inequality@harvard.edu


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