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Harvard Multidisciplinary Program in Inequality & Social Policy. Part of the Malcolm Wiener Center for Social Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School.

The Year in Books

Congratulations to our Ph.D. fellow alumni

The Harvard Inequality & Social Policy program is proud to highlight this year's remarkable collection of new books written by our former doctoral fellows. Scroll down to learn more...

You will find all books to date on the book page on our website.
New books 2015

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The Luck of Politics: True Tales of Disaster and Outrageous Fortune

By Andrew Leigh (Ph.D. '04).
Black Inc., September 2015.

‘Andrew Leigh takes the simplest idea there is – luck – and threatens to remake your basic understanding of politics with it. Then he succeeds. Lucky for us.’— Waleed Aly

When Movements Anchor Parties: Electoral Alignments in American History

By Daniel Schlozman (Ph.D. '11).
Princeton University Press, September 2015.

'This rigorous and stimulating book reveals how the labor and Christian Right movements joined direct action with partisan maneuver--and transformed American politics. When Movements Anchor Parties peers through the rancorous politics of our time to provide a fresh interpretation of how the Democratic and Republican Parties have become so polarized over the past half century.'—Sidney M. Milkis, University of Virginia

'A brilliant and beautifully crafted scholarly study destined to join the pantheon of classics in American political development.'—Thomas E. Mann, Brookings Institution

Black Silent Majority: The Rockefeller Drug Laws and the Politics of Punishment

By Michael Javen Fortner (Ph.D. '10).
Harvard University Press, September 2015.

'Provocative… As Fortner’s book makes clear, no political movement can afford to ignore the kind of cruel disorder that we euphemistically call common crime. A police force that kills black citizens is adding to America’s history of racial violence; so is a police force that fails to keep them safe.'—Kelefa Sanneh, The New Yorker

'Meticulously researched, engagingly written, and rigorously argued, this important and long-overdue work will be essential reading for anyone concerned with the hidden complexities of African American life. Fortner illuminates the problems that the majority of working- and middle-class blacks face from criminal elements within their communities; the sometimes patronizing indifference of white and black liberals toward them, compounded by the manipulation of their concerns by conservatives; and the tragic, unintended consequences of a flawed drug and penal policy they were driven, out of despair and fury, to support. This is a major contribution to our understanding of the interaction of class, race, and public policy in America.'—Orlando Patterson, Harvard University


Cut Loose: Jobless and Hopeless
in an Unfair Economy

By Victor Tan Chen (Ph.D. '12).
University of California Press, July 2015.

'Cut Loose is the most powerful and poignant study of the effects of prolonged joblessness in today’s economy that I have read.'—William Julius Wilson, Lewis P. and Linda L. Geyser University Professor, Harvard University

'In vivid prose and heartbreaking detail, Cut Loose reminds us of the human toll of the long decline of auto manufacturing. For decades the heart and soul of the Midwest, the men and women who worked for the “Big Three” have suffered monumental losses. Cut Loose is a must-read for anyone who wants to understand the costs of globalization on the ground and the efficacy of social policy for protecting citizens caught in the grip of profound economic change.'—Katherine Newman, co-author of Learning to Labor in the 21st Century

Schooling the Next Generation: Creating Success in Urban Elementary Schools

By Dan Zuberi (Ph.D. '04).
University of Toronto Press, May 2015.

'Schooling the Next Generation is a well-conceptualized, meticulous case study of the performance of students in ten schools in low socioeconomic status communities in Vancouver. At a time when schools tended to be scapegoats for society’s social and economic problems, Dan Zuberi’s book brings a calm, well-modulated voice into the debate.'—Cecille DePass, Werklund School of Education, University of Calgary

Do Facts Matter? Information and Misinformation in American Politics

By Jennifer L. Hochschild and Katherine Levine Einstein (Ph.D. '12).
From the Julian J. Rothbaum Distinguished Lecture Series, University of Oklahoma Press, January 2015.

'Jennifer Hochschild and Katherine Einstein have tackled an underexamined but extremely important subject and with good analysis show that a certain degree of cognitive grasp is needed for a voter-based political system to survive and flourish.'—David R. Mayhew Yale University

The Cultural Matrix:
Understanding Black Youth

Orlando PattersonEthan Fosse (Ph.D '15), eds.
Harvard University Press, February 2015.

Contributors include Queenie Zhu (Ph.D. candidate in Sociology & Social Policy), Van C. Tran (Ph.D '11), Josh Mitchell (Ph.D '11), Jacqueline Rivers (Ph.D '14), and Andrew Clarkwest (Ph.D '05).

'This pathbreaking book examines an essential topic that men and women in the street discuss but that social scientists too often ignore: the contrast between the economic and social plight of black youth, on the one hand, and their cultural creativity, on the other. Jam-packed with carefully researched essays by outstanding scholars from a broad array of disciplines, this volume, edited by the ever-fearless Orlando Patterson, is crowned by his call to take culture seriously and his brilliant demonstration of just how to do so. Must reading for students and scholars of urban black America, The Cultural Matrix is an invaluable resource, one to be pondered and savored.'—Roger Waldinger, University of California, Los Angeles

It's Not Like I'm Poor: How Working Families Make Ends Meet in a Post-Welfare World

By Sarah Halpern-Meekin (Ph.D.'09), 
Kathryn EdinLaura Tach (Ph.D. '10),
and Jennifer Sykes (Ph.D. '11).
University of California Press, January 2015.

'The best book I have read on this important topic in the past ten years.'—Timothy Smeeding, Arts and Sciences Distinguished Professor, University of Wisconsin-Madison

'…Indispensable reading for anyone trying to understand what makes some poverty-alleviation policies work better than others.'—Eldar Shafir, coauthor of Scarcity: Why Having Too Little Means So Much

Democracy, Inequality, and Corruption: Korea, Taiwan and the Philippines Compared

By Jong-sung You (Ph.D. '06).
Cambridge University Press, January 2015.

'Concern about inequality has grown not only in the advanced industrial states but in the developing world as well. Those concerns are not just economic, but extend to the political arena: that democracy might be damaged by an unequal distribution of income and assets. In this forcefully-argued comparative study of Korea, Taiwan and the Philippines - backed by broader cross-national evidence - Jong-sung You shows how inequality contributes to corruption. The mechanisms include elite capture, patronage and clientelism. This book is an important contribution to the study of inequality, corruption and of the new democracies of East Asia.'—Stephan Haggard, University of California, San Diego

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Part of the Malcolm Wiener Center for Social Policy. 

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