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Multidisciplinary Program in Inequality & Social Policy at Harvard University


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Highlights from Inequality & Social Policy
at the Malcolm Wiener Center

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Opportunity, responsibility, and security: A consensus plan for reducing poverty and restoring the American Dream
December 3, 2015

David Ellwood participated in a joint AEI-Brookings event at the National Press Club to launch a policy plan for reducing poverty and increasing economic mobility.Their work was motivated by the view that these are urgent issues for the nation's future, and that tackling these problems will require bridging political divides to move forward.

Ellwood was one of 15 poverty experts, reflecting diverse ideological and intellectual perspectives, assembled by AEI and Brookings with support from the Annie E. Casey Foundation and Ford Foundation. The group worked over 14 months to to identify core areas of agreement and to craft a comprehensive plan based on empirical evidence.

View event video ▶
View the plan (PDF)


Anthony Abraham Jack named to Harvard Society of Fellows
December 14, 2015

Awardee | Anthony Abraham Jack (Ph.D. candidate in Sociology), who has been selected to join the Harvard Society of Fellows as a Junior Fellow in the 2016-19 cohort. The Harvard Society of Fellows recognizes the ‘highest caliber of intellectual achievement’ from any field of study, awarding three-year postdoctoral fellowships to twelve new Junior Fellows each year. Read more about Anthony Jack's work at his homepage ►
Ariel White named a Harvard Horizons Scholar
December 10, 2015

Awardee | Ariel R. White (Ph.D. candidate in Government) has been selected one of eight Harvard Horizons Scholars for 2016—"PhD students whose ideas, innovations, and insights have the potential to reshape their disciplines." Ariel will present her research, "Voter Behavior in the Shadow of Punitive Policies," at a university-wide symposium to be held in Sanders Theater on April 5, 2016. Read more about Ariel White's work at her homepage ►
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Insight & analysis

The other side of Black Lives Matter
December 14, 2015
The Brookings Institution | William Julius Wilson has been appointed a non-resident senior fellow at Brookings. This is his first piece for their Social Mobility Memos series.
Event video: Coping with Extreme Poverty
on $2.00 a Day

November 10, 2015
Malcolm Wiener Center for Social Policy
$2.00 a Day: Living on Almost Nothing in America, the focus of the Malcolm Wiener Center book event with authors Kathryn Edin (Johns Hopkins University) and H. Luke Shaefer (University of Michigan), has been selected as one of 100 Notable Books of 2015 by The New York Times Book Review.
Edin and Shaefer were joined for a discussion with David T. Ellwood and William Julius Wilson, November 10, 2015, at the Harvard Kennedy School. 
How Donald Trump took the Republican Party by Storm
December 15, 2015
CNN | Cites earlier findings of Theda Skocpol, Vanessa Williamson (Ph.D. '15, now Brookings Institution), and John Coggin that immigration was almost as much of a motivating force for tea party voters as deficits and spending. View the original article, which appeared in Perspectives on Politics in 2011, here.

One word explains the collapse of Ben Carson
December 15, 2015
Washington Post | Features analysis of Leah Wright Rigueur, Assistant Professor of Public Policy, Malcolm Wiener Center.

Do Republicans Really Want the Black and Latino Vote?
December 15, 2015
The Root | By Leah Wright Rigueur
Renowned scholar joins Kennedy School and Radcliffe Institute
December 14, 2015
Harvard Gazette | Archon Fung, Acting Dean of the Harvard Kennedy School, announces that Khalil Gibran Muhammad will join the faculty as professor of history, race, and public policy in July 2016.
A Nuanced Take on Health Care Consumerism
December 14, 2015
Forbes | Amitabh Chandra is one of four experts who weigh in: "Simply calling a patient a consumer doesn't make buying health care like buying cars."

The myth of 'consumer-driven healthcare' comes to life again
December 14, 2015
Los Angeles Times | Discusses findings from Amitabh Chandra's recent NBER paper, "What Does a Deductible Do?"

The American Middle Class Meltdown
December 14, 2015
NPR's On Point | Elisabeth Jacobs (Ph.D. '08, now Washington Center for Equitable Growth) guests, along with Rakesh Kochhar (Pew Research Center), Tyler Cowen (George Mason), and Jacob Hacker (Yale University).

Being a Member of the "Hollowed Out" Middle-Class Never Felt So Good
December 14, 2015
National Review | By Scott Winship (Ph.D. '09, now Manhattan Institute).

Human Science
December 14, 2015
Inside Higher Ed | Michèle Lamont discusses her new article, co-authored with Veronica Boix Mansilla (HGSE) and Kyoko Sato (Stanford), which explores the determinants of successful interdisciplinary collaboration in the social, natural, and computational sciences: "One takeaway from our paper is that we must pay heed to the way interactions and emotions shape the production of knowledge -- rather than limiting our perspective by focusing solely on the cognitive when we measure success.”

Columbia study of Amsterdam Avenue finds evidence of hyper-gentrification
December 13, 2015
Columbia Spectator | Profiles gentrification research by Van C. Tran (Ph.D. '11, now Columbia University)
Claudia Goldin delivers 8th annual Kenneth J. Arrow Lecture at Columbia University: 
Career and Family: Collision or Confluence?

December 10, 2015
Event video | Claudia Goldin delivered the eighth annual Kenneth J. Arrow Lecture at Columbia University. Christopher Flinn (NYU) and Joseph Stiglitz (Columbia) served as discussants.

Alphachatterbox: Our podcast chat with Claudia Goldin

December 11, 2015
Financial Times [audio: 55 mins] | An in-depth conversation with economist Claudia Goldin about her work on the history of women in the workforce and the causes of the lingering gender wage gap.
Can Google's Street View Images Predict Household Income?
December 10, 2015
The Atlantic | Edward Glaeser, Scott Kominers (Harvard Society of Fellows), Michael Luca (HBS), and Nikhil Naik (MIT) highlight new urban data sources and illustrate how they can be used to improve the study and function of cities in a new NBER working paper.

Who will be able to afford college in a decade?
December 10, 2015
Washington Post | Highlights growing gaps in college attainment by family income and new  work by Lindsay C. Page (University of Pittsburgh) and Judith Scott Clayton (Ph.D. '09, now Columbia TC) on improving college access.
Doug Elemendorf Unleashed
December 9, 2015
The Brookings Institution | "Now that Doug Elmendorf is no longer director of the Congressional Budget Office, he's speaking his mind." In a new video series, incoming HKS Dean Doug Elmendorf, currently a visiting fellow at Brookings, offers short answers to questions about the federal budget, tax reform, inequality, and other current economic debates. Videos 1, 4, and 6 focus particularly on inequality and economic mobility.
Christmas in April
December 8, 2015
No Jargon [Podcast—Ep. 11] | Laura M. Tach (Ph.D. '10, now Cornell University) discusses the Earned Income Tax Credit and explains why it is one of the most effective anti-poverty programs in America. This Scholars Strategy Network podcast presents interviews with top university scholars on the politics, policy problems, and social issues facing the nation. Subscribe  in iTunes, or listen to individual episodes at the SSN website.

What's Replacing No Child Left Behind?
December 7, 2015
Harvard EdCast | Martin West (Ph.D. '06, now faculty) discusses the big changes in federal legislation replacing No Child Left Behind, and what it may mean.
Baltimore Renters Turn to Judge Judy to Navigate Eviction Flood
December 7, 2015
Bloomberg Business | Matthew Desmond notes that evictions often start a vicious cycle, forcing tenants into homelessness or substandard housing.

Inspiring Memoirs Tell Journey From Child Farm Worker to Academic
December 7, 2015
NBC News | Tomás Jiménez (Ph.D. '05, now Stanford University), talks about his father's influence on his childhood and his own scholarly work in this feature profile of his father, Professor Francisco Jiménez of Santa Clara University. 
How a Conservative-Led Australia Ended Mass Killings
December 4, 2015
The New York Times | Delves into 2010 study by Andrew Leigh (Ph.D. '04), which estimated that gun suicides per 100,000 people fell 65 percent, and the rate of gun homicides 59 percent, in the decade following Australia's adoption of a national gun control agreement. At the time of the study, Leigh was a professor of economics at Australian National University. He is now a Labor MP in Australia's Parliament.

Can America Learn from Australia's Gun Laws?
December 5, 2015
BBC World Service [transcript] | Andrew Leigh (Ph.D. '04) guests.Leigh analyzed the effects of Australia's gun laws in a 2010 paper, written when he was a professor of economics at Australian National University. He's now a member of the Australian Parliament.

The window tax—an open and shut case
December 4, 2015
Financial Times | Andrew Leigh (Ph.D. '04) research on Australia's "baby bonus" noted in an article about the ways in which people adjust behavior to avoid taxes.
The New Nativism: Where's the latest backlash against immigration coming from?
December 3, 2015
Radio OpenSource | With guest Helen B. Marrow (Ph.D. '07, now Tufts University).

How fringe attacks on American Muslims became mainstream
December 3, 2015
Washington Post | By Christopher Bail (Ph.D. '11, now UNC-Chapel Hill). How anti-Muslim sentiment becomes mainstream and what might be done to stem the tide.
Ted Cruz cited this research when he said most violent criminals are Democrats. Now the researchers say he's wrong.
December 2, 2015
Washington Post | Doctoral fellow Michael Morse (Ph.D. student in Government), co-author with Marc Meredith (University of Pennsylvania) of the 2014 paper cited by Cruz, joins Meredith in a rebuttal showing how their research does not support Cruz's claim. 
Standardized testing works, depending on where you went to school
December 2, 2015
Boston Globe | David Deming (Ph.D. '10, now faculty) discusses results from a new study, which presents the first evidence of the influence of test-based accountability measures on long-term student outcomes. Co-authored with Sarah Cohodes (Ph.D. '15, now Columbia TC), Jennifer Jennings (NYU), and Christopher Jencks, the study appears in the winter 2016 issue of Education Next.

Employer Bans on Credit Hurt Those They Mean to Help
November 30, 2015
U.S. News & World Report | New study by Robert Clifford (Federal Reserve Bank of Boston) and Daniel Shoag (Ph.D. '11, now Harvard Kennedy School faculty). Read their paper here.

The steep cost of incarceration on women of color
November 29, 2015
CNN Money | Bruce Western draws attention to "how profoundly gendered the whole incarceration story is," the ways in which the financial and care-taking burdens of incarceration fall heavily on females when loved ones are incarcerated.
Why the Economic Fates of America's Cities Diverged
November 28, 2015
The Atlantic | Highlights research by Daniel Shoag (Ph.D. '11, now Harvard Kennedy School faculty) and Peter Ganong (Harvard Ph.D. candidate in Economics) on the importance of regional income convergence in reducing U.S. wage inequality between 1940-1980 and explanations for declining convergence in recent decades.
Clinton's endorsements: Smart politics for activists, or campaigns?
November 24, 2015
The Brookings Institution | By Vanessa Williamson (Ph.D. '15, now a Fellow in Governance Studies at Brookings). Also includes perspectives from Daniel Schlozman (Ph.D. '11, now Johns Hopkins University), author of When Movements Anchor Parties, published earlier this year by Princeton University Press.

How not to talk about taxes: New York Times promotes misleading language of "loopholes"
November 23, 2015
The Brookings Institution | By Vanessa Williamson (Ph.D. '15, now a Fellow in Governance Studies at Brookings).


The Economist selects 'Our Kids' one of its Books of 2015
December 3, 2015
The Economist | Robert Putnam's, Our Kids: The American Dream in Crisis, described as "thoughtful and persuasive", has been selected by The Economist as one of the best books of 2015.

Also making the list, Inequality: What Can Be Done?, by Anthony Atkinson (University of Oxford).

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.

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The Year in Books
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Aug 31, 2015
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Year in Review

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Part of the Malcolm Wiener Center for Social Policy. 

Multidisciplinary Program in Inequality & Social Policy
Harvard Kennedy School
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