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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

Janet Yellen Talks Policy and Inequality at Radcliffe Day Celebration
May 27, 2016
Harvard Magazine | Commencement week concluded with a Radcliffe Day program honoring Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen, this year's Radcliffe Medalist and "one of today's most publicly vocal advocates of shared prosperity." Yellen, Harvard Magazine notes, "has been unapologetic in her view that promoting broadly shared wealth is inherent in the Fed's mandate." Following reflections by former Federal Reserve Chair Ben S. Bernanke, Yellen joined Harvard Economics professor Gregory Mankiw in a wide-ranging conversation.
See also Harvard Gazette
Video available soon via Radcliffe Institute ▶

Prosperity and Equality
May 27, 2016
Harvard Magazine | Dean Douglas W. Elmendorf of the Harvard Kennedy School and Claudia Goldin, Harvard's Henry Lee Professor of Economics, were among the participants in Radcliffe Day's opening symposium, "Building an Economy for Prosperity and Equality." The panel, which also featured economists David Autor of MIT, Louise Sheiner of the Brookings Institution, and Cecilia Rouse of Princeton University as moderator, "featured some of the most interesting researchers addressing these a searching, intelligent exchange of the sort that rarely occurred in the [primary season] debates."
Listen to the full panel (audio: 58 minutes) ▶
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Insight and analysis

Video introduction: US Partnership on Mobility from Poverty Begins Work
June 3, 2016
The Urban Institute 
A video introduction to the US Partnership on Mobility from Poverty, chaired by David Ellwood, Scott M. Black Professor of Political Economy at Harvard Kennedy School. Also features Lawrence Katz, Elisabeth Allison Professor of Economics and a participant in the initiative. Follow the link to view the 24 Partnership members who will working to identify permanent ladders of mobility for the poor [Video: 4:42 minutes].
New book!
Education and Equality, by Danielle Allen

June 7, 2016
This month marks the launch of Danielle Allen's new book, Education and Equality, published by the University of Chicago Press. The Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics at Harvard, Harvard Book Store, and Boston Review will host a book discussion with Allen, Professor of Government and Education, as part of the Safra Center's new "Ethics in Your World" speaker series: Tuesday, June 7, 2016, 7-8 pm, at the Harvard Book Store.
See event details  
What Was Hillary Clinton's Role in Welfare Reform?
June 6, 2016
Slate | Discusses influence of David Ellwood's ideas in the original vision for welfare reform and differences in the version ultimately enacted. Ellwood, the Scott M. Black Professor of Political Economy at Harvard Kennedy School, served as co-chair of President Clinton's Working Group on Welfare Reform, Family Support, and Independence from 1993-1995.

What Does It Mean to Be a Republican? Donald Trump is putting that question to the test.
June 4, 2016
The Atlantic | Quotes Leah Wright Rigueur, Assistant Professor at Harvard Kennedy School.

Day after day, Trump is making America smaller
June 3, 2016
Washington Post | Column by political theorist Danielle Allen, Professor of Government and Education.

How Kids Learn Resilience
June 3, 2016
The Atlantic | References economist Roland Fryer's research on incentive schemes in public school systems with high poverty rates: "As a body of work, Fryer’s incentive studies have marked one of the biggest and most thorough educational experiments in American history," and yet Fryer, Henry Lee Professor of Economics, has found generally no effects on student achievement.

The Disconnected
June 3, 2016
Slate | Two decades after “welfare to work,” some women are navigating life without either welfare or work. Article accompanying a new Marketplace podcast, "The Uncertain Hour," which looks back at welfare reform 20 years later. Quotes David Ellwood, Scott M. Black Professor of Political Economy.
In Vergara, low-income students way or another
June 3, 2016
Brookings Institution | By Thomas J. Kane, Walter H. Gale Professor of Education and a nonresident senior fellow at The Brookings Institution. "A decade from now, we will look back on the statutes challenged in the Vergara case as shameful examples of one group of adults putting their own interests ahead of children," Kane writes.

The Gig Economy is Just Part of the Unsettling New World of Work
June 2, 2016
Bloomberg | Quotes Lawrence Katz, Elisabeth Allison Professor of Economics, co-author with Alan Krueger of Princeton University of a new study that suggests that "all the net employment growth between 2005-2015 appears to have occurred in alternate work arrangements."
View the research

Airbnb says it plans to take action to crack down on racial discrimination on its site
June 2, 2016
Washington Post | Highlights widely-cited study by Benjamin Edelman, Michael Luca and Dan Svirsky of Harvard Business School, who found "widespread discrimination" by Airbnb hosts. Quotes Michael Luca, Assistant Professor at HBS, who argues that "the onus is on Airbnb to make changes" and identifies several possible remedies.
Getting federal stimulus money turned blue U.S. counties bluer, and red counties redder.
How can that be?

June 2, 2016
Washington Post | By Katherine Levine Einstein (Ph.D. '12), Kris-Stella Trump, and Vanessa Williamson (Ph.D. '14).  "Political science research has been finding increasingly polarized reactions to polling questions...But our work suggests that polarization is even deeper: The public, at least in this very high-profile instance, reacted to actual federal spending by growing more divided." The authors draw from their research,"The Polarizing Effect of the Stimulus: Partisanship and Voter Responsiveness to the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act," recently published in Presidential Studies Quarterly.
View the research
Photo: Mike Brown/European Pressphoto Agency

Cities risk being segregated by wealth as inequality spreads
June 1, 2016
Financial Times | Features perspective of Edward L. Glaeser, Fred and Eleanor Glimp Professor of Economics.

Curbing Our Enthusiasm Over Rising Home Prices
June 1, 2016
Bloomberg View | Cites study by Peter Ganong and Daniel Shoag (Ph.D. '11, Assistant Professor of Public Policy) that links rising housing prices in wealthy areas to income divergence across regions of the U.S.

Wicked Smart: Massachusetts's Efforts to Turn Around a Failing School District
June 1, 2016
Chicago Policy Review | Delves into recent study by Beth E. Schueler (Ph.D. '16), Joshua S. Goodman, and David J. Deming. Based on their NBER Working Paper, "Can States Take Over and Turn Around School Districts? Evidence from Lawrence, Massachusetts."
View the research

Why the Education Department's New Equity Rule Might Not Be So Equal
June 1, 2016
The Atlantic | By Nora Gordon (Ph.D. '02), Associate Professor of Public Policy, Georgetown University: "On the surface, the proposed rule sounds like a win for poor kids...However, the practical and policy implications are far less straightforward than they first appear."
Equitable Growth in Conversation: An Interview with Claudia Goldin
May 31, 2016
Washington Center for Equitable Growth | Equitable Growth's Executive Director and Chief Economist Heather Boushey talks with Claudia Goldin, Henry Lee Professor of Economics at Harvard, about the gender wage gap and its implications.

Who's Going to Vote? New Research Suggests Survey Callers May Know Best
May 31, 2016
Harvard Kennedy School | New research by Todd Rogers, Associate Professor of Public Policy.
Republicans Ride the Trump Tiger
May 30, 2016
Project Syndicate | By Theda Skocpol, Victor S. Thomas Professor of Government and Sociology: "The Republicans will ride the beast they created – and hope that it does not consume them."

Grass-Roots Anticorruption Drive Puts Heat on Mexican Lawmakers
May 28, 2016
The New York Times | Quotes Viridiana Rios (Ph.D. '13), a Mexico Institute Global Fellow at the Wilson Center in Washington, D.C. See also Rios's earlier Wilson Center interview, "Mexico's Battle Against Corruption," conducted in April 2016 [Video: 7:43 minutes].
May 27, 2016
The New York Times
Why homicide rates in Chicago outpace those in New York, with insights from Robert J. Sampson, Henry Ford II Professor of the Social Sciences.
Photo: Joshua Lott for The New York Times

How America Lost its Mojo
May 27, 2016
The Atlantic | Americans are less likely to switch jobs, move to another state, or create new companies than they were 30 years ago (or 100 years ago). What’s going on? Cites research by Raven Molloy (Ph.D. '05), now a senior economist with the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, and colleagues Christopher L. Smith, Riccardo Trezzi, and Abigail Wozniak, forthcoming in Brookings Papers on Economic Activity. Also cites research by Peter Ganong and Daniel Shoag (Ph.D. '11, now Assistant Professor, HKS) linking rising housing prices in wealthy areas to declining income convergence.
View Molloy et. al. BPEA paper
View Ganong and Shoag paper

  • Fewer Americans Strike Out for New Jobs, Crimping the Recovery
    May 24, 2016
    The New York Times | Discusses new analysis co-authored by Raven Molloy (Ph.D. '05), now a senior economist with the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, which documents a clear trend of declining fluidity in the labor market and examines possible explanations. The paper, forthcoming in Brookings Papers in Economic Activity, is co-authored by Christopher L. Smith, Riccardo Trezzi, and Abigail Wozniak.
    View the research

How the Mortgage Interest Deduction Undermines American Schools
May 26, 2016
U.S. News & World Report | Op-ed cites new research by Ann Owens (Ph.D. '12) of USC showing that increases in residential income segregation in recent decades have been driven by high-income parents opting to purchase homes in particular neighborhoods with good schools.
View the research in ASR

Waiting in Line for the Illusion of Security
May 27, 2016
The New York Times 
By Sendhil Mullainathan, Robert G. Waggoner Professor of Economics, and Richard H. Thaler of the University of Chicago.

The campaign message Clinton really needs is one voters want to hear
May 26, 2016
Washington Post | By Danielle Allen. "Somewhere, in the murky complexity of seeking to build a world that’s fair for all, despite our powerfully competing claims, there is, I believe, a way forward," writes Allen, a political theorist and Professor of Government and Education.

Bernie Sanders Post-Nevada, and the Problem of Hubris
May 27, 2016
WBUR Cognoscenti | By Nancy L. Rosenblum and Jane Mansbridge: "Sanders is facing a test of character. He can continue to try to ride the whirlwind, or he can come down to earth and take on the messy business of compromise." Rosenblum is the Senator Joseph Clark Professor of Ethics in Politics and Government in Harvard's Department of Government; Mansbridge is the Adams Professor of Political Leadership and Democratic Values at Harvard Kennedy School.

Why Hillary Clinton is the Strongest Equality Candidate
May 26, 2016
Huffington Post | By Theda Skocpol, Victor S. Thomas Professor of Government and Sociology. "Rhetoric about 'establishment' versus populist candidates does not stand up to scrutiny," Skocpol writes.

Democracy in the Dumps
May 26, 2016
Radio OpenSource | Orlando Patterson, John Cowles Professor of Sociology, guests. Discussion includes Andrew Sullivan, Jedediah Purdy, Gordon Wood, and Francis Fukuyama. [Audio: 51 minutes].
Inside the Eviction Epidemic
May 26, 2016
WNET Chasing the Dream: Poverty and Opportunity in America | Matthew Desmond, John L. Loeb Associate Professor of the Social Sciences, provides a firsthand look at the realities of living in a trailer park [Video segment: 8:27 minutes].
View the full documentary, The Last Trailer Park, which includes Desmond's interview [26:47 minutes].
The splendid tapestry of Commencement
May 26, 2016
Photos of Harvard's 365th Commencement captured several familiar Ph.D. '16's. From left edge of image, Jeremy R. Levine (Sociology), Kim Pernell-Gallagher (Sociology), and Queenie Zhu (Sociology & Social Policy). At center, Anthony Abraham Jack (Sociology) celebrates with Scott Poulson-Bryant (American Studies). If you missed our Commencement issue, learn more about the 14 Inequality & Social Policy doctoral fellows who received their Ph.D.'s and what they'll be doing next:
View the new Ph.Ds 

Experts Have Been Studying Income Inequality for Decades. Has Anything Changed?
May 25, 2016 | Q & A with Matthew Desmond, John L. Loeb Associate Professor of the Social Sciences and author of Evicted, who reflects on the importance of the ethnographic tradition and other influences in his work.

FEC Deadlocks Over Employee Political Coercion
May 25, 2016
The American Prospect | Cites findings of Alex Hertel-Fernandez, Ph.D. in Government & Social Policy '16.

Bringing Back Labor, Without the Unions
May 24, 2016
Bloomberg View | Cites study by Bruce Western (Professor of Sociology and Daniel and Florence Guggenheim Professor of Criminal Justice) and Jake Rosenfeld (Washington University in St. Louis), which found that the decline of organized labor between 1973 and 2007 explains one-third of the rise in wage inequality among men during this time (View their ASR article), and by Richard Freeman (Herbert Ascherman Professor of Economics) and colleagues, which finds a "strong, though not necessarily causal link between unions, the middle class, and intergenerational mobility." (See Freeman et. al. study)
BRA Report Finds Boston's Booming Economy Leaving Many Residents Behind
March 15, 2016
WBUR Radio Boston | Matthew Resseger (Ph.D. '14), Senior Economist with the Boston Redevelopment Authority, guests. The Boston Redevelopment Authority has just issued a new report, "Boston's Workforce: An Assessment of Labor Market Outcomes and Opportunities," with new data on the city's deep income inequality.
View the report



Torben Iversen awarded Denmark's prestigious Holst-Knudsen Prize for Scientific Research
May 25, 2016
Torben Iversen, Harold Hitchings Burbank Professor of Political Economy, is the recipient of one of Denmark's oldest and most prestigious science awards, the Rigmor and Carl Holst-Knudsen Award for Scientific Research.

"Again and again," the award citation notes, "Torben Iversen’s work has set the agenda for research in a variety of areas, such as the welfare state, the role of central banks, salary negotiations, education, and electoral systems."
Jane Mansbridge to give BJPIR Public Lecture
June 9, 2016
University of Edinburgh
Jane Mansbridge, Adams Professor of Political Leadership and Democratic Values, is the recipient of an honorary degree from the University of Edinburgh. Following the ceremony, she will deliver the British Journal of Politics and International Relations public lecture addressing the question of why—in a world of growing interdependence and complex challenges—we need more and more ‘legitimate coercion’.
The Tobin Project 2016 Graduate Student Fellows: Sarah James
May 26, 2016
Sarah James, Ph.D. student in Government and Social Policy, has been selected to participate in The Tobin Project as a 2016 Graduate Student Fellow. James's project is titled "Race and Street-Level Bureaucracy in Schools: An Examination of Texas’ School-based Police Forces." Read more about Sarah James's work at her homepage.
Robert Putnam Honored with Wildavsky Award for 'Bowling Alone'
May 24, 2016
Robert Putnam, Peter and Isabel Malkin Professor of Public Policy, has been awarded the 2016 Aaron Wildavsky Enduring Contribution Award by the Public Policy Section of the American Political Science Association (APSA) for his 2000 book, Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community.The Wildavsky Award recognizes a work, published 10-20 years earlier, that continues to influence the study of public policy. 
Abena Subira Mackall awarded AERA Dissertation Travel Award to participate in Annual Meeting
May 11, 2016
Abena Subira Mackall, doctoral candidate in Education, has been awarded the American Educational Research Association (AERA) Minority Dissertation Travel Award to present her dissertation research at the 2017 annual meeting in San Antonio, Texas. The 2017 meeting theme is "Achieving the Promise of Equal Educational Opportunity." Read more about Mackall's research at her homepage.
Torben Iversen appointed Centennial Professor at LSE for 2016-17
Torben Iversen, Harold Hitchings Burbank Professor of Political Economy at Harvard, has been appointed BP Centennial Professor in the Department of Government at the London School of Economics for the academic year 2016-17. The BP Centennial Professorships are fixed-term visiting appointments that bring eminent scholars of outstanding international distinction to LSE.

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Part of the Malcolm Wiener Center for Social Policy. 

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