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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

First, some congratulations

To our doctoral fellows and doctoral fellow alumni whose work has drawn honors and recognition this month. Below the fold, browse the headlines to catch up on the latest insights and analysis from the Harvard Inequality & Social Policy program, Inequality in the news, and upcoming events.

Anthony Abraham Jack recognized for his contributions to the black community at Harvard College
March 25, 2016
Awardee | Anthony Abraham Jack (Ph.D. candidate in Sociology) is the recipient of the Association of Black Harvard Women (ABHW) Tribute to Black Men Faculty Award in recognition of his "exceptional and lasting contributions to the black community at Harvard College." Jack will be a Junior Fellow in Harvard Society of Fellows (2016-2019) and then joins the Harvard faculty as Assistant Professor at the Harvard Graduate School of Education and Shutzer Assistant Professor with the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study (beginning 2019). 

AERA Early Career Award in Educational Policy: Judith Scott-Clayton
March 22, 2016
Awardee | Judith Scott-Clayton (Ph.D. in Public Policy '09), Associate Professor of Economics and Education at Teachers College, Columbia University, is the 2016 recipient of the American Educational Research Association Early Career Award in Educational Policy. Scott-Clayton studies labor economics and higher education policy, with a focus on financial aid, student employment, and programmatic barriers to college persistence and completion. Her work examining the adverse consequences of complexity in the federal student aid application process has contributed to national policy debates about financial aid simplification.

The 30 Top Thinkers Under 30: Alexander Hertel-Fernandez
March 17, 2016
Pacific Standard | Alex Hertel-Fernandez (Ph.D. candidate in Government & Social Policy) has been selected one of 'Thirty under 30' top young thinkers who are making an impact on the social, political, and economic issues that will shape the nation's future. In July 2016, Hertel-Fernandez joins the Columbia University faculty as Assistant Professor in the School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA). Learn more about Alex Hertel-Fernandez's work at his homepage.

AEFP Jean Flanigan Outstanding Dissertation Award 2016: Sarah Cohodes
March 17, 2016
Awardee | Sarah Cohodes (Ph.D. in Public Policy '15) is a recipient of the 2016 Jean Flanigan Outstanding Dissertation Award conferred by the Association of Education Finance and Policy (AEFP) for exemplary dissertation research in this area. Cohodes is now Assistant Professor of Education and Public Policy at Teachers College, Columbia University. 

Herbert H. Lehman Prize for Distinguished Scholarship in New York History
March 15, 2016
Awardee | Michael Javen Fortner (Ph.D. in Government & Social Policy '10) has been awarded the 2016 Herbert H. Lehman Prize for Distinguished Scholarship in New York History by the New York Academy of History for his book, Black Silent Majority: The Rockefeller Drug Laws and the Politics of Punishment (Harvard University Press, 2015). Fortner is Assistant Professor and Academic Director of Urban Studies at the CUNY School of Professional Studies, Murphy Institute.

W.E. Upjohn Institute 2016 Early Career Research Award: John Horton
March 14, 2016
Awardee | John Horton (Ph.D. in Public Policy '11), Assistant Professor in the Stern School of Business, New York University, is the recipient of an Early Career Research Award from the W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research. Horton will investigate the effect of demand shocks on human capital acquisition strategies.
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Insight and analysis

Event video: Matthew Desmond on Evicted
March 3, 2016
Malcolm Wiener Center for Social Policy
The launch of Matthew Desmond's new book, Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City, was the occasion of a book event sponsored by the Malcolm Wiener Center at Harvard Kennedy School. Matthew Desmond, John L. Loeb Associate Professor of the Social Sciences at Harvard, was joined by a panel of experts that included William Julius Wilson of Harvard University, Xavier de Souza Briggs of the Ford Foundation, and Jennifer Gonnerman of The New Yorker. Moderated by Bruce Western, Director of the Malcolm Wiener Center for Social Policy.

The law was supposed to reduce discrimination. But it made hiring more racially biased.
March 23, 2016
Washington Post | New research by Daniel Shoag (Ph.D. '11), Assistant Professor at Harvard Kennedy School, finds that credit check bans in employment can produce unintended consequences. See the study, co-authored with Robert Clifford of the Boston Fed: "'No More Credit Score': Credit Check Bans and Signal Substitution."

Contract Workforce Outpaces Growth in Silicon-Valley Style ‘Gig’ Jobs
March 25, 2016
Wall Street Journal | Discusses new research by Lawrence Katz, Elisabeth Allen Professor of Economics at Harvard, and Alan Krueger of Princeton University, showing that that the number of workers in alternative arrangements—including contract work, on-call labor, and temp workers—has risen to nearly 16% of the workforce from 10% a decade ago, and what it means that a growing share of the workforce "has come untethered from stable employment and its attendant benefits and job protections."

Peer Pressure May Not Work the Way We Think It Does
March 25, 2016
NPR Hidden Brain | Todd Rogers, a behavioral scientist and Associate Professor at Harvard Kennedy School, is interviewed about his study (with Avi Feller, UC Berkeley), showing that exposing students to exemplary peer performance can undermine student motivation and success. View the research: "Discouraged by Peer Excellence: Exposure to Exemplary Peer Performance Causes Quitting."

What Growing Inequality Means for Our Kids
March 24, 2016
WGBH Greater Boston | Interview with Robert D. Putnam, Peter and Isabel Malkin Professor of Public Policy [video: 7 minutes].

The Dream Team That Could Fix Drug Pricing
March 24, 2016
Forbes | Among the nominees, Amitabh Chandra, Malcolm Wiener Professor of Social Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School and a member of the Congressional Budget Office’s Panel of Health Advisors.
How 'Pay for Success' Allows Governments to Experiment without Risk
March 23, 2016
Harvard Kennedy School PolicyCast | Jeffrey Liebman, Malcolm Wiener Professor of Social Policy, explains the Pay For Success model, also known as Social Impact Bonds, which he has been piloting across the country through the Kennedy School’s Government Performance Lab [audio: 32 minutes].

Undocumented US immigrants are far likelier to be working than American men
March 22, 2016
Quartz | Delves into new NBER working paper by George J. Borjas, which is described as an "ambitious attempt to shed light on how undocumented immigrants in the US have typically interacted with the U.S. labor market over the last two decades." Borjas is the Robert W. Scrivner Professor of Economics and Social Policy at Harvard Kennedy School. View the research: "The Labor Supply of Undocumented Immigrants."

How Can Schools Identify the Most Effective Teachers? Just Ask the Students
March 22, 2016
NPR WAMU 88.5 | Profs. Ronald Ferguson of the Harvard Kennedy School and Tom Kane of the Harvard Graduate School of Education are interviewed [text and audio].

UCLA Center on Police-Community Ties Will Move to John Jay College
March 21, 2016
The New York Times | Phillip Atiba Goff, currently a Visiting Scholar in the Malcolm Wiener Center for Social Policy and founder of the Center for Policing Equity, has been named the first Franklin A. Thomas Professor in Policing Equity at John Jay College of Criminal Justice. A $1.5 million gift from the Ford Foundation and $1 million from Atlantic Philanthropies are creating an endowment to bring Goff and the Center for Policing Equity to John Jay.

Why Democrats Must Embrace a Universal Child Allowance
March 21, 2016
The New Republic | Quotes Christopher Wimer (Ph.D. '07), co-author of a new study (below) issued by The Century Foundation showing that such a policy could cut child poverty in half. Wimer is Co-Director of the Center on Poverty and Social Policy at the Columbia University Population Research Center. 

Doing More for Our Children: Modeling a Universal Child Allowance or More Generous Child Tax Credit
March 16, 2016
The Century Foundation | By Irwin Garfinkel, David Harris, Jane Waldfogel and Christopher Wimer (Ph.D. '07), all of Columbia University. Wimer serves as Co-Director of the Center on Poverty and Social Policy at Columbia's Population Research Center.

Closing the Opportunity Gap Report
March 16, 2016
The Saguaro Seminar—Harvard Kennedy School | In 2015, the Saguaro Seminar, led by Robert D. Putnam, Peter and Isabel Malkin Professor of Public Policy, launched the Closing the Opportunity Gap initiative. The initiative convened five working groups of the country’s leading experts in each of five areas: family and parenting, early childhood, K-12 education, community institutions, and “on-ramps” (like community college or apprenticeships).

Patrick Sharkey (Ph.D. '07) of New York University, a contributor to the community working group, co-authored the chapter on "Rebuilding Communities to Help Close the Opportunity Gap."

Alex Keyssar on President Obama's Historic Trip to Cuba
March 21, 2016
Harvard Kennedy School | Q & A with Alex Keyssar, Matthew W. Stirling, Jr., Professor of History and Social Policy.

How an overlooked impact of Mexico's drug violence is holding back its economy
March 19, 2016
Business Insider | Discusses research by Viridiana Rios (Ph.D. '13), currently a Research Fellow at The Wilson Center, showing how crime and violence reduce the diversification of the Mexican economy.

How Jackie Robinson Confronted a Trump-Like Candidate
March 19, 2016
The Atlantic |  Leah Wright Rigueur's The Loneliness of the Black Republican (Princeton University Press) is cited in retrospective on Jackie Robinson, Barry Goldwater, and the 1964 GOP nomination. Leah Wright Rigueur, an historian, is an assistant professor at the Harvard Kennedy School.

How Citizens United Made it Easier for Bosses to Control Their Workers' Votes
March 17, 2016
International Business Times | Discusses forthcoming article by Alexander Hertel-Fernandez, Ph.D. candidate in Government & Social Policy, and Paul Secunda, a law professor at Marquette University, who find that employers' tactics to influence the political behavior of workers, now legal as a result of the Supreme Court's 2010 Citizens United decision, have also proved effective.Their article is forthcoming in the UCLA Law Review.

Why More Americans Are Getting Evicted
March 17, 2016
Slate | Interview with Matthew Desmond, John L. Loeb Associate Professor of the Social Sciences at Harvard and author of Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City.

Should non-cognitive skills be included in school accountability systems? 
March 17, 2016
Brookings Institution | By Martin R. West (Ph.D. '06), Associate Professor of Education and a Non-resident Senior Fellow at Brookings.

The Impact of High Levels of Immigration on U.S. Workers
March 16, 2016
U.S. Senate—Testimony | George J. Borjas, Robert W. Scrivner of Economics and Social Policy. Testimony before the U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary, Subcommittee on Immigration and the National Interest. 

Interview with William Julius Wilson
March 16, 2016
Vermont Public Radio | William Julius Wilson, Lewis P. and Linda L. Geyser University Professor, talks about race, class, growing economic segregation and class disparities, and the Black Lives Matter movement [text and audio: 7:37 minutes].

How Housing Vouchers Can Fight Residential Segregation
March 15, 2016
The Nation | By Eva Rosen (Ph.D '14), a postdoctoral fellow in the Poverty and Inequality Research Lab at Johns Hopkins University. Rosen argues that housing vouchers offer a chance to remedy longstanding inequalities—but are not yet fully equipped to do so. This article originally appeared at Rosen is currently working on a book about housing vouchers in Baltimore.

Trumpism: Is culture or the economy behind the rise of Donald Trump?
March 15, 2016
National Review | By Scott Winship (Ph.D. '09), Walter B. Wriston fellow at the Manhattan Institute.  Winship argues there is little evidence that economic anxiety explains the rise of Trump. Rather, Winship suggests, "Trumpism is being driven primarily by cultural anxiety — by dissatisfaction with cultural change and perceived cultural decline."

The costs of inequality: Faster lives, quicker deaths
March 14, 2016
Harvard Gazette | For blacks and Hispanics, disadvantaged neighborhoods undercut health, education, and jobs. Featuring William Julius Wilson (Lewis P. and Linda L. Geyser University Professor) and Ronald Ferguson ( Adjunct Lecturer in Public Policy and faculty director of Harvard’s Achievement Gap Initiative). Also highlights work of David R. Williams (Florence Sprague Norman and Laura Smart Norman Professor of Public Health at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health), who spoke on "Race, Racism, and Racial Inequalities in Health" in the Inequality & Social Policy Seminar Series, Feb 8, 2016. Seventh in a series on what Harvard scholars are doing to understand and find solutions to problems of inequality. 

Working, with children
March 14, 2016
Harvard Gazette | Especially after parenthood, gender equality remains an unmet goal. Coverage of a new workshop series on comparative inequality sponsored by the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs. Features Mary C. Brinton (Reischauer Institute Professor of Sociology and chair of the Department of Sociology), Claudia Goldin (Henry Lee Professor of Economics), and Alexandra Killewald (John L. Loeb Associate Professor of Sociology).

Why soaring housing costs threaten Boston's economic vitality
March 14, 2016
New Boston Post | Interview with Edward Glaeser, Fred and Eleanor Glimp Professor of Economics. Building housing only for the well-off, Glaeser said, “cuts people out of the innovation economy who would like to be there, and you have a smaller, less fertile ground for growth.” 

A Conversation with Robert D. Putnam [Video]
March 14, 2016
Conversations with Bill Kristol | Robert D. Putnam, Peter and Isabel Malkin Professor of Public Policy, discusses declining levels of civic participation in America and his interpretation of the reasons for it. He also recalls how political developments awakened his interest in political science, and explains how social science might help us address public policy problems. [Video: 70 minutes]

What Trump Supporters Were Doing Before Trump
March 14, 2016
FiveThirtyEight | By Dan Hopkins (Ph.D. '07), University of Pennsylvania. Is Trump's rise a one-off or the opening act in a broader shift in American politics? Hopkins examines new data that offer an "unparalleled look at Trump supporters' attitudes long before they even knew Trump would run.The data, argues Hopkins, suggest "one key ingredient of a political realignment—a split within one party on a durable, straightforward set of issues — is now in place."

Trump and the Republicans
March 11, 2016
n+1 magazine | By Daniel Schlozman (Ph.D. '11), Assistant Professor of Political Science, Johns Hopkins University. Trumpism will not end with Trump. Nor will movement conservatism or organized wealth simply give way. The convulsions on the right have only just begun, writes Schlozman.

Matthew Desmond: 'I want my work to bear witness to this problem that's raging in our cities.'
March 11, 2016
The Guardian | Aditya Chakrabortty spends the day meeting residents of the poorest parts of Milwaukee with Matthew Desmond, the author of the acclaimed book Evicted. Desmond is the John L. Loeb Associate Professor of Social Sciences at Harvard.

Three reasons political polarization is here to stay
March 11, 2016
Washington Post | By Jane Mansbridge, Adams Professor of Political Leadership and Democratic Values. "That U-curve of income inequality tracks uncannily the U-curve of polarization," Mansbridge writes. As president of the American Political Science Association from 2012 to 2013, she created the Task Force on Negotiating Agreement in Politics to respond to the crisis of polarization in the federal legislature.

Five Myths about the Koch Brothers—And Why it Matters to Set Them Straight
March 10, 2016
Moyers & Company | By Alexander Hertel-Fernandez (Ph.D. candidate in Government & Social Policy) and Theda Skocpol (Victor S. Thomas Professor of Government and Sociology).

Have All the Income Gains Gone to the 1%"?
March 10, 2016
e21 | By Scott Winship (Ph.D. '09), Walter B. Wriston fellow at the Manhattan Institute.



City Year New Hampshire honors Robert Putnam with Lifetime of Service award
March 26, 2016
Awardee | Robert D. Putnam, Peter and Isabel Malkin Professor of Public Policy, is the recipient of City Year New Hampshire's Lifetime of Service Award.

Paul Peterson Receives Prize for Best Academic Paper on School Choice and Reform
March 15, 2016
Paul E. Peterson, Henry Lee Shattuck Professor of Government and director of the Program on Education Policy and Governance at Harvard Kennedy School, and Matthew M. Chingos, a senior fellow at the Urban Institute, have been selected as winners of the 2016 Association for Education Finance and Policy (AEFP) Prize for their paper “Experimentally estimated impacts of school vouchers on college enrollment and degree attainment,” named best academic paper on school choice and reform.

Inequality Seminar

Updated schedule

Joshua S. Goodman, Associate Professor of Public Policy, will join us on April 11, 2016:

"College Access, Initial College Choice, and Degree Completion"

Events of interest

Center for American Political Studies

Friday, April 1, 2016
Harvard University
Registration required.

Political Analytics 2016
Bringing together media, academia, and political professionals for a non-partisan look at the analytics behind politics. Organized by Ryan Enos, Associate Professor of Government, and Kirk Goldsberry.

Harvard Horizons 

April 5, 2016

Harvard Horizons Symposium 2016

Ariel R. White (Ph.D. candidate in Government) is one of eight Harvard Ph.D. students selected to present her research to a university audience in Sanders Theatre. To learn more about Ariel White's work, see her Horizons Scholar profile.

Harvard Sociology Colloquium Series

April 12, 2016

Strangers to Each Other: How Immigration and Assimilation Change Everyone

Tomás Jiménez (Ph.D. in Sociology, '05), Associate Professor of Sociology, Stanford University.

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Part of the Malcolm Wiener Center for Social Policy. 

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Malcolm Wiener Center for Social Policy
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