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Multidisciplinary Program in Inequality & Social Policy at Harvard University
03/10/2016

 

News roundup


Highlights from Inequality & Social Policy
at the Malcolm Wiener Center


Meet our newest faculty affiliates

We are delighted to welcome 16 faculty members to the Inequality & Social Policy program. Many are longtime participants already, well-known to the Inequality & Social Policy community.

Their formal affiliation will bring new strengths in the areas of income inequality and wealth concentration, intergenerational mobility, labor markets and human capital investment, government management of private-sector risks, regulation and government accountability, behavioral economics and household finance, judgment and decision-making, behavioral science in the design of social policy, regional economies and housing, and race, civil rights, and politics.

We look forward to introducing more of their work in the coming months. They draw from the fields of EconomicsNathaniel Hendren, Michael Luca, Brigitte Madrian, David A. Moss (Political Economy), Sendhil MullainathanAmanda Pallais, Daniel Shoag, and Stefanie Stantcheva; Political ScienceDaniel Carpenter, Michael Hiscox, and Quinton MayneSociologyFrank Dobbin; Psychology and Behavioral Sciences: Jennifer S. Lerner, Michael I. Norton, Todd Rogers, and History: Leah Wright Rigueur.

View the full faculty list on our website ▶
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In the news


David Ellwood to Chair New Partnership on Mobility from Poverty
February 5, 2016
Urban Institute | The Urban Institute and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation announced the establishment of the U.S. Partnership on Mobility from Poverty, aimed at discovering permanent ladders of mobility out of poverty in the U.S. David Ellwood, the Scott M. Black Professor of Political Economy at Harvard Kennedy School, will chair the national group of 24 leading  voices on these issues, whose members include Lawrence F. Katz, Elisabeth Allison Professor of Economics at Harvard University; Raj Chetty, Stanford University; and Kathryn Edin, Johns Hopkins University. "We hope that as a result, we can reset our country's approach to social mobility," Ellwood said.

New Group Forms to Find Solutions to Mobility Out of Poverty
February 16, 2016
WBUR Radio Boston | Guests David Ellwood, Scott M. Black Professor of Political Economy and Chair of the U.S. Partnership on Mobility from Poverty, and Elisabeth Babcock, President and CEO of the Crittenton Women's Union and a Partnership member.
 

Insight and analysis


What Happens When Low-Income Mothers Call the Police
March 10, 2016
By Monica Bell, Ph.D. candidate in Sociology & Social Policy and a Research Associate at the Justice Collaboratory at Yale Law School. An academic article based on this research is forthcoming in Law & Society Review.
 

On our bookshelf


The Eviction Economy
March 5, 2016
The New York Times | Sunday Review piece by Matthew Desmond, John L. Loeb Associate Professor of Social Sciences. "Poverty is not just a product of joblessness and low wages. It is also a product of exploitation...A universal housing voucher program would fundamentally change the face of poverty in the United States."
 

Reviews


In 'Evicted', Home is an Elusive Goal for America's Poor
February 21, 2016
The New York Times | Review of Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City, by Matthew Desmond, John L. Loeb Associate Professor of the Social Sciences. 
NYT book critic Jennifer Senior calls it "an exhaustively researched, vividly realized and, above all, unignorable book — after “Evicted,” it will no longer be possible to have a serious discussion about poverty without having a serious discussion about housing."

Kicked Out in America!
February 19, 2016
The New York Review of Books | Jason DeParle reviews Matthew Desmond's Evicted.

Matthew Desmond Reveals America’s Housing Disaster in 'Evicted'
February 25, 2016
Chicago Review of Books | Jessi Rae Morton reviews Matthew Desmond’s Evicted.

Matthew Desmond's 'Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City'
February 26, 2016
The New York Times Sunday Book Review | Barbara Ehrenreich reviews Matthew Desmond’s Evicted.

If you lose your home, you lose everything else, too
March 8, 2016
Washington Post | Carlos Lozada reviews Matthew Desmond's Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City.
 

Interviews and articles


Matthew Desmond: "Evicted"
March 7, 2016
NPR—The Diane Rehm Show [audio and transcript] | Guests: Matthew Desmond, John L. Loeb Professor of the Social Sciences; Rolf Pendall, Urban Institute; Vanetta (a pseudonym), a mother of five whose family's story is depicted in Evicted; and Tim Ballering, founder and owner of Affordable Rental Associates, LLC, in Milwaukee.

What Happens to People Who Get Evicted Over and Over?
March 4, 2016
New York Magazine: Science of Us | Interview with Matthew Desmond about his new book, Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City. Desmond also cites the influence of work by Harvard colleagues Sendhil Mullainathan, Robert C. Waggoner Professor of Economics; Robert J. Sampson, Henry Ford II Professor of the Social Sciences; and Devah Pager, Professor of Sociology and Public Policy.

America's Insidious Eviction Problem
March 1, 2016
The Atlantic | Interview with Matthew Desmond, author Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City.

'Evicted' Book Paints a Heartbreaking Picture of a Milwaukee Under Stress
March 1, 2016
WUWM—Milwaukee Public Radio | Interview with Matthew Desmond. [Text and audio: 25 minutes]

Why losing a home means losing everything
February 29, 2016
Washington Post | Matthew Desmond, John L. Loeb Professor of Social Science, talks about his new book, Evicted.

Inside The New York Times Book Review Podcast: 'Evicted'
February 26, 2016
The New York Times [audio] | Listen to Matthew Desmond talk about his new book, Evicted [begins at 15:30 mark]

The Great Expectations of Matthew Desmond
February 24, 2016
Chronicle of Higher Education—The Chronicle Review | Matthew Desmond hopes to bring a fresh approach to the study of poverty by focusing on the trauma of eviction. "Before this work I didn’t know how bad it was," he says. "I don’t think a lot of us know the state of poverty today."

A Harvard Sociologist on Watching Families Lose Their Homes
February 19, 2016
The New York Times | Matthew Desmond and his new book, Evicted.
 

The costs of inequality


U.S. News and World Report is running an ongoing series on what Harvard scholars are doing to understand and find solutions to problems of inequality. We have linked to the original articles, which first ran the Harvard Gazette.

The costs of inequality: For women, progress until they get near power
March 7, 2016
Surveys Harvard research on gender inequality, including work by Inequality & Social Policy affiliates Claudia Goldin, Henry Lee Professor of Economics; Mary C. Brinton, Reischauer Institute Professor of Sociology; and Heather Sarsons, Ph.D. candidate in Economics. Sixth in a series. 

The costs of inequality: A goal of justice, a reality of unfairness
February 29, 2016
Spotlights research in criminal justice by Bruce Western (Professor of Sociology, the Daniel and Florence Guggenheim Professor of Criminal Justice Policy, and Director of the Malcolm Wiener Center for Social Policy), Devah Pager (Professor of Sociology and Public Policy), Phillip Atiba Goff (Visiting scholar in the Malcolm Wiener Center and Co-founder of the Center for Policing Equity), and Vinny Schiraldi (Senior research fellow at the HKS Program in Criminal Justice Policy and Management and former commissioner of the New York City Department of Probation). Fifth in a series.

The costs of inequality: Money = quality health care = longer life
February 22, 2016
Features Amitabh Chandra, Malcolm Wiener Professor of Social Policy. Also David R. Williams, Florence Sprague Norman and Laura Smart Norman Professor of Public Health at the Harvard Chan School and Professor of African and African-American Studies, who gave the Inequality & Social Policy Seminar on "Race, Racism, and Racial Inequalities in Health", Feb 8, 2016. Fourth in a series. 

The Costs of Inequality: Education is the one key that rules them all
February 15, 2016
Featuring Inequality & Social Policy faculty participants Ronald Ferguson, faculty director of the Harvard Achievement Gap Initiative; Roland Fryer, Henry Lee Professor of Economics; Robert Putnam, Peter and Isabel Malkin Professor of Public Policy; and Lawrence Katz, Elisabeth Allison Professor of Economics. Third in a series. T

The Costs of Inequality: Increasingly, it's the rich and the rest
February 8, 2016
Featuring Inequality & Social Policy faculty participants Claudia Goldin, Henry Lee Professor of Economics; Nathaniel Hendren, Assistant Professor of Economics; Christopher Jencks, Malcolm Wiener Professor of Social Policy; Lawrence Katz, Elisabeth Allison Professor of Economics; Robert D. Putnam,Peter and Isabel Malkin Professor of Public Policy; and Theda Skocpol, Victor S. Thomas Professor of Government and Sociology. Second in a series. 

The costs of inequality: When a Fair Shake Isn't Enough
February 1, 2016
First in a series on what Harvard scholars are doing to deepen our understanding of inequality—its causes, consequences, and policies to address one of America’s most vexing problems. Features Inequality & Social Policy faculty participants Jennifer Hochschild, Henry LaBarre Jayne Professor of Government; Archon Fung, the Ford Foundation Professor of Democracy and Citizenship; Lawrence Katz, Elisabeth Allison Professor of Economics; Michael Norton, Harold M. Brierley Professor of Business Administration; and Bruce Western, Director of the Malcolm Wiener Center for Social Policy, Professor of Sociology and the Daniel and Florence Guggenheim Professor of Criminal Justice Policy.  
 

Education gap: The root of inequality
February 15, 2016
Harvard University [video: 6 min] | Interview with the Malcolm Wiener Center's Ronald Ferguson, director of  the Achievement Gap Initiative at Harvard University: "Educational inequality is, probably more than anything else, the fundamental root of broader inequality."  There is progress being made, encouraging examples to emulate, and an early start is critical, Ferguson says. A lot of hard work lies ahead, "but there's nothing more important we can do."
 

What do trends in economic inequality imply for innovation and entrepreneurship? A framework for future research and policy
February 16, 2016
Washington Center for Equitable Growth | By Elisabeth Jacobs (Ph.D. '08), now Senior Director for Policy and Academic Programs at Equitable Growth. Draws on research by Harvard Inequality doctoral fellow Alex Bell (Ph.D. candidate in Economics) et. al., which finds that children of parents in the top 1% of the income distribution are ten times more likely to become inventors than those in the bottom 50%.
 

More insight and analysis


Trumpism as a Transatlantic Phenomenon
March 8, 2016
The American Prospect | By Charlotte Cavaillé (Ph.D. '14); Noam Gidron, Ph.D. candidate in Government; and Peter A. Hall, Krupp Foundation Professor of European Studies. Cavaillé is presently a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the Institute for Advanced Study in Toulouse. She joins the Georgetown University faculty in July.

Slashing Incentives to Prescribe Expensive Drugs
March 9, 2016
Marketplace | Amitabh Chandra, Malcolm Wiener Professor of Social Policy, explains the incentives physicians and hospitals have to prescribe expensive drugs.

Reviving the Working Class without Building Walls
March 8, 2016
The New York Times | Economic Scene column quotes Lawrence Katz, Elisabeth Allison Professor of Economics.

Study: White Southerners in counties that had more slaves are likelier to back Republicans
March 8, 2016
Vox | Discusses study by Avidit Acharya (Stanford University), Matthew Blackwell (Harvard Government Dept), and Maya Sen (Harvard Kennedy School), which will be published in the Journal of Politics later this year. Read the original research.

Employers are using credit checks against otherwise qualified workers. Here's what we can do about it.
March 8, 2016
Salon | Draws on research by Daniel Shoag, Assistant Professor of Public Policy (co-authored with Robert Clifford, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston). View the original research.

Why Aren’t Millennial Wages Growing?
March 8, 2016
NPR On Point with Tom Ashbrook [audio] | Alicia Sasser Modestino (Ph.D. '01) of Northeastern University guests. Segment begins at 30 minute mark.

There is No FDA for Education. Maybe There Should Be
March 8, 2016
NPR Ed | Print interview with Thomas J. Kane, Walter H. Gale Professor of Education and Economics, who argues the need for education research to rigorously vet solutions that will close the achievement gap, and to connect that knowledge to the decisions that school superintendents and chief academic officers inside school districts make.

Michèle Lamont to be keynote speaker for Canadian Association of Statutory Human Rights Agencies conference
March 8, 2016
Canadian Association of Statutory Human Rights Agencies | Michèle Lamont, Robert I. Goldman Professor of European Studies and director of the Weatherhead Center at Harvard University, will be the keynote speaker for CASHRA's  2016 National Human Rights Conference: "The Fight for Equality: A Thousand Challenges," May 16, 2016.

Boston's struggle with income segregation
March 6, 2016
Boston Globe | In-depth examination of economic segregation in Massachusetts quotes Robert D. Putnam, the Peter and Isabel Malkin Professor of Public Policy, and Robert J. Sampson, the Henry Ford II Professor of the Social Sciences. Also cites forthcoming article by Ann Owens (Ph.D. '12) showing that the growth in economic segregation nationwide between 1990 and 2010 occurred almost entirely among families with children. Owens is now an assistant professor of sociology at USC. The article is expected to appear in the June 2016 issue of the American Sociological Review.

Which Police Strategies Work?
March 4, 2016
Pacific Standard | A new report by Thomas Abt and Christopher Winship examines data from more than 1,400 studies of programs such as broken windows policing, gun buybacks, therapy, and other attempts to curtail death and violence in American cities. Christopher Winship is the Norman Tishman and Charles M. Diker Professor of Sociology; Thomas Abt is a Senior Research Fellow in the Malcolm Wiener Center's Program in Criminal Justice Policy and Management.

Why Flint's children can't leave the city that poisoned them
March 4, 2016
Washington Post | If we do help families move, what happens to the disinvested places they leave, and the people who choose (or have no choice) to stay there? Are resources better spent trying to revive Flint, or helping people who want to abandon it?..."It’s the hardest question that we’re faced with now that we think places matter," economics professor Nathaniel Hendren says. 
 

The Story Borrower
March 3, 2016
Harvard Graduate School of Education | Profile of Anthony Abraham Jack (Ph.D. candidate in Sociology), whose whose research looks at the stories of low-income, first-generation undergraduates at elite universities. “They are letting me borrow their stories and it motivates me like crazy,” he says.

Jack will join the HGSE faculty as an assistant professor in July 2019, following a prestigious fellowship at the Harvard Society of Fellows. He will also hold the Shutzer Assistant Professorship at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study.

Is This the End of Big-Money Politics?
March 3, 2016
The New Yorker | Draws from study on "The Koch Effect"  by Theda Skocpol, the Victor S. Thomas Professor of Government and Sociology, and Alex Hertel-Fernandez, Ph.D. candidate in Government & Social Policy. "In essence, the Harvard study concludes, the Kochs and their allied donors have financial influence over American politics that extends far beyond the Presidential race." 

Never judge a book by its cover—Use student achievement instead
March 3, 2016
Brookings Institution—Evidence Speaks Series | By Thomas J. Kane, Walter H. Gale Professor of Education and Economics and a Non-Resident Senior Fellow at Brookings.

Theda Skocpol on how political scientists think differently about politics
March 1, 2016
The Ezra Klein Show—Vox  [audio] | Theda Skocpol, a political scientist at Harvard (and a former chair of the American Political Science Association), explains how political scientists learn about politics, what makes their work different both from pundits and from each other, and how it’s helped her understand this insane election. She also talks through some of her research on what really drives the tea party and the ways in which the Koch Brothers are setting up an organization that’s almost become a shadow political party of its own [audio: 58 minutes].

Young Black People Are Radically Reimagining What Political Activism Can Be
March 1, 2016
The New York Times | By Leah Wright Rigueur, Assistant Professor, Harvard Kennedy School. Part of a Room for Debate forum: "Making Black Voices Matter."

Trump will win or lose. Either way, the Koch network will shape the Republican Party
February 29, 2016
Washington Post | Alexander Hertel Fernandez (Ph.D. candidate in Government & Social Policy) and Theda Skocpol (Victor S. Thomas Professor of Government and Sociology) are interviewed about their research on how Koch brothers-funded organizations have been changing the Republican Party in profound ways. Interviewed by political scientist Henry Farrell of George Washington University.

New research examines impact of credit screening on unemployment
February 26, 2016
Harvard Kennedy School | Explores new research by Daniel Shoag (Ph.D. '11), Assistant Professor of Public Policy, co-authored by Robert Clifford, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston. View the research.

America has locked up so many black people, it has warped our sense of reality
February 26, 2016
Washington Post | Draws on work by Bruce Western, who argues that statistics on employment and economic activity that fail to take into account high rates of incarceration among black men in high-risk groups miss how deeply mass incarceration is connected to American poverty and economic inequality. Western is a Professor of Sociology, the Daniel and Florence Guggenheim Professor of Criminal Justice Policy, and director of the Malcolm Wiener Center for Social Policy.

Variations on racial tension
February 26, 2016
Harvard Gazette | Michèle Lamont, Robert I. Goldman Professor of European Studies and director of the Weatherhead Center, led a panel that traced evolving attitudes toward race and discrimination in Latin America, Europe, and the United States. With Patrick Simon, director of research at the National Institute of Demographic Studies in France, and Alejandro de la Fuente, Robert Woods Bliss Professor of Latin-American History at Harvard and director of the University’s soon-to-launch Afro-Latin American Research Institute.

Pundits and presidents complain about polarization. But it may be the sign of a healthy democracy.
February 25, 2016
Washington Post | By Torben Iversen (Harold Hitchings Burbank Professor of Political Economy) and David Soskice (London School of Economics). Iversen and Soskice argue in a new academic article that lack of polarization among ordinary citizens isn't necessarily a good thing. Indeed it might be a sign of serious democratic failure. 

International Learning Communities: What Can Be Learned Across National Boundaries?
February 25, 2016
Education Week | By Amelia Peterson, Ph.D. candidate in Education, and Jal Mehta, Associate Professor of Education.

The scariest thing about the gig economy is how little we actually know about it
February 23, 2016
Quartz | “Individual workers who really value flexibility may be much better off” in the gig economy, says Lawrence Katz, an economics professor at Harvard who is studying gig work. But it could also be eroding standards for other workers. What if much bigger employers like Walmart pivoted to the Uber work model? There are always “effects on the equilibrium of the labor market,” Katz says.

Connecting to Practice: How we can put education research to work
February 23, 2016
Education Next | By Thomas J. Kane, the Walter H. Gale Professor of Education and faculty director of the Center for Education Policy Research at Harvard University.

No Exceptions
February 20, 2016
Harvard Ed Magazine | A look at the life and work of one of the Ed School's newest faculty members, Roland Fryer.

A hearing for pleas to right wrongs: Project seeks to digitize Native American petitions
February 19, 2016
Harvard Gazette |Spotlights new project led by Daniel Carpenter, Allie S. Freed Professor of Government and director of the Radcliffe Institute's social sciences program. 

How to make cities affordable for everyone again
February 19, 2016
Washington Post | A group of experts, including Daniel Shoag (Ph.D. '11), Assistant Professor of Public Policy, and Peter Ganong, Ph.D. candidate in Economics, elaborate the lines of debate.

Debating Diversity: Toward a more inclusive Harvard
February 19, 2016
Harvard Magazine | Quotes Anthony Abraham Jack, Ph.D. candidate in Sociology, whose research has explored the effects of race and class on students’ experiences at elite colleges.

A stronger sense of belonging: First-generation students share their stories at a conference
February 19, 2016
Harvard Gazette | Quotes Anthony Abraham Jack (Ph.D. candidate in Sociology) whose research has focused attention on the the often-overlooked diversity of experience among low-income undergraduates.

Can the Welfare State Survive the Refugee Crisis?
February 18, 2016
The Atlantic | Quotes George J. Borjas, Robert W. Scrivner Professor of Economics and Social Policy. Borjas is a member of the National Academy of Sciences Panel on the Economic and Fiscal Consequences of Immigration, whose report will be published later this year.

Should We Trust Forensic Science?
February 18, 2016
Boston Review | Two forensic experts respond to Nathan J. Robinson, Ph.D. student in Sociology & Social Policy, and Robinson replies. Robinson argued in the previous issue of Boston Review that the problems of forensic science constitute an unheralded crisis of criminal justice. 

Biggest Week Yet for Pay for Success in the United States
February 17, 2016
Harvard Kennedy School | Highlights work of Jeffrey Liebman, Malcolm Wiener Professor of Public Policy and Director of the Harvard Kennedy School Government Performance Lab. This week's announcement of three new projects brings the total number of US Pay for Success projects to 11, seven of which have relied on GPL technical assistance. The new projects aim to reduce homelessness in Denver, provide healthier starts for low-income babies and their families in South Carolina, and to promote family stability and reduce parental substance use for families involved in Connecticut's child welfare system.
 

How Segregated Schools Drive Criminal Behaviors
February 16, 2016
Pacific Standard | Delves into new research by David J. Deming (Ph.D. '10 and Associate Professor, Harvard Graduate School of Education), co-authored with Stephen Billings (UNC Charlotte) and Stephen L. Ross (University of Connecticut), which suggests that re-segregation of American schools has consequences beyond the classroom in increasing criminal behavior. Read the NBER Working Paper.

Also highlights earlier research by Billings, Deming, and Jonah Rockoff (Ph.D. '04, now Columbia Business School), which found "the end of race-based busing widened racial inequality [in Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools], despite efforts by CMS to mitigate the impact of segregation through compensatory resource allocation."

How segregated schools turn kids into criminals
February 12, 2016
Washington Post | Explores new study co-authored by David J. Deming (Ph.D. '10), Associate Professor of Education and Economics, Harvard Graduate School of Education.

Women, overshadowed
February 16, 2016
Harvard Gazette | Interview with Heather Sarsons, Ph.D. candidate in Economics on implications of, and the reactions to, her research—first featured in The New York Times—finding that female economists received less credit for co-authored work than their male counterparts.

Female economists who co-author papers are less likely to get tenure than men
February 17, 2016
Business Insider | Spotlights research findings by Heather Sarsons, Ph.D. candidate in Economics.

One Simple Trick that Boosts Kids' College Graduation Rates
February 15, 2016
Pacific Standard | Examines new study co-authored by doctoral fellow Preeya Mbekeani (Ed.D. candidate), which found that providing four additional SAT score reports for free to low-income students increased college access and completion rates. The study was co-authored by Michael Hurwitz of the College Board, Margaret Nipson of HGSE, and Lindsay C. Page of University of Pittsburgh School of Education.

Nudge Yields Big Results with Subtle Changes
February 15, 2016
WUTC—Start it Up [audio: 29 min] | Interview with Elizabeth Linos, Ph.D. candidate in Public Policy and a member of the Behavioral Insights Team. Linos explains how the Behavioral Insights Team is employing "nudge theory" in cities across the US to modify behaviors and create positive change—from increasing the diversity of police departments to getting delinquent taxpayers to willingly ante up Read more about Nudge Yields Big Results with Subtle Changes

Sizing up the Koch Brothers: Three experts explain their strategy and impact in American politics
February 13, 2016
Salon | Alex Hertel-Fernandez (Ph.D. candidate in Government & Social Policy) is interviewed by Sean McElwee of Demos, along with Brian Schaffner (UMass Amherst) and Heath Brown (City University of New York).

Reflections on the American Dream in Crisis
February 13, 2016
Harvard EdCast | Robert D. Putnam, the Peter and Isabel Malkin Professor of  Public Policy, reflects on what educators can do to help restore a measure of social mobility to U.S. society [audio: 13 minutes].

Why many black politicians backed the 1994 crime bill
February 12, 2016
Slate | Interview with Michael Javen Fortner (Ph.D. '10) of the City University of New York, who argues the need for a more complex understanding of the origins and unintended consequences of the 1994 crime bill.

The Rich Can Learn from the Poor About How to Be Frugal
February 12, 2016
The New York Times | By Sendhil Mullainathan, Robert C. Waggoner Professor of Economics.
 

Capital Hill Briefing on American Families: The State of the Working Class
February 12, 2016
C-SPAN [video] | Robert Putnam, the Peter and Isabel Malkin Professor of Public Policy, participated in a briefing on U.S. working class families with Andrew Cherlin (Johns Hopkins), Ron Haskins (Brookings Institution), Sara McLanahan (Princeton). Sponsored by the American Academy of Political and Social Science and the Annie E. Casey Foundation.
 

Why African Americans don't trust the courts, and why it matters
February 11, 2016
The Marshall Project | By Sara Sternberg Greene (Ph.D. '14) of Duke Law School: "My research suggests that the disparate treatment African Americans receive at the hands of the criminal justice system—or even the perception of disparity—may perpetuate inequality in ways that so far have been largely overlooked." How distrust of the criminal justice system spills over into the civil justice system...with often dire consequences for the poor. 

Big Data For Big Cities: The Civic Benefits Of Google Street View And Yelp
February 9, 2016
Forbes | Michael Luca, Assistant Professor at Harvard Business School, discusses new research—co-authored with Edward L. Glaeser, Scott Duke Kominers, and Nikhil Naik—that explores the promises and limitations of big data to improve the study and functioning of cities. View the research.

The stalled, struggling black middle class
February 10, 2016
Urban Institute | By Steven Brown, Ph.D. candidate in Sociology and an affiliated scholar and contributor to the Inequality and Mobility Initiative at the Urban Institute.

Michael Brown, Ferguson, and why race matters for policy research
February 9, 2016
Urban Institute | By Steven Brown, Ph.D. candidate in Sociology and an affiliated scholar and contributor to the Inequality and Mobility Initiative at the Urban Institute. "We cannot fully put an end to unequal opportunities until we better understand and address how race shapes those factors."

Sociology's Truth? W.E.B. Du Bois and the Origins of Sociology
February 9, 2016
Los Angeles Review of Books | By Monica Bell, Ph.D. candidate in Sociology & Social Policy. Reviewing Aldon Morris's The Scholar Denied: W.E.B. Du Bois and the Birth of Modern Sociology, Bell argues Morris evokes the challenges of black and activism-oriented scholars today.

Is Punishment the Only Response to Violence and Poverty?
February 10, 2016
Harvard Kennedy School PolicyCast [Audio: 25 min] | Conversation with Bruce Western, Director of the Malcolm Wiener Center and Chair of its Program in Criminal Justice Policy and Management. "We estimate that in recent birth cohorts for black men, if they dropped out of high school, the chances that they'll go to prison at some point in their lives is now about two-thirds."

How Highlighting the Best and Brightest Can Backfire
February 9, 2016
Pacific Standard | Research by Todd Rogers (Associate Professor of Public Policy, HKS) and Avi Feller (UC Berkeley Goldman School of Public Policy) finds that exposing students in a massive open online course to the best of their peers' work lowers their grades and increases dropout rates.

Immigrants Push Down Wages for Workers, But How Much?
February 9, 2016
Wall Street Journal | Differing assessments among economists, including George Borjas (Robert W. Scrivner Professor of Economics and Social Policy, HKS) and Lawrence Katz (Elisabeth Allison Professor of Economics).

Proof that Women Get Less Credit for Teamwork
February 9, 2016
Harvard Business Review | Delves into research by doctoral fellow Heather Sarsons (Ph.D. candidate in Economics), which explores whether bias arising from group work explains the gender promotion gap.

As New Hampshire Wrestles with Opioid Addiction, Candidates Have Few Answers
February 9, 2016
Newsweek | Quotes Brendan Saloner (Ph.D. '12) of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health on policy responses to better meet the need for treatment of opioid addition. Saloner co-authored a study published last year that found 80 percent of people with opioid abuse disorders between 2004 and 2013 were not receiving any treatment.

Schools of Choice: Expanding opportunity for urban minority students
February 8, 2016
Education Next | By Martin R. West (Ph.D. '06, now Harvard Graduate School of Education). This article is part of a new Education Next series commemorating the 50th anniversary of James S. Coleman's groundbreaking report, "Equality of Educational Opportunity."
 
What the Science Says About Long-Term Damage from Lead
February 8, 2016
The New York Times | Highlights research by Jessica Wolpaw Reyes (Ph.D. '01, now Professor of Economics, Amherst College) on the effects of  childhood lead exposure on educational test scores and on behavioral outcomes in later childhood and young adulthood. View the research at Reyes's homepage.

Christopher Muller (Ph.D. '14, now a Robert Wood Johnson Health & Society Scholar) will be presenting related research, co-authored by James Feigenbaum (Ph.D. candidate in Economics), "Lead Exposure and Violent Crime in the Early Twentieth Century," in the Inequality & Social Policy Seminar Series on Apr 18, 2016.

Money Interests are Blocking US Action on Climate Change
February 8, 2016
Aljazeera America | Opinion piece by Sean McElwee of Demos draws on data from recent work by Theda Skocpol (Victor S. Thomas Professor of Government & Sociology) and Alex Hertel-Fernandez (Ph.D. candidate in Government & Social Policy). 
 
Giving Voice
February 8, 2016
Harvard Kennedy School Magazine | Feature profile of Bruce Western, Professor of Sociology, the Daniel and Florence Guggenheim Professor of Criminal Justice, and Director of the Malcolm Wiener Center for Social Policy.

"The kind of work, or research, that we want to promote I think has a central role for the human voices and stories of the people who are experiencing criminal justice involvement, eviction and housing insecurity, and deep material deprivation,” Western says. “We thought this could come to define a style of work in the poverty field, and part of our hope for it is we could use work like this to engage a public conversation.”

Getting to Win-Win
February 8, 2016
Harvard Kennedy School Magazine | Jane Mansbridge on the vanishing art and science of political compromise. Mansbridge and Cathie Jo Martin (Boston University) are the editors of Political Negotiation, published by Brookings Institution Press in December 2015.  Doctoral fellow Chase Foster (Ph.D. candidate in Government), Mansbridge, and Martin co-authored chapter 4 in the book, "Negotiation Myopia."

"The stakes are now higher than ever, Mansbridge argues...'The idea is that when we design institutions we should be thinking consciously of how to design them to be partial cures for the mistakes our brains habitually make,' says Mansbridge. 'That’s how you get the rules of political engagement.'"

One-Party System
February 8, 2016
Harvard Kennedy School Magazine | Delves into Leah Wright Rigueur's new book, The Loneliness of the Black Republican, Princeton University Press. Rigueur is an Assistant Professor at the Harvard Kennedy School.
The Enduring Solidarity of Whiteness
February 8, 2016
The Atlantic | Ta-Nehisi Coates draws on research by faculty affiliate Robert J. Sampson (Henry Ford II Professor of the Social Sciences) and Patrick Sharkey (Ph.D. '07, now New York University) to argue that black poverty is fundamentally distinct from white poverty—and so (Coates argues) cannot be addressed without grappling with racism.

Mexico's Next Big Chance to Tackle Corruption
February 8, 2016
America's Quarterly | By Viridiana Rios.  Rios (Ph.D. '13), now a research fellow at the Wilson Center for International Scholars in Washington, D.C., writes that Mexico's citizen initiative, Ley 3de3, represents the first time in Mexico's history that civil society has come together to take legislative processes against corruption into their own hands. Mexico's civil society, she argues, is leading the fight against corruption not by choice, but by necessity.

In Iowa, Voting Science at Work
February 5, 2016
The New York Times | By Todd Rogers (Associate Professor of Public Policy) and Adan Acevedo (Research Fellow, Harvard Kennedy School).

From evidence-based programs to an evidence-based system: Opportunities under the Every Student Succeeds Act
February 5, 2016
The Brookings Institution | By Martin R. West, Ph.D. '06 and Associate Professor of Education, Harvard Graduate School of Education. ESSA is the first federal education law to define the term “evidence-based." Why its definition of what it means for an activity to be evidence-based makes it potentially so powerful.

The Big Problem with High Health Care Deductibles
February 5, 2016
The New York Times | Quotes Amitabh Chandra, Malcolm Wiener Professor of Social Policy, and explains the study that changed his mind about the value of high deductibles. 

The Race to November 8th
February 5, 2016
WGBH  Basic Black [video] | Leah Wright Rigueur, Assistant Professor, Harvard Kennedy School, joins the discussion to explore the significance of Black and Latino voters to the 2016 election.

 

Noteworthy


Thirty Under 30: The Bright Young Minds Working to Build a Better Future
March 1, 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. Pacific Standard will be publishing their profiles throughout the month of March. Look for Alex’s article to appear sometime around March 17. In the meantime, learn more about Alex's work at his website.

Nathan Hendren named a 2016 Sloan said Fellow
February 23, 2016
Nathaniel Hendren, Assistant Professor of Economics, is one of 126 early-career scientists and scholars selected for the prestigious Sloan Research Fellowship. Harvard colleague Melissa Dell, also an Assistant Professor of Economics, was likewise named a 2016 Fellow. The Sloan Research Fellowship recognizes the next generation of leaders in eight scientific fields.
Read press release.
 

Weekend reading


Economic Report of the President 2016
February 22, 2016
Council of Economic Advisers
Inequality (chapter 1) and early childhood disparities (chapter 4) are a central focus of this year's annual report, drawing extensively on research by Inequality & Social Policy faculty and alumni.

We particularly like p.182, which cites work by (then) doctoral fellow Sarah Cohodes et. al., "The Effect of Child Health Insurance Access on Schooling." Cohodes (Ph.D. '15) is now an Assistant Professor of Education and Public Policy at Teachers College, Columbia University.

Events of interest

Weatherhead Initiative on Gender Inequality

Thurs, March 10, 2016
4-6 pm

Frontier Questions in Comparative Gender Inequality Research

Mary C. Brinton, Reischauer Institute Professor of Sociology; Chair, Department of Sociology, Harvard University.

Jerry Jacobs, Professor of Sociology, University of Pennsylvania.

Alexandra Killewald, John L. Loeb Associate Professor of the Social Sciences, Harvard University.

Moderator
Claudia Goldin, Henry Lee Professor of Economics, Harvard University.

Chair
Michèle Lamont, Director, Weatherhead Center for International Affairs; Robert I. Goldman Professor of European Studies; Professor of Sociology and of African and African American Studies, Harvard University.

Center for American Political Studies

Friday, April 1
Harvard University

Political Analytics 2016
About: "Political Analytics is a one-day conference at Harvard University featuring top minds from media, politics, and academics. We are starting an exciting conversation about the growing role of data and analytics in determining the winners and losers in politics. Our goal is to promote new methods, technology, and discussions for the improved analysis of politics."
View the speakers

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.

Did we miss anything?


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inequality@harvard.edu

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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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