Editorial: Minnesota above average, but economic inequality persists


This is the second installment in an editorial series called The Changing Face of Minnesota. This year, the ECM Publishers Editorial Board is examining demographic changes and disparities in Minnesota that center around race, wealth, age, region and employment. Years before “the 1 percent” was coined as an invective against deeply uneven U.S. wealth distribution, a Minnesota congressman was tilting his sword at the problem.

The late Martin Sabo, a Minneapolis Democrat, repeatedly introduced a bill called the Income Equity Act to limit corporate tax deductions on executive salaries. His ambition, always thwarted, was to use the tax code to […]

Economic Mobility, Residual Wealth and Policy Implications

economic mobility

This post is the second in a two-part series on intergenerational economic mobility. Today’s post discusses the likelihood of children moving up and down the economic ladder from their parents.

The income and wealth of parents seems to have an effect on the income and wealth of their children. But how likely are children to move to different rungs of the economic ladder than their parents? The second part of our series on intergenerational economic mobility tackles these transitions.

In an article in The Regional Economist , Research Officer and Economist George-Levi Gayle and former Technical Research Associate Andrés Hincapié […]

Work vs. economic mobility

For many policymakers, the top two challenges we face when it comes to employment, wealth, and opportunity are that too many people are out of work and that there’s too little economic mobility.

On the first, although unemployment rates are quite low, our labor force participation rates have plummeted in recent decades. My colleagues Nick Eberstadt and Robert Doar have been tracking this phenomenon, and they (and others) have been prolific on the subject. I commend Eberstadt’s Men Without Work and “ Getting Men Back to Work ” by Doar, Orrell, and Holzer. There are lots of ways to measure […]

Where the American Dream Lives and Dies


An intersection in Otero County, Colorado. Rags-to-riches stories , like Benjamin Franklin’s , have always captured the American imagination. They feed the narrative of the American Dream—that from humble beginnings, a scrappy, hardworking person can become prosperous, and afford opportunities his or her parents did not have. Through booms and recessions, people have bought into this myth .

The problem is: The American Dream lives and dies at the local level. Stanford* economist Raj Chetty has shown that conditions in our neighborhoods are really what shape our ability to escape poverty and determine if we will fare better than our […]

Triumph success overshadows losses in session


Local lawmakers declared victory in securing BP’s first $300 million payment to Triumph Gulf Coast during the 2017 legislative session. (Jim Little/jwlittle@pnj.com) Wochit (Photo: News Journal file photo) Results of the 2017 state legislative session were a mixed bag for local economic officials, but all agreed the biggest victory was the Legislature’s final passage earlier this month of a bill that would transfer $300 million in BP oil spill recovery funds to the Panhandle counties.

The legislation calls for allocating the money to a trust fund managed by Triumph Gulf Coast. The organization is a nonprofit in charge of disbursing […]

$45M settlement between BP, Louisiana parish over oil spill


NEW ORLEANS (AP) — A coastal Louisiana parish announced a $45 million settlement Tuesday with BP over damages from the 2010 Gulf of Mexico Oil spill.

Plaquemines Parish president Amos Cormier set a Wednesday news conference to discuss the settlement, how it was achieved and how the money will be used.

Plaquemines Parish juts out into the Gulf of Mexico from Louisiana’s southeastern tip. Oil from the spill after the Deepwater Horizon offshore rig explosion fouled sections of the parish’s marshy coastline.Its local government was one of the few that decided not to take part in a $20 billion settlement over […]

Fraying social fabric hurting nation’s economy, Sen. Mike Lee says


Scott G Winterton, Deseret News

File – Senator Mike Lee speaks at a Rally in Draper Utah, at the American Preparatory Academy Saturday, March 19, 2016. Many Americans — poor, middle class and wealthy — feel that something is amiss in society that can’t be reduced to economic anxiety but relates more to a sense that nation’s social fabric is fraying, Sen. Mike Lee said. SALT LAKE CITY — Many Americans — poor, middle class and wealthy — feel that something is amiss in society that can’t be reduced to economic anxiety but relates more to a sense that nation’s […]

Restoring America’s Economic Mobility

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LinkedIn Print E-mail Download Issue For parents in the top U.S. decile, 46 percent of their kids will end up in the top two deciles and only 2 percent in the bottom decile. The members of the top decile comprise a New Class of lawyers, academics, trust-fund babies, and media types—a group that wields undue influence in both political parties and dominates our culture. These are the people who said yes, there is an immigration crisis—but it’s caused by our failure to give illegals a pathway to citizenship!There’s a top ten […]

Why have thousands of smart, low-income NC students been excluded from advanced classes?


About this time every year, roughly 5,000 North Carolina 8-year-olds show they’re ready to shine. Despite the obstacles of poverty that hobble so many of their classmates, these third graders from low-income families take their first state exams and score at the top level in math.

With a proper push and support at school, these children could become scientists, engineers and innovators. They offer hope for lifting families out of poverty and making the state more competitive in a high-tech world.

But many of them aren’t getting that opportunity, an investigation by The News & Observer and The Charlotte Observer reveals. […]

Up from Slavery? Intergenerational Mobility in the Shadow of Jim Crow

Up from Slavery? Intergenerational Mobility in the Shadow of Jim Crow

William J. Collins and Marianne H. Wanamaker

Preliminary and incomplete draft: Please do not cite or circulate without the authors’ permission. Abstract: We have built new datasets of linked census records for the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries to document black-white differences in intergenerational economic mobility. Whether viewed from an occupational or income-based perspective, southern whites were much more likely than blacks, conditional on fathers’ status, to be upwardly mobile and less likely to be downwardly mobile. Children from poor white households often ascended into the American middle class, […]