N.C. must address rampant economic insecurity

Of the many messages emerging from the recent elections, one theme stands out: unrest stemming from economic insecurity.

Across the country, our citizens are feeling extremely uneasy about their current and future economic prospects. This is true across geographic regions and demographic background, but it is felt strongest within communities in the lowest socio-economic strata.

Addressing economic mobility is going to be one of the greatest challenges facing our state and nation. To address this issue directly, the John M. Belk Endowment recently commissioned a report from Durham-based non-profit MDC.According to the report, North Carolina has one of the country’s lowest […]

‘Educational inequality threatens the prosperity and wellbeing of our country’

International benchmarks show that the academic standards of 15-year-old students in the UK are average, at best, when compared with those of their peers overseas. This is despite the fact that the UK invests significantly more per head than others in education; that the peer group includes countries with very much higher poverty rates than the UK; and that this country has a sizeable cohort of world-class schools leading the pack.

This was the depressing conclusion of the Programme for International Student Assessment (Pisa) undertaken in 2012 by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, the rich countries’ club. When […]

Economic Mobility: Research & Ideas on Strengthening Families, Communities & the Economy


Janet Yellen, Chair, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System
The Importance of Economic Mobility (PDF)
Introduction Ray Boshara, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, and David Buchholz, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System Economic Mobility: An Overview (PDF) Section 1: Perspectives on Economic Mobility Raj Chetty, Stanford University Paper: Improving Opportunities for Economic Mobility: New Evidence and Policy Lessons (PDF) Scott Winship, Manhattan Institute Paper: The State of Economic Mobility and Why It Matters (PDF) Katherine S. Newman, University of Massachusetts Amherst Paper: The Subjective Meaning of Mobility […]

Continuing our push forward toward equality


If you’re an immigrant, the American dream still looks pretty good. (Getty Images) In America, race, inequalities and social mobility have been interwoven into the fabric of the country. Eight years ago, many Americans hopefully wondered whether the country had transcended race with the election of its first African- American, or more specific, a mixed-race man with an African father and Caucasian mother, president.

Even in the aftermath of the worst economic recession since the Great Depression, there was immense hope, as the election of Barack Obama signaled that substantial progress on racism, inequalities and barriers to upward social mobility […]

Seminar on Climbing the Ladder: Socio-economic Mobility in Malaysia

Climbing the Ladder: Socio-economic Mobility in Malaysia

Dr Francis Hutchinson, ISEAS Senior Fellow and Coordinator, Malaysia Studies Programme, introducing the two speakers (Source: ISEAS – Yusof Ishak Institute)
Tuesday, 1 November 2016 – The Khazanah Research Institute (KRI) recently completed the first nationally-representative study on inter-generational socio-economic mobility in Malaysia. KRI’s research director, Dr Muhammed Khalid, was at the ISEAS – Yusof Ishak Institute to present some of the key findings from the study. Dr Muhammed Khalid presenting some of his key findings in relation to upward mobility (Source: ISEAS – Yusof […]

Got Ideas for Spending the BP Oil Spill Settlement?


With BP, TransOcean and Anadarko settling claims from the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill earlier this year, you now have the opportunity to weigh in on how that money should be spent.

“Now we know the amounts of money that all of these three parties will be paying into the RESTORE Trust Fund: approximately $5.3-billion,” Chris Barnes with the Governor’s Office of Coastal Activities told the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority Wednesday that the first draft plan is available for public comment..“It’ll be at coastal.la.gov , under ‘What’s New’. And comments will be accepted through January 14th.”Beyond just […]

Deloitte Top 200: Is NZ having a Trump moment?

Graphic / NZ Herald

Issues of social mobility rather than inequality may be to blame for the current rise in anti-establishment politics As anti-establishment politics continues its seemingly unassailable rise, the concept of ‘inequality’ is often invoked to explain it.

While there is no doubt inequality has driven many to the polling booths in support of Donald Trump, Brexit, Pauline Hanson and others, arguably what is at stake is more an issue of social mobility.

People will tolerate inequality. Many accept it as a natural by-product of an economy that encourages entrepreneurship and growth. Indeed, Americans have voted in as their president a man who […]

Nordic model myths beloved by left and right

When it still mattered who would be the Democrat candidate for US president, Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton clashed over Denmark and whether the Nordic country was a good model for the US.

With Donald Trump as president-elect, it seems unlikely that liberal Scandinavia will trespass on the political debate in Washington for at least four years. But Denmark’s brief appearance in the campaign illustrates that Nordic countries have long been held up as the gold standard of how egalitarianism and social mobility need not be obstacles to productivity and wealth creation.

Culturally, socially and economically more similar to each other […]

The great settling down

In 1971, the great Carole King sang: ‘So far away/ Doesn’t anyone stay in one place anymore?’ Thirty years later, the editors of The New York Times explained that families in the United States are changing because of ‘the ever-growing mobility of Americans’. And in 2010, a psychologist argued that ‘an increased rate of residential mobility played a role in the historical shift’ toward individualism. It’s a common US lament that human bonds are fraying because people are moving around more and more. Americans fear the fracturing of communities that constant moving seems to bring.

Yet when King sang, Americans […]

Maryland’s Misguided Foray Into Student Loan Forgiveness

My home state of Maryland has launched a new scheme to encourage home buying and help young people pay back their student loans. What’s not to love? Actually, quite a bit.

Here are the nuts and bolts of the program, called “SmartBuy.” Maryland’s Department of Housing and Community Development has several homes for sale. If an individual with student loan debt buys one, Maryland taxpayers will refund up to 15% of the home’s purchase price, a sum which must be applied towards the buyer’s student debt. SmartBuy participants must then occupy the house for at least five years.

The median purchase […]