Facebook is sharing Americans’ data with researchers to study income inequality


Facebook is now sharing the data of American users with a team of researchers led by Stanford economist Raj Chetty, who are aiming to find out more about economic inequality in the United States. According to estimates, about three-fifths of American adults use Facebook, so the researchers hope they can better explain how one percent of the population holds 40 percent of the country’s wealth.

While the study certainly seems like a better use of user data than targeting ads, privacy concerns are still raised. According to a source close to Chetty’s study, the data that is used has been […]

Facebook is sharing Americans’ data with researchers to study income inequality


Facebook is now sharing the data of American users with a team of researchers led by Stanford economist Raj Chetty, who are aiming to find out more about economic inequality in the United States. According to estimates, about three-fifths of American adults use Facebook, so the researchers hope they can better explain how one percent of the population holds 40 percent of the country’s wealth.

While the study certainly seems like a better use of user data than targeting ads, privacy concerns are still raised. According to a source close to Chetty’s study, the data that is used has been […]

Moving Americans Out of Poverty Will Take More Than Money


As they worked on assembling a new report on American poverty, a consortium of researchers fanned out across the U.S. to talk to people living in pockets of concentrated need—from rural Maine and the Lummi Nation of the Pacific Northwest to major cities like Chicago, Baltimore, Atlanta, and Detroit. One of these site visits took the team to a neighborhood in San Jose, California, where Mexican immigrants struggle with tech-boom-fueled housing costs: Think $600 a month for a couch to sleep on, or $1,000 for a rented garage in the shadow of the riches of Silicon Valley.

The researchers asked […]

To Equitably Connect Housing and Economic Mobility for Black Americans, Tackle Structural Racism


Most Americans’ greatest asset is their home. According to the Economic Policy Institute, housing equity makes up two-thirds of wealth for typical American households , and most wealth for black families is held in their primary residence . But because of segregation and structural racism, owning a home has not provided the same value and pathway for wealth creation for black Americans as it has for white Americans. Barriers to buying a home contribute to a wide homeownership gap between black and white households. According to recent research , 42.2 percent of black households owned homes in 2015 compared […]

Is the World Actually Getting … Better?


On this week’s episode of my podcast, I Have to Ask , I spoke to Steven Pinker, a professor of psychology at Harvard and author of the new book Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress . It follows up on his controversial best-seller The Better Angles of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined , which offered a sweeping account of why Pinker believes the present is better than the past.

Below is an edited transcript of the show. In it, we discuss why people have so much trouble with the notion of progress, whether global warming […]

Study Offers Framework for Improving Economic Mobility

Study Offers Framework for Improving Economic Mobility

Improving economic mobility for millions of Americans will require changing the narrative, creating access to good jobs, ensuring that ZIP codes are not destiny, and transforming the use of data, a report from the US Partnership on Mobility from Poverty argues.

Launched in 2016 with funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and staffed and supported by the Urban Institute , the partnership was tasked with answering the question: "What would it take to dramatically increase mobility from poverty?" The report, Restoring the American Dream: What Would It Take to Dramatically Increase Mobility From Poverty? (22 pages, PDF), found […]

Sacrifice zones in rural and non-metro USA: fertile soil for authoritarian populism

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Sacrifice zones – abandoned, economically shattered places – are spreading in historically white rural areas and small towns across the United States. Rural decline fosters regressive authoritarian politics. Mississippi in 2010. Photograph taken by the author. All rights reserved. This is the fourth article in a series on ‘confronting authoritarian populism and the rural world’, linked to the Emancipatory Rural Politics Initiative ( ERPI ). The article opening the series can be read here .

‘The United States is coming to resemble two separate countries, one rural and one urban,’ political analyst David Graham proclaimed in a 2017 article […]

If we want to end inequality, we need to raise taxes on the assets of the wealthy


Many buy-to-let landlords have benefitted from a rise in the amount they are able to charge in rent without a corresponding increase in their costs If you want a stark reminder of inequality in the UK, I have a new statistic for you: the wealthiest 10 per cent of the country owns 44 per cent of the nation’s wealth, whilst the least wealthy half owns just 9 per cent.

This means that wealth is twice as unevenly distributed than income, with many people at the very bottom having negative wealth, as the value of their debts exceeds that of their […]

Americans Are Pretty Skeptical That Hard Work Will Pay Off


Hard work is often touted as the key American virtue that leads to success and opportunity. And there’s lots of evidence to suggest that workers buy into the belief: For example, a recent study found that Americans work 25 percent more hours than Europeans, and that U.S. workers tend to take fewer vacation days and retire later in life. But for many, simply working hard doesn’t actually lead to a better life.

In the past, economists have acknowledged that citing hard work as the path to prosperity is overly simplistic and optimistic . Ultimately, whether hard work alone can lift […]

Restoring America’s Economic Mobility

Frank Buckley
Author, The Way Back: Restoring the Promise of America Frank Buckley is a Foundation Professor at Scalia Law School at George Mason University, where he has taught since 1989. Previously he was a visiting Olin Fellow at the University of Chicago Law School, and he has also taught at McGill Law School, the Sorbonne, and Sciences Po in Paris. He received his B.A. from McGill University and his LL.M. from Harvard University. He is a senior editor of The American Spectator and the author of several books, including The Once and Future King: The Rise of […]