Category Archives: Mobility

To Boost Income Mobility, Reform Our Bail System

To Boost Income Mobility, Reform Our Bail System

Last month, senators Rand Paul (R-KY) and Kamala Harris (D-CA) introduced the Pretrial Integrity and Safety Act to encourage states to reform their bail systems. Beyond shrinking our overly expanded incarcerated population, bail reform would boost the United States’ stagnating income mobility by reforming a system that traps the poor in poverty.

Upward mobility has stalled. According to Stanford Professor of Economics Raj Chetty, “social mobility is low and has been for at least thirty or forty years.” Of those born into the bottom income quintile, more than a third remain there as adults. However, progressives who blame the free […]

Trump’s Tragedy


When President Donald Trump was first elected, I naively wanted him to succeed. I strongly supported Secretary Hillary Clinton during her presidential race and was deeply upset when she lost. Nevertheless, I remained guardedly optimistic about Trump. Maybe he was misunderstood? As an American, I had difficulty believing that our country would support an individual of such irredeemable character. I wanted my president to prosper regardless of political party; perhaps change wasn’t so bad.

After all, Trump was an embodiment of change. He wasn’t linked to the political establishment that was seemingly hated more by many Americans with each passing […]

The Ben & Jerry’s of Medieval Times

A painting of a meeting in the year 1520 between King Henry VIII of England and King Francois I of France

A painting, done in the 19th century by Friedrich Bouterwek, of a 1520 meeting between King Henry VIII of England and King Francois I of France Profits and public-mindedness are often at odds. A business’s aim is to make money, and most of the time, concerns about social good are secondary at best, frequently touted for public-relations purposes.

One exception is benefit corporations, companies that explicitly set out to do right by their workers, society, and the environment. The nomenclature is relatively new—the first companies to be officially certified as “B Corps” received the title in 2007 , and many […]

Economic Inequality and the Future of Democracy: Tracking the Conversation

This is the second in a series of reflections from participants of the Economic Security Summit . Karen Kahn is a writer, editor, and communications strategist who spent nearly two decades as the communications director for the nonprofit Paraprofessional Healthcare Institute.

Last year, a researcher from Harvard, along with another from the University of Melbourne, published research that showed a growing decline in the support for democracy among young Americans. Only 30 percent of millennials believed that “it is essential to live in a democracy,” down from 75 percent of people born in the 1930s. That’s a pretty scary […]

Rich-Poor Divides in Contraception and Abortion Explain Large Gap in Unplanned Births, Brookings’s Reeves Finds

Low-income women are more than five times as likely than affluent women to experience an unintended pregnancy, which has significant implications for social mobility given that unplanned childbearing is associated with higher rates of poverty, less family stability, and worse outcomes for children, according to a new Brookings Center on Children and Families (CCF) paper published today.

In Sex, Contraception or Abortion: Explaining Class Gaps in Unintended Childbearing, CCF Research Director Richard Reeves and Senior Research Assistant Joanna Venator find that the rate of sexual activity among single women across all income groups was nearly identical, with approximately two- thirds […]

No, iPhones Aren’t Luxury Items. They’re Economic Necessities


Apple To make it in America, you have to hustle. Fast-food worker or CEO, Uber driver or student, you have to stay connected in an economy built on the assumption that anyone is always reachable anywhere. In 2017, that means you need a smartphone.

When Apple released the iPhone in 2007, the world understood it as a gadget, a novelty, a cool thing you plunked down a handful of cash for if you were lucky enough to have the money. Then you just needed to figure out what to do with it. At first the answer was: play games and […]

Startling figures of inequality in India offer an incomplete picture (Column: Active Voice)

Startling figures of inequality in India offer an incomplete picture (Column: Active Voice)

The data released by the Bloomberg Billionaire Index reveals some shocking statistics about the rise of inequality in India. It showed that the top 20 industrialists in India added a staggering $50 billion to their combined wealth in the first seven months this year, taking their total valuation to $200 billion — roughly 10 percent of India’s $2 trillion economy.

Similarly, an Oxfam report released this year revealed that 57 billionaires in India own as much as the bottom 70 percent of the population and, more broadly, the richest one percent holds 58 percent of […]

Even More Evidence the US Is a Kleptocracy, Not a Meritocracy


Inequality is much worse than we’re led to believe by a dismissive business media. The numbers are hellish, and they’re growing.

1. The Extreme Wealth Gap is Still Expanding

The U.S. has gained $30 trillion in wealth since 2008, about half of it in the stock market , much of the remainder in real estate holdings. Based on prior analyses , data from Credit Suisse and Forbes , and recent work by Thomas Piketty, Emmanuel Saez, and Gabriel Zucman, it’s a rather simple process to estimate the distribution of our nation’s wealth over that time period. The following are […]

This American Town Was Left to Die, and Suddenly Economists Care


Suppose a bunch of economists were to show up in the Virginia town of South Boston to preach the benefits of free trade. How would local people react?

In an old, red-brick tobacco warehouse near the Dan River, W.W. “Ted” Bennett Jr. ponders the question. The former state delegate looks over his shoulder, squints a bit, then says with southern understatement: “I think it would be pretty rough.”

After decades of hewing to free-market fundamentalism on everything from trade to deregulation, mainstream economists are waking up to the distributional consequences of the policies they’ve championed. In towns such as South Boston, […]

Megatrend: The shift to emerging markets


Short on time? Here are the highlights: The world is in the midst of a global power and population shift from developed to emerging economies

Led by China and India, the world’s largest emerging economies will, in combination, be significantly larger than the combined G7 economies by the middle of this century

This shift is already beginning to have a profound effect on patterns of international student mobility Economic and population growth are shaking up the global power structure – away from the G7 countries and towards Asia, Africa, and Latin America.According to PwC projections , […]