Category Archives: Mobility

The Hoarding of the American Dream

There’s a certain type of financial confessional that has had a way of going viral in the post-recession era. The University of Chicago law professor complaining his family was barely keeping their heads above water on $250,000 a year . This hypothetical family of three in San Francisco making $200,000, enjoying vacations to Maui, and living hand-to-mouth. This real New York couple making six figures and merely “ scraping by .”

In all of these viral posts, denizens of the upper-middle class were attempting to make the case for their middle class-ness. Taxes are expensive. Cities are expensive. Tuition is […]

California Game Changers: Making College Free Again

Illustration: Nicolás Zúñiga

Illustration: Nicolás Zúñiga For an increasing number of education and political leaders, bringing debt-free higher education back to California is long overdue.

When Bernie Sanders, and then Hillary Clinton, made debt-free higher education a byword of the 2016 presidential race, University of California graduates like retired Los Angeles anesthesiologist Steve Auer unexpectedly found themselves the poster children for a time when free college tuition was the norm in California, rather than the radical proposition it seems today.

“Education was nearly free,” the 75-year-old Auer recalls in a phone interview with Capital & Main . “Tuition, of course, was nominal, was […]

Pay-it-forward college financing policies examined in new study


IMAGE: Pay-it-forward financing programs could have differing effects on college access and voter support for tax subsidies, depending on how individual voters fare economically, suggests a paper co-written by University of… view more Credit: Photo by L. Brian Stauffer CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — Pay-it-forward college financing programs that enable students to pay tuition upon departure rather than entry may make college more accessible to greater numbers of students in the U.S., a new analysis suggests.

And despite some critics’ fears, PIF programs could increase – rather than erode – public funding for higher education, say the researchers, higher education finance expert […]

Highest Earning Oregonians Pull Away

State of Working Oregon Series

Income inequality in Oregon is at an all-time high, by one key measure. The difference between the average income of the richest 1 out of 1,000 Oregonians and the typical Oregonian has never been bigger. [2]

Confronting income inequality is perhaps the greatest challenge facing Oregon today. A growing body of research indicates that income inequality not only limits the ability of working families to get ahead, it also undermines economic growth. [3] Lawmakers must avoid exacerbating income inequality and enact policies that reduce inequality, to ensure all Oregonians have the opportunity to flourish. The […]

Chapter Eleven: Income Inequality and Poverty

Chapter Eleven: Income Inequality and Poverty

11.1 Income Inequality and Poverty (02:38)
This clip provides an introductory remark on the two topics of the chapter: income inequality and poverty.
Transcript This clip categorizes U.S. households by their income levels and suggests a wide dispersion of household income in the United States. Transcript 11.3 Measuring Income Distribution: Quantiles, Lorenz Curve & Gini Ratio (06:13) This clip explains how quantile statistics can be used to measure income distribution and how Lorenz Curve and Gini Ratio are related to the quantile measurement of income distribution. Transcript 11.4 […]

Violent Crime’s Toll on Economic Mobility

The sad fact is that American kids today may be the first generation who do not eclipse their parents’ economic status. In fact, Americans occupy two separate worlds when it comes to moving up the economic ladder. A small minority of us, anywhere from a fifth to a third who come from advantaged backgrounds, can expect economic mobility on par with any advanced nation. But, tragically, anywhere from two-thirds to 80 percent of Americans who are in less advantaged situations will see their economic prospects be as limited as those in the developing world. And it’s not just our […]

Applebee’s Deserves to Die

Millennials are murderers! Or so you’d think, if you believe the headlines. Which I do, for the most part — though in the case of Young People Today, most of the things that are dying seem to have been destined for the grave in the first place (paper napkins? ugh). But take chain restaurants, the social glue that binds the disparate parts of our gigantic, spectacularly broken country together. Can millennials’ incredibly trendy tastes really be responsible for the death of a global industry largely owned by private equity investment firms and vast, publicly traded companies? Sure, why not?

In […]

We know there’s a housing crisis – but why is it so much worse for black families?

Shineade Sey is about to move. After three years in a flat in south-east London, she is selling up and buying a house with her partner. Sey, who is half Jamaican and half Ghanaian, says she is lucky – when her former employer was bought out she got a payment that meant she was able to buy her first home. “Without that, I would probably still be saving now,” she says. While her white friends had already bought by the time she could afford to, she was among the first of her friends of black descent. “Their parents weren’t […]

Public universities increasingly out of reach for Illinois’ low-income students

Chicago Scholars celebration

Photo by Marc Monaghan

Hundreds of high school seniors gather to announce where they’ll be attending college at a Chicago Scholars celebration on May 3, 2016.

In 1991, I was admitted to Southern Illinois University at Carbondale.My mother worked as a telephone operator and didn’t have the money to pay the $3,000 in yearly tuition. But the cost wasn’t a barrier for me, because I was considered a low-income student and qualified for financial aid.After the grants and scholarships, I had to come up with just $186 – money I made by working summers as a van driver – and was […]

Inequality is getting so bad even Wall Street is starting to pay attention

Gordon Gekko

20th Century Fox It’s a sign of just how extreme US and global wealth inequality has become that even the folks on the winning side of the class war are starting to worry about it.

Citi Research has released a new in-depth report on inequality, its causes and potential solutions alongside Oxford University’s Martin School.

The report’s emphasis on "why inequality matters" is especially striking, because it reflects a widespread shift in American discourse about the issue following the Great Recession and financial crisis of 2007-2009.Before then, the issue of inequality was largely ignored by much of the economics profession, […]