Category Archives: Mobility

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, […]

Stable middle-class in SA may be smaller than thought, study shows

Falling short: More and more black Africans are joining SA’s middle class, of which they make up half, but they are still underrepresented in terms of the percentage of the overall population who are black. Race remains a strong predicter of chronic and transient poverty. Picture: ISTOCK

Falling short: More and more black Africans are joining SA’s middle class, of which they make up half, but they are still underrepresented in terms of the percentage of the overall population who are black. Race remains a strong predicter of chronic and transient poverty. Picture: ISTOCK Until recently, SA’s emerging black middle class was hailed as the sign of a new, deracialised postapartheid economy. But research shows the stable middle class may be much smaller than previously thought.

Statistics SA has found that 55% of South Africans are poor, unable to meet their most basic needs. This means only […]

The Difficult Art Of Being A Feminist In An Economics Classroom

economics

As an Economics major, I have gotten dangerously accustomed to hearing phrases like:

“Government intervention will hinder technological progress; the reallocation of resources from the more productive to the less productive impedes total productive activity.”

“We need to stop protecting people, we need to protect jobs instead” In themselves, the two statements above make for good arguments. If more resources are provided to the less productive, the economy will undergo a decline in productivity which means a decline in economic growth, which sounds bad, right?If workers keep agitating by demanding reasonable wages and the right to work with […]

New Study: Education Is Important, But It Is Not the Key to Economic and Social Mobility

Rachel M. Cohen writes in The Atlantic about a new study by Jesse Rothstein, showing that education is important but it is not the key to economic and social mobility.

She writes:

“A new working paper authored by the UC Berkeley economist Jesse Rothstein builds on that research, in part by zeroing in on one of those five factors: schools. The idea that school quality would be an important element for intergenerational mobility—essentially a child’s likelihood that they will one day outearn their parents—seems intuitive: Leaders regularly stress that the best way to rise up the income ladder is to go […]

Education Isn’t the Key to a Good Income

A man climbs a ladder.

One of the most commonly taught stories American schoolchildren learn is that of Ragged Dick, Horatio Alger’s 19th-century tale of a poor, ambitious teenaged boy in New York City who works hard and eventually secures himself a respectable, middle-class life. This “rags to riches” tale embodies one of America’s most sacred narratives: that no matter who you are, what your parents do, or where you grow up, with enough education and hard work, you too can rise the economic ladder.

A body of research has since emerged to challenge this national story, casting the United States not as a meritocracy […]

How Inequality Became the Big Issue Troubling the World’s Top Economists


After a riveting keynote speech from Neil McInroy at this year’s Global Street Paper Summit, it is clear that social inequality is becoming a greater focus for economists. In a recent feature for The Conversation, Steve Schifferes, professor of financial journalism at the University of London, takes a deeper look at why social issues are increasingly being viewed as an economic problem.

Every three years, all Nobel Prize winners in economics are invited to gather in the tranquil setting of the German island of Lindau to meet a selection of bright young economists and discuss the state of their […]

Steve Mnuchin just tried to bury a number that tells you who Trump’s tax plan is really for

steve mnuchin

Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin. AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite For some reason, Steve Mnuchin didn’t want you to know this.

On Thursday, the Treasury Department took a paper off its website that says "82% of the corporate income tax burden is distributed to capital income and 18% is distributed to labor income," the Wall Street Journal first reported .

In other words, American workers pay for a small chunk of corporate taxes — around 20%. The problem with this for Mnuchin is that he would prefer that you think that number is around 70%.You can see why this would suit President Donald […]

Judgment and Decision Making, Vol. 12, No. 5, September 2017, pp. 507–515

How should we measure Americans’ perceptions of socio-economic mobility?

Lawton K. Swan∗ John R. Chambers†Martin Heesacker∗ Sondre S. Nero‡

AbstractSeveral scholars have suggested that Americans’ (distorted) beliefs about the rate of upward social mobility in the United States may affect political judgment and decision-making outcomes. In this article, we consider the psychometric properties of two different questionnaire items that researchers have used to measure these subjective perceptions. Namely, we report the results of a new set of experiments (N = 2,167 U.S. MTurkers) in which we compared the question wording employed by Chambers, Swan and Heesacker (2015) with the question […]

Better education doesn’t correlate strongly to economic mobility (but union membership does)


America’s great stagnation includes a hardening of class divisions, with fewer and fewer poor and working class people raising children who rise to the middle class or even the one percent — a fact that strikes at the heart of the cherished American notion of rags-to-riches meritocracy where you rise to prominence on the basis of your contributions to society, not the accident of your birth.

The establishment consensus is that can be solved with improved access to high-quality education — something that is a good in and of itself, regardless of its effect on class mobility — but the […]

Better education doesn’t correlate strongly to economic mobility (but union membership does)

Better education doesn’t correlate strongly to economic mobility (but union membership does)

America’s great stagnation includes a hardening of class divisions, with fewer and fewer poor and working class people raising children who rise to the middle class or even the one percent — a fact that strikes at the heart of the cherished American notion of rags-to-riches meritocracy where you rise to prominence on the basis of your contributions to society, not the accident of your birth.

The establishment consensus is that can be solved with improved access to high-quality education — something that is a good in and of itself, regardless of its effect on class mobility — but the […]