One the costs of racism in American society

Racism has taken a toll on our society in many ways. One of its costs has been the lost economic mobility of generations of minorities.

I nearly lost mine.

Like so many, I watched the horridness that was on display in Charlottesville this past weekend, including the twisted, angry faces of racist marchers and the blows landed by neo-Nazis and white supremacists. Their punches personified their bigoted views.The rallies should remind us all of the long-term psychological impact of racism and why it is so hard to overcome. It was because of racist policies that my grandmother Big Mama was scared […]

New Data on Wealth Mobility and Their Impact on Models of Inequality

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Using data on families’ wealth over time, we calculate changes in relative wealth mobility; that is, how likely families are to move up or down the wealth distribution, relative to one another. We find families have become less likely to change their position in the wealth distribution over time, and those that do move are less likely to go very far. We also look at the savings behaviors that are associated with more mobile families and find that families that make large movements through the wealth distribution appear to be more likely to own some form of a risky […]

New Data on Wealth Mobility and Their Impact on Models of Inequality

featured hero image

Using data on families’ wealth over time, we calculate changes in relative wealth mobility; that is, how likely families are to move up or down the wealth distribution, relative to one another. We find families have become less likely to change their position in the wealth distribution over time, and those that do move are less likely to go very far. We also look at the savings behaviors that are associated with more mobile families and find that families that make large movements through the wealth distribution appear to be more likely to own some form of a risky […]

Children of the 1% are 77 times more likely to attend an Ivy League school than poor Americans

Harvard University graduation

Harvard University’s 362nd Commencement Exercises on May 30, 2013 in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Paul Marotta/Getty

Donald Trump is pushing ahead with his plan for cutting taxes on corporations and wealthy Americans .

But a new paper published by the National Bureau for Economic Research suggests America’s rich don’t particularly need the help.The research explores the relationship between parents’ incomes and their children’s access to education and economic outcomes in life. The findings are rather striking. "Access to colleges varies greatly by parent income,"writes Raj Chetty of Stanford University and four co-authors. "Children whose parents are in the top 1% of the […]

Rural Upbringing Increases Odds that Young People Will Marry


The map compares the "neighborhood effects" of counties on the marriage rates of poor children. The data is from the Equality of Opportunity Project, http://www.equality-of-opportunity.org/ An interactive version of the map is posted below. The same “neighborhood effects” that appear to increase the future earnings of poor, rural children also result in higher marriage rates.

Children who grow up in rural counties are more likely to be married by their mid- to late 20s than those who are reared in the middle of our largest cities.

In general, the longer a child spends growing up in a rural community, the […]

In defence of Britain’s political centre


Writing in the Times today, Hugo Rifkind charges that centrists do not want to smash up the existing order and start again. As someone who runs a centrist think tank, I can only say: guilty as charged, your honour. And if it please the court, I’d like a further crime to be taken into consideration: I like Britain. By that I mean I don’t recognise the bleak caricatures of this country offered by many people who define themselves as Right or Left.

The Right’s description of a country enfeebled by regulation and tax and divided by migration is a nonsense […]

In Latin America, Populism Is Alive and Well

Founder and leader of the Peronist party and president of Argentina Juan Domingo Peron speaks from the balcony of Government House, circa 1950.

Populism is frequently diagnosed as the root cause of Latin America’s greatest political and economic ills. But just as the human body reacts to an infection by entering a feverish state, many consider populism to be the public’s response to a society in disarray. By understanding the underlying conditions that enabled the rise of strongmen like Argentina’s Juan Domingo Peron or Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez, we can more easily spot the early signs of populism flaring in the region once again. Men of the People

In the centuries following its independence, Latin American history has been marked by economic cycles […]

BP in Court To Reclaim Settlement Overpayments

Deepwater Horizons Oil Rig Explosion. Photo: en.wikipedia.org

Deepwater Horizons Oil Rig Explosion. Photo: en.wikipedia.org The shameful actions of petroleum giant BP just continue.

After an explosion on their Deepwater Horizon oil rig, off the coast of Louisiana, killed 11 people and destroyed the businesses of millions of people BP is back in the courts; this time as the plaintiff.

Under the terms of their settlement BP agreed that proof of direct harm was not necessary to lodge an appeal for compensation. This meant that businesses adversely affected in a secondary way, as a consequence of those directly harmed from the oil spill, were also entitled to payouts. BP […]

California’s Upward-Mobility Machine


The University of California is struggling with budget woes that have deeply affected campus life. Yet the system’s nine colleges still lead the nation in providing top-flight college education to the masses.

At many other colleges, poor and truly middle-class students remain a distinct minority. Affluent students predominate at liberal-arts colleges like Oberlin and Bates, private universities like Cornell and Texas Christian and even many public universities, including Wisconsin, Penn State and Georgia Tech. The University of California, by contrast, enrolls a large number of high-performing students of all economic backgrounds.

That contrast is the most striking result of this year’s […]

Study highlights wealth gap in university access

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Young people from richer areas are more likely to get degrees, says the study Young people in some of the wealthiest areas of England are 18 times more likely to go to university than those in the poorest, suggests new analysis.

The charity Teach First compared official child poverty figures with university participation rates.

In parts of Derbyshire, only one in 20 young people progressed to university in 2015, compared with more than 80% in parts of Buckinghamshire, it says.Universities Minister Jo Johnson said the figures were improving."Recent UCAS data shows that young people from disadvantaged backgrounds are more likely to […]