Female domestic workers usually come from India’s least-developed regions, such as Jharkhand, West Bengal, and Assam. Their journeys are cross-country and transnational, as they seek work as servants in affluent homes.


In the decade after liberalisation, there was a nearly 120 percent rise in the number of domestic workers in India from 7.4 lakh in 1991 to 16.2 lakh workers by 2001, says author Tripti Lahiri, quoting census data in her recently released book, Maid In India . Women constitute over two-thirds of the workforce in this unorganised sector, which also includes chauffeurs and security guards, according to Lahiri’s analysis.

Female domestic workers usually come from India’s least-developed regions, such as Jharkhand, West Bengal, and Assam. Their journeys are cross-country and transnational, as they seek work as servants in affluent homes.

They […]

The Best and Worst Places to Grow Up: How Your Area Compares


Manhattan is very bad for income mobility for children in poor families. It is better than only about 7 percent of counties.

Location matters – enormously. If you’re poor and live in the New York area, it’s better to be in Putnam County than in Manhattan or the Bronx. Not only that, the younger you are when you move to Putnam, the better you will do on average. Children who move at earlier ages are less likely to become single parents, more likely to go to college and more likely to earn more.

Every year a poor child spends in […]

A tale of two Canadas: Where you grew up affects your income in adulthood


A big-data picture of Canada reveals that the place you grew up determines your financial future. An analysis of millions of Canadians’ income data shows a country of opportunity, with most children out-earning their parents – but also a country pocked with mobility traps, where moving up the income ladder is far from certain

In Canada, geography is destiny: Your financial future, to a surprisingly large degree, depends on the place in Canada where you happen to grow up.

That reality is revealed on this map and our accompanying set of interactive graphics, produced using a new analysis of millions […]

How the middle class hoards wealth and opportunity for itself


American society is dominated by an upper-class 20% that ruthlessly protects its own interests When I was growing up, my mother would sometimes threaten my brother and me with electrocution. Well, thats not quite right. In fact, security threats was of lessons in elocution, but we wittily, we guessed renamed them.

Growing up in a very ordinary township simply north of London and attending a very ordinary high school, one of our several linguistic atrocities was failing to pronounce the t in certain words. My mom, who was raised in rural north Wales and left school at 16, did not […]

How the middle class hoards wealth and opportunity for itself


When I was growing up, my mother would sometimes threaten my brother and me with electrocution. Well, that’s not quite right. In fact, the threat was of lessons in elocution, but we – wittily, we thought – renamed them.

Growing up in a very ordinary town just north of London and attending a very ordinary high school, one of our several linguistic atrocities was failing to pronounce the “t” in certain words. My mother, who was raised in rural north Wales and left school at 16, did not want us to find doors closed in a class-sensitive society simply because […]

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 […]

Intergenerational mobility and preferences for redistribution


Summary:
Americans are generally thought to view the economic system as fair and see wealth as a reward for ability and effort, while Europeans tend to believe that the economic system is unfair, and that wealth is the result of circumstances. This column tests this using new evidence on beliefs about intergenerational mobility in four European countries and the US, and confirms that Europeans do indeed tend to be overly pessimistic about moving up the social ladder compared to reality, while Americans are overly optimistic. These perceptions have important implications for how redistribution and equal opportunity policies will […]

Inequity, iniquity amid rising income inequality


Acute income and economic inequality, the negative phenomenon spawned by neoliberal economics, continues to widen worldwide. Wealth gets concentrated, in scandalous scale, in the hands of the few super-rich, depriving billions of the poor all over the world sufficient means to survive.

World Bank-International Monetary Fund designed policies/programs pursued by governments to achieve “sustainable and inclusive growth” have failed to stop, much less reverse the trend.

Meanwhile, the old problems of social inequity and iniquity continue to burden the people in practically every country – whether “developed,” “developing,” or “underdeveloped.”Let’s look at some instances on the continuing inequity and iniquity in […]

Thirteen Economic Facts about Social Mobility and the Role of Education


This Hamilton Project policy memo provides thirteen economic facts on the growth of income inequality and its relationship to social mobility in America; on the growing divide in educational opportunities and outcomes for high- and low-income students; and on the pivotal role education can play in increasing the ability of low-income Americans to move up the income ladder. Chapter 1: Inequality Is Rising against a Background of Low Social Mobility

Central to the American ethos is the notion that it is possible to start out poor and become more prosperous: that hard work—not simply the circumstances you were […]

Where the American Dream Lives and Dies


Rags-to-riches stories , like Benjamin Franklin’s , have always captured the American imagination. They feed the narrative of the American Dream—that from humble beginnings, a scrappy, hardworking person can become prosperous, and afford opportunities his or her parents did not have. Through booms and recessions, people have bought into this myth .

The problem is: The American Dream lives and dies at the local level. Stanford* economist Raj Chetty has shown that conditions in our neighborhoods are really what shape our ability to escape poverty and determine if we will fare better than our parents. A new analysis by the […]