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 […]

The BP Oil Spill Settlement and Fund Approach Are Wrong For America!

Tampa, FL (September 16, 2013) – The BP Oil Spill Multidistrict Litigation (“MDL 2179”) officially started on August 10, 2010. The Transfer Order issued on that date by the United States Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (“JPML”) clearly states: “…. Centralization may also facilitate closer coordination with Kenneth Feinberg’s administration of the BP compensation fund.” From the very beginning, the purpose of MDL 2179 was to replace democratic adversarial litigation with a fund approach to compensating victims of the BP oil spill. The vast majority of BP oil spill victims would never have their day in court. Judicial economy, […]

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 […]

I’m a millionaire. I don’t need another tax break, Mr Trump


At a time of staggering inequality, I can’t believe that Congress and the Trump administration want to give me another tax break.

On Wednesday, the Republican party unveiled their tax reform plan , which included the elimination of the federal estate tax. But as one of a small segment of people in the top 1% with enough wealth to someday pay the estate tax, I believe a tax on inherited wealth is completely reasonable and fair.

I grew up in Alabama, one of the poorest states in the country, in a wealthy family. We benefited from financial deregulation during the Reagan […]

Socioeconomic mobility in the United States


Illustration from a 1916 advertisement for a vocational school in the back of a US magazine. Education has been seen as a key to socioeconomic mobility, and the advertisement appealed to Americans’ belief in the possibility of self-betterment as well as threatening the consequences of downward mobility in the great income inequality existing during the Industrial Revolution .

Socioeconomic mobility in the United States refers to the upward or downward movement of Americans from one social class or economic level to another, [1] through job changes, inheritance, marriage, connections, tax changes, innovation, illegal activities, hard work, lobbying, luck, health […]

It’s the German Economy Stupid! Economic Inequality not immigration explains the rise of the far right in Germany

Alice Weidel and Alexander Gauland, co-leaders of Alternative for Germany, celebrate

Alice Weidel and Alexander Gauland, co-leaders of Alternative for Germany, celebrate their victory The surprise showing of the far-right nationalist party, Alternativ fuer Deutschland (AfD) in Sunday’s German election has struck fear in the hearts of many analysts. Is Germany’s liberal democracy and society simply a thin veneer covering the monster of virulent nationalism that has long been crouching in the dark, waiting for its chance to attack? Are AfD voters really Nazis in disguise who have finally found a way to gain respectability by riding the wave of far right, populist, nationalist , and Trumpian alt-right sentiment which […]

Growth that reaches everyone: facts, factors, tools

Growth that reaches everyone: facts, factors, tools

Economic growth provides the basis for overcoming poverty and lifting living standards. But for growth to be sustained and inclusive, its benefits must reach all people.

While strong economic growth is necessary for economic development, it is not always sufficient.

Over the past few decades, growth has raised living standards and provided job opportunities, lifting millions out of extreme poverty. But, we have also seen a flip side. Inequality has risen in several advanced economies and remains stubbornly high in many that are still developing. This worries policymakers everywhere for good reason. Research at the IMF and elsewhere makes it clear […]

It’s a Law: Triumph Gulf Coast


09:00 pm Pinellas County Legislative Delegation Meeting (from Clearwater) 12:05 am Governor’s Meeting with Local Officials on Hurricane Irma Response and Recovery (from Marathon, earlier today) 01:00 am Press Availability with Governor Rick Scott (from Marathon, earlier today) 01:05 am Governor’s Meeting with Local Officials on Hurricane Irma Response and Recovery (from Marathon, earlier today) 01:55 am Press Availability with Governor Rick Scott (from Marathon, earlier today) 02:00 am Constitution Revision Commission Rules and Administration Committee 02:50 am Public Service Commission Hearing on Retiring St. Johns River Power Park (from earlier today) 03:10 am Florida Citrus Commission (from September […]

The century gap: Low economic mobility for black men, 150 years after the Civil War

Social-Mobility

The legacy of American racism is dominating the headlines again. One of the arguments used against the removal or relocation of Confederate symbols is that “it is simply part of our history”. This is not the case. The results of the enslavement, disenfranchisement and exclusion of black Americans remain visible and vivid in 21st century America.

Take the economic gap between black and white Americans, which is stark and stubborn. Black median household income was $36,898 in 2015, compared to $62,950 for whites . The gap has actually widened slightly since 2002 (from $23,500 to $26,000).

The black-white income gap obviously […]