Tag Archives: education

How the Government and Special Interests Thwart Economic Mobility

Everyone values economic mobility. In fact, the decline of mobility is one of the biggest complaints made by people who prefer government intervention in free markets. What some are starting to learn, however, is that government intervention is the chief obstacle to mobility. Lower-income people would benefit immeasurably from the scrapping of those interventions.

David Schleicher, an associate professor at Yale Law School, writes :

Over the last 40 years, we have gotten increasingly worse at allowing and encouraging people to move to the places where they will do their best economically. Economists from the Federal Reserve and elsewhere have concluded […]

More Black Men Need to Earn College Degrees

More Black Men Need to Earn College Degrees

(Image: iStock/Steve Debenport) I’ve been interviewing presidents of black medical schools lately. I recently interviewed the president of Meharry Medical College in Nashville, Tennessee, and wrote a post based on that interview that you can read here . I’m also excited to be writing up an article based on an interview I had with the president of Morehouse School of Medicine.

Both institutions are addressing the issue of enrolling more black men in med school.

But what about black women? As it turns out, black women are earning more college degrees (as are women in general). But because fewer black men […]

Barriers to Mobility: Understanding the Relationship between Growth in Occupational Licensing and Economic Mobility

By Brian Meehan, Edward Timmons, and Andrew Meehan

Is the American Dream still alive? Researchers at the Equality of Opportunity Project produced a new data set tracking economic mobility and note that the percentage of children earning more than their parents has fallen from more than 90% for children born in the 1940s to 50% for children born in the 1980s. [i] A recent report from the Archbridge Institute, however, notes that the picture may not be so bleak. [ii] Poverty rates in the United States today are much lower than they were in the 1950s. [iii] Too often, though, […]

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 […]

Job Flexibility Helps Poor People Move to the Middle Class

It’s been well documented that one of the best predictors of a person’s economic status is the economic standing of their parents. While that’s good news for those whose parents are well-off, it’s really bad news for economic mobility. A new study from the St. Louis Fed attempts to discern precisely what factors contribute to this phenomenon, and how those factors might be manipulated to increase economic mobility in America.

The paper’s authors, George-Levi Gayle and Limor Golan of Washington University in St. Louis; and Mehmet A. Soytas of Ozyegin University, looked at several characteristics to figure out the factors […]

Nation’s top 1 percent now have greater wealth than the bottom 90 percent

The wealth gap is growing faster than the income gap — and now, if all U.S. wealth is thought of as 100 slices of pie, the wealthiest one fifth of households would have 90.

The wealthiest 1 percent of American households own 40 percent of the country’s wealth, according to a new paper by economist Edward N. Woolf. That share is higher than it has been at any point since at least 1962, according to Woolf’s data, which comes from the federal Survey of Consumer Finances.

From 2013, the share of wealth owned by the 1 percent shot up by nearly […]

Black women are earning more college degrees, but that alone won’t close race gaps


There are wide, stubborn economic gaps between black and white households in the U.S. Why? Many factors are at work, of course, including lower rates of upward mobility , discrimination in the labor market , big differences in rates of incarceration , disparities in access to quality education , historic exclusion from home ownership , and so on.

College education is often seen as a powerful tool to close race gaps. But it is at best only a partial answer, for four reasons:

> the gap in college achievement is as wide as ever black Americans with a BA are […]

Asia’s New Politics of Outrage

Stunning mini-revolutions have erupted in recent months in two of the world’s largest Muslim countries. The first shock came in Indonesia, where a little-known group of activists led a mass protest against the Christian governor of Jakarta. Accused of disrespecting the Prophet, the governor, a close ally of the country’s president Joko Widodo, is now in prison . In Pakistan in late November, another pop-up political outfit besieged the capital city Islamabad, forcing the government to concede to all their demands, which included the harsh implementation of blasphemy laws.

Neither country suffers from a scarcity of laws aimed at detractors […]

Richest one percent now owns two-fifths of America’s wealth, new study claims

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and his wife, Louise Linton, were widely ridiculed last month for posing with a sheet of dollar bills at the US Mint The wealthiest one percent of American households own 40 percent of the country’s wealth , according to a new paper by economist Edward N. Woolf. That share is higher than it has been at any point since at least 1962, according to Woolf’s data, which comes from the federal Survey of Consumer Finances.

From 2013, the share of wealth owned by the one percent shot up by nearly three percentage points. Wealth owned by […]

To save the American dream in Texas, focus on providing opportunity

Economy Photo by Shelby Knowles

The American Dream isn’t dead, but in Texas, it needs a dose of medicine. That’s not a political statement, just an objective reading of the data. The data tell us we have work to do if we hope to meet the goals set to help the state continue to thrive economically.

Sure, many parts of the state — mainly the metropolitan areas and, especially, some of the suburbs — continue to thrive. Even Houston is doing fine, despite a prolonged slump in oil prices that dramatically slashed energy payrolls. The Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas recently […]