Tag Archives: skills

This American Town Was Left to Die, and Suddenly Economists Care

Suppose a bunch of economists were to show up in the Virginia town of South Boston to preach the benefits of free trade. How would local people react?

In an old, red-brick tobacco warehouse near the Dan River, W.W. “Ted” Bennett Jr. ponders the question. The former state delegate looks over his shoulder, squints a bit, then says with southern understatement: “I think it would be pretty rough.”

After decades of hewing to free-market fundamentalism on everything from trade to deregulation, mainstream economists are waking up to the distributional consequences of the policies they’ve championed. In towns such as South Boston, […]

Trump is right: Americans need to move where the jobs are

In this Jan. 28, 2017, file photo, U.S. President Donald Trump speaks on the phone with Prime Minister of Australia Malcolm Turnbull in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon) President Trump said something last week that deserves a lot more attention. Americans “are going to have to start moving," Trump said in his interview with The Wall Street Journal (Politico leaked the full transcript of the exchange this week).

He’s right.

Americans aren’t packing up and moving like they used to. Mobility is at an all-time low , according to the Census Bureau, which has […]

Race gaps in SAT scores highlight inequality and hinder upward mobility


Taking the SAT is an American rite of passage. Along with the increasingly popular ACT, the SAT is critical in identifying student readiness for college and as an important gateway to higher education. Yet despite efforts to equalize academic opportunity, large racial gaps in SAT scores persist. The great score divide

The SAT provides a measure of academic inequality at the end of secondary schooling. Moreover, insofar as SAT scores predict student success in college, inequalities in the SAT score distribution reflect and reinforce racial inequalities across generations.

In this paper, we analyze racial differences in the math section […]

This Is the Wrong Way to Fight Inequality

So first, the good news: The notion that income inequality has caused harm in America has finally broken into the hubs of elite opinion. The sort of socio-political tastemaker who not so long ago denied the problem, has moved on to dissembling about it instead. That’s progress, of a sort. DREAM HOARDERS: HOW THE AMERICAN UPPER MIDDLE CLASS IS LEAVING EVERYONE ELSE IN THE DUST, WHY THAT IS A PROBLEM, AND WHAT TO DO ABOUT IT by Richard ReevesBrookings Institution Press, 240 pp., $24.00 Dream Hoarders, a book by Brookings senior fellow Richard Reeves, is the latest entry into […]

These Groups Help Young French Immigrants Gain Social Mobility

In France’s beleaguered suburbs, grassroots organizations are picking up the slack and working towards a more equitable society

Despite having the highest welfare spending in the EU, France’s meritocratic approach to social mobility has faltered. Children of blue collar workers have a 10 percent chance of landing white collar jobs, and according to an Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) report , it’s harder for young French immigrants to move up the social ladder than anyone else. While the state pays for education, healthcare and unemployment benefits, it has failed to foster equal economic opportunity to tackle its […]

Glass floors and slow growth: A recipe for deepening inequality and hampering social mobility

Editor’s Note:

This article originally appeared in The London School of Economics and Political Science blog British Politics and Policy on July 25, 2017.

Generations of British and American children have benefited from their parents’ hard work, which has contributed to many decades of strong economic growth. This has helped to ensure that, on average, children in their adult lives are economically better-off than their parents were at the same age. Authors But growth has now been weaker for many years. The absolute upward mobility taken for granted in the past, fueled by the creation of “more room at the […]

We Only Resent Inequality When It’s Rigged

In addition to his exemplary work as a Senior Fellow for the Cato Institute, Johan Norberg narrates some great videos for Free to Choose Media. Here are some that caught my eye. The foolish and counterproductive War on Drugs .punish the rich

A grim consequence of Cuban communism.

The real lesson to learn from Sweden. But my favorite video, which I shared back in January, is his concise explanation of why policy makers should focus on fighting poverty rather than reducing inequality. I’m posting it again to set the stage for a discussion on inequality and fairness. Now let’s […]

Restoring America’s Economic Mobility

Frank Buckley
Author, The Way Back: Restoring the Promise of America Frank Buckley is a Foundation Professor at Scalia Law School at George Mason University, where he has taught since 1989. Previously he was a visiting Olin Fellow at the University of Chicago Law School, and he has also taught at McGill Law School, the Sorbonne, and Sciences Po in Paris. He received his B.A. from McGill University and his LL.M. from Harvard University. He is a senior editor of The American Spectator and the author of several books, including The Once and Future King: The Rise of […]

Robots and AI are going to make social inequality even worse, says new report

Most economists agree that advances in robotics and AI over the next few decades are likely to lead to significant job losses. But what’s less often considered is how these changes could also impact social mobility. A new report from UK charity Sutton Trust explains the danger, noting that unless governments take action, the next wave of automation will dramatically increase inequality within societies, further entrenching the divide between rich and poor.

The are a number of reasons for this, say the report’s authors, including the ability of richer individuals to re-train for new jobs; the rising importance of “soft […]

Are Competencies More Important Than Credentials In The Modern Workplace?

competency-based training

As college enrolments decline, have skills become more valuable to employers than credentials?

“From almost any individual’s perspective,” wrote David Leonhardt for the New York Times in 2014, “college is a no-brainer. It’s the most reliable ticket to the middle class and beyond.”

Given the exorbitant expenses of third-level education in the US, Leonhardt’s statement is unpalatable for many, yet hardly controversial. For decades, students and parents have aspired towards gaining college degrees with the widely held conviction that to get a good job, the first thing you need is a good education.It’s a truism that holds up as well […]