Tag Archives: upper class

WANG: What we can’t afford


Although Yale’s campus now is familiar to me, moving in still is disorienting. Surrounded by well-kept lawns and high-ceilinged dining halls, Longchamp bags and Apple laptops, I’m constantly reminded of the separation between this economic privilege and the home I’ve left behind. For many low-income students like me, returning to Yale presents the difficult navigation of class cues and wealth barriers.

Part of this is the institution. Yale professors often assume that students can afford expensive materials or small extras — it’s almost a cliché at this point, but $10 for you is not the same for me. The student […]

The subtle ways colleges discriminate against poor students

A few years ago, hundreds of college administrators received a survey in the mail. It was designed to figure out what they believed it takes to succeed in college.

The survey listed 12 skills that colleges generally expect students to develop, but the administrators were asked to pick the five most important.

You can do the same exercise below:What the researchers didn’t tell the administrators is that half of these expectations represented independent norms, and the other half represented interdependent norms.And these administrators had a clear bias. (See how your biases compare by filling out the quiz above.)They had a bias […]

The fading American dream: Trends in absolute income mobility since 1940

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Abstract

We estimated rates of “absolute income mobility”—the fraction of children who earn more than their parents—by combining data from U.S. Census and Current Population Survey cross sections with panel data from de-identified tax records. We found that rates of absolute mobility have fallen from approximately 90% for children born in 1940 to 50% for children born in the 1980s. Increasing GDP growth rates alone cannot restore absolute mobility to the rates experienced by children born in the 1940s. However, distributing current GDP growth more equally across income groups as in the 1940 birth cohort would reverse more than […]

Escaping Poverty Requires Almost 20 Years With Nearly Nothing Going Wrong

A man cleans up confetti while surrounded by tourists in Times Square in New York.

A lot of factors have contributed to American inequality: slavery, economic policy, technological change, the power of lobbying, globalization, and so on. In their wake, what’s left?

That’s the question at the heart of a new book, The Vanishing Middle Class: Prejudice and Power in a Dual Economy , by Peter Temin, an economist from MIT. Temin argues that, following decades of growing inequality, America is now left with what is more or less a two-class system: One small, predominantly white upper class that wields a disproportionate share of money, power, and political influence and a much larger, minority-heavy (but […]

Well-off “helicopter” parents are super annoying, but they didn’t create economic inequality


A new analysis takes the focus off the top 1 percent and ignores deeper structural problems. It’s fun to pick on the professional class. Obsessed with their credentials and careers, helicopter-parenting their children until they’re admitted into the “best” colleges, professionals make easy targets. Even the professional class likes to eye-roll at its own pretensions.

But does the professional class constitute a distinct economic and political problem?

Richard Reeves, the co-director of the Center on Children and Families at the Brookings Institution, gives a strong affirmative answer in his new book Dream Hoarders . Indeed, he argues professionals are the central […]

The Key Barriers Promoting Inequality


As long as people have different interests and abilities, in a free society, there will be some income inequality. But government-imposed barriers can make it more pronounced by placing unnecessary obstacles in front of people trying to get ahead.

Economists across the spectrum are concerned about this problem. And there is some agreement about how to help fix it.

In his book “Coming Apart,” Charles Murray of the American Enterprise Institute shows an increasing divergence between how the middle and upper classes live. In 1960, regardless of a woman’s income level, many fewer children were born out of wedlock, attendance at […]

We’ll Need Something Other Than Big Government to Stop the ‘Hoarding’ of Economic Opportunity


Richard Reeves’s new book offers a trenchant diagnosis of the economic disparities that separate upper-middle class Americans from those in the working class. But his proposed remedies leave much to be desired.

‘First class,” Renée Zellweger sighs in Jerry Maguire . “It used to be a better meal. Now, it’s a better life.”

Richard V. Reeves of the Brookings Institution worries that tickets to first-class living are becoming impossible to acquire for those born into the working class. Reeves’s latest book, Dream Hoarders: How the American Upper Middle Class Is Leaving Everyone Else in the Dust, Why That Is […]

Escaping Poverty Requires Almost 20 Years With Nearly Nothing Going Wrong

A man cleans up confetti while surrounded by tourists in Times Square in New York.

A lot of factors have contributed to American inequality: slavery, economic policy, technological change, the power of lobbying, globalization, and so on. In their wake, what’s left?

That’s the question at the heart of a new book, The Vanishing Middle Class: Prejudice and Power in a Dual Economy , by Peter Temin, an economist from MIT. Temin argues that, following decades of growing inequality, America is now left with what is more or less a two-class system: One small, predominantly white upper class that wields a disproportionate share of money, power, and political influence and a much larger, minority-heavy (but […]

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 […]

Escaping Poverty Requires Almost 20 Years With Nearly Nothing Going Wrong

A man cleans up confetti while surrounded by tourists in Times Square in New York.

A lot of factors have contributed to American inequality: slavery, economic policy, technological change, the power of lobbying, globalization, and so on. In their wake, what’s left?

That’s the question at the heart of a new book, The Vanishing Middle Class: Prejudice and Power in a Dual Economy , by Peter Temin, an economist from MIT. Temin argues that, following decades of growing inequality, America is now left with what is more or less a two-class system: One small, predominantly white upper class that wields a disproportionate share of money, power, and political influence and a much larger, minority-heavy (but […]