Allocation of Income within the Household develops an important new economic model of income distribution within the family, one that attempts to determine which family characteristics affect spending patterns. Professors Lazear and Michael base their work on an analysis of the 1972-73 Consumer Expenditure Survey and test their conclusions against the 1960-61 survey to verify the persistence of the effects discovered. They find, for example, that the average household spends $38 per child for every $100 spent per adult and that the level of relative and absolute expenditure on the child rises with the level of education of the head of the household.
Lazear and Michael also explore the implications their study may hold for the process of determining child support payments in households that dissolve. They argue that, unless the spending of every dollar can be monitored, alimony cannot be disentangled from child support. They also develop several criteria by which income might be distributed among family members, and, using one of those criteria, they present a series of tables that suggest the appropriate payment from one parent to another given family size, structure, and income level. Their model is particularly useful because it takes account of the ways other family members who were not part of the original household may contribute income to the new household. Other issues considered include the appropriate way to deal with children with special needs and the timing of transfer payments.
Sheldon Danziger Harvard University Press, 1995 Library of Congress HC110.I5D329 1995 | Dewey Decimal 339.220973
America's Inequality Trap
Nathan J. Kelly University of Chicago Press, 2020 Library of Congress HC110.I5K45 2019 | Dewey Decimal 339.220973
The gap between the rich and the poor has grown dramatically in the United States and is now at its widest since at least the early 1900s. While by most measures the economy has been improving, soaring cost of living and stagnant wages have done little to assuage economic anxieties. Conditions like these seem designed to produce a generation-defining intervention to balance the economic scales and enhance opportunities for those at the middle and bottom of the country’s economic ladder—but we have seen nothing of the sort.
Nathan J. Kelly argues that a key reason for this is that rising concentrations of wealth create a politics that makes reducing economic inequality more difficult. Kelly convincingly shows that, when a small fraction of the people control most of the economic resources, they also hold a disproportionate amount of political power, hurtling us toward a self-perpetuating plutocracy, or an “inequality trap.” Among other things, the rich support a broad political campaign that convinces voters that policies to reduce inequality are unwise and not in the average voter’s interest, regardless of the real economic impact. They also take advantage of interest groups they generously support to influence Congress and the president, as well as state governments, in ways that stop or slow down reform. One of the key implications of this book is that social policies designed to combat inequality should work hand-in-hand with political reforms that enhance democratic governance and efforts to fight racism, and a coordinated effort on all of these fronts will be needed to reverse the decades-long trend.
Nicknamed both “Mobtown” and “Charm City” and located on the border of the North and South, Baltimore is a city of contradictions. From media depictions in The Wire to the real-life trial of police officers for the murder of Freddie Gray, Baltimore has become a quintessential example of a struggling American city. Yet the truth about Baltimore is far more complicated—and more fascinating.
To help untangle these apparent paradoxes, the editors of Baltimore Revisited have assembled a collection of over thirty experts from inside and outside academia. Together, they reveal that Baltimore has been ground zero for a slew of neoliberal policies, a place where inequality has increased as corporate interests have eagerly privatized public goods and services to maximize profits. But they also uncover how community members resist and reveal a long tradition of Baltimoreans who have fought for social justice.
The essays in this collection take readers on a tour through the city’s diverse neighborhoods, from the Lumbee Indian community in East Baltimore to the crusade for environmental justice in South Baltimore. Baltimore Revisited examines the city’s past, reflects upon the city’s present, and envisions the city’s future.
There’s little doubt that most humans today are better off than their forebears. Stunningly so, the economist and historian Deirdre McCloskey argues in the concluding volume of her trilogy celebrating the oft-derided virtues of the bourgeoisie. The poorest of humanity, McCloskey shows, will soon be joining the comparative riches of Japan and Sweden and Botswana.
Why? Most economists—from Adam Smith and Karl Marx to Thomas Piketty—say the Great Enrichment since 1800 came from accumulated capital. McCloskey disagrees, fiercely. “Our riches,” she argues, “were made not by piling brick on brick, bank balance on bank balance, but by piling idea on idea.” Capital was necessary, but so was the presence of oxygen. It was ideas, not matter, that drove “trade-tested betterment.” Nor were institutions the drivers. The World Bank orthodoxy of “add institutions and stir” doesn’t work, and didn’t. McCloskey builds a powerful case for the initiating role of ideas—ideas for electric motors and free elections, of course, but more deeply the bizarre and liberal ideas of equal liberty and dignity for ordinary folk. Liberalism arose from theological and political revolutions in northwest Europe, yielding a unique respect for betterment and its practitioners, and upending ancient hierarchies. Commoners were encouraged to have a go, and the bourgeoisie took up the Bourgeois Deal, and we were all enriched.
Few economists or historians write like McCloskey—her ability to invest the facts of economic history with the urgency of a novel, or of a leading case at law, is unmatched. She summarizes modern economics and modern economic history with verve and lucidity, yet sees through to the really big scientific conclusion. Not matter, but ideas. Big books don’t come any more ambitious, or captivating, than Bourgeois Equality.
The main driver of inequality--returns on capital that exceed the rate of economic growth--is again threatening to generate extreme discontent and undermine democratic values. Thomas Piketty's findings in this ambitious, original, rigorous work will transform debate and set the agenda for the next generation of thought about wealth and inequality.
How do the one percent keep getting richer despite financial crises and the myriad of taxes on income, capital gains, and inheritance? Brooke Harrington interviewed professionals who specialize in protecting the fortunes of the world’s richest people: wealth managers. To gain access to their tactics and mentality, she trained to become one of them.
Despite the economic boom of the 1990s, the gap between the wealthy and the poor in the United States is growing larger. While ample evidence exists to validate perceived trends in wage, income, and overall wealth disparity, there is little agreement on the causes of such inequality and what might be done to alleviate it.
This volume draws together a panel of distinguished scholars who address these issues in terms comprehensible to noneconomists. Their findings are surprising, suggesting that factors such as trade imbalances, immigration rates, and differences in educational resources do not account for recent increases in the inequality of wealth and earnings. Rather, the contributors maintain that these discrepancies can be attributed to workplace demand for high-skilled labor. They also insist that further research must examine the organization of industry in order to better understand the concurrent devaluation of manual labor.
Addressing a topic that is of considerable public interest, this collection helps move the issue of increasing economic inequality in America to the center of the public policy arena.
Contributors: Donald R. Deere, Claudia Goldin, Lawrence F. Katz, James P. Smith, Franco Peracchi, Gary Solon, Eric A. Hanushek, Julie A. Somers, Marvin H. Kosters, William Cline, Finis Welch, Angus Deaton, Charles Murray, Kevin Murphy
People passionately disagree about the nature of the globalization process. The failure of both the 1999 and 2003 World Trade Organization's (WTO) ministerial conferences in Seattle and Cancun, respectively, have highlighted the tensions among official, international organizations like the WTO, the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the World Bank, nongovernmental and private sector organizations, and some developing country governments. These tensions are commonly attributed to longstanding disagreements over such issues as labor rights, environmental standards, and tariff-cutting rules. In addition, developing countries are increasingly resentful of the burdens of adjustment placed on them that they argue are not matched by commensurate commitments from developed countries.
Challenges to Globalization evaluates the arguments of pro-globalists and anti-globalists regarding issues such as globalization's relationship to democracy, its impact on the environment and on labor markets including the brain drain, sweat shop labor, wage levels, and changes in production processes, and the associated expansion of trade and its effects on prices. Baldwin, Winters, and the contributors to this volume look at multinational firms, foreign investment, and mergers and acquisitions and present surprising findings that often run counter to the claim that multinational firms primarily seek countries with low wage labor. The book closes with papers on financial opening and on the relationship between international economic policies and national economic growth rates.
Recent battles in Washington over how to fix America’s fiscal failures strengthened the widespread impression that economic issues sharply divide average citizens. Indeed, many commentators split Americans into two opposing groups: uncompromising supporters of unfettered free markets and advocates for government solutions to economic problems. But such dichotomies, Benjamin Page and Lawrence Jacobs contend, ring false. In Class War? they present compelling evidence that most Americans favor free enterprise and practical government programs to distribute wealth more equitably.
At every income level and in both major political parties, majorities embrace conservative egalitarianism—a philosophy that prizes individualism and self-reliance as well as public intervention to help Americans pursue these ideals on a level playing field. Drawing on hundreds of opinion studies spanning more than seventy years, including a new comprehensive survey, Page and Jacobs reveal that this worldview translates to broad support for policies aimed at narrowing the gap between rich and poor and creating genuine opportunity for all. They find, for example, that across economic, geographical, and ideological lines, most Americans support higher minimum wages, improved public education, wider access to universal health insurance coverage, and the use of tax dollars to fund these programs.
In this surprising and heartening assessment, Page and Jacobs provide our new administration with a popular mandate to combat the economic inequity that plagues our nation.
The boom of the U.S. economy in the late 1990s suggests that Americans are better off than they were a decade ago, but this is not true across the board and the reason, as James Galbraith explains, is wage inequality. He contends that inequality is not the result of impersonal market forces but of specific government decisions and the poor economic performance they created. Featuring a new afterword on wage shifts since 1994, Created Unequal is a rousing book that reminds us we can reclaim our country through economic understanding, commonsense policy, and political action.
"Created Unequal is not light reading, but Galbraith's elegant arguments, passionate exposition, and profound conclusions make it worth the trouble. . . . [Galbraith] remind[s] us that the economy is and ought to be run by humans, not humans by the economy."—Joanna Ciulla, Los Angeles Times Book Review
"Created Unequal is a lucid and wise explanation of why America seems to be prospering while most Americans aren't. James Galbraith takes steady aim at a variety of widely accepted economic myths and hits most of them dead center. This book will tell you a lot about the way your economic world really works."—Jeff Faux, President of the Economic Policy Institute
"[A] brilliant and iconoclastic examination of the major social trend of our time."—Michael Lind, Washington Monthly
After war, many countries, such as Bosnia, Kosovo, Afghanistan, or Iraq, the transition to a democratic market economy extremely difficult. This failure to thrive, Dead Ends of Transition demonstrates, is often the result of national reliance on foreign aid. Rentier states, the contributors to this study argue, have few incentives to respond to the needs of their societies. Taking a closer look at the policies of rentier economies, this book further identifies new ways in which these countries and their international partners could work together to ease the critical transition to democracy.
Although inequality in Latin America ranks among the worst in the world, it has notably declined over the last decade, offset by improvements in health care and education, enhanced programs for social assistance, and increases in the minimum wage.
In Democracy and the Left, Evelyne Huber and John D. Stephens argue that the resurgence of democracy in Latin America is key to this change. In addition to directly affecting public policy, democratic institutions enable left-leaning political parties to emerge, significantly influencing the allocation of social spending on poverty and inequality. But while democracy is an important determinant of redistributive change, it is by no means the only factor. Drawing on a wealth of data, Huber and Stephens present quantitative analyses of eighteen countries and comparative historical analyses of the five most advanced social policy regimes in Latin America, showing how international power structures have influenced the direction of their social policy. They augment these analyses by comparing them to the development of social policy in democratic Portugal and Spain.
The most ambitious examination of the development of social policy in Latin America to date, Democracy and the Left shows that inequality is far from intractable—a finding with crucial policy implications worldwide.
In Democracy without Equity, Weyland investigates the crucial political issue for many Latin American countries: the possibility for redistributing wealth and power through the democratic process. He focuses on Brazil’s redistributive initiatives in tax policy, social security, and health care. Weyland’s work is based on some 260 interviews with interest group representatives, politicians, and bureaucrats, the publications of interest groups, speeches of policy makers, newspaper accounts, legislative bills, congressional committee reports, and more. He concludes that, in countries whose society and political parties are fragmented, the prospects for effective redistributive policies are poor.
Lee Soltow examines wealth and income in the United States during the Federal period, at a time when state constitutions were formed, national tax laws written, and policies for banking, credit, and debt first formulated. Soltow bases his study on the national census of 1798, which catalogued nearly every piece of property in the United States -land, dwellings, mills, and wharfs-in order to levy the First Direct Tax. He complements this with information from the 1790 and 1800 United States censuses, and with data gathered fifty years before and after this time, to offer an exhaustive survey of the distribution of wealth in early America. He then compares these findings to conditions in Europe during the same period, and discovers that, while wealth in America was not evenly dispersed, it was far more equal than European nations.
Diversity and Disparities: America Enters a New Century
John Logan is professor of sociology and director of the Research Initiative on Spatial Structures in the Social Sciences at Brown University and editor of Diversity and Disparities: America Enters a New Century. Russell Sage Foundation, 2014 Library of Congress HC110.I5D55 2014 | Dewey Decimal 339.220973
The United States is more diverse than ever before. Increased immigration has added to a vibrant cultural fabric, and women and minorities have made significant strides in overcoming overt discrimination. At the same time, economic inequality has increased significantly in recent decades, and the Great Recession substantially weakened the economic standing not only of the poor but also of the middle class. Diversity and Disparities, edited by sociologist John Logan, assembles impressive new studies that interpret the social and economic changes in the United States over the last decade. The authors, leading social scientists from many disciplines, analyze changes in the labor market, family structure, immigration, and race. They find that while America has grown more diverse, the opportunities available to disadvantaged groups have become more unequal. Drawing on detailed data from the decennial census, the American Community Survey, and other sources, the authors chart the growing diversity and the deepening disparities among different groups in the United States Harry J. Holzer and Marek Hlavac document that although the economy always rises and falls over the business cycle, the Great Recession of 2007–2009 was a catastrophic event that saw record levels of unemployment, especially among less-educated workers, young people, and minorities. Emily Rosenbaum shows how the Great Recession amplified disparities in access to home ownership, and demonstrates that young adults, especially African Americans, are falling behind previous cohorts not only in home ownership and wealth but even in starting their own families and households. Sean F. Reardon and Kendra Bischoff explore the rise of class segregation as higher-income Americans are moving away from others into separate and privileged neighborhoods and communities. Immigration has also seen class polarization, with an increase in both highly skilled workers and undocumented immigrants. As Frank D. Bean and his colleagues show, the lack of a path to legal status for undocumented immigrants inhibits the educational and economic opportunities for their children and grandchildren. Barrett Lee and colleagues demonstrate that the nation and most cities and towns are becoming more diverse by race and ethnicity. However, while black-white segregation is slowly falling, Hispanics and Asians remain as segregated today as they were in 1980. Diversity and Disparities raises concerns about the extent of socioeconomic immobility in the United States today. This volume provides valuable information for policymakers, journalists, and researchers seeking to understand the current state of the nation.
The vast disparities in college attendance and graduation rates between students from different class backgrounds is a growing social concern. Economic Inequality and Higher Education investigates the connection between income inequality and unequal access to higher education, and proposes solutions that the state and federal governments and schools themselves can undertake to make college accessible to students from all backgrounds. Economic Inequality and Higher Education convenes experts from the fields of education, economics, and public policy to assess the barriers that prevent low-income students from completing college. For many students from disadvantaged socioeconomic backgrounds, the challenge isn't getting into college, but getting out with a degree. Helping this group will require improving the quality of education in the community colleges and lower-tier public universities they are most likely to attend. Documenting the extensive disjuncture between the content of state-mandated high school testing and college placement exams, Michael Kirst calls for greater alignment between K-12 and college education. Amanda Pallais and Sarah Turner examine barriers to access at elite universities for low-income students—including tuition costs, lack of information, and poor high school records—as well as recent initiatives to increase socioeconomic diversity at private and public universities. Top private universities have increased the level and transparency of financial aid, while elite public universities have focused on outreach, mentoring, and counseling, and both sets of reforms show signs of success. Ron Ehrenberg notes that financial aid policies in both public and private universities have recently shifted towards merit-based aid, away from the need-based aid that is most helpful to low-income students. Ehrenberg calls on government policy makers to create incentives for colleges to increase their representation of low-income students. Higher education is often vaunted as the primary engine of upward mobility. Instead, as inequality in America rises, colleges may be reproducing income disparities from one generation to the next. Economic Inequality and Higher Education illuminates this worrisome trend and suggests reforms that educational institutions and the government must implement to make the dream of a college degree a reality for all motivated students.
In recent years the definition of an economic transfer—a payment to an individual or institution that does not arise out of current productive activity—has been subject to even wider interpretation. This volume addresses that trend and introduces new methods of measuring transfers in the American economy.
Social security, private pension benefits, housing, and health care are traditional kinds of transfers. Accurate measurements of the degree and effect of these and of other, newly interpreted transfers are vital to economic policy making. Though this volume is not directly concerned with policy-making issues, it does impinge on many areas of current public concern; methods of transfer valuation, for example, may affect how we view the status of the aged.
Researchers, policy analysts, and those who compile statistics on which social programs are based on will value the diverse approaches of these ten papers and their accompanying comments. Taken together the essays give great insight into the complexities of defining transfers and provide a wealth of new analytic methods. They were developed from material presented at the Income and Wealth Conference on Social Accounting for Transfers held at Madison, Wisconsin, in 1982.
Succinct, accessible, and authoritative, Thomas Piketty’s The Economics of Inequality is the ideal place to start for those who want to understand the fundamental issues at the heart of one the most pressing concerns in contemporary economics and politics. This work now appears in English for the first time.
Declining participation in labor unions, the movement toward a service-based economy, and increased globalization have cast doubt on the extent to which welfare states can continue to stem inequality in market economies over the long-term. Does the new economy render existing models of social assistance obsolete? Do traditional welfare states hamper economic and employment growth, thereby worsening the plight of the poor? Lane Kenworthy offers a rigorous empirical analysis of these questions in Egalitarian Capitalism. The book examines sixteen industrialized countries in North America, Western Europe, and Scandinavia—each with different approaches to assisting the poor—to see how successful each has been in developing its economy and curbing inequality over the past twenty years. Kenworthy finds that inequality grew in almost all of these countries, from the most progressive to the least. Using simple but powerful statistical tests, he assesses the theory that inequality is necessary to improve economic growth and reduce poverty. He finds no necessary trade-off between equality and economic growth but discovers some evidence that high minimum wages dampen employment growth in private sector services. Kenworthy suggests that without greater private sector employment, public supports may be unable to adequately sustain living standards for the poor. An equitable growth strategy necessitates a balance of policy options: Creating jobs is aided by loose employment regulation, low payroll taxes, and, in some cases, lower real wages for workers at the bottom of the income spectrum. However, high employment is also facilitated by a system that "makes work pay" with earnings subsidies, workplace flexibilities, financial support for those who are between jobs or unable to work, and universal health and child care coverage. Kenworthy suggests that these strategies, though generally presented as mutually exclusive, could be effectively combined to create a robust, fair economy. Egalitarian Capitalism addresses fundamental questions of national policy with rigorous scholarship and a clarity that makes it accessible to any reader interested in the alleged trade-off between social equity and market efficiency. The book analyzes the viability of traditional welfare regimes and offers sustainable options that can promote egalitarian societies without hampering economic progress. A Volume in the American Sociological Association's Rose Series in Sociology
Reviews of this book: "With this book [Sidney Verba] adds to his series of stimulating and influential studies of values and political life...One wishes that more books in political science these days had a subject as crucial to political life, as rich in comparative empirical data, as creative and sophisticated in methodological approaches, and as original and significant in its insights."
--Ellis S. Krauss, Journal of Public Policy
"Verba and his colleagues have done a fine job of gathering and analyzing data that call seriously into question both the Marxist view that bourgeois societies will inevitably tolerate great income differences and the Tory fear that democracy will inevitably lead to leveling and expropriation...[They] make a convincing case that the U.S. income distribution is as it is in large part because that is the way political elites--even relatively leftist ones--prefer it to be."
--James Q. Wilson, The Public Interest
"This research program has produced and extraordinarily stimulating set of results. But its chief virtue is that it posed conceptually and then pursued empirically the kinds of very broad questions about a central issue in society that are, by definition, bypassed in more narrowly focused research."
Winner of the Bruno Kreisky Prize, Karl Renner Institut
A Financial Times Best Economics Book of the Year
An Economist Best Book of the Year
A Livemint Best Book of the Year
One of the world’s leading economists of inequality, Branko Milanovic presents a bold new account of the dynamics that drive inequality on a global scale. Drawing on vast data sets and cutting-edge research, he explains the benign and malign forces that make inequality rise and fall within and among nations. He also reveals who has been helped the most by globalization, who has been held back, and what policies might tilt the balance toward economic justice.
“The data [Milanovic] provides offer a clearer picture of great economic puzzles, and his bold theorizing chips away at tired economic orthodoxies.”
“Milanovic has written an outstanding book…Informative, wide-ranging, scholarly, imaginative and commendably brief. As you would expect from one of the world’s leading experts on this topic, Milanovic has added significantly to important recent works by Thomas Piketty, Anthony Atkinson and François Bourguignon…Ever-rising inequality looks a highly unlikely combination with any genuine democracy. It is to the credit of Milanovic’s book that it brings out these dangers so clearly, along with the important global successes of the past few decades.
—Martin Wolf, Financial Times
Globalization is not the primary cause of rising inequality. That is the conclusion of this penetrating study by Elhanan Helpman, a leading expert on international trade. If we wish to curb inequality while protecting what is best about globalization, he shows, we must start with a clear view of how globalization does, and does not, shape our world.
The Great Convergence
Richard Baldwin Harvard University Press, 2016 Library of Congress HF1365.B35 2016 | Dewey Decimal 337
From 1820 to 1990 the share of world income going to today’s wealthy nations soared from 20% to 70%. That share has recently plummeted. Richard Baldwin shows how the combination of high tech with low wages propelled industrialization in developing nations, deindustrialization in developed nations, and a commodity supercycle that is petering out.
Authors Foley, Michl, and Tavani offer a major revision of an established textbook on the theory, measurement, and history of economic growth, with new material on climate change, corporate capitalism, and innovation.
The celebrated economist Zvi Griliches’s entire career can be viewed as an attempt to advance the cause of accuracy in economic measurement. His interest in the causes and consequences of technical progress led to his pathbreaking work on price hedonics, now the principal analytical technique available to account for changes in product quality.
Hard-to-Measure Goods and Services, a collection of papers from an NBER conference held in Griliches’s honor, is a tribute to his many contributions to current economic thought. Here, leading scholars of economic measurement address issues in the areas of productivity, price hedonics, capital measurement, diffusion of new technologies, and output and price measurement in “hard-to-measure” sectors of the economy. Furthering Griliches’s vital work that changed the way economists think about the U.S. National Income and Product Accounts, this volume is essential for all those interested in the labor market, economic growth, production, and real output.
The result of a National Bureau of Economic Research Income and Wealth conference held in December 1983, this volume looks at the concept of "economic well-being" and the ways that analysts have tried to measure it. In addition to income, economists have begun to consider such factors as pensions, wealth, health, and environment when measuring the well-being of a particular group. They have also begun to measure how consumers respond, successfully or unsuccessfully, to such economic uncertainties as inflation, divorce, and retirement. Using new data and techniques, the contributors to this book concentrate on issues of uncertainty and horizontal equity (the equal treatment of individuals within a defined group). Their work points to better ways of determining how various groups in a society are faring relative to other groups. Economists and policy analysts, therefore, will be in a better position to determine how government programs should be applied when well-being is used as a test.
How Racism Takes Place
George Lipsitz Temple University Press, 2011 Library of Congress E185.615.L5765 2011 | Dewey Decimal 305.800973
White identity in the United States is place bound, asserts George Lipsitz in How Racism Takes Place. An influential scholar in American and racial studies, Lipsitz contends that racism persists because a network of practices skew opportunities and life chances along racial lines. That is, these practices assign people of different races to different spaces and therefore allow grossly unequal access to education, employment, transportation, and shelter.
Revealing how seemingly race-neutral urban sites contain hidden racial assumptions and imperatives, Lipsitz examines the ways in which urban space and social experience are racialized and emphasizes that aggrieved communities do not passively acquiesce to racism. He recognizes the people and communities that have reimagined segregated spaces in expressive culture as places for congregation.
How Racism Takes Place not only exposes the degree to which this white spatial imagining structures our society but also celebrates the black artists and activists who struggle to create a just and decent society.
Inequality and poverty have returned with a vengeance in recent decades. To reduce them, we need fresh ideas that move beyond taxes on the wealthy. Anthony B. Atkinson offers ambitious new policies in technology, employment, social security, sharing of capital, and taxation, and he defends them against the common arguments and excuses for inaction.
Americans have always believed that economic growth leads to job growth. In this groundbreaking analysis, Stanley Aronowitz argues that this is no longer true. Just Around the Corner examines the state of the American economy as planned by Democrats and Republicans over the last thirty years. Aronowitz finds that economic growth has become "delinked" from job creation, and that unemployment and underemployment are a permanent condition of our economy. He traces the historical roots of this state of affairs and sees under the surface of booms and busts a continuum of economic austerity that creates financial windfalls for the rich at the expense of most Americans. Aronowitz also explores the cultural and political processes by which we have come to describe and accept economics in the United States. He concludes by presenting a concrete plan of action that would guarantee employment and living wages for all Americans. With both measured analysis and persuasive reasoning, Just Around the Corner provides an indispensable guide to our current economic predicament and a bold challenge to economists and policymakers.
Foreword by Nicholas Lemann "A brilliant book that both clarifies and explains the seemingly contradictory trends of a booming economy, wage stagnation, and growing income inequality." —Thomas B. Edsall, author, The New Politics of Inequalityand political reporter atThe Washington Post More than a decade ago, Frank Levy's classic Dollars and Dreams offered an incisive analysis of the dramatic changes then taking place in the American standard of living. As wage stagnation and rising income inequality in the 1970s and early 80s began to undermine Americans' traditional economic optimism, Levy's book provided the first diagnosis of what he called the quiet depression. Since then, the U.S. economy has made a dramatic comeback, but economic insecurity remains widespread. New technologies, increased immigration, and global competition have opened up a new economic playing field, one with new rules and new winners and losers. The New Dollars and Dreams explores this puzzling economic landscape, in which low unemployment goes hand in hand with sluggish wage growth and high income inequality. This completely revised and expanded version of Levy's original book offers an invaluable guide to the sweeping economic, social, and political changes that have remade life in the United States over the past twenty-five years. Levy tells a fascinating and insightful story about what happened to American incomes and jobs. His plot resists the simple truths of everyday journalism, and explains the economic and political twists and turns that have shaped the current American economy—including the oil and food price inflations of the 1970s, the market deregulations and corporate downsizings of the 1980s, the emergence of women as sole breadwinners in many families, the migration of jobs to the suburbs, and the computerization of work. The New Dollars and Dreams illuminates the key sources of inequality, with chapters that examine the disparate employment progress of whites, minorities, men, and women, and it carefully investigates the claim that the concentration of very high incomes is the result of a winner-take-all economy. Although the growth of the service economy is often blamed for inequality, Levy locates a more fundamental cause in the rising educational and skill demands brought about by restructuring of work in all sectors of the economy. An important part of the story also involves the transformation of the American family from extended and two-parent households to those headed by single mothers and lone individuals. By making sense of these complex trends, The New Dollars and Dreams offers crucial insights into why, despite a thriving economy, many Americans no longer feel secure in their financial futures. A Volume in the Russell Sage Foundation Census Series
Why has the large income gap between blacks and whites persisted for decades after the passage of civil rights legislation? More specifically, why do African Americans remain substantially underrepresented in the highest-paying professions, such as science, engineering, information technology, and finance? A sophisticated study of racial disparity, Opting Out examines why some talented black undergraduates pursue lower-paying, lower-status careers despite being amply qualified for more prosperous ones.
To explore these issues, Maya A. Beasley conducted in-depth interviews with black and white juniors at two of the nation’s most elite universities, one public and one private. Beasley identifies a set of complex factors behind these students’ career aspirations, including the anticipation of discrimination in particular fields; the racial composition of classes, student groups, and teaching staff; student values; and the availability of opportunities to network. Ironically, Beasley also discovers, campus policies designed to enhance the academic and career potential of black students often reduce the diversity of their choices. Shedding new light on the root causes of racial inequality, Opting Out will be essential reading for parents, educators, students, scholars, and policymakers.
"Extremely coherent and useful, this much needed volume is concerned with the current status of the poor in Western industrial states. Its closely linked essays allow comparisons between case studies and are often themselves cross-national comparisons....The essays also comment on the meaning of globalization for social policy." —Choice "Excellent and tightly integrated articles by a group of prominent international scholars....A timely and important book, which will surely become the basic reference point for all future research on inequality and social policy." —Contemporary Sociology The social safety net is under strain in all Western nations, as social and economic change has created problems that traditional welfare systems were not designed to handle. Poverty, Inequality, and the Future of Social Policy provides a definitive analysis of the conditions that are fraying the social fabric and the reasons why some countries have been more successful than others in addressing these trends. In the United States, where the poverty rate in the 1980s was twice that of any advanced nation in Europe, the social protection system—and public support for it—has eroded alarmingly. In Europe, the welfare system more effectively buffered the disadvantaged, but social expenditures have been indicted by many as the principal cause of high unemployment. Concluding chapters review the progress and goals of social welfare programs, assess their viability in the face of creeping economic, racial, and social fragmentation, and define the challenges that face those concerned with social cohesion and economic prosperity in the new global economy. This volume illuminates the disparate effects of government intervention on the incidence and duration of poverty in Western countries. Poverty, Inequality, and the Future of Social Policy is full of lessons for anyone who would look beyond the limitations of the welfare debate in the United States.
David Huyssen Harvard University Press, 2014 Library of Congress HC108.N7H89 2014 | Dewey Decimal 305.509747109041
The Progressive Era has been seen as a seismic event that reduced the gulf between America's rich and poor. Progressive Inequality cuts against the grain of this view, showing how initiatives in charity, organized labor, and housing reform backfired, reinforcing class biases, especially the notion that wealth derives from individual merit.
Over the last forty years, rising national income has helped reduce poverty rates, but this has been accompanied by an increase in economic inequality. While these trends are largely attributed to technological change and demographic shifts, such as changing birth rates, labor force patterns, and immigration, public policies have also exerted a profound affect on the welfare of Americans. In Public Policy and the Income Distribution, editors Alan Auerbach, David Card, and John Quigley assemble a distinguished roster of policy analysts to confront the key questions about the role of government policy in altering the level and distribution of economic well being. Public Policy and the Income Distribution tackles many of the most difficult and intriguing questions about how government intervention—or lack thereof—has affected the incomes of everyday Americans. Rebecca Blank analyzes welfare reform, and presents systematic research on income, poverty rates, and welfare and labor force participation of single mothers. She finds that single mothers worked more and were less dependent on public assistance following welfare reform, and that low-skilled single mothers had no greater difficulty finding work than others. Timothy Smeeding compares poverty reduction programs in the United States with policies in other developed countries. Poverty and inequality are higher in the United States than in other advanced economies, but Smeeding argues that this is largely a result of policy choices. Poverty rates based on market incomes alone are actually lower in the United States than elsewhere, but government interventions in the United States were less than half as effective at reducing poverty as were programs in the other countries. The most dramatic poverty reduction story of twentieth century America was seen among the elderly, who went from being the age group most likely to live in poverty in the 1960s to the group least likely to be poor at the end of the century. Gary Englehardt and Jonathan Gruber examine the role of policy in alleviating old-age poverty by estimating the impact of Social Security benefits on the income of the elderly poor. They find that the growth in Social Security almost completely explains the large decline in elderly poverty in the United States The twentieth century was remarkable in the extent to which advances in public policy helped improve the economic well being of Americans. Synthesizing existing knowledge on the effectiveness of public policy and contributing valuable new research, Public Policy and the Income Distribution examines public policy's successes, and points out the areas in which progress remains to be made.
A landmark in contemporary social science, this pioneering work by Thomas Piketty explains the facts and dynamics of income inequality in France in the twentieth century. On its publication in French in 2001, it helped launch the international program led by Piketty and others to explore the grand patterns and causes of global inequality—research that has since transformed public debate. Appearing here in English for the first time, this stunning achievement will take its place alongside Capital in the Twenty-First Century as a modern classic of economic analysis.
Top Incomes in France in the Twentieth Century is essential in part because of Piketty’s unprecedented efforts to uncover, untangle, and present in clear form data about patterns in tax and inheritance in France dating back to 1900. But it is also an exceptional work of analysis, tracking and explaining with Piketty’s characteristically lucid prose the effects of political conflict, war, and social change on the economic pressures and public policies that determined the lives of millions. A work of unusual intellectual power and ambition, Top Incomes in France in the Twentieth Century is a vital resource for anyone concerned with the economic, political, and social history of France, and it is central to ongoing debates about social justice, inequality, taxation, and the evolution of capitalism around the world.
Many fear that efforts to address inequality will undermine the economy as a whole. But the opposite is true: rising inequality has become a drag on growth and an impediment to market competition. Heather Boushey breaks down the problem and argues that we can preserve our nation’s economic traditions while promoting shared economic growth.
Extreme inequalities in income,wealth and power lie behind Thailand’s political turmoil. What are the sources of this inequality? Why does it persist, or even increase when the economy grows? How can it be addressed?
The contributors to this important study—Thai scholars, reformers and civil servants—shed light on the many dimensions of inequality in Thailand, looking beyond simple income measures to consider land ownership, education, finance, business structures and politics. The contributors propose a series of reforms in taxation, spending and institutional reform that can address growing inequality.
Inequality is among the biggest threats to social stability in Southeast Asia, and this close study of a key Southeast Asian country will be relevant to regional policy-makers, economists and business decision-makers, as well as students of oligarchy and inequality more generally.
Inequality has been on the rise in America for more than two decades. This socially divisive trend began in the economic doldrums of the 1970s and continued through the booming 1980s, when surging economic tides clearly failed to lift all ships. Instead, escalating inequality in both individual earnings and family income widened the gulf between rich and poor and led to the much-publicized decline of the middle class. Uneven Tides brings together a distinguished group of economists to confront the crucial questions about this unprecedented rise in inequality. Just how large and pervasive was it? What were its principal causes? And why did it continue in the 1980s, when previous periods of national economic growth have generally reduced inequality? Reviewing the best current evidence, the essays in Uneven Tides show that rising inequality is a complex phenomenon, the result of a web of circumstances inherent in the nation's current industrial, social, and political situation. Once attributed to the rising supply of inexperienced workers—as baby boomers, new immigrants, and women entered the labor market—the growing inequality in individual earnings is revealed in Uneven Tides to be the direct result of the economy's increasing demand for skilled workers. The authors explore many of the possible causes of this trend, including the employment shift from manufacturing to the service sector, the heightened importance of technology in the workplace, the decline of unionization, and the intensified efforts to compete in a global marketplace. Uneven Tides also examines the equally dramatic growth in the inequality of family income, and reviews the effects of family size, the age and education of household heads, and the transition to both two-earner and single-parent families. Although these demographic shifts played a role, what emerges most clearly is an understanding of the powerful influence of public policy, as increasingly regressive taxes, declining welfare benefits, and a stagnant minimum wage continue to amplify the effects of market forces on income. With the rise in inequality now much in the headlines, it is clear that our nation's ability to reverse these shifting currents requires deeper understanding of their causes and consequences. Uneven Tides is the first book to get beyond the news stories to a clear analysis of the changing fortunes of America's families. It should be required reading for anyone with a serious interest in the economic underpinnings of the country's social problems.
Despite the vast expansion of global markets during the last half of the twentieth century, social science still most often examines and measures inequality and social mobility within individual nations rather than across national boundaries. Every country has both rich and poor populations making demands—via institutions, political processes, or even conflict—on how their resources will be distributed. But shifts in inequality in one country can precipitate accompanying shifts in another. Unveiling Inequality authors Roberto Patricio Korzeniewicz and Timothy Patrick Moran make the case that within-country analyses alone have not adequately illuminated our understanding of global stratification. The authors present a comprehensive new framework that moves beyond national boundaries to analyze economic inequality and social mobility on a global scale and from a historical perspective. Assembling data on patterns of inequality in more than ninety-six countries, Unveiling Inequality reframes the relationship between globalization and inequality within and between nations. Korzeniewicz and Moran first examine two different historical patterns—"High Inequality Equilibrium" and "Low Inequality Equilibrium"—and question whether increasing equality, democracy, and economic growth are inextricably linked as nations modernize. Inequality is best understood as a complex set of relational interactions that unfold globally over time. So the same institutional mechanisms that have historically reduced inequality within some nations have also often accentuated the selective exclusion of populations from poorer countries and enhanced high inequality equilibrium between nations. National identity and citizenship are the fundamental contemporary bases of stratification and inequality in the world, the authors conclude. Drawing on these insights, the book recasts patterns of mobility within global stratification. The authors detail the three principal paths available for social mobility from a global perspective: within-country mobility, mobility through national economic growth, and mobility through migration. Korzeniewicz and Moran provide strong evidence that the nation where we are born is the single greatest deter-mining factor of how we will live. Too much sociological literature on inequality focuses on the plight of "have-nots" in wealthy nations who have more opportunity for social mobility than even the average individual in nations perennially at the bottom of the wealth distribution scale. Unveiling Inequality represents a major paradigm shift in thinking about social inequality and a clarion call to reorient discussions of economic justice in world-historical global terms.
It is often said that the federal government cannot or should not attempt to address America's problems of poverty and inequality—because its bureaucracy is wasteful or its programs ineffective. But is this true? In this book, Benjamin I. Page and James R. Simmons examine a number of federal and local programs, detailing what government action already does for its citizens and assessing how efficient it is at solving the problems it seeks to address. Their conclusion, surprisingly, is the polar opposite of the prevailing rhetoric—What Government Can Do is an insightful and compelling argument that it both can and should do more.
What Unions No Longer Do
Jake Rosenfeld Harvard University Press, 2014 Library of Congress HD8072.5.R67 2014 | Dewey Decimal 331.880973
From workers' wages to presidential elections, labor unions once exerted tremendous clout in American life. In the immediate post-World War II era, one in three workers belonged to a union. The fraction now is close to one in five, and just one in ten in the private sector. The only thing big about Big Labor today is the scope of its problems. While many studies have explained the causes of this decline, What Unions No Longer Do shows the broad repercussions of labor's collapse for the American economy and polity.
Organized labor was not just a minor player during the middle decades of the twentieth century, Jake Rosenfeld asserts. For generations it was the core institution fighting for economic and political equality in the United States. Unions leveraged their bargaining power to deliver benefits to workers while shaping cultural understandings of fairness in the workplace. What Unions No Longer Do details the consequences of labor's decline, including poorer working conditions, less economic assimilation for immigrants, and wage stagnation among African-Americans. In short, unions are no longer instrumental in combating inequality in our economy and our politics, resulting in a sharp decline in the prospects of American workers and their families.
The World Inequality Report: 2018 is the most authoritative and up-to-date account of global trends in inequality. Researched, compiled, and written by a team of the world’s leading economists of inequality, it presents—with unrivaled clarity and depth—information and analysis that will be vital to policy makers and scholars everywhere.
Inequality has taken center stage in public debate as the wealthiest people in most parts of the world have seen their share of the economy soar relative to that of others, many of whom, especially in the West, have experienced stagnation. The resulting political and social pressures have posed harsh new challenges for governments and created a pressing demand for reliable data. The World Inequality Lab at the Paris School of Economics and the University of California, Berkeley, has answered this call by coordinating research into the latest trends in the accumulation and distribution of income and wealth on every continent. This inaugural report analyzes the Lab’s findings, which include data from major countries where information has traditionally been difficult to acquire, such as China, India, and Brazil. Among nations, inequality has been decreasing as traditionally poor countries’ economies have caught up with the West. The report shows, however, that inequality has been steadily deepening within almost every nation, though national trajectories vary, suggesting the importance of institutional and policy frameworks in shaping inequality.
The World Inequality Report: 2018 will be a key document for anyone concerned about one of the most imperative and contentious subjects in contemporary politics and economics.