Leaders: Raj Chetty, Gary Solon, Florencia Torche
The purpose of the Social Mobility RG is to develop and exploit new administrative sources for measuring mobility and the effects of policy on mobility out of poverty. This research group is doing so by (a) providing comprehensive analyses of intergenerational mobility based on linked administrative data from U.S. tax returns, W-2s, and other sources, and (b) developing a new infrastructure for monitoring social mobility, dubbed the American Opportunity Study, that is based on linking census and other administrative data. Here’s a sampling of projects:
Small place estimates: The Equal Opportunity Project, led by Raj Chetty, uses tax return data to monitor opportunities for mobility out of poverty. In one of the new lines of analysis coming out of this project, the first round of results at the level of “commuting zones” are being redone at a more detailed level (e.g., census block level), thus allowing for even better inferences about the effects of place.
The American Opportunity Study: This research group is also collaborating with the Census Bureau to develop a new infrastructure for monitoring mobility that treats linked decennial census data as the spine on which other administrative data are hung.
Colleges and rising income inequality: Where do poor children go to attend college? The “Mobility Report Card” will convey the joint distribution of parent and student incomes for every Title IV institution in the United States.
The “absolute mobility” of the poor: What fraction of poor children grow up to earn more than their parents? Have rates of absolute upward mobility changed over time? This project develops a new method of estimating rates of absolute mobility for the 1940-1984 birth cohorts.
Intergenerational elasticities in the U.S.: There remains some debate about the size of intergenerational elasticities in the U.S. A rarely-used sample of 1987 tax data provides new evidence on U.S. elasticities.
Mobility - CPI Research
|Coming of Age in the Other America||Stefanie DeLuca, Susan Clampet-Lundquist, Kathryn Edin||
Coming of Age in the Other AmericaAuthor: Stefanie DeLuca, Susan Clampet-Lundquist, Kathryn Edin
Publisher: Russell Sage Foundation
Recent research on inequality and poverty has shown that those born into low-income families, especially African Americans, still have difficulty entering the middle class, in part because of the disadvantages they experience living in more dangerous neighborhoods, going to inferior public schools, and persistent racial inequality. Coming of Age in the Other America shows that despite overwhelming odds, some disadvantaged urban youth do achieve upward mobility. Drawing from ten years of fieldwork with parents and children who resided in Baltimore public housing, sociologists Stefanie DeLuca, Susan Clampet-Lundquist, and Kathryn Edin highlight the remarkable resiliency of some of the youth who hailed from the nation’s poorest neighborhoods and show how the right public policies might help break the cycle of disadvantage.
|Shared Prosperity in America's Communities||
Shared Prosperity in America's CommunitiesAuthor:
Publisher: University of Pennsylvania Press
While the nation's GDP has doubled in the last thirty years, significant increases in family income have been restricted to a small subset of the American population. This disjunct between national economic growth and stagnating incomes in all but the very top tier of the population corresponds with increasing economic inequality and a lack of social and economic mobility. As a consequence, neighborhoods and metropolitan areas have become more polarized. Stark geographic differences in levels of poverty, income, health outcomes, job opportunities, lifetime earning potential, and educational attainment highlight the degree to which place matters in terms of social and economic opportunity. Shared Prosperity in America's Communities examines this place-based disparity of opportunity and suggests what can be done to ensure that the benefits of economic growth are widely shared. Contributors' essays explore social and economic mobility throughout the country to illuminate the changing geography of inequality, offer a portfolio of strategies to address the challenges of place-based inequality, and show how communities across the nation are implementing change and building a future of shared prosperity.
|Childhood Environment and Gender Gaps in Adulthood||Raj Chetty, Nathaniel Hendren, Frina Lin, Jeremy Majerovitz, Benjamin Scuderi||
Childhood Environment and Gender Gaps in AdulthoodAuthor: Raj Chetty, Nathaniel Hendren, Frina Lin, Jeremy Majerovitz, Benjamin Scuderi
We show that differences in childhood environments play an important role in shaping gender gaps in adulthood by documenting three facts using population tax records for children born in the 1980s. First, gender gaps in employment rates, earnings, and college attendance vary substantially across the parental income distribution. Notably, the traditional gender gap in employment rates is reversed for children growing up in poor families: boys in families in the bottom quintile of the income distributionare less likely to work than girls. Second, these gender gaps vary substantially across counties and commuting zones in which children grow up. The degree of variation in outcomes across places is largest for boys growing up in poor, single-parent families. Third, the spatial variation in gender gaps is highly correlated with proxies for neighborhood disadvantage. Low-income boys who grow up in high-poverty, high-minority areas work significantly less than girls. These areas also have higher rates of crime, suggesting that boys growing up in concentrated poverty substitute from formal employment to crime. Together, these findings demonstrate that gender gaps in adulthood have roots in childhood, perhaps because childhood disadvantage is especially harmful for boys.
|State of the Union 2016: Economic Mobility||Miles Corak||
State of the Union 2016: Economic MobilityAuthor: Miles Corak
When compared to 24 middle-income and high-income countries, the U.S. ranks 16th in the amount of intergenerational earnings mobility. The relatively low level of mobility in the U.S. may arise in part because low-income children in the U.S. tend to have less stable and lower-income families, less secure families, and parents who have less time to devote to their children.
|Living in a High Inequality Regime||
Living in a High Inequality RegimeAuthor:
Publisher: Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science
Income inequality in the United States is the highest it has been since the roaring 20s. The rich are getting richer. The middle class is descending from the middle. The poor are getting poorer. What accounts for the increase in wealth at the top? What dynamic forces have shaped this spectacular disparity? How are Americans adjusting to life in this brave new world? What effect does the social fallout of this inequality regime have on the fabric of American society?
The effects of rising inequality have proven difficult to tease out, but as the United States enters a moment in history in which key policy decisions about inequality, mobility, and poverty are being made, it is important for researchers to examine this trend to learn why there is so much inequality in the United States. In this volume of The ANNALS experts examine the “social fallout” from this income imbalance. They shine a light on the winners and losers, focusing on occupational inequality, racial and gender inequality, as well as inequality in veteran groups. They explore accessibility and segregation to gauge how educational and crime/punishment trends are shaped by inequality. Finally, they examine how inequality impacts Americans’ views of themselves and others; the dynamics of class and culture; and the effects of socioeconomics on marriage, health, and death.
Mobility - CPI Affiliates
|Lawrence Wu||Professor of Sociology; Director, NYU Population Center||New York University|
|Miles Corak||Professor of Economics||Graduate School of Public and International Affairs, University of Ottawa|
|Pablo Mitnik||Research Associate, Center on Poverty and Inequality||Stanford University|
|Robert M. Hauser||Vilas Research Professor of Sociology; Director, Center for Demography of Health and Aging||University of Wisconsin-Madison|
|Adrian E. Raftery||Professor of Statistics and Sociology||University of Washington|
Mobility - Other Research
|Health Selection into Neighborhoods Among Families in the Moving to Opportunity Program||Mariana C. Arcaya, Corina Graif, Mary C. Waters, S. V. Subramanian||
Health Selection into Neighborhoods Among Families in the Moving to Opportunity ProgramAuthor: Mariana C. Arcaya, Corina Graif, Mary C. Waters, S. V. Subramanian
Publisher: American Journal of Epidemiology
Moving to Opportunity for Fair Housing was a randomized experiment that moved very low-income US families from high-poverty neighborhoods to low-poverty neighborhoods starting in the early 1990s. We modeled report of a child's baseline health problem as a predictor of neighborhood outcomes for households randomly assigned to move from high- to low-poverty neighborhoods. We explored associations between baseline health problems and odds of moving with the program upon randomization (1994–1997), neighborhood poverty rate at follow-up (2002), and total time spent in affluent neighborhoods and duration-weighted poverty. Among 1,550 households randomized to low-poverty neighborhoods, a smaller share of households reporting baseline child health problems (P = 0.004) took up the intervention (38%) than those not reporting a health problem (50%). In weighted and covariate-adjusted models, a child health problem predicted nearly 40% lower odds of complying with the experimental condition (odds ratio = 0.62, 95% confidence interval: 0.42, 0.91; P = 0.015). Among compliers, a baseline child health problem predicted 2.5 percentage points' higher neighborhood poverty at take-up (95% confidence interval: 0.90, 4.07; P = 0.002). We conclude that child health problems in a household prior to randomization predicted lower likelihood of using the program voucher to move to a low-poverty neighborhood within the experiment's low-poverty treatment arm and predicted selection into poorer neighborhoods among experimental compliers. Child morbidity may constrain families attempting to improve their life circumstances.
|The Counter-Cyclical Character of the Elite||Shamus Khan||
The Counter-Cyclical Character of the EliteAuthor: Shamus Khan
Publisher: Research in the Sociology of Organizations
This paper begins by outlining the basic attitudinal differences between the elite and the rest of society. Understanding these divergent views does not require resorting to arguments that reply upon error, ignorance, manipulation, or differences in individual character. Instead, both elites and others are correct in their understanding of these processes because they overgeneralize from their own experience. The major proposition of this paper is that if we compare the economic conditions of the average American and to that of the elite, we find that they are, in important ways, the inverse of one another. During times when Americans as a whole were experiencing economic advancement and mobility, elites were comparatively stagnant. And today, as most Americans are locked in place, elites observe tremendous mobility. The counter-cyclical character of the elite has important implications for our understanding of elite culture, and elite response to inequality and redistribution.
|The Long Shadow: Family Background, Disadvantaged Urban Youth, and the Transition to Adulthood||Karl Alexander, Doris Entwisle, Linda Olson||
The Long Shadow: Family Background, Disadvantaged Urban Youth, and the Transition to AdulthoodAuthor: Karl Alexander, Doris Entwisle, Linda Olson
Publisher: Russell Sage Foundation
West Baltimore stands out in the popular imagination as the quintessential “inner city”—gritty, run-down, and marred by drugs and gang violence. Indeed, with the collapse of manufacturing jobs in the 1970s, the area experienced a rapid onset of poverty and high unemployment, with few public resources available to alleviate economic distress. But in stark contrast to the image of a perpetual “urban underclass” depicted in television by shows like The Wire, sociologists Karl Alexander, Doris Entwisle, and Linda Olson present a more nuanced portrait of Baltimore’s inner city residents that employs important new research on the significance of early-life opportunities available to low-income populations. The Long Shadow focuses on children who grew up in west Baltimore neighborhoods and others like them throughout the city, tracing how their early lives in the inner city have affected their long-term well-being. Although research for this book was conducted in Baltimore, that city’s struggles with deindustrialization, white flight, and concentrated poverty were characteristic of most East Coast and Midwest manufacturing cities. The experience of Baltimore’s children who came of age during this era is mirrored in the experiences of urban children across the nation.
|Class Rules: Exposing Inequality in American High Schools||Peter W. Cookson, Jr.||
Class Rules: Exposing Inequality in American High SchoolsAuthor: Peter W. Cookson, Jr.
Publisher: Teachers College Press: Multicultural Education Series
Class Rules challenges the popular myth that high schools are the “Great Equalizers.” In his groundbreaking study, Cookson demonstrates that adolescents undergo different class rites of passage depending on the social-class composition of the high school they attend. Drawing on stories of schools and individual students, the author shows that where a student goes to high school is a major influence on his or her social class trajectory. Class Rules is a penetrating, original examination of the role education plays in blocking upward mobility for many children. It offers a compelling vision of an equitable system of schools based on the full democratic rights of students.
|Earnings Inequality and Mobility in the United States: Evidence from Social Security Data since 1937||Wojciech, Kopczuk, Emmanuel Saez and Jae Song||
Earnings Inequality and Mobility in the United States: Evidence from Social Security Data since 1937Author: Wojciech, Kopczuk, Emmanuel Saez and Jae Song