This is a weekly post we publish on Fridays with links to articles that touch on economic inequality and growth. The first section is a round-up of what Equitable Growth published this week and the second is the work we’re highlighting from elsewhere. We won’t be the first to share these articles, but we hope by taking a look back at the whole week, we can put them in context.
Equitable Growth round-up
In Equitable Growth’s latest working paper, University of California, Berkeley economist Jesse Rothstein unpacks why some places in the United States have much higher rates of intergenerational mobility compared to others. Rothstein finds that regional difference in marriage patterns and labor markets play a much larger in explaining differences in intergenerational mobility compared to the quality of education in an area. Rothstein also wrote a policy brief explaining his results.
Links from around the web
Jamelle Bouie writes about a new paper by Duke University’s Sandy Darity and The New School’s Darrick Hamilton (both of whom are Equitable Growth grantees) that debunks myths surrounding the racial wealth gap. Most critically, the research discredits the idea that racial disparities are driven by personal choices and contends that real progress can only come through “fundamental changes to the foundations of American life.” [slate]
The loss of middle-class jobs is often blamed on the decline of U.S. manufacturing, but Patricia Cohen and Robert Gebeloff look at how the deterioration of public-sector jobs also plays a role. They write about how state and local government cutbacks led to public servants such as teachers, firefighters, bus drivers, and nurses being “financially downgraded,” forcing many of them to resort to second jobs in order to make ends meet. [nytimes]
Research on wage stagnation that has plagued U.S. workers since the 1970s often focuses on increasing automation, declining union membership, and rising overseas competition. University of Pennsylvania economist Iona Marinescu highlights another key factor: Increasing concentration of firms, which is associated with lower wages for workers [econofact]
With the idea of federal job guarantees becoming increasing popular among activists and politicians, Dylan Matthews digs into what we know—and what we don’t know—about how these programs would actually work. [vox]
Peter C. Baker details the history of the minimum wage debate within the economics profession and how it has aligned—or hasn’t aligned–with minimum wage advocacy campaigns on-the-ground. Baker writes, “the more people I talked to, the more difficult it was to keep seeing the minimum-wage debate through the narrow lens of the economics literature—where it is analyzed as a discrete policy option, a dial to be turned up or down, with the correct level to be determined by experts.” [the guardian]
From “Equal access to a good education is not just about sound school budgets” by Jesse Rothstein.