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Structural racism in Flint, Michigan

Stephen Menendian, assistant director, Haas Institute for a Fair and Inclusive Society | January 18, 2016

On Jan. 16, 2016, President Barack Obama signed an order declaring a state of emergency in Flint, Michigan.[i]  It was not because of a tornado or hurricane, flooding or landslides, as was the case in South Carolina or Mississippi a few weeks before, or any other natural disaster.[ii]  Rather, it was a response to a … Continue reading »

Remembering Ravi

Alexandra Orsola-Vidal, Global Networks Director, Center for Effective Global Action | November 25, 2015

In the wake of the recent attacks in Paris, Beirut, Iraq, Nigeria and so many other corners of the world, it’s difficult to picture ourselves in a celebratory mood for the holidays. Yet it’s now, more than ever, that we must remind our loved ones, our family, our friends and even those we meet in passing that there is hope and light … Continue reading »

Another music for poverty alleviation

Clare Talwalker, lecturer, International and Area Studies | September 29, 2015

The celebrated author Katherine Boo is in town talking about her book Behind the Beautiful Forevers. It is a remarkable book based on her months and years spent watching and talking to people in a Mumbai self-built settlement and hunting up official records for background. Her book tells a tale that sings off the page, … Continue reading »

Opportunity in America: The Problem with the Paul Ryan Plan

Stephen Menendian, assistant director, Haas Institute for a Fair and Inclusive Society | August 1, 2014

Last week the House of Representatives Budget Committee Chairman Rep. Paul Ryan issued a report on opportunity and poverty in America that has sparked an important national conversation. As a putative Presidential contender for 2016, Rep. Ryan’s report will help shape a discussion that will frame future election cycles as well as the direction of … Continue reading »

How the right wing is killing women

Robert Reich, professor of public policy | May 14, 2014

According to a report released last week in the widely-respected health research journal, The Lancet, the United States now ranks 60th out of 180 countries on maternal deaths occurring during pregnancy and childbirth. To put it bluntly, for every 100,000 births in America last year, 18.5 women died. That’s compared to 8.2 women who died during pregnancy and … Continue reading »

Should the poor pay for the anxieties of the rich?

David Zilberman, professor, agriculture and resource economics | April 21, 2014

In the last several weeks, I gave talks on sustainable development and technology in China as well as in several forums in the US. I stated my strong belief that the use of molecular and cell technologies in agriculture (one of their main applications is in genetically modified [GM] products) is crucial because it allows … Continue reading »

What do average Americans think about inequality?

Claude Fischer, professor of sociology | April 10, 2014

Now that economic inequality has become a focus of attention – mentions of “income inequality” in the New York Times went up five-fold in the 2010s compared to the 2000s, 200-fold compared to the 1990s – we know a few things about it clearly. For example: American inequality is unusually great among western societies; it has been … Continue reading »

The public-housing experiment

Claude Fischer, professor of sociology | January 15, 2014

Public housing in the United States has never sheltered a significant proportion of Americans, perhaps three percent at most — unlike in many western European countries, where 10 to 40 percent of households, at various income levels, live in state-constructed buildings. But public housing has been a significant part of the debate over American government safety-net programs, a significant … Continue reading »

American Dream, twisting

Claude Fischer, professor of sociology | December 18, 2013

A political solicitation from the Democrats that I just got reads, “We have to do everything we can to make sure that [the] opportunity to pursue the American dream is still possible today.” The 2012 Republican platform highlighted its program for “Restoring the American Dream.” “The American Dream” seems often under threat and just out of grasp. … Continue reading »

Deservingness

Claude Fischer, professor of sociology | December 10, 2013

As we approach the “Season of Giving,” when Americans are particularly inclined by the Christmas spirit – and also by the looming deadline for tax-deductible contributions – to share with the needy, we again consider the American way of helping the poor. This time last year, I noted some of the peculiarities of the American way of … Continue reading »

The unfinished march toward a decent minimum wage

Sylvia Allegretto, labor economist, Center on Wage and Employment Dynamics | August 26, 2013

It was fifty years ago the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom took place. The demand for a higher minimum wage was part of a package of demands seeking economic justice for workers through government intervention in the labor market. At that time, the wage floor was $1.15 and marchers were demanding a raise … Continue reading »

Trimmings for Labor Day

Robert Reich, professor of public policy |

The good news this Labor Day: Jobs are returning. The bad news this Labor Day: Most of them pay lousy wages and low if non-existent benefits. The trend toward lousy wages began before the Great Recession. According to a new report from the Economic Policy Institute, weak wage growth between 2000 and 2007, combined with … Continue reading »

Confronting suburban poverty – or celebrating suburban resilience?

Karen Chapple, Professor, City and Regional Planning | June 6, 2013

Suburban poverty is in the headlines again these weeks after the publication of Brookings researchers Elizabeth Kneebone and Alan Berube’s new book, Confronting Suburban Poverty in America, which augments previous empirical work with fascinating case studies. But with the suburban poverty rates hovering around 11 percent, relative to 21 percent in cities, the question arises: … Continue reading »

Pope Benedict XVI on crisis, development, and truth

Carola Conces Binder, Ph.D. candidate, economics | February 11, 2013

Today, Pope Benedict XVI announced that he will resign from his ministry at the end of the month, citing declining strength in his advanced age. His Papacy began in 2005 and many of his written messages reflect upon the global economic and financial crisis that characterized the world to which he ministered. Most notably, his 2009 encyclical Caritas in veritate (Charity … Continue reading »

The occupiers’ responsive chord

Robert Reich, professor of public policy | November 1, 2011

A combination of police crackdowns and bad weather are testing the young Occupy movement. But rumors of its demise are premature, to say the least. Although numbers are hard to come by, anecdotal evidence suggests the movement is growing. As importantly, the movement has already changed the public debate in America. Consider, for example, last … Continue reading »

$300 slum house? Worthy but worthless

Jason Corburn, associate professor, city and regional planning | June 3, 2011

The Economist published an article last month on the competition to build a $300 house intended to improve the lives of slum dwellers.  The article came from a blog post in the Harvard Business Review by Vijay Govindarajan, of Dartmouth College’s Tuck School of Business, and Christian Sarkar, a marketing consultant, who set out to explore the … Continue reading »