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Inequality update

Claude Fischer, professor of sociology | June 4, 2013

Inequality has become the new hot topic over the last several years – in the media and in the research community. This post briefly reports several recent studies of inequality that tell us what’s been happening, why, and to what effect. (It’s not a cheery story.) Before that, notice how rapidly public attention – if … Continue reading »

Inequality on the horizon of need

Brad DeLong, professor of economics | May 31, 2013

By any economic measure, we are living in disappointing times. In the United States, 7.2% of the normal productive labor currently stands idle, while the employment gap in Europe is rising and due to exceed that of the US by the end of the year. So it is important to step back and remind ourselves … Continue reading »

Wealth and motivations for saving

Carola Conces Binder, Ph.D. candidate, economics | March 24, 2013

In a recent column in the Atlantic called “Building the Wealth of the Poor and Middle Class,” Noah Smith suggests a few ways to improve the unequal distribution of wealth in America. He notes that “one obvious thing we could do to make wealth more equal is – surprise! -redistribution…Giving the poor and middle-class more income will … Continue reading »

A modern “Antebellum puzzle”?

Claude Fischer, professor of sociology | January 4, 2013

As described in an earlier post, there was a long period during America’ nineteenth-century economic growth in which progress was so uneven, so unequal that the height and life spans of Americans declined for a few decades. On average, those who were born between roughly 1830 and 1870 grew up a bit shorter and lived … Continue reading »

The giving nation?

Claude Fischer, professor of sociology | December 11, 2012

The Page Family Foundation, funded by Google co-founder and philanthropist Larry Page and his wife Lucy, recently announced that it would cover flu shots for all 4- to 18-year-olds in the San Francisco Bay Area. “For some children, the cost of a flu shot could be prohibitive, so Larry and Lucy want to remove that … Continue reading »

The wrecking ball

Sylvia Allegretto, Economist, Co-Chair of the Center on Wage and Employment Dynamics | July 16, 2012

The destruction caused by the bursting of the housing bubble and the subsequent Great Recession continues to wreck havoc on our economy, communities, families and workers. Last month, the Federal Reserve released 2010 data from its Survey of Consumer Finances (SCF). This triennial survey, one of the best sources on net worth (assets minus liabilities) … Continue reading »

Geography of inequality

Claude Fischer, professor of sociology | June 11, 2012

One vision of the digital electronic future is that it would “erase” place and space. One can Skype over a cell phone with people half a globe away. A law firm can send audio to India and get back transcriptions in the morning. A firm in California can order goods from Korea and have them … Continue reading »

The few, the proud, the very rich

Sylvia Allegretto, Economist, Co-Chair of the Center on Wage and Employment Dynamics | December 5, 2011

Much of the current political and popular discourse has focused on inequalities that exist in the U.S. In particular the Occupy movement has brought the huge disparities in wealth to the forefront. There are a few questions floating around about wealth. First, how skewed is the distribution? Second, it is true that the rich have … Continue reading »

Social Security — A pillar of retirement income

Sylvia Allegretto, Economist, Co-Chair of the Center on Wage and Employment Dynamics | October 17, 2011

Last week my friends down the hall at the Center for Labor Research and Education released a new book titled Meeting California’s Retirement Security Challenge edited by Nari Rhee. The book (available free for download) addresses many issues pertaining to retirement, and my part reports the lay of the land for current retirees in the … Continue reading »

Public protest, media, and economic justice

Rosemary Joyce, professor of anthropology | September 25, 2011

On September 17, a group of US citizens inspired by the successes of public protest in other countries occupied public space on Wall Street, the location in Manhattan that has come to stand for the excesses of the financial sector. Not only does Wall Street stand for the banks that fueled the ongoing “Little Depression“; … Continue reading »