inequality   19109

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The Hard Truths of Trying to ‘Save’ the Rural Economy - The New York Times
The most helpful policy for people in small towns could be to relax zoning rules in dense cities like New York and San Francisco, so that more affordable housing could be built to receive newcomers from rural Wisconsin or Kentucky, and they wouldn’t need the income of an investment banker or a computer scientist to afford to live there.

Policymakers might not want to push too hard against agglomeration. It adds to American prosperity. As Enrico Moretti of the University of California, Berkeley, points out, a successful strategy to draw innovative firms away from mega-clusters to small-town America would reduce overall innovation. “If you put a tech company in a place like rural Indiana, it will be vastly less productive than if you put it in a tech cluster,” Mr. Moretti said. “The effect is quite large.”

Still, there are compelling reasons to try to help rural economies rebound. Even if moving people might prove more efficient on paper than restoring places, many people — especially older people and the family members who care for them — may choose to remain in rural areas. What’s more, the costs of rural poverty are looming over American society. Think of the opioid addiction taking over rural America, of the spike in crime, of the wasted human resources in places where only a third of adults hold a job.

And if today’s polarized politics are noxious, what might they look like in a country perpetually divided between diverse, prosperous liberal cities and a largely white rural America in decline? As Mr. Galston warned: “Think through the political consequences of saying to a substantial portion of Americans, which is even more substantial in political terms, ‘We think you’re toast.’ ”

The distress of 50 million Americans should concern everyone. Powerful economic forces are arrayed against rural America and, so far, efforts to turn it around have failed. Not every small town can be a tech hub, nor should it be. But that can’t be the only answer.
Politics  inequality  Economics 
yesterday by cnk
Scenes of inequality in cities
Inequalities in our social fabric are oftentimes hidden, and hard to see from ground level. Visual barriers, including the structures themselves, prevent us from seeing the incredible contrasts that exist side by side in our cities.
art  photography  geography  inequality  drone  aerial_photography 
5 days ago by milesevenson
College Attendance Rates vs. Parent Income Rank in the U.S.
But note the commenters who are suspicious of the almost perfect straight line on the graph.
inequality 
6 days ago by geof
Skewed Wealth Distributions: Theory and Empirics
"Invariably across a cross-section of countries and time periods, wealth distributions are skewed to the right displaying thick upper tails, that is, large and slowly declining top wealth shares. In this survey we categorize the theoretical studies on the distribution of wealth in terms of the underlying economic mechanisms generating skewness and thick tails. Further, we show how these mechanisms can be micro-founded by the consumption-saving decisions of rational agents in specific economic and demographic environments. Finally we map the large empirical work on the wealth distribution to its theoretical underpinnings."
via:cshalizi  wealth  inequality  economics 
6 days ago by rvenkat
Skewed Wealth Distributions: Theory and Empirics
"Invariably across a cross-section of countries and time periods, wealth distributions are skewed to the right displaying thick upper tails, that is, large and slowly declining top wealth shares. In this survey we categorize the theoretical studies on the distribution of wealth in terms of the underlying economic mechanisms generating skewness and thick tails. Further, we show how these mechanisms can be micro-founded by the consumption-saving decisions of rational agents in specific economic and demographic environments. Finally we map the large empirical work on the wealth distribution to its theoretical underpinnings."
to:NB  heavy_tails  inequality  economics 
6 days ago by cshalizi
Closing the Gap: The Effect of a Targeted, Tuition-Free Promise on College Choices of High-Achieving, Low-Income Students
Low-income students, even those with strong academic credentials, are unlikely to attend a highly selective college. With a field experiment, we test an intervention to increase enrollment of low-income students at the highly selective University of Michigan. We contact students (as well as their parents and principals) with an encouragement to apply and a promise of four years of free tuition and fees upon admission. Materials emphasize that this offer is not contingent on completing aid applications (e.g., the FAFSA or PROFILE). Treated students were more than twice as likely to apply to (67 percent vs. 26 percent) and enroll at (27 percent vs. 12 percent) the University of Michigan. There was no diversion from schools as (or more) selective as UM. The enrollment effect of 15 percentage points (pp) comprises students who would otherwise attend a less selective, four-year college (7 pp), a community college (4 pp), or no college (4 pp). Effects persist through two years of follow-up. The intervention closed by half the income gaps in college choice among Michigan's high-achieving students. We conclude that an encouragement to apply, paired with a promise of aid, when communicated to students and influential adults, can substantially close income gaps in college choices.
intervention  experimental_design  education  inequality  susan.dynarski 
7 days ago by rvenkat

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