Found 663 article(s) in category 'Inequality'

Racial wealth inequality: Social problems and solutions

Racial wealth inequality: Social problems and solutions. Alexandra Killewald, June 3, 2019, Video, “White college graduates have over seven times more wealth than black college graduates and nearly four times more wealth than Latino college graduates. White single parents have roughly two times more wealth than two-parent black and Latino households. Rather than education, family structure, or conspicuous consumption, scholars point to historic policies (e.g., Homestead Act, GI Bill, Social Security) that have excluded minorities from having similar wealth-building opportunities as white individuals. Furthermore, empirical evidence suggests that discrimination and structural racism are among contemporary drivers that prevent minority communities from obtaining equitable housing loans, adequate neighborhood resources (such as grocery stores and healthcare services), and access to jobs and education. A series of policy solutions including student loan forgiveness, universal basic income, federal job guarantee, baby bonds, and reparations have been presented as potential solutions.Link

 

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Consumption Taxes, Redistribution and Informality

Consumption Taxes, Redistribution and Informality. Anders Jensen, 2019, Paper, “We study how the presence of large informal sectors in developing countries impacts the distributional properties of consumption taxes. We assemble a dataset of household expenditure using micro-data from 20 countries at different levels of economic development. Using the place of purchase to proxy for informal consumption, we show a large negative relation between informal consumption shares and households’ total expenditure, which is robust to product and geography controls. This implies that consumption taxes are de-facto progressive: households in the top decile pay 70% more taxes as a share of expenditure than households in the bottom decile. Finally, we build a model of optimal commodity taxation in the presence of informal consumption, which we calibrate to our data. We find that optimal tax rates are less differentiated across products with an informal sector. Tax exempting necessities, such as food, is rarely optimal as it leads to only a marginal gain in progressivity.Link

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Trickle-down innovation and the longevity of nations

Trickle-down innovation and the longevity of nations. Amitabh Chandra, June 1, 2019, Paper, “The association between income and life expectancy is so robust and persistent across countries that it has a name, the Preston Curve, named after the economist who first described it. 1 The strength of the association begs the question: must citizens of poorer countries wait for their economies to grow before they can expect to enjoy the life expectancies of wealthier nations? Or can longevity improve, even in the absence of economic gains? The answer has important implications for human wellbeing around the world.Link

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Feasible Nash Implementation of Social Choice Rules When the Designer Does Not Know Endowments

Feasible Nash Implementation of Social Choice Rules When the Designer Does Not Know Endowments. Eric Maskin, May 31, 2019, Paper, “The aim of the present paper is to analyze the problem of assuring the feasibility of a mechanism (game form), implementing in Nash equilibrium a given social choice rule abbreviated as (SCR) when the mechanism is constrained as to the way in which it is permitted to depend on endowments. A social choice rule is a correspondence specifying outcomes considered to be desirable in a given economy (environment). A mechanism is defined by (a) an outcome function and (b) a strategy domain prescribed for each player. Our outcome functions are not permitted to depend at all on the initial endowments. As to strategy domains, the with agent’s strategy domain Si is only permitted to depend on that agent’s endowment, but not on the endowments, other agents. (For earlier results concerning endowment manipulation, see Postlewaite (1979) and Sertel (1990).)Link

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People Over Pandas: Taiwan’s Engagement of International Human Rights Norms with Respect to Disability

People Over Pandas: Taiwan’s Engagement of International Human Rights Norms with Respect to Disability. William Alford, May 17, 2019, Book Chapter, “Taiwan’s early law (1980) regarding disability presumed a medical model—i.e., seeing disability as an individual problem rather than a societal responsibility. Facing considerable discrimination and inspired by the social model embodied elsewhere, including in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), citizen activists, including disabled persons organizations, have pressed for legislative reform. Following the earlier support of the administration of President Ma Ying-jeou for incorporation of the United Nations Human Rights Covenants into domestic law (owing to Taiwan’s being barred from formal accession), the Legislative Yuan in 2014 passed a bill designed to incorporate the CRPD into Republic of China (R.O.C) law. That measure not only retained all key provisions of the CRPD but also called on the Executive Yuan to conduct a comprehensive review of existing legal measures for compliance and pro-actively to engage persons with disabilities in implementing the new law, while also establishing innovative reporting and monitoring mechanisms intended to parallel the requirements of the CRPD. Much progress has been achieved but serious challenges remain regarding discrimination, especially with respect to employment and reasonable accommodations, while some scholars have questioned the suitability of a highly individual-focused rights-based model for Taiwanese society. Disabled persons organizations continue to play an active role both in policy and legal advocacy and in seeking to educate the public more broadly about disability.Link

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An Industrial Policy for Good Jobs

An Industrial Policy for Good Jobs. Dani Rodrik, May 8, 2019, “So-called productive dualism is driving many contemporary ills in developed and developing countries alike: rising inequality and exclusion, loss of trust in governing elites, and growing electoral support for authoritarian populists. But much of the policy discussion today focuses on solutions that miss the true source of the problem.Link

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Second Chance: Life without Student Debt

Second Chance: Life without Student Debt. Marco Di Maggio, April 26, 2019, Paper, “Rising student debt is considered one of the creeping threats of our time. This paper examines the effect of student debt relief on individual credit and labor market outcomes. We exploit the plausibly-random debt discharge due to the inability of National Collegiate, the largest owner of private student loan debt, to prove chain of title for thousands of loans across the US. Using hand-collected lawsuits filings matched with individual credit bureau information, we find that borrowers experiencing the debt relief shock reduce their indebtedness by 26%, by both reducing their demand for credit and limiting the use of existing credit accounts, and are 12% less likely to default on other accounts. After the discharge, the borrowers’ geographical mobility increases, as well as, their probability to change jobs and ultimately their income increases by more than $4000 over a three year period, which is equivalent to about two months’ salary. These findings speak to the benefits of intervening in the student loan market to reduce the consequences of debt overhang problems by forgiving student debts.Link

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Equal Pay Day: closing the gender wage gap

Equal Pay Day: closing the gender wage gap. Hannah Riley Bowles, April 1, 2019, Audio, “Today is Equal Pay Day so we’re going to spend the hour looking at the gender pay gap. Studies show that women working full-time make around 82 cents for every $1 that their male colleagues make. For women of color that divide is even larger. This hour, we’ll discuss why men continue to be paid more than women in the workplace, what role career choices and sex discrimination play in the disparity, and what can be done to shrink the gap. We’ll also talk about legislation that recently passed in the U.S. House of Representatives that would ensure equal wages for men and women. Our guests are JOCELYN FRYE, a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress, and HANNAH RILEY BOWLES, senior lecturer at Harvard Kennedy School.Link

 

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The Political Economy of Hunger: On Reasoning and Participation

The Political Economy of Hunger: On Reasoning and Participation. Amartya Sen, April 2019, Paper, “Sen’s essay concerns the existence of extensive hunger amidst unprecedented global prosperity in the contemporary world, but he argues that the problem would be decisively solvable if our response were no longer shaped by Malthusian pessimism. Effective famine prevention does not turn on food supply per head and the automatic mechanism of the market: there can be plenty of food while large sections of the population lack the means to obtain it. Effective famine prevention thus requires “entitlements.” Economically, governments can and should provide public employment programs so that those threatened by famine can be empowered to command food. Politically, democratic participation and a free press can work to ensure government accountability for famine prevention. The choice that Sen urges, however, is not for the state over the market—the experience of the Indian state of Kerala demonstrates that a voluntaristic approach can work as well or better than China’s compulsory “one child policy” in limiting the rapid population growth that contributes to world hunger. Rather, a reasoned solution to the problem of hunger must acknowledge the complementary importance of both well-functioning markets and open and democratic public action.Link

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