Who’s Your Daddy? Some feedback from the top 1% on my New York Times article

Among the readers of an opinion piece I wrote in the New York Times on July 21st, Who’s Your Daddy? Job Opportunities for the children of the top 1 percent,  are two top 1 percenters who kindly took the time to email me their thoughts.

One of the goofiest most nonsensical things I have ever seen filled with
contradictions as you twist opposite conclusions to fit your thesis of
inequality. Just bizarre.

Sent from my iPad

My article was based on a soon to be published paper, Income Inequality, Equality of Opportunity, and Intergenerational Mobility , so I would hope that it has some logic to it.

The following comments are from another top 1 percenter who offers a more nuanced view on my logic, such as it is. Continue reading “Who’s Your Daddy? Some feedback from the top 1% on my New York Times article”

Income Inequality, Equality of Opportunity, and Intergenerational Mobility

The summer issue of the Journal of Economic Perspectives will feature a collection of articles on inequality and the top 1%, some of which are now being circulated by the authors.

The paper by Tony Atkinson and his coauthors, “The top 1 percent in international and historical perspective,” is available in this post, and “The Pay of Corporate Executives and Financial Professionals as Evidence of Rents in Top 1 Percent Incomes,” by Josh Bivens and Lawerence Mishel, is available on the Economic Policy Institute website.

Greg Mankiw has also posted a copy of his paper, “Defending the One Percent“, on his blog.

My contribution to the collection is based on the notion that the inequality literature has paid little attention to the intergenerational consequences of increasing top income shares, and it can be read as a counterpoint to Mankiw’s piece, or at least to his claim that inequality of opportunity is not a reason to worry about the top 1%.

Here is the final draft: Income Inequality, Equality of Opportunity, and Intergenerational Mobility. But if you just want a quick read, an excerpt from the conclusion follows. Either way, feedback is—as always—welcomed.

[NOTE added December 10, 2013: the published version of this paper is available from the American Economics Association website for the Summer 2013 issue of the Journal of Economic Perspectives, as is the table of contents for the entire issue.]

Continue reading “Income Inequality, Equality of Opportunity, and Intergenerational Mobility”

The Great Gatsby: as Hollywood never imagined it

After much anticipation Hollywood finally releases its version of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s classic novel, The Great Gatsby.

Was Gatsby a crook? Or was he a victim of a crooked game, the American Dream as a broken promise?

In this program originally aired on CBC radio last August, Sarah Churchwell of the University of East Anglia, a professor of American literature and author of Careless People, interprets Fitzgerald as saying the American Dream is a lie.

But listen also for my reading of a few passages to appreciate, tongue-in-cheek, why the underlying economics suggest that The Great Gatsby is indeed a novel for our times.

If you want the movie version, and a detailed discussion of The Great Gatsby Curve, here is a lecture I had the honour to give earlier this year at the University of Lethbridge on the invitation of the Prentice Institute and its Director Susan McDaniel.

I have to admit, however, the Hollywood version looks somewhat more exciting!

Inequality and social mobility, an interesting discussion

Canada2020 event February 26 2013

“The idea that all citizens should have an equal chance to succeed in life, regardless of where they start, is fundamental to liberal societies and emblematic of the American—and Canadian—dream” is the way a Canadian think tank, Canada2020, introduces a panel discussion it hosted that explored the idea of economic mobility, why it is important, and how it is related to inequality of outcomes.

I was a member of the panel and had a very interesting—and at times humorous and entertaining—discussion with Zanny Minton Beddoes the economics editor of The Economist, Carolyn Acker the founder of Pathways to Education, and Ron Haskins a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution. You can view the entire discussion, which was moderated by Diana Carney, by clicking on the following screen shot (and waiting a bit for it to load):

The short presentation I made at the beginning of the talk is, if you are interested, available here: Equality_of_Opportunity_A_Canadian_Dream_for_Canada2020

I plan on revising the background document I wrote for the event—which you can download from the Canada2020 website—and would therefore be very pleased to hear your views on the discussion, and any specific feedback you might have.

How to Slide Down the Great Gatsby Curve: Inequality, Life Chances, and Public Policy in the United States

CorakMiddleClass_fig1

The Center for American Progress has released a study I wrote called “How to Slide Down the Great Gatsby Curve: Inequality, Life Chances, and Public Policy in the United States”. Here is an excerpt:

Continue reading “How to Slide Down the Great Gatsby Curve: Inequality, Life Chances, and Public Policy in the United States”