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February 20, 2008

Another Economic Mobility Project Publication AND Helpful Urban Institute Lit Review

From their email announcement (do check out the lit reviews at the end of this posting):

The Economic Mobility Project released five new chapters in its continuing series on economic mobility and the status of the American Dream. The new chapters include; (1) an overview of the issue; (2) an examination of mobility trends over time; (3) a new look into the role education plays on mobility; (4) an analysis of the impact of wealth on mobility; and (5) a comparison of mobility in the United States with that of other industrialized countries.  These chapters, combined with previously released pieces on gender, race, immigration, and families, comprise the comprehensive volume: "Getting Ahead or Losing Ground: Economic Mobility in America."

The new reports, written by Julia B. Isaacs, Isabel V. Sawhill and Ron Haskins, all from The Brookings Institution, present the following main findings:

  • For most of our history, Americans have experienced rapid economic growth and therefore robust upward absolute mobility. Over the last generation, however, economic growth has slowed without evidence of an offsetting increase in relative mobility.

  • Regardless of parental income, adult children are more likely to surpass their parents' income if they have a college degree and more likely to reach the top quintile if they have a college degree.

  • For those born to parents in the bottom quintile, only 5 percent of those without a college degree make it to the top income quintile, compared to 19 percent that do have a college degree.

  • The best available evidence suggests that the U.S. has less intergenerational relative mobility than many European countries, challenging the traditional view of the United States as the land of opportunity.

  • While there is considerable movement throughout the income and wealth distributions, there remains considerable "stickiness" at the tails of both distributions.

SECONDLY (and perhaps most useful for professors): The Project released today are a set of 11 literature reviews on various issues related to economic mobility. Led by a team of researchers from The Urban Institute, the project has aggregated the best-available research to date on various factors that might influence individual and family economic mobility, both within and across generations. The reviews cover a broad range of individual and family factors including education, families, health, self-employment, and wealth, and they address a variety of social factors including discrimination, globalization, immigration, labor market institutions, and tax and spending policy.

-E.R. erosser@wcl.american.edu

February 20, 2008 in Books/Articles/Reports of Interest | Permalink

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