Poverty and income inequality

Michael Reich, 23 August 2019

The US has an epidemic of "deaths of despair". Michael Reich tells Tim Phillips that new research implies that a $15 minimum wage doesn't just cut poverty, it also saves lives. But is Congress listening?

James Heckman, Ganesh Karapakula, 23 August 2019

The Perry Preschool Project was a social experiment implemented in the US in the 1960s. The oldest early childhood intervention trial with long-term follow-up, it saw five cohorts of African American children from low-income families in Ypsilanti, Michigan, randomly assigned to attend free, high-quality pre-school. This column shows some of the lasting benefits, particularly for males, of an early childhood education programme targeted at disadvantaged children – from reduced crime to improved executive functioning, socioemotional skills, earnings, and health. It also documents the intergenerational benefits of the intervention on the children of the original participants. The conclusions are supported by statistically conservative small-sample tests.

Shari Eli, Trevon Logan, Boriana Miloucheva, 20 August 2019

The mortality gap between blacks and whites in the US has been well documented, but there is still considerable debate over why the gap has remained so large and why it has persisted over the last century. This column explores these questions using unique data on black and white Civil War veterans to measure one of the earliest known incidences of physician bias against African Americans. It shows that physician bias had large effects on income and longevity of blacks relative to whites and considers the ways in which doctor attitudes still contribute to the racial mortality gap today. 

Laurence Boone, 26 July 2019

France has surprisingly low social mobility. OECD chief economist Laurence Boone tells Tim Phillips why this is the case, how the problem fuels the gilets jaunes protests, and what can be done about it.

Charles Courtemanche, Art Carden, Xilin Zhou, Murugi Ndirangu, 18 July 2019

Food security is a concern even in industrialised countries, with 14.5% of US households lacking food security during at least some of the year 2012. This column examines the impact of Walmart Supercenters’ entry into the local market and finds that it improves food security, especially among low-income households and households with children. It suggests that the unintended consequences of policies aimed at thwarting Walmart’s market entry may reduce food security for the most vulnerable segments of society.

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