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Articles by Scott Winship

Debunking The Great Gatsby Curve

Scott Winship | 05/21/2015

The Great Gatsby Curve has certainly generated plenty of heat, but very little light. The measure of “mobility” used in the Curve — the “intergenerational elasticity” — worsens when the rate of growth in inequality rises. It is hardly surprising that a mobility indicator that also reflects inequality growth should be correlated with inequality.The United States has the same upward mobility rates as Canada and Sweden, despite the fact that the three countries have, respectively, high, moderate, and low levels of inequality. 

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The Left's Worst Inequality Bogeyman Attempt Yet

Scott Winship | 05/15/2015

When adults’ incomes are compared with their own parents’ incomes at the same age, the median change between 1978 and 2005 was a 93 percent increase. Today’s adults typically have incomes twice as large as their parents had at the same age. Fully 83 percent of today’s adults are better off than their parents were.

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Has Middle-Class Pay Risen As Much As It Should Have?

Scott Winship | 05/12/2015

Even if rising inequality did come at the expense of the middle class (or the poor), there is a values question that is separate from the empirical question: should the middle class (or the poor) have seen stronger income growth? 

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Does America Have Less Economic Mobility? Part 3

Scott Winship | 05/08/2015

In the first installment of this series on America’s economic mobility, I noted that the conventional wisdom that the U.S. has worse economic mobility than other countries was firmed up by two 2006 papers, one by Miles Corak, one by a team led by Markus Jantti. The second installment argued that the findings from papers like Corak’s are cast into doubt by Corak’s latest paper with two coauthors. This column, the third installment, now turns to the Jantti paper, which was notable for comparing several countries using pure measures of rank mobility.

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Does America Have Less Economic Mobility? Part 2

Scott Winship | 04/22/2015

Nothing in the Corak, Linduist, and Mazumder paper suggests that U.S. and Swedish levels of mobility differ meaningfully from each other. That still leaves the 2006 paper by Jantti and his coauthors, which found that the U.S. had lower relative mobility—at least for sons starting out at the bottom—than Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland, and the U.K. I’ll explain why this paper’s conclusion is also incorrect and explore some additional research comparing the U.S. to other countries in my final installment.

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Does America Have Less Economic Mobility? Part 1

Scott Winship | 04/20/2015

The new evidence does not suggest that the U.S. has especially high economic mobility, but it does indicate that America is not the international laggard that has been portrayed by earlier studies. In this multi-part series, I will lay out the case for this surprising conclusion. In this installment, I review how the old consensus developed and discuss the methodological details necessary for understanding why the early mobility research gave the wrong impression. 

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Will Welfare Reform Increase Upward Mobility?

Scott Winship | 03/26/2015

One possible force for greater upward mobility is the welfare reforms of the 1990s. Hear me out, because I think the case is stronger than is generally admitted. We probably won’t know the answer for a few more years, because the oldest children born in the 1990s are only 25 years old today, and the youngest are barely 15 years old.

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The Big Lebowski Defense

Scott Winship | 03/26/2015

The past two weeks have seen a conversation between liberals and conservatives around the decline in marriage and its relationship to economics and cultural change. My last column argued that while marriage has declined, men’s earnings have deteriorated little if at all, making it difficult to link the two. One reaction was a sort of theoretical contortionism where declines in male earnings reduce marriage while, asymmetrically, improvements in earnings fail to raise marriage rates. 

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How to Fix Disability Insurance

Scott Winship | 03/24/2015

In late 2016, right around the time we elect the 45th president of the United States, we are due for our first entitlement crisis in two decades

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Is the Decline In Men’s Earnings Behind Marriage’s Demise?

Scott Winship | 03/17/2015

Over at Demos’s Policyshop blog, Matt Bruenig has a post up on whether the declining economic fortunes of men lower down the earnings distribution is behind the decline in marriage. I’m currently slammed, so I can’t give this the attention it deserves.

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