The American Economy Is Rigged

Americans are used to thinking that their nation is special. In many ways, it is: the U.S. has by far the most Nobel Prize winners, the largest defense expenditures (almost equal to the next 10 or so countries put together) and the most billionaires (twice as many as China, the closest competitor). But some examples […]

Longevity Economics: Leveraging the Advantages of an Aging Society

An aging society is a fact for the United States, much of the developed world, and many developing countries. People are reaching traditional retirement ages with many years of expected life remaining and their functional capacity largely intact. Many of these people want to continue contributing to society through activities that are meaningful to the […]

The notion of precariousness among older adults living alone in the U.S.

This paper argues that older adults living alone in the U.S. face a set of unique challenges, as they are likely to experience a sense of precariousness. The term precariousness points to an intrinsic sense of instability and insecurity stemming from a lack of, or difficulty to, access essential resources. During a two-year ethnography of […]

Quality of life in the contemporary politics of healthcare: … but what is a life?

‘Quality of life’ (QoL) is a ubiquitous phrase in medicine. There is considerable literature on the meaning of ‘quality’ in ‘quality of life’, but little on the meaning of ‘life’. And yet, rooted in measurements of QoL, is a conceptualization of ‘a life’ used to judge ‘quality’. In this article I focus on ‘life’ within […]

Precarity in late life: Understanding new forms of risk and insecurity

Population aging and longevity in the context of declining social commitments, raises concerns about disadvantage and widening inequality in late life. This paper explores the concept of precarity as a means to understand new and sustained forms of risk and insecurity that affect late life. The article begins with a review of the definition and […]

The Decline in Lifetime Earnings Mobility in the U.S.: Evidence from Survey-Linked Administrative Data

Abstract There is a sizable literature that examines whether intergenerational mobility has declined as inequality has increased. This literature is motivated by a desire to understand whether increasing inequality has made it more difficult to rise from humble origins. An equally important component of economic mobility is the ability to move across the earnings distribution […]

Inequality in the long run

The distribution of income and wealth is a widely discussed and controversial topic. Do the dynamics of private capital accumulation inevitably lead to the concentration of income and wealth in ever fewer hands, as Karl Marx believed in the 19th century? Or do the balancing forces of growth, competition, and technological progress lead in later […]

Why the Surge in Income Inequality?

Income inequality is more severe in the United States than in any other affluent longstanding-democratic country, and it has increased sharply in the past generation. The rise in inequality is mainly a story of growing separation between households in the top 1 percent and those in the ‘‘bottom’’ 99 percent. Income inequality within the lower 99 […]

Inequality: What Can Be Done?

As discussed in Inequality: What Can Be Done?, the study of income inequality was “marginalized” in mainstream economics for much of the twentieth century. The most notable exception to this generalization is the work of Anthony B. Atkinson, the British economist who is the leading authority and pioneer of the economics of inequality. He even […]

Stumbling towards Stockholm

Lane Kenworthy believes that within the next half-century the United States will very likely become a “modern social democracy,” using government to advance a “good society” of economic security, opportunity (at least in the Amartya Sen sense of “capabilities”), and rising living standards for all. It will do this through generous and employment-friendly social policies […]

Why Hasn’t Democracy Slowed Rising Inequality?

During the past two generations, democratic forms have coexisted with massive increases in economic inequality in the United States and many other advanced democracies. Moreover, these new inequalities have primarily benefited the top 1 percent and even the top .01 percent. These groups seem sufficiently small that economic inequality could be held in check by […]