Monthly Archives: June 2011

When a fair chance isn’t an equal chance

Even without knowing him personally, it should be obvious from the title of his book on school choice, ‘How Not To Be A Hypocrite’, that Adam Swift is an interesting guy.  This is the sort of moral philosophy that tries … Continue reading

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Democracy and Rules are Like Peas in a Pod

Check out the Breakthrough Journal, an exciting new venue for progressive politics. In the first issue, Dalton Conley has an essay that argues progressive social policy should focus more on the relative, rather than the absolute, dimensions of poverty. He … Continue reading

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Labor Unions and the Moral Economy

Bruce Western and Jake Rosenfeld have a really excellent working paper that revisits the debate about the effect of declining unionization since the 1970s on wage inequality. Unions were a staple in many “smokestack” industries in the 1950s and 1960s, … Continue reading

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Regulation, Taxes, and Freedom

A few weeks ago I wrote a blog post about the Human Development Project, a project sponsored by the Social Science Research Council to develop indicators of individual wellbeing across U.S. states and demographic groups. The basic idea is to … Continue reading

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The rise and fall of a killer chart

No single graph has captured the political imagination quite like Leon Feinstein’s killer chart.  In one go, it showed that talent was no substitute for parental advantage even at early ages – and has since been endlessly used to justify … Continue reading

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Who Learns in the Summer?

When you’re a kid, nothing beats the delirious excitement of summer vacation. After the final school bell rings in mid June, or thereabout, millions of American schoolchildren trade the books and stuffy classrooms for lounging around the house and the … Continue reading

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Justifying unfairness

So why do people stand for it? One of the longstanding questions in social research is why so many people accept the hand they have been dealt, rather than challenging the way society is organised. I was reminded of this … Continue reading

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Living longer, yet less able to work

Last week Brendan described the results of a new NBER report that argued there was a contradiction between (i) declining mortality rates in the US/UK, and (ii) higher levels of disability benefits for people who are too sick to work. … Continue reading

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We’re Living Longer, Why Aren’t We Working More?

All welfare states – generous and restrictive –grapple with the question of how to design disability benefits. When benefits are large relative to market wages, and the criteria for disability are fairly loose, individuals with moderate health impairments that could … Continue reading

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