A joint post by Lindsey Macmillan and Ben Baumberg looks at an important – but easily misinterpreted – new paper on ‘Family Welfare Cultures’.
With the topic of intergenerational worklessness high on the political agenda, a clever recent Norwegian paper on the role of family welfare cultures in intergenerational welfare dependency has been attracting some interest. If you listen to the government rhetoric on the topic, the ‘curse of intergenerational worklessness’ is bred directly through families passing on welfare seeking behaviour from one generation to the next. This conjures up images of the (effectively non-existent) ‘never working family’ with the parent taking the child to the job centre on their 18th birthday to show them how to sign on. On the face of it, this recent paper fits into this rhetoric – but the actual message of the paper is more complex than it looks. Continue reading
As part of the International Year of Statistics (by the way, it’s also the International Year of Water Cooperation, and the International Year of Quinoa, so good quinoa recipes in the comments please), Ipsos Mori recently conducted a survey looking at people’s factual beliefs about the UK. I’m sure you’ll all be shocked to hear that (among other things) the British people heroically overestimate:
In this guest post, Kênia Parsons of LSE/University of New South Wales explores the continuing, inequality-fuelled protests in her home country of Brazil.
“It’s not only about cents, it’s about billions in inequality”
A wave of protests has invaded the Brazilian streets. An increase in bus fares was the spark needed to ignite the street protests. Brazilians are protesting about public transport, health services, education, the blow out costs of the World Cup, the high price of living, violence, corruption and the list goes on and on. These protests are not only about the lack of basic infrastructure but also about the quality of the existing infrastructure. A proposal to amend the Constitution (PEC 37) – popularly called the “impunity amendment”- seizing the Public Prosecution’s power of criminal investigation, has contributed to fuelling this sentiment of anger and dissatisfaction against public authorities (1). In this post, I consider the nature of the protests and how far they show us the harmful effects of inequality in the Brazilian society. Continue reading
Asian Americans are among the fastest growing demographics in the United States, yet they receive little attention in the study of racial inequality. This is especially surprising because Asian Americans occupy a paradoxical position in American society — simultaneously successful and marginal.
On average, Asian American educational attainment, income, and wealth is equal to, or surpasses, whites, yet Asians remain on the social periphery in many respects. For example, Asian American stereotypes are pervasive in the media, and social advancement for Asian Americans has stalled in some areas of social life. Asian Americans earn less and are less likely to occupy managerial positions than whites with similar educational backgrounds.
How are Asian Americans perceived by other racial groups, and what can that tell us about their social standing? Continue reading
In a guest post, Pablo Gracia looks at inequalities in how parents spend time with their children, using his own research on the UK and Spain – and then considers the likely causes, consequences, and what this might all mean for policy.
When people think of inequality, words like money or income often come to their minds. But it is rarer to associate inequality with parenting. This post actually stresses that parenting practices are critical for the reproduction of inequality. The way parents of different levels of education spend time with children plays an important role in shaping socioeconomic differences in children’s schooling and socioeconomic outcomes. Continue reading
The moral bankruptcy of the modern rich is a popular topic these days; whether they are private individuals avoiding tax (see Jimmy Carr, Lord Ashcroft, and the new kings of full-on tax evasion, Dolce & Gabanna), or the heads of corporations overseeing damaging policies (and, of course, avoiding tax).
This is often framed in terms of a decline in ‘civic morality’. There was a time, so the thinking goes, when the rich had a better appreciation of their responsibilities with respect to wider society. Continue reading
It has all the makings of a great academic fist-fight.* In a classic 1998 article, Walter Korpi and Joakim Palme wrote a hugely influential article called ‘the paradox of redistribution,’ which argued that a targeted benefit system ended up achieving redistribution than a more universal one (see here). Now in 2013, three Belgian academics have written a working paper that claims that the paradox is no longer true – in other words, that there is simply no general relationship between targeting, universalism and redistribution.
This debate clearly matters. But who is right? Continue reading
If you’re reading this blog, you’re likely to be someone who’s interested in ‘truth’ – finding out the evidence on inequalities, and using this as a platform for action. You might have protested about the way that politicians and the media perpetuate inequalities by peddling ‘myths’. You may even have dedicated your whole life to finding out truths and spreading them far and wide – however uncomfortable for people in power, or even yourself.
But what if all this actually makes it less likely that inequalities will be tackled?
That’s the possibility raised by an intriguing book chapter by Andrew Rich, which studies US think tanks to try and understand why conservative ideas have been dominant over liberal ideas in the US in recent decades. Continue reading
Adriane Gelpi, a doctoral candidate in Health Policy at Harvard and a fellow at the Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics, describes the intricate ethics and politics of health care resource allocation in Chile. This was originally posted on the Safra Center blog.
Imagine that you are the Minister of Health for Chile, a middle-income country with a nearly universal health system. You face a predicament that pops up regularly. The Chilean health system provides a politically popular package of health interventions to meet the medical needs of its citizens. At the moment, 80 conditions are covered, leaving those suffering from other conditions without access to care for their serious medical needs. You would like to add another benefit to the existing package of services, but the Minister of Finance has given you a hard ceiling on the budget. You cannot add a service without subtracting another, a politically perilous move.
So the task before you is to decide how to allocate the available health resources in the best way possible. But questions immediately arise: how do you define “best”? Many goals for this allocation could be reasonable. For example, you may decide to focus on outcomes, including maximizing overall heath gain, controlling expenditures, addressing diseases with high prevalence, a concern for social justice, a focus on vulnerable populations, or investment in capacity. Continue reading
This week the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3 for short) was held in Los Angeles. This is an event the makers of computer games hold ever year to show off their wares; and every year sparks the same debate about the representation of women. This year marked the announcement of the next generation of Playstations and Xboxes, with Sony and Microsoft announcing a slew of games for their shiny new machines. Notably lacking, particularly from Microsoft, were games where the main character was not a man.
Now I know what some of you will be thinking – does this really matter? Continue reading