We’ve just launched the site to a wider audience – so for new readers, here’s a quick recap of what you’ve missed since the blog was launched:
- Beyond the welfare state – several of us have arguing that it’s simply not enough to study inequalities by looking at the welfare state. In two brilliant posts, Charlotte Cavaille argued that the rise in US inequality is caused by politics not economics (summarising Hacker & Pierson’s already-influential new book), before developing her own argument about how researchers need to respond in both theory and research.
- But the welfare state still matters… Following a furious debate in the UK, I asked how we can decide whether to cut middle-class benefits – something I developed over at Left Foot Forward. Meanwhile, Daniel Sage showed how Labour planted the seeds of the cuts in benefits for the poorest, while Brendan argued that we should spare children from the worst cuts.
- Health insurance in the US – in a great series of posts, Brendan illuminated several of the key battlegrounds in US healthcare reform – in particular the battle for public support, how to avoid hurting employers too harshly, and whether US healthcare system offers value-for-money.
- Education – two guest posters have written challenging pieces about education policy in the UK & US. While high-stakes school testing may help raise standards, Kendra Bischoff also worries that it may increase inequalities. And in the context of large students protests about university funding in the UK, Timo Idema argues that progressives should learn to love high tuition fees.
- The politics of inequality – while Americans implicitly support a more equal distribution of income, this doesn’t seem to be reflected in their political preferences. A fascinating experiment showed that this might because we simply don’t know how much other people earn – and when we do, we become more opposed to inequality.
- Poverty & unemployment in the recession – the great recession has obviously been hanging over everything on the blog, and Brendan has been chronicling how this has affected poverty and unemployment in the US. So we now know what’s been happening to poverty, the importance of different measures of unemployment in a recession, and where it’s best to be a low-educated worker.
- Does inequality matter? Finally, we’ve responded to Richard Wilkinson & Kate Pickett’s influential argument that ‘more equal societies do better’ in terms of their health, crime, and quality of life. Rob de Vries wondered whether inequality really explains everything, while I took issue with the way Wilkinson & Pickett presented their case – arguing that in some ways, they did more harm than good.
And we’ve also had various posts that are more uncategorizable, like whether legalizing marijuana will help minorities in California, how to study culture without blaming the victim, and a great debate between Diederik & Brendan on whether highly-educated women are more likely to get married.
We hope you find the articles as interesting as we have – and if you’d be interested in responding to any of these (or writing about something completely different), then please get in touch!