Month: October 2012

  • The positive and negative consequences of the welfare state

    In a previous post, I argued that people had exaggerated the extent to which public support for the benefits system had fallen in Britain. Here, I want to look at another aspect of this that also came out recently – how far we think the benefits system causes negative consequences for the economy and society. […]

  • Human Capital, Inequality, and Justice Between Generations

    Douglas Holtz-Eakin is a Republican economist and a former director of the Congressional Budget Office. He wrote a recent editorial for The New York Times that advocated a dramatic reversal of traditional US policies toward reducing inequality. Holtz-Eakin thinks that Americans can “make their own safety nets.” Instead of giving the elderly entitlements to retirement […]

  • Sickness benefits, suspicion, and anxiety

    In a guest post, Kayleigh Garthwaite talks about her recent research with sickness benefit claimants.  Prompted by a hostile email from a GP after speaking about her research recently on national radio, Kayleigh reflects on the real barriers that sickness benefit claimants face, and the challenges of living in a climate of institutionalised suspicion. What does […]

  • How much is health care worth to the poor?

    In my very first Inequalities blog post I considered the argument that the United States has a more generous safety net for the poor than conventional comparisons with European states would suggest because we spend so much on public health care programs for the poor, elderly, and disabled. Subsequently, I reviewed work by Richard Burkhauser […]

  • On middle school as a mass casualty site

    I recently read Paul Tough’s Whatever It Takes: Geoffrey Canada’s Quest to Change Harlem and America, a deservedly celebrated book. It describes that efforts by Canada (GC hereafter) to give children in Harlem the skills they need to compete with other American children. Impoverished children face adverse environments at every stage of development, so disadvantage […]

  • The misreported death of solidarity in Britain

    It’s rare for journalists to be waiting for social research with baited breath, pens poised and column inches left blank in anticipation. But the annual release of the ‘British Social Attitudes’ series does just that, a testament to just how interested we are in what we think about one another (and to cheap journalism…). The […]

  • When do charter schools work?

    Are KIPP schools the solution to what ails the poorest, most disadvantaged urban students? The KIPP educational paradigm rests on a few core principles (“the Five Pillars”) – High Expectations, Choice and Commitment, More Time, Power to Lead, and Focus on Results. Students at KIPP schools work in highly structured learning environments for much longer […]

  • Choosing the lesser evil in 2012

    Writing about egalitarian politics is, for me, a way to imagine a utopian world. You can supply the John Lennon reference for yourselves. This is what I have in mind: Practicing egalitarian politics, however, does not take place in utopia, and offers few straightforward moral choices. Obama seemed to put utopia on the ballot in […]