Inequality: How Does the US Compare with the Rest of the World?

How-Does-America-Rank-in-Inequality-Measures NYTimes

Three articles from Decisions Based on Evidence, on the idea of inequality:

  1. A general comparison of the US to the rest of the world
  2. Intergenerational economic mobility
  3. The effect of early childhood education

Inequality: How Does the US Compare with the Rest of the World?

“The United States is one of the richest nations on earth, but on a number of social and economic measures, it is more typical of a developing country.”

A Comparison of Intergenerational Earnings Mobility in the Nordic Countries, the United Kingdom and the United States

In all the countries studied, children tended to follow their fathers in relative earnings. However, economic mobility is lowest in the US.

“In the U.S. [there is] a particularly high likelihood that sons of the poorest fathers will remain in the lowest earnings quintile. This is a challenge to the popular notion of ‘American exceptionalism’.”

The Key Role of Early Childhood Education in Explaining Social Mobility Differences Between US and Other Countries

Raj Chetty (in an interview on CNN) was asked what other countries do well, compared to the USA:

“If I were to offer a candid hypothesis, it would come back to early childhood education or school quality more generally, things related to segregation or the degree of inequality.”

You can read those articles for a more full explanation.

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2 responses to “Inequality: How Does the US Compare with the Rest of the World?”

  1. Rob says :

    I don’t know why this interests me the last year or so. Maybe it’s being exposed to the bottom quintile and wanting to help maybe its because I’m an old curmudgeon who is tired of an expanding federal role in family life. But, it seems that the first article implies our poor would be better off in Greece with its 25% unemployment and bailouts. Which I find hard to believe.

    Guess I’m going to have to read the articles.

    • joeyespinosa says :

      Some of that data is from 2005, about 5 years before the Greek financial implosion.

      But your point is well-taken. We can’t just look at some data and expect to understand the whole picture. And the big picture is always more complicated that we’d like to think.

      I just like that these articles provide talking points.

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