Have poverty levels and inequality in the US soared in the past quarter century, or are we just looking at them through the wrong lens? Economist Bruce Meyer joins the podcast to discuss his research on income inequality, the earned income tax credit, and the best methods for reducing poverty.

Bruce D. Meyer is a visiting scholar here at AEI, a professor at the University of Chicago’s Harris School of Public Policy, and a fellow at the National Bureau of Economic Research.

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There are 2 comments.

  1. Member
    Sal

    The interview with Bruce Meyer was outstanding. Jimmy P. you are a national resource!

    My follow-up question: what role has family structure played in driving inequality of income or, better yet, consumption?

    Going to Catholic school in then-proletarian Cambridge, MA in the mid-60s I recall that people did not have much, in material terms, compared to today. Big families in tiny houses with one or no car. Very few clothes and toys, and books. But they did have a mother and a father at home and the father, invariably, worked. The families were involved with unions, churches and other civic entities. Today, people of the same social stratum have a incomparably more material possessions yet their lives are much poorer in terms of family structure and involvement in their community. Any study of inequality should also cover this very important facet of the matter.

    An anecdotal observation, a lot of the working-class families from those days have migrated up to the cognitive elite. I’ll bet you the disparity in family structure has been significantly affected by sorting.

    • #1
    • December 22, 2017 at 7:25 am
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  2. Thatcher

    Sal (View Comment):
    Today, people of the same social stratum have a incomparably more material possessions yet their lives are much poorer in terms of family structure and involvement in their community. Any study of inequality should also cover this very important facet of the matter.

    Excellent observation. I was raised in the 50s and 60s in a world with virtually no cash. Of course, we raised a lot of our food, as farmers. But, all of my clothes were worn by my older sisters first. When I married, we lived in genteel poverty for the first 15 years as a Navy family. However, as a mom who did not work outside the home, I was able to use my thrifty ways to provide a good home, good food, and sew my children’s clothes. It also permitted me to read to them, have conversations, take them out to play with other children, and go to every free or inexpensive enrichment activity I could find.

    As a school teacher now, for the last twenty years, I see this poverty of family structure and see how very unequal those students are in contrast to the students who have the family structure, regardless of incomes.

    • #2
    • December 29, 2017 at 12:17 am
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