Tuesday, September 13, 2016

The Upside of Inequality

The Upside of Inequality is the title of Ed Conard's newest book, which was released today.

Disclaimer: I had the pleasure of helping Ed by doing a bit of background research for him.  

I am certainly a bit biased, as I helped on the book, but I think this is one of the best books of 2016.  And I don't think my bias is coloring my view too much, as before I helped on this book I was a big fan of his previous book, Unintended Consequences, and had even assigned it in my Political Economic Thought class.  

Some of my favorite parts of this book are:

* The section asking if the middle class really is being hollowed out.  The answer is a convincing no - comparisons that show median incomes are falling are skewed by lower paying jobs acquired by immigrants.  
* The section examining how much money a poor person receives in government benefits.  It is a surprisingly difficult question to answer, but this book gives a good estimate with a defensible methodology.
* The discussion of income mobility - which is alive and well in the USA.

The entire book is thought provoking, and I highly recommend it.

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