Category Archives: Economic Justice

New Article: Vast New Study Shows a Key to Reducing Poverty: More Friendships Between Rich and Poor

New Article: Aatish Bhatia, Josh Katz, Claire Cain Miller, and Francesca Paris, Vast New Study Shows a Key to Reducing Poverty: More Friendships Between Rich and Poor, NYT (August 1, 2022). Excerpt below:

Over the last four decades, the financial circumstances into which children have been born have increasingly determined where they have ended up as adults. But an expansive new study, based on billions of social media connections, has uncovered a powerful exception to that pattern that helps explain why certain places offer a path out of poverty.

For poor children, living in an area where people have more friendships that cut across class lines significantly increases how much they earn in adulthood, the new research found.

New Article: The ‘Ideal Debtor’ and the ‘Traditional’ American Household

New Article: A. Mechele Dickerson, The ‘Ideal Debtor’ and the ‘Traditional’ American Household, 38 Emory Bankr. Dev. J. 185 (2022). Abstract below:

Laws, like the Bankruptcy Code, that award governmental benefits reflect preferences for a certain type of person deemed worthy of governmental assistance. Just as the Bankruptcy Code favors the “Ideal Debtor,” other state and federal laws favor and subsidize the “traditional household,” which historically consisted of husbands who earned income in the paid labor market and wives who stayed home to provide unpaid care for the family.

Changes in social mores, the legalization of same-sex marriages, bans on gender discrimination in labor markets, and widening economic inequality make it more likely that today’s households will consist of a multi-generational family, single parents, unmarried partners, childless married couples, and married parents who both earn income in the paid labor market. The number of “traditional” households is shrinking and those households are now disproportionately white, rich, college graduates.

Even if public policy historically justified subsidizing traditional households, this Article argues that continuing those subsidies is no longer justified particularly because the subsidies exacerbate income and wealth disparities.

New Article: Advancing anti-racist economic research and policy

New Article: Advancing anti-racist economic research and policy, Economic Policy Institute (2022). Excerpt below:

Creating effective anti-racist economic research and policy requires thinking critically about the assumptions and norms that influence how we view the world, and thus the way we understand and interpret data or approach solutions to social and economic problems. This process begins with a willingness to revisit U.S. history or current events from a perspective other than the dominant or popular view.

This guide seeks to strengthen anti-racist research and policy work by challenging assumptions and norms and exploring emerging frameworks for data gathering and analysis. Rather than exhaustively surveying every important topic relevant to race and ethnicity and the economy, it serves as more of a thought piece. And it is coauthored by some of the leading voices on the myriad ways in which race and ethnicity have been used to assign advantage or disadvantage and to normalize racial and ethnic inequities.

The challenge for each of us is to understand how race shapes the American experience in countless intersecting, and sometimes contradictory, ways that can be hard to disentangle from the influence of other markers of identity or class, such as gender. Given those complexities, anti-racist economic research and policy often involves nuance, and is not easily boiled down into a simple checklist or a formulaic step-by-step guide. In fact, even the most well-meaning attempts to “check all the right boxes” can come across as superficial, performative, detached, or worst of all, counterproductive.

New Article: Economic Security for the 21st Century

New Article: Kathryn Anne Edwards and Griffin Murphy, Economic Security for the 21st Century, Washington DC: The National Academy of Social Insurance (2022). Excerpt below:

In June 1934, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt created the Committee on Economic Security with the mandate to craft policy proposals that would provide individuals in the U.S. with “security against several of the great disturbing factors in life.” Whether they knew it at the time, the fifty members and staff of the Committee stood at the outset of a new era of political economy.

Prior to Roosevelt’s presidency, a shift in the labor market—from agriculture toward manufacturing—had been taking place for decades. The Great Depression revealed that the government’s role in the economy had not similarly transitioned to handle the new avenues of economic risk that the majority of households faced. Economic insecurity—the risk that an individual would not be able to maintain an adequate income in the face of a shock—has always been present, but the nature of that risk often changes as the main sources of income evolve. The Roosevelt administration addressed the newfound systemic risks by asking Congress to enact bold legislation, including the 1935 Social Security Act, the Fair Labor Standards Act, and the National Labor Relations Act.

New Article: A Proposed Future for the Progressive Realization of Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights in California

New Article: Christine Hulsizer, A Proposed Future for the Progressive Realization of Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights in California, 110 Cali. L. Rev. 1 (2022). Abstract below:

As the country’s most populous state and the world’s fifth largest economy, California has often been characterized as a “nation-state,” historically independent in its governing priorities. Yet even as the state’s political identity coalesces in favor of recognizing greater social welfare provisions for its inhabitants, formal enactment in policy often falls short. This hesitancy persists despite constitutional support for state-level leadership in areas of social welfare—from education to criminal justice to social services—through the exercise of state police power. This structure also applies to the domestication of international human rights norms.

This Note proposes that California look to international human rights law to build a forward-looking framework for rights entitlements in the state—specifically, to the International Covenant for Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR). Through state constitutional amendment, California’s electorate should guarantee the economic, social, and cultural rights (ESC rights) enumerated in the ICESCR. This adoption should include the ICESCR’s principle of progressive realization merged with a standard of adequacy rooted in the provision of social welfare. Part I of this Note will examine the ICESCR’s background, the tension between state and federal power in international human rights, the mechanisms by which state power is traditionally exercised with respect to human rights, and how states might participate in international human rights jurisprudence. In Part II, the Note will explore the extent to which positive rights already exist in state constitutions and identify two major obstacles to California’s positive rights efforts. Part III will propose a solution to overcome these obstacles: a state constitutional amendment recognizing ESC rights in the California Constitution, including a standard of adequacy rooted in progressive realization. The Note will model this standard for application by the California Supreme Court, and conclude by exploring potential public policy benefits engendered by this proposal at both local and international levels.

New Symposium: “American Cities Struggling with Economic Justice Reform”

New Symposium: American Cities Struggling with Economic Justice Reform, 52 Seton Hall L. Rev. (2022). Contained Articles and Comments listed below:



New Symposium: A Taxing War on Poverty: Opportunity Zones and The Promise of Investment and Economic Development

New Symposium: A Taxing War on Poverty: Opportunity Zones and The Promise of Investment and Economic Development, 48 Fordham Urb. L. J. (2021). Contained Articles and Notes listed below:



New Symposium and Publication: American Journal of Law and Equality and the Symposium on Michael Sandel’s The Tyranny of Merit

New Symposium and Publication: American Journal of Law and Equality, Symposium on Michael Sandel’s The Tyranny of Merit, 1 Am. J. L. Equal. (2021). List of Articles Below:

Recent LPE Blog Entries of Note

Recent LPE Blog Entries of Note:

New Article: Serial Eviction Filing: Civil Courts, Property Management, and the Threat of Displacement

New Article: Lillian Leung et al., Serial Eviction Filing: Civil Courts, Property Management, and the Threat of Displacement, 100 Social Forces 316 (2021). Abstract Below:

Drawing on over 8 million eviction court records from twenty-eight states, this study shows the role that eviction filings play in extracting monetary sanctions from tenants. In so doing, it documents an unanticipated feature of housing insecurity: serial eviction filings. Serial eviction filings occur when a property manager files to evict the same household repeatedly from the same address. Almost half of all eviction filings in our sample are associated with serial filings. Combining multivariate analysis with in-depth interviews conducted with thirty-three property managers and ten attorneys and court officials, we document the dynamics and consequences of serial eviction filings. When legal environments expedite the eviction process, property managers use the housing court to collect rent and late fees, passing costs on to tenants. Serial eviction filings exacerbate tenants’ housing cost burden and compromise their ability to find future housing. Using tract-level rent and filing fees, we estimate that each eviction filing translates into approximately $180 in fines and fees for the typical renter household, raising their monthly housing cost by 20%. The study challenges existing views of eviction as a discrete event concentrated among poor renters. Rather, it may be better conceived of as a routinized, drawn-out process affecting a broader segment of the rental market and entailing consequences beyond displacement.