Category Archives: Economic Mobility

New Article: “Mobility Matters: Where Higher Education Meets Transportation”

New Article: Kate Elengold, Mobility Matters: Where Higher Education Meets Transportation, SSRN Feb. 2022. Abstract below:

Higher education has long been hailed as the key to social and economic mobility. And yet, mobility itself is one of the greatest barriers to equity in higher education. Although scholars and policymakers have thus far paid scant attention to the role of transportation in higher education, this Article establishes why that oversight undermines educational equity.

Grounding its arguments in both interdisciplinary literature and rich original data from a multi-year mixed-methods research study, this Article demonstrates how transportation law and infrastructure affect college completion, disproportionately hindering completion for students of color. It further argues that higher education law and policy exacerbate, rather than alleviate, systemic transportation barriers for students, reinforcing education inequities.

This Article adds important dimensions to scholarship on both transportation and higher education. By focusing on the interaction between two structural systems, this Article offers a unique and critically necessary lens through which scholars can understand the complex landscape of higher education law. Finally, this Article offers education policymakers a range of policy and programmatic changes affecting transportation that can advance higher education equity.

New op-ed: A Way to Break the Cycle of Poverty

New op-ed: David L. Kirp, A Way to Break the Cycle of Poverty, N.Y. Times, Dec. 2, 2021.

-Thanks to Jeff Selbin for the heads up!

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:

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.

New Article: Justifying inherited wealth: Between ‘the bank of mum and dad’ and the meritocratic ideal

New Article: Liz Moor & Sam Friedman, Justifying inherited wealth: Between ‘the bank of mum and dad’ and the meritocratic ideal, Economy and Society, 2021. Abstract below:

How do people reconcile belief in meritocracy with the receipt of unearned economic gifts? Drawing on interviews with first time homeowners who had bought property with familial gifts or inheritances, we find that many downplay the intergenerational privilege associated with gifting by reporting extended family histories of working-class struggle, upward social mobility and meritocratic striving. Interviewees also draw boundaries between their own wealth and the less legitimate wealth of others, or dispute the significance of gifting compared to other inequalities. We further argue that gifting is a site where two competing logics, the ‘domestic’ and family-orientated and the ‘civic’ and meritocratic, collide. While these competing principles appear to be in conflict, we detail how many labour discursively to bring them into alignment. Here interviewees deploy a humble ‘intergenerational self’ to recast familial gifts as evidence of multigenerational meritocratic success. Yet, while some successfully reconcile these conflicting ‘orders of worth’, for others the tension remains unresolved.

New Article: “Entrenched Racial Hierarchy: Educational Inequality from the Cradle to the LSAT”

New Article: Kevin Woodson, Entrenched Racial Hierarchy: Educational Inequality from the Cradle to the LSAT, 105 Minn. L. Rev. 481 (2021). 

New Report: “Long shadows: The Black-white gap in multigenerational poverty”

New Report: Scott Winship, Christopher Pulliam, Ariel Gelrud Shiro, Richard V. Reeves, and Santiago Deambrosi, Long shadows: The Black-white gap in multigenerational poverty, Brookings, June 2021.

New Article: How Should Inheritance Law Remediate Inequality?

New Article: Felix Chang, How Should Inheritance Law Remediate Inequality?, Wash. L. Rev. Vol. 97 (2022). Abstract below:

This Essay argues that trusts and estates (“T&E”) should prioritize intergenerational economic mobility—the ability of children to move beyond the economic station of their parents—above all other goals. The field’s traditional emphasis on testamentary freedom fosters the stickiness of inequality. For wealthy settlors, dynasty trusts sequester assets from the nation’s system of taxation and stream of commerce. For low-income decedents, intestacy splinters property rights and inhibits their transfer, especially to nontraditional heirs.

Holistically, this Essay argues that T&E should promote mean regression of the wealth distribution curve over time. This can be accomplished by loosening spending in ultrawealthy households and spurring savings and investment in low-income households.

T&E scholars are tackling inequality with greater urgency than ever before; yet basic questions remain. The Essay contributes to these conversations by articulating a comprehensive framework for progressive inheritance law that redresses long-term inequality.

New Article: The Alignment of Earnings in Occupations and at U.S. Workplaces Increasingly Exacerbates Earnings Inequality

Nathan Wilmers & Clem Aeppli, The Alignment of Earnings in Occupations and at U.S. Workplaces Increasingly Exacerbates Earnings Inequality, Wash. Cent. for Equitable Growth (Mar. 9, 2021). Introduction below:

A few common explanations dominate the discussion of rising earnings inequality in the United States. Automation and computerization, for example, have augmented many nonroutine white-collar jobs—meaning those jobs can pay more—while replacing more routine jobs. Tech pays off differently depending on your occupation. Another set of explanations of earnings inequality has to do with the types of employers, workplaces, or firms that make up the U.S. economy. Low-paying service-sector employers have multiplied, and manufacturers have deunionized, outsourced, or offshored, while a select few firms in finance, consulting, and tech pay disproportionately high wages. This last set of firms is made up of so-called superstar firms.

In short, where you work matters for earnings inequality, too—it’s not just what you do at work.

New Article: Law and Political Economy in a Time of Accelerating Crises

New Article: Angela P. Harris, Law and Political Economy in a Time of Accelerating Crises, J. L. and Pol. Econ., (2020).

In this time of accelerating crises nationally and worldwide, conventional understandings of the relationships among state, market, and society and their regulation through law are inadequate. In this Editors’ Introduction to Volume 1, Issue 1 of the Journal of Law and Political Economy, we reflect on our current historical moment, identify genealogies of the Law and Political Economy (LPE) project, articulate some of the intellectual foundations of the work, and finally discuss the journal’s institutional history and context.