EconTalk | 26 July 2021 | 1h 23m | Listen Later | iTunes
Interview with James Heckman about inequality and economic mobility. Drawing on research on inequality in Denmark with Rasmus Landerso, Heckman argues that despite the efforts of the Danish welfare state to provide equal access to education, there is little difference in economic mobility between the United States and Denmark. Includes a general discussion of economic mobility in the United States along with a critique of Chetty and others’ work on the power of neighbourhood to determine one’s economic destiny.
Heckman criticises the progressive belief that increased social spending will open up opportunity for the less advantaged. But he too appears to have a blind spot – attributing the persistence of advantage to family factors. Gregory Clark’s work points to that being due largely to genetics, rather than behaviours of the family. And if genetics is truly the source of persistent advantage, doesn’t that suggest that it’s only fair to use high taxes and transfers to even things out?