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Putting American inequality in perspective

Dylan Matthews at the Washington Post wonkblog pasted a chart based on World Bank data.

The chart puts within country income distribution position on X axis plotted against worldwide position in the distribution on the Y axis. A lot of information here.

Some questions:
1. Does this graph change the way you think about inequality in America? In other countries?
2. How does this graph influence the way you think about relative v. absolute poverty?
3. What additional information would you need to know to change your mind?

I will be recreating this chart, including Canada, the World Income Distribution data via Branco Milanovic.

MDRC paper on Social Impact Bonds and GAI

MDRC came out with a new paper on social impact bonds in April. HERE.

And, a Maclean’s piece on the Guaranteed Annual Income proposal.

Im skeptical of the GAI for a few reasons:

1.    Fiscal. I don’t know how it’s financially possible to provide income equivalent to the all the existing cash and in-kind support. It’s not just eliminating the social welfare system and giving people income.

2.    If it was fiscally possible, I suspect it would require considerable sacrifices in cash and in-kind supports on behalf of the middle class. Not sure this is politically feasible.

New evaluation book for international development

Emerging Practices in International Development Evaluation by Donaldson et al.
link is here

More on social impact bonds: Social return on investment

Sheri Torjman at Caldeon addressing some of the evaluation concerns.
I disagree with the approach mentioned on social capital and, in general, the piece is promoting for Caldeon I. Nevertheless raises some important questions.

summary of mobility research

Nice summary here in the NYT on the evoluation of mobility research in the US.

The article discussed Becker initial findings with low correlations and Solon’s response. New data on a social mobility project validates Solon’s work and shows that mobility is more rigid in the US than many thought. (Unfortunately, link to the mobiliy project was not working, hopefully fixed soon)

And, here is the more detail on the story about the importance of geography in determining income mobility.  location matters story also from NYT.

In addition to mobility higher in areas where poverty was dispersed, the article summarizes:

mobility was also higher in areas with more two-parent households, better elementary schools and high schools, and more civic engagement, including membership in religious and community groups.

Ideas of the Week

1. Social impact bonds: A sign of what’s to come in social services? All the more reason to take program evaluation seriously. Toronto Star article
2. Nico Trocme et al on the role of early childhood adversity. Royal Society of Canda report
3. How to measure quality of life – the difference between actual and ideal activities. Report from Martin Institute. 
4. Smoke Traders video online. Documentary of tobacco trade in Mohawk communities. from TVO here
5. UK pushes for broader measures of child poverty. Here
6. New report on linking savings programs with social security in the developing world, by Jammie Zimmerman and colleagues, here

Research, a review, video, and David Cameron on poverty

1. It’s not often that poverty research makes it into Science. Anjuj Shah and colleagues present results from multiple experiments on the consequences of limited economic resources. Here.
2. James Heckman breaks down the argument for early intervention in the Boston Review. Here. 
3. Collection of videos from why poverty. Here. Food for thought.
4. David Cameron on combating poverty with institutions and social development. Here.

Important reads this week

1. Good historical overview of the issues, controversies and current state of the Neighborhood Effect.

2. Esther Duflo discusses the strengths and limitations of paternalism in the Tanner Lecture.
Esther Duflo (2012) Tanner Lecture, Human values and the design of the fight against poverty; here

Commitment to Development

Keeley (2012) introduced us to the debate on the amount of aid governments give to developing countries. I recently came across this Commitment to Development database that aggregates much of the aid giving data into one place.
See more:

Two Books of Interest

Students may be interested in these two books from Fernwood Publishing.

International Social Development:
Social Work Experiences and Perspectives
Edited by Tuula Heinonen, Julie Drolet

Stand Together or Fall Apart:
Professionals Working with Immigrant Families
By Judith K. Bernhard

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