Miles Corak

The Mobility Myth

When Americans express indifference about the problem of unequal incomes, it’s usually because they see the United States as a land of boundless opportunity. Sure, you’ll hear it said, our country has pretty big income disparities compared with Western Europe. And sure, those disparities have been widening in recent decades. But stark economic inequality is the price we pay for living in a dynamic economy with avenues to advancement that the class-bound Old World can only dream about.

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1.) Scott Winship of Brookings and Miles Corak of the University of Ottawa had a back-and-forth about whether White House chief economist Alan Krueger's "Great Gatsby" scatter diagram (see Page 8) successfully links income inequality to immobility. If you want to follow this, here's the sequence: Krueger Winship Corak Winship Corak The debate is pretty technical. Winship concludes by saying his criticism of the "Great Gatsby" chart wasn't "the main criticism I had with Krueger's speech," which smells to me like retreat. On the Freakonomics blog, Justin Wolfers calls it for Corak.

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