Soc 212: Social Stratification

University of California, San Diego
Spring 2018-19
W 12:00–3:00, SSB 101

Lane Kenworthy
Office hours: W 9–11, SSB 472
Email: lkenworthy@ucsd.edu

In historical and comparative terms, the United States is an astonishingly rich nation. Given this affluence, the living standards and lived experiences of quite a few Americans are worse than they should be. Why? What could help improve them?

SCHEDULE

Week 1
April 3
Introduction

  • Kenworthy, Lane. 2019 (forthcoming). Social Democratic Capitalism. Oxford University Press. Chapters 1-2.
  • Kenworthy, Lane. “A Decent and Rising Income Floor.” The Good Society. LINK
  • Desmond, Matthew. 2015. “Severe Deprivation in America: An Introduction.” RSF 1 (1): 1-11. LINK
  • Optional: Kenworthy, Lane. “Equality of Opportunity.” The Good Society.
  • Optional: Kenworthy, Lane. “Stable Income and Expenses.” The Good Society.
  • Optional: Kenworthy, Lane. “Employment.” The Good Society.
  • Optional: Kenworthy, Lane. “Income Distribution.” The Good Society.
  • Optional: Kenworthy, Lane. “Wealth Distribution.” The Good Society.
  • Optional: Kenworthy, Lane. “Shared Prosperity.” The Good Society.
  • Optional: Kenworthy, Lane. “Inclusion: Women.” The Good Society.
  • Optional: Kenworthy, Lane. “Inclusion: African Americans.” The Good Society.
  • Optional: Kenworthy, Lane. “Public Insurance and the Least Well-Off.” The Good Society.
  • Optional: Kenworthy, Lane. “Social Programs.” The Good Society.
  • Optional: Fox, Liana, Christopher Wimer, Irwin Garfinkel, Neeraj Kaushal, JaeHyun Nam, and Jane Waldfogel. 2015. “Trends in Deep Poverty from 1968 to 2011: The Influence of Family Structure, Employment Patterns, and the Safety Net.” RSF 1 (1): 14-34.
  • Optional: Marx, Ive, Brian Nolan, and Javier Olivera. 2015. “The Welfare State and Antipoverty Policy in Rich Countries.” Pp. 2063-2139 in Handbook of Income Distribution, volume 2B. Elsevier. LINK
  • Optional: Tach, Laura and Kathryn Edin. 2017. “The Social Safety Net After Welfare Reform: Recent Developments and Consequences for Household Dynamics.” Annual Review of Sociology 43: 541-561.
  • Optional: Jackson, Michelle and David Grusky. 2018. “A Post-Liberal Theory of Stratification.” British Journal of Sociology 69: 1096-1133.
  • Optional: Alper, Kaitlin, Evelyne Huber, and John D Stephens. 2019. “Work and Poverty in Post-Industrial Democracies.” Working Paper 763. Luxembourg Income Study. LINK
  • Optional: Caminada, Koen, Kees Goudswaard, Chen Wang, and Jinxian Wang. 2019. “Has the Redistributive Effect of Social Transfers and Taxes Changed Over Time Across Countries?” International Social Security Review 72: 3-31. LINK
  • Optional: Kenworthy, Lane. 2019 (forthcoming). “Why Not a Basic Income?” Ch. 5 in Social Democratic Capitalism. Oxford University Press.

Week 2
April 10
Severe deprivation, part 1

  • Edin, Kathryn J. and H. Luke Shaefer. 2015. $2.00 a Day: Living on Almost Nothing in America. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.
  • Jencks, Christopher. 2016. “Why the Very Poor Have Become Poorer.” New York Review of Books. June 9. LINK
  • Optional: Shaefer, H. Luke and Kathryn J. Edin. 2016. “What is the Evidence of Worsening Conditions among America’s Poorest Families with Children?”

Week 3
April 17
Severe deprivation, part 2

  • Western, Bruce. 2018. Homeward: Life in the Year After Prison. Russell Sage Foundation.
  • Optional: Bhuller, Manudeep, Gordon Dahl, Katrine V. Løken, and Magne Mogstad. 2019. “Incarceration Can Be Rehabilitative.” Vox: CEPR Policy Portal. LINK

Week 4
April 24
Severe deprivation, part 3

  • Desmond, Matthew. 2016. Evicted. Crown Books.
  • Optional: Turner, Margery Austin, Solomon Greene, Corianne Payton Scally, Kathryn Reynolds, and Jung Choi. 2019. “What Would It Take to Ensure Quality, Affordable Housing for All in Communities of Opportunity?” Catalyst Brief. Urban Institute.
  • Optional: Kenworthy, Lane. 2019 (forthcoming). “Housing Assistance.” Pp. 192-193 in Social Democratic Capitalism. Oxford University Press.

Week 5
May 1
Economic change, family, and “deaths of despair” among non-college-degree whites

  • Case, Anne and Angus Deaton. 2017. “Mortality and Morbidity in the 21st Century.” Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Spring: 397-443. Also read the comments by David Cutler on pp. 444-452. LINK
  • Optional: Kenworthy, Lane. “Longevity.” The Good Society.
  • Optional: Berube, Alan and Cecile Murray. 2018. “Renewing America’s Economic Promise Through Older Industrial Cities.” Brookings Institution.
  • Optional: Partridge, Mark and Alexandra Tsvetkova. 2017. “Road to Despair and the Geography of the America Left Behind.”
  • Optional: Ziliak, James P. 2019. “Economic Change and the Social Safety Net: Are Rural Americans Still Behind?” Washington Center for Equitable Growth.
  • Optional: Ziliak, James P. 2019. “Restoring Economic Opportunity for ‘The People Left Behind’: Employment Strategies for Rural America.” Aspen Institute.
  • Optional: Porter, Eduardo. 2018. “The Hard Truths of Trying to ‘Save’ the Rural Economy.” New York Times. December 14.
  • Optional: Krugman, Paul. 2019. “Getting Real About Rural America: Nobody Knows How to Reverse the Heartland’s Decline.” New York Times. March 18.

Week 6
May 8
Jobs and wages

  • Carre, Francoise and Chris Tilly. 2017. Where Bad Jobs Are Better: Retail Jobs Across Countries and Companies. Russell Sage Foundation.
  • Optional: Western, Bruce and Jake Rosenfeld. 2011. “Unions, Norms, and the Rise in U.S. Wage Inequality.” American Sociological Review 76: 513-537.
  • Optional: Kenworthy, Lane. 2015. “Do Employment-Conditional Earnings Subsidies Work?” ImPRovE Working Paper 15-10. Herman Deleeck Centre for Social Policy. University of Antwerp.
  • Optional: Howell, David R., Kea Fiedler, and Stephanie Luce. 2016. “What’s the Right minimum Wage? Reframing the Debate from ‘No Job Loss’ to a ‘Minimum Living Wage’.” Washington Center for Equitable Growth.
  • Optional: Goldstein, Amy. 2017. Janesville: An American Story. Simon and Schuster.
  • Optional: Kenworthy, Lane and Ive Marx. 2018. “In-Work Poverty in the United States.” Pp. 328-344 in Handbook on In-Work Poverty, edited by Henning Lohmann and Ive Marx. Edward Elgar.
  • Optional: Madland, David. 2018. “Wage Boards for American Workers.” Center for American Progress.
  • Optional: Dube, Arindrajit. 2019. “Using Wage Boards to Raise Pay.” Economists for Inclusive Prosperity.

Empirical analysis proposal #1 due May 15

Week 7
May 15
Place

  • Chetty, Raj, Nathaniel Hendren, and Lawrence F. Katz. 2016. “The Effects of Exposure to Better Neighborhoods on Children: New Evidence from the Moving to Opportunity Experiment.” American Economic Review 106: 855-902. LINK
  • Chetty, Raj and Nathaniel Hendren. 2018. “The Impacts of Neighborhoods on Intergenerational Mobility I: Childhood Exposure Effects.” Quarterly Journal of Economics 133: 1107-1162. LINK
  • Optional: Wilson, William Julius. 1996. When Work Disappears. Vintage.
  • Optional: Sampson, Robert. 2012. Great American City. University of Chicago Press.
  • Optional: Sharkey, Patrick. 2013. Stuck in Place: Urban Neighborhoods and the End of Progress Toward Racial Equality. University of Chicago Press.
  • Optional: Chetty, Raj and Nathaniel Hendren. 2018. “The Impacts of Neighborhoods on Intergenerational Mobility II: County-Level Estimates.” Quarterly Journal of Economics 133: 1163-1228.

Week 8
May 22
Child poverty

  • National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2019. A Roadmap to Reducing Child Poverty. National Academies Press. Summary and chapters 1-6.

Empirical analysis proposal #2 due May 29

Week 9
May 29
Disability

  • Campbell, Andrea Louise. 2014. Trapped in America’s Safety Net. University of Chicago Press.
  • Optional: Deshpande, Manasi, Tal Gross, and Yalun Su. 2019. “Disability and Distress: The Effect of Disability Programs on Financial Outcomes.” Working paper. Washington Center for Equitable Growth.
  • Optional: Kenworthy, Lane. 2019 (forthcoming). “Disability Assistance.” Pp. 185-187 in Social Democratic Capitalism. Oxford University Press.

Week 10
June 5
Immigrants

  • National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2015. The Integration of Immigrants into American Society. National Academies Press. Summary and chapters 1-10.

Empirical analysis proposal #3 due June 12

COURSE REQUIREMENTS

Readings. The required readings are available via the course TritonEd page or the links above. They should be done before class (except week 1).

Class participation. I expect you to participate actively in class each week. There are lots of ways to do this: ask questions, comment, critique, explain, think out loud.

Presentation. Each student will make one in-class presentation during the semester, on the readings for a given week. Use the standard conference presentation as your model: about 20 minutes, with slides. Don’t merely summarize the readings. Tell us how they could have done better.

Three empirical analysis proposals. Identify a research question in one or more of the readings and suggest an empirical analysis that might shed light on the question. (You may propose more than one analysis if you wish, but don’t spread yourself too thin.) Explain how your proposal would help to answer the question. Be specific and detailed about data and methods. Avoid lengthy introductions and meandering summaries of the reading(s). You will write three of these proposals. The due dates are listed above. Word limit: 1,500. If you need more words, put them in an appendix and/or footnotes. Formatting: single-space with 2-inch side margins. Upload your proposals on TritonEd. Go to tritoned.ucsd.edu, log in, choose this course, and click on “Upload empirical analysis proposals” in the blue menu bar.

Grading. Class participation 30%, presentation 30%, empirical analysis proposals 40%.