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You may have noticed from reading Chapter 2 that the study of inequality can be VERY heavy on statistics. The term “empirical” is often used to describe areas of study that rely on real world data, which is often in the form of statistics. As such, the study of inequality is often referred to as being highly “empirical”. Because inequality is highly empirical, it can be difficult to understand even for sociologists, let alone for those outside of our discipline who may not be acquainted with the quantitative (i.e. statistical) research methods used to study inequality.
Inequality has become a topic of public discussion and political debate since the onset of the “Great Recession” in 2007, with an abundance of commentators and pundits arguing about the effects of wealth and income (i.e. “socioeconomic”) inequality in the US and the reasons why such inequality has been increasing since the 1970s.
The Obama Administration has waded into this public discussion, in an effort spear-headed by the Chairmen of the Council of Economic Advisors Alan Krueger in 2013. Krueger attempted to present the causes and consequences of inequality in a concise and comprehensible way, and introduced the concept called the “Great Gatsby Curve” to illustrate it.
Read the transcript of Alan Krueger’s speech “The Rise and Consequences of Inequality in the United States” and answer the questions that follow in a detailed and well-thought out response.
The transcript can be found here:
1. Explain the Great Gatsby Curve in your own words.
2. Based on Krueger's speech and any relevant outside sources, describe some of the possible consequences of inequality.
3. Using outside sources, find information about policy solutions that have been suggested for reducing inequality. Your source could be an academic journal, a newspaper or news magazine article (online or print), or a think tank website or publication. Describe at least one such policy, and give your own assessment of how effective this policy or set of policies would be.
Be sure to use a consistent format for your paper and your citations. Use in-text citations when you reference outside sources, and include all sources in a works cited page at the end of your paper.
It is recommended that you use one of the formats below; view the link to find out more:
You may have noticed from reading Chapter 2 that the study of inequality can be VERY heavy on statistics. The term “empirical” is often used to describe areas of study that rely on real world data, which is often in the form of statistics. As such, the study of inequality is often referred to as being highly “empirical”.