News & Events

See the Wiener Center's News Archive for earlier installments.

At 80, W.J. Wilson, Scholar of Race and Class, Looks Ahead
Associated Press, December 28, 2015
William Julius Wilson’s scholarship continues to influence the national discussion of inequality and extreme poverty.
Quoted: William Julius Wilson
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Do Republicans Really Want the Black and Latino Vote? – Leah Wright Rigueur
The Root, December 15, 2015
The spectacle of the 2016 campaign—with its reactionary rhetoric—invites comparison with the 1964 campaign of Barry Goldwater. 
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One Word Explains the Collapse of Ben Carson
Washington Post, December 15, 2015
Columnist Jonathan Capehart argues that Carson’s early rise in the polls was due to his race: Republicans rallied around him as an answer to President Obama.
Quoted: Leah Wright Rigueur
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The Other Side of Black Lives Matter – William Julius Wilson
Brookings.com, December 14, 2015
Wilson has been appointed a Non-Resident Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution. This is his first blog post for the series Social Mobility Memos.
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A Nuanced Take on Healthcare Consumerism
Forbes, December 14, 2015
Four experts shed light on the national debate over healthcare and the competing philosophies swirling around it.
Quoted: Amitabh Chandra
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The Myth of ‘Consumer-Driven Healthcare' Comes to Life Again
The Los Angeles Times, December 14, 2015
In the best scenario, patients would have enough information to make smart choices and save money. But making healthcare decisions is not like buying a car.
Quoted: Amitabh Chandra
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Raise the Minimum Age a Juvenile Can Be Tried as an Adult to 21 – Vincent Schiraldi
The New York Times, December 14, 2015
Founders of juvenile court in the 19th century arbitrarily chose the age of 18 as the end of childhood. But today’s young people mature more slowly, and research shows their brains are not fully formed until their mid-20s.
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Immigration Might Be Good for the U.S. But Not for All Americans – George J. Borjas
Marketwatch, December 10, 2015
The impact of increased immigration on the U.S. economy isn’t as clear-cut as some politicians and pundits would like to believe.
Quoted: George J. Borjas
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Opportunity, Responsibility, and Security: A Consensus Plan for Reducing Poverty and Restoring the American Dream
AEI | Brookings Economic Studies, December 3, 2015
Fifteen experts on poverty, reflecting diverse ideological and intellectual perspectives, worked over 14 months to identify core areas of agreement and to craft a comprehensive plan.
Expert: David Ellwood
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Why Connecticut May Try 21-Year-Olds as Juveniles – Vincent Schiraldi
Christian Science Monitor, November 18, 2015
The Connecticut governor’s proposal to increase the age of juvenile jurisdiction from 18 to 21 reflects new research on the social and psychological development of young adults.
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Race-Baiting for the Presidency – Theodore R. Johnson and Leah Wright Rigueur
The Atlantic, November 18, 2015
Leah Wright Rigueur and co-author Theodore R. Johnson write about how candidates in past U.S. presidential campaigns have used “coded” language to influence voters.
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Electing to Ignore the Poorest of the Poor – William Julius Wilson, Matthew Desmond
The New York Times, November 17, 2015
Candidates in the U.S. presidential race are saying very little about extreme poverty, despite signs that the time may be ripe for a bipartisan effort.
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Juvenile Incarceration Is a Dickensian Nightmare: The Shameful Ravages of Mass Incarceration – Vincent Schiraldi
Salon, November 17, 2015
Q+A with Vincent Schiraldi about his experiences as a former corrections official and what he witnessed that drives his passion for reform.
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Good Reasons to Raise Age for Juvenile Justice – Vincent Schiraldi
Hartford Courant, November 17, 2015
Marc Schindler and Vincent Schiraldi look at the reasoning behind Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy’s proposal to increase the age of juvenile jurisdiction to 21.
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Recrafting the Electoral College – Alex Keyssar
Harvard Political Review, November 16, 2015
Pundits and the public have called for changes to the winner-takes-all Electoral College process, but prospects for reform appear slim.
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What’s Past Is Prologue – Kathryn Edin, Bruce Western, William Julius Wilson
The Harvard Gazette, November 12, 2015
Best-selling author and 2015 MacArthur Fellow Ta-Nehisi Coates addressed the JFK Jr. Forum, where he talked about race, criminality, and mass incarceration.
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What Mass Incarceration Looks Like for Juveniles – Vincent Schiraldi
The New York Times, November 10, 2015
The conditions inside juvenile detention facilities are poisonous to young people and staff members alike, and they harm, rather than improve public safety.
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'Intersection with Jamil Smith': The Loneliness of the Black Republican - Leah Wright Rigueur
New Republic, November 3, 2015
African Americans have voted largely Democratic over the last 40 years. History shows a fractured relationship with the GOP, which has deepened over time.
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Ban the box: President Obama’s plan to help ex-prisoners get jobs, explained - Devah Pager and Bruce Western
Vox, November 2, 2015
Having a job is critical for ex-offenders trying to stay out of prison. But the stigma of incarceration makes their job search difficult, if not impossible.
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Ben Carson Is Inspiring, but Not for President - Devah Pager
The New York Times, October 31, 2015
The GOP candidate may serve better as a role model for disadvantaged young people than as a presidential nominee.
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School testing a mixed bag, study says - Christopher Jencks
Harvard Gazette, October 30, 2015
School testing in Texas in the 1990's had positive effects on some students and negative effects on others, according to research.
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New Study Outlines Impacts of Higher Health Insurance Deductibles - Amitabh Chandra
Harvard Kennedy School, October 22, 2015
Higher deductibles are changing the way that consumers use their health care, and in a potentially detrimental fashion.
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When Does Accountability Work? - Christopher Jencks
Education Next, Winter 2016
This study shows that mandated standardized testing benefits previously lower achieving students, but had negative effects when focused on improving poor performing schools.
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How Ben Carson Went from Folk Hero to Conservative Rock Star - Leah Wright Rigueur
TIME, October 6, 2015
Views on the GOP candidate's conservatism have evolved since his popular autobiography was released in 1992.
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The Black Family in the Age of Mass Incarceration - Devah Pager, Bruce Western, William Julius Wilson
The Atlantic, October, 2015
The effects of mass incarceration, from poverty and crime to the destabilization of black families, is discussed in this long-form piece.
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Matthew Desmond, Co-chair of Center’s Justice & Poverty Project, Named 2015 MacArthur Foundation Fellow.
MacArthur Foundation, September 29, 2015
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(Watch Matthew Desmond on YouTube)

How Ben Carson felt when he fell victim to stereotyping - Alexander Keyssar
Washington Post, September 23, 2015
Carson's generalization about Muslims spotlights the irony of an African American deeming a group of people unfit for presidency based on a stereotype.
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Bruce Western, Other HKS Voices Join in the Debate About the Criminal Justice System in America - Bruce Western
John F. Kennedy School of Government, September 14, 2015
The escalation of mass incarceration has resulted in the incarceration of "entire social groups".
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Time to Rethink How Young Adults are Punished, Experts Say - Vincent Schiraldi
National Public Radio, September 11, 2015
Research on the brain development of adults aged 18-25 raises a discussion regarding the degree of punishment they should face in court.
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Mass Incarceration, Visualized - Bruce Western
The Atlantic, September 11, 2015
A video produced on the topic of mass incarceration highlights the ways in which the black community, and black families, are affected.
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Vincent Schiraldi, Noted Criminal Justice Reformer, to Lead Program in Criminal Justice (PCJ)
Harvard Kennedy School, September 10, 2015
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Walsh asks licensed gun owners to help stop city gun violence - Anthony Braga
The Boston Globe, September 9, 2015
Boston's mayor asks gun owners to report the sale, theft, or loss of any firearm in order to curb violence.
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Executive Session on Community Corrections Inaugural Report "Community-Based Responses to Justice-Involved Young Adults" Released – Bruce Western, Kendra Bradner, Vincent Schiraldi
PCJ Executive Session on Community Corrections, September 9, 2015
Report details the issue of justice-involved young adults, the challenges they present, and the significant opportunities that exist for reform.
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Why My Answer to Dr. King Would Be: 52 Years Later, We Are Still Working on That Dream - William Julius Wilson
The Huffington Post, August 28, 2015
Interpersonal Relationship Violence, its disproportionate effect on the black and Latino communities, and its societal causes, are discussed.
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Voters want candidates to address drug prices - Robert Blendon
Boston Globe, August 26, 2015
High prescription drug costs will become more important to voters as breakthrough treatments cause prices to rise.
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The false assumptions underlying Trump’s immigration plan - George Borjas
The Washington Post, August 18, 2015
Researchers have varying opinions on the effect of immigration on U.S. born workers.
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The Loneliness of the Black Republican: Pragmatic Politics and the Pursuit of Power - Leah Wright Rigueur
New Books in American Studies, August 16, 2015
Rigueur's book examines the way black Republicans operate within a political party that has evolved from Lincoln's GOP to its present state.
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David Simon of ’The Wire’ finds drama in public housing. But will the public tune in? - William Julius Wilson
The Washington Post, July 30, 2015
David Simon's new project depicts characters whose circumstances are shaped by the politics of public housing in Yonkers in the 80's and 90's.
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Traceability key if biosimilars are to compete, cut costs - Amitabh Chandra
Managed Care Magazine, July 21, 2015
Due to the complexity of manufacturing biosimilars, their impact on the marketplace may be limited.
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You Just Got Out of Prison. Now What? - Bruce Western
New York Times, July 16, 2015
The "re-entry movement" strives to find housing and job training for newly released prisoners, but often overlooks the psychological effects of re-entry.
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Obamacare Too Complex? Controversial Affordable Care Act Is Confusing, Lacks Resources, Some Say - Robert Blendon
International Business Times, June 29, 2015
The lack of resources designed to help the public understand the ACA may be due to a lack of bipartisan support in Congress.
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Israel Prize Winner Offers New Take on Stop-And-Frisk - Anthony Braga
The Jewish Week, June 10, 2015
Criminologist David Weisburd revises his original work on hot spots policing with an emphasis on a more fair and just approach.
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The SAT: A New Core Subject in Schools? - Christopher Avery
The Atlantic, June 9, 2015
The College Board is promoting training materials which will benefit students, especially those who are high-achieving and in a low-income bracket, as they prepare for the SAT.
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New Report Examines Race and Policing: An Agenda for Action - Executive Session on Policing and Public Safety
John F. Kennedy School of Government, June 3, 2015
A new report explores measures police can take to address concerns about race and law enforcement, including revising policy and engaging with diverse communities.
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Does Immigration Suppress Wages? It’s Not So Simple - George Borjas
Wall Street Journal, June 1, 2015
Immigration's impact on wages is debated, with critics arguing that immigration impacts U.S. workers in lower skilled jobs.
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Big Bets on Proton Therapy Face Uncertain Future - Amitabh Chandra
The Wall Street Journal, May 26, 2015
Proton therapy, offering cancer treatment, awaits results of randomized trials while the therapy remains unproven and may become pricey.
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Radcliffe Fellows for 2015-2016 Announced - Devah Pager
Harvard Magazine, May 14, 2015
The Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study has named next year's fellows, including professor of sociology and professor of public policy Devah Pager.
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As Middle Class Fades, So Does Use of Term on Campaign Trail - William Julius Wilson
The New York Times, May 11, 2015
Presidential candidates struggle to find words to describe a shrinking number of middle class Americans.
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Harvard Faculty Elected to NAS - Bruce Western
Harvard Gazette, May 5, 2015
Bruce Western, professor of sociology and director of the Malcolm Wiener Center for Social Policy, will be inducted into The National Academy of Sciences (NAS).
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The Man Who Foresaw Baltimore - Bruce Western
Politico Magazine, April 30, 2015
In 1967, the Kerner Commission called on Americans to take action against movement toward a society divided on racial lines.
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The Labor Roots of Baltimore’s Anguish - William Julius Wilson
Washington Post, April 29, 2015
Recent protests in Baltimore may be rooted in a labor market that has failed the city's residents in recent decades.
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Forcing Black Men Out of Society - Devah Pager and William Julius Wilson
The New York Times, April 25, 2015
The marginalization of black men in American society is underlined by joblessness, low likelihood of being hired, and high imprisonment rates.
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America Needs to Curb Immigration Flows - George Borjas
The Washington Post, April 9, 2015
High immigration rates are discussed in relation to the contraction of the middle class and the reduction of wages of lower-skilled workers.
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College Admissions is Broken. Here's How to Fix It. - Christopher Avery
Vox, April 7, 2015
As college admissions rates become more competitive, low income students have difficulty navigating the process.
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Bruce Western on Policing, Incarceration, and Justice - Bruce Western
Harvard Kennedy School Insight, March 26, 2015
As incarceration rates increase, the issue of prison, as an unjust solution to problems of poverty, mental illness, and addiction, is raised.
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The Real Reason Research Blaming Black Poverty on Black Culture has Fallen Out of Favor - William Julius Wilson
Vox, March 26, 2015
Scholars debate the reason why the focus has shifted from cultural issues to structural issues as reasons for black poverty.
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Shoveling a Path Out of Prison - Bruce Western
The Atlantic, March 1, 2015
As inmates perform snow removal in Boston, questions arise pertaining to the available work for recently released inmates in need of a living wage.
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Out of Trouble, but Criminal Records Keep Men Out of Work - Devah Pager
The New York Times, February 28, 2015
Not only is conviction a barrier to employment for men, but high incarceration rates are having an effect on labor markets as a whole.
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From Prison to Poverty - Bruce Western
Harvard Gazette, February 24, 2015
A multiyear study reveals how America's poverty concerns shape the socioeconomic path of those released from prison.
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Marriage is No Cure for Poverty - William Julius Wilson
Al Jazeera, February 14, 2015
When the cause of low marriage rates is examined, lower rates are seemingly tied to marriage pools within certain demographics.
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Gun Violence is at the root of Michael Brown’s Death - Devah Pager
Boston Globe, February 12, 2015
As differing parties debate over the root cause of recent police shootings, evidence shows that prevalent access to guns is a major factor.
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William Julius Wilson Named Kluge Chair in American Law and Governance - William Julius Wilson
Library of Congress, February 11, 2015
Wilson, the Lewis P. and Linda L. Geyser University Professor at Harvard University, has been named a scholar-in-residence at the Library of Congress Kluge Center.
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The Partisan Paradox of Black Republicans - Leah Wright Rigueur
The Atlantic, February 5, 2015
A sense of alienation pervades amongst black Republicans, whose recent prominence only spotlights their complex position.
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Black Men and the Struggle for Work - James M. Quane, William Julius Wilson and Jackelyn Hwang
Education Next, Spring 2015
While sometimes tied to family instability, the challenges black men face regarding employment may have a stronger link to social and economic institutional failures.
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Colleges Fill More Seats Early Favoring Richer U.S. Students - Christopher Avery
Bloomberg Businessweek, January 9, 2015
Early admissions allow elite colleges to admit affluent students, reducing spots available to low income students.
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The Legacy of Pioneering Senator Edward Brooke - Leah Wright Rigueur
The Boston Herald, January 4, 2015
Former Massachusetts U.S. Sen. Edward W. Brooke III died January 3, 2014 at age 95. Brooke laid the groundwork for a blend of liberalism and conservatism among black politicians.
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Racial Bias, Even When We Have Good Intentions - Bruce Western and Devah Pager
The New York Times, January 3, 2015
Implicit bias exists toward African-Americans, with studies citing handling of employment applications as a shocking example of racism.
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