Peter and Isabel Malkin Professor of Public Policy, HKS and FAS, Emeritus
Are the destinies of children from poor and wealthy families diverging? This paper explains why this is the question to ask if we wish to study equality of opportunity in America today. Drawing on the research behind Robert Putnam’s (2015) Our Kids: The American Dream in Crisis, we show that, since the 1970s, children in the top-third and the bottom-third of the socioeconomic hierarchy have sharply diverged on factors predicting life success. This gaping “opportunity gap” augurs a collapse of social mobility in the decades ahead. Given the causes of the opportunity gap, we explore promising policy options for restoring equality of opportunity in America.
Finighan, Reuben, and Robert D. Putnam. "A Country Divided: The Growing Opportunity Gap in America." Economic Mobility: Research & Ideas on Strengthening Families, Communities & The Economy (2017): 139-174.