Tag Archives: Roland Fryer

Roland Fryer on Education, Inequality, & Incentives


Roland Fryer On Why Good Schools Matter @greencatherine @dbseymour @ThomasHaig @PPTAWeb

Roland Fryer believes “high-quality education is the new civil rights battleground”. He is an extraordinary man who was carrying a gun and selling drugs at 14 and an assistant professor of economics at Harvard at the age of 27. He is fearless as a researcher.

Source: Roland Fryer On Why Good Schools Matter – Forbes

Roland Fryer: Racial Inequality in the 21st Century – The Declining Significance of Discrimination

Roland Fryer carried a gun at 14 as a member of the gang; worked extra jobs at college to pay off his father’s bail bondsman; and an assistant professor at Harvard at the age of 27. He is the sharpest economist around working on the economics of inequality and discrimination.

Lindsay Mitchell – Labour’s Carmel Sepuloni: be careful what you ask for

The Truly Disadvantaged

Lindsay Mitchell has a nice blog today on the views of the new Labour Party spokesman on social development – the New Zealand ministerial portfolio covering social security and social welfare

Carmen Sepuloni disagrees with National Party’s policy of requiring solo mothers to look for work. She believed there should be support for sole parents to return to work, but not a strict compulsion:

It is a case by case basis. I don’t think it should be so stringent because it’s not necessarily to the benefit of their children.

The American sociologist James Julius Wilson in The Truly Disadvantaged (1987) and When Work Disappears (1996) wrote about how more children are growing-up without a working father living in the home and thereby gleaning the awareness that work is a central expectation of adult life:

. . . where jobs are scarce, where people rarely, if ever, have the opportunity to help their friends and neighbors find jobs. . . many people eventually lose their feeling of connectedness to work in the formal economy; they no longer expect work to be a regular, and regulating, force in their lives.

In the case of young people, they may grow up in an environment that lacks the idea of work as a central experience of adult life — they have little or no labor force attachment.

Carmel Sepuloni appears to believe that work is not a central expectation of adult life. Hard work used to be a core value of the Labour Party.

The toughest week of door knocking for the Labour Party in the 2011 general elections was after the Party promised that the in-work family tax credit should also be paid to welfare beneficiaries.

Voters in strong Labour Party areas were repulsed by the idea. These working-class Labour voters thought that the in-work family tax credit was for those that worked because they had earnt it through working on a regular basis. The party vote of the Labour Party in the 2011 New Zealand general election fell to its lowest level since its foundation in 1919 which was the year where it first contested an election.

When Sepuloni was on the Backbenchers TV show prior to the recent NZ general election, she was asked by the host whether she would support a $40 per hour minimum wage if that would mean equality. She did not hesitate to say yes.

Sepuloni does not seem to have noticed that wages must have something to do with the value of what you produce and the ability of your employer to sell it at a price that covers costs. 

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The economic literatures (Heckman 2011; Fryer 201o) and sociological literatures (Wilson 1978, 1987, 2009, 2011), particularly in the U.S. is suggesting that skill disparities resulting from a lower quality education and less access to good parenting, peer and neighbourhood environments produce most of the income gaps of racial and ethnic minorities rather than factors such as labour market discrimination.

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Grounds for optimism about the effectiveness of welfare reform in overcoming barriers to employment lie in the success of the 1996 federal welfare reforms in the USA.

The subsequent declines in welfare participation rates and gains in employment were largest among the single mothers previously thought to be most disadvantaged: young (ages 18-29), mothers with children aged under seven, high school drop-outs, and black and Hispanic mothers. These low-skilled single mothers who were thought to face the greatest barriers to employment. Blank (2002) found that:

At the same time as major changes in program structure occurred during the 1990s, there were also stunning changes in behavior. Strong adjectives are appropriate to describe these behavioral changes.

Nobody of any political persuasion-predicted or would have believed possible the magnitude
of change that occurred in the behavior of low-income single-parent families over this decade.

People have repeatedly shown great ability to adapt and find jobs when the rewards of working increase and eligibility for welfare benefits tighten.

via Lindsay Mitchell: Carmel Sepuloni: be careful what you ask for.