Are Colleges Helping Americans Move Up?

Charles Clotfelter, Duke University August 22, 2018

In a new audio documentary called,”Changing Class: Are colleges helping Americans move up?APM Reports producers interview Charles Clotfelter, professor of public policy at Duke and Center faculty fellow, about new research that suggests the chances for low-income students in America to move up through higher education are shrinking. “Nobody set out to do this. Nobody said, ‘Let’s make colleges more unequal…But in fact, that’s exactly what happened,” explains Clotfelter, on how the rise of income inequality in the U.S. has effected the growing inequality of today’s colleges.

APM Reports »

New education research? A good chance it’s from North Carolina.

August 20, 2018

North Carolina is becoming increasingly well known for producing high-quality education research. In part, due to the fact that the state has kept track of things like student test scores, teacher demographics, and school accountability data since the 90’s. It also is one of the few states where researchers can get student data (that has been anonymized) from a third party, in this case the North Carolina Education Research Data Center that operates out of the Duke Center for Child and Family Policy. In North Carolina, local researchers realized the importance of tracking students and schools over time, according to Clara Muschkin, faculty director of the data center.

Chalkbeat »

Do your genes hold the secret to your success?

Daniel Belsky Duke University August 6, 2018

New research from Duke, UNC, and other universities shows that genes can affect social mobility through education, career advancement, and wealth. In a recent study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, researchers, including Dan BelskyTerrie Moffitt, and Avshalom Caspi of Duke University, confirmed a genetic “score” predicted how far people went in school, how far they advanced in their careers and how much wealth they accumulated. Belsky, lead author of the study, explained in the News & Observer, “[This work] could change the debate around inequality and promote the idea that achieving success in life depends on a lot of things, many of which are beyond your control.”

News & Observer »

Why do some people get so emotional about real estate?

Scott Huettel, Duke University Center for Child and Family Policy August 3, 2018

Scott Huettel, professor of Psychology and Neuroscience at Duke and Center faculty fellow, explains in the New York Times how physical space can be tied to memory. “We have memories and associations that are connected to all of those things that make houses so heavily connected to ourselves,” he said. When it comes to buying or selling a home, Huettel says it’s impossible to try to turn that experience into a cold, emotionless, and solely financial transaction. He urges buyers and sellers to feel their feelings, but to also focus on the benefits of a new thing.

New York Times »

Experts’ Concerns About 3D-Printed Guns

Philip Cook, Duke University August 1, 2018

The battle to stop the spread of firearms continues, with the latest development coming from Tuesday’s court ruling that blocked the release of controversial blueprints for 3D-printed guns. The availability of 3D-printed guns has many gun policy experts concerned, including Center Faculty Fellow Phil Cook. In Vox, Cook shares his prediction that they’ll be very attractive to criminals. “Over the longer term, if this form of manufacturing becomes cheap enough, it may become a major source of supply for street gangs and other criminals.”

Vox »

New Research Undercuts the Idea that “Guns don’t kill people, people kill people.”

Philip Cook, Duke University July 30, 2018

In a new study published in the journal JAMA Network Open, researchers Phil Cook of Duke University and Anthony Braga of Northeastern University find that larger-caliber firearms are much more likely to kill a shooting victim than smaller-caliber ones. The significance of this finding gets to the heart of the notion that ‘guns don’t kill people, people kill people.’ But the JAMA study challenges that notion, connecting the probability of death to the lethality of the weapon used in a shooting. Cook–a Center faculty fellow–and Braga write that the finding “suggests that effective regulation of firearms could reduce the homicide rate.”

Washington Post » MinnPost »

How to Make a Federal Jobs Guarantee Work

William "Sandy" Darity July 30, 2018

During this week’s episode of BloombergMarkets “What’d You Miss?” podcast, co-host Joe Wiesenthal speaks with Center Faculty Fellow William “Sandy” Darity about how to make a federal jobs guarantee work. Darity, the Samuel DuBois Cook Professor of Public Policy at Duke, explains why the idea isn’t as radical as critics think and has strong historical precedent from the New Deal era, showing the government could implement a federal jobs plan effectively.

Bloomberg »

The Downstream Effects of Criminal Justice Involvement

prison bars and empty jail cell July 25, 2018

In the latest issue of the American College of Correctional Physicians newsletter, Center faculty fellows Lindsey Eldred and Beth Gifford shed light on the cascading effects pretrial incarceration can have on defendants and their families. For example, even at the pretrial stage, incarcerated individuals can lose visitation with their children and, in extreme cases, have their parental rights terminated. Eldred and Gifford point to bail reform as a potential policy solution for addressing some of the issues families experience when they’re unable to meet bail requirements. The two continue their research to examine the connection between parental involvement with the criminal justice system and the health of the children of incarcerated individuals.

CorrDocs Newsletter »

William “Sandy” Darity Recognized by American Economic Association

William "Sandy" Darity July 24, 2018

Congratulations to William “Sandy” Darity, named one of the three inaugural recipients of the 2018 Impactful Mentor Award. Darity, Center faculty fellow and Samuel DuBois Cook Professor of Public Policy at Duke, was recognized by the American Economic Association’s Mentoring Program, for his long career of distinction in mentoring professional and aspiring economists, particularly from under-represented groups in the profession. The Impactful Mentor Awards was created to recognize and celebrate the excellence of mentors of mentors on diversity, access, and inclusion in the economics profession. Darity has long been involved in the Diversity Initiative for Tenure in Economics, which now is part of the Cook Center for Social Equity. The two other recipients are Cecilia Conrad of the MacArthur Foundation and Marie T. Mora, University of Text Rio Grande Valley. The awards will be given AEA Summer Mentoring Pipeline Conference next week.

Educators Working to Narrow the “Excellence Gap”

William "Sandy" Darity July 19, 2018

Closing the “achievement gap” has been the focus of education policy for decades. Educators have been trying to raise the academic performance of struggling students from low-income backgrounds up to the average level of their middle-class or more privileged peers. With test-score gaps narrowing but remaining stubbornly persistent, some in the education field are taking a fresh look at programs for advanced students, driven by the same desire to help historically disadvantaged groups. They are concerned not just with the achievement gap, measured by average performance, but the “excellence gap”: they hope to get more students from diverse backgrounds to perform at elite levels. This article in the New York Times cites research by William Darity, Jr., Samuel DuBois Cook Professor of Public Policy, African and African American Studies and Economics at Duke University.

New York Times »