Lane Kenworthy

Affiliation: University of Arizona

Lane Kenworthy is a Professor of Sociology and Political Science University of Arizona.

He studies the causes and consequences of poverty, inequality, mobility, employment, economic growth, and social policy in the United States and other affluent countries.

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Lane Kenworthy's Latest Articles | 36

The Mystery of Economic Growth

Aug 21, 2013| 

Well-known economist in 1994: “There are many economic puzzles, but there are only two really great mysteries. One of these mysteries is why economic growth takes... Read »

America’s Future Early Education System

May 20, 2013| 

At some point, the United States is likely to have universal publicly-funded early education for children aged one to four. But while we led the way in establishing... Read »

Can We Get Wages Rising?

Apr 19, 2013| 

In the United States, wages for people in middle-paying jobs and below have been flat for more than three decades. This has gone on for so long now that we should... Read »

Will Everyone Be Worse Off if the U.S. Turns Social Democratic?

Oct 1, 2012| 

Daron Acemoglu, James Robinson, and Thierry Verdier have a new paper that asks “Can’t We All Be More Like Scandinavians?” Their answer is no. The answer follows... Read »

We’re All Dependent On Government, and It Has Long Been Thus

Sep 3, 2012| 

Nicholas Eberstadt’s “A Nation of Takers” argues that too many Americans have become dependent on government benefits. Over the past half-century, he notes,... Read »

Mitt Romney’s Peculiar Approach to Tax Fairness

Aug 20, 2012| 

Mitt Romney in a recent Fortune magazine interview: “I indicated as I announced my tax plan that the key principles included the following. First, that high-income... Read »

Wage Stagnation Isn’t Due to a Compositional Shift

Jul 31, 2012| 

From the mid-1940s through the mid-1970s, inflation-adjusted wages for Americans in the middle and below rose in sync with the economy. Since then, the median wage... Read »

Is Rising Obesity a Product of Income Inequality and Economic Insecurity?

Jun 11, 2012| 

Three decades ago, 15% of American adults were obese. Today 35% are. Obesity has increased in many other rich nations too. Why? Although we burn fewer calories now... Read »

Why the Surge in Obesity?

Jun 1, 2012| 

The Weight of the Nation is a four-part series on obesity in America by HBO Films and the Institute of Medicine, with assistance from the Centers for Disease Control... Read »

Is Decoupling Real?

Mar 13, 2012| 

Since the 1970s, income growth for middle-class American households has become decoupled from growth of the economy. The chart below offers one way to see this.... Read »

Should Income Growth Over the Life Course Lessen Concern About the Great Decoupling?

Mar 2, 2012| 

Since the 1970s, the incomes of Americans in the lower half have risen very slowly. That’s not because economic growth has been slow. Instead, as this chart shows,... Read »

Winner-Take-All Financial Incentives, Steve Jobs, and the Living Standards of Ordinary Americans

Dec 4, 2011| 

I’ve just finished Walter Isaacson’s fascinating book on Steve Jobs’ fascinating life. Among the many intriguing things about Jobs’ story is that it may... Read »

The Late American Jobs Machine

Sep 14, 2011| 

The U.S. labor market is bad shape. The great recession and its aftermath are the chief culprits, of course, but the sputtering began earlier. In the 1970s, 1980s,... Read »

How Should We Measure the Poverty Rate?

Aug 15, 2011| 

Perhaps we shouldn’t. The idea behind a poverty rate is that we set an income line below which people’s resources are deemed insufficient for a minimally decent... Read »

Is There a Viable Progressive Politics that Doesn’t Hinge on a Strong Labor Movement?

Jul 21, 2011| 

That’s the crux of the issue in the “technocratic, neoliberal leftism” discussion by Henry Farrell, Matthew Yglesias, Kevin Drum, Brad DeLong, Noah Millman,... Read »

America’s Inefficient Health-Care System: Another Look

Jul 11, 2011| 

America’s health-care system differs from its counterparts in other affluent nations in a number of ways: greater fragmentation among payers and price-setters,... Read »

What’s the Signal that We May be Headed for a “Lost Decade”?

Jun 22, 2011| 

“After a recession, this economy usually gets people back to work quickly. Not this time.” That’s Clive Crook in a recent FT column. Actually, the lack of... Read »

Relative Poverty Rates can Mislead

Jun 20, 2011| 

Many researchers and policy makers favor a “relative” measure of poverty. That’s because our notion of what constitutes a minimally acceptable standard of... Read »

Is Heavy Taxation Bad for the Economy?

May 23, 2011| 

Taxes reduce the payoff to entrepreneurship, investment, and work effort. If taxation is too heavy, these disincentives will weaken a nation’s economy. But at... Read »

Taxes and Work

May 10, 2011| 

Working-age Belgians, French, and Germans spend, on average, about 1,000 hours a year in paid work. In the United States, Switzerland, and New Zealand, by contrast,... Read »

Inequality and Mobility at the Top

Mar 9, 2011| 

Income inequality in America has soared over the past generation. But some see little cause for concern. One reason is that our inequality statistics — Gini coefficient,... Read »

The Politics of Big Policy Change

Feb 18, 2011| 

The Obama administration believes major policy reform is most likely to happen if the president lays out the need for it and a broad set of guidelines but lets... Read »

Is America Finished with Major Expansions of the Safety Net?

Jan 25, 2011| 

That’s the message from Jim Kessler, endorsed here, here, and here. Kessler urges President Obama to say, in his State of the Union address, that “with the... Read »

Is Winner-Take-All Bad or Good for the Middle Class? Evidence from Baseball

Jan 12, 2011| 

A “winner-take-all” market is one in which the top stars get paid much more than anyone else. It’s an apt description of the American economy in recent decades.... Read »

Has Rising Inequality Been Bad for the Poor?

Dec 14, 2010| 

Income inequality has risen sharply in the United States and some other affluent countries since late 1970s, with much of the increase consisting of growing separation... Read »

The Tax Deal

Dec 7, 2010| 

On policy grounds, I’m not happy about President Obama’s decision to go along with a two-year extension of the Bush tax cuts for those making over a million... Read »

Poverty and Immigration in the U.S. and Abroad

Nov 30, 2010| 1

The incomes of American households at the low end of the distribution aren’t especially high, and haven’t increased much, when compared to those of their counterparts... Read »

When is Economic Growth Good for the Poor?

Nov 18, 2010| 

In a good society, the living standards of the least well-off rise over time. One way to achieve that is rising redistribution: government steadily increases the... Read »

Political Traps for Keynesians

Aug 17, 2010| 

In early 2009 Congress and the president passed an $800 billion economic stimulus (tax cut and government spending) package. A number of analysts argued at the... Read »

The Best Inequality Graph, Updated

Jul 21, 2010| 

Why this graph? See here. A pdf version of it is here.  Read More →

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