Over the last 30 years, economic inequality in the United States has returned to levels last seen in the 1920s. Today, the United States is in the top quarter of the world’s most unequal countries. Economic mobility—a child’s likelihood to occupy a different position on the income ladder than their parents did—has fallen well behind Canada, Britain, and other advanced economies. Inequality has worsened over the course of the economic recovery, with economists Emmanuel Saez and Thomas Piketty finding that the top 1 percent of earners took home 95 percent of all income gains since the recession ended in 2009.
Economists have documented these changes extensively, but we need to know more about the effects, if any, of rising economic inequality on America’s overall economic growth. If, as some research suggests, worsening inequality erodes our economy’s ability to function efficiently and at full potential, we are faced with a second question: What are the best ways to promote more equitable economic growth?
The Washington Center for Equitable Growth is a new, nonpartisan organization, housed at the Center for American Progress, that will explore these important questions.
John D. Podesta, Chair, Washington Center for Equitable Growth and Chair, Center for American Progress
Raj Chetty, Bloomberg Professor of Economics at Harvard University
Janet Gornick, Professor of Political Science and Sociology and Director of the Luxembourg Income Study Center, City University of New York, and Director of LIS, Luxembourg
Ilyana Kuziemko, David W. Zalaznick Associate Professor of Business, Columbia Business School
Emmanuel Saez, Professor of Economics and Director of the Center for Equitable Growth, University of California, Berkeley
John Cassidy, Staff Writer at The New Yorker, contributor to the New York Review of Books and financial commentator for the BBC,
Neera Tanden, President, Center for American Progress
Jason Furman, Chair, Council of Economic Advisers
Kalpana Kochhar, Deputy Director, Strategy Policy and Review, IMF
Claudia Sahm, Economist, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System
Dorian Warren, Associate Professor of Political Science and International Affairs, Columbia University
Heather Boushey, Executive Director and Chief Economist, Washington Center for Equitable Growth and Senior Fellow, Center for American Progress, (moderator)