Surprise: Economic Mobility is Alive and Well in America!

"You can be concerned that there's not enough [economic] mobility or enough opportunity, but you don't have to also believe that things are getting worse."

So says Scott Winship of the centrist Brookings Institution.

Despite having a wealth of empirical evidence on his side, it's a lonely position. Researchers, writers, and politicians on the political right (think Charles Murray in his new book Coming Apart and former GOP Sen. Rick Santorum) and on the left (Timothy Noah in The Great Divergence and President Barack Obama) are convinced that economic mobility is shrinking.

In a series of provocative essays in a wide array of outlets, Winship demonstrates that while income inequality may indeed be growing (especially at the top end of things), mobility is not declining. As he wrote earlier this year in an article at National Review,

Using...two National Longitudinal Survey data sets, I can compare children born between 1962 and 1964 to children born between 1980 and 1982, observing their parents' incomes when they were 14 to 16 and their own incomes twelve years later when they were 26 to 28.

In contrast to [President Obama's and other's claims] of declining mobility, I found that upward mobility from poverty to the middle class rose from 51 percent to 57 percent between the early-'60s cohorts and the early-'80s ones. Rather than assert that mobility has increased, I want to simply say - at this stage of my research (which is ongoing) - that it has not declined.

If I include households that reported negative or no income, the rise in upward mobility I find is only from 51 percent to 53 percent, which is not a statistically meaningful increase. But the data provide absolutely no evidence that economic mobility declined, whereas the president said it had fallen by ten percentage points.

Winship sat down with Reason's Nick Gillespie to talk about why people mistake growth in income inequality for decreases in economic mobility and how mobility might be increased from where it's been for the past 40 or 50 years.

About 5.28 minutes.

Produced by Anthony L. Fisher; camera by Jim Epstein and Meredith Bragg.

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  • Irish||

    Huffington Post pissed that plus sized models aren't big enough.

    It's hard to believe that the very women who are meant to empower plus-size ladies by showcasing body diversity might just be posing yet another impossible standard. But it seems even plus-size models are alienating their target demographic.

    (Snip)

    "In a world where you're telling women that plus-size is sizes 4 and up, you're causing body image issues. You're causing unrealistic expectations that every one -- every woman -- should be a size 4. To bring that into the plus-size community, where you're using sizes 8, 10 and 12, when sometimes the stores don't even start carrying the clothes until size 14, you're telling women, 'You want to look like these models. This is what you should look like, but it's never going to happen."

    Or you could just stop whining that you don't look like models in the same way that I don't whine about the fact that I don't look like this guy.

    It's amazing how much of modern feminism is just women yearning for a world in which nothing annoys them. Wouldn't actual empowerment mean women shrugging their shoulders when they don't look like a model in the same way that men are expected to?

  • VG Zaytsev||

    Empowerment means being an over indulged petulant child.

  • Austrian Anarchy||

  • ||

    Hey that black guy was in Firefly!!!

  • Austrian Anarchy||

    Ron Glass? He is in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. now too.

  • NotAnotherSkippy||

    70's would be X'ers. The precious millenials in occupy were really raised in the 90's.

  • Irish||

    That's bizarre. The example of a guy I don't look like was supposed to be Jaime Lannister but for some reason it redirects to a random collection of people from Lost.

  • MJGreen||

    I was wondering why you were jealous of the exotic build of Terry O'Quinn.

  • Irish||

    In fairness, Terry O'Quinn is a sixty year old man who looks quite a bit younger than his age.

    I feel like he presents an unrealistic body image to men between 60 and 70, which strikes me as a reprehensible example of T.V.'s ageism.

  • BigT||

    If Terry O'Quinn is considered good looking, maybe I should not be self-conscious of my own look. It's better than his.

  • The Rt. Hon. Serious Man, Visc||

    That's because there are no men like him, Irish, there's only him.

  • ||

    +1

  • Lady Bertrum||

    You mean this Jaime Lannister or this Jaime Lannister?

    Because one is realistic and the other not so much.

  • Irish||

    You think it's realistic that I could look like live action Jaime Lannister?!?

    I feel like you've just forced your unrealistic expectations on me.

  • ||

    She meant that you might aspire to look like Jaime's stump, Irish. It's harsh, but sometimes the truth hurts.

  • Anonymous Coward||

  • ||

    Hmm, I went to the pic you meant to send us to.

  • MJGreen||

    I guess anything under 200 pounds is unrealistic.

    *gets berated by women over 250 lbs for setting an impossible standard*

  • KPres||

    The CDC says anybody with a BMI over 25 is overweight. Any idea what dress size that equates to? I'd hate to find out that the Huffington Post was suggesting overweight should be considered normal, what with the obesity epidemic and all.

    *Just glancing at the pictures, it does indeed seem to me that most of the plus-size models would be considered overweight. Why doesn't Huffington Post care about women's health?

  • SusanM||

    Dress sizes are almost completely arbitrary. Each designer (and often, each line a designer makes) has a different size scaled from the original design.

    And, obviously, it depends on how that BMI number is spread around on a persons frame.

    As for the larger issue, I think it's a matter of society accepting that one size doesn't fit all. However you want to deal with it (if at all) the media does influence perceptions about weight and appearance. Why do you think advertising for diet pills works so well?

  • Ted S.||

    Of course, using BMI to determine whether somebody is overweight is bogus. But you knew that.

  • Agammamon||

    I sit right at 30 for BMI (225-228 lbs normally @ 6ft 1in).

    To get to 'healthy' (BMI under 25) I would have to be under 190 lbs - not undoable, but either requiring me to cut down to around 5% body fat or lose 25 lbs of muscle.

    To be right in the middle of 'healthy' I would have to drop down to 163 lbs - there's no fucking way a 73 in guy can be 163 without both having basically no body fat *and* not much muscle.

    We're talking very little food and a ferocious amount of exercise to maintain that weight and have a decent amount of strength and endurance.

    The CDC's use of BMI is in the same vein as their designation of 5 drinks in one night to be binging - its all an ass-pull.

  • Dweebston||

    5 drinks in a night... that's got to be a minimum, right?

  • Boisfeuras||

    I think it's amazing how modern feminists seem to be carbon copies of the ancient vulgar stereotype of women – empty-headed, gossipy, envious harridans.

  • sarcasmic||

    John agrees.

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    It's amazing how much of modern feminism is just women yearning for a world in which nothing annoys them.

    Almost as if modern feminism is purely the creation of college radicals and upper-class (mostly) white women with certain ideological predispositions telling them that their feelings of entitlement are entirely justified and, in fact, the only valid way for a woman to feel. Funny how that shakes out.

  • Paul.||

    Women aren't smart enough to realize this. The Huffington post is merely protecting the weaker sex.

  • ||

  • PapayaSF||

    +One double standard. Could also have used any man on the cover of any romance novel.

  • JWatts||

    And this is GI Joe:

    http://bestmoviesevernews.com/.....iation.png

    I want to be the first to decry that society sets an unfair stereotype and blah, blah blah.

    No, wait. I have a brain and I'm not hopelessly insecure, so I don't really care all that much. Never mind, nothing to see here.

  • prolefeed||

    They were getting all butthurt that half the poll people liked one pic and the other half the other pic of a plus-sized model -- even though what that means is that guys who like chubbier chicks seem to like the average of the two.

    Or maybe this, too:

    I liked the pic of her where she looked chubbier, but only because her face was turned to one side and showed off her pretty nose and face better.

  • General Butt Naked||

    How about the first model in the slide show? She's freakin' hot as hell.

    I'm sir-mix-a-lotian in my taste though.

  • ||

    She is all kinds of gorgeous.

  • MichalaMatanzagyn||

    my co-worker's aunt makes 67 dollars/hr on the internet. She has been out of a job for 9 months but last month her pay check was 18639 dollars just working on the internet for a few hours. browse this site

    ➨➨➨➨➨➨➨➨ http://www.tec30.com

  • Gozer the Gozerian||

    Economic mobility is alive and well!

  • ||

    TOUCHDOWN SEAHAWKS...12 point lead.

  • ||

    ...13 points. I should post less quickly.

  • Gozer the Gozerian||

    Don't beat yourself up -- they could have missed the extra point.

  • Warrren||

    He always beats himself up, he uses his third tentacle exclusively for that purpose.

  • prolefeed||

    If by "up" you mean "off", I wouldn't be surprised.

  • The Rt. Hon. Serious Man, Visc||

    Is the apocalypse nigh? Jezebel agrees with a libertarian argument

    Libertarian thinker and blogger Rachel Burger makes the compelling argument that the reason boys have fallen behind girls at almost every level of education, and the reason that young childless urban women with college degrees outearn their male counterparts, and the reason that MEN ARE ENDING isn't because big mean feminists used all the power they stole from men in the 1970's to hairy armpit and henpeck them into fey submission. It's because we live in a capitalist society, and the capitalist economy that men of the twentieth century built and profited from also profited from shipping jobs that require traditionally "masculine" qualities overseas.
    [...]
    As Burger points out, jobs available to American workers now are more likely to place a premium on compromise, communication, networking, and other skills women and girls are socialized to value more than men and boys. If parents want to groom men to succeed in a communication and service-based economy, argues Burger, then yeah they're going to have to socialize them to act more like "socially intelligent" girls. Because otherwise they'll get their wall-punching asses fired. You can't golf your way up the corporate ladder anymore.

    Not sure if I am 100% with the Burger article, but I just found the positive feedback fascinating.

  • Warrren||

    Those jobs went overseas in large part because of regulatory costs.

    Get rid of that stuff and the jobs will flood back.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    Those jobs went overseas in large part because of regulatory costs.

    No! No! As a wealthy entrepreneur, I want to spent more money on fuel and transportation costs in bringing my manufactured products back to the American market!

  • Sevo||

    Personally, I and thousands of my friends moved out of Detroit and stopped paying taxes there just to give lefty writers a subject.

  • General Butt Naked||

    You joking, or are you originally from detroit?

  • Gozer the Gozerian||

    Damn foreigners, taking jobs from hard-working American robots!

  • Anomalous||

    They tik er jerbs!

  • Gozer the Gozerian||

    Since Roberts just posted this yesterday...

  • SusanM||

    I'd be interested in finding out how the increasing educational requirements (vs., say, vocational training or hands-on experience) skews the idea that more college equals a better paying job.

    Also of interest: How does the opportunity/outcome work out? In other words, how much does that degree really guarantee that you'll make so much. Are there enough jobs that require a masters to hire everyone who has one and if not, how many are going to end up flipping burgers forever regardless.

  • Gozer the Gozerian||

    My short, non-answer answer: Education is mostly signaling, but the signal that you choose matters a lot.

  • ||

    I thought this was great...

    Until I read the comments.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    If parents want to groom men to succeed in a communication and service-based economy, argues Burger, then yeah they're going to have to socialize them to act more like "socially intelligent" girls.

    Where are these mythical "feminized" new-economy jobs? Just about every tech/social media start-up I've ever seen resembles a frat house without the booze (mostly).

  • Gozer the Gozerian||

    I had more general thoughts along the same lines...

    "Doctors? Engineers? Lawyers? Fuckin' pussies!"

    The problem is, one needs certain kinds of intelligence to do those jobs, but everyone wants to make the conversation about dumb, good-ol'-boy factory workers. (Full disclosure: I have worked in a factory, and those people are mostly retarded assholes.)

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    The Jezzies aren't as interested in the job skills, per se, as opposed to gloating over their imagined demise of the "good ol' boy". What with them daring to vote Republican and daring to grumble about having to pay for them when they choose to shove steel needles up their vaginae to scramble the brains of their unwanted children.

  • Wasteland Wanderer||

    Mostly in medicine and education, which have seen less decline during the recession.

  • General Butt Naked||

    Mostly in medicine and education, which have seen less decline during the recession.

    Yeah, Occam's razor tells me that the gender that's more likely to go into the fields that see a never ending stream of trillions of Uncle Sugar bucks will do quite well. Of course, it's not sustainable and when the med/ed crash happens there's gonna be a lot of unemployed female bureaucrats.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    Compromise, communication, and networking? Wow, if only men had thought of this before!

    In the old, patriarchal economy, no businessman ever compromised himself by accomodating his product or service to the needs of customers. Workers only communicated by unintelligible grunts and groans. And men never, ever networked - you got jobs and made connections by competing in literal pissing contests, and if your urine stream went the farthest, you won.

    And not punching walls? Wow, that's such a new and radical idea!

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    made connections by competing in literal pissing contests, and if your urine stream went the farthest, you won.

    You worked with my old crew too, it seems?

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    All they did was "golf their way up the corporate ladder". You know, because that's what capitalism is all about.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    I just thought - isn't golfing connected to networking?

  • Rhywun||

    Must be. Who actually enjoys golf?

  • General Butt Naked||

    Dude, I actually work with guys that like golf. They talk about it constantly.

    It's more boring than Episiarch's homo-erotic football ramblings.

  • Greg F||

    As Burger points out, jobs available to American workers now are more likely to place a premium on compromise, communication, networking, and other bureaucratic skills women and girls are socialized to value more than men and boys.

    Fixed it.

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    jobs available to American workers now are more likely to place a premium on compromise, communication, networking, and other skills women and girls are socialized to value more than men and boys.


    No.

    First off, jobs aren't made "available"; they're created through voluntary interaction.

    Second, anyone who has worked in a female-majority workplace knows that "compromise, communication, networking" come a distant 92nd to murderous office politics and incredibly bitchy contests between female co-workers for God knows what reason. Not saying such describes all or even most of my female co-workers through the years, but so long as we're talking stereotypes...

    Third, why would "compromise" per se be a valuable trait for any employee? Compromise is generally the result of two parties negotiating some solution which is mutually beneficial without gaining everything those two parties desire -- the impetus for compromise is itself the result of strong personalities clashing, not a good in and of itself. An ability to negotiate is important, but a conciliatory personality? Not so much, so long as everyone is professional.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    Second, anyone who has worked in a female-majority workplace knows that "compromise, communication, networking" come a distant 92nd to murderous office politics and incredibly bitchy contests between female co-workers for God knows what reason.

    +1 Phyllis Chesler

  • ||

    I cannot believe you people are bothering to analyze a...I don't even know what this is, call it a "theory" I guess? It's utterly unscientific and is comprised of vague appeals to completely unmeasurable and unverifiable allegations about blanket differences between genders that are, inherently, collectivist as shit.

    It's moronic because it's the equivalent of, say, a "chicks like ponies so they make better jockeys" argument. I mean...whaaaa? It's pretty much solely designed to appeal to all the GENDER WAR enthusiasts out there, because it sure as fuck hasn't the slightest scientific basis.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    Not even that, but Burger's link that she provides for scientific evidence contradicts her argument:

    Psychologist Ruth Malloy at the HayGroup Boston studies excellence in leaders. She finds when you only look at the stars -- leaders in the top ten percent of business performance -- gender differences in emotional intelligence abilities wash out: The men are as good as the women, the women as good as the men, across the board.

    That echoes a discovery by scientists who study primates. When a chimp sees another chimp who is upset, say from an injury, she mimics the distress, a way of showing empathy. Some chimps will then go over and give some solace to the upset chimp, for example, stroking the other to help it calm down. Female chimps do this more often than male chimps do - with one intriguing exception: The alpha males, the troupe leaders, give solace even more often than do female chimps. In nature's design, leaders, it seems, need a large dose of empathic concern.


    Heh heh...Alphas are fucking pussies.
  • ||

    That's not scientific evidence, it's abject bullshit. I'd really like know how a human can know that a chimp is 1) showing empathy, 2) giving solace, or 3) any fucking thing that is going on in a chimp's head. It's a fucking animal.

    I mean, that paragraph is pretty much the opposite of science, it's reading tea leaves. It's pathetic.

  • ||

    Leaders are pretty small blips on a bell curve.

    Plus chimps don't have urban jobs and as groups of individuals working for a common goal they fall below what a wolf pack can do.

  • NotAnotherSkippy||

    And yet CEO's share common personality traits with psychopaths, so decidedly unempathic. I can see some utility in that. It's easier to right-size a workforce if you truly don't care.

  • Ted S.||

    Second, anyone who has worked in a female-majority workplace knows that "compromise, communication, networking" come a distant 92nd to murderous office politics and incredibly bitchy contests between female co-workers for God knows what reason.

    I learned this the one term in college where I was the only guy in the news department at the college radio station. All the departments met weekly to assign shifts, and after every meeting, the women talked about guys/boyfriends/sex. It didn't bother me, mostly because I just figured this proved women are as shallow as men are claimed to be.

  • Irish||

    This confuses me. Aren't we supposed to be freaking out about a gap between the pay of men and women?

    How can Jezebel shriek about the horrors of the pay gap while simultaneously arguing that women do better than men in today's work environment? Clearly if a pay gap exists women are still doing worse in the modern work environment than men are.

  • Anonymous Coward||

    As Burger points out, jobs available to American workers now are more likely to place a premium on compromise, communication, networking, and other skills women and girls are socialized to value more than men and boys.

    Ah, the myth that women are more "socialized" than men.

    I notice that nowhere in that list is any skill that could be construed as "getting shit done."

    Men socialize just fine. When we try to socialize, as men, and a certain kind of woman is present (we'll call her the bourgeosie feminist), then all socialization stops because all it takes is one wrong word, one wrong look, and lawsuits happen.

    If parents want to groom men to succeed in a communication and service-based economy, argues Burger, then yeah they're going to have to socialize them to act more like "socially intelligent" girls.

    How's that? Ruthless and petty?

    Because otherwise they'll get their wall-punching asses fired.

    Ah yes, all men are violent goons without the firm, guiding hand of mommy to lead them.

    You can't golf your way up the corporate ladder anymore.

    Compromise, communication and networking are the skills of the future and all men should learn them. But Aqua Buddha forbid they happen on a golf course!

  • ||

    But Aqua Buddha forbid they happen on a golf course!

    Or at Hooters.

    N.B., I don't like Hooters -- for any occasion, not just business -- but to each his own.

  • JWatts||

    "then yeah they're going to have to socialize them to act more like "socially intelligent" girls. Because otherwise they'll get their wall-punching asses fired. You can't golf your way up the corporate ladder anymore."

    Golfing your way up the corporate ladder is Socializing {facepalm} .

  • The Rt. Hon. Serious Man, Visc||

    Game of Thrones releases trailers for its Season 4 trailer

  • ||

    I am wondering how the show will explain why the mountain is fighting the Red Viper...the show has not explained very well why house Martel is pissed at Gregor Clegane.

    Also why the hell is Jon Snow swinging around a sword at the Siege of Castle Black?

  • The Rt. Hon. Serious Man, Visc||

    I am wondering how the show will explain why the mountain is fighting the Red Viper...the show has not explained very well why house Martel is pissed at Gregor Clegane.

    Just have Oberyn or Tywin explain to another character (and thus the audience) that Gregor raped and murdered Oberyn's sister. It's not a very complicated motive.

  • Anonymous Coward||

    “Is it sheep you take us for, or fools? My brother is not a bloodthirsty man, but neither has he been asleep for sixteen years. I did not come for some mummer’s show of an inquiry. I came for justice for Elia and her children, and I will have it. Starting with this lummox Gregor Clegane … but not, I think, ending there. Before he dies, the Enormity That Rides will tell me whence came his orders, please assure your lord father of that.” He smiled. “An old septon once claimed I was living proof of the goodness of the gods. Do you know why that is, Imp?”

    “No,” Tyrion admitted warily.

    “Why, if the gods were cruel, they would have made me my mother’s firstborn, and Doran her third. I am a bloodthirsty man, you see. And it is me you must contend with now, not my patient, prudent, and gouty brother.”

    Fuck yeah, Oberyn Nymeros Martell.

  • ||

    Or just have the ride back to the city with him and Tyrion when he first shows up, where they clearly explain the whole beef in conversation.

  • Francisco d Anconia||

    There better be LOTS of Ygritte. Preferably neked.

  • OldMexican||

    And feked. Hard.

  • Cdr Lytton||

  • The Rt. Hon. Serious Man, Visc||

    You know nutthin Jon Snuu-oh-ah-ah...

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=keQgGqdcvbE (NSFW)

  • ||

    Oh, that interception is just what the doctor ordered.

  • ||

    Once again I post too soon.

  • Sevo||

    Did this get mention here?:
    "Court tells Yelp it must reveal some critics' identities"
    http://www.sfgate.com/business.....132790.php
    Sure looks like a "law" to me and A1 says ..."no laws"...

  • ||

    And that should be it for the Saints. They played well, but...

    BEAST MODE

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    I think this should be a troubling win for the Seahawks. You could not ask for better conditions for them, the Saints being a team that plays best in their dome and is essentially a throwing team (with 3 times more passing first downs than rushing) having to play in an outdoor, windy, rainy background, and hanging in the game until late in the 4th. Since the Saints are not the 49ers or the Panthers who have shown up in the second half of the season, that seems like trouble for Seattle next week.

  • Sevo||

    ..."not the 49ers or the Panthers who have shown up in the second half of the season, that seems like trouble for Seattle next week."

    Dunno about the Panthers, but the 9ers have a coaching problem in that Harbaugh can't seem to put a team on the field that plays both halfs.
    If they had played the 1st half of the Super Bowl last year, there would have been no need of a (failed) comeback.

  • The Rt. Hon. Serious Man, Visc||

    Well that was a bone-headed way to end the game. What the hell was Colston thinking?

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    My guess would be the coach told them if there was a catch and no time left, to do that, and Colston just could not see the time. Otherwise it is inexplicable.

  • Irish||

    It was a forward pass. There's no way the coach told him to throw the ball forward.

  • The Rt. Hon. Serious Man, Visc||

    If he caught it over the middle and there was no way to stop the clock I could understand attempting laterals, but he was on the sideline, he just had to take one step out of bounds and he sets up Brees for a Hail Mary.

  • VENDY01||

    my friend's step-mother earned $20557 past month. she works on the internet and moved in a $514900 house. All she did was get fortunate and put into action the information shown on this link


    ---------- J­U­M­P­2­­6.­­ℭ­­Oℳ

  • Francisco d Anconia||

    Where is everyone?

    This is the worst chatroom evah!

  • ||

    Seriously, this place is a ghost town.

  • Brucehy||


    my best friend's half-sister makes $71/hour on the internet. She has been fired for nine months but last month her paycheck was $13504 just working on the internet for a few hours. check

    ======== WWW.CASH46.COM

  • SusanJWong||

    my best friend's mother makes $82 hourly on the internet. She has been fired for 10 months but last month her paycheck was $14496 just working on the internet for a few hours. find out this here
    http://www.cash46.com

  • Rach||

    Disclosure: I am a Right-Winger with libertarian leanings (diminished federal government role)

    I have been involved in this argument more than a few time with my left friends. I say being born into poverty and have a 60% chance to move up (17% chance to be at the higher end) is good mobility.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v.....-iRimBTFlP

    I think wealth (that is the money/assets that has been banked, after taxes) is the primary means which families move from one tier to the next. The common argument is the top percentage is getting wealthier faster than the bottom tier. This is moot in that both are getting wealthier, just at different rates because those with higher incomes are able to bank a higher percentage of their income.

    Again I do not see the issue. We do not need to destroy one persons wealth to bring someone else up. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=erJEaFpS9ls

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