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The persistence of poverty in America and the dramatic increase of economic inequality in recent decades have garnered growing public awareness. Isn't the United States at least a land of economic opportunity, in which those who start lower on the economic ladder have a reasonable expectation that they, or their children, might advance into the middle class? Or are we at risk of being a caste society, in which multiple generations are trapped in a cycle of relative deprivation, while others inherit the security of a “gilded” lifestyle?
Important recent research by social scientists has shown that intergenerational economic mobility in the United States is low compared with many other wealthy countries, and that opportunity is unevenly distributed across the country. In this presentation, Professor Sundstrom will summarize some of these findings, including what they have to say about opportunity in the Silicon Valley region. He will provide an overview of the potential causes of intergenerational persistence in income status, and the implications for community and policy strategies for increasing opportunity.