Learning and Development: Economic opportunity or low-income trap?




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Published on Mar 15, 2017

Step Up Silicon Valley - Learning and Development Series 2017

Sponsored by the Leavey School of Business, Santa Clara University

Title: Preventing Generational Poverty | Economic opportunity or low-income trap? Lessons from recent research on intergenerational mobility in the United States.

By: Professor William A. Sundstrom, Professor of Economics at Santa Clara University.

Bio: William A. Sundstrom is Professor of Economics at Santa Clara University. He is the author of numerous scholar publications in economics and economic history. His current research focuses on the measurement, causes, and consequences of poverty and income inequality in the Silicon Valley region, as well as food and water insecurity in developing countries. He teaches courses in econometrics, environmental economics, and the economics of race and gender.

Context: 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.

About Step Up's Learning and Development Series:
The Learning and Development Series is a part of Step Up Silicon Valley’s effort to deepen dialogue on specific community issues and creating innovative solutions. We seek to engage our network through workshops that feature guest speakers who are experts in their fields. The L&D Series is sponsored by the Leavey School of Business, Santa Clara University.

About Step Up Silicon Valley:
Step Up Silicon Valley is a social innovation network. Our goal is to reduce poverty and increase economic opportunity in Santa Clara County. Led by the county's nonprofit, public, and private sector leaders, we seek to nurture cross-sector conversations, collaborations, and solutions in service of disrupting the systems that cause and perpetuate poverty. Learn more at www.stepupsv.org.

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