March 8, 2016

Shared Prosperity in America’s Communities

By: Susan M. Wachter and Lei Ding
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While the nation's GDP has doubled in the last thirty years, significant increases in family income have been restricted to a small subset of the American population. This disjunct between national economic growth and stagnating incomes in all but the very top tier of the population corresponds with increasing economic inequality and a lack of social and economic mobility. As a consequence, neighborhoods and metropolitan areas have become more polarized. Stark geographic differences in levels of poverty, income, health outcomes, job opportunities, lifetime earning potential, and educational attainment highlight the degree to which place matters in terms of social and economic opportunity.

"Wachter and Ding have assembled a dazzling collection of contributors to explore the intersection of inequality and place. This volume makes clear that policy cannot ignore geography—the future of opportunity in America begins at the neighborhood level. I encourage scholars, policymakers, and the interested public worried about increasing inequality to take advantage of the many insights this collection offers."—Sarah Rosen Wartell, The Urban Institute

Shared Prosperity in America's Communities examines this place-based disparity of opportunity and suggests what can be done to ensure that the benefits of economic growth are widely shared. Contributors' essays explore social and economic mobility throughout the country to illuminate the changing geography of inequality, offer a portfolio of strategies to address the challenges of place-based inequality, and show how communities across the nation are implementing change and building a future of shared prosperity. Approaching the problem from the vantage point of economics, sociology, and public policy, Shared Prosperity in America's Communities offers a timely analysis of the country's growing socioeconomic and geographic division and shows how communities can respond to the challenge of economic inequality to build a nation of opportunity for all.

Contributors: J. Cameron Anglum, Timothy J. Bartik, Chris Benner, Angela Glover Blackwell, Anthony P. Carnevale, Raj Chetty, Rebecca Diamond, Lei Ding, Paul A. Jargowsky, David N. Karp, Elizabeth Kneebone, Douglas S. Massey, Jeremy Nowak, Manuel Pastor, Victor Rubin, Chris Schildt, Nicole Smith, Margery Austin Turner, Susan M. Wachter, Zachary D. Wood

Susan M. Wachter is the Albert Sussman Professor of Real Estate and Professor of Finance, The Wharton School; Professor of City and Regional Planning, School of Design; and Codirector, Penn Institute for Urban Research, at the University of Pennsylvania.

Lei Ding is Community Development Economic Advisor at the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.

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