about THE CONFERENCE

Ensuring equal access to economic opportunity is widely accepted as a desirable goal. Nonetheless, there is little consensus regarding exactly what is meant by equality of opportunity and the appropriate role of public policy in promoting it.

Over the last several decades, the inequality of economic outcomes has widened sharply in the United States. Even as observers agree on the desirability of equal opportunity, there is considerable controversy about the optimal degree of equality in economic outcomes and/or the policies needed to achieve this goal. Nonetheless, as the rungs of the income ladder (outcomes) move farther apart, the consequences— via unequal opportunity—of the specific rung a child’s parents occupy become more severe, increasing the importance of implementing policies to equalize opportunity.

This conference will examine the extent of inequality of economic opportunity in the United States and its manifestations at the level of individual characteristics, early childhood experiences, educational institutions, and neighborhoods. It will also present estimates of unequal opportunity’s consequent cost of lower human capital and reduced economic output and consider the efficacy of possible policy remedies. We are delighted to host this conference in collaboration with the Russell Sage Foundation.

Date

October 17 & 18, 2014

Location

Federal Reserve Bank of Boston
600 Atlantic Ave
Boston, MA 02210
Directions

SPEAKERS

Photo of Katharine Bradbury

Katharine Bradbury
Federal Reserve Bank of Boston
"Inequality of Opportunity and Aggregate Economic Performance"

photo of Greg J. Duncan

Greg J. Duncan
University of California at Irvine
"U.S. Education Policy and Equality of Economic Opportunity"

photo of Katherine Magnuson

Katherine Magnuson
University of Wisconsin
"Can Early Childhood Interventions Reduce Inequality of Economic Opportunity?"

photo of Richard J. Murnane

Richard J. Murnane
Harvard Graduate School of Education
"U.S. Education Policy and Equality of Economic Opportunity"

photo of Greg J. Duncan

Richard V. Reeves
Brookings Institution
"Measuring (In)Equality of Opportunity: Definitions and Trends"

photo of Richard V. Reeves

Eric S. Rosengren
President & Chief Executive Officer, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston

photo of Isabel V. Sawhill

Isabel V. Sawhill
Brookings Institution
"Measuring (In)Equality of Opportunity: Definitions and Trends"

photo of Patrick Sharkey

Patrick Sharkey
New York University
"How Does Geography Affect Inequality of Economic Opportunity?"

photo of Timothy M. (Tim) Smeeding

Timothy M. Smeeding
University of Wisconsin
"Multiple Barriers to Economic Opportunity in the United States"

photo of Robert K. Triest

Robert K. Triest
Federal Reserve Bank of Boston
"Inequality of Opportunity and Aggregate Economic Performance"

photo of Janet L. Yellen

Janet L. Yellen
Chair, Board of Governors, Federal Reserve System