From Faster Than 20

Inequality Gap

  • Thomas Piketty, Capital
  • Robert Putnam, Our Kids: The American Dream in Crisis



Contact hypothesis

Jane Elliott's famous 1968 blue eyes/ brown eyes experiment with her third graders the day after Martin Luther King, Jr.'s assassination, where she divided her class into students with blue and brown eyes and incited prejudice.

Race and Class

What's the relationship between race and class?

"Harvard's Class Gap" is a fantastic article on how we're ignoring issues of class to our detriment.

Black Men

"Extensive Data Shows Punishing Reach of Racism for Black Boys" — this New York Times article contains detailed data and visualizations about the wealth disparity between white and black men, based largely on the Harvard-based Opportunity Insights study.

Robert Livingston found that the handful of black CEOs at Fortune 500 companies tend to have baby faces, which he calls the "Teddy Bear Effect." (See below for impact on women.)[1]

Working Class Whites

Princeton's Anne Case and Angus Deaton, Mortality and Morbidity in the 21st century.

  • Mortality rates of whites with no more than a high school degree were around 30 percent lower than mortality rates of blacks in 1999. In 2015, 30 percent higher than blacks.

Nancy Isenberg of Louisiana State University, White Trash: The 400 Year Untold History of Class in America

Arlie Hochschild of UC Berkeley, Strangers in Their Own Land: Anger and Mourning on the American Right


William Bowen (Princeton) looked at 13 selective colleges in 2005. Admissions chances for:

  • Recruited athlete increased by 30.2%
  • Underrepresented minority increased by 27.7%
  • Legacy increased by 19.7%
  • First-generation college student increased by 4.1%
  • Bottom income quartile, no increase

Thomas Espenshade and Alexandria Radford found that, holding academic ability constant, upper-middle class whites 3 times more likely than low-income whites to be admitted to elite colleges.

William Bowen and Derek Bok found that 86% of black students at elite colleges are middle or upper class.


Richard Lapchick's racial and gender report cards.

NFL Hires in the Rooney Rule Era — Great visualizations exploring whether or not the Rooney Rule is working.

Structural Shifts

Anne Elizabeth Brown, "Ridehail Revolution: Ridehail Travel and Equity in Los Angeles," doctoral dissertation (2018).

  • Discrimination in the taxi industry results in higher cancellation rates and longer wait times for black riders. Black riders were 73% more likely to have a taxi cancel than white riders.
  • Lyft and Uber nearly eliminate the racial differences in service (down to 4%)
  • Policy changes for ridehail apps (e.g. tracking driver cancellation behavior, permitting riders to use pseudonyms, changing at what point in the pickup process drivers learn a rider’s name or race) could help erase the racial gap almost entirely

Gender and Sexuality



In most positions of power, there are many more men named "John" than women. The New York Times Upshot tracks these stats in its Glass Ceiling Index.

Women are still less likely to commit corporate fraud, even though there are more women in positions of leadership. (See Power and its impact on ethics.)

Women in the workforce:

  • Graduate at equal or higher percentages from college or higher, but do not get paid equally and do not advance as their male counterparts do. Estimated GDP increased by $4.3 trillion in a decade if women were simply paid equally for their work.
  • On track to control and own 70% of wealth in U.S. by 2020
  • Only 3% of Fortune 500 companies share full diversity data, even though all companies required to report sex and race metrics every year to Department of Labor. This data only available via FOIA requests or lawsuits.

UNPRI reports:

"At the current rate of progress, the gender pay gap will not close for over 100 years, and the global average of women on boards will not reach 30% until 2027."
"Women account for two thirds of total work hours globally, yet earn only one tenth of the world’s income."

Gender Equity Now is a new initiative to create a gender index for companies in order to encourage them to adopt gender-friendly policies.

Robert Livington's research on the Teddy Bear Effect (see above) found that white women CEOs were far less baby-faced then either black or white male CEOs.[1]


In July 2018, of 7,383 state legislators, 1,876 (25%) were women. 1,144 (61%) were Democrats (37% of Democratic state lawmakers), 705 were Republicans (17% of Republican lawmakers). Vermont and Arizona have 40% women in their state legislatures. Wyoming has 11% (the lowest), Oklahoma has 14%.[2]

  • Gender gap in political ambition. Men often motivated to run by desire to hold public office. Women generally need to be triggered by an urge to do something.
  • Women made significant gains in 1970s and 1980s, but numbers have plateaued in the past 20 years.
  • Women of color have made ongoing gains in the past 20 years, but make up just 6% of all state legislatures.


Corporate Equality Index

  • 370 of Fortune 500 have a 100% ranking

Regional Inequality

America's Most and Least Distressed Cities

Detailed Maps Show How Neighborhoods Shape Children for Life. Based on the Opportunity Insights study.

See Also


  1. 1.0 1.1 Erin O'Donnell. "The Teddy Bear Effect." Harvard Magazine. January-February 2019.
  2. Audrey Carlsen, Denise Lu. "More Women Than Men: State Legislatures Could Shift for the First Time." New York Times, June 30, 2018.