Are Americans Primarily Suffering from Income Inequality or Lack of Opportunity? Diagnosing the Problem and Proposing Solutions

While class divisions in America have been a source of concern for decades, attention to this topic increased after the 2008-09 financial crisis and has continued to influence our debates on how to advance as a nation. There are many proposals for addressing class divisions, but these proposals are frequently inconsistent with one another. This inconsistency is often due to proposed solutions being based on different diagnoses of the problem.

Columbia Business School’s 2019 Social Enterprise Leadership Forum (SELF) will focus on two important diagnoses and solutions that emerge from them. On the one hand, many academics and policy makers see the problem in terms of the distance between the rich and poor—income inequality—with society in a precarious state due to this wide inequality. Others, however, see the problem as largely being one of immobility or lack of opportunity to move up the socio-economic class ladder. From this perspective, the greatest challenge for the U.S. is not inequality per se, but the barriers to mobility.

Reaching a deeper understanding of these two interdependent challenges, and their implications for solutions, is critical to the progress of our nation at this critical juncture. It is a topic central to the business community in our roles as investors, employers, advisors, and citizens, in addition to our substantial influence on policy. As a community with the ability to affect wide-scale change, we need to understand these diagnoses in order to effectively contribute to the solutions.

Agenda

Friday, May 3, 2019
7:30 a.m.–2:30 p.m.

This event is by invitation only. If you are interested in being added to the invitation list, please contact socialenterprise@gsb.columbia.edu.

Time Event

7:30–7:45 AM

Breakfast and Registration

7:45–8:00 AM

Welcome Remarks

  • SELF 2019 Damon Phillips
    Lambert Family Professor of Social Enterprise, Management; Co-Director, The Tamer Center for Social Enterprise, Columbia Business School

8:00–8:15 AM

Opening Keynote: A Policy Agenda to Develop Human Capital for the Modern Economy

  • SELF 2019 Glenn Hubbard
    Dean, Dean's Office; Russell L. Carson Professor of Finance and Economics, Columbia Business School; Co-Director, Richard Paul Richman Center for Business, Law, and Public Policy, Columbia University

8:15–9:45 AM

Education, Inequality, and Mobility: Unpacking Persistence

  • SELF 2019 The Role of Higher Education in Intergenerational Income Persistence

    Deirdre Bloome
    Assistant Professor, Sociology, College of Literature, Science, and the Arts, University of Michigan; Faculty Associate, Population Studies Center

  • SELF 2019 The Case for Economic Affirmative Action

    David Grusky
    Professor of Sociology, Stanford University; Director, Center on Poverty & Inequality

  • SELF 2019 Persistent Inequalities in College Education: Policy Implications

    Michael Hout
    Professor of Sociology, Director of Center for Advanced Social Science Research, New York University

9:45–10:00 AM

Coffee Break

10:00–10:30 AM

Inequality and Happiness

  • SELF 2019 Income Inequality and Happiness

    Shigehiro Oishi
    Visiting Professor of Psychology, Professor Beginning FY19, Department of Psychology, Columbia University

10:30–11:30 AM

Lessons from Other Countries

  • SELF 2019 Intergenerational Mobility between and within Canada and the United States

    Miles Corak
    Professor of Economics, Graduate Center of the City University of New York; Senior Scholar, James M. and Cathleen D. Stone Center on Socio-Economic Inequality

  • SELF 2019 The Interplay between Women’s Earnings and the Income Distribution: A Cross-national Analysis of Latin American and Anglophone Countries

    Janet Gornick
    Professor of Political Science and Sociology, Graduate Center, City University of New York; Director, Stone Center on Socio-Economic Inequality; Director, US Office of LIS

11:30 AM–12:15 PM

Lunch

12:15–1:00 PM

Lunch Keynote: Leveling the Playing Field through Education 

  • SELF 2019 Joel Klein
    Chief Policy and Strategy Officer, Oscar Insurance; Former CEO, Amplify; Former Chancellor, New York City Public Schools

1:00–1:15 PM

Coffee Break

1:15–2:15 PM

Employment, Inequality, and Mobility

  • SELF 2019 Executive Pay and Inequality

    Tom DiPrete
    Giddings Professor of Sociology; Co-director, Institute for Social and Economic Research and Policy (ISERP); Co-director, Center for the Study of Wealth and Inequality, Columbia University

  • SELF 2019 Labor Unions, Worker Skills, and Inequality

    Suresh Naidu
    Associate Professor of International and Public Affairs and Economics, Columbia University

2:15–2:30 PM

Closing Remarks

Speaker Presentations

Deirdre Bloome
Assistant Professor, Sociology, College of Literature, Science, and the Arts, University of Michigan; Faculty Associate, Population Studies Center

Miles Corak
Professor of Economics, Graduate Center of the City University of New York; Senior Scholar, James M. and Cathleen D. Stone Center on Socio-Economic Inequality

Tom DiPrete
Giddings Professor of Sociology; Co-director, Institute for Social and Economic Research and Policy (ISERP); Co-director, Center for the Study of Wealth and Inequality, Columbia University

Janet Gornick
Professor of Political Science and Sociology, Graduate Center, City University of New York; Director, Stone Center on Socio-Economic Inequality; Director, US Office of LIS

David Grusky
Professor of Sociology, Stanford University; Director, Center on Poverty & Inequality

Glenn Hubbard
Dean, Dean's Office; Russell L. Carson Professor of Finance and Economics, Columbia Business School; Co-Director, Richard Paul Richman Center for Business, Law, and Public Policy, Columbia University

Michael Hout
Professor of Sociology, Director of Center for Advanced Social Science Research, New York University

Shigehiro Oishi
Visiting Professor of Psychology, Professor Beginning FY19, Department of Psychology, Columbia University