Since 2001, the Foundation’s Social Inequality program has examined the social and political consequences of rising economic inequality. The program has investigated a variety of areas of social life, from education and health care to intergenerational mobility, to determine whether the increasing financial gap between the rich and poor has also exacerbated social inequalities of the kind that amplify and entrench economic differences. Recently, the program has turned to in-depth examinations of two key institutions the United States relies on to counteract market-driven inequality: public education and the democratic electoral system.
Voyer will carry out an ethnographic study to investigate how social inequality persists despite efforts to remove explicit barriers to the equality of opportunity. The project will focus on how everyday practices and cultural differences between socioeconomic groups become social boundaries that reproduce social inequality.
Jennifer Hochschild & Vesla Weaver
Jennifer Hochschild and Vesla Weaver will explore the rise of economic inequality within racial minority groups, looking at whether affluent and poor non-whites are divided politically as well as economically and residentially.
The Role of Private Schooling in Contributing to the Increase in Inequality of Educational Outcomes between Children from Low- and High-Income Families
Jointly funded with the MacArthur Foundation
Disparities in educational achievement and attainment between low- and high-income students have grown over the last four decades—an era of rising economic inequality. Some evidence has linked increased inequality and disparities in educational outcomes, but the mechanisms by which this occurs are much less clear. [...]
Does Attending an Elite University Help Low Income Students? Evidence From the Texas Longhorn and Texas A&M Century Scholars Program
Jointly funded with the W.T. Grant Foundation
Data from the Census Bureau show that the returns to a college education have increased over time and that by 2012, the gap in median annual earnings between households with a college degree and those with a high-school diploma was nearly $60,000. Despite this, increases in post-secondary attainment appear to have flat-lined, with low-income students particularly affected. [...]