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Post 19 Aug 2018, 1:13 pm

It's more which part of the country than urban vs. rural. The median household income in Mass. is $76,000 whereas the median household income in Miss. is $41,754


Income inequality was similar in the two states.
https://www.cbpp.org/press/press-releas ... ions-worst
http://www.wbur.org/bostonomix/2018/07/ ... usetts-epi

I think that you'll be hard pressed to find a significant difference in social mobility through the US. Certainly nothing that will put some states in line with Germany or Denmark.
And that's because the fundamentals regarding secondary education, health care and the social safety net are more similar across the US than they are to other OECD nations.

You raise an interesting point about rural social mobility though. Here's an interesting study on varying social mobility in rural areas.
https://www.brookings.edu/research/rura ... untryside/

the authors find that counties that had the highest rates of upward mobility also had (among other things):

higher out-migration rates, particularly among youth and young adults,
higher quality K-12 education,
improved measures of family stability,
and stronger local labor markets.

And their recommendations:
The paper lists three arenas that seem particularly promising for bolstering opportunity in rural America.
]nvest in human capital development. Improving K-12 quality in distressed areas will improve young residents’ life prospects and preparedness for adulthood.
Ensure rural communities are equipped with basic 21st century infrastructure. Technology such as broadband will enable families and schools in these areas to better connect to distant economies and opportunities.
Invest in family planning. Rural residents are less likely to have access to affordable and quality health care, which makes intentional parenthood all the more difficult.
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Post 19 Aug 2018, 10:59 pm

I am not sure I misinterpreted the data RJ but it was certainly incomplete. Obviously, if poorer students take longer to finish then the data that only includes getting a degree by age 24 would change if you looked at those students who took longer. So the percentage of degrees obtained by those in the top income quartile would almost certainly go down if you looked at student obtaining degrees by age 29.

But I did find this:

"A different collection of datasets the researchers used shows that 60 percent of students from the top quarter of households by socioeconomics graduate with bachelor’s degrees within 10 years of finishing high school—four times as often as students from the lowest quarter of households."

And this:

"The colleges students attend vary significantly according to family wealth, as well. Nearly 70 percent of students in the nation’s most selective colleges are from that top socioeconomic quartile; the same is true for just 4 percent of students from the lowest socioeconomic rung, according to federal surveys of 2002 sophomores that the researchers used. (One major bone scholars have to pick with federal college data is that clear information linking family wealth to degree completion is hard to come by, and the information that is available is often outdated.)"

And keeping in mind that a survey of 2002 sophomores isn't by any means definitive...that would mean that a student from a family from the top 25% quartile is 16 times more likely to attend a very selective college as opposed to a student from the bottom quartile.

https://www.theatlantic.com/education/a ... es/479688/
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Post 20 Aug 2018, 12:28 pm

freeman3
The colleges students attend vary significantly according to family wealth, as well.


This is something fairly unique to the US. That is that a degree from one US University is valued significantly more than other Universities.

On the front page of the New York Times today; a story by a doctor that cannot afford his student loans...
If education is so costly that even a doctor's elevated income can't pay them off easily ... what hope for a Bachelors degree who becomes an elementary teacher in Kansas?
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Post 20 Aug 2018, 1:29 pm

Perhaps this is not a government solvable issue. I know that the Universities can reduce the costs...

Just saying...
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Post 20 Aug 2018, 1:31 pm

It stands to reason that as the value of a bachelor's degree went up...the demand for them would go up. And the supply being limited..the cost went up. And there was political support for at least allowing students with less income access to loans to have a chance at affording college. And this allowed colleges to charge even more.

But the big problem is not with professionals having large debt loads. Eventually, many of them will of them will make enough money to pay off those loans. Default rates are highest with students with who are low-income, not going to select colleges, and not getting degrees that do not directly lead to good jobs. Or, who after trying to balance school and work for several years and not seeing a pay-off, just give up. Certainly even middle-class or upper-income students can feel economic stress when they start out after college with significant debt and cannot find a high-paying job. A teacher could be one such example. That is a concern.

However, we were talking about social mobility. If you get the job that allows one that crosses the social divide...I'm not sure that is really affecting social mobility. What's really concerning is the indicators that high income student are getting a very disproportionate amount of college degrees and even more concerning if there is one poor student getting a college degree from a selective college for every 16 top quartile student that does. That directly reflects social mobility. There are college degrees...and then there are college degrees. High student loan debt is an annoyance yes but if you get the high-paying jobs you're eventually going to be ok
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Post 20 Aug 2018, 1:49 pm

A simple reform for students like that teacher is simply to cap repayment of their student loans to a percentage of income, maybe like 10%. But that won't solve the social mobility problem. That problem is deeper.
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Post 21 Aug 2018, 6:27 am

bbauska
Perhaps this is not a government solvable issue
.

Denmark? Germany? Any other OECD nation?
These countries have largely solved the problem.
Is it impossible to learn from them bbauska?
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Post 21 Aug 2018, 6:51 am

freeman3
But the big problem is not with professionals having large debt loads. Eventually, many of them will of them will make enough money to pay off those loans.

Social mobility isn't all about poor to middle class. Its also about middle class to wealthy.
When doctors spend the first 15 years or more paying off their student debt, they might not become wealthy within a normal work life . Even their social mobility is impacted by heavy debt.


freeman3
High student loan debt is an annoyance yes but if you get the high-paying jobs you're eventually going to be ok

The problem is that high paying jobs aren't all that society needs.
Society needs quality teachers. (Finland pays their teachers very well). But if teachers are struggling with heavy debt loads when they graduate - and the occupation is not well rewarded - the quality of education goes down.

Freeman3
It stands to reason that as the value of a bachelor's degree went up...the demand for them would go up. And the supply being limited..the cost went up. And there was political support for at least allowing students with less income access to loans to have a chance at affording college. And this allowed colleges to charge even more.

Aren't US Universities largely "not for profit" organizations? As such, shouldn't they be resistant to market forces?
I understand that financial institutions have cashed in on the profits to be made from student debt,
In 2012 71% of 4 year graduates in the US have debt. Average $25,500. But as you go up in level of education the debt increases...
Medical doctors graduate with an average of $161,000 in debt. (That's 2012. I assume its worse now.) As interest rates go up .... the pressure on these indebted professionals increases. And they are less likely to enjoy the lifestyle of a wealthy person...

In countries where secondary education is free you also see that health care costs are lower. One reason is that doctors are paid less, and they require less money because they start their professional careers with no debt. Perhaps its also why they report being happier. Less money, but no debt and more time off to enjoy their lives?
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Post 21 Aug 2018, 7:24 am

You have latched on this financing of education as being the magical cure-all Ricky without addressing why it may not feasible here and it would probably wind up hurting poor students. If the government starts fully paying for education then it's going to limit the pool of eligible students. It's not going to say that anyone and everyone can decide to go to college to wherever they want to go to college (or technical school). Poor students may not be as likely in the top tier of students, typically are not as likely to go to select schools and do not take as direct a route to finishing school (and also go back later in life in college and so would be hurt by a European system that focuses on identifying top students. Our systems is more free-wheeling than that and any reform has to deal with that reality.

I do not care that much if a doctor becomes wealthy . But again I think capping re payment to a percentage of income is a simple reform to take care of that issue (this is done in England where college is not free) And the really important thing is getting access to high quality jobs. Ok, you're a doctor with large student loans--that's not the same as going through life making lattes. Which is ok if you're an artist or musician and that's your passion and you work at Starbucks to make ends meet but otherwise...
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Post 21 Aug 2018, 7:29 am

Ricky:
Aren't US Universities largely "not for profit" organizations? As such, shouldn't they be resistant to market forces?


Too funny. Non-profits respond to incentives. People within non-profits respond to incentives too. Sometimes it is not the organization's incentive. Sometimes it is the individual agent's (employee's) incentive. Universities are not incentivized to control costs, partially because they are able to charge their students whatever their parents can afford. Universities are incentivized to continue to provide more services to their students.
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Post 21 Aug 2018, 7:41 am

Freeman:
I am not sure I misinterpreted the data RJ but it was certainly incomplete. Obviously, if poorer students take longer to finish then the data that only includes getting a degree by age 24 would change if you looked at those students who took longer. So the percentage of degrees obtained by those in the top income quartile would almost certainly go down if you looked at student obtaining degrees by age 29.


What I'm saying is that it seems that you have confused this statement:

x % of people with bachelor degrees are from the 2nd quartile


with this statement

x% of people from the 2nd quartile have bachelor degrees.


That's why in your initial statement the 4 quartiles totaled 100%. I don't think it changes your argument; I'm just saying that your numbers are a bit off.

I agree that the lack of social mobility is concerning. How do we know how much is the result of institutional actions, government policy, poor parenting, and general attitude? My wife read to my kids every day; she didn't take them to adult violent movies that ended after 9 pm.

My own bias is that we are better off growing the pie. Trump's tax plan and deregulation appear to be doing that. Unemployment is at long time lows in general and for minorities; I bet median family income is up over the last 18 months. I'm not in favor of big coal because of the environmental cost, but if you are an unemployed coal miner it can be important to make your offspring more socially mobile. That's what Trump tapped into.
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Post 21 Aug 2018, 7:46 am

Ricky:
Germany? Any other OECD nation?
These countries have largely solved the problem.



Apparently you know something that the minorities living in Germany don't. I listened to this yesterday.

https://www.npr.org/2018/08/20/64014124 ... re-stories

"I was a good student and thought that kids with good grades like me end up progressing to the more academic high school," she says. "But my teacher said I'd be better off among my 'own sort' at a more vocational school."
"Own sort," she believes, meant anybody with what many here consider as having a "migration background." The label is widely used to describe foreign-born Germans or Germans who were born here, but who have at least one parent of another nationality.

"I've been looking for an apartment for months without hearing back from any landlords," Davoudvandi says. "So my boyfriend and I decided to look for one together. He's German and blond with the 'right' kind of name, and lo and behold, we got five offers in no time at all." ...

"Our study showed that students with foreign names were given lower grades than students with German names, even if they made the same number of mistakes," Bonefeld says of the study she co-authored and published in May.
She says this bias, which has also shown up in previous studies, is causing long-term damage.


Hmm, who should I believe, Ricky or someone who actually lives in Germany?
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Post 21 Aug 2018, 7:48 am

Ricky:
This is something fairly unique to the US. That is that a degree from one US University is valued significantly more than other Universities



You've got to be kidding me. I have experience with China, India, England, France … all of these countries have university hierarchies.
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Post 21 Aug 2018, 7:55 am

Ricky:
Income inequality was similar in the two states.
https://www.cbpp.org/press/press-releas ... ions-worst
http://www.wbur.org/bostonomix/2018/07/ ... usetts-epi

I think that you'll be hard pressed to find a significant difference in social mobility through the US.


Income inequality and social mobility are 2 different things. In any case, your links don't prove your statement at all.
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Post 21 Aug 2018, 9:12 am

Are there any mainstream economists that believe that the Trump tax plan and deregulation are going to raise US economic growth rates from 2.5% to 3.5%? I am just curious if there is any academic support for your theory. Mostly, Trump's plan seems to help the wealthy which is certainly not going to help social mobility.

And by the way the Fed is continuing to raise rates because of inflationary fears so that's going to make it difficult to maintain 3.0% growth rates as well.