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Unequal Chances: Family Background and Economic Success [Kindle Edition]

Samuel Bowles , Melissa Osborne Groves , Herbert Gintis

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Book Description

Is the United States "the land of equal opportunity" or is the playing field tilted in favor of those whose parents are wealthy, well educated, and white? If family background is important in getting ahead, why? And if the processes that transmit economic status from parent to child are unfair, could public policy address the problem? Unequal Chances provides new answers to these questions by leading economists, sociologists, biologists, behavioral geneticists, and philosophers.

New estimates show that intergenerational inequality in the United States is far greater than was previously thought. Moreover, while the inheritance of wealth and the better schooling typically enjoyed by the children of the well-to-do contribute to this process, these two standard explanations fail to explain the extent of intergenerational status transmission. The genetic inheritance of IQ is even less important. Instead, parent-offspring similarities in personality and behavior may play an important role. Race contributes to the process, and the intergenerational mobility patterns of African Americans and European Americans differ substantially.

Following the editors' introduction are chapters by Greg Duncan, Ariel Kalil, Susan E. Mayer, Robin Tepper, and Monique R. Payne; Bhashkar Mazumder; David J. Harding, Christopher Jencks, Leonard M. Lopoo, and Susan E. Mayer; Anders Bjrklund, Markus Jntti, and Gary Solon; Tom Hertz; John C. Loehlin; Melissa Osborne Groves; Marcus W. Feldman, Shuzhuo Li, Nan Li, Shripad Tuljapurkar, and Xiaoyi Jin; and Adam Swift.

Editorial Reviews


"An impressive book. . . . [T]he book includes a heavy dose of philosophy about social justice and what part the family plays in creating, sustaining, or advancing economic advantage, to the loss and gain of other families."--Larry Nackerud, Journal of Sociology and Social Welfare

From the Inside Flap

"This book takes a first cut at bringing together the many pieces of the complex puzzle of economic opportunity in market societies. This is a very important topic, and the book reaches into several disciplines to gain perspective. It is well timed, well conceived, and well executed; it makes for a great read. In addition, many of the pieces draw on multiple data sources to gain a broader picture. This makes the contributions, both individually and collectively, not only excellent pieces of scholarship but different from the normal journal fare."--Martina Morris, University of Washington, coauthor of Divergent Paths

"A consensus has emerged of late that the correlation between economic origins and destinations is higher than scholars used to think it was--maybe more than twice as high. The scholars contributing to this volume did the research that forged the new consensus. Bringing their work together in a systematic way is a service to the research community and the public. "--Michael Hout, University of California, Berkeley, coauthor of Inequality by Design: Cracking the Bell Curve Myth

Product Details

  • File Size: 6396 KB
  • Print Length: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press (January 3, 2008)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B006B2W5SG
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,457,660 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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