Spring 2018

David Autor will use evidence from the worlds of economics and political science to examine the impact of economic change – and in particular the rising competition of foreign imports into the American market – on political polarization. Counties that were particularly exposed to foreign trade have become more likely to vote for the Republican candidate for president. The panel will address the question of economic and political responses to these trends that may have the potential to ameliorate political polarization. The panelists will be announced later in the winter.

Mario Small will discuss why the public discourse on poverty, inequality, and economic opportunity requires improving our qualitative, not just quantitative, literacy. He argues that the public discourse about these problems is undermined by an inability to communicate evidence about their causes and potential solutions. Some of this evidence is statistical, but much of it stems from qualitative studies about the lives and communities of the disadvantaged. He argues that an enhancement of qualitative reasoning would allow more serious consideration of the evidence, enhance public discourse, and lead to a more effective politics.   

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