Q&A: David Autor on inequality among the ’99 percent’ ”

MIT News; May 23, 2014

Today’s wealth gap does not just exist between the rich­est 1 per­cent of the pop­u­la­tion and every­one else; there have been grow­ing inequal­i­ties among the less-wealthy 99 per­cent of peo­ple, too. In an arti­cle pub­lished today in Science, MIT econ­o­mist David Autor con­tends that much of our present inequal­i­ty stems from dis­par­i­ties in edu­ca­tion. This has evolved in two direc­tions: From 1980 to 2012, infla­tion-adjust­ed, full-time earn­ings of col­lege-edu­cat­ed males increased any­where from 20 per­cent to 56 per­cent, depend­ing on whether they also acquired grad­u­ate degrees. Conversely, real earn­ings of high school grad­u­ates fell 11 per­cent, and earn­ings of high school dropouts fell 22 per­cent. MIT News talked with Autor about inequality.