Raj Chetty - Creating Equality of Opportunity in America: New Insights from Big Data

Department of Economics Lecture Series on Inequality, Discrimination, and Opportunity. Monday, May 8, 2023, 5:00-6:00PM (ET), Moore Hall B13 (Filene Auditorium) with overflow in Moore Hall B03.

Lecture Recording

Creating Equality of Opportunity in America: New Insights from Big Data


Children's chances of earning more than their parents have fallen from 90% to 50% over the past half century in America. How can we restore the American Dream of upward mobility for our children? In this talk, Raj Chetty will discuss recent work that he and his colleagues at Opportunity Insights have done addressing this question. Among other topics, Professor Chetty will discuss how and why children's chances of climbing the income ladder vary across neighborhoods, the persistence of racial disparities in economic mobility, and the role of social capital in promoting upward mobility.  The talk will conclude by discussing how these research findings can be used to change policies in domains ranging from affordable housing to higher education to improve economic opportunities for all.


Raj Chetty is the William A. Ackman Professor of Public Economics at Harvard University. He is also the Director of Opportunity Insights, which uses "big data" to understand how we can give children from disadvantaged backgrounds better chances of succeeding. Chetty's research combines empirical evidence and economic theory to help design more effective government policies. His work on topics ranging from tax policy and unemployment insurance to education and affordable housing has been widely cited in academia, media outlets, and Congressional testimony. Chetty received his Ph.D. from Harvard University in 2003 and is one of the youngest tenured professors in Harvard's history. Before joining the faculty at Harvard, he was a professor at UC-Berkeley and Stanford University. Chetty has received numerous awards for his research, including a MacArthur "Genius" Fellowship and the John Bates Clark medal, given to the economist under 40 whose work is judged to have made the most significant contribution to the field.