Mar 20

Past Event

Economic Mobility in America

Event Materials




A comprehensive look at the trends and issues that drive economic opportunity in America was released last month in a new volume by Brookings experts, "Getting Ahead or Losing Ground: Economic Mobility in America." On March 20, the Center on Children and Families at Brookings and the Pew Charitable Trusts’ Economic Mobility Project held a forum to discuss the findings on gender, race, immigration, and families in addition to new findings on education, international comparisons, trends, and wealth.

Americans have long believed that those who work hard can achieve success and that each generation will be better off than the last one. This belief has made Americans more tolerant of growing inequality than the citizens of other advanced nations. But how much opportunity to get ahead actually exists in America? Brookings experts Julia Isaacs, Isabel Sawhill, and Ron Haskins provide new evidence on both the extent of intergenerational mobility in America and the factors that influence who succeeds and who does not.

After a review of findings by the authors, the forum featured other scholars, advocates, journalists, and campaign advisors who responded to the findings. With the slowing economy being foremost in voters’ minds today, participants examined the findings in the context of challenges that will confront the new administration.

Speakers and panelists took questions from the audience.

Event Agenda

  • Welcome and Introduction

  • Panel One Moderator

    • John Morton

      Director, Economic Mobility Project, The Pew Charitable Trusts

  • Panel One Overview

  • Panel One: Key Findings on Economic Mobility in America

  • Panel Two Moderator

  • Panel Two: Reactions and Commentary

    • Stuart Butler

      Vice President for Domestic and Economic Policy Studies, The Heritage Foundation

    • Ronald Mincy

      Professor of Social Policy and Social Work Practice, Columbia University

    • Timothy Smeeding

      Professor and Director of the Center for Poverty Research, Syracuse University

  • Panel Three Moderator

    • David Brooks

      Columnist, New York Times

  • Panel Three: What Should the Next President Do to Increase Economic Mobility?

    • James Bognet

      Former Policy Development Director, Romney for President, Inc.

    • Ian Solomon

      Legislative Counsel, Office of Senator Barack Obama

    • Leo Hindery

      Managing Partner, InterMedia Partners, and former Senior Economic Advisor, John Edwards for President

    • Doug Holtz-Eakin

      Senior Policy Advisor, John McCain 2008

    • Gene Sperling

      Chief Economic Advisor, Hillary Clinton for President


March 20, 2008

9:00 AM - 11:45 AM EDT

The Brookings Institution

Falk Auditorium

1775 Massachusetts Ave., NW


For More Information

Brookings Office of Communications

(202) 797-6105