Blog Post | Character and Opportunity

Lit Review: Scarcity and Character

April 10, 2014, Richard V. Reeves and Kimberly Howard

Richard Reeves and Kimberly Howard discuss research on how people behave differently when faced with scarce resources. Reeves and Howard explain how these findings affect social mobility: Low-resource individuals have a harder climb up the income ladder because their cognitive abilities and impulse resistance are regularly taxed by scarcity.

  • In the News

    The places that have high inequality almost by definition have a small middle class. There’s this crater in the middle; they’re trying to keep their cities affordable and livable for the middle class.

    April 6, 2014, Alan Berube, New York Times
  • Podcast

    America's War on Poverty Moves to the Suburbs

    January 22, 2014, Elizabeth Kneebone and Fred Dews

  • In the News

    When people think of poverty in America, they tend to think of inner city neighborhoods or isolated rural communities. But today, suburbs are home to the largest and fastest growing poor population in the country.

    May 20, 2013, Elizabeth Kneebone,
  • In the News

    Often low- and moderate-income families need a way to cash their check, they need a way to pay their bills, they need a way to save for the future, and they’ve cobbled together an interesting mix of bank and non-bank services to do that that are often more expensive and more costly than they need to be.

    February 18, 2013, Michael Barr, The Economist
  • In the News

    It’s the biggest expansion of Medicaid in a long time, and the biggest ever in terms of adults covered. Although the federal government is on the hook for most of the cost, Medicaid on the whole is one of the biggest items in state budgets and the fastest growing. So there are some understandable concerns about the financial implications and how implementation would work.

    January 28, 2013, Mark B. McClellan, The Associated Press
  • In the News

    The number of people who are poor or near poor went from 81 million in 2000 to 107 million in 2010. This is like a quantum leap. It’s hard for me to understand why the nation’s decision makers don’t get up every day and recite that number every day when they’re looking in the mirror. We now have a third of our people who are poor or near poor.

    January 23, 2013, Bruce Katz,
  • In the News

    We're now having that frank public conversation about what do we want from government and how much do we want to pay for it.

    October 28, 2012, Tracy Gordon, CNN
  • In the News

    I think there is at least a hint that we have hit bottom in this post-recession malaise in the United States. And by that I mean we've not turned up, but we're going down at a slower pace, and we might see a little bit of the glimmer of the light at the end of the tunnel.

    September 20, 2012, William H. Frey, National Public Radio
  • In the News

    Earnings for middle and lower-wage workers have fallen or stagnated over time. So you can have a situation where jobs are being created ... but the types of jobs matter. If those are jobs that pay low wages, even if you're working full-time, that might not be enough to lift you above the poverty line.

    September 20, 2012, Elizabeth Kneebone, 24/7 Wall St
  • In the News

    We don't see very important neighborhood effects on those two outcomes that people have focused on. But the things that people had been focused on and worried about with neighborhoods aren't the full story. Helping poor families is about a lot more than just increasing their income.

    September 20, 2012, Jens Ludwig, Wall Street Journal

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