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Podcast

Why the poorest kids quit high school

Melissa S. Kearney and Fred Dews

Melissa Kearney, a nonresident senior fellow in Economic Studies, explains her new research (with Phillip Levine for the Brookings Papers on Economic Activity) on high school students who are growing up in places with high income inequality and their decision to stay in high school or not.

“Kids at the bottom of the income distribution are discouraged by higher levels of income inequality as opposed to being driven by it,” Kearney says. “Low income kids are more likely to drop out of high school than high income kids. But conditional to being low income, kids who are growing up in states or cities characterized by high levels of lower tail income inequality—a greater gap between the bottom and the middle—are more likely to drop out of high school.”

Also in this episode: Our regular economic update with David Wessel, senior fellow and director of the Hutchins Center on Fiscal and Monetary Policy. Also stay tuned to hear our new Metro Lens segment with Amy Liu, vice president and director of the Metropolitan Policy Program.

Show Notes:


Generation Unbound

Income Inequality, Social Mobility, and the Decision to Drop Out Of High School


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