Public discussions and policy debates often mention rising income inequality as one of the greatest challenges. This talk will consider how recent trends in economic inequality shape our local, state, and national communities today. We will discuss how inequalities in income and wealth shape the prospects for upward mobility for future generations. And we will examine whether improving education – long seen as the most forceful way to strengthen social and economic opportunity – can still reduce inequality and its consequences.
Matt Lawrence is an assistant professor of sociology at Middlebury College. He teaches courses on inequality and social mobility, higher education, the family, big data, and social statistics. His research interests and publications focus on how families pass down advantages and disadvantages related to applying to college, and how attending college shapes family formation behaviors like marriage and fertility. Before attending graduate school, Matt became interested in how higher education reflects social and economic inequalities while working as a college admission officer and a high school counselor. He received his PhD from Yale University and previously taught at Reed College and Princeton University.