American Academy of Social and Political Science

Stiglitz Will Propose Policy to Address Inequality in 2014 Moynihan Lecture

stiglitzJoseph E. Stiglitz, Nobel Laureate and University Professor at Columbia is this year's Daniel Patrick Moynihan Prize winner. Each year, the Moynihan Prize winner is asked to deliver a major public lecture in conjunction with receiving the Prize, and Stiglitz will expand on his recent work on inequality in America at this year's event.

"In the 'recovery' since the end of the financial crisis, the top 1 percent has taken home 95 percent of the increase in income," writes Stiglitz. "Meanwhile, Americans in the middle earn less, adjusted for inflation, than they did 25 years ago. These wild imbalances should trouble our morals, but they also pose huge economic and social challenges." The lecture, titled "Inequality in America: A Policy Agenda for a Stronger Future," will map a route out of the entrenched inequality in our society, which has held "back our growth, induced instability, undermined our democracy, and eroded trust and social cohesion."

Stiglitz's 2014 Daniel Patrick Moynihan Lecture on Social Science and Public Policy will be at 3:00pm on May 8, 2014, at the Jack Morton Auditorium of the George Washington University. To attend the event, please RSVP. If you cannot join us in person on May 8, archived video will be available online shortly after the event.

ANNALS Volume 651 in the Scholars Strategy Network "Spotlight"

Research has shown that the United States� criminal justice system punishes and monitors its citizens unequally; minority men with low levels of education are disproportionately subject to police surveillance, discipline, and imprisonment. Beyond this, after their prison terms end, upon reentry into society these men face constraints on their ability to exercise civic rights and achieve economic stability. How do the crosscurrents of poverty, race, and uneven policing practices impact citizenship and community agency?� How do the families of the imprisoned conceptualize the relationship between justice and governing? These are the questions that ANNALS Volume 651, co-edited by AAPSS Board Member Jacob Hacker, Christopher Wildeman, and Vesla Weaver, confronts and explores.

Scholars Strategy Network (SSN), based at Harvard, is featuring Volume 651 as a spotlight issue. The SSN is a platform for leading scholars to address pressing public challenges at the national, state, and local levels. The ANNALS feature explicates the consequences that discriminatory criminal justice policies have on the sociopolitical attitudes and practices of prisoners� family members. SSN and the volume editors are working toward a late May congressional briefing on these issues; more information on that event will be available online soon.

ANNALS Volume 652 Center Stage in South Africa

ANNALS Volume 652 details the contemporary struggles associated with governance in South Africa. Written largely by South Africans, the articles discuss the ways in which critical levers such as education, labor, and health care have the potential to re-inspire the reforms set in place by Mandela. In May, following the country�s parliamentary elections, Robert I. Rotberg, special editor of the volume, will be in South Africa to launch the volume in Johannesburg and Cape Town.

AAPSS Fellow Finds Genetic Impact of Stress

recent study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences shows that stressful upbringings can leave imprints on the genes of children as young as age 9. The study features forty African American 9-year-old boys from disadvantaged backgrounds, and it uses telomere length as a marker of stress. Telomeres, found at the end of chromosomes, generally shorten with age, and when individuals are exposed to disease and chronic stress. The authors of the study demonstrated that the telomeres of the boys in the study were shorter than those of their more affluent peers. In discussing the significance of the work, AAPSS Fellow and co-author of the study, Sara McLanahan, notes, “Previous work has mostly focused on middle-class whites. Our study takes a different approach and really highlights the importance of early intervention to moderate disparities in social and educational opportunities." This work contributes to a growing body of research exploring the impact that chronic stress has on the poor.

Coming Up in The ANNALS:

The May 2014 volume of The ANNALS, “Human Trafficking: Recent Empirical Research,” breaks new ground in social scientific research on human trafficking. The volume’s special editors, Ronald Weitzer of George Washington University and Sheldon X. Zhang of San Diego State University, gathered a group of scholars, many of whom contributed original empirical research to the volume, to debunk the common myths and (mis)perceptions about human trafficking. The contributions to this volume put forth evidence to demonstrate that the problem of human trafficking is not as large as it is believed to be, that it is not necessarily growing, and that it is not always or necessarily clandestine. As Weitzer writes in his introduction, “[M]uch of the discourse, policymaking, and enforcement [about human trafficking] has lacked an evidence-basis, because so little high-quality research has been done on the topic.” Many scholarly articles on the topic fail to contribute original data, or rely on government documents and policies as “sources.” Claims made about human trafficking have “rarely been subjected to rigorous scientific scrutiny.” Many of this ANNALS volume’s articles contribute new empirical findings to the human trafficking discourse through rigorous social science.

The volume has been featured in Science Codex, the Examiner, International Business Times, and Slate, among other outlets.