82 minutes | Aug 8th 2019

Can Raj Chetty save the American dream?

I don’t ordinarily find myself scrambling to write down article ideas during these conversations, but almost everything Raj Chetty says is worth a feature unto itself. For instance:

- Great Kindergarten teachers generate hundreds of thousands of dollars in future earnings for their students

- Solving poverty would increase life expectancy by more — far more — than curing cancer

- Public investment focused on children often pays for itself

- The American dream is more alive in Canada than in America

- Maps of American slavery look eerily like maps of American social mobility — but not for the reason you’d think

Chetty is a Harvard economist who has been called “the most influential economist alive today.” He’s considered by his peers to be a shoo-in for the Nobel prize. He specializes in bringing massive amounts of data to bear on the question of social mobility: which communities have it, how they got it, and what we can learn from them.

What Chetty says in this conversation could power a decade of American social policy. It probably should.


Atlantic profile

Vox profile


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