MIP network leader Richard V. Reeves spoke to HCEO about his work studying issues of intergenerational mobility and inequality.
His new book, "Dream Hoarders," examines one particular aspect of this topic: the lack of mobility at the the top of the income distribution, broadly the top 20 percent. "I argue that the U.S. has a ruthlessly efficient class reproduction machine, which actually results in less mobility, especially at the top," Reeves says. The book contrasts social mobility in the U.S., where Reeves now lives, with his native country, the U.K.
"There's a sense of classlessness, the myth of meritocracy, in the U.S.," Reeves says. "It makes it a harder conversation to have here in some ways."
Reeves' research looks at relative mobility rather absolute mobility. "Relative mobility is necessarily a zero-sum game," he says. "That's my sense of a fair society - quite a fluid one, an open one." The distinction is much debated, and results in vastly different policy implications.