Although a few years dated (2009), the book Creating An Opportunity Society looks like a great resource. Here is a description:
Americans believe economic opportunity is as fundamental a right as life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. More concerned about a level playing field for all, they worry less about the growing income and wealth disparity in our country. Creating an Opportunity Society examines economic opportunity in the United States and explores how to create more of it, particularly for those on the bottom rungs of the economic ladder.
Ron Haskins and Isabel Sawhill propose a concrete agenda for increasing opportunity that is cost effective, consistent with American values, and focuses on improving the lives of the young and the disadvantaged.
It also has a helpful PowerPoint presentation about the book.
One of the most interesting slides in slide 15 which shows what accounts for success.
The three factors that cause 74% of people to be “successful” are the following:
- Graduate from High School
- Work Full Time
- Wait until age 21 and marry before kids
Take away one of these factors and your chance at success goes way down.
So what should be done? The authors conclude:
- Improve Education
- Expand Work
- Strengthen Families
I do not know if they rate these according to importance, but it seems to me that if you focus on the last one, the other two will most likely follow.
- Family Matters: Improving Inner-city Neighborhoods, by Ron Haskins, Spring 2010
- Obama and Biden’s Dreams for the Middle Class, by Isabel Sawhill, January 25, 2010
- The Status Report: Obama’s Commitment to Creating Opportunity, by Ron Haskins and Isabel Sawhill, January 6, 2010
- Examining Economic Mobility in America, Second installment of a Spotlight on Poverty and Opportunity webcast featuring Ron Haskins and Isabel Sawhill, December 17, 2009
- Examining Economic Mobility in America, Spotlight on Poverty and Opportunity webcast featuring Ron Haskins and Isabel Sawhill, December 3, 2009
- Five Myths About Our Land of Opportunity, by Isabel Sawhill & Ron Haskins, November 1, 2009
- What Role Can Health Care Reform Play in Restoring Middle Class Prosperity? by Isabel Sawhill, Brookings Up Front blog, September 30, 2009
- The Threat to Work, by Ron Haskins, Brookings Up Front blog, September 22, 2009
- Completing College at America’s Public Universities, A Brown Center on Education Policy Event with Isabel Sawhill, September 16, 2009
- Bad News on Poverty, Worse to Come, by Isabel Sawhill, Brookings, September 16, 2009
- Simulating the Effect of the “Great Recession” on Poverty, by Isabel Sawhill and Emily Monea, Brookings, September 10, 2009