Rags-to-riches stories, like Benjamin Franklin’s, have always captured the American imagination. They feed the narrative of the American Dream—that from humble beginnings, a scrappy, hardworking person can become prosperous, and afford opportunities his or her parents did not have. Through booms and recessions, people have bought into this myth.
The problem is: The American Dream lives and dies at the local level. Harvard economist Raj Chetty has shown that conditions in our neighborhoods are really what shape our ability to escape poverty and determine if we will fare better than our parents. A new analysis by the Economic Innovation Group, a bipartisan public policy organization, builds on that finding.
By: Tanvi Misra, CityLab
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