BPEA Fall 2021 Brookings Conference-Capitalism and the "Thought Experiment" of Equality

The Brookings Institute published on their site an interesting study on what our country might look like if we created additional equality between racial groups. Different researchers are likely to come out with different ways of looking at how to measure equality in economic terms but the overall concept is a beneficial one to consider.  The researchers reviewed five metrics of our working population that included employment, education attainment, hours worked, educational utilization and earnings. This is what they found..... 

"Then, in The economic gains from equity, they conducted a thought experiment, asking: “How much larger would the U.S. economic pie be if opportunities and outcomes were more equally distributed by race and ethnicity?” Their answer is $22.9 trillion over the 30-year period." (Buckman, Choi & Daly, 2021. para 2)


You can download the full report at the citation link below. What I want you to do is take a look at this chart to the right provided by Reuters reporters Ann Saphir (edited by Richard Pullin). What you will see is that there is a noticeable but consistent gap between White and Black. Black workers and White workers are part of the very same employment economic trend but one is noticeably about 10% lower and more erratic. 

What I would like to bring into this is the concept of self-efficacy. If we controlled for every variable we would not at this juncture be able to control for things like social connections, belief that effort equals rewards (improper implicit prompting), and legacy issues (See where some of this can get grey?) What I can say is this, we will solve this problem in the future but at the moment the best way to improve national performance by universalizing our values and removing energy wasting roadblocks that limit our capitalistic potential (effort, performance and reward without regard to race and religion.). Economic Gains Equity Conference Draft

Equity Theory

People think that they have all the answers. I'm going to say as a person who has lived with lots of minorities with two mixed race children I cannot begin to count on all my hands and toes the times my resume was pitched in the trash even though I was more qualified than the other candidates. I cannot count on my hands and toes 3X over how things change across the racial/religious divide (I can explain that but it takes a long time and now isn't that time.) Your world changes and all those great opportunities are intentionally stripped away and you have very little to show for all your effort. There is a completely different world that unless you walked in another's shoes for a while you won't get it (Its not politics...its deeper than that. I'm also limited in my perspective but likely one of the few in this country that can claim crossing across that invisible border many times over just to sort of understand the comparison. When you are seen as "other", Arab, Black, etc... things are different. Some people will actually block your success even when your performance exceeds their options (meaning limited organizational performance). The posting and hiring process is often just a formality but the person from their social networks or prior workplace usually gets the job. It takes a toll on that self-efficacy because rewards don't match effort in the same way it does for many others. The more educated people are, the less this seems to be a problem. The silver lining is there are also some really cool people out there that give others a chance. )

Buckman, Shelby R., Laura Y. Choi, Mary C. Daly¸ and Lily M. Seitelman. 2021. “The economic gains from equity.” BPEA Conference Draft, Fall. https://www.brookings.edu/bpea-articles/the-economic-gains-from-equity/

You may want to check out the BPEA 2021 Fall Conference

"The Fall 2021 BPEA conference was a one-day, virtual event on Thursday, September 9, hosted by Brookings’s Economic Studies program. While BPEA conferences are usually small, invitation-only gatherings, the Brookings Institution opened its proceedings to anyone who wished to observe the vanguard of economic thought around global economic issues.


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