Penn Arts and Sciences

Upcoming Events

  • Wednesday, November 5, 2014 - 12:00pm - 1:30pm

    McNeil Building, Room 103 (Access)

    Co-sponsored by the Penn Department of Sociology as part of their 2014-15 Colloquium Series.

    TO THE EXTENT THAT THE PUBLIC ACKNOWLEDGES POVERTY as an “accident of birth” rather than the outcome of an individual’s choices or abilities, it is often demographic features – race, class, ethnicity, family background, parents’ marital status – that are foregrounded.  David Brady’s work, however, points to what he argues is an even greater determinant of poverty: the “accident of birth” into a country with a greater or lesser commitment to supporting its citizens socially and economically. Among the world’s affluent nations, those where the welfare state has been and remains more robust exhibit lower levels of poverty.  The variation is striking even when the example of the United States, exceptional in its high levels of poverty, is removed.  In this talk, Brady questions the customary focus on demographics within nations to explain poverty, and shows that these explanations fall short from a comparative global perspective.

    DAVID BRADY is the Director of the “Inequality and Social Policy” research unit at the WZB Social Science Center in Berlin and an Adjunct Professor in the School of Public and Environmental Affairs at Indiana University.

  • Friday, November 14, 2014 - 12:00pm - 1:30pm

    ARINDRAJIT DUBE is an Associate Professor of Economics at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst and a Research Fellow at the Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in Bonn, Germany. He was a visiting faculty member in economics at MIT in 2014. His area of expertise is labor market policies, with an emphasis on low-wage workers. He has done extensive research on minimum wage laws, as well as research on other types of employer mandates, in particular the effects of minimum wage differentials across state borders where the minimum wage is higher on one side of the border than the other. He examined the borders of all of the states over a twenty year period, with a focus on the service industry, which employs the majority of minimum wage workers. According to his findings, both the short and long term effects of the increased wage on unemployment were negligible and that, moreover, a higher minimum wage helps service retailers attract and retain employees, increasing their productivity. His recent co-authored articles include “Early Responses to San Francisco’s Paid Sick Leave Policy” in the American Journal of Public Health and “Cross Border Spillover: US Gun Laws and Violence in Mexico” in the American Political Science Review.

  • Friday, December 12, 2014 - 12:00pm - 1:30pm

    MARGARET WEIR is Professor of Sociology and Political Science and Avice M. Saint Chair in Public Policy at the University of California, Berkeley. She has written widely on the politics of social policy and inequality in the United States and Europe.  Her publications include “Collaboration is Not Enough” (with Jane Rongerude and Chris Ansell) in Urban Affairs Review (2009), “The Long Shadow of the Past: Risk Pooling and the Political Development of Health Care Reform in the States” (with Anthony Chen) in Journal of Health Politics, Policy and Law (2009) and “States, Race, and the Decline of New Deal Liberalism” in Studies in American Political Development (2005).  She is the author of Politics and Jobs: The Boundaries of Employment Policy in the United States (1992) and (with Ira Katznelson), Schooling for All:  Class, Race and the Decline of the Democratic Ideal (1992).  Her edited volumes include The Social Divide: Political Parties and the Future of Activist Government (1998) and (with Ann Shola Orloff and Theda Skocpol), The Politics of Social Policy in the United States (1988). Weir was chair of the MacArthur Foundation Network on Building Resilient Regions from 2006-2014.

  • Friday, January 23, 2015 - 12:00pm - 1:30pm

    JULIAN ZELIZER is a Professor of History and Public Affairs at Princeton University. He has been one of the pioneers in the revival of American political history. He is the author of Taxing America: Wilbur D. Mills, Congress, and the State, 1945-1975 (1998), On Capitol Hill: The Struggle to Reform Congress and its Consequences, 1948-2000 (2004), Arsenal of Democracy: The Politics of National Security – From World War II to the War on Terrorism (2010), and Conservatives in Power: The Reagan Years, 1981-1989 (2010). In addition to his scholarly articles and book chapters, Zelizer is a frequent commentator in the international and national media on political history and contemporary politics. He has published over four hundred op-eds, including his weekly column on CNN.Com. He has received fellowships from the Brookings Institution, the Guggenheim Foundation, and the Russell Sage Foundation. His forthcoming book is The Fierce Urgency of Now: Lyndon Johnson, Congress and the Battle for the Great Society.

  • Friday, February 6, 2015 - 12:00pm

    PATRICK SHARKEY is an Associate Professor of Sociology at New York University. His highly praised book, Stuck in Place: Urban Neighborhoods and the End of Progress toward Racial Equality (2013) describes how, four decades after the high hopes of the Civil Rights Movement, the degree of racial inequality has barely changed. To understand what went wrong, he argues that we have to understand what has happened to African American communities over the last several decades and how political decisions and social policies have led to severe disinvestment from black neighborhoods, persistent segregation, declining economic opportunities, and a growing link between African American communities and the criminal justice system. Ultimately, he advocates urban policies that have the potential to create transformative and sustained changes in urban communities and the families that live within them, and he outlines a durable urban policy agenda to move in that direction.

  • Friday, March 27, 2015 - 12:00pm - 1:30pm

    EVELYN BRODKIN is an Associate Professor at the University of Chicago School of Social Service Administration. A scholar of public policy and management, she examines the history, experiences, and contradictions of U.S. efforts to address poverty and inequality. Her research investigates political conflicts over social policy, how street-level organizations mediate policy and politics, and, the spread of workfare-style arrangements around the world. She takes up these issues in her co-edited book, Work and the Welfare State: Street-Level Organizations and Workfare Politics (2013), which investigates the politics and practices of the workfare in six countries. In addition, research examining the street-level organizations that bring policy to people has led to a series of publications, including, "Reflections on Street-Level Bureaucracy: Past, Present, and Future" (Public Administration Review, 2012) and a special symposium, "Putting Street-Level Organizations First: New Directions for Research" (Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory, 2011). Beyond its impact on scholarship, Brodkin's research has contributed to social welfare advocacy, policymaking, and practice.  She has been invited to speak on her policy and organizational research in Australia, Denmark, France, Germany, Israel, Mexico, the Netherlands, Sweden, and the UK.

  • Friday, April 17, 2015 - 12:00pm - 1:30pm

    CHIARA SARACENO is Professor Emerita at the Social Science Research Center Berlin (WZB) and an Honorary Fellow at the Collegio Carlo Alberto in Turin. She is an internationally recognized sociologist who focuses on the dynamics of family change in Italy, as well as comparative gender patterns and social policies regarding the family in Europe and beyond. She also works on poverty and anti-poverty policies in a comparative perspective. Among her recent publications are Il Welfare, il Mulino (2013); I nuovi poveri (2011); Conciliare famiglia e lavoro (with Manuela Naldini) (2011); “Towards an integrated approach for the analysis of gender equity in policies supporting paid work and care responsibilities” (with W. Keck), Demographic Research (2011); “Social inequalities in facing old-age dependency: a bi-generational perspective,” Journal of European Social Policy (2010); and “Can we identify intergenerational policy regimes in Europe?” (with W. Keck), European Societies (2010). Together with J. Lewis and A. Leira, she edited the collection Families and Family Policies (2012).

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