Sunday, May 18, 2008

Economic Opportunity Is Close To An All-Time High

How much opportunity do Americans have today compared to 25 years ago (MP: about 60% more, according to the chart above)? How does opportunity compare across gender and racial groups? What will matter most in ensuring opportunity in America in the future?

Economic Opportunity Index (EOI) is a tool for measuring the extent to which Americans have the opportunities available to them to achieve the American Dream, and identifying those factors which could contribute most to improved opportunity in the future. There are many measures of economic activity, such as unemployment, inflation, GDP1 growth, productivity, or income distribution. However, there is no credible, authoritative measure of economic opportunity – the potential for people to improve their economic well-being based on their individual efforts.

There is a profound and unmet need for a trustworthy set of measures that policymakers, media, or citizens can rely on to assess the degree to which America is indeed the “land of opportunity” for all its people – and whether the amount of opportunity is growing or shrinking over time. The Index will bring hard facts and solid, non-partisan analysis to what is now a confused and ideological debate that falls into the tired paradigm of “grow the pie” versus “redistribute the pie.” In our view, this misses the point because it is focused on the wrong “pie” altogether – we should aim to increase opportunity, and outcomes will follow.

Hope Street Group defines economic opportunity as “Expected lifetime real income, given effort.”


Post a Comment

<< Home