Summary of The Fading American Dream

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A 1928 US presidential campaign once tried to quantify the American Dream: “A chicken in every pot and a car in every backyard.” Yet the concept rests on an underlying fundamental “ideal that children have a higher standard of living than their parents.” In this robust and thought-provoking study, a team of researchers analyzes historical data to see how income mobility has changed for Americans born between 1940 and 1984. getAbstract recommends this groundbreaking report to those asking if the US economy is delivering on its promise.

About the Authors

Raj Chetty and Nathaniel Hendren are professors at Harvard University. David Grusky is a professor at Stanford University. Maximilian HellRobert Manduca and Jimmy Narang are PhD students.



The American Dream – some define it as owning a home, some as having a job and others as enjoying a secure retirement. But the American Dream has always represented an advancing economy, delivering growing prosperity for citizens from one generation to the next. Economists denote this concept as “absolute income mobility – the fraction of children earning or consuming more than their parents.”

Researchers looking at US Census Bureau data and Current Population Surveys on income patterns for individuals born ...

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