Archbridge Insider August 2017


That was the original title of the op-ed I published last week for The Hill discussing our newly released survey gauging perceptions of opportunity in 60 countries all around the world. You can read the full article here, but the main question we wanted to answer was, if forced to choose, did people prefer to focus on economic mobility or economic inequality?

All too often, the inequality narrative pushes us to think inside the fiscal policy box and in terms of redistribution, either clamoring the 1% pay a fair share or that we should have more government spending for social programs. Part of our goal at the Archbridge Institute is to broaden this conversation and focus on economic mobility. People all around the world confirmed that they want to focus on ensuring a fair shot to climb up the income ladder—rather than stepping into the tiring and negative narrative of inequality.

This is easier said than done. We don’t really know all the answers to the complex and multifaceted issue that is “ensuring a fair shot at more economic mobility.” We have to dig deeper in this conversation by focusing on the structural issues that might be affecting a lack of economic mobility both in the US and abroad. Our future research will try to uncover many of the potential artificial and natural barriers to economic mobility. There is a strong need to lay the groundwork for this important discussion, but that groundwork can only be laid when we acknowledge that it is more fruitful to have a conversation about upward mobility and not just inequality alone—two issues that are, perhaps, not as inextricably linked as one might think.

We hope you join us in our quest to find answers by collaborating with us in conducting this important research, sharing our content, and considering making a donation to our cause.

Gonzalo Schwarz
President and CEO | Archbridge Institute


NEW THIS MONTHPerceptions of Opportunity Across Rich Nations and Over Time–a new analysis from Scott Winship; our second American Originals story on the great Adolph Zukor of Paramount Pictures; and last but not least, a video of our fierce board member Magatte Wade, sharing how Africa could be more prosperous by focusing on structural issues that enable entrepreneurship and innovation.



Across the globe, people always seek more opportunity for themselves and for their children. The last several decades have seen a steady increase in living standards, particularly in wealthy nations—but has this translated into feelings of better opportunities for success than previous generations? Given trends in globalization, technological advancements, and recent divisive political developments, do people have hope that their children will have more opportunities to succeed than they did?

To answer these questions, and others related to attitudes regarding economic opportunity and mobility, the Archbridge Institute commissioned polling across 60 nations around the world. In Perceptions of Rising Opportunity Across Rich Nations and Over Time, Archbridge Institute Honorary Advisor Dr. Scott Winship analyzes the poll results from rich nations and compares them to historical trends. At a time when debates around income inequality and economic mobility are top priorities for policymakers, the analysis offers a window into the attitudes and expectations of absolute mobility in the United States and peer nations.

Archbridge President and CEO Gonzalo Schwarz uses the same survey to analyze global attitudes about mobility and inequality. Click here to read the full analysis in The Hill.




In this, our second installment of the American Originals series, you will meet an orphaned Hungarian immigrant, Adolph Zukor, who landed on the shores of America with $40 and the necessary hunger and concern which would serve him well in building the empire which we know today as Paramount Pictures.  Zukor’s legacy is of a man who sought to understand his audience, anticipate the trends, take innovative risks, maintain solid integrity and invest in the lives of other leaders, young and old–even his competitors. This man from meager beginnings trekked the mounts and valleys of life with poise, determination, morals, and a strong love for hard, honest work unrestricted by the status quo.

American Originals traces the stories of those who charted their own paths and achieved a better life for themselves and those around them by embracing personal responsibility, hard work, and an entrepreneurial spirit.



What we’re reading

Is America Encouraging the Wrong Kind of Entrepreneurship?
Robert Litan and Ian Hathaway discuss the work of the late economist William Baumol, particularly his distinction between productive and unproductive entrepreneurship.




Dream Hoarders
Brookings Institution scholar Richard V. Reeves discusses the American upper middle class and how they often take advantage of unfair opportunities to perpetuate their class status.





Hard Evidence on Soft Skills
As discussions about job training, apprenticeships, and education heat up, we revisit a 2012 NBER paper from economists James Heckman and Tim Kautz highlighting the importance of soft skills in achieving success.



The Rise in Opioid Overdose Deaths
The Social Capital Project, led by Senator Mike Lee, examines the opioid crisis and the staggering rise in unintentional opioid deaths.

Video Spotlight

On June 16, 2017, Magatte Wade, Senegalese entrepreneur, Founder & CEO of Tiossan, and Archbridge Institute Board Member, took the main stage at the first ever Foundation for Economic Education Convention. Delving into her personal background and the struggles her business faces every day, Magatte offered a concrete look at how free trade, markets, and entrepreneurship can play a vital role in ending global poverty. Watch the full video on YouTube.

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