November 20, 2018 Print

The D.C.-based think tank Archbridge Institute works to remove the barriers that keep people from thriving through cutting-edge research and publications that champion the ideas of liberty. In service of this mission, Archbridge has added two new senior fellows: Nobel laureate Dr. James Heckman and Dr. Steven Durlauf — the Steans Professor in Educational Policy at the Harris School, University of Chicago. These new fellows are just the latest examples of Archbridge’s campaign to empower individuals by telling the truth about the causes of social immobility.

“In our mission to lift barriers to human flourishing, we seek to collaborate with scholars who share our desire to study and remediate causal and fundamental barriers that restrict social mobility and further unjust inequalities” explained Gonzalo Schwarz, president & CEO of Archbridge. “For this reason, we could not think of two individuals who have done more to study and advance research in this field like Dr. James J. Heckman and Dr. Steven Durlauf … Throughout their careers, and their current leadership of the Center for the Economics of Human Development at the University of Chicago, both scholars have contributed some of the most influential research in the field, often collaborating with social scientists from a multitude of academic disciplines.”

“I am pleased to work with Archbridge to foster genuine knowledge and not just headlines,” commented Dr. Heckman. Dr. Durlauf echoed these sentiments, adding, “I am excited and appreciative of the opportunity to work with the Archbridge Institute to produce scientifically compelling evidence on the nature and determinants of mobility. Such evidence is the lifeblood of successful policy interventions.”

Dr. Heckman and Schwarz recently published an op-ed in The Hill on the issue of inaccurate reporting on social inequality. In their op-ed, Heckman and Schwarz discuss the ways reporting on a recent study have been taken out of context to support the idea that government intervention is the solution to social mobility problems.

“What inspired us to write the op-ed is that the current research does not address the root causes for a lack of social mobility and that the media reporting on the specific study we commented on was purposefully misleading,” continued Schwarz. “While measuring economic mobility is certainly needed, the reasons behind what causes economic mobility to be better or worse matters as well and that was not thoroughly addressed in the study. However, one of the main issues had to do with media reporting on the study which didn't accurately represent what the main findings of the study were and mistakenly focused on only one issue and produced flashy headlines that would attract attention but would misrepresent the results.”

With the addition of Dr. Heckman and Dr. Durlauf, Archbridge aims to contribute to a common understanding of the facts surrounding social mobility, inequality, and real wealth creation.

“We hope that with the support of Dr. Heckman and Dr. Durlauf we can fulfill that aim by honestly and critically engaging with the current literature and find consilience with previous academic and policy studies on social mobility," Schwarz concluded. “The ultimate goal is to unleash human potential and enable more human flourishing. We believe that by correctly diagnosing what are the main barriers to social mobility we can affect change by lifting those barriers through public policy and other means.”