What Should South Asians Do With Their Wealth?

I have been posting on this site about the trials and tribulations of young donors. I’m in the middle of chronicling the life of Michael, an heir to a trust, who must soon begin giving away $78 million (U.S.). More on his philanthropic journey in the next post. Another group is stumbling into the American […]

Is France Due for Riots?

Photo: cicilief In my last post, I offered several reasons why the urban riot has gone out of style in the U.S. However, France will not be spared the sword. I predict that the world will watch French cities light up in youth unrest in 2009, 2010 at the latest … 2011 for sure. I […]

Whither the Riot?

Photo: Mika Hiironniemi I have been struck by the absence of collective protest over the actions of those in the financial industry. Free market advocates have been rendered impotent; why aren’t they up in arms that their belief system has been forever invalidated? Leftists watch as our elected leaders hand over the oversight function to […]

Michael, Meet Curtis: Philanthropy Gets Personal

This past weekend I had the opportunity to bring two ends of the American income spectrum together. I introduced Michael, the blue-blood New Yorker who plans to start a family foundation (see earlier posts), to Curtis, a squatter in Chicago who moves from one abandoned apartment to another. Michael, a multi-millionaire with a team of […]

Should H.U.D. Really Be Dismantled?

In a Times Op-Ed Friday, my co-author (and regular blog contributor) Sudhir Venkatesh argues that the Department of Housing and Urban Development (H.U.D.) has outlived its useful life. The Chicago economist in me is not so sure that the alternative he proposes — a new federal agency devoted to regional planning — is going to […]

What Is the Most Racist City in America?

On one level, quantifying racism doesn’t make much sense. From the standpoint of individual experience, two people who suffer discrimination based on their ethnic status might feel equally violated even if the incident differs. Who can say one experienced “more racism” if both feel hurt? But let’s consider the question at the macro level. Specifically, […]

The Price of Advice: Chronicles of a Young Philanthropist, Part III

Readers of this blog might recall my earlier posts about Michael, a young man who is expecting to donate about $70 million over the coming decade. In the last six months, Michael has committed himself to understanding both the responsibilities and challenges of philanthropy. There was some interest in his progress among Freakonomics readers, so […]

The Myths of Red and Blue States

Readers of this blog might be interested in a new book on electoral politics set to arrive in bookstores at the end of summer. Red State, Blue State, Rich State, Poor State by Andrew Gelman — my colleague in Columbia University’s political science department — explodes some well-trod myths about American voting behavior. Consider, for […]

Do It Without Your Gun

I recently published a paper on urban gun markets with Philip J. Cook, Jens Ludwig, and Anthony A. Braga. I was sort of the odd man out. The three researchers have been studying gun use in the United States for many years. I had access to gun sellers, prospective customers, ammunition dealers, and gun brokers […]

What Would You Do With $70 Million?

This is the dilemma faced by Michael, a 31-year-old who will soon inherit a large sum of money. For reasons that the truly wealthy will immediately understand, Michael has been advised to set up a foundation. “I have to donate about $70 million over the next decade,” he laughs. “Or maybe it’s $50 million. I […]