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Inequality

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The Verge

The Verge reporter Justine Calma writes that a new study by MIT researchers finds that while wind energy has measurably improved air quality, only 32% of those benefits reached low-income communities. “The research shows that to squeeze out the greatest health benefits, wind farms need to intentionally replace coal and gas power plants,” writes Calma. “And to clean up the most polluted places — particularly those with more residents of color and low-income households — those communities need to be in focus when deploying new renewable energy projects.”

HealthDay News

A new study by MIT researchers finds that increased usage of wind power is improving air quality in parts of the U.S., however only a third of the health benefits are being seen in disadvantaged communities, reports Alan Mozes for HealthDay. "Going forward," explains Prof. Noelle Selin, "more targeted policies are needed to reduce the disparities at the same time, for example by directly targeting [fossil fuel] sources that influence certain marginalized communities."

The Hill

Increased usage of wind energy has led to health benefits, but does not affect all communities equally, reports Saul Elbein for The Hill. The researchers found that in order to increase the benefits of wind energy, “the electricity industry would have to spin down the most polluting plants at times of high wind-supply — rather than their most expensive ones,” writes Elbein.

Quartz

Prof. Nathan Wilmers and his colleague have used multiple measures of earnings to trace income inequality in the U.S., reports Tim Fernholz for Quartz. “After decades of increase since the 1980s, they found that income inequality peaked in 2012 and has held steady or perhaps even fallen since,” explains Fernholz. 

New York Times

Prof. Esther Duflo speaks with New York Times reporter Peter Wilson about how climate change can impact global inequality. “The responsibility for the emissions that lead to climate change rests mainly with rich countries and their consumers, but the cost is mainly going to be borne by citizens in poor countries,” says Duflo. 

The Wall Street Journal

A new study co-authored by Prof. Antoinette Schoar finds that the “top Bitcoin holders control a greater share of the cryptocurrency than the most affluent American households control in dollars,” reports Paul Vigna for The Wall Street Journal. “Despite having been around for 14 years and the hype it has ratcheted up, it’s still the case that it’s a very concentrated ecosystem,” explains Schoar.

Gizmodo

Gizmodo reporter Mack DeGeurin writes that a new study co-authored by MIT researchers finds that just .01% of Bitcoin buyers control around 27% of the 19 million cryptocurrency in circulation. “This tiny concentration of so much wealth means the Bitcoin rich will likely only get richer if the cryptocurrency continues to increase in value,” DeGeurin writes. “It also means power is less dispersed, which could make Bitcoin more susceptible to systemic risk.”

VICE

Research affiliate Hunt Allcott speaks with Vice reporter David Shultz about his research on the nutrition gap in America. Allcott and his colleagues “have proposed a sort of expansion on the soda tax, in which unhealthy foods are taxed more, and that money is used to subsidize healthier foods,” writes Shultz.

Planet Money

Greg Rosalsky of NPR’s Planet Money spotlights Prof. Daron Acemoglu’s research exploring how automation is driving inequality in America. Rosalsky notes that Acemoglu hopes his research “will get policymakers to take a new, smarter approach to technological change.”

New York Times

As the curator of this year’s Venice Architecture Biennale, Hashim Sarkis, dean of the School of Architecture and Planning, addressed how we can live together and how architecture is responding to longstanding global issues that contributed to Covid-19’s global spread, from climate change and migration to political polarization and inequality, reports Elisabetta Povoledo for The New York Times. “The pandemic will hopefully go away,” said Sarkis. “But unless we address these causes, we will not be able to move forward.”

Bloomberg

Bloomberg reporter Kriston Capps finds that evictions disproportionately impact Black renters in the City of Boston. Capps writes that the “research shows that communities of color — eviction hubs even under normal times — are already bearing the disproportionate burden of the pandemic housing crisis.”

The Washington Post

Prof. T.L. Taylor speaks with The Washington Post’s Liz Clarke about the ways in which female gamers are often harassed and excluded. “What we have not fully grappled with is that the right to play extends to the digital space and gaming,” says Taylor. “For me, it is tied to democracy and civic engagement. It’s about participating in culture and having a voice and visibility.”

WBUR

MIT researchers have developed an interactive map that exhibits how income inequality plays a part in the shops, restaurants and public spaces that people frequent, reports Benjamin Swasey for WBUR. "We want to raise the point that segregation is happening at very short [distances], like even just 25 meters, just across the street," says visiting professor Esteban Moro.

Boston Globe

In an editorial about online learning, The Boston Globe highlights a recent digital learning conference held at MIT, during which, “experts convincingly portrayed innovative online offerings as a key tool for helping those of modest means move up the economic ladder.”

The Wall Street Journal

In an article for The Wall Street Journal about pay equity, Lauren Weber highlights Prof. Emilio Castilla’s research on manager bias. Weber explains that Castilla designed a system that “increased transparency and accountability for managers’ merit-pay decisions,” and found that pay gaps based on race, gender and nationality almost disappeared.