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Robert Manduca

PhD Candidate in Sociology and Social Policy, Harvard University
Chapter Member: Boston SSN, Chicagoland SSN
Areas of Expertise:
  • Cities & Regions
  • Economy & Public Budgets
  • Social Issues

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About Robert

Robert's research focuses on urban and regional economic development-why it is that some cities and regions prosper while others stagnate, and what that means for their residents. In a second line of research he studies how economic inequality affects US society. 


How Economic Inequality Perpetuates U.S. Racial Gaps

No Jargon Podcast

In the News


"Income Inequality and the Persistence of Racial Economic Disparities" Sociological Science 5 (2018): 182-205.

Argues that a key and underappreciated driver of the racial income gap has been the national trend of rising income inequality.

"Fast Food Data: Where User-Generated Content Works and Where it Does Not." (with David Folch and Seth Spielman). Geographical Analysis 50, no. 2 (2018): 125-140.

Examine the correspondence between Phoenix metro area restaurants identified by a social media source ( and those from an administrative source (Maricopa Association of Governments [MAG]). Finds that they capture largely disjoint subsets of Phoenix restaurants, with only about one-third of restaurants in each data set present in the other.

"The Fading American Dream: Trends in Absolute Income Mobility since 1940" (with Raj Chetty, David Grusky, Maximilian Hell, Nathaniel Hendren, and Jimmy Narang). Science 3, no. 56 (2017): 398-406.

Estimates rates of "absolute income mobility" - the fraction of children who earn more than their parents - by combining historical data from Census and CPS cross-sections with panel data for recent birth cohorts from de-identified tax records.