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Center for Policy Studies
Public Affairs Discussion Group

Money, Happiness, and Redistribution

David Clingingsmith, Ph.D. - Associate Professor of Economics at Case Western Reserve University
Friday April 15, 2016
12:30-1:30 p.m.

***Alternate Location: Baker-Nord Center, Room 206, Clark Hall***
Case Western Reserve University

Dear Colleagues:

The United States has a graduated income tax, which redistributes income from people with more to people with less. Is that a good idea? April 15 seems like a good day to ask.

The major presidential candidates disagree strongly about progressive taxation. The political arguments include ideas about what people deserve, what is fair, and how taxes influence the economy. But David Clingingsmith raises a perhaps more basic question: can redistribution increase the amount of happiness in the country?

After all, the Declaration of Independence declares fundamental human rights to "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness" – not to property. We say "money can't buy happiness," but it might help. If money has diminishing returns – so buys less happiness as you get richer – then shifting some from richer people to poorer people might make this a happier nation. And, then, what is the effect of not having money, of poverty? Does poverty cause feelings of sadness, nervousness, hopelessness and worthlessness, so that spending to reduce poverty can be justified because that makes people happier?

These are the kinds of questions that Professor Clingingsmith has been researching both through survey data and a broader view of economic trends. Join us for an original look at one of the major issues in American politics.

All best regards,
Joe White
Luxenberg Family Professor of Public Policy and Director, Center for Policy Studies

About Our Guests

David Clingingsmith’s research is centered on the economics of developing countries. Much of his work uses economic history to illuminate the problems of economic development. Recently, Clingingsmith has been exploring how language change can result from the process of industrialization. His work on India shows that languages and dialects disappeared as workers switch to the prevailing language of the workplace. Another study examines how the global, local, and natural forces combined to cause industrial decline in early colonial India. Clingingsmith also uses randomized interventions to study diverse contemporary topics, such as how to improve incentives in health care delivery and how going on the Hajj impacts pilgrims.

Where We Meet

The Friday Public Affairs Lunch convenes each Friday when classes are in session, from 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. Our programs are open to all and no registration is required. This week's venue is on the second floor of Clark Hall in Room 206. Because of construction, the main entrance of Clark Hall, which faces Bellflower Road, is blocked by scaffolding. Please enter by walking down the walkway to the right, on the west side of the building, to the alternate entrance. You can take the stairway or the elevator to the second floor.

Parking Possibilities

We regret that there is no free parking nearby. Participants who normally park in the lot off East Boulevard, under Severance Hall, could do so. Then, after exiting at the Thwing Center or the elevator into the Tinkham Veale University Center, they could follow the walkway between TVUC and Thwing, heading east. After going between Mather House and Mather Dance, they could turn left on the walkway, immediately right so Haydn Hall is on their right, and follow the walkway to the side entrance of Clark Hall. The parking structure on Ford just north of Euclid is a bit closer. Participants could walk down the alley just north of the garage, heading east, and Clark will be the third building on their right. A third possibility is the parking lot of the Church of the Covenant.

Schedule of Friday Lunch Upcoming Topics and Speakers:

April 22: The Obama Administration and the Future of U.S. Manufacturing. With Susan Helper, Frank Tracy Carlton Professor of Economics and, former Chief Economist, U.S. Department of Commerce.
April 12, 2016

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Upcoming Events

Obama, the Senate, and Judicial Appointments

A discussion with Sara M. Schiavoni, Lecturer in Political Science at John Carroll University, Monday April 18, 2016, 3:00-4:00 p.m., Mather House Room 100, 11201 Euclid Avenue, Cleveland, OH. This program is sponsored by the Center for Policy Studies. Beverages and other refreshments will be provided.

The Senate's refusal to consider President Obama's nomination of Judge Merrick Garland for the vacant seat on the Supreme Court raises critical questions. What are the norms for considering judicial nominations? Have they changed over time? How have Senate Republicans treated other Obama nominations? How did Senate Democrats treat nominations by President George W. Bush, and other Supreme Court nominations by Republican presidents? How does President Obama's nomination of Judge Garland fit with his previous strategies for dealing with confirmation challenges?

In short, what is the context for the current battle, and how does it fit with the long-term trends in the process of "Advice and Consent?" Sara Schiavoni has co-authored the most current and thorough scholarship on these issues.

In two long articles in the Journal of Law and Courts and two more in Judicature, Ms. Schiavoni and her colleagues, Professors Elliot Skolnick of The Ohio State University and Sheldon Goldman of the University of Massachusetts, have exhaustively analyzed confirmation politics during the Obama presidency. They show how Obama's nominees compare to those of other presidents, assess his success in winning nominations, and through extensive interviews elucidate the politics behind Senate Democrats' embrace in 2013 of the "nuclear option" to eliminate filibusters of District Court, Circuit Court, and many executive branch nominations. In previous work they documented President George W. Bush's success in naming "like-minded conservatives" to the federal bench.

Join us to learn about the facts and history behind the headlines, charges and counter-charges.

April 2016






































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