Areas of Expertise & Civic Involvements
Jencks’ main areas of research are currently income inequality, poverty, and school accountability. He has written about income inequality for more than forty years, starting in 1972 with Inequality: A Reappraisal of the Effects of Family and Schooling in America. His work on inequality covers both causes and consequences – showing how the spread of single-parent families raised inequality between the bottom and the middle; slower growth of college graduation rates raised inequality between the middle and the 90th percentile; and deregulation of the financial sector raised the gap between the top one percent and the 90th percentile. Most claims about the consequences of rising inequality are speculative, but Jencks would say the most important aspect of inequality is probably the rising political influence of the rich, which makes it ever harder to reverse the trend.