The Lavin Agency Speakers Bureau

A speakers bureau that represents the best original thinkers,
writers, and doers for speaking engagements.

Young Black Men Are the Least Likely of Any Group to Escape Poverty According to a New Study by Renowned Economist Raj Chetty

Raj Chetty is one of the world’s leading economists and his efforts to level the economic playing field in the U.S. have earned him a MacArthur “Genius” grant and the John Bates Clark Medal for the best American economist under 40. His latest research, a sobering analysis of census data on 20 million children and their parents, proves that black boys are the least likely of any group to climb out of poverty—and the most likely to fall into it.

“You would have thought intuitively, like we expected going in, that when you get to a certain income level, maybe racial disparities disappear; that at some point, you can kind of escape the poverty trap,” says Chetty on PBS News. “But that really doesn’t seem to be the case. Even once your parents reach a high income level it continues to be the case that black men have higher odds of essentially ending up at the bottom of the income distribution than staying at the top of the income distribution.”


The grim discovery is being covered by The New York Times, NPR, The Washington Post, Vox, and The Economist. Check out the full PBS News interview below. 


Black men face economic disadvantages even if they start out in wealthier households, study shows


To book Raj Chetty, or another speaker on how race interacts with the global economy, contact The Lavin Agency. >

Americans Are Losing Faith in Democracy. Political Theorist Yascha Mounk Explains Why and What We Can Do About It

Liberal democracies are dying, while far-right groups and authoritarian leaders are thriving. It’s a grim fact, but Harvard professor, writer, and new Lavin Speaker Yascha Mounk is hopeful in his engaging talks about why it’s happening, how it’s happening, and what every day citizens can do about it.

The tale of liberal democracy’s demise is complicated. It’s about unemployment, insecurity, race relations, the erosion of civic education alongside the rise of dubious social media “truths.” With The People vs. Democracy, his forthcoming book on the subject, regular contributions to The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Foreign Affairs, CNN, Slate, and his role as host of the popular podcast, The Good Fight, Yascha Mounk knows how to tell this story.


And it’s an important story to tell. It’s necessary, urgent. For corporations, colleges, associations, or even average citizens who are concerned about what their political future holds. Mounk is both “a gifted raconteur and aphorist,” (The New York Times) and a staunch realist. He provides actionable steps for how we can protect democracy, from donating to anti-authoritarian movements to campaigning for meaningful candidates, and blends it with generous personal anecdotes, easy wit, and an academic’s authority.


“How important is it to you to live in a democracy?” is a question Mounk often asks. “People born in the 40s or 50s, 100% of them say it’s essential. You ask people born after 1980, and it’s less than a third.” 


To book Yascha Mounk for your next event, contact The Lavin Agency today. 

Why Nations Fail Co-Author Daron Acemoglu “As Hot as Economists Get.”

Daron Acemoglu is “about as hot as economists get,” writes The New York Times Magazine in a recent feature on the Why Nations Fail co-author. In the book, Acemoglu addresses the big question that has perplexed economists for ages: why are some countries rich while others are poor? He tells the Times Magazine that poverty stems not just from a lack of market freedom, or overpopulation, or a lack of centralized government. For Acemoglu, poor countries are ones where the average citizen does not share in the overalrl growth of the national economy. Put more bluntly, the slogan “the true value of a nation is its people” is actually correct.

Here's an example of Acemoglu's thesis from The Times Magazine article:

Consider Acemoglu’s idea from the perspective of a poor farmer. In parts of modern sub-Saharan Africa, as was true in medieval Europe or the antebellum South, the people who work the fields lack any incentive to improve their yield because any surplus is taken by the wealthy elite. This mind-set changes only when farmers are given strong property rights and discover that they can profit from extra production. In 1978, China began allowing farmers to benefit from any surplus they produced. The decision, most economists agree, helped spark the country’s astounding growth.

Acemoglu and his Why Nations Fail collaborator James Robinson aren't simply arguing that incentives matter—they're arguing that if countries do not give their poor any possibility for social mobility, whether “through property rights, a reliable judicial system, or access to markets”, their economic engines will be stuck in neutral. This realization means that the current foreign aid strategy of one-off programs or monetary gifts are essentially useless if given to a country that fails to invest in their poor and vulnerable. The real focus of aid should be on deep political and economic change.