Fighting Poverty With Cash

Several decades since the last big income experiment was conducted in the US, School of Social Policy & Practice assistant professor Amy Castro Baker has helped deliver promising data out of Stockton, California, about the effects of giving people no-strings-attached money every month. Now boosted by a new research center at Penn that she’ll colead, more cities are jumping on board to see if guaranteed income can lift their residents out of poverty. Will it work? And will policymakers listen?

Good By Design

Despite all evidence to the contrary, “the world is getting better,” argues physician and sociologist Nicholas Christakis. It’s in our genes.

The Virality Paradox

Damon Centola thinks the contemporary wisdom about how behavior spreads is missing something fundamental—and that may be why mindless trivialities crowd out civic engagement. Can anything be done? He has an idea or two.

Down By Law

Alice Goffman was a Penn undergraduate when she began doing the fieldwork for the project that became On the Run: Fugitive Life in an American City. It’s an important, unsettling exploration of a serious issue. Just try not to focus on her.