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Welcoming Remarks: Book Launch
Shared Prosperity in America’s Communities
Fisher Fine Arts Building
University of Pennsylvania
Philadelphia, PA
March 23, 2016

Patrick T. Harker
President and CEO
Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia

The views expressed today are my own and not necessarily
those of the Federal Reserve System or the FOMC.

Welcoming Remarks
Book Launch
Shared Prosperity in America’s Communities
Fisher Fine Arts Building
University of Pennsylvania
March 23, 2016
Patrick T. Harker
President and Chief Executive Officer
Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia
Good evening and thank you for being here tonight. It is always a pleasure to be back at the
University of Pennsylvania. I have spent 30 years of my career on college campuses, and
nothing matches their innovation and knowledge creation anywhere.
I am happy to cross paths again with Susan Wachter, codirector of the Penn Institute for Urban
Research and a former colleague of mine at the Wharton School. Susan is the coeditor of the
book we are here to discuss tonight, Shared Prosperity in America’s Communities. The book is
an example of the great work Penn IUR continues to do to bring attention ― and solutions ― to
issues that have an impact on urban areas.
I would also like to recognize the contributions to this book that the Community Development
Studies & Education team has made. This includes Dr. Lei Ding, who served as the book’s coeditor.
Shared Prosperity in America’s Communities is an impressive collection of essays from
respected researchers and thinkers that explores the intersection of inequality and place. This is
the fourth in a series of books that the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia and Penn IUR have
published together. These volumes stem from our joint biennial conference, Reinventing Our
Communities. Each conference ― and accompanying book ― highlights the issues that have an
impact on older industrial communities.
I can’t think of a more important or timely topic for communities than inequality and social
mobility. I am so pleased that this was both the focus of our 2014 Reinventing conference and
tonight’s book.
As reflected by Fed Chair Janet Yellen, economic inequality has long been of interest to the Fed.
Chair Yellen has expressed a desire to engage in more research on community development
topics, including factors that influence economic mobility.


As the president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia, I fully support her interest in
increasing our focus here. And as one of my own goals, I hope the dialogue on such topics
continues to happen often. I believe tonight’s book helps bridge a gap that is part of the larger
conversation on issues including social mobility, economic inclusion, and equitable growth.
Since joining the Fed, I have had the opportunity to see some of these issues play out in
communities throughout our District. This has been through conversations with community
leaders who we have met at the Fed and through tours of the District. And what I have learned
from these experiences reflects many of the themes in the Shared Prosperity book and the
topics of tonight’s discussion.
Shared Prosperity in America’s Communities provides important insights on the intersection of
geography and opportunity. This helps us understand the cost of inequality. And that cost is
Raj Chetty, one of the book’s contributors, suggests that a child born into the bottom quintile of
income distribution, has a 7.5 percent chance of reaching the top quintile in the United States.
He says, “Improving opportunities for children from disadvantaged families to succeed should
be a priority for policy makers not just because it is one of the core principles of American
society but also because improving mobility can have substantial economic payoffs.”
I agree with Raj. It’s not only in the name of justice and fairness that we should focus on this
topic. It’s also because this is an economically smart thing to do. These issues are of particular
importance here in the City of Philadelphia, given the demographics that I am sure you are all
familiar with today.
Despite signs of economic growth and progress, Philadelphia is still the second-poorest large
city in America, with a poverty rate of 26.5 percent, according to the latest U.S. Census figures.
Philadelphia also has the highest deep poverty rate of the nation’s 10 most populous cities.
While Philadelphia has experienced recent job growth, the rate of growth has been slower than
other U.S. cities. Also, the jobs are predominantly low wage and perpetuate ― rather than
reverse ― the cycle of poverty.
We are lucky to have two of the book’s authors here tonight:

Elizabeth Kneebone, a fellow at the Metropolitan Policy Program at the Brookings
Institution, and
Paul Jargowsky, a professor of public policy and the director of the Center for Urban
Research and Education at Rutgers University–Camden.


We also have two leaders in attendance from our local community who will discuss the
implications of inequality for the City of Philadelphia. They are:

Eva Gladstein, the deputy managing director of health and human services for the City
of Philadelphia, and
Laura Sparks, the executive director of the William Penn Foundation.

As I approach policy decisions, it is discussions such as the one tonight that help me best
represent the Third District in Washington, D.C. The topics, research, and personal stories add a
human element to the data I review each day.
That said, it is important to have forums where research can inform practice and practice can
inform research. This book is an illustration of that approach, and I hope we can continue
working together.
Thank you for joining us here tonight and for your continued efforts to achieve economic
growth and stability in our region.
I will now hand the discussion over to Theresa Singleton, vice president of Community
Development Studies & Education Department at the Fed and the moderator for tonight’s