Faculty Publications - College of Business

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Economic opportunity varies dramatically across the United States. In this study the Opportunity to Flourish Index (OFI) is created to determine the level of opportunity United States cities afford those at the bottom of the income distribution. Indicators within the index measure disposable income, access to financial services, diet, educational attainment, unemployment, physical well-being, and family structure. The OFI’s relationship with standard measures of economic growth and economic mobility is also evaluated. The OFI is not correlated with measures of income and population growth, suggesting, that in the short-run growth and opportunity are not necessarily complementary. The OFI is strongly correlated with intergenerational economic mobility. Individuals that live in cities which have higher levels of opportunity are more likely to have children that move up the income distribution. The OFI provides stakeholders in poverty alleviation a means to evaluate and promote equality of opportunity in United States cities.