The American Dream mean different things to every American, but one of its defining ideals is the equal access to opportunity. The ideal is that any American can reach economic stability through hard work, and that children will have a higher standard of living than their parents. Researchers as Stanford and Harvard have found this is no longer true. Just 46 percent of 30-year-old’s today are making more than their parents did at age 30. Additionally, research from the Economic Innovation Group finds economic dynamism, or the rate of churn in the American economy, is at an all-time low. What are the causes of this changing landscape, and what are the policy options available to broaden access to the American Dream?


  • Kathy Schill, Minnesota


  • Robert Manduca, Harvard University

    Manduca is a Ph.D. student in sociology and social policy at Harvard University. His research focuses on regional economic development and the implications the changing income distribution for people, cities, and regions.

  • Kenan Fikri, Economic Innovation Group
    Fikri serves as EIG’s manager for research and policy development. Before joining EIG, Fikri was a senior policy analyst and associate fellow at the Brookings Institution’s Metropolitan Policy Program. There he was responsible for conceptualizing and executing a wide array of economic research and policy projects. An expert in place-based economic analysis, Fikri has considerable experience advising state and local officials on economic development and regional competitiveness strategies. Fikri also has served as a consultant with The World Bank Group’s competitive cities team. Fikri received his master's degree in Local Economic Development from the London School of Economics and his bachelor’s degree in International Relations and Economics at American University.

What Happened to the American Dream?


2017 Legislative Summit