Big Data Solutions for Social and Economic Disparities

Understand factors that impact economic mobility

Join Harvard University Professor Raj Chetty in this online course to understand how big data can be used to measure mobility and solve social problems.

Featuring faculty from:
4 weeks
1–2 hours per week
Certificate Price
Program Dates
Start Big Data Solutions today.

What You'll Learn

What factors increase or decrease your likelihood of economic mobility? Does the neighborhood you grew up in play a part? How different is your life from the family’s life just a few streets over?

It’s likely you’ve wondered what factors influence one’s success, but it’s more likely you’ve never considered that such small changes in geographical location have a statistically significant impact. In this course, you will examine the historical evidence identifying the characteristics that lead to improved outcomes. Specifically, you will explore the effects of race and access to quality education, highly invested teachers, and family support—all of which lead to higher levels of upward mobility and increased earning potential.

Through research and statistical analysis, you will apply regression models and experiment with data sets to determine how improving K–12 education leads to a more engaged population, capable of shifting the trends in mobility and decreasing significant gaps in financial and social equality.

While no formal prerequisites are required for this course, you may benefit from first taking Evaluating Upward Mobility: The Fading American Dream, which helps learners understand the history of the shifts in socioeconomic mobility and how geography can also greatly play a role in access to opportunity.

The course will be delivered via edX and connect learners around the world. By the end of the course, participants will be able to:

  • Understand the factors that led to large shifts in upward mobility.
  • Examine the effects of family status on educational outcomes and long-term success.
  • Explore how highly engaged teachers can have an impact on student learning outcomes.
  • Use historical and current data to improve educational experiences, decrease biases, and overcome barriers to upward mobility.
  • Examine other social factors and the impacts on mobility, such as innovation, race, and gender.

Your Instructor

Raj Chetty, PhD, is the William A. Ackman Professor of Public Economics at Harvard University and Director of Opportunity Insights. His research uses “big data” to understand how we can give children from disadvantaged backgrounds better chances of succeeding. Chetty's research combines empirical evidence and economic theory to help design more effective government policies. His work on topics ranging from tax policy and unemployment insurance to education and affordable housing has been widely cited in academia, media outlets, and Congressional testimony. He has received numerous awards for his research, including a MacArthur "Genius" Fellowship and the John Bates Clark medal, given to the economist under 40 whose work is judged to have made the most significant contribution to the field.

Ways to take this course

When you enroll in this course, you will have the option of pursuing a Verified Certificate or Auditing the Course.

A Verified Certificate costs $169 and provides unlimited access to full course materials, activities, tests, and forums. At the end of the course, learners who earn a passing grade can receive a certificate. 

Alternatively, learners can Audit the course for free and have access to select course material, activities, tests, and forums. Please note that this track does not offer a certificate for learners who earn a passing grade.

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