Tag: Currid-Halkett

The 21st Century Silver Spoon

ELIZABETH CURRID-HALKETT, associate professor of urban planning, USC’s Price School.

This op-ed originally appeared in the New York Times on Nov. 10.

In 1899, the sociologist Thorstein Veblen scathingly critiqued what he called the “conspicuous consumption” of America’s upper class. The rich were so obsessed with their social status, he wrote, that they would go to gratuitous lengths to signal it. His famous example was silver flatware: handcrafted silver spoons, though no more “serviceable” than and hardly distinguishable from aluminum ones, conferred high social rank and signaled membership in what he called the “leisure class.”

A silver spoon is no longer a mark of elite status. Take the nation’s top 10 percent of households. The top 1 percent — those making more than $394,000 annually — are today’s version of Veblen’s leisure class in terms of wealth, but they are not the biggest buyers of silver flatware. Instead, households in the rest of this high-earning cohort — those making between $114,000 and just under $394,000 — take the silver prize.

Career vs. Family in the Halls of Academia

ELIZABETH CURRID-HALKETT, associate professor, USC Price School of Public Policy.

This op-ed originally appeared in the Los Angeles Times.

I recently had coffee with one of my top doctoral students, a woman in her late 20s. After years of slogging through data sets for her dissertation, she told me she would finish her doctorate in public policy but not pursue a career in academia. Stunned, I asked why. She was about to get married and hoped to start a family, she said, and she’d concluded that she couldn’t be the mother she aspired to be and a contestant in the pressure-filled tenure-track race at the same time.

Colleagues at other universities tell me similar stories of star female students either abandoning career ambitions or “underplacing” themselves — turning down prestigious fellowships and accepting jobs at less competitive universities — so they can focus on raising children and enjoying family life.

The Importance of Oscar Night — Showing up and Being Photographed

ELIZABETH CURRID-HALKETT, assistant professor USC Price School of Public Policy:

This article originally appeared in Salon.

“This Sunday, hundreds of Hollywood’s brightest stars will cram into the Academy Awards. Among them will be George Clooney, Michelle Williams and many of the best-known names of the entertainment industry — along with lots and lots of people you’ve barely heard of, forming an endless stream of anonymous penguins and haute couture gowns.

It’s not exactly headline news that being nominated for an Oscar can catapult the careers and celebrity status of newcomers like Jennifer Lawrence. What most people don’t know is that Oscar night is even more important to the invited non-nominees – those donning tuxes,

Kim Kardashian Inc.: Celebrity Economics 101

ELIZABETH CURRID-HALKETT, assistant professor of urban planning: “Whatever you may think of the sudden marital rupture of Kim Kardashian and Kris Humphries, there is no denying that the Kardashian brand is an industry.  The tabloid and gossip business traffics in…

Where Bohemians Come From

ELIZABETH CURRID-HALKETT, assistant professor of urban planning: “The idea that art can be an economic engine is hardly new, and a walk through SoHo, Venice Beach or Chicago’s Pilsen neighborhood shows it can work. The N.E.A.’s promotional material makes clear…