Economic mobility is vitally important and more research is needed on how best to foster it, said Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen on Thursday. In brief remarks opening a Fed conference on the topic of getting ahead, Yellen said too little is known about what family and community characteristics may predict who will achieve upward mobility. Americans are now worried that children will grow up to be worse off financially than their parents were. Further research may help provide evidence on what public policies would be most helpful "in building an economy in which people are poised to get ahead," Yellen said. Roughly 80% of Americans across the ideological spectrum see inequality as a big problem, Yellen noted. Earlier this year, several House Republicans criticized Yellen for a speech she gave last fall on income inequality even though the Fed chairwoman had shied away from reaching definitive conclusions on the topic.
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