"How does a guy whose mom is a heroin addict — a guy who drops out of high school, has a kid, and starts working a minimum-wage job at a fast-food restaurant — climb out of poverty?
On today’s Planet Money, we hear the answer from Katherine Newman.
Newman, a sociologist, found 300 people who were working at fast-food restaurants in Harlem in the early ’90s. She followed them for the next eight years and told the story in a book called Chutes and Ladders.
About a third of the people she followed managed to rise out of poverty during that time. A lot, of course, had to do with individual initiative — taking the civil service exam, landing union jobs, that sort of thing."