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2016 Inequality and...? Lecture Series


Inequality and GDP

Robert Inklaar, University of Groningen
20 December 2016

Cross-country inequality in GDP per capita depends crucially on measures of cross-country relative prices: the purchasing power parities (PPPs). Yet new information on PPPs tends to spark furious debate, as relative income rankings get shuffled and international income differences are compressed or widened.

This lecture will discuss some of the measurement challenges that can lead to these surprises, and how best to deal with the ensuing uncertainty. The consequences of these measurement challenges will be discussed in the context of current debates about global inequality and poverty, and in a historical perspective regarding the long-run shape of cross-country income inequality.







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Inequality and GDP (Introduction)


Inequality and GDP (Presentation)


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Inequality and Fairness

Bertil Tungodden, Norwegian School of Economics
23 November 2016

In this talk, I will survey recent evidence on how fairness concerns motivate distributive behavior, in particular the moral idea of personal responsibility. I will also present recent results of a comparison of the fairness preferences in the United States and Scandinavia.

There is a striking difference in income inequality and redistributive policies between the United States and Scandinavia. To study whether there is a corresponding cross-country difference in social preferences, we conducted the first large-scale international social preference experiment, with nationally representative samples from the United States and Norway.

We show that Americans and Norwegians differ significantly in fairness views, but not in the importance assigned to efficiency. The study also provides robust causal evidence of fairness considerations being much more fundamental for inequality acceptance than efficiency considerations in both countries.




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Inequality and Fairness (Introduction)


Inequality and Fairness (Presentation)


Read the Inequality and Fairness slides of the lecture.



Inequality and the Great Gatsby Curve

Miles Corak, University of Ottawa
21 June 2016

We should care about inequality because it has the potential to shape opportunities for the next generation.

This presentation offers a framework for thinking about this relationship, and for understanding why the adult outcomes of children are more closely tied to their family background—with the poor raising the next generation of poor adults, and the rich more likely to see their children to be rich in adulthood—in countries with greater inequality.

Differences in families, labour markets, and public policy all play a role in understanding why the United States has relatively less social mobility than many other countries.




...in a nutshell


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Inequality and the Great Gatsby Curve (Introduction)


Inequality and the Great Gatsby Curve (Presentation)


Read the Inequality and the Great Gatsby Curve slides of the lecture.



Inequality and Impact Investments

Yaron Neudorfer, Social Finance Israel
31 May 2016

Inequality in society often leaves parts of the population underserved and with no good access to social services. The gap only grows over time, as governments don’t have enough money to resolve these social issues, and philanthropy is limited and not always sustainable.

New resources are needed to be able to fund the best and most effective social interventions in order to deal with the most pressing problems of our societies. Impact investment in general, and social impact bonds specifically create the mechanisms that are able to bring new investors’ money into social issues.

This lecture will introduce new concepts in funding social issues and moving from treatment to prevention.




...in a nutshell


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Inequality and Impact Investments (Introduction)


Inequality and Impact Investments (Presentation)


Read the Inequality and Impact Investments slides of the lecture.



Inequality and Inflation

Bart Hobijn, Arizona State University 
12 May 2016

Households differ in the goods and services they buy and in the composition of their investment portfolios. These two differences result in inequality in both their inflation experiences as well as in their exposure to inflation risks.

How large are differences in inflation experiences across different types of households and in the extent to which households are exposed to inflation risk? The answer to this question matters for many policy decisions. For example, it affects the choice of appropriate indexation of benefits and salaries, the quantification of changes in the inequality in standards of living, as well as the assessment of the effects of monetary and fiscal policy measures.

This talk reviews the literature that has aimed to answer this question for the USA and provides new evidence for EU countries.



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Inequality and Inflation (Introduction)


Inequality and Inflation (Presentation)


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Inequality and Inheritances

Edward Wolff, New York University 
14 April 2016

Have inheritances become more important over time in the U.S.? There is reason to think that the share of wealth transfers has been rising as the current generation of elderly is now the richest in U.S. history.Moreover, the baby-boom generation has now reached the prime inheritance age group of 50-59 and may be the first generation to inherit a considerable amount of money. However, there is little evidence of an inheritance “boom”.

How much, if at all, do inheritances contribute to overall wealth inequality? Though inheritances received are much larger for richer than poorer families, inheritances, as a share of current wealth, tend to be higher for poorer families and thus tend to reduce overall wealth inequality.

This lecture will explore these and other issues based on the U.S. Federal Reserve Board’s Survey of Consumer Finances.




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Inequality and Inheritances (Introduction)


Inequality and Inheritances (Presentation)


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Inequality and Housing Exclusion

Marc Uhry, Fondation Abbé Pierre
15 March 2016

In many countries that experience population growth, the coexistence of communities is threatened by housing shortages. The concentration of economic activity in a few big cities leads to multitudes of families seeking employment in these economic centers, thus generating speculative housing bubbles. In contrast, housing markets collapse in many shrinking cities.

The inequalities that follow in the wake of such housing crises create disturbances with dramatic social consequences and can upset the economy on a worldwide scale. At the same time, housing is the chief lever by which the economy can recover in a peaceful way. Citizens can directly experience improvement and new challenges such as environmental protection, circular economies, restructured social interaction and the creation of `smart’ cities can be met.

This lecture will address the above issues with a focus on the European Union.



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Inequality and Housing Exclusion (Introduction)


Inequality and Housing Exclusion (Presentation)


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Inequality and Child Poverty

Martin Evans, UNICEF
1 March 2016

Child poverty is now a high priority in the new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Poverty reduction will have to be monitored using international and national monetary poverty measures and also in ‘multi-dimensional’ terms.

This lecture outlines the current state of play in global child poverty profiles and considers options for improving child poverty measurement. Empirical evidence will consider international and national profiles of child poverty and discussion will consider issues that are common to both poverty and inequality measurement for future SDG monitoring. 





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Inequality and Child Poverty (Introduction)


Inequality and Child Poverty (Presentation)


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Inequality and the Super Rich

Daniel Waldenström, Uppsala University
4 February 2016

Over the recent decades there has been a dramatic rise in top income shares in most Western countries.

Several explanations have been proposed, some pointing at the role of market-driven forces such as technology and globalization whereas others emphasize the importance of political and economic institutions of taxation or changing social norms about income differences in society.

This lecture presents the latest academic research about the evolution of top income and wealth positions around the Western world, what we know about the central determinants and how economic policy contribute to shaping these outcomes.




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Inequality and the Super Rich (Introduction)


Inequality and the Super Rich (Presentation)


Read the Inequality and the Super Rich slides of the lecture.



Inequality and Opportunities Beyond High-School

Jamil Salmi, Global Tertiary Education Expert, former Tertiary Education Coordinator, World Bank
20 January 2016

All over the world, education has undeniably become the main force of inclusion in society.

Yet, much progress remains to be made, especially at the tertiary education level. In spite of the extensive efforts to improve access worldwide, tertiary education—especially the university sector—generally remains elitist, with the majority of enrolled students coming from wealthier segments of society.

Against this background, this lecture proposes to summarize available evidence on the main forms and the scope of disparities in tertiary education, present the principal determinants of inequality at the tertiary education level, and outline promising approaches and measures for offering more equal opportunities to all disadvantaged groups.





...in a nutshell


Full lecture


Full slide presentation



Inequality and Opportunities Beyond High-School (Introduction)


Inequality and Opportunities Beyond High-School (Presentation)


Read the Inequality and Opportunities Beyond High-School slides of the lecture.