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Socio-Economic Inequality






Founded in 2013 after a multi-million Euro grant from the Programme Excellence Award for Research in Luxembourg (PEARL) by the National Research Fund (FNR), the Institute for Research on Socio-Economic Inequality (IRSEI) focuses on a national research priority: the study of socio-economic inequality.

We aim to uncover the new processes of transformations of inequalities by means of demographic, economic, psychological as well as sociological analysis. Social stratification is not fixed forever: it is a meta-stable system where apparent stability is based on permanent changes. We investigate inequalities between generations, social groups, and in comparative perspective.






IRSEI hosts two full professors, Louis Chauvel and Philippe Van Kerm (joint UL-LISER professorship), two associate professors, Anja Leist and Michèle Baumann (Prof. em.), and a team of postdocs and PhD students. See all IRSEI members here.

Research projects associated with IRSEI are, among others:

  • The CRISP project Cognitive Ageing funded by the ERC
  • The Doctoral Training Unit Migration, Inequalities and Labour Markets (DTU-MINLAB) funded by the FNR
  • The Impact of Childhood Circumstances on Individual Outcomes over the Life-Course (IMCHILD) project funded through NORFACE and the FNR INTER programme.


SEMILUX: IRSEI organizes, jointly with LISER and the LIS Data Center, the monthly seminar SEMILUX series on social inequality and public policies (currently online only). The seminar consists of invited talks by prominent international scholars and by local researchers from all national institutions engaged in research on social inequalities. See future and past talks here.


IRSEI Brown Bag Seminar: Every Monday, 1pm-2pm CET, virtually.

Join here: bit.ly/IRSEIBrownBag


Recent IRSEI Publications (Selection)

Income and Wealth

Chauvel, L., Haim, E. B., Hartung, A., & Murphy, E. (2021). Rewealthization in twenty-first century Western countries: the defining trend of the socioeconomic squeeze of the middle class. The Journal of Chinese Sociology8(1), 1-17.

Nolan, B., Palomino, J. C., Van Kerm, P., & Morelli, S. (2021). Intergenerational wealth transfers and wealth inequality in rich countries: What do we learn from Gini decomposition?. Economics Letters199, 109701.

Sologon, D.M., Van Kerm, P., Li, J. & O’Donoghue, C. (2021). Accounting for differences in income inequality across countries: tax-benefit policy, labour market structure, returns and demographics. Journal of Economic Inequality 19, 13–43

Chauvel, L., Hartung, A., Palmisano, F. (2019) "Dynamics of Individual Income Rank Volatility: Evidence from West Germany and the US" The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, vol. 19, no. 2, 2019. https://doi.org/10.1515/bejeap-2018-0153



Bar-Haim, E., Chauvel, L., & Hartung, A. (2019). More necessary and less sufficient: an age-period-cohort approach to overeducation from a comparative perspective. Higher Education78(3), 479-499.

Stubbs, J. E., & Murphy, E. C. (2020). ‘You got into Oxbridge?’Under‐represented students’ experiences of an elite university in the south of England. Higher Education Quarterly74(4), 516-530.

Chauvel L., (2019). La spirale du déclassement. Les désillusions des classes moyennes, Le Seuil, Paris, 2016, 214 p.


Health and Ageing

Settels, J., & Leist, A. K. (2021). Changes in neighborhood-level socioeconomic disadvantage and older Americans’ cognitive functioning. Health & Place, 68, 102510. ORBilu

Paccoud, I., Baumann, M., Le Bihan, E., Pétré, B., Breinbauer, M., Böhme, P., Chauvel, L. & Leist, A. K. (2021). Socioeconomic and behavioural factors associated with access to and use of Personal Health Records. BMC Medical Informatics and Decision Making, 21(1), 1-11. ORBilu

Leist, A. K. (2021). Luxembourg. In: E. Immergut, K. Anderson, C. Devitt, T. Popic (eds.), Health Politics in Europe: A Handbook. Oxford University Press. ORBilu

Ford, K. J., Batty, G. D., & Leist, A. K. (2021). Examining gender differentials in the association of low control work with cognitive performance in older workers. European Journal of Public Health, 31(1), 174-180. ORBilu

Régnier F., Chauvel L. (2018). Digital inequalities in the use of self-tracking diet and fitness apps: Interview study on the influence of social, economic, and cultural factors” JMIR Mhealth Uhealth 2018;6(4):e101 DOI: 10.2196/mhealth.9189