Publications portal

III Publications Portal

The III connects research about inequality from across the LSE. Here you can find published research exploring inequality from leading academics across the school. 

Click to browse papers by theme, and use your browser's ' find in page' function (Ctrl + F) to search by keyword. N.B. that you will only be able to search for articles once you have opened the category tab.

Democracy, Public Participation & Social Change

Democratizing Inequalities: Dilemmas of the New Public Participation (2015)

Authors: Caroline W. Lee, Michael McQuarrie, and Edward T. Walker; Foreword by Craig Calhoun

Keywords: democracy, participation, inequality, political action

Summary: This book attempts to outline how modern societies face a variety of structural problems that limit the potentials for true democratization, as well as vast inequalities in political action and voice that are not easily resolved by participatory solutions.

Community mobilisation in the 21st century: Updating our theory of social change? (2014)

Author: Catherine Campbell

Keywords: activism, collective action, community mobilisation, social change, social movements, the new left, Paulo Freire

Summary: This paper explores the Freirian theory of social change underpinning health-related community mobilisation in poor and marginalised communities. Highlighting potential shortcomings of its essentialist understandings of power and identity, and linear notions of change, it examines how lessons from the 'new left', and burgeoning global protest movements can rejuvenate the field given the growing complexity of 21st-century social inequalities.

Surreptitious symbiosis: engagement between activists and NGOs (2015)

Authors: Armine Ishkanian and Marlies Glasius

Summary: Based on research conducted in Athens, Cairo, London and Yerevan the article analyses the relationship between activists engaged in street protests or direct action since 2011 and NGOs. It examines how activists relate to NGOs and whether it is possible to do sustained activism to bring about social change without becoming part of a ‘civil society industry’. The article argues that while at first glance NGOs seem disconnected from recent street activism, and activists distance themselves from NGOs, the situation is more complicated than meets the eye. It contends that the boundaries between the formal NGOs and informal groups of activists is blurred and there is much cross-over and collaboration. The article demonstrates and seeks to explain this phenomenon, which we call surreptitious symbiosis, from the micro-perspective of individual activists and NGO staff. Finally, we discuss whether this surreptitious symbiosis can be sustained and sketch three scenarios for the future.

What does democracy mean? Activist views and practices in Athens, Cairo, London and Moscow (2016)

Authors: Armine Ishkanian and Marlies Glasius

Summary: This article sheds light on the discontent with and the appeal of democracy by interviewing some of the most committed critical citizens: core activists in street protests. Based on interviews in Athens, Cairo, London, and Moscow, the authors found that they rejected representative democracy as insufficient, and believed democracy to entail having a voice and a responsibility to participate intensively in political decision-making. Activists saw themselves as engaged in prefigurative politics by fostering democratic practices within the movement and, ultimately, in society, but also raised concerns about internal power dynamics reproducing existing inequalities and exclusions. The insistence by activists that citizens have both a right and a duty to participate should be taken more seriously by political scientists and policymakers, not just as a threat to democracy and democratization, but as an opportunity. However, contemporary social movements are not straightforward sites of prefiguration, but sites of struggle between experimental and traditional forms of organizing, between inclusive aspirations and exclusive tendencies.

From Consensus to Dissensus: The Politics of Anti-austerity Activism in London and its Relationship to Voluntary Organizations (2017)

Authors: Armine Ishkanian & Irum S. Ali 

Keywords: Austerity, activism, civil society, occupy, England

Summary: This article examines how activism against austerity is organized and manifested in London. Given that anti-austerity activists are addressing issues related to social welfare, we examine whether there are alliances between the activists and voluntary organizations (VOs) that are working in that field. Examining the challenges involved in creating and sustaining alliances, we argue that the regulatory context alone is an insufficient explanation as to why activist–VO alliances are difficult to establish and maintain. We contend that more significantly, it is VOs’ and activists’ divergent and at times irreconcilable stances, which we refer to as the consensus and dissensus stances, respectively, which impede activist–VO alliances, beyond episodic interactions, from developing.

Underground sociabilities: identity, culture and resistance in Rio de Janeiro's favelas  (2013)

Authors: Sandra Jovchelovitch and Jacqueline Priego-Hernandez

Summary: This book is about patterns of sociability and social development in the favelas of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. It examines how favela communites, despite harsh conditions of living, poverty and segregation, have been able to mobilise local resources to resist exclusion, fight off marginalisation and rewrite relations between the favelas and the city. The book is useful to academics in the social sciences and humanities, policymakers, activists and all those who are interested in human-centred social and community development, urban planning, and communication across asymmetries in the contemporary city.

Bottom-up social development in favelas of Rio de Janeiro: a toolkit  (2015)

Authors: Sandra Jovchelovitch and Jacqueline Priego-Hernandez

Summary: This toolkit provides information, resources and tools based on the lessons and research findings of Underground Sociabilities, and international and interinstitutional partnership that studied the identity, culture and resilience of favela communities in Rio de Janeiro.


Inequality: What Can Be Done? (2015)

Author: Anthony B. Atkinson

Keywords: inequality, public policy, poverty, income distribution, developed countries 

Summary: This book presents a comprehensive set of policies that could bring about a genuine shift in the distribution of income in developed countries. The book argues that problem is not simply that the rich are getting richer, but that society is failing to tackle poverty, and the economy is rapidly changing to leave the majority of people behind. To reduce inequality, the book argues that society has to go beyond placing new taxes on the wealthy to fund existing programs. The book thus recommends ambitious new policies in five areas: technology, employment, social security, the sharing of capital, and taxation. 

Lectures on Public Economics Updated Edition (2015)

Authors: Anthony B. Atkinson and Joseph E. Stiglitz 

Keywords: public economics, taxation, behavioral response, tax systems, public sector, public goods

Summary: First published in 1980, the lectures presented in this updated book examine the behavioral response of households and firms to tax changes. Topics include the effects of taxation on labor supply, savings, risk-taking, the firm, debt, and economic growth. The book then delves into normative questions such as the design of tax systems, optimal taxation, public sector pricing, and public goods, including local public goods. 

Public Economics in an Age of Austerity (2014)

Author: Anthony B. Atkinson

Keywords: public economics, austerity, ageing population, education, income tax, capital, social security contributions 

Summary: This book describes how public economics can help society to think about alternative ways of meeting the challenges of an ageing population, increased investment in education, and climate change. It casts doubt on conventionally held views, such as those concerned with top tax rates, the undesirability of taxing capital income, the targeting of child benefits, and the merging of income tax and social security contributions. 

Inequality and Crises Revisited (2015)

Authors: Salvatore Morelli and Anthony B. Atkinson

Keywords: inequality, crisis, Chartbook of Economic Inequality, level hypothesis, growth hypothesis

Summary: Using the updated version of the Chartbook of Economic Inequality, this paper provides new empirical evidence on the `level' hypothesis and reassesses the empirical validity of the `growth' hypothesis. In line with previous work, the empirical analysis on the entire set of countries and years under investigation does not provide any conclusive and compelling statistical support to either of the hypotheses.

The median as watershed (2013)

Authors: Rolf Aaberge and Anthony B. Atkinson 

Keywords: income distribution, median income, Stiglitz Commission, median, poverty, measurement 

Summary: The aim of this paper is to bring out some of the implications of adopting the median as a diving line for measurement purposes, particularly with the robustness of the conclusions reached by the Stiglitz Commission and the Europe 2020 Agenda for the European Union. In doing so, the paper develops the two alternative approaches—primal and dual—applied to Lorenz curves in Aaberge (2001). 

Chartbook of Economic Inequality (2014)

Authors: Anthony B. Atkinson and Salvatore Morelli 

Keywords: long-run changes, economic inequality, charts, distribution 

Summary: The purpose of this chartbook is to present a summary of evidence about long-run changes in economic inequality for 25 countries, accounting for more than one-third of the world’s population, covering more than one hundred years. The results are presented in 25 charts, one for each country, together with a description of the sources.

Bankers’ pay and extreme wage inequality in the UK (2010)

Authors: Brian Bell and John Van Reenen

Keywords: Wage inequality, financial services, bonuses

Summary: It is well known that the distribution of income in the United Kingdom has widened considerably in the last three decades. This paper explores this increased dispersion at the very top of the wage distribution. We show that the growth has occurred primarily within the top few percentiles and that the rise in inequality in recent years is much more pronounced when we focus on annual earnings as opposed to weekly wages (where most work has concentrated). This is because annual wages include bonuses. By the end of the decade to 2008, the top tenth of earners received £20bn more purely due to the increase in their share (it would have been only £173bn had their share of the pie remained the same as 1998), and £12bn of this went to workers in the financial sector (almost all of which was bonus payments). We consider various reasons why the bankers have managed to capture an increasing share of the wage bill over the last decade.

Intergenerational persistence in income and social class: the effect of within-group inequality (2012)

Authors: Jo Blanden, Paul Gregg, Lindsey Macmillan

Summary: Family income is found to be more closely related to sons’ earnings for a cohort born in 1970 compared with a cohort born in 1958. This result is in stark contrast with the finding on the basis of social class; intergenerational mobility for this outcome is found to be unchanged. Our aim here is to explore the reason for this divergence. We derive a formal framework which relates mobility as measured by family income or earnings to mobility as measured by social class. Building on this framework we then test several alternative hypotheses to explain the difference between the trends. We find evidence of an increase in the intergenerational persistence of the permanent component of income that is unrelated to social class. We reject the hypothesis that the observed decline in income mobility is a consequence of the poor measurement of permanent family income in the 1958 cohort.

The Contribution of the Minimum Wage to U.S. Wage Inequality over Three Decades: A Reassessment (2016)

Author: Alan Manning, David H. Autor, Christopher L. Smith

Summary: We reassess the effect of minimum wages on US earnings inequality using additional decades of data and an IV strategy that addresses potential biases in prior work. We find that the minimum wage reduces inequality in the lower tail of the wage distribution, though by substantially less than previous estimates, suggesting that rising lower tail inequality after 1980 primarily reflects underlying wage structure changes rather than an unmasking of latent inequality. These wage effects extend to percentiles where the minimum is nominally nonbinding, implying spillovers. We are unable to reject that these spillovers are due to reporting artifacts, however. 

Minimum Wages and Earnings Inequality in Urban Mexico (2010)

Authors: Mariano Bosch, Marco Manacorda

Summary: This paper analyzes the contribution of the minimum wage to the well documented rise in earnings inequality in Mexico between the late 1980s and the early 2000s. We find that a substantial part of the growth in inequality, and essentially all of the growth in inequality in the bottom end of the distribution, is due to the steep decline in the real value of the minimum wage.

Offshoring and Wage Inequality: Using Occupational Licensing as a Shifter of Offshoring Costs (2010)

Authors: Chiara Criscuolo and Luis Garicano

Summary: Changes in information and communication technologies have increased the offshorability of tasks. A finding of the literature is that offshoring hurts disproportionately lower skill occupations, and those occupations that are more tradable. However, this literature has been hampered by the difficulty of finding a good proxy for offshoring costs. Our paper contributes to this body of research by utilizing a direct measure of the offshorability of the task: the legal licensing requirements on its execution. We identify a class of occupations that unambiguously benefits from offshoring: wages and employment of occupations subject to formal licensing requirements increase more the more offshoring increases in the services where these professionals are employed. Higher penetration of imports, in other words, helps, rather than hurts, these professions, suggesting that they benefit from complementarities with the offshored inputs.

The evolution of inequality in productivity and wages: panel data evidence (2010)

Authors: Giulia Faggio, Kjell G. Salvanes, John Van Reenen

Summary: There has been a remarkable increase in wage inequality in the United States, UK, and many other countries over the past three decades. A significant part of this appears to be within observable groups (such as experience-gender-skill cells). A generally untested implication of many theories rationalizing the growth of within-group inequality is that firm-level productivity dispersion should also have increased. We utilize a UK firm-level panel dataset covering the manufacturing and non-manufacturing sectors since the early 1980s. We find evidence that productivity inequality has increased.

Spend it like Beckham? Inequality and redistribution in the UK, 1983-2004 (2007)

Authors: Andreas Georgiadis and Alan Manning

Keywords: Taxation, Inequality, Redistribution

Summary: A main activity of the state is to redistribute resources. Models of the political process generally predict that a rise in inequality will lead to more redistribution. This paper shows that, for the UK in the period 1983-2004, a plausibly exogenous rise in income inequality has not been associated with increased redistribution. We then explore this further using attitudinal data. We show that the demand for redistribution, having shown considerable variation over time, is at an all-time low. We argue that the decline in the demand for redistribution can mostly be accounted for by an increasing belief in the importance of incentives though changes in preferences over the distribution of income have been important in some sub-periods.

Inequality and Unemployment in a Global Economy (2010)

Authors: Elhanan Helpman, Oleg Itskhoki, Stephen Redding

Summary: This paper develops a new framework for examining the determinants of wage distributions that emphasizes within-industry reallocation, labor market frictions, and differences in workforce composition across firms. More productive firms pay higher wages and exporting increases the wage paid by a firm with a given productivity. The opening of trade enhances wage inequality and can either raise or reduce unemployment. While wage inequality is higher in a trade equilibrium than in autarky, gradual trade liberalization first increases and later decreases inequality.

Wage inequality in the Labour years(2013)

Authors: Joanne Lindley, Stephen Machin

Summary:This paper studies changes in labour market inequality in the UK, with particular reference to what happened to wage inequality during the years of Labour government

The Role of Automatic Stabilizers in the US Business Cycle (2016)

Authors: Alisdair McKay, Ricardo Reis

Keywords: Countercyclical fiscal policy, heterogeneous agents, fiscal multipliers

Summary: Most countries have automatic rules in their tax‐and‐transfer systems that are partly intended to stabilize economic fluctuations. This paper measures their effect on the dynamics of the business cycle.

Learning about the prospects for mobility: Economic and political dynamics following fundamental policy reform (2017)

Authors: John Morrow, Michael R. Carter 

Keywords: income dynamics, redistributive politics, polarization, Bayesian learning, Latin America

The political left turn in Latin America, which lagged its transition to liberalized market economies by a decade or more, challenges conventional economic explanations of voting behaviour. This paper generalizes the forward-looking voter model to a broad range of dynamic, possibly non-concave income processes. Under full information, the model implies support for redistributive policies materializes rapidly if few prospects of upward mobility are present. In contrast, modeling voters' evolving beliefs about an unknown income dynamic process shows a slow and polarizing shift toward redistributive preferences. Simulation using fitted income dynamics suggests that this imperfect information perspective accounts for Latin America's right-to-left political shift, and offers additional insights about political dynamics in the face of economic polarization.

The Political Economy of Inclusive Rural Growth (2014)

Author: John Morrow and Michael Carter

Keywords: poverty traps, political economy, inequality, lobby formation

Summary: Abstract Commentators on the `East Asian Miracle' of inclusive growth have often pointed toward shared rural growth policies. But why were these policies not chosen elsewhere? This paper models voters who invest in either subsistence or a complex technology in which public goods complement private capital. Investment and technology choices vary with wealth and the level of public goods enforced by political lobbies. Outcomes depend on the strength of the incipient middle class who bolster political incentives through contributions. Economies with a stronger middle class due to lower inequality or lower risk may thereby sustain higher productivity through public good provision.  

Wage inequality, technology and trade: 21st century evidence (2011)

Author: John Van Reenen

Summary: This paper describes and explains some of the principal trends in the wage and skill distribution in recent decades. Increases in wage inequality started in the US and UK at the end of the 1970s, but are now widespread. A good fraction of this inequality trend is due to technology-related increases in the demand for skilled workers outstripping the growth of their supply. Since the early 1990s, labor markets have become more polarized with jobs in the middle third of the wage distribution shrinking and those in the bottom and top third rising. I argue that this is because computerization complements the most skilled tasks, but substitutes for routine tasks performed by middle wage occupations such as clerks, leaving the demand for the lowest skilled service tasks largely unaffected. Finally, I argue that technology is partly endogenous, for example it has been spurred by trade with China. Thus, trade does matter for changes in the labor market, but through a different mechanism than conventionally thought.

Selection into Trade and Wage Inequality (2014)

Author: Thomas Sampson

Summary: This paper analyzes how intra-industry trade affects the wage distribution when both workers and firms are heterogeneous. Positive assortative matching between worker skill and firm technology generates an employer size-wage premium and an exporter wage premium. Fixed export costs cause the selection of advanced technology, high-skill firms into exporting, and trade shifts the firm technology distribution upwards. Consequently, trade increases skill demand and wage inequality in all countries, both on aggregate and within the upper tail of the wage distribution. This holds when firms receive random technology draws and when technology depends on firmlevel R&D.


Intergenerational Mobility in the United States and Great Britain: A Comparative Study of Parent-Child Pathways (2013)

Authors: Jo Blanden, Robert Haveman, Timothy Smeeding, Kathryn Wilson

Summary: We build on cross-national research to examine the relationships underlying estimates of relative intergenerational mobility in the United States and Great Britain using harmonized longitudinal data and focusing on men. We examine several pathways by which parental status is related to offspring status, including education, labor market attachment, occupation, marital status, and health, and perform several sensitivity analyses to test the robustness of our results. We decompose differences between the two nations into that part attributable to the strength of the relationship between parental income and the child's characteristics and the labor market return to those child characteristics. We find that the relationships underlying these intergenerational linkages differ in systematic ways between the two nations. In the United States, primarily because of the higher returns to education and skills, the pathway through offspring education is relatively more important than it is in Great Britain; by contrast, in Great Britain the occupation pathway forms the primary channel of intergenerational persistence.

Understanding the improved performance of disadvantaged pupils in London (2015)

Authors: Jo Blanden, Ellen Greaves, Paul Gregg, Lindsey Macmillan, and Luke Sibieta

Keywords: education, inequality, london, schools, performance

Summary: This paper uses a combination of administrative and survey data to document the improvements of educational results for disadvantaged students in London and to understand why the performance has improved so much.

Educational Inequality, Educational Expansion and Intergenerational Mobility (2016)

Authors: Jo Blanden and Lindsey MacMilan

Summary: The distribution of education by social background and the mobility prospects of society are intimately connected. To begin to predict future trends in mobility in the UK we bring together evidence on educational inequality by family background for cohorts from 1958 to 2000 for a range of educational outcomes. There is evidence that educational inequalities have narrowed among recent cohorts as the overall level of educational achievement has increased. This could be promising for mobility provided the labour market returns to these qualifications are maintained. However, stubborn inequalities by background at higher attainment levels imply that narrowing inequalities and expanding equality of opportunity throughout the educational distribution is a difficult task.

Can schools support HIV/AIDS-affected children? Exploring the 'ethic of care' amongst rural Zimbabwean teachers  (2016)

Authors: Catherine Campbell, Louise Andersen, Alice Mutsikiwa, Claudius Madanhire, Constance Nyamukapa, and Simon Gregson

Keywords: HIV/AIDS, Zimbabwe, international education, education policy, public health, ethic of care

Summary: This paper explores the ethic of care in Zimbabwean schools to highlight the poor fit between the western caring schools literature and daily realities of schools in different material and cultural contexts. Interviews and focus groups were conducted with 44 teachers and 55 community members and analysed in light of a companion study of HIV/AIDS-affected pupils' own accounts of their care-related experiences.

The relationship between stream placement and teachers' judgements of pupils: Evidence from the Millennium Cohort Study (2017)

Author: Tammy Campbell

Keywords: assessments, judgements, millennium cohort study, perceptions, primary education, streaming

Summary: This paper tests the hypothesis that stream placement influences teacher judgements of pupils, thus investigating a route through which streaming by 'ability' may contribute to inequalities.

Stereotyped at Seven? Biases in Teacher Judgement of Pupils' Ability and Attainment (2015)

Author: Tammy Campbell

Keywords: assessments, judgements, primary education

Summary: There is evidence that teacher judgements and assessments of primary school pupils can be systematically biased. This paper tests the proposal that stereotyping plays a part in creating these judgement inequalities and is instrumental in achievement variation according to income-level, gender, special educational needs status, ethnicity and spoken language. It strengthens the evidence that stereotyping of pupils may contribute to assessment and thereby attainment inequalities, and concludes that an increased focus on tackling this process may lead to greater parity and a narrowing of gaps. 

Stratified at seven: in-class ability grouping and the relative age effect (2013)

Author: Tammy Campbell

Keywords: age effect, primary education

Summary: There is an established body of evidence indicating that a pupil's relative age within their school year cohort is associated with academmic attainment throughout compulsory education. Analysis here investigates a possible channel of this relative age effect: ability grouping in early primary school.

Making a Difference in Education: What the evidence says (2015)

Authors: Robert Cassen, Sandra McNally and Anna Vignoles

Keywords: education, education and state, Great Britain, educational change

Summary: This book surveys the evidence of what is and is not effective in English schools, concentrating on outcomes for disadvantaged pupils, with additional evidence from other countries where relevant. It covers a large range of topics, including Early Years, Literacy and Numeracy, Teacher Quality, Special Education Needs, ICT, Vocational Education, and School Organisation and Resources. 

Higher education, career opportunities, and intergenerational inequality (2016)

Authors: Claire Crawford, Paul Gregg, Lindsey Macmillan, Anna Vignoles and Gill Wyness

Keywords: higher education, social mobility, widening participation

Summary: The UK government has expressed a desire to increase social mobility, with policies to help achieve this aim focused on reducing inequalities in educational attainment. This paper draws together established and new information about the contribution that higher education can make to social mobility using a life-course approach, considering differences by family background in terms of university attendance and achievement, as well as occupation and earnings following graduation. The evidence strongly suggests that, even after taking these factors into account, graduates from affluent families are more likely to obtain a professional job and to see higher earnings growth in the labour market. We discuss the implications of these findings for the prospects of higher education as a route to greater social mobility.

How policies that promote school competition and choice are linked to school segregation (2015)

Author: Jeremy E. Fiel

Keywords: American public schools, charter schools, private schools, resources, distribution, United States 

Summary: This post for the LSE US Centre argues that much of the re-segreation trends in American public schools is related to new policies which give families the opportunity to take advantage of schools they see as being 'better'. Using school system data from 1993 to 2010, the author finds that school segregation in cities was highest when school resources were distributed unequally across schools and districts and when families had more choice to send their children to private or charter schools.

Inequality of Educational Outcomes: International Evidence from PISA (2011)

Authors: Richard B. Freeman, Stephen J. Machin, Martina G. Viarengo

Keywords: Education, Public Policy, Inequality

Summary: This paper examines the relation between measures of the within-country inequality of student scores on international academic tests and the average level of scores across countries, using the PISA mathematics tests over 2000-2009. It finds that average test scores are higher in countries with lower inequality in scores – a virtuous efficiency-equity relation in test performance – and that family background factors are differently associated with student test performance across countries, but display little impact on the countrywide dispersion of test scores.

Educação para todos - "free to those who can afford it": Human capital and inequality persistence in 21st C Brazil  (2013)

Author: Neil Kendrick

Keywords: education, Brazil, higher education, human capital, inequality

Summary: This paper utilizes socio-economic profiles of university students that indicates that between 1987-2010, the Brazilian education system could have exacerbated inequality, despite society having undertaken national educational expansion.

Entry to elite positions and the stratification of higher education in Britain (2015)

Authors: Paul Wakeling and Mike Savage

Keywords: class, elite, education, higher education, institutional stratification, social class, inequality

Summary: This paper uses the Great British Class Survey (GBCS) to examine association between social background, university attended and social position for over 85,000 graduates. This unique dataset allows the researchers to look beyond the clear labour market experiences of graduates investigated in previous studies and to examine the outcome of attending particular institutions.


Gender inequality in mobility and mode choice in Pakistan  (2016)

Authors: Muhammad Adeel, Anthony G. O. Yeh and Feng Zhang

Keywords: travel behaviour, gender, Pakistan, social context

Summary: Using the nationally representative dataset of the 2007 Pakistan Time-Use Survey, this paper examines gender differences in daily trip rate, mode choice, travel duration, and purpose of travel, which are previously unreported because of limited data availability. Wide gender mobility gaps are observed in the country, where women are less likely to travel, are half as mobile as men and may rely heavily on walking. The particular social and cultural context of the country, that renders women as private, secluded and family honor, seems influential in shaping their mobility and choice of activities. Demographic factors such as age, household income, and marital status significantly decrease female mobility levels. Hence, these findings call for a gender-based culturally responsive transportation policy in the country.

Top incomes and the gender divide (2016)

Authors: Anthony Atkinson, Alessandra Casarico and Sarah Voitchovsky

Keywords: top income groups, gender, income composition

Summary: In the recent research on top incomes, there has been little discussion of gender. How many of the top 1 and 10 per cent are women? A great deal is known about gender differentials in earnings, but how far does this carry over to the distribution of total incomes, bringing self-employment and capital income into the picture? This paper investigates the gender divide at the top of the income distribution using tax record data for a sample of eight countries with individual taxation. It shows that women are under-represented at the top of the distribution.

Creating social policy to support women's agency in coercive settings: a case study from Uganda (2016)

Authors: Rochelle Burgess and Catherine Campbell

Keywords: social policy, Uganda, gender, agency  

Summary: The Ugandan Marriage and Divorce Bill seeks to strengthen women's agency in marriage, but has faced many obstacles, including objections from many women themselves in public consultations. This paper explores key stakeholders' accounts of the difficulties facing the Bill's progress to date, through focus groups with 24 rural and urban men and women, interviews with 14 gender champions in government, non-governmental organisations and legal sectors, and 25 relevant media and radio reports. 

The Curious Question of Feminising Poverty in Costa Rica: The Importance of Gendered Subjectives  (2008)

Author: Sylvia Chant, Professor of Development Geography, LSE Gender Institute

Keywords: Costa Rica, feminism, poverty, gender, household, Global South

Children In Female-Headed Households: Interrogating the Concept of an 'Inter-Generational Transmission of Disadvantage' with Particular Reference to the Gambia, Philippines, and Costa Rica  (2007)

Author: Sylvia Chant, Professor of Development Geography, LSE Gender Institute

Keywords: Costa Rica, Philippines, Gambia, gender, household, poverty, women, children, inter-generational, well-being

Re-visiting the 'Feminisation of Poverty' and the UNDP Gender Indices: What Case for a Gendered Poverty Index?  (2006)

Author: Sylvia Chant, Professor of Development Geography, LSE Gender Institute

Keywords: gender, women, poverty, feminism, income, UNDP, capabilities, income, index

Women, Girls and World Poverty: Empowerment, Equity or Essentialism? (2016)

Author: Sylvia Chant

Keywords: gender equality, female empowerment, world poverty, economics, rights

Summary: This paper asks if mounting reliance on women and girls to solve world poverty is an effective means to achieve greater female empowerment and gender equality, or whether, instead, it threatens to lockdown essentialising stereotypes which are unlikely to dismantle gender disparities within and beyond the home. The discussion highlights some key problems and paradoxes in three popular interventions nominally oriented to helping women lift themselves and their households out of poverty: conditional cash transfer programmes, microfinance schemes, and 'investing in girls', as promoted, inter alia, among other things, by the Nike Foundation's 'Girl Effect'.

Exploring the "feminisation of poverty" in relation to women's work and home-based enterprise in slums of the Global South (2014)

Author: Sylvia Chant

Keywords: family business, gender theory, women, informal economy, work, Costa Rica, "Feminisation of poverty", home-based enterprise, slum, The Gambia, Philippines

Summary: The paper argues that the "feminisation of poverty" compounds the tensions women already face in terms of managing unpaid reproductive and/or "volunteer" work with their economic contributions to household livelihoods, and it is in the context of urban slums, where housing, service and infrastructure deficiencies pose considerable challenges to women's dual burdens of productive and reproductive labour. The paper emphasizes that to more effectively address gender inequality while also alleviating poverty, policy interventions sensitive to women's multiple, time-consuming responsibilities and obligations are paramount.

Cities through a 'gender lens': a golden 'urban age' for women in the global South? (2013)

Author: Sylvia Chant

Keywords: cities, gender, inequality, poverty, property, slums, space

Summary: This paper reviews what we have learnt from the literature on gender and urban development. It discusses disparities in access to education and vocational training and to land and housing ownership through a "gender lens". It considers service deficiencies and associated time burdens, which limit income generation among women. Violence and gender, and gender divisions in access to different spaces within the city and in engagement in urban politics, are also covered. These factors cast doubt on whether women's contributions to the prosperity often associated with urbanization are matched by commensurate returns and benefits.

How we define competition fuels gender inequality in business (2015)

Author: Jane Dennehy

Keywords: gender, inequality, business, masculine, feminine, competition

Summary: This post on the LSE Business Review argues that competitive behaviour, limited to winning and losing stereotypes, is hypermasculine and fuels gender inequality in the business world.

Can We Afford (Not) to Care: Prospects and Policy  (2005) 

Author: Susan Himmelweit, PhD

Keywords: caring, distribution, social norms, unpaid economies, paid economies, opportunity costs, uncaring

Gender Equality, Economic Growth, and Women’s Agency (2015)

Author: Naila Kabeer

Keywords: agency, empowerment, development, growth, inequality, gender

Summary: Macroeconometric studies generally find fairly robust evidence that gender equality has a positive impact on economic growth, but reverse findings relating to the impact of economic growth on gender equality are far less consistent. The high level of aggregation at which these studies are carried out makes it difficult to ascertain the causal pathways that might explain this asymmetry in impacts. Using a feminist institutional framework, this contribution explores studies carried out at lower levels of analysis for insights into the pathways likely to be driving these two sets of relationships and a possible explanation for their asymmetry.

Violence against Women as ‘Relational’ Vulnerability: Endangering the Sustainable Human Development Agenda (2014)

Author: Naila Kabeer

Keywords: violence against women, human development, relational vulnerability

Summary: Violence against women can be conceptualized as a ‘relational vulnerability’, reflecting women’s subordinate status within hierarchical gender relations and the dependencies associated with it. While such violence can take many different forms, this paper focuses on the interpersonal violence of ‘normal’ times, most often within the home at the hands of intimate partners. The paper provides estimates of incidence, which suggest that it varies considerably across countries and by social group.

Organising women workers in the informal economy (2013)

Authors: Naila Kabeer, Kirsty Milward and Ratna Sudarshan

Keywords: women workers, informal economy, organisation, rights, collective action, strategies

Summary: This article focuses on the challenges facing organisation among the hardest-to-reach working women in the informal economy. What gives some of them the impetus and courage to organise? What is distinctive about the strategies they draw on to transcend their structurally disadvantaged position within the economy? What barriers do they continue to face in their efforts to address the injustices of the economic system? This article discusses these issues specifically in relation to the experience of two organisations: MAP Foundation, Thailand, and KKPKP, Pune, India.

Paid Work, Women's Empowerment and Inclusive Growth  (2013)

Author: Naila Kabeer, Ragui Assaad, Akosua Darkwah, Simeen Mahmud, Hania Sholkamy, Sakiba Tasneem, Dzodzi Tsikata, and Munshi Sulaiman 

Keywords: gender, growth, education, employment, labour, productivity, health, children, well-being, family, women

Gender Equality and Economic Growth: Is There a Win-Win?  (2013)

Author: Naial Kabeer and Luisa Natali 

Keywords: gender, economic growth, women, education, employment, health, well-being, development, cross-country regression analysis

Women's economic empowerment and inclusive growth: labour markets and enterprise development  (2012) 

Author: Naila Kabeer

Keywords: women, gender, empowerment, growth, inclusive growth, labour markets, enterprise, development

Leaving the Rice Fields, But Not the Countryside: Gender, Livelihood Diversification and Pro-Poor Growth in Rural Vietnam  (2000)

Author: Naila Kabeer and Tran Thi Van Anh

Keywords: Vietnam, Asia, gender, women, livelihood, poverty, growth, rural, prosperity, diversification, household

Confronting Gender Inequality: Findings from the LSE Commission on Gender, Inequality and Power  (2015)

Author: LSE Commission on Gender, Inequality and Power, LSE Gender Institute

Keywords: Gender, macroeconomics, quotas, gender awareness, social norms, politics, political parties, law, merit, women, media

Is economic policy sexist? (World Economic Forum blog post) (2015)

Author: Diane Perrons

Keywords: gender inequality, United Kingdom, public policy

Summary: Despite nearly 50 years of policy effort, the UK is still a long way from eradicating gender inequality. There has been progress on many fronts, but women are still far from prominent in political life; they are trivialized in the media; under-represented, underpaid and over-exploited in the labour market; and at risk of violence in the home.

Gendering the inequality debate (2015)

Author: Diane Perrons

Keywords: gender inequality, social norms, austerity, socially sustainable development

Summary: This article explores the gender dimensions of growing economic inequality, summarises key arguments from feminist economics which expose the inadequacy of current mainstream economic analysis on which ‘development’ is based, and argues for a ‘gender and equality’ approach to economic and social policy in both the global North and South.

Gendering inequality: a note on Piketty’s Capital in the Twenty-First Century (2014)

Author: Diane Perrons

Keywords: gender, social norms, inequality, wages, Piketty, feminist economics

Summary: This paper attempts to enrich Piketty’s analysis in two main ways: first, by paying greater attention to the processes and social norms through which inequalities are produced and justified and second, by highlighting the ways in which inequality is experienced differently depending not only on class, but also on other aspects of identity including gender.

The New Economy and Earnings Inequalities: Explaining Social, Spatial and Gender Divisions in the UK and London  (2005)

Author: Diane Perrons, Professor of Economic Geography and Gender Studies, LSE Gender Institute

Keywords: gender, earnings, income, poverty, United Kingdom, London, economy, women

Confronting Gender Inequality: how far have we come in the UK?  (2015) 

Author: Professor Anne Phillips, LSE Department of Government

Keywords: gender, women, United Kingdom, economics, law, government, media, power, gender-based violence

Summary: Professor Anne Phillips reflects on the findings of the LSE Commission on Gender, Inequality and Power and begs the question of how far the United Kingdom has come in confronting gender inequality since the twentieth century.


Transportation disadvantage and activity participation in the cities of Rawalpindi and Islamabad, Pakistan (2016)

Authors: Muhammad Adeel, Anthony Gar-On Yeh, Feng Zhang

Keywords: transport policy, public transport, activity participation, poverty, social exclusion, Pakistan

Summary: This paper explores public transport related issues and their impact on activity participation in everyday life in the Pakistani urban context.

Inequality and patterns of urban growth (2016)

Author: Ricky Burdett

Can cities help reduce inequality? (2016)

Author: Ricky Burdett

Summary: The growth of urbanisation has created stark inequalities around the world. Through more intelligent design and use of urban spaces, can we move towards a situation where cities 
provide safe, prosperous and enjoyable places to live for all their inhabitants?

Designing Inequality? (2016)

Author: Ricky Burdett

Summary: How much is the design profession to blame for the stark inequality of Brazilian cities and other global metropolises? Ricky Burdett, Professor of Urban Studies at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), and Director of its Cities and the Urban Age Programme, questions the ability of designers to often fully ‘grasp the social and environmental implications of the spatial decisions they take’.  

The spatial pattern of premature mortality in Hong Kong: How does it relate to public housing? (2016)

Authors: Ricky Burdett, Jens Kandt, Shu-Sen Chang, Paul Yip

Keywords: Asian cities, housing, premature mortality, public housing, spatial analysis, urban health disparities

Summary: Research into understanding the relationship between access to housing, health and wellbeing in cities has yielded mixed evidence to date and has been limited to case studies from Western countries. Many studies appear to highlight the negative effects of public housing in influencing the health of its residents. Current trends in the urban housing markets in cities of advanced Asian economies and debates surrounding the role of government in providing housing underscore the need for more focused research into housing and health. In this paper, we investigate Hong Kong as an example of a thriving Asian city by exploring and comparing the intra-urban geographies of premature mortality and public housing provision in the city.

Uneven growth: tactical urbanisms for exapnding megacities (2014)

Authors: Ricky Burdett, Pedro Gadanho, Teddy Cruz, David Harvey, Saskia Sassen, Nader Tehrani

Summary: In 2030, the world's population will be a staggering eight billion people. Of these, two-thirds will live in cities; most will be poor. With limited resources, this unbalanced growth will be one of the greatest challenges faced by societies across the globe. In the coming years, city authorities, urban planners, designers, economists and others will have to join forces to avoid a major social and economic catastrophe and to ensure that these expanding megacities will be habitable. Exploring how emergent forms of tactical urbanism could address rapid and uneven urban growth around the globe, The Museum of Modern Art presents Uneven Growth: Tactical Urbanisms for Expanding Megacities, its third iteration of the Issues in Contemporary Architecture series. 

Designing urban democracy: mapping scales of urban identity (2013)

Author: Ricky Burdett

Summary: Much of the discourse on the future of cities is trapped in a professional paradigm that focuses on the role of urban planners and policy makers, while everyday urban realities are being shaped by a very different set of informal processes and actors that are largely immune to planning and policy making. Based on the observation and analysis of projects, developments, and initiatives at a metropolitan level and “on the ground” in over twenty cities, this essay argues that the potential for social integration and democratic engagement of socially excluded urban residents is often realized through small-scale “acupuncture” projects, which succeed in bringing people and communities together in ways that formal planning processes have failed to do.

Economic transition and speculative urbanisation in China: Gentrification versus dispossession (2016)

Author: Hyun Bang Shin

Keywords: China, dispossession, economic transition, gentrification, speculative urbanisation

Summary: This paper argues that while China’s urban accumulation may have produced new-build gentrification, redevelopment projects have been targeting dilapidated urban spaces that are yet to be fully converted into commodities. This means that dispossession is a precursor to gentrification.

Intergenerational Housing Support Between Retired Old Parents and their Children in Urban China (2013)

Authors: Bingqin Li and Hyun Bang Shin

Keywords: intergenerational support, housing, China, urban

Summary: This paper investigates the changing pattern of intergenerational housing support between retired old parents and their children, and the legacy of public housing in shaping this pattern.

Whose games? The cost of being “Olympic citizens” in Beijing (2013)

Authors: Hyun Bang Shin and Bingqin Li

Keywords: Olympic Games, Beijing, China, citizens

Summary: The research in this paper, which focused on the Beijing Summer Olympic Games of 2008, unpacks the heterogeneous groups in a particular sector of the housing market to gain a better understanding of how the Games affected different resident groups.

Unequal cities of spectacle and mega-events in China (2012)

Author: Hyun Bang Shin

Keywords: mega-events, spectacles, capital accumulation, nationalism, China

Summary: This paper revisits China’s recent experiences of hosting three international mega-events: the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, the 2010 Shanghai World Expo and the 2010 Guangzhou Asian Games. While maintaining a critical political economic perspective, this paper builds upon the literature of viewing mega-events as societal spectacles and puts forward the proposition that these mega-events in China are promoted to facilitate capital accumulation and ensure socio-political stability for the nation’s further accumulation.

Government quality and spatial inequality: A cross-country analysis (2013)

Authors: Roberto Ezcurra and Andres Rodriguez-Pose

Keywords: governance, government quality, spatial inequality, regional disparities 

Summary: This paper examines the relationship between government quality and spatial inequality across 46 countries over the period 1996-2006. The results of the analysis point to the existence of a negative and significant association between government quality and the magnitude of regional disparities.

"We can all just get on a bus and go": rethinking independent mobility in the context of the universal provision of free bus travel to young Londoners (2013)

Authors: Anna Goodman, Alasdair Jones, Helen Roberts, Rebecca Steinbach, Judith Green

Keywords: independent mobility, children, adolescents, bus, free travel, London

Summary: This paper uses qualitative data from interviews with 118 young Londoners to examine how the universal provision of free bus travel has affected young people's independent mobility.

More than A to B: the role of free bus travel for the mobility and wellbeing of older citizens in London (2014)

Authors: Judith Green, Alasdair Jones, Helen Roberts

Keywords: bus travel, loneliness, mobility, wellbeing

Summary: This study contributes to the literature on mobility and wellbeing at older ages through an empirical exploration of the meanings of free bus travel for older citizens, addressing the meanings this holds for older people in urban settings, which have been under-researched. 

Where's the Capital? A geographical essay (2014)

Author: Gareth A. Jones

Summary: This paper is inspired by Thomas Piketty's book Capital in the Twenty-First Century. Piketty does a wonderful job of tracing income and wealth over time, and relating changes to trends of economic and population growth, and drawing out the implications for inequality, inheritance and even democracy. But, he says relatively little about where capital is located, how capital accumulation in one place relies on activities elsewhere, how capital is urbanized with advanced capitalism and what life is like in spaces without capital. This paper asks ‘where is the geography in Capital’ or ‘where is the geography of capital in Capital’?

The Geographies of Capital: Inequality, Political Economy and Space in Boushey, H. et al. (eds), After Piketty: the Agenda for Economics and Inequality (2017)

Author: Gareth A. Jones

Summary: Thomas Piketty’s Capital in the Twenty-First Century is the most widely discussed work of economics in recent history, selling millions of copies in dozens of languages. But are its analyses of inequality and economic growth on target? Where should researchers go from here in exploring the ideas Piketty pushed to the forefront of global conversation? A cast of economists and other social scientists tackle these questions in dialogue with Piketty, in what is sure to be a much-debated book in its own right. 

Is There Trickle-Down from Tech? Poverty, Employment, and the High-Technology Multiplier in U.S. Cities  (2015)

Authors: Neil Lee and Andrés Rodríguez-Pose

Keywords: employment, high-technology industries, metropolitan areas, poverty, wages

Summary: Little research, however, has assessed how high-tech affects urban poverty and the wages of workers with little formal education. This article addresses this gap in the literature and investigates the relationships among employment in high-tech industries, poverty, and the labor market for non-degree-educated workers using a panel of 295 Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs) in the United States between 2005 and 2011. The results show no real impact of the presence of high-technology industries on poverty and, especially, extreme poverty. Yet there is strong evidence that tech employment increases wages for non-degree-educated workers and, to a lesser extent, employment for those without degrees. These findings suggest that although tech employment has some role in improving welfare for non-degree-educated workers, tech employment alone is not enough to reduce poverty.

Inequalities of Income and Inequalities of Longevity: A Cross-Country Study (2016)

Authors: Eric Neumayer and Thomas Plümper

Keywords: Income inequality, longevity, life expectancy, redistribution, cross-country

Summary: This paper sets out to demonstrate that increases in income inequality within a country result in more inequality in the number of years people live. Conversely, this paper demonstrates that increases in income redistribution result in greater equality in longevity.

Comparing the health and wealth performance of metropolitan regions (2012)

Author: Antoine Paccoud 

Keywords: comparative, metropolitan regions, inequality, health, wealth

Summary: This paper presents a methodology to construct comparable estimates of health and wealth performance for 126 metropolitan regions globally that puts spatial comparability on an equal footing with data comparability. It will be used to investigate the relationship between health and wealth performance at the metropolitan level. 

Access to the city: transport, urban form and social exclusion in Sao Paulo, Mumbai and Istanbul (2016)

Authors: Philipp Rode, Jens Kandt and Karl Baker

Summary: Based on representative household surveys, this study analyses and compares accessibility levels across different socio-economic groups in three developing world megacities and their metropolitan regions; Istanbul, Sao Paulo and Mumbai.

Cities and social equity: inequality, territory and urban form (2009)

Authors: Philipp Rode, Ricky Burdett, Richard Brown, Frederico Ramos, Kay Kitazawa, Antoine Paccoud, and Natznet Tesfay 

Keywords: South America, urban, resource allocation, polarisation, geography, equity

Summary: This project assesses the impact of inequality in an urban context with comparative research and data collection in five cities (São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Buenos Aires, Bogotá, and Lima), with wider resonance for cities throughout the world.

Use of science to guide city planning policy and practice: how to achieve healthy and sustainable future cities (2016)

Authors: James F Sallis, Fiona Bull, Ricky Burdett, Lawrence D Frank, Peter Griffiths, Billie Giles-Corti and Mark Stevenson

Keywords: health, urban design, transport, planning, public policy

Summary: Land-use and transport policies contribute to worldwide epidemics of injuries and non-communicable diseases through traffic exposure, noise, air pollution, social isolation, low physical activity, and sedentary behaviours. Enhanced research translation to increase the influence of health research on urban and transport planning decisions could address many global health problems. This paper illustrates the potential for such change by presenting conceptual models and case studies of research translation applied to urban and transport planning and urban design.

A longitudinal mixed logit model for estimation of push and pull effects in residential location choice (2016)

Authors: Fiona Steele, Elizabeth Washbrook, Christopher Charlton, William J. Brown

Keywords: conditional logit model, discrete choice model, neighborhood choice, random effects panel model, residential mobility

Summary: This paper develops a random effects discrete choice model for the analysis of households' choice of neighborhood over time. 

Cities and Social Equity: Inequality, territory and  urban form (2009)

Author: Urban Age Programme, The London School of Economics and Political Science

Keywords: cities, social equity, inequality, Brazil, South America

Summary: This report is part of the Urban Age Programme at the London School of Economics and Political Science and is a joint initiative of LSE and Deutsche Bank's Alfred Herrhausen Society investigating the future of cities. The research for this report was prepared from November 2007 to February 2009 and represents the annual Urban Age research focus 2008, part of the Urban Age South America investigation. 

Inequality, the Urban-Rural Gap, and Migration  (2013)

Author: Alwyn Young

Keywords: urban, rural, migration, income, gap 

Summary: This paper argues that the flows and relative incomes of urban and rural workers are suggestive of a world where the population sorts itself geographically on the basis of its human capital. It also displays a simple model that explains the urban-rural gap in living standards.

Endangered City: The Politics of Security and Risk in in Bogotá (2016)

Author: Austin Zeiderman

Summary: Security and risk have become central to how cities are planned, built, governed, and inhabited in the twenty-first century. In Endangered City, Austin Zeiderman focuses on this new political imperative to govern the present in anticipation of future harm. Through ethnographic fieldwork and archival research in Bogotá, Colombia, he examines how state actors work to protect the lives of poor and vulnerable citizens from a range of threats, including environmental hazards and urban violence. By following both the governmental agencies charged with this mandate and the subjects governed by it, Endangered City reveals what happens when logics of endangerment shape the terrain of political engagement between citizens and the state. The self-built settlements of Bogotá’s urban periphery prove a critical site from which to examine the rising effect of security and risk on contemporary cities and urban life.

Submergence: Precarious Politics in Colombia’s Future Port-City (2016)

Author: Austin Zeiderman

This article examines popular politics under precarious conditions in the rapidly expanding port-city of Buenaventura on Colombia's Pacific coast. It begins by identifying the intersecting economic, ecological, and political forces contributing to the precarity of life in Buenaventura's intertidal zone. Focusing on conflicts over land in the waterfront settlements of Bajamar (meaning “low-tide”), it then describes the efforts of Afro-Colombian settlers and activists to defend their territories against threats of violence and displacement. The struggles of Afro-Colombians to contest violent dispossession in Buenaventura reflect the racialized politics of precarity under late liberalism.

Government & Political Economy

Equality and Efficiency in Advanced Democracies: Revisiting the Leaky Bucket Hypothesis (2012)

Authors: Mark Blyth, Jonathan Hopkin, and Seth Werfel

Keywords: income inequality, market efficiency, OECD, regulation 

Summary: This paper revisits the hypothesis that society must trade-off income equality for market efficiency. Previous cross-sectional analysis suggests that equality and efficiency may be positively correlated at higher levels of regulation. This paper confirms this curvilinear relationship for a panel of OECD countries from 1980 to 2010. 

Social identity and redistributive preferences: a survey (2015)

Authors: Joan Costa-i-Font and Frank Cowell

Keywords: social identity, preferences for redistribution, inequality, diversity, redistributive institutions

Summary: Social identity is important in explaining attitudes towards redistribution and pro-social behaviour. This paper examines how economic theory measures social identity and its effects on preferences towards redistribution, social solidarity and redistributive institutions. Empirical evidence indicates that social identity carries weight in explaining the presence of social preferences and attitudes towards redistributive institutions.

Organized Combat or Triumph of Ideas?: The Politics of Inequality and Winner-Take-All Economy in the UK (2015)

Authors: Jonathan Hopkin and Kate Alexander Shaw

Keywords: United Kingdom, inequality, politics, winner-take-all, political economy  

Summary: This article draws on the winner-take-all account of American politics (Hacker and Pierson) to examine the politics of rising inequality and top income growth in the UK, which has seen dramatic growth in income inequality. This article asserts that neither economic forces such as globalization and skill-biased technological change, nor domestic political factors such as median voter preferences, can plausibly explain why the UK has seen a greater increase in inequality than other European countries. 

The Politics Of Piketty: What Political Science Can Learn From, and Contribute to, the Debate on Capital in the Twenty-First Century (2014)

Author: Jonathan Hopkin

Keywords: Piketty, capital, politics, political science, inequality 

Summary: This paper argues that Piketty's (2014) criticism of the economics discipline for 'foolish disciplinary squabbles' could easily have been directed at political scientists, for no recent contribution by political scientists has made such a major impact on the understanding of the nature of contemporary capitalism and the inequalities that characterize it. 

Information, inequality, and mass polarization: ideology in advanced democracies (2015)

Authors: Torben Iversen and David Soskice

Keywords: polarization, American Congress, income inequality, electorate, United States, comparative political economy 

Summary: Growing polarization in the American Congress is closely related to rising income inequality. Yet there has been no corresponding polarization of the U.S. electorate, and across advanced democracies, mass polarization is negatively related to income inequality. To explain this puzzle, this paper proposes a comparative political economy model of mass polarization in which the same institutional facts that generate income inequality also undermine political information. 

Democratic limits to redistribution: inclusionary versus exclusionary coalitions in the knowledge economy (2015)

Authors: Torben Iversen and David Soskice 

Keywords: economic shocks, government response, political economy, electoral systems, coalitions, knowledge economy 

Summary: This article argues that the divergent government responses to economic shocks reflect differences in underlying electoral coalitions, and that these in turn mirror the structure of party and electoral systems, using evidence for government responses to economic shocks in the period 1980 to 2010.

A better life for all? Democratization and electrification in post-apartheid South Africa  (2016)

Authors: Verena Kroth, Valentino Larcinesse and Joachim Wehner

Keywords: democracy, distributive politics, electricity, South Africa

Summary: Does democracy affect basic service delivery? If yes, who benefits, and which elements of democracy matter - enfranchisement, the liberalization of political organization, or both? In 1994, 19 million South Africans gained the right to vote. The previously banned African National Congress was elected promising “a better life for all”. Using a difference-in-differences approach, we exploit heterogeneity in the share of newly enfranchised voters across municipalities to evaluate how franchise extension affected household electrification. We find that the effect of democratization on basic services depends on the national government’s ability to influence distribution at the local level.

Income & Wealth

Monitoring the evolution of income poverty and real incomes over time (2015)

Authors: A.B. Atkinson, Anne-Catherine Guio, and Eric Marlier

Keywords: poverty, national accounts, social indicators, inequality

Summary: This paper brings together two approaches to the monitoring of household living standards: the macro-economic analysis of aggregates and the social indicators based on household microdata. It then makes a number of recommendations about possible improvements in the underlying data and in the construction of the social indicators.

Handbook of Income Distribution SET vols. 2A-2B (2015)

Authors: Anthony B. Atkinson and Francois Bourguignon 

Keywords: income distribution, historical inequality, globalization, macro-economics, policy 

Summary: This book assembles the expertise of leading authorities on subjects such as education, health, experimental economics, historical income inequality, and globalization. Some chapters discuss future growth areas, such as inheritance, the links between inequality and macro-economics and finance, and the distributional implications of climate change. 

After Piketty? (2014)

Author: Anthony B. Atkinson 

Keywords: inequality, poverty, wealth, employment, technical change, taxation 

Summary: In this paper, the author takes Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty as the starting point for a set of twelve policy proposals that could bring about the genuine shift in the distribution of income towards less inequality. In designing the proposals, the author draws on the experience of reducing inequality in postwar Europe and on an analysis as to how the economic circumstances are now different in the twenty-first century, highlighting the role of technical change and the rise in capital emphasized by Piketty. 

Can we reduce income inequality in OECD countries? (2015)

Author: Anthony B. Atkinson

Keywords: inequality, wages, redistribution, OECD 

Summary: The aim of this paper is to inject a more optimistic note into the public debate about inequality which has generated a sense of doom, gloom, and inevitability. The paper argues that there have been periods in the past when income inequality was reduced and society can learn from these. The paper ends by outlining for “old” measures to reduce inequality, based on lessons from post-war decades in Europe, and four “new” measures suggested by the analysis of today’s economics of inequality. 

Top incomes in colonial Seychelles (2015)

Author: Anthony B. Atkinson

Keywords: Seychelles, income distribution, inequality, Gini, colonialism, Great Britain

Summary: In 2013, the Seychelles were recorded as having the highest Gini coefficient for income inequality of any country in the world, having been independent for thirty seven years. This paper delves back into its colonial past to see how unequal was the distribution of income under British governance. 

Income distribution and taxation in Mauritius: A seventy-five year history of top incomes (2015)

Author: Anthony B. Atkinson 

Keywords: Mauritius, income distribution, taxation, 

Summary: The purpose of this paper is to provide new evidence of the historical distribution of income in Mauritius, one that has been somewhat neglected due to historical information being very limited. 

Top Incomes in South Africa over a century (2013)

Authors: Facundo Alvaredo and Anthony B. Atkinson

Keywords: South Africa, income inequality, poverty, long-run trends, race  

Summary: This paper, the authors provide evidence that is partial—being confined to to top incomes—but which for the first time shows how the income distribution changed on a (near) annual basis from 1913 onwards in South Africa. The paper presents estimates of the shares in total income of groups such as the top 1 percent and the top 0.1 percent, covering the period from colonial times to the 21st century. 

The colonial legacy: Income inequality in former British African colonies (2014)

Author: Anthony B. Atkinson

Keywords: Great Britain, Africa, African colonies, colonialism, income distribution

Summary: This paper is concerned with the distribution of incomes in former British colonies in Africa. While narrow in focus, it illuminates a broader set of issues of both historical and contemporary interest.

More than a minimum: The Resolution Foundation Review of the Future of the National Minimum Wage: The Final Report  (2014)

Authors: Sir George Bain, Paul Gregg, Alan Manning, Abigail McKnight, Karen Mumford, John Philpott, James Plunkett, Nicola Smith and Tony Wilson

Keywords: minimum wage, United Kingdom, living wage, income, Resolution Foundation

Summary: The final report of the Resolution Foundation’s review of the future of the National Minimum Wage. The review has worked for the past nine months under the chairmanship of Professor Sir George Bain, the founding chair of the Low Pay Commission, exploring whether the minimum wage and its supporting architecture could do more to tackle Britain’s pervasive problem of low pay.

Recent Trends in Top Income Shares in the USA: Reconciling Estimates From March CPS and IRS Tax Return Data (2009)

Authors: Richard V. Burkhauser, Shuaizhang Feng, Stephen P. Jenkins and Jeff Larrimore

Keywords: top income shares, trends, USA, Piketty, Saez

Summary: This paper shows that apparently inconsistent estimates of March Current Population Survey (CPS) and IRS Rax Return Data reports substantially higher levels of inequality and faster growing trends. Using internal CPS data for 1967-2006, this paper closely matches the IRS data-based estimates of top income shares reported by Piketty and Saez (2003), with the exception of the share of the top 1 percent of the distribution during 1993-2000.

Piketty in the long run (2015)

Author: Frank A. Cowell

Keywords: long run, income distribution, wealth distribution, inequality, Piketty, inheritance, equilibrium 

Summary: This paper examines the idea of 'the long run' in Piketty (2014), which draws on a rich economic analysis that models the intra- and inter- generational processes that underlie the development of wealth distribution.

The Relative Role of Socio-Economic Factors in Explaining the Changing Distribution of Wealth in the US and the UK  (2013)

Authors: Frank Cowell, Eleni Karagiannaki and Abigail McKnight

Keywords: household wealth, wealth inequality, debt, housing assets, age-wealth profiles, decomposition

Summary: The US and the UK experienced substantial increases in net wealth over the period 1994/95—2005/06, largely driven by house price booms in each country. The distribution of these gains across households led to a slight increase in wealth inequality in the US but a substantial fall in inequality in the UK. This paper uses a decomposition technique to examine the extent to which changes in households’ socio-economic characteristics explain changes in wealth holdings and wealth inequality. In both countries it finds that changes in household characteristics had an equalising effect on wealth inequality; moderating the increase in the US and accounting for over one-third of the fall in UK inequality.

Accounting for cross country differences in wealth inequality  (2013)

Authors: Frank Cowell, Eleni Karagiannaki and Abigail McKnight

Keywords: household wealth, wealth inequality, debt, housing assets, educational loans, age-wealth profiles, decomposition

Summary: This paper adopts a counterfactual decomposition analysis to analyse cross-country differences in the size of household wealth and levels of household wealth inequality. The findings of the paper suggest that the biggest share of cross-country differences is not due to differences in the distribution of household demographic and economic characteristics but rather reflect strong unobserved country effects.

The income distribution in the UK: A picture of advantage and disadvantage (2015)

Author: Stephen P. Jenkins

Keywords: poverty, affluence, income distribution, united kingdom, inequality

Summary: This paper describes the UK income distribution and how it has evolved over the most recent 50 year period, with comparisons to other wealthy countries. 

The Great Recession and the Distribution of Household Income (2012)

Authors: Stephen P. Jenkins, Andrea Brandolini, John Micklewright and Brian Nolan

Keywords: Great Recession, household income, distribution, cross-national

Summary: This book is a comprehensive analysis of the impact of the Great Recession on household incomes and how the major economic downturn has affected how well-off people are and is the first cross-national comparative perspective.

Changing Fortunes: Income Mobility and Poverty Dynamics in Britain (2011)

Author: Stephen P. Jenkins

Keywords: income mobility, poverty, Britain, household

Summary: This book examines jobs, earnings, benefits and credits, and household changes such as marriage, divorce and childbirth over two decades, in an attempt to examine trends and patterns of British income mobility and poverty dynamics.

Earnings and labour market volatility in Britain (2014)

Authors: Lorenzo Cappellari and Stephen P. Jenkins

Keywords: labour market, volatility, Britain, earnings

Summary: This paper provides new evidence about earnings and labour market volatility in Britain over the period 1992-2008, and for women as well as men. The paper shows that earnings volatility declined slightly for both men and women over the period but the changes are not statistically significant. There is a marked and statistically significant decline for both men and women when examining labour market volatility.

Pareto models, top incomes, and recent trends in UK income inequality (2016)

Author: Stephen P. Jenkins

Keywords: inequality, top incomes, Pareto distribution, generalized Pareto distribution, survey under-coverage, HBAI, SPI

Summary: This paper determines UK income inequality levels and trends by combining inequality estimates from tax return data (for the 'rich') and household survey data (for the 'non-rich'), taking advantage of the better coverage of top incomes in tax return data and creating income variables in the survey data with the same definitions as in the tax data to enhance comparability. 

Top incomes and inequality in the UK: reconciling estimates from household survey and tax return data (2017)

Authors: Richard V. Burkhauser, Nicolas Herault, Stephen P. Jenkins, Roger Wilkins

Keywords: UK inequality, top incomes, household survey data, tax return data

Summary: This paper provides the first systematic comparison of UK inequality estimates derived from tax data (World Wealth Income Database) and household survey data (the Households Bewlo Average Income [HBAI] subfile of the Family Resources Survey). It documents by how much existing survey data underestimate top income shares relative to tax data.

Survey under-coverage of top incomes and estimation of inequality: what is the role of the UK's SPI adjustment? (2017)

Authors: Richard V. Burkhauser, Nicolas Herault, Stephen P. Jenkins, Roger Wilkins

Keywords: statistical analysis, income dynamics, taxation and surveys

Summary: Survey under-coverage of top incomes leads to bias in survey-based estimates of overall income inequality. Using income tax record data in combination with survey data is a potential approach to address the problem; this paper considers here the UK's pioneering 'SPI adjustment' method that implements this idea, and assesses whether it is fit for purpose and whether variants of it could be employed by other countries. 

World Income Inequality Databases: an assessment of WIID and SWIID (2015)

Author: Stephen P. Jenkins

Keywords: global inequality, inequality, gini imputation, WIID, SWIID

Summary: This article assesses two secondary data comparisons about income inequality - the World Income Inequality Database (WIIDv2c), and the Standardized World Income Inequality Database (SWIIDv4.0) which is based on WIID but with all observations multiply-imputed. It provides a detailed description of the nature and contents of both sources plus illustrative regression analysis. From a data issues perspective, WIID is recommended over SWIID, though the author's support for use of WIID is conditional.

The changing distribution of individual incomes in the UK before and after the recession (2015)

Author: Eleni Karagiannaki and Lucinda Platt

Keywords: income, Great Recession, income distribution, United Kingdom 

Summary: Using pooled data from the Family Resources Survey, this paper addresses the question of which groups gained and which lost in terms of their individual income between 2005-2008 and 2009-20012.

Explained and unexplained wage gaps across the main ethno-religious groups in Great Britain (2012)

Authors: Simonetta Longhi, Cheti Nicoletti and Lucinda Platt

Keywords: wage gaps, ethno-religious groups, Great Britain, generational

Summary: This paper analyses the difference in average wages of selected ethno-religious groups in Great Britain at the mean and over the wage distribution with the aim of explaining why such wage gaps differ across minority groups. The paper finds that within all minority ethno-religious groups the second generation achieves higher wages than the first generation, but the amount that is explained by characteristics does not necessarily increase with generation.

Interpreting wage gaps of disabled men: the roles of productivity and discrimination (2010)

Authors: Simonetta Longhi, Cheti Nicoletti and Lucinda Platt

Keywords: disability, wage gaps, earnings, discrimination

Summary: Using the UK Labour Force Survey, this paper studies the wage gaps for disabled men after the introduction of the Disability Discrimination Act. It estimates wage gaps at the mean and at different quantiles of the wage distribution, and decomposes them into the part explained by differences in workers’ and job characteristics, the part that can be ascribed to health-related reduced productivity, and a residual part which the paper can more confidently interpret as discrimination.

Disabled People's Financial Histories: Uncovering the disability wealth-penalty(2014)

Author: Abigail McKnight

Keywords: wealth, disability, inequality, lifecycle  

Summary: This paper uses data from two large scale social surveys to examine the relationship between disability status and household wealth holdings. It finds that overall disabled people have substantially lower household wealth and all components of wealth than non-disabled people.

The Wealth Effect: How Parental Wealth and own Asset-Holdings Predict Future Advantage  in Wealth in the UK: Distribution, Accumulation, and Policy  (2013)

Authors: Abigail McKnight and Eleni Karagiannaki 

Keywords: intergenerational mobility, asset effects, parental wealth, education, employment, earnings, health outcomes 

Summary: This chapter explores the relationship between social mobility and wealth-/asset-holdings. In terms of social mobility, it looks at both intra-generational mobility by looking at own-asset-holdings during early adulthood on later outcomes for employment, earnings, general health, and psychological well-being, and intergenerational mobility by looking at the impact of parental wealth on children’s adult outcomes (age 25) covering education, employment, and earnings. The results suggest strong relationships between parental wealth—particularly housing wealth—and children’s educational outcomes, and—partly through these but also through other routes—on to earnings and employment. Early asset-holding—perhaps the product of the inheritance or lifetime transfer patterns investigated in the previous chapter—is also associated with better later employment prospects and higher earnings, as well as with better later general health and psychological well-being (although patterns vary between men and women).

Capital in the Twenty-First Century  (2014)

Author: Thomas Piketty, Centennial Professor, LSE

Keywords: wealth, income, inequality, Piketty, capital, accumulation, distribution 

Summary: This book analyzes a unique collection of economic data from twenty countries, ranging as far back as the eighteenth century, to uncover key economic and social patterns of inequality and the concentration of wealth and income.

Selection into Trade and Wage Inequality (2014)

Author: Thomas Sampson 

Keywords: trade, industry, wage distribution 

Summary: This paper analyzes how intra-industry trade affects the wage distribution when both workers and firms are heterogenous. Consequently, trade increases skill demand and wage inequality in all countries. 

Capital in the twenty-first century: a critique (2014)

Author: David Soskice

Keywords: Piketty, capital, r>g, wealth, income, inequality 

Summary: This paper sets out and explains Piketty's model of the dynamics of capitalism based on two equations and the r>g inequality and then takes issue with his analysis of the rebuilding of inequality from the 1970s to the present on three separate grounds. 

Firming Up Inequality (2015)

Author: Jae Song, David J. Price, Faith Guvenen, and Nicholas Bloom

Keywords: productivity, firms, incomes, wages, inequality

Summary: This paper discusses how much of the rise in earnings inequality can be attributed to rising dispersion between firms in the average wages they pay, and how much is due to rising wage dispersions among workers within the firm. 

Becoming more connected to the financial human capital network may hold the key to improving wage inequality within the US finance industry (2015)

Author: Kuo Siong 'Gordon' Tan

Keywords: United States, financial industry, human capital, wage inequality

Summary: In new research that tracks the movement of over 20,000 skilled financial workers across 264 US cities between 2007 and 2011, the author constructs a financial human capital network. The post finds that the network contains 40 financial hubs, which are linked to higher wages and wage inequality may be more pronounced between cities that are highly networked and those that are not. 

Inequality: Are we really 'all in this together'? (2015)

Author: Gabriel Zucman

Keywords: United Kingdom, benefits, government policy, wealth

Summary: This paper examines how the United Kingdom stands in terms of the levels and changes in inequality of pre-tax and benefit income, net incomes and wealth. It also explores the role of the coalition government's policies in influencing these outcomes.


"Prison ethnography at the threshold of race, reflexivity and difference" In: The Palgrave Handbook of Prison Ethnography  (2015)

Authors: Rod Earle and Coretta Phillips

Keywords: prison, ethnography, men's prison, England, race, reflexivity 

Summary: This chapter considers the racialised dynamics of ethnographic research in two men's prisons in South East England. The research processes revealed insights into the vertical (prison officer-prisoner) and horizontal (prisoner-prisoner) race and social relations in the prison field.

Crime, punishment and segregation in the United States: the paradox of local democracy (2015)

Authors: Nicola Lacey and David Soskice

Keywords: crime, punishment, law, segregation, United States, poverty, education, inequality

Summary: This paper examines the differences in crime and punishment of the United States and other  liberal market economies as products of dynamics shaped by the institutional structures of the U.S. political system, including residential zoning, public education, and incorporation of suburbs. 

The 2011 English riots in recent historical perspective (2015)

Author: Tim Newburn

Keywords: England, riots, historical perspective, civil disorder, comparative analysis, disorder

Summary: This paper offers that the riots of 2011 arguably represent the most significant civil disorder on mainland Britain in at least a generation. Commentators writing in the aftermath of the riots of have pointed both to what are taken to be unusual aspects of the 2011 disorders—the role of gangs, the nature and extent of looting, and the use of social media among others—as well as some of the parallels with previous riots. In placing the 2011 riots in their recent historical context this article outlines a model for structuring comparative analysis of disorder and then moves to consider some of the similarities between 2011 and riots in the post-wart period.

Reflections on why riots don't happen  (2015)

Author: Tim Newburn

Keywords: riots, England, disorder, interviews, informants

Summary: In contrast to much of the literature in the field of public disorder, rather than focusing on the nature and aetiology or riots, this paper investigates why riots don't happen. Against the backdrop of the 2011 England riots—though the arguments developed here have international application—this paper uses two case studies involving semi-structured interviews with key informants in two such locations to reflect on why riots don't happen.

Shopping for free?: looting, consumerism and the 2011 England riots (2015)

Authors: Tim Newburn, Kerris Cooper, Rachel Deacon, Beka Diski

Keywords: England, riots, disorder, looting, consumerism 

Summary: A number of commentators have suggested that the 2011 riots in England were distinctive because of the character and extent of the looting that took place. In doing so they have argued that the nature of modern consumer capitalism should be placed front and centre of any explanation of the disorder. Whilst concurring with elements of such arguments, this paper departs from such analyses in three ways: 1) it is important not to overstate the extent to which the 2011 riots were a departure from previous outbreaks of civil disorder; 2) focusing on looting risks ignoring both the political character and the violence involved in the riots; and 3) the focus on consumption potentially simplifies the nature of the looting itself by underestimating its political and expressive characteristics. 

Despite signs of less punitive policing and incarceration policies, 2014 will be remembered for Michael Brown and Eric Garner (2014)

Author: Tim Newburn

Keywords: policing, incarceration, punishment, Michael Brown, Eric Garner, United States

Summary: The year 2014 saw the trend away from mass incarceration continue and signs of what might be the emergence of an end to the "War on Drugs". This paper claims that while there have been some encouraging signs of a less punitive and exclusionary means of dealing with crime, the killings of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri and Eric Garner in New York by police, and the protests that followed, are likely to be the mot memorable events of 2014. 

Civil unrest in Ferguson was fuelled by the Black Community's already poor relationship with a highly militarized police force (2014)

Author: Tim Newburn

Keywords: civil unrest, United States, Ferguson, policing, Black Community, England, riots

Summary: This paper takes a close look at the unrest in Ferguson, writing that it has parallels with similar riots in London in August, 2011. Both were sparked by the oppressive policing of black neighborhoods, but the most distinctive feature of the unrest in Ferguson was the militarized nature and reaction of local police forces. 

Imprisonment and Political Equality (2015)

Author: Peter Ramsay

Keywords: imprisonment, political equality, democratic state, citizens, inequality, justice 

Summary: This paper outlines the logical relations between political equality and the practice of imprisonment by the state. It argues that the reason to imprison becomes less significant the more that formal political equality leads to substantive equality of political influence among citizens.

Why should it matter that others have more? Poverty, inequality, and the potential of international human rights law (2011)

Author: Margot E. Salomon

Keywords: human development, law, human rights, international, inequality

Summary: This article offers three justifications as to why global material inequality, not just poverty, should matter to international human rights law, particularly within the post-1945 international effort at people-centered development.

Seeking Shelter in Personal Insolvency Law: Recession, Eviction, and Bankruptcy's Social Safety Net (2017)

Author: Joseph Spooner

Keywords: bankruptcy, consumer bankruptcy, eviction, housing crisis, household over-indebtedness, household debt, personal insolvency, social safety net

Summary: Many legal systems understand consumer insolvency laws as a form of social insurance, providing relief to financially troubled households who fall through gaps in the social safety net. This paper considers the extent to which, in the face of an escalating housing crisis, legal principle and policy in England and Wales embrace this social insurance function of personal insolvency law. 

Media & Communications

Digital Divisions of Labor and Informational Magnetism: Mapping Participation in Wikipedia (2016)

Authors: Mark Graham, Ralph K. Straumann and Bernie Hogan

Keywords: digital divide, digital labor, information geography, participation, Wikipedia

Summary: This article shows that the relative democratization of the Internet has not brought about a concurrent democratization of voice and participation. Despite the fact that it is widely used around the world, Wikipedia is characterized by highly uneven geographies of participation.

Geographies of Information Inequality in Sub-Saharan Africa (2016)

Authors: Mark Graham and Christopher Foster

Keywords: information inequality, Sub-Saharan Africa, ICTs

Summary: While much research has been conducted into the impacts of ICTs on older economic processes and practices, there remains surprisingly little research into the emergence of the new informationalized economy in Africa. This article addresses the issue of whether we are seeing a new era of development on the continent fulled by ICTs, or whether Sub-Saharan Africa's engagement with the global knowledge economy continues to be on terms that reinforce dependence, inequality, underdevelopment, and economic extraversion.

Augmented Realities and Uneven Geographies: Exploring the Geolinguistic Contours of the Web

Authors: Mark Graham and Matthew Zook

Keywords: augmented reality, neogeography, volunteered geographic information, place, Internet

Summary: This paper analyzes the digital dimensions of places as represented by online geocoded references to the economic, social, and political experiences of the city. These digital layers are invisible to the naked eye, but form a central component of the augmentations and mediations of place enabled by hundreds of millions of mobile computing devices and other digital technologies. The analysis highlights how these augmentations of place differ across space and language and highlights both the differences and some of the causal factors behind them.

Cyberbullying victimisation in context: The role of social inequalities in countries and regions (2016)

Authors: Anke Görzig, Tijana Milosevic and Elisabeth Staksrud

Keywords: cyber-bullying, cross-national comparison, bullying victimisation, culture, contextual analyses, multi-level analyses  

The phenomenon of cyberbullying is gaining more attention by media and policy makers in many countries. Theoretical frameworks using a socio-ecological approach emphasise the importance of contextual explanatory factors located at the societal level. It has been suggested that in addition to cross-national differences, the analysis of smaller units of more adjacent cultural contexts (i.e., regions) might yield more explanatory power. Leaning on previous findings and theory, the current paper aims to identify and compare contextual explanatory factors associated with social inequality for variation in cyber- and face-to-face bullying victimisation rates within one sample. Moreover, corresponding explanatory factors are investigated across national and regional levels.

New Forms of Digital Inequality: Disparities in offline benefits from internet use (from Media Policy Project Blog) (2015)

Author: Ellen Helsper

Keywords: media, communications, internet, digital, inequality, online, 

Summary: This article explains how increased online activity does not necessarily translate to tangible, beneficial outcomes (employment, participation, etc) for those with newfound access.

How parents of young children manage digital devices at home: the role of income, education and parental style (2015)

Authors: Sonia Livingstone, Giovanna Mascheroni, Michael Dreier, Stephane Chaudron, and Kaat Lagae

Keywords: media, digital devices, parenting, income, education, Europe  

Summary: The main focus of this report is on the role of parental education and household income, as factors to capture a major source of difference and inequality across households in relation to how they shape parental mediation of digital media. 

Inequality and digitally mediated communication: divides, contradictions and consequences (2017)

Author: Robin Mansell

Keywords: inequality; digital divide; mediation; technological innovation; algorithms; dialogue; employment

Summary: This paper examines some of the relationships between economic and social inequality and digitally mediated communication. Researchers generally agree that there is a reciprocal relationship between expressions of inequality and changes in the digitally mediated world, but there are large differences in their views about how these relationships work and whether inequality is likely to persist into the future. In the digital divide research tradition, there are instrumental and critical approaches and some of the limitations of the instrumental approach are highlighted. The implications of asymmetries of control and authority between human beings and their machines and the consequences for economic and social inequality are addressed with the aim of assessing the opportunities for evaluating them and for encouraging a shift in the contemporary direction of digital technology innovation.


Evaluating risky prospects: the distribution view (2015)

Author: Luc Bovens

Keywords: distribution, risk, policy, philosophy 

Summary: Risky prospects represent polices that impose different types of risks on multiple people. This paper presents an example from food safety and develops a model that lets the policy analyst rank prospects relative to the distributional concerns that she considers fitting for the context at hand. 

Priority or Equality for Possible People? (2015) 

Authors Marc Fleurbaey and Alex Voorhoeve

Keywords: egalitarian, prioritarian, philosophy, distribution, utility, existence

Summary: Suppose that, under conditions of risk, one must make choices that will influence the well-being and the identities of the people who will exist, how ought one choose? This paper develops the most plausible prioritarian and egalitarian answers to this question. It also argues for the superiority of the egalitarian answer.

Equality versus priority (2015, book chapter) 

Authors: Michael Otsuka and Alex Voorhoeve 

Keywords: prioritarian, egalitarian, distributive justice, philosophy 

Summary: This book chapter discusses two leading theories of distributive justice: egalitarianism and prioritarianism. It argues that while each has particular merits and shortcomings, egalitarian views more fully satisfy a key requirement of distributive justice: respect for the unity of the individual and the separateness of persons.

Prioritarianism and the Measure of Utility (2015)

Author: Michael Otsuka

Keywords: prioritarian, utility, philosophy, well-being, morality 

Summary: This paper presents a challenge to proritarianism, particularly the view of Derek Parfit. The paper asserts that in discussions of prioritarianism, it is often left unspecified what constitutes a greater, lesser, or equal improvement in a person's utility. 

Making fair choices on the path to universal health coverage: final report of the WHO consultative group on equity and universal health coverage  (2014)

Autors: Ole Frithjof Norheim, Trygve Ottersen, Frehowot Berhane, Bonah Chitah, Richard Cookson, Norman Daniels, Nir Eyal, W. Flores, Axel Gosseries, Daniel Hausman, Samia Hurst, L. Kapiriri, Toby Ord, A. Reis, R. Sadana, Carla Saenz, Shlomi Segall, Gita Sen, Tessa Tan-Torres Edejer, Alex Voorhoeve, Dan Wikler, and Alicia Yamin

Keywords: world health organization, who, universal health coverage, equity

Summary: Since 2010, more than one hundred countries have requested policy support and technical advice for universal health coverage reform from the WHO. As part of the response, WHO set up a consultative group on equity and universal health coverage. This final report addresses the key issues of fairness and equity that arise on the path to UHC by clarifying these issues and by offering practical recommendations. 

Response to our critics (2015)

Author: Alex Voorhoeve, Trygve Ottersen, and Ole Frithjof Norheim 

Keywords: universal health coverage, equity, political economy, trade-offs

Summary: In response to Kalipso Chalkidou, Peter Littlejohns, Benedict Rumbold, Addis Tamire Woldermariam, Albert Weale, and James Wilson, this paper addresses issues raised and discusses equity and political economy, the significance of the starting point for Universal Health Coverage, trade-offs, and the need for more information on "what works." 

Introduction to the Symposium on Equality versus Priority (2015) 

Author: Alex Voorhoeve 

Keywords: egalitarian, prioritarian, World Health Organization, utility 

Summary: This paper is an introduction to a set of papers commissioned by the World Health Organization on the debate on the nature and importance of the distinction between egalitarianism and prioritarianism. 

Making fair choices on the path to universal health coverage: a précis (2015)

Authors: Alex Voorhoeve, Trygve Ottersen, and Ole Frithjof Norheim

Keywords: universal health coverage, equity, political economy, fairness

Summary: This paper aims to clarify issues of fairness that arise on the path to universal health coverage and offers recommendations for how countries can address them. It is premised on the fact that decision-makers face (sometimes severe) resource constrains. 

Book review: Matthew D. Adler: Wellbeing and fair distribution: beyond cost-benefit analysis (2014)

Author: Alex Voorhoeve 

Keywords: book review, Matthew D. Adler, distribution, cost-benefit, social welfare function, prioritarian 

Summary: This book review examines Matthew D. Adler's idea that large-scale public policies should be designed to maximize the expectation of a continuous prioritarian social welfare function.

May a government mandate more comprehensive health insurance than citizens want for themselves? (2017)

Author: Alex Voorhoeve

The paper examines a common liberal egalitarian view about the justification for, and proper content of, mandatory health insurance. The author argues that this common justification for a mandate is incomplete. A further reason for mandated insurance is that it helps secure social egalitarian public goods that would be underprovided if insurance were optional. I also argue that rather than mandating what a representative individual would choose for themselves, we should design the mandatory package by appealing to a pluralistic egalitarian view, which cares about improving people’s well-being, reducing unfair inequality, and maintaining egalitarian social relations.

Priority or equality for possible people? (2016)

Authors: Alex Voorhoeve and Marc Fleurbaey

Suppose that you must make choices that may influence the well-being and the identities of the people who will exist, though not the number of people who will exist. How ought you to choose? This paper answers this question. It argues that the currency of distributive ethics in such cases is a combination of an individual’s final well-being and her expected well-being conditional on her existence. It also argues that this currency should be distributed in an egalitarian, rather than a prioritarian, manner.

Social Policy

Were We Really All in it Together? The Distributional Effects of the 2010-15 UK Coalition Government's Tax-benefit Policy Changes (2017)

Author: Paola De Agostini, John Hills, Holly Sutherland

Keywords: income distribution; direct taxes; social security; United Kingdom; Coalition government

Summary: This article examines the distributional impacts of changes to benefits, tax credits, pensions and direct taxes between the UK general elections of May 2010 and May 2015. The findings show that a dominant feature of the period was that the combination of higher tax-free income tax allowances, financed by cuts in benefits and tax credits, was generally regressive.

Social Policy: Looking Backward and Looking Forward in Social Policy Futures: Wreckage, Resilience or Renewal: Report of proceedings of the Social Policy’s 100th Anniversary Colloquium, LSE (2015)

Author: Anthony B. Atkinson

Keywords: social policy, poverty, United Kingdom, Ratan Tata Foundation for the Study of Poverty, LSE

Summary: This section of a larger group of papers focuses on the role of social policy in combatting poverty, with particular reference to the United Kingdom and focuses on three questions: 1) Exceptionalism and/or Demonisation?, 2) Are there any grounds for optimism?, and 3) What are possible ways forward?

Doubly Disadvantaged? Bullying Experiences among Disabled Children and Young People in England (2015)

Authors: Stella Chatzitheochari, Samantha Parsons and Lucinda Platt

Keywords: bullying, children, disability, Millennium Cohort Study, young people, England

Summary: This article enhances the understanding of bullying experiences among disabled children in both early and later childhood, drawing on nationally representative longitudinal data from the Millennium Cohort Study and the Longitudinal Study of Young People in England.

Measuring health inequality with categorical data: some regional patterns  (2013)

Authors: Joan Costa-Font and Frank Cowell

Keywords: health inequality, categorical data, health surveys, upward status, downward status

Summary: Much of the theoretical literature on inequality assumes that the equalisand is a cardinal variable like income or wealth. However, health status is generally measured as a categorical variable expressing a qualitative order. Traditional solutions involve reclassifying the variable by means of qualitative models and relying on inequality measures that are mean independent. This paper argues that the way status is conceptualized has important theoretical implications for measurement as well as for policy analysis. Findings suggest significant differences in health inequality measurment and that regional and country patterns of inequality orderings do not coincide with any reasonable categorization of countries by health system organization.

Intergenerational and socioeconomic gradients of child obesity (2013)

Authors: Joan Costa-Font and Joan Gil 

Keywords: child obesity, intergenerational transmission, socio-economic gradient, income inequalities in child health

Summary: This paper documents evidence of an emerging social gradient of obesity in pre-school children resulting from a combination of both socio-economic status and less intensive childcare associated with maternal employment, when different forms of intergenerational transmission are controlled for. It also estimates and decomposes income related inequalities in child obesity, suggesting robust evidence of both socioeconomic and intergenerational gradients. It appears income and parental influences are the central determinants of obesity among children.

Income inequalities in unhealthy life styles in England and Spain  (2014)

Authors: Joan Costa-Font, Christina Hernandez-Quevedo and Dolores Jimenez Rubio

Keywords: inequalities in unhealthy lifestyles; obesity; alcohol consumption; smoking; reporting bias

Summary: This study draws from health survey data spanning over a period in which major contextual and policy changes have taken place. It documents persistent income-related inequalities in obesity and smoking; both unhealthy lifestyles appear to be disproportionately concentrated among the relatively poor in recent decades. In contrast, alcohol use appears to be concentrated among richer individuals in both periods and countries examined.

Measuring Inequalities in Health: What do we Know? What do we need to know? (2012)

Authors: Joan Costa-i-Font and Christina Hernandez-Quevedo

Keywords: socioeconomic status; health inequalities; income; education; health

Summary: This paper argues that policy analysis aiming at curving inequalities in health calls for a better understanding of what we know about its measurement pathways. In reviewing the literature, we conclude that it is unclear what the evidence suggests about the reasons for health inequalities as well as the best possible instruments to measure both inequality and socioeconomic health gradients. We provide an evaluation of the different sources of health inequity and we draw upon measurement issues and their policy significance. 

Persistence despite action? Measuring the patterns of health inequality in England (1997-2007)  (2011)

Authors: Joan Costa-i-Font, Christina Hernandez-Quevedo and Alistair McGuire

Keywords: health inequalities; England; spearhead areas; concentration index; inequality decomposition

Summary: The persistence of socioeconomic inequalities in health is a major policy concern in England, which was addressed by the new labour government in 1997 which prioritised curtailing health inequalities as a policy goal. This study suggests that patterns of health inequalities in England exhibit no significant variation from 1997 to 2007, although importantly, some reduction on inequalities in health, measured through self-assessed health, is found. Patterns of socioeconomic inequalities in health in spearhead areas are not found to be significantly different than health inequalities in non-spearhead areas.

Exploring the pathways of inequality in health, health care access and financing in decentralized Spain  (2009)

Authors: Joan Costa-Font and Joan Gil

Keywords: decentralization, health inequality, inequalities in access to healthcare, inequalities in healthcare financing, Spain

Summary: The regional organization of the Spanish national health system offers a 'unique field' for exploring the sources of health inequalities as well as for testing the effects of political decentralization on health and healthcare inequalities. This study suggests that inequalities in health and healthcare appear to be driven by income inequalities and inequalities in use but not by inequalities in financing and health expenditure.

What lies behind socio-economic inequalities in obesity in Spain: a decomposition approach  (2008)

Authors: Joan Costa-Font and Joan Gil

Keywords: health information; obesity; education; income effects; inequality decomposition; concentration index

Summary: This paper uses evidence from Spain to empirically address the hypothesis of the existence of income-related inequalities in the probability of suffering obesity in Spain using dat from 2003. It provides suggestive evidence of significant socio-economic inequalities in the probablity of being obese in Spain. However, decomposing such inequalities we find that education attainment and other demographic covariates appear to have a prominent influence. Hence, rather than the so-called pure "income effect", we conclude that socio-economic inequalities in obesity result from the additional influence of other confounding - observed and unobserved - effects.

Would socio-economic inequalities in depression fade away with income transfers? (2008)

Authors: Joan Costa-i-Font and Joan Gil

Keywords: depression; income; health inequities; education and occupational status; mental health; Spain

Summary: Contrary to recent evidence, this paper's findings point towards the existence of significant income-related inequalities in the prevalence of reported (diagnosed) depression. However, the results from a decomposition analysis are more mixed. While a modest proportion of overall inequalities (6-13%) is accounted for by income alone, labour status, demographics and education appear to be more relevant. However, when controlling for potential endogeneity between income and depression by using instrumental variables, income is found to account for more than 50% of overall inequality in reported depression.

The Measurement of Health Inequalities: Does Status Matter? (2016)

Authors: Joan Costa-Font and Frank A. Cowell

Keywords: health inequality, categorical data, entropy measures, health surveys, upward status, downward status

Summary: This paper examines several status concepts to examine self-assessed health inequality using the sample of world countries contained in the World Health Survey. The authors also perform correlation and regression analysis on the determinants of inequality estimates assuming an arbitrary cardinalisation. Their findings indicate major heterogeneity in health inequality estimates depending on the status approach, distributional-sensitivity parameter and measure adopted. They find evidence that pure health inequalities vary with median health status alongside measures of government quality.

Social Advantage and Disadvantage (forthcoming, 2016)

Authors: Hartley Dean and Lucinda Platt

Keywords: social division, injustice, advantage, disadvantage, poverty, social exclusion

Summary: This book captures the sense in which any conceptualisation of disadvantage is concerned with the consequences of processes by which relative advantage has been selectively conferred or attained. It considers how inequalities and social divisions are created as much by the concentration of advantage among the best-off as by the systematic disadvantage of the worst-off. 

Welcome relief or indecent subsidy? The implications of wage top-up schemes(2012)

Author: Hartley Dean

Keywords: cash transfers, means-tested, United Kingdom, tax credit, poverty

Summary: This paper examines a key policy response to the downward pressure on wages of the lowest-paid workers through the introduction of means-tested cash transfer schemes by which to top up low wages. Findings are based on beneficiaries of a particular scheme, the United Kingdom's Working Tax Credit. 

The Ethical Deficit of the UK's Proposed Universal Credit: Pimping the Precariat? (2012) 

Author: Hartley Dean

Keywords: universal credit, wage top-ups, labour market, precariat, ethics 

Summary: This article will argue that the moral justification for the scheme that is offered by the UK government is specious and that the reconfiguration of wage top-ups may be counterproductive and do very little to promote work ethic. In addition, the article argues that the new scheme will not relieve but add to injustices faced by the precariat and that the scheme is ethically flawed.

"The distribution of welfare" In: The Student's Companion to Social Policy  (2016)

Author: John Hills

Keywords: social policy, distribution, welfare, benefits, United Kingdom 

Summary: The fourth edition of The Student's Companion to Social Policy maintains the text's inimitable and best-selling approach through the writing of a wide range of experts in the field. It has been updated and revised to take account of recent developments and debates and changing political and economic configurations.   

Falling behind, getting ahead: the changing structure of inequality in the UK, 2007-2013 (2015)

Authors: John Hills, Jack Cunliffe, Polina Obolenskaya, Eleni Karagiannaki

Keywords: qualifications, employment, wealth, economic crisis, United Kingdom 

Summary: This report contains a detailed examination of the qualifications, employment, pay, incomes and wealth of different groups since the economic crisis. It shows that the legacy of the crisis has not fallen evenly. Across a range of outcomes, people in their twenties have lost most, despite higher qualifications than any earlier generation.

The Coalition's Record on Cash Transfers, Poverty and Inequality 2010-2015 (2015)

Author: John Hills

Keywords: tax, benefits and pensions, welfare benefits, social policy, income, poverty, tax and benefit policy, wealth inequality, 

Summary: This paper examines how the Coalition's benefit and direct tax policies affect the distribution of incomes, inequality and poverty in the United Kingdom. 

The politics and practicalities of universalism: towards a citizen-centred perspective on social protection (2014)

Author: Naila Kabeer

Keywords: universalism, means-tested, social protection, benefits, social policy

Summary: The long-standing divide between universal and residual approaches in the field of social policy is also evident in the emerging agenda around social protection. Underpinning this divide are contrasting worldviews. Arguments in favour of residual approaches are frequently couched in a market-centred discourse that stresses efficiency, incentives and a cost-benefit calculus, while those advocating universalism favour a state-centred discourse and normative arguments. This article attempts to bridge the divide by offering a pragmatic argument for incremental universalism that stresses the responsibilities as well as rights associated with citizenship, and suggests the need to factor in wider economic and social externalities in estimating both costs and benefits.

Double Trouble: A review of the relationship between UK poverty and economic inequality (2017)

Authors: Abigail McKnight, Magali Duque and Mark Rucci 

Keywords: inequality, poverty in the UK, poverty reduction, United Kingdom  

The link between inequality and poverty has been highlighted by a number of international organisations, which have outlined a series of policy recommendations supporting the view that high levels of inequality need to be tackled even if the central objective is to reduce poverty. This report makes clear there is a positive correlation between income inequality and relative income poverty in the UK. The strength of this connection depends on which measure of inequality is used and this report makes no claim about causation - but the central conclusion is clear. We can no longer treat poverty and economic inequality as separate problems which can be tackled in isolation. They are instead closely linked and must be tackled together.  

A fresh look at an old question: is pro-poor targeting of cash transfers more effective than universal systems at reducing inequality and poverty? (2015)

Author: Abigail McKnight

Keywords: poverty, redistribution, cash transfers, inequality, welfare

Summary: This paper presents findings on the changing effectiveness of cash transfers and income taxes on inequality and poverty reduction in four EU countries —the United Kingdom, Italy, Sweden, and France—spanning four decades.

Downward mobility, opportunity hoarding and the 'glass floor', Social Mobility and Child Poverty Commission Research Report  (2015)

Author: Abigail McKnight

Keywords: mobility, glass floor, social mobility, occupation, education, social gradients, Britain, children, cohort study

Summary: This paper examines the evidence for a cohort of British children born in 1970 in terms of the relationship between family background, childhood cognitive skills and adult success in the labour market. It focuses on two groups of children: the first group has relatively low levels of cognitive skills at age 5 and on this basis are predicted to be less likely to have highly successful careers; the second group have relatively high levels of cognitive skills at age 5 and are therefore more likely, on average, to have highly successful careers. The paper compares actual outcomes using a measure of high earnings and “top job” status and find social gradients in family background measured by family income and parental social class. It estimates statistical models to seek to identify which variables account for these gradients, factors that could allow advantaged families effectively to construct a ‘glass floor’ to ensure their children succeed irrespective of cognitive ability. 

Divided We Fall? The Wider Consequences of High and Unrelenting Inequality in the UK in Changing Inequalities and Societal Impacts in Rich Countries  (2014)

Authors: Abigail McKnight and Tiffany Tsang

Keywords: income inequality, drivers of inequality, education, United Kingdom, social gradients, health, mortality, voter turnout, trust, tax-benefit system 

Summary:  This chapter examines trends in inequality, the effectiveness of government tax-benefit and public expenditure in terms of reducing inequality, and how inequality trends relate to trends in social, cultural, and political dimensions of people’s lives. This involves the analysis of average levels and social gradients where available. It concludes that the descriptive trends suggest that inequalities in income are associated with divisions in a range of other variables – such as, health, mortality, voter turnout, trust – but there is little to support the hypothesis that higher levels of inequality causes increases in average ‘social ills’.

Social impacts: health, housing and  intergenerational mobility  in Changing Inequalities in Rich Countries: Analytical and Comparative  Perspectives   (2014)

Authors: Abigail McKnight and Frank Cowell

Keywords: health, housing, intergenerational mobility, well-being

Summary: This chapter focuses on reviewing the analytical evidence on the possible ways in which the impact of inequality is transmitted onto outcomes in health, housing and intergenerational mobility; things that principally characterise people’s well-being in the long term. The channels through which the impacts of inequality occur may be principally economic, or they may involve social and psychological effects. In all three areas the authors find evidence that inequality has a negative association at least in terms of cross-country variation. What remains is the more challenging task of identifying and quantifying a link between rising inequality and worsening outcomes.

Measuring material  deprivation over the economic crisis—does a re-evaluation of 'need' affect measures of material deprivation?  (2013)

Author: Abigail McKnight

Keywords: material deprivation, financial crisis, need, households 

Summary: The information presented in this paper shows that individuals are more likely to express that they do not want or need an item the lower their household income. In addition after 2007 as the economic crisis began to hit households there is some evidence of an increase in the share of households reporting that they lived without these items for a reason other than the fact that they couldn't afford. These findings raise some important questions about what this category is capturing and that classifying these individuals as not materially deprived of an item may lead to an under recording of material deprivation. 

Growing  inequality and its impacts—UK Country Report  (2013)

Authors: Abigail McKnight and Tiffany Tsang

Keywords: inequality, impact, United Kingdom, GINI project, income inequality, trends

Summary: This paper contributes to the work if the GINI Growing Inequalities' Impacts project and attempts to outline different emerging inequalities in the United Kingdom from a social policy perspective.

Changing Inequalities and Societal Impacts in Rich Countries: Thirty Countries' Experiences  (2014)

Authors: Brian Nolan, Wiemer Salverda, Danielle Checchi, Ive Marx, Abigail McKnight, István György Tóth and Herman G. van de Werfhorst

Keywords: cross-national analysis, social science, inequality, societal impact, rich countries 

Summary: This edited volume  addresses issues about inequality widely debated in the media in recent years, while advancing academic research in the field by in-depth analysis of country experiences. It Provides in-depth analysis of key issues in the social sciences across a range of disciplines and provides detailed background and information about inequality experiences and impacts in individual countries not found elsewhere. The edited volume applies consistent analytical framework across 30 very different countries examining trends over 30 years.

Changing Inequalities in Rich Countries: Analytical and Comparative Perspectives (2014)

Authors: Wiemer Salverda, Brian Nolan, Daniele Checchi, Ive Marx, Abigail McKnight, István György Tóth and Herman van de Werfhorst

Keywords: income inequality, trends, wealth, education, labour market, cross-national perspective

Summary: This edited volume captures and investigates inequality trends in income, wealth, education, and the labour market, while providing detailed information on inequality experiences across 30 countries examining trends over 30 years. It combines statistically sophisticated comparative analysis with evidence from individual countries experiences and serves as a complement to the volume 'Changing Inequalities and Societal Impacts in Rich Countries: Thirty Countries' Experiences'. 

Book review: when a rich society gets a bit poorer: the safety net in hard times(2015)

Author: Kitty Stewart

Keywords: Tom Clark, Anthony Heath, recession, safety net, United Kingdom

Summary: This paper challenges some aspects of Clark and Heath's argument that the financial crisis exposed 'problems with deep roots in the long decades that came before.' The paper argues that the book's account plays down the extent to which social security protected the vulnerable in the early years of the recession, especially households with children. The paper agrees with the book that two long-term challenges exist: persistent low pay and rising income inequality at the the top of the distribution that have not been addressed by the UK government.


An Intensifying and Elite City: New Geographies of Social Class and Inequality in Contemporary London (2017)

Authors: Niall Cunningham

Keywords: social class, London, census, cultural capital, Great British Class Survey, elites

This paper contributes to the debate on London’s social class structure at the start of the twenty-first century. That debate has focussed on the use of census metrics to argue the case for whether or not the capital has become more or less middle class in composition between 2001 and 2011. The authors contend that the definition of the middle class has become confused in the course of this debate and is of less critical importance for an understanding of the city’s contemporary class structure than is a focus on London’s elite. They make use of data from the BBC’s Great British Class Survey (GBCS) to shed light on the social, cultural and economic resources of this group, in addition to their spatial location. They then return to the census data for 2001 and 2011 and posit that belying the image of stability in London’s class structure these data suggest clear and localised patterns of intensification in class geographies across the capital, an intensification characterised by a growing cleavage between inner and outer London.

Trajectories of functional disability for the elderly in Britain (2015)

Authors: Robert French and Fiona Steele

Keywords: ageing, activities of daily living, health trajectories, Britain, British Household Panel Survey (BHPS)

Summary: This study uses an innovative approach to characterise trajectories of functional disability over the final stages of the life course. It identifies accelerating trajectories of frailty for a representative sample of elderly individuals separtely by gender. It shows that socio-occupational classification is associated with the level of initial frailty and to a lesser extent the change in frailty with age. The contribution of the paper is to explore the use of a measurement model to exploit the variation between items in discriminatory power for identifying an indiviual's functional disability. 

The Class Pay Gap in Higher Professional and Managerial Occupations (2016)

Authors: Daniel Laurison, Sam Friedman

Keywords: class pay gap, social mobility, class ceiling, class origin

Summary: This article demonstrates how class origin shapes earnings in higher professional and managerial employment. Taking advantage of newly released data in Britain’s Labour Force Survey, the authors examine the relative openness of different high-status occupations and the earnings of the upwardly mobile within them. In terms of access, we find a distinction between traditional professions, such as law, medicine, and finance, which are dominated by the children of higher managers and professionals, and more technical occupations, such as engineering and IT, that recruit more widely. Moreover, even when people who are from working-class backgrounds are successful in entering high-status occupations, they earn 17 percent less, on average, than individuals from privileged backgrounds.

‘Like Skydiving without a Parachute’: How Class Origin Shapes Occupational Trajectories in British Acting (2016)

Authors: Daniel Laurison, Sam Friedman, Dave O’Brien

Keywords: acting, class origin, class pay gap, cultural and creative industries, cultural capital, social mobility

Summary: There is currently widespread concern that access to, and success within, the British acting profession is increasingly dominated by those from privileged class origins. This article seeks to empirically interrogate this claim using data on actors from the Great British Class Survey (N = 404) and 47 qualitative interviews. The authors demonstrate the profound occupational advantages afforded to actors who can draw upon familial economic resources, legitimate embodied markers of class origin (such as Received Pronunciation) and a favourable typecasting.

Social Mobility, the Class Pay Gap and Intergenerational Worklessness: New Insights from The Labour Force Survey(2017)

Authors: Daniel Laurison, Sam Friedman and Lindsey Macmillan

Keywords: class pay gap, social mobility

Summary: Social mobility remains at the very top of the political agenda. Yet the UK has traditionally lacked a data source extensive enough to pinpoint exactly where to target policy interventions intended to improve social mobility. This report capitalises on new socio-economic background questions within the UK Labour Force Survey (LFS) to provide the most comprehensive analysis of social mobility to-date. Drawing on an unusually large sample of 64,566 we are able to move beyond the normal measures of national mobility rates to shine a light on a number of pressing but largely unexplored questions. In particular, we hone in on mobility in the top echelons of British society by examining the openness of the professions, and at the bottom by looking at intergenerational worklessness. We end with three proposals to improve this important data source to help us answer some key questions regarding social mobility.

Understanding Inequalities: Stratification and Difference (2011)

Author: Lucinda Platt

Keywords: inequalities, stratification, life course, difference

Summary: Bringing together the latest empirical evidence with a discussion of sociological debates surrounding inequality, this book explores a broad range of inequalities in people’s lives. As well as treating the core sociological topics of class, ethnicity and gender, it examines how inequalities are experienced across a variety of settings, including education, health, geography and housing, income and wealth, and how they cumulate across the life course.

Nurse or Mechanic? The Role of Parental Socialization and Children’s Personality in the Formation of Sex-Typed Occupational Aspirations (2014)

Authors: Javier G. Polavieja and Lucinda Platt

Keywords: socialization, sex-typed occupational aspiration, parenting, British

Summary: This study analyses the determinants of sex-typed occupational aspirations amongst British children aged between 11 and 15. It develops a model of parental socialization and tests for different channels and mechanisms involved in the transmission of sex-typical preferences.

Reductions in the United Kingdom's Government Housing Benefit and Symptoms of Depression in Low-Income Households

Authors: Aaron Reeves, Amy Clair, Martin McKee and David Stuckler

Keywords: depression, housing, mental health, natural experiment

Summary: Housing security is an important determinant of mental health. This paper uses a quasinatural experiment to evaluate this association, comparing the prevalence of mental ill health in the United Kingdom before and after the government's April 2011 reduction in financial support for low-income persons who rent private-sector housing. It concludes that reducing housing support to low-income persons in the private rental sector increased the prevalence of depressive symptoms in the United Kingdom.

Social Class in the 21st Century (2015)

Author: Mike Savage

Keywords: class, society, united kingdom, poverty, wealth, social mobility, inequality

Summary: In this book, Mike Savage and the team of sociologists responsible for the Great British Class Survey look beyond the labels to explore how and why society is changing and what this means for the people who find themselves in the margins as well as the centre. 

Introduction to elites from the 'problematic of the proletariat' to a class analysis of 'wealth elites (2015)

Author: Mike Savage

Keywords: wealth elites, class analysis, class, GBCS, inequality, proletariat

Summary: This introductory paper argues that it is vital to reorient class analysis away from its long term preoccupation with class boundaries in the middle levels of the class structure towards a focus on the class formation at the top.

The Shifting Politics of Inequality and the Class Ceiling (2017)

Authors: Mike Savage and Sam Friedman

Keywords: class, class analysis, narrative, inequality

Summary: Britain's class landscape has changed: it is more polarised at the extremes and messier in the middle. The distinction between middle and working class is less clear-cut. The elite is able to set political agendas and entrench their own privilege. The left needs a clear narrative showing how privilege leads to gross unfairness - and effective policies to tackle the 'class ceiling' so entrenched in our society. 

Introduction: stratification or exploitation, domination, dispossession and devaluation? (2015)

Author: Beverley Skeggs

Keywords: stratification, exploitation, GBCS, Bourdieu, domination, dispossession, devaluation, power, inequality 

Summary: This paper locates the Great British Class Survey (GBCS) papers on the elite, and their respondents, within a context that emphasizes a discussion about what is at state in doing sociological research on class. It draws attention to the differences between on the one hand status and stratification, and on the other class struggle perspectives. 

Long-term ill health and the social embeddedness of work: a study in a post-industrial, multi-ethnic locality in the UK (2014)

Authors: Kaveri Qureshi, Sarah Salway, Punita Chowbey and Lucinda Platt

Keywords: illness, work, incapacity, industrial restructuring, social embeddedness

Summary: Against the background of an increasingly individualising welfare-to-work regime, sociological studies of incapacity and health-related worklessness have called for an appreciation of the role of history and context in patterning individual experience. This article responds to that call by exploring the work experiences of long-term sick people in East London, a post-industrial, multi-ethnic locality. It demonstrates how the individual experiences of long-term sickness and work are embedded in social relations of class, generation, ethnicity and gender, which shape people's formal and informal routes to work protection, work-seeking practices and responses to worklessness

International Development, History & Relations

Is Extraction Bad? Ecomienda and Development in Colombia Since 1560 (2017)

Authors: Jean-Paul Faguet, Camilo Matarjira and Fabio Sánchez 

Keywords: Encomienda, forced labor, state capacity, extraction, colonialism, development, Colombia

Summary: This paper explores the impact of encomienda, a forced-labor institution imposed by the Spanish throughout Latin America during three centuries, on long-term development outcomes in Colombia.

The Paradox of Land Reform, Inequality and Local Development in Colombia (2017)

Authors: Jean-Paul Faguet, Fabio Sánchez and Marta-Juanita Villaveces 

Keywords: Land reform, inequality, development, latifundia, poverty, Colombia

Summary: Over two centuries, Colombia transferred vast quantities of land, mainly to landless peasants. And yet Colombia retains one of the highest concentrations of land ownership in the world. Why? This paper shows that land reform's effects are highly bimodal. Most of Colombia's 1100+ municipalities lack a landed elite. Here, rural properties grew larger, land inequality and dispersion fell, and development indicators improved. But in municipalities where such an elite does exist and landholding is highly concentrated, such positive effects are counteracted, resulting in smaller rural properties, greater dispersion, and lower levels of development.

Fiscal Policy and Spatial Inequality in Latin America and Beyond (2008)

Authors: Jean-Paul Faguet and Mahvish Shami

Keywords: fiscal policy, spatial inequality, Latin America

Summary: This paper studies the theoretical and empirical links between fiscal policy and spatial inequality, with a non-exclusive focus on Latin American countries. It examines why fiscal policies so often fail to have the ameliorative effects that theory predicts on spatial inequality and explores ways to make policy tools more effective.       

Welfare analysis of changing food prices: a nonparametric examination of rice policies in India (2015)

Authors: Ben Groom and Mehroosh Tak

Keywords: food price shock, India, rice, poverty, welfare analysis

Summary: This paper examines the welfare impact of the Indian government's rice price policies in the light of the global food crisis of 2007-08 using a nonparametric approach for regression and density estimation. The extent of welfare varied among different household types, as the poor in India are heterogenous in nature. 

The Tertiary Tilt: Education and Inequality in the Developing World (2014)

Author: Lloyd Gruber and Stephen Kosack 

Keywords: education, development, education spending, MDGs, inequality 

Summary: This paper claims that education is widely perceived to be a tonic for the rising inequality that often accompanies development, but most developing-country governments tilt their education spending toward higher education. This paper finds that in countries with high "tertiary-tilts," enrollment is associated a decade later with far higher inequality. 

Assessing the Impact of Social Mobilization: Nijera Kori and the Construction of Collective Capabilities in Rural Bangladesh (2014)

Authors: Naila Kabeer and Munshi Sulaiman

Keywords: impact assessment, microfinance, social mobilization, collective capabilities, NGOs, Bangladesh

Summary: While Bangladesh has a large and active development non-governmental organization sector, it has undergone a steady process of homogenization, turning from its early focus on social mobilization to a market-oriented service provision model, dominated by microfinance. This article explores the impacts associated with Nijera Kori, one of the few organizations that has retained a commitment to social mobilization, seeking to strengthen the collective capabilities of the poor men and women to protest injustice and demand their rights. The article uses a combination of qualitative and quantitative data to measure the political, economic and social impacts of the organization and to unpack the processes by which the observed changes have occurred.

Gender, poverty, and inequality: a brief history of feminist contributions in the field of international development (2015)

Author: Naila Kabeer

Keywords: poverty, inequality, gender, intersectionality, financial crisis, policy responses

Summary: This paper provides a brief history of feminist contributions to the analysis of gender, poverty, and inequality in the field of international development. It draws out the continuous threads running through these contributions over the years, as the focus has moved from micro-level analysis to a concern with macro-level forces. It concludes with a brief note on some of the confusions and conflations that continue to bedevil attempts to explore the relationship between gender, poverty, and inequality.

Leaving No One Behind?: Informal Economies, Economic, Inclusion and Islamic Extremism in Nigeria  (2015)

Author: Kate Meagher

Keywords: informal economy, inclusive markets, Nigeria, Boko Haram 

Summary: This article examines how the post-2015 commitment to economic inclusion affects informal economic actors in developing countries. It highlights the selective dynamics of inclusive market models that generate new processes of exclusion in which the most vulnerable continue to be left behind.

Will no one Plant a Tree in Indonesia? Yes, the Poor will, and on Islands not known for Their Forests: One such is Timor (2015)

Author: Roger Montgomery 

Keywords: poverty reduction, agriculture, Indonesia, development 

Summary: This paper explores an innovative approach to poverty reduction by the introduction of an agro-forestry variant of sustainable agricultural land technology among rural farming population of an upland district on the western half of Timor Island, East Nusa Tenggara.

Historical Origins of Uneven Service Supply in Sub-Saharan Africa. The Role of Non-State Providers (2014) 

Author: Frank-Borge Wietzke

Keywords: Sub-Saharan Africa, education, wellbeing

Summary: This paper claims that variations in non-state service provision are a relatively understudied dimension of wellbeing inequality in Sub-Saharan Africa. It studies long-term associations in Madagascar between nineteenth-century missionary education and the availability of private schools today. 

Climate Change & the Environment

Heat, Greed and Human Need (2017)

Author: Ian Gough

Keywords: climate change, social policy, sustainable wellbeing, sustainable development

Summary: This book builds an essential bridge between climate change and social policy. Combining ethics and human need theory with political economy and climate science, it offers a long-term, interdisciplinary analysis of the prospects for sustainable development and social justice. Beyond 'green growth' (which assumes an unprecedented rise in the emissions efficiency of production) it envisages two further policy stages vital for rich countries: a progressive 'recomposition' of consumption, and a post-growth ceiling on demand.