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New III Research Themes

Without care the global economy could not function, yet care is rarely recognised as a key economic driver of value.

Professor Beverley Skeggs

    

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Knowledge-based services account for an increasing proportion of the global economy, in which knowledge and skills are both productive inputs and tradeable services.

Professor David Soskice

We are moving to a new phase in our research programme where we are shifting to focus our research energies on a few specific themes where we can make a major contribution to the analysis of inequality and also support new strategies for political mobilisation and impact.

Message from III Director,  Professor Mike Savage

MikeSavage-couch

 

"I am leading a theme on Wealth, Elites and Tax Justice which allows me to bring together my long standing concern to relaunch the sociology of elites with economic analyses of wealth accumulation as a means of cross fertilising with political debates about tax justice and other pathways to ensuring a fair and sustainable distribution of wealth. III Research Director David Soskice will be building on his world leading expertise on skill development, democracy and segregation with a theme on Cities, Jobs and the Knowledge Economy. Our former AFSEE Academic Director, Beverley Skeggs, who remains affiliated with the III, will be leading a theme on Global Economies of Care – an issue where gender, racial and ethnic, and age inequalities can interlink in toxic ways. These themes are unpacked in the following pages: I encourage anyone with interests in these areas or ideas to share about how to develop them to make contact with us, and I look forward to welcoming many of you to our events and initiatives which will take them forward."

Full Director's welcome 

Research Themes 

Wealth, Elites and Tax Justice

This research theme will run from 2019 to 2021 with five different research clusters.

This theme will draw on the expertise of numerous LSE academics from different Departments, and from our international partners, including those in the global south. We have especially strong relationships in Africa with the African Centre for Excellence in Inequality Research, led by Murray Leibbrandt at UCT, and the Southern Centre for Inequality Studies at University of Witwatersrand which has a specific project on Intergenerational Wealth and Taxation. In South America we work closely the Chilean Centre for Social Conflict and Cohesion Studies (COES) who have a programme of research.


1. Measuring and conceptualising wealth inequality, including trends over time 

2. Global financial capitalism: offshore wealth and tax havens

3. Wealth and social mobility: meritocracy and the legitimation of inequality

4. Developing comparative studies of plutocratic elites

5. Overarching policy theme: tax justice

 Find out more about the theme here.

Cities, Jobs and the Knowledge Economy

This research theme will run from 2019 to 2021.

The information technology revolution has led to huge changes in society, reshaping social relationships, the type of work we do and patterns of consumption.  Knowledge-based services account for an increasing proportion of the global economy, in which knowledge and skills are both productive inputs and tradeable services.  In this changing economy many countries have seen a decline in mid-skill, mid-wage jobs, with polarisation between high skill, high pay employment and low skill, low pay (and often precarious) work.  There is an increasing divide between the experiences and prospects of those who enter the labour market as university graduates and those who do not, particularly sharp in low income countries with large informal labour markets.  

One striking feature of this new knowledge-biased labour market is its greater tendency to concentrate economic prosperity in selected locations. In high income countries the loss of industrial employment has been a feature of all major cities and towns, but the knowledge-based service economy has flourished in only a small number of these places. Other once-thriving urban areas are ‘left behind’, struggling to replace their historical economic purpose. As concentrations of skilled workers and high-wage industries in prosperous cities increasingly become the driver of national economic prosperity, geographic divides in education, employment opportunities, political attitudes and cultural values have been thrown into sharp relief. Discontent with this uneven geography of opportunity is manifest in the rise of populist politics across Europe and the United States, challenging the stability of democratic societies.

Our research theme ties together LSE academics who are interested in developing an internationally comparative, cross-disciplinary and multidimensional approach to these issues. We argue for a move away from the neo-classical economics framework which dominates policy-making, towards consideration of market failures and the importance of planning.  Other strands will investigate the institutional responses to technological change, such as the failure of education systems to meet the increased demand for high skilled labour and sub-optimal investment in research and development. We will engage quantitative and qualitative researchers to understand both broad economic processes and everyday lived experiences.  

Find out more about the theme here.

Global Economies of Care

This research theme will run from April 2019 to September 2021.

The inequalities problem this theme addresses is the global crisis in care. Without care the global economy could not function, yet care is rarely recognised as a key economic driver of value. Without care, workers would not be born, fed, educated and replenished. But care is not just a labour issue, not just caring for but also caring about. Care is about how we relate to others, the fundamental social relations that underpin our lives and survival. Caring is also intimately connected to the politics we get. We are currently experiencing a cruel, brutal age where children can be ripped from their mothers and caged. The care theme will examine different scales, spaces and experiences of care. From the increased financialisation of care provision by national states, to the increasing privatisations of welfare states, to distributions of care worker across the globe as a result of structural adjustment policies, to the conditions for formal and informal care, to family structures and moral duties. Care is the crisis of our times and this theme will insist that we pay close attention to its significance.

The theme involves LSE colleagues from the Departments of International Development, Law, Anthropology, Gender Studies and Social Policy.  

Find out more about the theme here.

 

Research Programmes in Partnership

III & Joseph Rowntree Foundation Research Programme

Improving the Evidence Base for Understanding the Links between Inequalities and Poverty                                                                                                                                Partnership with the Joseph Rowntree Foundation

This research aims to review the relationship between inequalities of various kinds and poverty. It will investigate areas such as the consequences of living in an unequal society for the lives of those in poverty; how people's prospects of social mobility are affected if parental resources are unequally distributed between families; the links between poverty, inequality and geographical and neighbourhood segregation; how inequality affects risks of poverty for different groups, such as by ethnicity, gender, disability and migration status; and the political and attitudinal effects of inequality for support (or otherwise) for effective collective action against poverty. 

Find out more about the programme here.

III & IGA-Rockefeller Research Programme

Challenging urban decline narratives: enhancing community resilience      Supported by the LSE Institute for Global Affairs and the Rockefeller Foundation

The III has been awarded funding for the project "Challenging urban decline narratives: enhancing community resilience" through the IGA's "Research and Impact Seed Fund", supported by the Rockefeller Foundation. The goal of this project is to develop an innovative synthesis of both political economy and narrative approaches to resilience, and to use this to understand different urban areas in England. 

Read more about the project here.

III & Marshall Institute Research Programme

Art, inequality and social change                                                                          Supported by the LSE Marshall Institute

This three-month project will consider the challenges to the art world, including public and private galleries, and museums, posed by intensifying social and economic inequalities. Contemporary art practices have sought to democratise artistic display over the past two decades, to limit the association with 'highbrow' culture to encourage diversity in artistic form, and to encourage a wider range of audiences to engage with art.

However, although democratising moves have been effective in several respects, there has been less attention to the way that the rise of the super-rich and the accumulation of wealth and capital might be an issue for artistic exploration and curation. Indeed, there is evidence that the contemporary art market is in fact dominated by the investment potential of art works for the super-rich, and hence becomes hooked into the arena of super-rich cultures which may affect the capacity of art to act as a critical public good. This is a matter of great public concern, especially as it could be associated with the renewal of cultural elitism to go alongside growing economic inequality.

To address this issue, the project will explore how the practices of curators and artists in a series of leading London galleries are aware of these challenges, and to bring to light their repertoires for relating to the challenge of accumulating inequality. A series of interviews will be conducted with curators of public and private art galleries, as well as with a number of artists exploring current social issues. This pilot project will take an important initial step which will prepare the way for a larger project, whilst also performing a much needed function in its own right.

Research Team

Professor Nicola Lacey

Kristina Kolbe

Professor Mike Savage

III & NORFACE - DIAL 

Populism, Inequality and Institutions                                                                          Teams from LSE, CReAM and SOFI 

By contrast to the politically-dominant view that populism is primarily a consequence of immigration, Populism, Inequality and Institutions (PII) investigates the argument that the underlying driver is lifetime shifts in economic inequality, caused by on-going economic transformation through technological change and import competition. The fundamental hypotheses are that the underlying dynamics of long-term economic structural transformation display similar patterns of change across advanced European countries. However, the pattern of populist attitudes may differ across countries, depending on how such long-term change can be mediated through institutions, education, retraining and upgrading; and how the effect of populist attitudes on politics is magnified via the configuration of electoral and party institutions. The researchers address these hypotheses in comparative analysis combining theory with unique administrative and life-course data, combining insights from economics and political science. Research examining these hypotheses should have a major impact on rethinking education and training strategies and on how labour markets work.

Teams and affiliations 

Professor David Soskice is leading the LSE team, Professor Uta Schönberg leads the Centre for Research and Analysis of Migration (CReAM), UCL team and Professor  Anders Björklun  leads the Swedish Institute for Social Research (SOFI), Stockholm University team. 

Read more about the project here.

III & Sutton Trust Research Programme

Pulling Away? A social analysis of economic ‘elites’ in the UK                        Supported by the Sutton Trust

This project will investigate whether British elites are pulling ahead, not just economically but also socially.  Economic research has demonstrated that the richest 1 per cent in terms of income in the UK have increased their relative advantage since the 1980s but we know less about whether their social mobility and self-identities are becoming more exclusive and hence whether there is a more general process of ‘elites pulling away’

Research Team

Dr Sam Friedman 

Dr Katharina Hecht (Researcher)

Professor Mike Savage

Analysing the Success of Local Wealth Building in the United Kingdom

This project will attempt to grapple with the rise of inequalities by collecting and examining examples of communities that have successfully challenged the processes that funnel wealth up and away from them. Where and when, how and why, have groups been able to stand up against the systems and patterns that systematically extract wealth from local communities? How have they managed to reverse them? What can be learned from these examples? How do we apply those lessons in other locations, under different conditions? 

The project will bring together a review of documented practices that have successfully challenged neoliberal models of accumulation and dispossession, including co-operative models, local wealth building strategies, housing cooperatives and examples of UBI (Universal Basic Income). It will then develop four in-depth ethnographic case studies of examples of successful practices, of realities that have managed to successfully deviate, and challenge, the dominant narrative of wealth extraction.

Research Team

Dr Luna Glucksberg 

Professor Mike Savage

Find out more about the project  here.

Measuring the Quality of Employment (QoE) in Middle Income Countries: British Academy Global Professorship Research Project

The III is hosting a British Academy Global Professorship for the project “Measuring the Quality of Employment (QoE) in Middle Income Countries”. The project started in March 2019 and extends until February 2023.

Research Team 

Professor Kirsten Sehnbruch, Distinguished Policy Fellow, III

Mauricio Apablaza, Universidad del Desarrollo, Santiago de Chile and Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative.

Veronica Arriagada, Universidad del Desarrollo, Santiago de Chile.  

Pablo Gonzalez, Director of the Centre for Public Systems, Faculty of Engineering, University of Chile

Rocio Mendez, MA student, University College London and Research Assistant, III

Joaquin Prieto, Research Officer, III

Find out more about the project  here.

 

Past Research

Research Innovation Fund projects

Since 2015, the III has been delighted to run competitions for LSE-based projects which would benefit from pump-priming support, and lead to larger externally funded projects in the future or other increased research activity in the School. Members of all departments and research centres are eligible to apply for these; we hope to hold a further competition in 2017. Those receiving support will be presenting their findings in future III seminars and/or in our working paper series.

Seven projects were successful and received funding in round one in 2015, for research taking place in the 2015-16 academic year (in some cases extending to 2016-17). Another seven projects received funding in round two (2016-17 academic year), as have seven additional projects in round three (2017-18 academic year).

Read about the different research projects here.

Ethnographic exploration of the socio-economic transformation of the Basque country

A collaboration with the Agirre Lehendakaria (ALC) at the Basque University

The III is collaborating with the ALC at the Basque University to carry out ethnographic interviews and contribute to the drafting of a report on the Basque case of socio-economic transformation.

Since the 1970s, the region has followed a very different development pattern compared to the rest of Europe, transforming from an impoverished area into a vibrant, successful region by embarking upon policies that privileged cooperative decison-making, community development, and crucially, large scale cooperatives and social enterprises. The motivation of this project is to understand the values, narratives and strategic decisions that have been taken in the Basque area by public and private institutions to build a socio-economic model that presents positive equality indicators combined with a competitive economy.

Research Team

Dr Luna Glucksberg 

Professor Mike Savage

 

LSE Research Centres 

Care Policy and Evaluation Centre (CPEC)

CPEC is a leading international research centre carrying out world-class research in the areas of long-term care (social care), mental health, developmental disabilities, and other health issues - across the life course - to inform and influence policy, practice, and theory globally. 

Visit the Care Policy and Evaluation Centre website.

Follow Care Policy and Evaluation Centre on Twitter.

Centre for Analysis of Social Exclusion (CASE)

The Centre for Analysis of Social Exclusion (CASE) examines different dimensions of social disadvantage and analyses the impact of public policy.

Visit the CASE website.

Follow CASE on Twitter.

Centre for Economic Performance (CEP)

The CEP is an interdisciplinary research centre at the LSE Research Laboratory. It was established by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) in 1990 and is now one of the leading economic research groups in Europe. 

The CEP studies the determinants of economic performance at the level of the company, the nation and the global economy by focusing on the major links between globalisation, technology and institutions (above all the educational system and the labour market) and their impact on productivity, inequality, employment, stability and wellbeing. 

Visit the CEP website.

Centre for the Study of Human Rights

The Centre for the Study of Human Rights at LSE is a trans-disciplinary centre of excellence for international academic research, teaching and critical scholarship on human rights.

Visit the Centre for the Study of Human Rights website.

Follow the Centre for the Study of Human Rights on Twitter.

Department of Anthropology Research Unit in Inequality and Poverty

The Inequality and Poverty Research Programme in the Department of Anthropology is dedicated to understanding the social relations through which some people are perpetually exploited, marginalized and subordinated, and to illuminating people’s creative and political responses to the conditions in which they find themselves.

Visit the Research Unit website.

Department of Gender Studies

The Department of Gender Studies (formerly known as the Gender Institute) was established in 1993 to address the major intellectual challenges posed by contemporary changes in gender relations. This remains a central aim of the Department today, which is the largest research and teaching unit of its kind in Europe.

Visit the Department of Gender Studies Website.

Follow Department of Gender Studies on Twitter.

Firoz Lalji Centre for Africa

Based at LSE, the Firoz Lalji Centre for Africa promotes independent academic research and teaching; open and issue-oriented debate; and evidence-based policy making. The Centre connects different social science disciplines and works in partnership with Africa to bring African voices to the global debate.

Visit the Firoz Lalji Centre for Africa Website.

Follow Firoz Lalji Centre for Africa on Twitter. 

Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment

The Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment was established by LSE in 2008 to create a world-leading centre for policy-relevant research and training on climate change and the environment, bringing together international expertise on economics, finance, geography, the environment, international development and political economy.

Visit the Grantham Research Institute Website.

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LSE Cities

Extending LSE's century-old commitment to the understanding of urban society, LSE Cities investigates how complex urban systems are responding to the pressures of growth, change and globalisation, with new infrastructures of design and governance that both complement and threaten social and environmental equity. 

Our mission is to study how people and cities interact in a rapidly urbanising world, focussing on how the design of cities impacts on society, culture and the environment.

View the LSE Cities website.

LSE Health and Social Care

The Centre's mission is the production and dissemination of high quality research and policy analysis in health and social care.

Visit the LSE Health and Social Care website.

LSE Latin America and Caribbean Centre

The Centre supports the research of faculty from nearly every department across the School whose research is principally focussed on or relevant to the region. Research expertise covers themes on which Latin America and the Caribbean has been at the forefront of the social sciences and humanities such as democratisation, citizenship and human rights, decentralisation and governance, violence, inequality and inclusionary initiatives for women, indigenous groups and youth. 

Visit the Latin America and Caribbean Centre Website.

Follow the Latin America and Caribbean Centre on Twitter.

LSE South Asia Centre

A Centre devoted to the study of South Asia will provide a platform from which to launch a coordinated and sustained engagement with the region.

More than 70 LSE academics currently work on South Asia, seeking innovative solutions to the region’s economic, demographic, and development challenges.

The South Asia Centre will lead the School’s long-term engagement with South Asia by facilitating multi-disciplinary approaches and comparative research by LSE academics.

Visit the South Asia Centre Website.

Follow the South Asia Centre on Twitter.

LSE United States Centre

The LSE's United States Centre is a hub for global expertise, analysis and commentary on America. Our mission is to promote policy-relevant and internationally-oriented scholarship to meet the growing demand for fresh analysis and critical debate on the United States.

Visit the United States Centre Website.

Follow the United States Centre on Twitter.