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Inequalities Seminar Series

The Inequalities Seminar Series at the International Inequalities Institute is a venue for scholars from LSE and beyond to present their innovative work on social and economic inequality. The series builds on the recently renewed interest of the social sciences for issues of income and wealth inequality. It is also a place for exploring fresh perspectives on the various structural and cultural processes that underlie the formation of inequality broadly defined.

The series is co-sponsored by the Department of Sociology and organized by Dr Fabien Accominotti and Dr Aaron Reeves. It is part funded through Prof Mike Savage's ESRC professorial fellowship funds.

All talks are held on Tuesdays from 12.30-1.45pm in Tower 2, 9th Floor, Room 9.05. Buffet lunch will be served at 12pm. The seminars are open and free to all.

Video recordings of past seminars

Addressing recognition gaps: destigmatization processes and the making of inequality

Speaker: Professor Michèle Lamont (Harvard University) 

Tues 7th March, TW2 9.05, 12.30-1.45pm

This talk brought together three lines of research focused on destigmatization processes (as they pertain to African Americans, people with HIV-AIDs, and the obese); cultural processes feeding into inequality; and recognition gaps experienced by white working-class men in the United States and France, and stigmatized groups in Brazil, Israel, and the United States. From these studies, Michèle Lamont proposed an agenda for the empirical analysis of recognition, which she views as an essential but largely missing dimension to the study of inequality.

Older peoples' experiences of dignity and nutritional support during hospital stays

Speaker: Dr Polly Vizard (LSE CASE)

Tues 21st Feb, TW 9.05, 12.30-1.45pm

Concern about older people's experiences of healthcare has moved up the political and public policy agendas in the wake of the Independent and Public Inquiries into Mid-Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust. However, quantitative analysis of the available patient experience data remains limited and the statistical evidence base on inequalities even more so. In this talk, Dr Polly Vizard presented findings from a new study that provides in-depth nationally representative quantitative evidence on older people’s experiences of poor and inconsistent standards of treatment with dignity and respect, and support with eating, during hospital stays using the Adult Inpatient Survey. The study highlights how older age interacts with gender and disability as a driver of inpatient experience, considers the role of socio-economic disadvantage, and makes specific recommendations on how to build inequalities analysis into national frameworks for healthcare monitoring, inspection and regulation.

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Regional Inequality and Preferences for Market-Promoting Land Law Reform: Kenya Pilot Study

Speaker: Professor Catherine Boone (LSE Departments of Government and International Development)

Tues 31st Jan, TW2. 9.05, 12.30-1.45pm

This seminar was based on a project that, leveraging the results of an III-supported pilot project on land law reform in Kenya since 2013, seeks to understand the effects of spatial (regional) inequalities on political struggles over the commodification of land in African countries. Catherine Boone frames the problem of land law reform as one of redistributive politics in territorially-fragmented polities and develops an analytic strategy that draws upon research on the politics of social entitlements in developed and developing countries.

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Catherine Boone seminar

Who are the Global Top 1%?

Speaker: Dr Paul Segal (Senior Lecturer in Economics at Kings College London, Visiting Fellow at the III)

Tues 17th Jan, TW2. 9.05, 12.30-1.45pm

This seminar presented findings from the paper with the same title, representing the first in-depth analysis of the changing composition of the global rich and the rising representation of developing countries at the top of the global distribution. The authors construct global distributions of income between 1988 and 2012 based on both household surveys and the new top incomes data derived from tax records, in order to capture the rich who are typically excluded from household surveys. They find that the representation of developing countries in the global top 1% declined until about 2002, but that since 2005 it has risen significantly. This coincides with a salient decline in global inequality since 2005, according to a range of measures. The authors compare their estimates of the country-composition and income levels of the global rich with a number of other sources – including Credit Suisse’s estimates of global wealth, the Forbes World Billionaires List, attendees of the World Economic Forum, and estimates of top executives’ salaries. To varying degrees, all show a rise in the representation of the developing world in the ranks of the global elite.

Paul Segal is a Visiting Fellow at the LSE III and Senior Lecturer in Economics at the Department of International Development, King's College London. He has written on global inequality and poverty, where he pioneered the use of the new top incomes data in analysing the global distribution of income. He has also written on the economics of resource revenues and their potential role in inequality and poverty reduction. He is currently working on the determinants of inequality and wages in Mexico since 1800, and on the political economy of income distribution in Argentina over the 20th century. For 2017 he is on a Leverhulme Research Fellowship working on new approaches to economic inequality.

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The Organizational Production of Earnings Inequalities

Speaker: Prof Donald Tomaskovic-Devey (UMASS)

Organisations raise capital, hire, produce, sell and distribute surplus, generating the initial distributions of income from which all other income inequalities follow. But what drives workplace inequality levels and trends? In this presentation, Donald Tomaskovic-Devey introduced the idea of organisations as income distribution devices, followed by a broad descriptive analysis of workplace earnings inequalities levels and trends from the early 1990s to the present for ten countries. The key lesson is that inequality levels and trends vary greatly between institutional contexts. He will follow with a more in-depth, casual analysis of what drives within and between workplace earnings inequalities in Germany.

Donald Tomaskovic-Devey studies the processes that generate workplace inequality. He has projects on the impact of financialization upon U.S. income distribution, workplace desegregation and equal opportunity, network models of labor market structure, and relational inequality as a theoretical and empirical project. His long-term agenda is to work with others to move the social science of inequality to a more fully relational and organizational stance.

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