2019 1

2019 Events

Role Playing Racism: history teaching and the limits of experiential learning
Seminar Series on Migration Ethnicity and Race

Wednesday 11th December 2019, 1 to 2pm, CBG 11.13

Speaker: Dr Chana Teeger (Assistant Professor in the Department of Methodology)

Chair: Dr Susanne Wessendorf (Assistant Professorial Research Fellow, International Inequalities Institute)

This paper points to the limits of experiential learning when dealing with issues of racism and discrimination. Drawing on fieldwork conducted in a racially diverse South African high school, I document how teachers employed simulations and role playing exercises to teach about apartheid. Teachers argued that these would help build historical empathy. However, not only did the simulations fail to capture the actual costs of being black—or the privileges of being white— during apartheid, but they also reinforced the notion that racial stratification was separate and distinct from students’ current situations. Through the simulations, apartheid was presented as a system that has no legacy. Connections were not drawn between the past system and the present context, which students might recognize as real and familiar. The simulations thus ironically served to delegitimize black students’ claims about ongoing racism at school and in the broader society.

Dr Chana Teeger is an assistant professor in the Department of Methodology at the London School of Economics. She completed her PhD in Sociology at Harvard University. Prior to joining the LSE, she held a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Johannesburg. Her research broadly examines how individuals make sense of inequality and has appeared in venues such as the American Sociological ReviewSociology of Education, and Social Forces. She is currently working on a book manuscript that documents how the history of apartheid is taught to—and understood by—young South Africans. 

Twitter Hashtag for this event: #LSEMigration

Role Playing Racism: history teaching and the limits of experiential learning

Seminar Series on Migration Ethnicity and Race

Wednesday 11th December 2019, 1 to 2pm, CBG 11.13

Speaker: Dr Chana Teeger (Assistant Professor in the Department of Methodology)

Chair: Dr Susanne Wessendorf (Assistant Professorial Research Fellow, International Inequalities Institute)

This paper points to the limits of experiential learning when dealing with issues of racism and discrimination. Drawing on fieldwork conducted in a racially diverse South African high school, I document how teachers employed simulations and role playing exercises to teach about apartheid. Teachers argued that these would help build historical empathy. However, not only did the simulations fail to capture the actual costs of being black—or the privileges of being white— during apartheid, but they also reinforced the notion that racial stratification was separate and distinct from students’ current situations. Through the simulations, apartheid was presented as a system that has no legacy. Connections were not drawn between the past system and the present context, which students might recognize as real and familiar. The simulations thus ironically served to delegitimize black students’ claims about ongoing racism at school and in the broader society.

Dr Chana Teeger is an assistant professor in the Department of Methodology at the London School of Economics. She completed her PhD in Sociology at Harvard University. Prior to joining the LSE, she held a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Johannesburg. Her research broadly examines how individuals make sense of inequality and has appeared in venues such as the American Sociological ReviewSociology of Education, and Social Forces. She is currently working on a book manuscript that documents how the history of apartheid is taught to—and understood by—young South Africans. 

Twitter Hashtag for this event: #LSEMigration

Understanding Chilean unrest: Inequalities, social conflict and political change in contemporary Chile

Public Event

Thursday 28th November 2019, 6.30 to 8pm, Hong Kong Theatre

Speakers: Professor Emmanuelle Barozet (Full Professor at the University of Chile and Associate Researcher of the COES), Dr Juan Carlos Castillo (Associate Professor at the University of Chile and Subdirector of the COES), Dr Diana Kruger (Associate Professor at Adolfo Ibañez University and Associate Researcher of the COES)

ChairProfessor Kirsten Sehnbruch (British Academy Global Professor and Distinguished Policy Fellow, International Inequalities Institute, LSE)

Why has Chile been experiencing its larger protests since the return to democracy? What is behind the demands of its citizens?

It’s been just over a month of continuous protests in Chile. What began as a challenge to metro fare hikes has become a general outcry, questioning structural inequalities in Chile. Traditionally perceived as the most stable country in the Latin American region, Chile is now challenging the way its model has worked in the last 40 years. From how education, housing, pensions, or health services operate, to even change the current constitution inherited from Augusto Pinochet’s dictatorship (1973-1990). Drawing from the researched done by COES, this discussion will examine the causes and consequences of the recent protests, as well as possible routes ahead.

Kirsten Sehnbruch (@KirstenSehn) is British Academy Global Professor and Distinguished Policy Fellow at the International Inequalities Institute, LSE.

Emmanuelle Barozet is a Full Professor at the University of Chile and Associate Researcher of the COES.

Juan Carlos Castillo is an Associate Professor at the University of Chile and Subdirector of the COES.

Diana Kruger is an Associate Professor at Adolfo Ibañez University and Associate Researcher of the COES.

Twitter Hashtag for this event: #LSEKnowledge.

Download the slides.

Precarious Refuge: ethnonationalism and the politics of housing refugees

Seminar Series on Migration Ethnicity and Race

Wednesday 27th November, 1 to 2pm, CBG 11.13

Speaker: Dr Romola Sanyal (Urban Geography, LSE)

Chair: Dr Susanne Wessendorf (Assistant Professorial Research Fellow, International Inequalities Institute)

The idea of refuge is an inherently geographical one- a shelter from danger or distress, a place of protection. It is also imbued with a certain temporality- the expectation that such shelter will be temporary and those who seek it will eventually leave. Such assumptions carry into contemporary approaches and attitudes towards displaced persons. Although encouraged to provide them with a range of rights from shelter to employment, health and education, few countries around the world offer these to displaced persons, especially in countries with limited resources or where citizens themselves are unable to access these basic services. As crises become more protracted, the inability to access appropriate employment, to gain property rights all affect the ability of displaced people to achieve meaningful and dignified futures. Instead they inhabit a precarious present. Restricting access to such rights becomes a way for host states to delineate between citizens and the ‘other’ often using or creating ethnic and national distinctions. In this talk I examine how housing becomes intertwined with ethnonationalism and becomes a means of producing cleavages between stateless people, refugees on the one hand and citizens on the other and how local communities participate and challenge such narratives.

Dr Romola Sanyal is Associate Professor in Urban Geography at the LSE. Her work focuses on forced migration and urbanization. She has worked primarily in the Middle East and South Asia. She has published numerous articles on the topic across different disciplinary journals including Geography, Planning and Sociology. She is the co-editor (with Dr Renu Desai) of Urbanizing Citizenship: Contested Spaces in Indian Cities (Sage 2011) and has a forthcoming co-edited book with Dr Silvia Pasquetti titled Displacement: Global Conversations on Refuge (Manchester University Press). She is currently working on a research project on Humanitarian Urbanism studying the production of urban policy making amongst humanitarian actors. 

Twitter Hashtag for this event: #LSEMigration

Looking at Labour Markets from a Multidimensional Perspective: the quality of employment in South America

Public Event

Tuesday 19th November, 6.30 to 8.00pm, Hong Kong Theatre, Clement House

Speaker: Professor Kirsten Sehnbruch (Distinguished Policy Fellow at the International Inequalities Institute)

Discussant: Professor Andrés Velasco (Dean of the School of Public Policy at LSE)

Chair: Professor Stephen Machin (Professor of Economics and Director of Centre for Economic Performance)

This event discusses a multidimensional methodology for measuring the quality of employment from the perspective of the capability approach that can be used to complement traditional measures of labour market performance such as participation or unemployment rates. The results can usefully inform public policymakers in developing countries to help them identify the most vulnerable workers and design social and labour policies accordingly.

Professor Kirsten Sehnbruch (@KirstenSehn) is British Academy Global Professor and Distinguished Policy Fellow at the International Inequalities Institute, LSE.

Professor Andrés Velasco is Dean of the School of Public Policy at LSE

Professor Stephen Machin is Professor of Economics at LSE and Director of Centre for Economic Performance.

Twitter Hashtag for this event: #LSEKnowledge

Who Cares in a Shrinking State? Responsibility and Respectability Reconsidered

Inequalities Seminar Series

Tuesday 19th November 2019, 12.30 to 4.00pm (12.30-1.45 & a further workshop from 2.15 til 4pm), FAW 9.05

Speakers: Professor Mary Evans (Mary Evans is LSE Centennial Professor at the Department of Gender Studies) and Dr Insa Koch (Associate Professor of Law, LSE Law).

Chair: Professor Beverley Skeggs (III Research Theme Convenor and AFSEE Academic Advisor International Inequalities Institute), 

As the state in the UK shrinks its responsibility for social care who will provide for the children, the elderly, the less able and those who need care. You may have heard about the “care sandwich” as mothers have to give up work to care for their elderly family members as well as their very young family members and in between the sandwich of young and old is all the regular car that they disperse daily. We used to talk about women’s double burden of domestic and paid work, but this has extended radically. Not only are many women subject to a “triple whammy” through austerity cuts to supportive benefits, with BME women hit the hardest, they now have many more responsibilities as state services in education and health are also cut, and what was once part of the welfare state becomes “women’s work” once more. In this seminar Dr Insa Koch will discuss the nature of the shrinking state, drawing on the impact of the shrinking state on local populations from her empirical study, in the UK published as Personalizing the State: An Anthropology of Law, Politics, and Welfare in Austerity Britain. Professor Mary Evans who is undertaking a project on the nature of respectability. Mary asks “who is responsible?” and how? , what forms of deserving and undeserving distinctions are drawn between women when the state abdicates its responsibility. The event will be chaired by Professor Beverley Skeggs, academic advisor to the III Global Economies of Care research theme and she will be joined by the “Care Collective”, a research group that aims to generate new challenges to the current caring politics. The lunchtime seminar will be followed by a meeting of the research theme to which people are also invited.

Twitter Hashtag for this event: #LSECare

Beyond the Borders of the Welfare State: civil society responses to the migration crisis in Greece

Seminar Series on Migration Ethnicity and Race

Wednesday 13th November, 1 to 2pm, FAW 9.05

Speaker: Dr Isabel Shutes (Department of Social Policy, LSE)

Chair: Dr Susanne Wessendorf (Assistant Professorial Research Fellow, International Inequalities Institute)

The presentation draws on research carried out with Armine Ishkanian on civil society responses to the migration crisis in Greece. It forms one of two papers based on this research (the other will be presented in this seminar series in Lent Term).

The paper examines how transnational practices to meet the needs of people on the move emerge in relation to state systems for governing migration and welfare, focusing on the experiences of civil society actors in Greece in the context of the migration crisis. The movement of people across nation-state borders has brought about increasing attention to the transnational dimensions of welfare, including strategies for meeting the needs of people on the move. However, there has been limited attention to the experiences of the different actors engaged in these processes, including civil society. At the same time, approaches to understanding the transnational have tended to focus on activities across the territorial borders of one state and another. The ways in which transnational practices take shape in relation to the nation-state has been underexplored. The paper draws on the findings of interviews with people engaged in different types of civil society organisations and activities in Greece during and since the 2015 period of the migration crisis. Transnational practices to meet the needs of people on the move in this context can be understood as working within the framework of the nation-state as well as attempting to counter that framework in relation to migration and welfare. Concurrently, civil society actions were, in part, experienced as a crisis of the state in failing to address the needs of both mobile and non-mobile populations. 

Isabel Shutes is an Associate Professor in the Department of Social Policy at LSE. Her research examines the interactions of migration and social policies; social divisions and inequalities relating to citizenship and immigration status, and the implications for access to and experiences of work, care and social provision. Her research engages with different actors in migration and social policy processes, including state and civil society actors, and different groups of mobile people. 

Twitter Hashtag for this event: #LSEMigration

Superstar Cities and Left-behind Places: A long-run perspective on U.S. interregional inequality

Inequalities Seminar Series

Tuesday 29th October 2019, 12.30 to 1.45pm, FAW 9.05

Speaker: Dr Tom Kemeny (Visiting Fellow at the LSE International Inequalities Institute)

Around 1980, interregional income inequality in the US began to grow, as it did in a wide range of other countries. In the US, some people moved to opportunity, newly concentrated in a limited subset of urbanized locations, but overall migration rates shrunk. As a consequence, many Americans have become stuck in places that offer few opportunities. This shift is economically important, and it also appears to be related to the recent upsurge in populist politics. And yet divergence is not a constant or necessary feature of the space-economy. Indeed, it strongly contrasts with patterns experienced during the mid-20th century, where people were more mobile and gaps between places diminished. And partly because many of our core theories of urban growth and change are premised on the record of this earlier period, we face real challenges to explain what we see today, and to design policies that address the fallout. All of this points to an urgent need to (a) better understand the current moment, and in light of this (b) retheorize urban growth. In my talk, I will attempt to do both.  I will propose a ‘structural’ theory featuring regular, alternating patterns of convergence and divergence. Major, disruptive technology shocks – or industrial revolutions – regulate this ‘wave’ pattern, increasing the gaps between places, and then later diminishing them. I will sketch mechanisms that could generate these facts, and provide descriptive evidence in support of these ideas by analyzing information on US regional economies since 1860.

Twitter Hashtag for this event: #LSEKnowledge.

Listen to the podcast episode.

Download the slides.

Unbound: How Inequality Constricts Our Economy and What We Can Do About It

Public Event

Friday 8th November 2019, 6.30 to 8pm, Old Theatre

Speaker: Heather Boushey (President of the Washington Center for Equitable Growth and former Chief Economist for Hillary Clinton)

Chair: Dr Tahnee Ooms (Researcher, III)

Do we have to choose between equality and prosperity? Many think that reducing economic inequality would require such heavy-handed interference with market forces that it would stifle economic growth. Heather Boushey, one of Washington’s most influential economic voices, insists nothing could be further from the truth. Presenting cutting-edge economics with journalistic verve, she shows how rising inequality has become a drag on growth and an impediment to a competitive United States marketplace for employers and employees alike.

Boushey makes this case with a clear, accessible tour of the best of contemporary economic research, while also injecting a passion for her subject gained through years of research into the economics of work–life conflict and policy work in the trenches of federal government. Unbound exposes deep problems in the U.S. economy, but its conclusion is optimistic. We can preserve the best of our nation’s economic and political traditions, and improve on them, by pursuing policies that reduce inequality—and by doing so, boost broadly shared economic growth.

Heather Boushey (@HBoushey) is President and CEO of the Washington Center for Equitable Growth and former Chief Economist on Hillary Clinton’s transition team. She is the author of Finding Time: The Economics of Work-Life Conflict and coeditor of After Piketty: The Agenda for Economics and Inequality (both from Harvard). The New York Times has called Boushey one of the “most vibrant voices in the field” and Politico twice named her one of the top 50 “thinkers, doers, and visionaries transforming American politics.”

Dr Tahnee Ooms is a researcher at the International Inequalities Institute working on the research theme 'Wealth, Elites and Tax Justice' led by III Director Prof Mike Savage. Her research focusses on how capital incomes feed back into rising overall income and wealth inequality, with a specific focus on the measurement of economic inequality using quantitative methods

Twitter Hashtag for this event: #LSEWealth

Watch a video of the lecture.

Building a World Fit for Future Generations

Public Event

Tuesday 29th October 2019, 7.00pm to 8.45pm, London School of Economics (venue TBC to ticket-holders)

Speakers include: Dr Gro Harlem Brundtland (former prime minister of Norway and member of The Elders)
Juan Manuel Santos Calderón (former president of Colombia and member of The Elders)
Danny Sriskandarajah (CEO of Oxfam GB)
Dame Minouche Shafik (Director, London School of Economics)
Madhumitha Ardhanari (Atlantic Fellows for Social and Economic Equity)
Tanya Charles (Atlantic Fellows for Social and Economic Equity)
Anjali Sarker (Atlantic Fellows for Social and Economic Equity)
Rukia Lumumba (Atlantic Fellows for Racial Equity)

Join Atlantic Fellows for Social and Economic Equity and The NewNow as we explore how this generation of grassroots leaders are tackling our challenges through collective purpose, changing culture and policy, and how leaders from across the generations can support and amplify them.

This evening of conversation and insight will feature discussion panels on the subjects of climate change, gender equity and digital inclusion. 

Twitter Hashtag for this event: #LSERisingGenerations

Imagine All The People: literature, society and cross-national variation in education systems

Public Event

Monday 28th October 2019, 6.30 to 8pm, Sheikh Zayed Theatre 

Speaker: Professor Cathie-Jo Martin (Professor at Boston University and Director, BU Center for the Study of Europe)

Chair: Professor David Soskice (Professor of Political Science and Economics and Fellow of the British Academy Department of Government and III Research Theme Convenor)

Differences in literary narratives about education, the individual, and society influence education policy choices in Britain and Denmark. British narratives helped to construct an individualistic educational culture (initially for upper- and middle-class youth) by portraying schooling as essential to individual self-development. Re-formers later sought general, rather than vocational, secondary schools to assure equality of educational opportunity across classes. Conversely, Danish narratives nurtured a collectivist educational culture that posited schooling as crucial for building a strong society. Early mass education constituted social investment, and differentiation of secondary education tracks was necessary to meet diverse societal needs.

Writers are political agents in this story. They collectively debate is-sues in their works and thereby convey their views to political leaders in predemocratic regimes prior to reform episodes. They rework cultural symbols and themes from an earlier age to address new challenges, and embed assumptions about education, the individual, and society in their stories. Authors’ narratives contribute to cognitive frames about social and economic problems and help other elites to formulate preferences regarding education options. Fiction is particularly well-suited to imbuing issues with emotional salience, as readers are moved by the suffering and triumphs of protagonists in ways that scholarly essays find difficult to achieve. Thus fiction may enhance the emotional commitment to schooling and influence assessments of marginal groups. Writers’ depictions are not deterministic, but like political policy legacies, the cultural touchstones of these created worlds constrain political institutional development.

Twitter Hashtag for this event: #LSEKnowledge.

Watch a video of the public lecture.

Listen to the podcast episode.

Download the slides.

Capitalism, Alone: the future of the system that rules the world

Public Event

Wednesday 23rd October 2019, 6.30pm to 8.00pm, Old Theatre 

Speaker: Professor Branko Milanovic (Visiting Presidential Professor and LIS Senior Scholar at the Graduate Center, City University of New York)

Chair: Minouche Shafik (Director of LSE)

We are all capitalists now. For the first time in human history, the globe is dominated by one economic system. In his book Capitalism, Alone, which he will discuss in this lecture, economist Branko Milanovic explains the reasons for this decisive historical shift since the days of feudalism and, later, communism.

Surveying the varieties of capitalism, he asks: What are the prospects for a fairer world now that capitalism is the only game in town? His conclusions are sobering, but not fatalistic. Branko Milanovic explains how capitalism gets much wrong, but also much right—and it is not going anywhere. Our task is to improve it.

Branko Milanovic (@BrankoMilan) is Visiting Presidential Professor and LIS Senior Scholar at the Graduate Center, City University of New York. He will join the International Inequalities Institute at LSE in 2020 as Centennial Professor.

Minouche Shafik is Director of the London School of Economics and Political Science. Prior to this she was Deputy Governor of the Bank of England. An economist by training, Dame Minouche Shafik has spent most of her career straddling the worlds of public policy and academia. After completing her BSc in economics and politics at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst, she took an MSc in economics at LSE before completing a DPhil in economics at St Antony’s College at the University of Oxford. 

Watch a video of the lecture.

Listen to the podcast episode.

Download the slides.

Collective Remittances and Mobilisation against crime in Mexico

Seminar Series on Migration Ethnicity and Race

Wednesday 16th October, 1 to 2pm, CBG 11.13

Covadonga Meseguer (LSE & ICADE)

Between Communism and Capitalism: long-term inequality in Poland, 1892-2015
Inequalities Seminar Series

Tuesday 15th October, 12.30 to 1.45pm, FAW 9.05

Speaker: Pawel Bukowski (Research Officer, LSE)

How has Polish inequality evolved between communism and capitalism to reach one of the highest levels in Europe today? To address this question, we construct the first series on the long-term distribution of income in Poland by combining tax, household survey and national accounts data. We document a U-shaped evolution of inequalities from the end of the 19th century until today: (i) inequality was high before WWII; (ii) abruptly fell after the introduction of communism in 1947 and stagnated at low levels during the whole communist period; (iii) experienced a sharp rise with the return to capitalism in 1989. Between 1989 and 2015 the top 10% income share increased from 23% to 35% and the top 1% income share from 4% to 13%. Frequently quoted Poland’s transition success has largely benefited top income groups.

We find that inequality was high in the first half of the 20th century due to strong concentration of capital income at the top of the distribution. The secular fall after WW2 was largely to a combination of capital income shocks from war destructions with communist policies both eliminating private ownership and forcing wage compression. The rise of inequality after the return to capitalism in the early 1990s was induced both by the rise of top labour and capital incomes. We attribute this to labour market liberalisation and privatisation. However, the strong rise in inequality in the 2000s was driven solely by the increase in top capital incomes, which is likely related to current globalization forces. Yet overall, the unique Polish inequality history speaks about the central role of policies and institutions in shaping inequality in the long run.

Listen to the podcast episode.

Parents, Poverty and the State  

Public Event

10th October, 6.30pm to 8.00pm, Hong Kong Theatre, Clement House

Speakers: Naomi Eisenstadt (Visiting Senior Fellow at the International Inequalities Institute), Carey Oppenheim (Visiting Senior Fellow at the International Inequalities Institute), Ryan Shorthouse (Director of Bright Blue) Matthew Taylor (Chief Exec of RSA)

Chair: Professor John Hills (Richard Titmuss Professor of Social Policy)

What do children need from parents, how is poverty a barrier to meeting needs, and what has Government done – and should do – about it?

Naomi Eisenstadt and Carey Oppenheim explore the radical changes in public attitudes and public policy concerning parents and parenting. Drawing on research and their extensive experience of working at senior levels of government, the authors of this new book, Parents, Poverty and the State: 20 Years of Evolving Family Policy, challenge expectations about what parenting policy on its own can deliver.

Naomi Eisenstadt is Visiting Senior Fellow at the International Inequalities Institute, LSE. Naomi is currently deputy chair of the Poverty and Inequality Commission for Scotland. She has recently published Life Chances of Young People in Scotland for the Scottish Government and in January 2016 published Shifting the Curve, identifying fifteen recommendations that could significantly reduce poverty in Scotland. After a long career in the NGO sector, in 1999 Naomi became the first Director of the Sure Start Unit. The Unit was responsible for delivering the British Government’s commitment to free nursery education places for all three and four year olds, the national childcare strategy, and Sure Start, a major programme aiming to reduce the gap in outcomes between children living in disadvantaged areas and the wider child population. After Sure Start, Naomi spent 3 years as the Director of the Social Exclusion Task Force working across government to identify and promote policies to address the needs of traditionally excluded groups.

Carey Oppenheim (@CareyOppenheim) is Visiting Senior Fellow at the International Inequalities Institute, LSE. She is also an independent consultant. She recently stepped down from her role as the first Chief Executive of the Early Intervention Foundation (EIF), a charity and What Works Evidence Centre. She is now an associate of the EIF. Her previous roles include being Co-director of the Institute of Public Policy Research between 2007-2010.  She was Special Advisor to the former Prime Minister, Tony Blair MP, in the Number 10 Policy Unit between 2000 and 2005. She worked closely with Ministers, civil servants and stakeholders on child poverty and children’s rights, work-life balance, social security and employment policy. Carey is an alumna of LSE.

Ryan Shorthouse (@RyanShorthouse) is the Founder and Chief Executive of Bright Blue. He founded the organisation in 2010 and finally became the full-time Chief Executive at the start of 2014. Ryan’s research focuses on education and social policy. Many of his policy ideas have been adopted by the UK Government over the past decade. He appears regularly in the national press and broadcast media.

Matthew Taylor (@RSAMatthew) has been Chief Executive of the RSA since November 2006. In July 2017 Matthew published the report ‘Good Work’; an independent review into modern employment, commissioned by the UK Prime Minister. Matthew’s previous roles include Chief Adviser on Political Strategy to the Prime Minister, and Chief Executive of the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR), the UK’s leading left of centre think tank. Matthew is a regular media performer, having presented several Radio Four documentaries, and is a panellist on the programme Moral Maze. He is Senior Editor of the Thames & Hudson Big Ideas series.

Professor John Hills is Chair of CASE and Richard Titmuss Professor of Social Policy at LSE.

This event is hosted with the support of the Joseph Rowntree Foundation and held as part of the new III research theme Economies of Global Care, led by Professor Beverley Skeggs.

Twitter Hashtag for this event: #LSECare

Listen to the podcast episode.

Watch the lecture.

Download the slides.

Combatting Inequality: tackling unfairness in wealth, jobs and care
Public Event

7th October, 6.30pm to 8.00pm, Sheikh Zayed Theatre, New Academic Building

Speakers: Professor Mike Savage (Director, International Inequalities Institute, III Research Theme Convenor), Professor Beverley Skeggs (III Research Theme Convenor and AFSEE Academic Advisor), Professor David Soskice (III Research Theme Convenor, School Professor of Political Science and Economics) 

Chair: Professor Ellen Helsper (Professor in Digital Inequalities, Department of Media and Communications, LSE)

The III is celebrating its fourth year of work by launching three new themes which focus our work in the areas where we see the issue of inequality debate taking on new intensity and importance. The three theme leaders will each introduce their themes and explain their importance, leading to a panel discussion. Mike Savage will lay out how analyses of inequality require us to engage with wealth as well as income inequality, and how this points to the power of elites. Beverley Skeggs will reflect on how care work is a crucial part of the global economy, and how inequalities of race, gender and class are bound up with its global chains. David Soskice will discuss how cities are becoming central loci of inequality and how we need to understand better how processes of segregation are related to transformations in the knowledge economy. This event will therefore introduce the future work of the III and will be a great opportunity to learn more about the gravity of inequality challenges today. 

Plunder of the Commons: a manifesto for sharing public wealth

Public Event

2nd October, 6.30pm to 8.00pm, Sheikh Zayed Theatre, New Academic Building

Speaker: Professor Guy Standing (Professorial Research Associate at SOAS)

Discussants: Rt Hon David Lammy MP, Rt Hon Caroline Lucas MP

Chair: Professor Mike Savage (Director, International Inequalities Institute, LSE)

Accelerated by Margaret Thatcher and then even more so in the austerity era, our Commons have been depleted illegitimately. The commons belong to all commoners, and include the natural resources, inherited social amenities and services, our cultural inheritance, the institutions of civil common law and the knowledge commons. The rights of commoners were first established in the Magna Carta and the Charter of the Forest in 1217.

This presentation will draw on a new book to show how all forms of commons have been taken in the neo-liberal era, through enclosure, commodification, privatisation and, most shockingly, colonisation. It will highlight how this has increased inequality. It will conclude by outlining the key components of a 44-Article Charter of the Commons that could be an integrated part of an ecologically progressive politics in Britain and elsewhere.      

Guy Standing is Professorial Research Associate, SOAS, and a founder and co-President of BIEN. His new book is Plunder of the Commons: A Manifesto for Sharing Public Wealth

David Lammy (@DavidLammy) is Labour MP for Tottenham.

Caroline Lucas (@CarolineLucas) is MP for Brighton Pavilion. She served as leader of the Green Party of England and Wales from 2008-2012, and co-leader from 2016-2018.

Mike Savage (@MikeSav47032563) is Martin White Professor of Sociology at LSE and Director of the International Inequalities Institute.

The International Inequalities Institute (@LSEInequalities) at LSE brings together experts from many LSE departments and centres to lead cutting-edge research focused on understanding why inequalities are escalating in numerous arenas across the world, and to develop critical tools to address these challenges.

Twitter Hashtag for this event: #LSEWealth.

The Life and Times of Categorical Inequality: class, gender and race in long term historical perspective

Inequalities Seminar Series

1st October, 12.30 to 1.45pm, FAW 9.05

: Professor Mike Savage (Director, International Inequalities Institute, LSE)

Chair: Dr Luna Glucksberg (Research Fellow at the International Inequalities Institute)

This talk will reflect on the current ‘state of the debate’ about inequality. Although inequality is increasingly widely recognised to be a major concern which requires the kind of interdisciplinary initiatives that the III facilitates, a number of major challenges have come to the fore. This talk will reflect on one of these, how to link analyses of income and wealth distributions, which the economists have brought to the fore, with the categorical analyses of gender, race and class which other social scientists emphasise, and which raise major questions of political action. Drawing  on Mike Savage's forthcoming book, The challenge of inequality: social change and the return of history I will speculatively lay out recent trends in inequality along axes of gender, race and class to show how they both disrupt, but also might empower, an overarching account of the intensification of inequalities.

Download the slides.


Caring Forward: the global care economy and its future              

LSE Public Event - Free ticketed event 

20th June, 6:30- 7:45pm, Sheikh Zayed Theatre, New Academic Building 

Speaker: Ai-jen Poo (National Domestic Workers Alliance)

Chair: Professor Beverley Skeggs (LSE, III)

Book tickets for this event.

Care work is “the work that makes all other work possible”, US labour organiser Ai-jen Po reminds us. As the Director of the National Domestic Workers Alliance and Co-director of the Caring Across Generations campaign, she is driving transformative change on a global scale in the way we value care work.

We have a complex relationship with care work. It sustains us and our entire global economy, but we often forget to consider who provides care and at what cost. Community organising, local and global campaigns, and efforts led by researchers, creatives and international organisations are focusing increasing attention on the alarming inequalities (re)produced by the global care economy. How can we challenge the conditions of precarity experienced by so many care workers around the world? How can we care forward together?

In this public event, Ai-jen Poo sets out a vision for a more equitable care economy for all.

Global Health and Inequality                                                                  

LSE Public Event - Ticketed event 

18th June, 6:30- 8:00pm, Old Theatre, Old Building

Speakers: Professor Sudhir Anand (Harvard University and LSE, III) and Professor Amartya Sen (Harvard University) 

Chair: Professor Mike Savage (LSE, III)

To ensure that people live long and healthy lives it is important to know what kills different groups of people in different places. The Global Burden of Disease (GBD) based on the Disability-Adjusted Life Year has been developed to do this. This lecture shows how this measure leads to various anomalies and biases, in particular it underestimates the health problems experienced by women and children.

Can public consensus identify a ‘riches line’?                                Inequalities Seminar Series 

21st May12.30-1.45pm, Fawcett House (FAW), Room 9.05

Speakers:  Dr Katharina Hecht (LSE, III) and Abigail Davis (Loughborough University)

While frequently discussed in the media and in popular discourse, so far not much attention has been paid to defining, and analysing public views towards, ‘the rich’ or ‘riches’ in the social sciences. In addition to addressing a gap in our research knowledge, this pilot study addresses an urgent everyday issue, at a time in which resources accruing to the very rich are ever-increasing, while many are suffering the consequences of austerity policies, including extreme food and housing insecurity.

There is a well-established research tradition that aims to build a definition of a Minimum Income Standard (MIS) based on public consensus. Our novel study seeks to draw on public consensus methods, but deploy them at the other end of the income and wealth distributions, to understand how ‘riches’ or ‘the rich’ might be defined.

The study is a first step in exploring whether members of the public in London can reach a consensus about whether there is a threshold above which people could be considered to have too much, akin to how a poverty line signifies a threshold below which people do not have enough. Specifically, it aims to analyse whether a negotiated consensus among groups of members of the public on different levels of income, can develop such a concept. The findings provide novel insights into people’s views on what it means to have high levels of income and wealth and what different levels of richness entail (description), as well as unpacking people’s judgements about different forms of wealth and the uses to which it is put (normative evaluation). 

The Global Distribution of Income and the Politics of Globalisation - embedded Liberal Capitalism                                                                Public Lecture

Speakers: María Ana Lugo (Poverty and Equity Global Practice at the World Bank);  Professor Branko Milanovic (City University of New York); and Dr Paul Segal (Department of International Development, Kings College London)

Chair: Professor David Soskice (International Inequalities Institute, LSE) 

The panel discuss the evolution of the global distribution of income and political implications, highlighting endogenous forces of rising inequality in liberal capitalism embedded in globalisation.

The last quarter century of globalisation has witnessed the largest reshuffle of global incomes since the Industrial Revolution. The global Gini index declined by about 2 points over the twenty-five year period 1988-2013, while within the global distribution of income three changes stand out. First, China has graduated from the bottom ranks, creating an important global “middle” class that has transformed a twin-peaked 1988 global distribution into the single-peaked distribution we observe today. The main “winners” were country-deciles that in 1988 were around the median of the global income distribution, 90% of them representing people in Asia. Second, the “losers” were the country-deciles that in 1988 were around the 85th percentile of the global income distribution, almost 90% of them representing people in OECD economies. Third, the global top 1% was another “winner” whose incomes rose substantially.

These three changes open up the following three political issues. In the developing world the big question is how to manage the rising expectations of meaningful political participation in emerging countries like China. In the rich countries, it is how to "placate" the relative losers of the last 30 years so that they do not turn away from globalisation and towards populist anti-immigrant policies. Cutting across all countries, and directly implicated in both of these questions, is how to constraint the rising economic and political power of the global elite. The increasing gap between the Western “top 1 percenters” and the middle classes that is at the origin of many of recent political development may not be a temporary glitch, but may be driven by endogenous forces of rising inequality in systems of liberal capitalism embedded in globalisation.

The open-and-shut case of inequality                                                Inequalities Seminar Series

7th May, 12.30-1.45pm, Fawcett House (FAW), Room 9.05

Speaker: Dr Jan Vandemoortele

The latest evidence shows that people in countries with low inequality are amongst the happiest and healthiest. In those countries, economic growth, education and social mobility tend to be high, whilst social ills such as gender discrimination, crime, fraud, corruption, alcohol and drugs abuse, bullying at school are less. People there tend to use less water, produce less waste and emit less CO2; thus leaving a smaller ecological footprint. Hence, the world is not facing two separate challenges, one ecological and the other socioeconomic; but one complex and inter-connected challenge in which inequality plays a central role. The impact of inequality on how people feel, reason and act is grossly underestimated. The first step in reducing inequality is to fully understand its harmful effects, rather than to deepen our analysis of its causes and potential remedies. The article aims to contribute to such increased awareness. It draws together the latest evidence from a wide range of disciplines. It clarifies four conceptual dichotomies that are important in elucidating the debate about inequality. It reviews the concerns expressed by historians, philosophers and political scientists about inequality. In concluding, it makes a concrete proposal for enhancing our comprehension of the impact of inequality.

The Politics of Equality, the "Populist Moment" and the Power of New Technologies                                                                                      

Public Lecture - Hosted by the Institute of Global Affairs, International Inequalities Institute and Systemic Risk Centre

2 May, 6:30pm to 8:00pm


Speaker: Katrín Jakobsdóttir (Prime Minister of Iceland)

Chair: Minouche Shafik  (Director of the London School of Economics and Political Science)

Katrín Jakobsdóttir will discuss democratic challenges stemming from social inequalities, authoritarian politics and new technologies.

Insecurities generated by globalisation, migration, and transformative technologies have created new societal divisions in liberal democracies and exacerbated the dislocation between personal identities and political loyalties. Since the Great Recession, the populist/authoritarian Right has profited from this trend, which has been accompanied by a critique of contemporary politics as being too technocratic and distant from the people. In her talk, Katrín Jakobsdóttir, the Prime Minister of Iceland, will argue that a renewed focus on the politics of equality is needed to respond to authoritarian tendencies and to the social challenges posed by the “fourth industrial revolution.“ Referring to her own political experience and to various forms of collective action – such as the #metoo movement – she makes the case for a democratic renewal based on social justice, gender equality and the green economy.

Katrín Jakobsdóttir (@katrinjak) has been the Prime Minister of Iceland since November 2017 and the Leader of the Left-Green Movement since 2013. She is Iceland’s second female Prime Minister and served as Minister of Education, Science and Culture as well as Minister for Nordic Cooperation from 2009 to 2013.  

Minouche Shafik is Director of the London School of Economics and Political Science. Prior to this she was Deputy Governor of the Bank of England. 

Bird la Bird’s Travelling Queer People’s History Show

A revolutionary exploration of the deep queer past that will change the way you think about LGBTI history.

Shaw Library, Old Building, LSE

Bird la Bird’s Travelling Queer People’s History Show starts in the vast prison that once stood on the site of today’s Tate Britain, and lovingly traces the lives of queer prisoners across centuries and around the British Empire. It decolonises LGTBI history by taking an inclusive, irreverent approach to the past.

Register online via Eventbrite for a free ticket. You MUST show your ticket (printed, pdf, or email) to gain access. Please arrive early to ensure your place. The performance will be followed by a reception at the venue from 8pm to 9pm.


Inequality, Brexit and the End of Empire                                                  Public Event

Speakers: Professor Danny Dorling  (School of Geography and the Environment, University of Oxford); Professor Sally Tomlinson (Department of Education, University of Oxford and Goldsmiths, University of London); Professor Gurminder K Bhambra (International Relations, International Development, University of Sussex).

Chair: Professor Beverley Skeggs (Atlantic Fellows for Social and Economic Equity programme, III, LSE)

29th March, 6:30 - 8:00pm, LSE Old Theatre, Old Building

Was the result of the 2016 EU referendum the last gasp of a view of empire based on nostalgia? And on 29 March 2019, as it officially ceases to become a member of the European Union, will post-Brexit Britain be a nation willing to inhabit the world of the present instead of the past?

Join us on Brexit Night as four eminent scholars turn their attention to often overlooked elements in the story – Britain’s past imperial might, jingoism, mythmaking and racism; deep-set anxieties about change and conflicting visions of the future – and the possibility of an unexpected outcome, namely that its shock to the national system may slow or even reverse the decades-long rise of inequality.

Sally Tomlinson and Danny Dorling will draw on insights from their new book, Rule Britannia: Brexit and the End of Empire, published by Biteback.

This event is supported by the Progressive Economy Forum (@PEF_online). PEF brings together a Council of eminent economists and academics to develop and advocate progressive economic policy ideas, and to improve public understanding of key economic issues.

A tale of two towns: what the fortunes of Oldham and Oxford tell us about spatial inequality in Britain      

Inequalities Seminar Series

Speaker: Dr Mark Fransham (International Inequalities Institute, LSE)

26th March, 12.30-1.45pm, Fawcett House (FAW), Room 9.05

Britain has a long history of a north-south divide in social and economic outcomes, with longstanding concerns about the British economy being over-reliant on London and the South East whilst the rest of the country lags behind.  The EU referendum vote threw this into sharp relief, illuminating another split between the diverse, young, metropolitan centres and the smaller towns with industrial heritage.  This divide partly reflects the geography of the 'knowledge economy' labour market, in which concentrations of skilled workers and high-wage industries in prosperous cities are increasingly seen as the driver of national economic prosperity. 

Using a novel economic geography classification, this presentation explores trends in social and economic inequalities within and between areas of Britain, including the north-south divide and differences between core cities and peripheral towns.  It illustrates this by updating a 1994 study of Oldham and Oxford, towns in the north and south of England respectively that had experienced a rapid decline in manufacturing employment.  The study showed that as income inequalities increased during the 1980s, so there were corresponding patterns of increased spatial polarisation in Oldham, though less so in Oxford.  This presentation examines the fortunes of these two towns in the 25 years since, setting them in the wider context of trends in spatial inequalities within and between places across Britain. 

Occult Features of Anarchism: with attention to the conspiracy of kings and the conspiracy of the peoples                                                Public Event

Speaker: Dr Erica Lagalisse  (International Inequalities Institute, LSE)

20th March, 6:30- 8:00pm, LSE Hong Kong Theatre, Clement House

Erica Lagalisse explores the relationship of 19th century anarchism with the clandestine fraternity, challenges leftist attachments to atheism, and intervenes in current debates concerning “conspiracy theory”.

In the nineteenth century anarchists were accused of conspiracy by governments afraid of revolution, but in the current century various “conspiracy theories” suggest that anarchists are controlled by government itself. The Illuminati were a network of intellectuals who argued for self-government and against private property, yet the public is now often told that they were (and are) the very group that controls governments and defends private property around the world. Intervening in such misinformation, Lagalisse works with primary and secondary sources in multiple languages to set straight the history of the Left and will illustrate the actual relationship between revolutionism, pantheistic occult philosophy, and the clandestine fraternity.

Exploring hidden correspondences between anarchism, Renaissance magic, and New Age movements, Erica Lagalisse also advances critical scholarship regarding leftist attachments to secular politics. Inspired by anthropological fieldwork within today’s anarchist movements, challenging anarchist atheism insofar as it poses practical challenges for coalition politics in today’s world.

Studying anarchism as a historical object, Lagalisse will show how the development of leftist theory and practice within clandestine masculine public spheres continues to inform contemporary anarchist understandings of the “political,” in which men’s oppression by the state becomes the prototype for power in general, how gender and religion become privatized in radical counterculture, a historical process intimately linked to the privatization of gender and religion by the modern nation-state.

Reconfiguring notions of whiteness among Latin American migrants in London and Madrid                                                           

Seminar Series on Migration Ethnicity and Race

Speaker: Dr Ana Gutierrez (University of Oxford, Department of Anthropology)  

20th March, 12.15-1.15pm, Fawcett House (FAW), Room 9.05

In Latin America race plays a fundamental role in the process whereby people position themselves and others within the social pyramid. This is reflected in the fact that those who belong to the elite are white, while the poor and the working class are considered black or indigenous. These racial identifications are intertwined with class identification and the traits that compose one’s social class: dress, language, occupation, education and place of residence. While working with Latin American migrants in London and Madrid, I encountered some vestiges of these ideologies and witnessed the intertwinement that persists between race, race mixture, and class among my informants. Although migrants try to use any hint of whiteness in order to differentiate themselves from other non-white migrants, they find themselves struggling to sustain their middle-class aspirations – deeply influenced by white racial (Eurocentric) attachments and identifications - within precarious lives. Migration presents itself as a paradox that affects not only economic dreams, but previous racial and class identifications. 

From Mobile Banking to Collective Action: Portraits of Gender Inequalities in Bangladesh and Nepal

AFSEE seminar series

19th March, 12.30-1.30pm, Fawcett House (FAW), Room 9.05

Speakers: Kripa Basnyat and Anjali Sarker, Atlantic Fellows for Social and Economic Equity

What are the key challenges in achieving gender equity in South Asia? The speakers consider commonalities and contrasts between their native countries of Nepal and Bangladesh, through the lenses of financial and social inclusion. 

Foundations of State Effectiveness                                             

Hosted by the Amartya Sen lecture series, STICERD and the International Inequalities Institute

Speaker: Professor Sir Tim Besley (School Professor of Economics of Political Science and Sir W. Arthur Lewis Professor of Development Economics in the Department of Economics at LSE)

Discussant: Professor Amartya Sen (Thomas W Lamont University Professor and Professor of Economics and Philosophy at Harvard University) 

Chair: Minouche Shafik (Director of the London School of Economics and Political Science. Prior to this she was Deputy Governor of the Bank of England)

13th March, 6:30 -8:00pm, LSE Sheikh Zayed Theatre, New Academic Building     

An effective state promotes freedom and the well-being of its citizens.  This lecture will discuss the importance of norms, values and institutions in supporting state effectiveness drawing on recent developments in social science.  As well as making connections to Amartya Sen’s ideas, the lecture will reflect on some of the major policy challenges that the world faces in the turbulent times that we are living through.

Adventures in Anarcolandia: the complexities and contradictions of transnational anarchist social movements       

Inequalities Seminar Series

Speaker: Dr Erica Lagalisse (International Inequalities Institute, LSE)

12th March, 12.30-1.45pm, Fawcett House (FAW), Room 9.05

Contemporary anarchist activists aim to manifest non-hierarchical social relations within their own social milieu, as well as topple the social hierarchies that characterize the dominant society, such as white supremacy, patriarchy, and capitalism: Anarchists observe the importance of “means” matching “ends” and work to bring about “a new world in the shell of the old”. I argue however that anarchist activism in North America does not entirely subvert the logic of neoliberalism. Colonial property relations, bureaucratic legalism, and statistical fantasies of the sovereign state (among other linear equations) continue to inflect anarchist politics and self-making projects: the rhizome is re-territorialized.

My multi-sited ethnography explores anarchist networks that cross Québec, the United States and Mexico to demonstrate how anarchist practice is mired in contradiction, especially to the extent that this practice is shaped by notions of self and property (propriety) dominant in English-speaking North America. My comparative study illustrates similarities and differences among diverse anarchist scenes, throwing into relief the particular practices of university-educated Anglo American leftists, and draws on anthropological, feminist and critical race theory to show how they have preempted the black feminist challenge of “intersectionality” by recuperating its praxis within the logic of neoliberal self-making projects and property relations, a particular economy of value in which certain identities are foregrounded and others—especially that of class—are effectively concealed. Ultimately the anarchists are presented as a limit case: even within their “autonomous” everyday practices, the propertizing self prevails in what I call the game of “good politics” - the Bridge of all prestige games, and one which structures much contemporary critical academic scholarship as well.

Agrarian inequalities, institutional innovation and genderCan group farming provide an answer?                                                             

Co-hosted with KCL India Institute                             

Speaker: Professor Bina Agarwal (Development Economics and Environment, University of Manchester)

Chair: Professor Mike Savage (International Inequalities Institute, LSE) 

11th March, 6.00-7.30pm, Fawcett House (FAW), Room 9.04

Based on her primary surveys, Prof. Bina Agarwal examines whether group farms—which pool land, labour and capital and cultivate jointly—can outperform (mostly male-managed) individual family farms in the same regions, in terms of productivity and profits. Can they also empower the women socially and politically? Moreover, given their different approaches, which state is more effective and why? 

With a reception from 5.30pm

Identity, Citizenship and Kin Majorities: Crimea and Moldova from the Bottom-Up                                                       

Seminar Series on Migration Ethnicity and Race

Speaker: Ellie Knott (LSE Department of Methodology) 

6th March, 12.15-1.15pm, Fawcett House (FAW), Room 9.05

Why are so many Moldovans acquiring Romanian citizenship? How did people in Crimea identify with and engage with Russia before annexation in 2014? This talk brings together these two topics and cases to explore the intersections of identity and citizenship across borders. This talk is situated within the field of kin-state politics and analyses how individuals who are claimed as co-ethnic, such as Russians in Crimea and Romanians/Moldovans in Moldova, understand their identification and engage via citizenship and quasi-citizenship with their respective kin-states, Russia and Romania. In particular, in this talk I examine the empirics of the cases of Crimea and Moldova within a theoretical and methodological discussion to show how and why I study the intersections of the meanings of identification and practices of citizenship. I argue that it is important to move beyond state-centred and institutional understandings of citizenship and towards studying how individuals and communities on the ground engage with kin-states across borders.

Building a Broad Movement for Economic Justice 

AFSEE seminar series

SpeakersLauren Burke and Allison Corkery, Atlantic Fellows for Social and Economic Equity

5th March, 12.30-1.30pm, Fawcett House (FAW), Room 9.05

In this informal lunchtime seminar discussion, Lauren and Allison will discuss how the labour and human rights movements approach economic justice, teasing out similarities and differences in terms of framing and vision, knowledge and expertise, and strategy and tactics.They’ll also reflect on key debates and emerging issues within each movement and on opportunities to deepen engagement between the two.  

Lauren Burke began her career as a labour organiser with UNITE HERE, where she oversaw campaigns that won union recognition for over 1,400 hotel and food service workers in the US. Before joining AFSEE as a residential fellow for 2018-19, she worked with the Labor Network for Sustainability.

Allison Corkery, a residential AFSEE fellow for 2018-19, is Director of the Rights Claiming and Accountability programme at the Center for Economic and Social Rights (CESR) in New York, an NGO that uses international human rights law as a tool to challenge unjust economic policies.

Migration, Mixed Marriages and Children’s Noncitizenship in Sabah, Malaysia                                    

Seminar Series on Migration Ethnicity and Race

Speaker: Dr Catherine Allerton (LSE Department of Anthropology)

27th February, 12.15-1.15pm, Fawcett House (FAW), Room 9.05

In Kota Kinabalu, the capital of the East Malaysian state of Sabah, many children live in families of ‘mixed’ ethnicity, forged through the co-presence in the city of Filipino and Indonesian refugees and migrants. This paper will consider how mixed marriages have particular consequences for children who have been born across borders, in a country where their parents are considered only ‘temporary’ workers. Many mixed ethnicities are unique to Sabah, a product of specific histories of migration to the state. As such, they tend to root children to Sabah as a place, rather than to either parent’s sending context. However, this form of cultural citizenship is often not matched by corresponding legal citizenship, since children of migrants, even if born in Sabah, are excluded from government schooling and healthcare. The paper explores how children’s unique experiences of exclusion and noncitizenship not only reflect specific histories of immigration regulations in Malaysia, but also coexist with wider forms of cultural belonging in Sabah.

How the Reification of Merit Breeds Inequality: theory and experimental evidence                                                                              Inequalities Seminar Series

Speaker: Dr Fabien Accominotti (Department of Sociology, LSE)

26th February, 12.30-1.45pm, Fawcett House (FAW), Room 9.05

In a variety of social contexts, measuring merit or performance is a crucial step toward enforcing meritocratic ideals. At the same time, workable measures are bound to obfuscate the fuzziness and ambiguity of merit, i.e. to reify performance into an artificially crisp and clear-cut thing – such as a rating for example. This talk explores how the reification of employee performance in organizations breeds inequality in employee compensation. It reports the findings of a large-scale experiment asking participants to divide a year-end bonus between a set of employees based on the reading of their annual performance reviews. In the experiment’s non-reified condition, reviews are narrative evaluations. In the reified condition, the same narrative evaluations are accompanied by a crisp rating of the employees’ performance. I show that participants reward employees more unequally when performance is reified, even though employees’ levels of performance do not vary across conditions: the bonus gap between top- and bottom-performing employees increases by 20% between the non-reified and reified conditions; and it rises by another 10% when performance is presented as a quantified score. Further analyses suggest that reification acts by making participants more accepting of the idea that individuals are indeed more or less talented and valuable, thereby increasing their willingness to reward them unequally. This has direct implications for understanding the legitimacy of inequality in contemporary societies – and ultimately for working toward curbing this inequality.

Sure Start: celebration and reflection                                           Supported by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation

22nd February, 2-5:30pm, Hong Kong Theatre, Clement House, LSE

January 2019 marks twenty years since Tessa Jowell, then Public Health Minister, announced the first sixty Sure Start Trailblazer areas. In tribute to Tessa Jowell, this half-day conference will reflect on what has been learned from the evaluations of Sure Start and its successor, Children's Centres, what those involved at the time think now about the initiative, and what it has taught us as a way forward for integrated early years services. 

Tickets available here 

Speakers include:

Naomi Eisenstadt is Visiting Senior Fellow at LSE International Inequalities Institute.

Edward Melhuish is Professor of Human Development at the University of Oxford, and Birkbeck, University of London and led the National Evaluation of Sure Start.

Carey Oppenheim is Visiting Senior Fellow at LSE International Inequalities Institute

Susie Owen joined the Department of Education as Deputy Director Early Years in April 2016. 

Baroness Philippa Stroud is Chair of the Social Metrics Commission and Chief Executive of the Legatum Foundation.

Kathy Sylva (@edst0026) is Professor of Educational Psychology at the University of Oxford, and led the Evaluation of Children's Centres in England.

Polly Toynbee, commentator for The Guardian, is the former BBC Social Affairs Editor. She has won Commentator of the Year awards and the George Orwell prize.  


Torsten Bell (@TorstenBell) is Director of the Resolution Foundation.


Professor John Hills is Chair of CASE and Richard Titmuss Professor of Social Policy at LSE.

A document signed by Tessa and David Blunkett, then Secretary of State for Education and Employment, set out the core purpose of Sure Start:

• To reshape and add value to local services for families – mothers, fathers, grandparents, other carers and children

• To provide better and more coordinated support for them in bringing up their children

These were great promises in very optimistic times. Some strong themes stand out that still have currency: joined up services, area based rather than individual family targeting, and the importance of early years. There have been tremendous changes in the early years’ landscape in the last twenty years but commitment to young children remains.

The International Inequalities Institute (@LSEInequalities)at LSE brings together experts from many LSE departments and centres to lead critical and cutting edge research to understand why inequalities are escalating in numerous arenas across the world, and to develop critical tools to address these challenges.

The conference will be followed by a reception 

Refugia: solving the problem of mass displacement                            Public Event

Speaker: Professor Robin Cohen (Kellogg College, University of Oxford)

Chair: Dr Isabel Shutes (Social Policy, LSE) 

14th February, 6:30- 8:00pm, LSE Sheikh Zayed Theatre, New Academic Building     

Using fresh interpretations of utopian and archipelagic thinking, Robin Cohen will examine the limits and possibilities of creating an imaginative answer to mass displacement.

Engines of Privilege: Britain's private school problem                       Public Event

Speakers: Professor Francis Green  (Institute of Education, UCL); Professor David Kynaston (Visiting Professor, Kingston University)

Discussant: Dr Luna Glucksberg (III, LSE)

11th February, 6:30- 8:00pm, LSE Sheikh Zayed Theatre, New Academic Building

A rigourous, compelling and balanced examination of the British private school system and the lifetime of inequalities it entrenches.


Ccà semo, here we are. Lives on hold in Lampedusa’                

Seminar Series on Migration Ethnicity and Race

A short film screening and discussion with Michela Franceschelli

6th February, 12.15-1.15pm, Fawcett House (FAW), Room 9.05

The seminar will involve the screening of the short film documentary – ‘Ccà semo, here we are.  Lives on hold in Lampedusa’, followed by Q&A. This documentary was produced as part of the dissemination of a research study carried out by Michela Franceschelli (Global migration in the Mediterranean Sea and the local lives of Lampedusa), which aimed to explore the effects of global migration on local communities, drawing on an in-depth case study on the Italian island of Lampedusa. The film is directed by the Italian filmmaker Luca Vullo.

Lampedusa - Italy’s most southerly territory at 205 km off the coast of Sicily - is the first port of arrival to Europe for the thousands attempting to cross the Mediterranean Sea. As the number of incoming migrants has increased throughout the years, the island has turned from a mere tourist destination to a site of increasing public and media attention, with images that reify and broadcast contradictory representations of the local community of islanders. Hence, Lampedusa has been presented through these contradictions, depicted either as the island of hospitality - exemplified by the provision of essential support to migrants and campaigns for their rights - or as a site of hostility which in its context has acquired a specific meaning and has been addressed to specific actors, particularly the ‘absent Italian state’.

The Missing Billions: Measuring Top Incomes in the UK    

Inequalities Seminar Series

Speaker: Dr Andrew Summers (Department of Law, LSE)

5th February, 12.30-1.45pm, Fawcett House (FAW), Room 9.05

The tax data currently used to measure top incomes in the UK only include sources that are subject to Income Tax. Sources taxed on any other basis (or not at all) disappear from statistics on income inequality: for example, much of the income arising to non-domiciled residents, all capital gains whether realised or not, and tax-exempt returns on savings and investments. I map these and other missing sources and provide evidence that they are quantitatively important for the estimation of top income shares. The effect is large because the scope of taxable income in the UK is unusually narrow, and subject to exemptions that disproportionately favour the richest; so far, no attempt has been made to correct for this in national statistics. The missing sources that I identify cast doubt on the prevailing narrative that UK income inequality has stabilised or fallen since the last financial crisis. I provide initial indications that once these sources are added, the top one percent share may be seen to have risen since 2008 and could be much closer to US levels than conventionally thought.

The Class Ceiling: why it pays to be privileged                            

Public Event - Hosted by the Department of Sociology and the International Inequalities Institute

Speakers: Dr Sam Friedman (Sociology, LSE); Dr Faiza Shaheen (Director of the Centre for Labour and Social Studies); Kelly Webb-Lamb (Deputy Director of Programmes, Channel 4)

Chair: Professor Mike Savage

28th January, 6:30- 8:00pm, LSE Sheikh Zayed Theatre, New Academic Building

How and why does class background still affect those in elite occupations? In this book launch the speakers look at barriers to upward mobility.

Can Wellbeing Economics work?: New Zealand’s attempt to get off GDP

This will be a ticketed event on a first come first served basis. Tickets can be found  here 

Sat 26th January, 13.00-14.30, Hong Kong Theatre, Clement House, LSE

Speakers:Dr Jan-Emmanuel De Neve (University of Oxford); Hon Grant Robertson MP (New Zealand Minister of Finance); and Dr Katherine Trebeck (Wellbeing Economy Alliance)

Chair: Professor David Soskice (International Inequalities Institute, LSE) 

In May 2019 New Zealand will join a growing list of countries moving beyond GDP in measuring their citizen’s wellbeing and success. ‘Wellbeing economics’ involves prioritising and measuring non-growth wellbeing factors, like social and cultural wellbeing, health and environmental outcomes, and the financial security of communities. But skeptics argue the new measures are just “subjective fluff”.

New Zealand’s Minister of Finance Grant Robertson will provide an update on his coalition government's progress to implement the wellbeing economics approach ahead of its May annual Budget, along with some of the challenges to implementing the approach across a government’s budget cycle. Dr Trebeck and Dr De Neve will offer their thoughts on the wellbeing debate and what progress is being made across the globe to put people and their happiness at the centre of economics.This will be a ticketed event on a first come first served basis.

Infinite difference, limited recognition: Digital makings of the city of refuge                                                                                    

Seminar Series on Migration Ethnicity and Race

23rd January, 12.15-1.15pm, Fawcett House (FAW), Room 9.05

Speaker: Professor Myria Georgiou (LSE Department of Media & Communications)

This presentation examines whether the city can become a city of refuge, that is, one that recognises newcomers’ agency and rights as humans but also as citizens-in-the-making. Drawing from research in Athens, Berlin and London at the aftermath of Europe’s “migration crisis”, the paper shows that cities of refuge emerge as hopeful but fragile urban ethico-political projects. More specifically, the city sometimes offers migrants and refugees recognition as humans and as citizens-in-the-making that the nation denies. Yet, and while recognition becomes possible in the city, it remains contested by the order of neoliberal nationalism. Neoliberal nationalism, as “the spectre over the city”, procreates an urban order (Sennett 1970) of marketized, securitised and surveilled cities that delimit rights and freedom (Kitchin 2016; Spencer 2016). As this order is reaffirmed, but also resisted on the material and digital street (Lane 2018), it becomes apparent that critical struggles for the present and future of cities as spaces of freedom or control unfold on the street and in response to the double requirement for recognition set by the ethos and socio-cultural order of neoliberal nationalism.

The Paradox of Inequality: income inequality and belief in meritocracy go hand in hand                                                                       

Inequalities Seminar Series 

Speaker: Dr Jonathan Mijs  (International Inequalities Institute, LSE)

22nd January, 12.30-1.45pm, Fawcett House (FAW), Room 9.05

Inequality is on the rise: gains have been concentrated with a small elite, while most have seen their fortunes stagnate or fall. Despite what scholars and journalists consider a worrying trend, there is no evidence of growing popular concern about inequality. In fact, research suggests that citizens in unequal societies are less concerned than those in more egalitarian societies. How to make sense of this paradox? I argue that citizens’ consent to inequality is explained by their growing conviction that societal success is reflective of a meritocratic process. Drawing on 25-years of International Social Survey Programme data, I show that rising inequality is legitimated by popular beliefs that the income gap is meritocratically deserved: the more unequal a society, the more likely its citizens are to explain success in meritocratic terms, and the less important they deem non-meritocratic factors such as a person’s family wealth and connections.

Democracy and Prosperity: reinventing capitalism through a turbulent century

Public Event 

Speakers: Professor Sara Hobolt (European Institute, LSE); Professor Torben Iversen (Harvard University and Centennial Professor LSE); Professor David Soskice (International Inequalities Institute, LSE) 

Chair:  Mike Savage, Director, International Inequalities Institute, LSE

21st January, 6:30- 8:00pm, LSE Sheikh Zayed Theatre, New Academic Building

It is a widespread view that democracy and the advanced nation-state are in crisis, weakened by globalisation and undermined by global capitalism, in turn explaining rising inequality and mounting populism. At this event Torben Iversen and David Soskice will discuss their new book, Democracy and Prosperity: The Reinvention of Capitalism in a Turbulent Century, which argues this view is wrong: advanced democracies are resilient, and their enduring historical relationship with capitalism has been mutually benefici