Find out what's new at the III

Asma Jahangir closeup

Asma Jahangir 

The Institute is deeply saddened to hear of the sudden passing away of Asma Jahangir. Asma's bravery and clear thinking were a worldwide inspiration to all who heard her speak or learnt of her work. 

See her inspiring address at our 2017 Amartya Sen Lecture here, and read Amartya's tribute to Asma here.


Vacancy: Research Assistant 

The Atlantic Fellows programme in Social and Economic Equity at the International Inequalities Institute is looking to take on a Research Assistant to work with a team of Visiting Fellows on their research project.

The Research Assistant’s job would be to gather data for the project from the LSE Library. Specifically, to explore the Library’s collection of statistical publications stemming from the former Yugoslavia with a view to developing a better understanding of the extent and nature of inequality in a system of self-managed market socialism and subsequently in the transition to capitalism. The baseline data would also be used to build a picture of the welfare systems in four of the Republics of former Yugoslavia (Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Serbia and Slovenia) to support the project’s work in analysing the similarities and differences between them.

For more information and how to apply, see here.

Susanne Wessendorf

Spotlight on... Susanne Wessendorf, Assistant Professorial Research Fellow in Ethnicity, Race and Equity

Dr Susanne Wessendorf joined the Institute in the beginning of November. Get to know her here.

Poland 16 9

New Working paper: Top Incomes during Wars, Communism and Capitalism: Poland 1892-2015

This study by Pawel Bukowski (LSE Centre for Economic Performance) and Filip Novokmet (Paris School of Economics) presents the history of top incomes in Poland. It documents a U-shaped evolution of top income shares from the end of the 19th century until today. The initial high level was due to the strong concentration of capital income at the top of the distribution. The long-run downward trend was primarily induced by shocks to capital income, from world wars to shifting political and ideological environments. Yet, after the fall of communism, Polish top incomes experienced a substantial and steady rise and are today at the level of more unequal European countries. The authors relate these developments to processes associated with the new phase in globalisation. Read the paper here.

Residential Group

Apply to the Atlantic Fellows programme

Are you currently working to fight inequalities? Do you want to develop your understanding of the causes of inequity? The Atlantic Fellows for Social and Economic Equity is an exciting new programme which explores the core concepts of inequality and introduces you to a range of new perspectives on common issues. The fellowship provides financial and logistic support for individuals to study at LSE III, either on the year-long MSc Inequalities and Social Science or through a series of week-long workshops throughout the year. For more information and how to apply, see here.  


Meet our third cohort of Leverhulme Trust Doctoral Scholarship Holders

The Leverhulme Trust awarded LSE with 15 doctoral scholarships in 2015, to be allocated over three years for students undertaking interdisciplinary research on 'the challenge of escalating inequalities'. Six students, drawn from different Departments across the LSE, have been offered funded places for the forthcoming academic year. Together with other PhD students studying inequalities across the School, they will partake in the Leverhulme Trust Programme, an interdisciplinary seminar series led by Professor Nicola Lacey and Professor David Soskice. Read about the students' research projects here.

Jonathan Mijs 16 9

Spotlight on... Jonathan Mijs, Assistant Professorial Research Fellow in Ethnicity, Race and Equity

Dr Jonathan Mijs joined the Institute in early September. Get to know him here.

San Francisco

New Working Paper: The Wider Impacts of High-Technology Employment: Evidence from U.S. Cities 

Innovative, high-technology industries are commonly described as drivers of regional development. ‘Tech’ workers earn high wages, but they allegedly generate knock-on effects throughout the local economies that host them, producing new jobs and raising wages in nontradable activities. At the same time, in iconic high-tech agglomerations like the San Francisco Bay Area, the success of the tech industry creates tensions, in part as living costs rise beyond the reach of many non-tech workers. Across a large sample of US cities, this paper by Dr Tom Kemeny and Dr Taner Osman explores these issues systematically, estimating how growth in tradable tech employment affects the real, living-cost deflated wages of local workers in nontradable sectors. Read the paper here.

Sao Paolo Brazil

New Working Paper: Intersecting Inequalities and the Sustainable Development Goals: insights from Brazil

In this paper, Professor Naila Kabeer and Dr Ricardo Santos use national data from Brazil between 2002 and 2013 to examine retrospectively how it has performed on some of the indicators relating to the inclusive principles articulated by the SDGs. They have selected this period in Brazil because at a time when income inequalities were rising in most countries of the world, they were declining in Brazil. The paper examines the extent to which this decline in income inequality was accompanied by a decline in intersecting inequalities and explores some of the economic, political and social explanations given for the country’s performance. 

Download paper (PDF)

Abigail McKnight

Glass floors and slow growth: a recipe for deepening inequality and hampering social mobility

New blog post by Dr Abigail McKnight and Professor Richard V. Reeves

Debates around inequality often focus on upward social mobility. But there is another side to the coin. Serious problems are being created by the fact that those from better-off families are protected from downward mobility, combined with slow economic growth and its impact on the creation of well-paid jobs. 

Dr Abigail McKnight is an Associate Professorial Research Fellow and Associate Director of the Centre for Analysis of Social Exclusion (CASE) at LSE. She is also currently part of one of the Visiting Atlantic Fellows teams within the III.

Read the blog post here

Rana Zincir Celal spotlight

Spotlight on... Rana Zincir-Celal

Rana Zincir-Celal, Deputy Director of the Atlantic Fellows programme, tells us what she finds to be the most exciting part of the programme, where she sees it in 10 years, and reveals the most memorable places she's ever visited. Read more here.


Johnny Miller

Seven new projects awarded funding through the III Research Innovation Fund

The III is pleased to have awarded funding to seven research projects commencing in 2017 through the third round of our Research Innovation Fund (RIF). Read about the different projects here, taking place across a number of LSE departments and academic disciplines, but all with new approaches to understanding inequality. 

Scales of Justice

Working Paper: "Understanding the Determinants of Penal Policy: crime, culture and comparative political economy"

Our latest working paper by Professor Nicola Lacey, Professor David Soskice and Dr David Hope argues that crime, cultural dynamics, economic structures and interests, and institutional differences in the organisation of different political economies are four key determinants of penal policy that are best seen as complementary rather than competitive. It presents a case for integrating them analytically in a comparative political economy framework situated within the longue durée of technology regime change. This is illustrated through case studies of one exceptional case - the United States - and of one substantive variable - race. Race has been thought to be of importance in most of these paradigms and provides a pertinent example of how the different dynamics intersect in practice.

Download the paper here (PDF). 

Screen Shot 2017-07-10 at 11.12.28

Read Mike Savage and Sam Freidman's piece "The Shifting Politics of Inequality and the Class Ceiling" in the latest volume of Renewal

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

Download the article here (PDF). 

David Hope edited

Spotlight on... David Hope
Research Officer David Hope tells us what areas of inequality his work focuses on, and where he sees himself in 10 years. Read more here.


Dena Freeman working paper

New Working Paper - De-Democratisation and Rising Inequality: The Underlying Cause of a Worrying Trend

This paper is concerned with the question of why economic inequality has increased so dramatically in recent decades, and in particular, with the seemingly paradoxical situation that this upswing in inequality has taken place at the same time as a major spread of democracy worldwide. This paper argues that democracy itself has changed in this period and that globalization has led to a process of economic de-democratisation - by (1) the direct removal of certain economics matters from political control, (2) by increasing restrictions on the policy options available to policy-makers, and (3) by transformations in the structure of the policy-making process itself. In each of these shifts the representation of capital has been significantly increased, while that of labour has been correspondingly decreased. This analysis has major implications for how we should go about tackling the contemporary rise in inequality and suggests that it is imperative to democratise economic policy making at both the national and the global level.  If we are serious about tackling inequality then we must be serious about democracy.

Download paper (PDF)

Annual Conference tickets 16 9

Ticket registration for the III Annual Conference 2017 is now open

The III Annual Conference 2017, entitled "Challenging Inequalities: developing a global response" looks to highlight the work of the Institute and of the embedded Atlantic Fellows programme, which - over the next 20 years - is building a 600+ strong community of motivated international leaders in the fight for greater equality.

Key speakers from academia and the third sector will discuss concepts around racial, health, social and economic equity, alongside presentations from upcoming researchers and the presentation of the Action for Equity Award by George Alagiah, BBC. The conference will be followed by an evening debate which will explore how to ‘change the terms of the debate’ around inequalities.

Book a ticket for the morning and/or afternoon session here.

Katharina WP

New Working Paper - A Relational Analysis of Top Incomes and Wealth: Economic Evaluation, Relative (Dis)advantage and the Service to Capital
By Katharina Hecht

While an impressive body of economic literature documents increases in top incomes and wealth in liberal market economies, few studies focus on the social and cultural processes constitutive of this inequality. Drawing on a mixed-methods study in the UK, this article elaborates how top incomes and wealth are made sense of and produced by economic ‘elites’ through the cultural process of economic evaluation. 

Download paper (PDF)


New Working Paper - The rise and fall of Africa's bureaucratic bourgeoisie: public employment and the income elites of postcolonial Kenya and Tanzania
By Rebecca Simson

In 1961 Frantz Fanon scathingly characterised the emerging African elite as a bourgeoisie of the civil service. Many others have since described Africa’s public sector employees as a privileged rentier class that grew disproportionately large in relation to the continent’s under-developed private sector. Is this characterisation accurate? Using household budget survey and administrative data from Kenya and Tanzania, this paper aims to situate public sector employees in two African countries within their respective national income distributions and establish the share of high-income households that were headed by public servants. It finds that while public sector employees formed a considerable share of the top 1% - 0.1% at independence, their share of the broader middle class was never that large and fell substantially over the postcolonial era.

Download paper (PDF)

Bev Skeggs

III welcomes Beverley Skeggs as Academic Director of the Atlantic Fellows programme

We are thrilled to that Beverley Skeggs is to join the LSE as Academic Director of the III’s Atlantic Fellows programme from 1 September. She will be working closely with the III’s co-directors John Hills and Mike Savage, as well as the LSE’s wider academic community, to build the Atlantic Fellows programme and position the III as one of the world’s premier centres for the critical analysis of inequality.

Read the full announcement here.


New Working Paper - Wealth, Top Incomes and Inequality
By Frank Cowell, Brian Nolan, Javier Olivera and Philippe Van Kerm

This paper highlights issues that arise in making ideas and facts about wealth inequality precise, and employs newly-available data to take a fresh look at wealth and wealth inequality in a comparative perspective.

Download paper (PDF) 

John Hills

"Our lives keep on changing - yet the welfare myth of 'them' and 'us' persists"

New blog post by Co-Director Professor John Hills on the LSE British Politics and Policy Blog

Public, media, and government discussions on welfare are dominated by the notion that the population is divided into those who benefit from the welfare state and those who pay into it, despite the evidence painting a rather different picture. John Hills draws on the revised edition of his book "Good Times, Bad Times" to explain some of the implications of this welfare myth.

Read the blog post here.

Food bank

The impact of benefit sanctioning on food insecurity: a dynamic cross-area study of food bank usage in the UK

By Rachel Loopstra, Jasmine Fledderjohann, Aaron Reeves and David Stuckler

Working Paper produced by the Department of Sociology at Oxford University, in collaboration with the III

Household food security, which may be compromised by short-term income shocks, is a key determinant of health. Since 2012, the UK witnessed marked increases in the rate of ‘sanctions’ applied to unemployment insurance claimants, which stop payments to claimants for a minimum of four weeks. In 2013, over 1 million sanctions were applied, potentially leaving people facing economic hardship and driving them to use food banks. The paper tests this hypothesis by linking data from the Trussell Trust Foodbank Network with records on sanctioning rates across 259 local authorities in the UK. 

Frank Cowell

Professor Frank Cowell appointed Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Economic Inequality

The III is delighted to announce that Professor Frank Cowell has been appointed Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Economic Inequality. The Journal of Economic Inequality provides a forum for analysis and measurement of economic and social inequalities, using theoretical and empirical approaches. Among the topics considered are: differences within and between countries, and globally; inequalities of outcome and of opportunity, poverty, and mobility; univariate and multivariate approaches; differences between socioeconomic groups; the factor distribution of income; related statistical and data issues, and policy analysis.


New Working Paper - Who are the Global Top 1%? 
By Sudhir Anand and Paul Segal

This paper presents the first in-depth analysis of the changing composition of the global income rich and the rising representation of developing countries at the top of the global distribution. We construct global distributions of income between 1988 and 2012 based on both household surveys and the new top incomes data derived from tax records, which better capture the rich who are typically excluded from household surveys. We 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 decline in global inequality since 2005, according to a range of measures. We compare our 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.

Download paper (pdf)

Tony Atkinson 4-3

Tribute to Tony Atkinson by Frank Cowell and Stephen Jenkins

Professors Frank Cowell and Stephen Jenkins pay tribute Professor Tony Atkinson, a great economist and social scientist who laid the foundations of so much of the inequality analysis that is used in the present day. Read the full tribute here (pdf).

Centre Buildings 4 3

LSE awarded £32 million by HEFCE

LSE has been awarded over £32 million through the Higher Education Funding Council for England's UK Research Partnership Investment fund (UKRPIF), which provides funding for capital projects that can attract significant investment from private partners.

The HEFCE grant reflects the LSE’s success in attracting the Atlantic Philanthropies' funding for the Atlantic Fellows programme at the International Inequalities Institute.

The HEFCE funding will contribute to the development of the new Centre Buildings, which will house the International Inequalities Institute and the Atlantic Fellows programme. The new buildings will enable the Institute to expand its activities and work with other research centres and LSE departments to facilitate critical research on and innovative solutions to the challenge of inequalities.

See the full LSE press announcement here.

Nicola Lacey

Professor Nicola Lacey awarded a CBE for Services to Law, Justice and Gender Politics

The III is delighted to announce that Professor Nicola Lacey, School Professor of Law, Gender and Social Policy, and member of the III Management Committee, has been awarded a CBE for Services to Law, Justice and Gender Politics.

From 1998 to 2010 she held a Chair in Criminal Law and Legal Theory at LSE. She returned to LSE in 2013 after spending three years as Senior Research Fellow at All Souls College, and Professor of Criminal Law and Legal Theory at the University of Oxford.

She is an Honorary Fellow of New College Oxford and of University College Oxford; a Fellow of the British Academy; and a member of the Board of Trustees of the British Museum. In 2011 she was awarded the Hans Sigrist Prize by the University of Bern for outstanding scholarship on the function of the rule of law in late modern societies.