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Global Inequalities Observatory

The Global Inequalities Observatory at LSE's International Inequalities Institute

The Observatory aims to monitor the evolution of income and wealth inequality around the world

The Global Inequalities Observatory, soon to be launched as a cross-cutting program within the International Inequalities Institute, aims to monitor the evolution of income and wealth inequality around the world. Headed by Professor Stephen Jenkins - working with Professor Francisco H.G. Ferreira (III Director) - the Observatory seeks to promote rigorous research methods from a wide range of social sciences, so as to foster a greater understanding of the levels, trends, causes, and consequences of economic inequality in multiple countries and regions.

The Observatory’s core values for empirical research are (i) rigour; (ii) transparency for reproducibility; and (iii) interdisciplinarity. It aims for broad – but not exhaustive – geographical coverage, including the Global South as well as advanced industrial countries. It will host the Latin American and Caribbean Inequality Review (LACIR), a multi-year stock-taking exercise of what social scientists have learned about inequality in the world’s most unequal region (in close competition with Africa). LACIR is led by a panel of fifteen leading scholars in this field, and is a joint project with the Inter-American Development Bank, the Institute of Fiscal Studies and Yale University.

The Observatory will also host the British Academy Global Professorship grant headed by Kirsten Sehnbruch that researches the conceptualisation and measurement of the quality of employment. This project contributes to the III’s research by examining how horizontal inequalities affect different groups of workers in the labour market. It does so by looking beyond wage inequality to other key employment conditions, such as job stability, contractual and regulatory arrangements and the working environment as well as by examining long-term employment trajectories. The project lays the foundation for future research on how the combined risks of technological progress, climate change and resulting migration flows will affect labour markets, potentially exacerbating existing inequalities with the associated risk of excluding vulnerable or less skilled workers.

The GIO also hosts our ongoing partnership with the University of Cape Town, through which we hope to advance our understanding of inequality in the world’s poorest continent. Future plans also include a revamp of the India Observatory into a South Asia Growth and Inequality Programme; and a partnership with the Luxembourg Income Study (LIS) to promote the development and use of carefully harmonized survey and administrative data for the purpose of international comparisons. By working across a range of themes related to economic inequality, the GIO complements – and collaborates with – the four key Research Themes currently in operation at the III, namely Wealth, Elites and Tax Justice; the Global Economies of Care; Cities, Jobs and Structural Change; and the Politics of Inequality.

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

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

Project website found here

Research Team

Professor Kirsten Sehnbruch, Distinguished Policy Fellow, III

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

Veronica Arriagada, Universidad del Desarrollo, Santiago de Chile.  

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

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

Joaquin Prieto, Research Officer, III

Find out more about the project here

South Asia Growth and Inequality Programme

The South Asia Growth and Inequality Programme (formerly the India Observatory, set up in 2006 within STICERD) is a programme to develop and enhance research and programmes related to India's economy, politics and society. It is involved in public policy engagement in, and with, India and also works in collaboration with international partners for the generation and exchange of knowledge on India and its position in the world.

The programme has a global focus, especially with respect to emerging economies. This is to enable sharing knowledge and experiences between India and other countries with common synergies for better understanding and mutual benefit.

The programme is involved in developing, enhancing and undertaking high impact multi-disciplinary and interdisciplinary research at the LSE and beyond. It has strong links with academic institutions; public and private sector institutions to further knowledge exchange and contributes to the debate on broader policy issues by promoting and supporting an active engagement around economics and social policy.

Read more about the programme here

Latin American and Caribbean Inequality Review (LACIR)

LACIR brings together high-level scholars to provide a coherent and comprehensive overview of the inequality problem in Latin America, through a mix of in-depth critical reviews of the literature, new data, and new analyses. The  Review will go beyond a description of the region’s high inequality levels and seek an understanding of why despite major structural economic and social change, Latin America’s inequality exceptionalism has persisted for probably the last 70 years.

The Review is independently overseen by a Panel of researchers led by Orazio Attanasio, Francisco Ferreira, Sonya Krutikova and Julian Messina. It is co-hosted and co-sponsored by the International Inequalities Institute at the London School of Economics; the Inter-American Development Bank; the Institute for Fiscal Studies; and Yale University. 


Watch the launch event

Go to LACIR website for more information

Transforming Social Inequalities through Inclusive Climate Action

The Transforming Social Inequalities through Inclusive Climate Action (TSITICA) project addresses the nexus of climate change, sustainable livelihoods, poverty and inequality to understand how Climate Change Actions (SDG13) can be socio-economically transformative and synergistic with the Agenda 2030 aims of eliminating poverty (SDG1), reducing inequality (SDGs 5 and 10), and providing decent work and sustainable economic growth (SDG 8).

It is now broadly recognised that multidimensional inequality – the distribution of assets, wealth, human capital – bounds and limits sustainable development and its benefits to the poor. Working in Ghana, Kenya and South Africa, TSITICA investigates the bidirectional relationships between climate action and social inequalities, so as to understand:

  • How social inequalities and political economy shape decision-making processes and climate action outcomes.
  • How specific climate actions for adaptation and mitigation of climate change impact on the livelihoods and well-being of individuals, households and communities across the income distribution.
  • How specific climate actions can transform social inequalities by producing livelihood co-benefits for all, especially the most vulnerable, whilst leveraging favourable outcomes for the sustainable development goals.

LSE Research Team

Mike Savage, LSE III

Alina Averchenkova, Distinguished Policy Fellow, Grantham Research Institute

Hosted by:

  • ARUA-CD, the ARUA COE on Climate and Development, hosted by the University of Cape Town, with regional nodes at the Universities of Ghana and Nairobi.
  • ACEIR, the African Centre of Excellence on Inequalities research, University of Cape Town, with nodes at the Universities of Ghana and Nairobi.
  • The Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research, Universities of East Anglia and Manchester
  • Grantham Research Institute on the Environment and Climate Change at LSE
  • The Townsend Centre for International Poverty Research, University of Bristol

Read more about the TSITICA project here

UK LIS Satellite Office

The UK LIS Satellite Office at the International Inequalities Institute (III) is located at London School of Economic (LSE) and coordinated by Dr. Nora Waitkus. The satellite office was launched in November 2021 to promote the usage of the LIS Databases in the UK and elsewhere, and to serve as the reference point for the liaison between LIS and the community of LIS data users in the UK. 

Read more about the UK LIS Satellite Office here