What Can Be Done?

This past weekend, two days of events held in the UK honored the outstanding work and life of former LIS President Sir Tony Atkinson. On Friday 16 February 2018, the London School of Economics (LSE), organized a ‘Tony Atkinson Memorial Event’. Distinguished scholars were invited to present talks linked to the ‘15 proposals’ that Tony laid out in his 2015 book, ‘Inequality – What can be done’.

Among the speakers were Richard Blundell (UCL), Stephen Machin (LSE), Mervyn King (NYU), Joseph Stiglitz (Columbia), Holly Sutherland (Essex), François Bourguignon (PSE), and Janet Gornick (GC-CUNY and LIS). Peter Diamond (MIT) and Amartya Sen (Harvard) spoke via videotape.

On Saturday morning 17 February 2018, Oxford’s Nuffield College hosted the ‘Tony Atkinson Memorial Seminar’ – a series of short presentations focused on wealth research (Salvatore Morelli, GC-CUNY), top incomes and gender (Sarah Voitchovsky, Graduate Institute Geneva), the work of ‘Our World in Data’ (Max Roser, Oxford), and the power of the microsimulation tool EUROMOD (Holly Sutherland, Essex). A second set of presentations by Christoph Lakner (World Bank) and Sabina Alkire (Oxford) focused on poverty measurement around the world. The event closed with a presentation by John Micklewright (UCL) about his ongoing project, with Andrea Brandolini (Bank of Italy) and others, to complete Tony’s book on global poverty, based on the partial manuscript that Tony left behind.

On Saturday afternoon, at Nuffield College, seven people offered personal remembrances, against the backdrop of music chosen by Tony. The event brought together several hundred of Tony’s family, friends, former students, collaborators, and colleagues. The program – below – was followed by a reception.

Dennis Brain – Mozart Horn Concerto
Judith Atkinson
Nick Stern
Joan Baez – Blowin’ in the Wind
Eric Marlier
Claudine McCreadie
Holly Sutherland
Rodriguez – Sugar Man
Janet Gornick
Christopher Bliss
George Harrison – Within You Without You

February 20, 2018 | News

LIS commissioned for UN Women flagship reports

Earlier this year, LIS was commissioned by UN Women’s Research & Data Section to provide a background paper to feed into Progress of the World’s Women Report 2018, and Gender Equality in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development 2018. Progress of the World’s Women 2018, entitled Families in a Changing World, seeks to make visible the diversity of family structures and dynamics around the world, and tackles intersecting inequalities, especially by class, gender and race/ethnicity. The SDG Monitoring Report aims to provide a comprehensive and authoritative assessment of progress, gaps and challenges in the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) from a gender perspective.

Making use of the LIS Database, the LIS team in collaboration with Flaviana Palmisano (University of Rome “La Sapienza”) produced a set of tables deemed critical for the gender analysis focus in the two reports, specifically, women’s economic status, family expenditure patterns, families and social stratification, market vs disposable income amongst men and women, poverty of single-parent families, and SDG Goal 10 Indicators. Building upon the LIS produced tables, Rense Nieuwenhuis (SOFI, Stockholm University) framed the background paper Gender equality and poverty are intrinsically linked that provides an updated analysis of gendered economic inequality in high- and middle-income countries. Such gendered analysis explicitly recognizes that gender, poverty, and (economic) inequality are intrinsically linked.

December 13, 2017 | News

Inequality Expert Miles Corak Joins the Stone Center

Miles Corak has been appointed to the faculty of the Graduate Center of the City University of New York (CUNY), effective January 2018. He will also serve as a Senior Scholar in the Stone Center on Socio-Economic Inequality, which houses the US Office of LIS.

Corak is currently professor of economics at the University of Ottawa, and economist in residence at Employment and Social Development Canada, the department of the Canadian federal government responsible for social policy. A prolific scholar and author, he is best known for his groundbreaking research on inequality and the ways in which it affects opportunity and socio-economic mobility. Much of Corak’s scholarly work involves comparisons of labor markets and social and economic policies across countries. He has published four books and numerous journal articles, book chapters, and op-eds. He regularly addresses topics such as child poverty, access to university education, social mobility, and unemployment.

Prior to joining the University of Ottawa in 2007, he was a member of the senior management at Statistics Canada, Canada’s national statistical agency. He has been a visiting researcher with the UNICEF Innocenti Research Centre in Florence, Italy; the Centre for Longitudinal Studies at the University of London; the Office of Population Research at Princeton University; and the Russell Sage Foundation.

“All of us at the Stone Center are thrilled that Miles is joining our team,” Gornick said. “His unrivalled expertise on mobility adds a crucial element to the Center’s collective scholarship.”

December 13, 2017 | News

New Wealth Research Project Launched

We live in an age of increasing wealth concentration. Who holds this wealth and in what forms? To what extent is high-end wealth passed on inter-generationally?

With a focus on the U.S., these questions motivate the Graduate Center Wealth Project, a new research initiative based in the Stone Center. Officially launched this autumn, this project, still in its design phase, aims to:

  • Create a publicly accessible repository for curated information, research, and news related to wealth inequality;
  • Assess and extend data capacity related to household wealth;
  • Contribute to the growing methodological literature on wealth measurement; and
  • Conduct research on high-end wealth in the U.S., compared to selected other rich countries.

Salvatore Morelli, an Oxford-trained economist and inequality scholar, joined the Stone Center in September 2017 to lead the project in coordination with Stone Center Director Janet Gornick. For the next two years, Morelli will serve as Visiting Assistant Professor at the Graduate Center, Distinguished Fellow at the Graduate Center’s Advanced Research Collaborative, and Stone Center Senior Scholar.

Morelli brings extensive experience researching the economics of income and wealth distribution. His comparative work on the evolution and measurement of economic inequality is highly regarded. He has also studied the theoretical and empirical foundations of the claim that inequality contributes to economic and financial instability.

“We are excited that Salvatore has arrived at the Graduate Center and that he will contribute his expertise to shaping our wealth project,” said Gornick.

December 13, 2017 | News

Visiting scholars at LIS

This November, LIS welcomed one visiting scholar through the InGRID-2 project; Ana Suárez Álvarez who worked onsite with the LIS Database. Ana is a PhD student at the University of Oviedo in Asturias, Spain, her PhD project is funded by the Spanish Ministry of Education through the University Academic Staff Training Programme (FPU). During her visit at LIS, Ana used the LIS Database to undertake the project Inequality of Opportunity in developing economies: a cross-country analysis with LIS harmonised data. The aim of the project is to shed some light on the behaviour of income inequality and inequality of opportunity (IOp) for developing countries using LIS harmonised data, which incorporates a wide variety of personal characteristics variables. Moreover, the data availability of repeated cross-sections in Brazil, Guatemala, and South Africa was particularly relevant to assess changes over time in IOp and inequality indices. For the latter purpose, Ana implemented a stratified bootstrap methodology with the aim of testing the significance of the changes observed over time.

December 12, 2017 | Ignore on home

The October 2017 IMF Fiscal Monitor has been published

LIS is happy to announce the publication of IMF Fiscal Monitor that focuses on inequality issues. This publication makes use of the Luxembourg Income Study (LIS) Database for the analysis of income including, but not limited to, the reduction in inequality and relative poverty as well as redistribution

Rising inequality and slow economic growth in many countries have focused attention on policies to support inclusive growth. While some inequality is inevitable in a market-based economic system, excessive inequality can erode social cohesion, lead to political polarization, and ultimately lower economic growth. This Fiscal Monitor discusses how fiscal policies can help achieve redistributive objectives. It focuses on three salient policy debates: tax rates at the top of the income distribution, the introduction of a universal basic income, and the role of public spending on education and health.

November 29, 2017 | News

Stone Center, home to the US Office of LIS, welcomed the 2017 ECINEQ Meeting

In July, the Stone Center served as host of the Seventh Meeting of the Society for the Study of Economic Inequality (ECINEQ). ECINEQ conferences are held biennially; the 2017 meeting was the first to be convened in the United States. The three-day event took place at the CUNY Graduate Center, 17-19 July 2017, and was attended by over 250 inequality scholars from more than 30 countries.
Janet Gornick, Director of the Stone Center and of the US Office of LIS, hosted an institutional welcome session, which included a conversation on inequality between New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and Paul Krugman.

The conference featured three official Keynote Lectures:

  • Peter H. Lindert (University of California – Davis): The Rise and Future of Progressive Redistribution
  • Marc Fleurbaey (Princeton University): Inequalities, Social Justice and the Web of Social
  • Frank Cowell (London School of Economics): Inheritance, Inequality and the Idle Rich

The program also included the inaugural Stone Lecture on Wealth Inequality, which was given by Gabriel Zucman (University of California – Berkeley), and a special plenary session presented by Joseph Stiglitz (Columbia University), titled: A Simple Model of Wealth Inequality and the Role of Capital Taxation in Overcoming It.

On the evening of 19 July, a gala dinner was held in honor of Sir Tony Atkinson, co-sponsored and co-hosted by The Institute for New Economic Thinking (INET) and the Stone Center.

At the ECINEQ meeting, LIS ASBL member and Senior Scholar Frank Cowell was elected as ECINEQ’s next President, and Janet Gornick was elected to serve on the ECINEQ Scientific Council.

The 2017 ECINEQ conference abstracts and papers are available here.

September 9, 2017 | News

We mourn the loss of Prof. Dr. Dieter Ferring

It is with deep sadness that we announce the death of Prof. Dr. Dieter Ferring, who passed away on August 3, 2017.

Head of the Research Unit INSIDE at the University of Luxembourg, Dieter was an outstanding researcher and enthusiastic scholar. At LIS, we had the privilege of collaborating with him on the design and set up of the PEARL Institute for Research on Socio-Economic Inequality (IRSEI) that would have not been successful without his huge and dedicated involvement.

We offer our condolences to his family and friends, and to his many colleagues throughout Luxembourg.

August 7, 2017 | Ignore on home

Synopsis of the LIS Summer Workshop 2017

The LIS Summer Workshop is an annual activity that LIS has adopted since late 1980’s. It is an intensive course designed to introduce researchers in the social sciences to comparative research on income distribution, employment and social policy, using the Luxembourg Income Study Database (LIS) and the Luxembourg Wealth Study Database (LWS).

This summer, LIS welcomed 28 participants to its annual Summer Workshop; the workshop took place between 18- 22 June in the University of Luxembourg, Belval Campus. The participants of the workshop joined from 15 countries around the world. They had different research interests and different academic backgrounds; Economics, Sociology, Statistics, Social Science, Political science, and social work.

This year’s workshop consisted of four and half days; divided between morning lectures and afternoon hands-on lab sessions. The workshop gathered outstanding lecturers from variety of universities, national and supranational organizations; Professor Daniele Checchi (LIS, and University of Milan), Professor Conchita D’Ambrosio (University of Luxembourg), Professor Janet Gornick (US Office of LIS, The Stone Center, and the City University of New York), Eva Sierminska (LISER and University of Arizona), Michael Förster (OECD), István György Tóth (Tárki Social Research Institute), and Philippe van Kerm (LISER). The last lecture was given by, LIS President, Professor François Bourguignon (Paris School of Economics) “The measurement of the Inequality of Opportunity”.

During the lab sessions, participants were introduced to the LISSY system interface and its coding best practices; gradually they were trained on how to apply more advanced techniques on LIS/LWS databases.

The workshop entailed two social events; on Sunday evening, LIS organized a cocktail dinner; so participants can exchange research interest and questions amongst each other. A closing banquet was held at St. Martin caves.

More information on the LIS Summer Workshop click here.

July 20, 2017 | Ignore on home

InGRID2: Successful Visiting Scholars Program Continues

The second bid of InGRID – InGRID2 project – to the EU call of Horizon 2020 has been approved.

The InGRID infrastructure, which brings together 19 academic partners from Europe, aims to integrate and optimise the existing European Data Infrastructure and accompanying expertise, through joint research, the organisation of expert workshops as well as a Visiting Scholar program.

Running from mid-2017 to mid-2021, the InGRID2 project will allow LIS to welcome researchers onsite and also grant LIS with support to its virtual access system.

June 13, 2017 | Ignore on home