Insights/Dialogue & Events
Rethinking inequalities
Nov 2020

Video program

Event series

forum-2020-insight

Determinants and implications of economic and social inequalities | 21.10. – 11.11.2020

In the past four decades, the incomes of many of the world’s poorest citizens have increased and extreme poverty has fallen faster than ever before in human history. However, while we are now living in a period of falling global inequality, overall inequality is still high and new forms of inequality in income, health, and life prospects have emerged. What are the reasons for this and how can we improve the situation to ultimately build a more prosperous and just world?

In our event series, experts from different fields will analyze the determinants and implications of economic and social inequalities and discuss possible solutions on how to address these issues. We start with an interdisciplinary research slam on the topic of inequality and prosperity, in which seven researchers will give us an insight into current findings from their research areas in short presentations. One week later, behavioral economist Janet Currie, globalization and labor markets expert David Dorn, and inequality expert Branko Milanovic will discuss the facts and consequences of inequality. In a webinar at the beginning of November, Florian Scheuer will give an outline of his research on the taxation of the superrich.

Concluding the event series, Nobel Laureate Sir Angus Deaton will elaborate on the topic of inequality and the future of capitalism, drawing on his most recent research.

  • This is a public event with free access via livestream on our website. Register and we will provide you with event reminders and updates.
  • We will live stream all our events on our YouTube channel.
  • Join the discussion on #inequalities and #EconomicsForSociety online. Follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn.

Determinants and implications of economic and social inequalities | 21.10. – 11.11.2020

In the past four decades, the incomes of many of the world’s poorest citizens have increased and extreme poverty has fallen faster than ever before in human history. However, while we are now living in a period of falling global inequality, overall inequality is still high and new forms of inequality in income, health, and life prospects have emerged. What are the reasons for this and how can we improve the situation to ultimately build a more prosperous and just world?

Program overview

Research slam: (In-)Equality and prosperity Wednesday, 21.10.2020 | 16:30–17:30 (CET)
Moderator: Nir Jaimovich
Speakers: participants as listed
Panel session: Inequality - facts and consequences Wednesday, 28.10.2020 | 16:00–17:15 (CET)
Moderator: James Mackintosh
Speakers: Janet Currie, David Dorn, Branko Milanovic
Webinar: Taxing the superrich Tuesday, 3.11.2020 | 16:00–17:00 (CET)
Speaker: Florian Scheuer
Keynote lecture: Inequality and the future of capitalism Wednesday, 11.11.2020 | 18:00–19:00 (CET)
Speaker: Nobel Laureate Sir Angus Deaton
Research slam: (In-)Equality and prosperity Wednesday, 21.10.2020 | 16:30–17:30 (CET)
Moderator: Nir Jaimovich
Speakers: participants as listed
Panel session: Inequality - facts and consequences Wednesday, 28.10.2020 | 16:00–17:15 (CET)
Moderator: James Mackintosh
Speakers: Janet Currie, David Dorn, Branko Milanovic
Webinar: Taxing the superrich Tuesday, 3.11.2020 | 16:00–17:00 (CET)
Speaker: Florian Scheuer
Keynote lecture: Inequality and the future of capitalism Wednesday, 11.11.2020 | 18:00–19:00 (CET)
Speaker: Nobel Laureate Sir Angus Deaton

Speakers

Henry Putnam Professor of Economics and Public Affairs at Princeton University
Prof. Janet Currie

Janet Currie is a pioneer in the economic analysis of child development. Her current research focuses on socioeconomic differences in health and access to health care, environmental threats to health, the important role of mental health, and the long-run impact of health problems in pregnancy and early childhood.

Senior Scholar and Professor Emeritus at Princeton University and Presidential Professor of Economics at USC
Nobel Laureate Sir Angus Deaton

Sir Angus Deaton is Senior Scholar and Professor Emeritus at Princeton University and Presidential Professor of Economics at USC. His interests span domestic and inter¬national issues and include health, happiness, development, poverty, inequality, and how to best collect and interpret evidence for policy. In 2015, he received the Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel “for his analysis of consumption, poverty, and welfare.”

UBS Foundation Professor of Globalization and Labor Markets, Research Fellow CEPR

David Dorn received his doctorate from the University of St. Gallen in 2009. His work studies the impact of globalization and automation on the labor market and society. He showed that rapidly rising import competition from China had more profound impacts on the U.S. labor market than was previously assumed. The relative decline of employment and wages in trade-exposed locations is also associated with decreasing marriage rates, rising drug mortality, and increased electoral support for politicians with non-moderate ideologies. In other work, he studies how the automation of routine labor and the rise of superstar firms have contributed to various facets of inequality. David’s work has been cited in thousands of academic papers and hundreds of newspaper articles.

Professor of Economics, Affiliated Professor at the UBS Center

Ernst Fehr received his doctorate from the University of Vienna in 1986. His work has shown how social motives shape the cooperation, negotiations and coordination among actors and how this affects the functioning of incentives, markets and organisations. His work identifies important conditions under which cooperation flourishes and breaks down. The work on the psychological foundations of incentives informs us about the merits and the limits of financial incentives for the compensation of employees. In other work he has shown the importance of corporate culture for the performance of firms. In more recent work he shows how social motives affect how people vote on issues related to the redistribution of incomes and how differences in people’s intrinsic patience is related to wealth inequality. His work has found large resonance inside and outside academia with more than 100’000 Google Scholar citations and his work has been mentioned many times in international and national newspapers.

Professor at the Department of Political Science, University of Zurich
Prof. Silja Häusermann

Silja Häusermann is a Professor of Political Science at the University of Zurich in Switzerland, where she teaches classes on Swiss politics, comparative political economy, comparative politics and welfare state research. Her research interests are in comparative politics and comparative political economy.

UBS Foundation Associate Professor of Economics of Innovation and Entrepreneurship

David Hémous received his PhD from Harvard University in 2012. He is a macroeconomist working on Economic Growth and Innovation. His work highlights that innovation responds to economic incentives and that public policies should be designed taking this dependence into account. In particular, he has showed in the context of climate change policy that innovations in the car industry responds to gas prices and that global and regional climate policies should support clean innovation to efficiently reduce CO2 emissions. His work on technological change and income distribution shows that higher labor costs lead to more automation, and that the recent increase in labor income inequality and in the capital share can be explained by a secular increase in automation. He has also showed that innovation affects top income shares. His work has been highlighted in several newspapers and magazines including Le Monde, The Economist, The Washington Post or Forbes, and it has been presented in policy circles such as COP 15 conference in Copenhagen or the French parliamentary meetings.

Professor of Economics, Affiliated Professor at the UBS Center

Nir Jaimovich is a macroeconomist who studies business cycles and the dynamics of the labor market. He is a research fellow at the Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR) and an associate editor of the Journal of Monetary Economics and the Journal of Economic Theory. Before joining the University of Zürich, Professor Jaimovich was on the faculty at the Marshall School of Business at USC, Duke University, Stanford University, and the University of California, San Diego. He was also a Research Associate in the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) Economic Fluctuations and Growth program.

Graduate Student in Economics at the University of Zurich
Elisa Macchi

Elisa Macchi is a 5th year PhD student in Economics at the University of Zurich. Her advisors are David Yanagizawa-Drott and Lorenzo Casaburi. Macchi's research falls at the interesection of Development, Health and Experimental Economics. She is interested in how social enviroments affect economic and health outcomes, with a focus on developing countries.

The Wall Street Journal
James Mackintosh

James Mackintosh is a senior columnist at The Wall Street Journal (WSJ). He joined the WSJ in 2016, after almost 20 years at the Financial Times, most recently as Investment Editor and writer of the Short View column. He is a graduate of St Catherine's College, Oxford, where he gained a first-class degree in Philosophy and Psychology.

Presidential Professor at the City University of New York Graduate Center and senior fellow at the Stone Center on Socio-Economic Inequality
Prof. Branko Milanovic

Branko Milanovic’s main area of work is income inequality, in individual countries and globally, as well as historically, among pre-industrial societies (Roman Empire, Byzantium, and France before the Revolution), and even inequality in soccer. He has published a number of articles on the methodology and empirics of global income distribution and the effects of globalization.

UBS Foundation Professor of Economics of Institutions, Research Fellow CEPR

Florian Scheuer received his PhD from MIT in 2010. He is interested in the policy implications of rising inequality, with a focus on tax policy. In particular, he has worked on incorporating important features of real-world labor markets into the design of optimal income and wealth taxes. These include economies with rent-seeking, superstar effects or an important entrepreneurial sector, frictional financial markets, as well as political constraints on tax policy and the resulting inequality. His work has been published in the American Economic Review, the Journal of Political Economy, the Quarterly Journal of Economics and the Review of Economic Studies, among other journals. In 2017, he received an ERC starting grant for his research on “Inequality - Public Policy and Political Economy.” Before joining Zurich, he was on the faculty at Stanford, held visiting positions at Harvard and UC Berkeley and was a National Fellow at the Hoover Institution. He is Co-Editor of Theoretical Economics and Member of the Board of Editors of the Review of Economic Studies. He is also a Co-Director of the working group on Macro Public Finance at the NBER. He has commented on tax policy in various US and Swiss media outlets.

UBS Foundation Professor of Macroeconomics and Financial Markets, Research Fellow CEPR

Joachim Voth received his PhD from Oxford in 1996. He works on financial crises, long-run growth, as well as on the origins of political extremism. He has examined public debt dynamics and bank lending to the first serial defaulter in history, analysed risk-taking behaviour by lenders as a result of personal shocks, and the investor performance during speculative bubbles. Joachim has also examined the deep historical roots of anti-Semitism, showing that the same cities where pogroms occurred in the Middle Age also persecuted Jews more in the 1930s; he has analyzed the extent to which schooling can create radical racial stereotypes over the long run, and how dense social networks (“social capital”) facilitated the spread of the Nazi party. In his work on long-run growth, he has investigated the effects of fertility restriction, the role of warfare, and the importance of state capacity. Joachim has published more than 80 academic articles and 3 academic books, 5 trade books and more than 50 newspaper columns, op-eds and book reviews. His research has been highlighted in The Economist, the Financial Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Guardian, El Pais, Vanguardia, La Repubblica, the Frankfurter Allgemeine, NZZ, der Standard, der Spiegel, CNN, RTN, Swiss and German TV and radio.

Assistant Professor of Economics of Child and Youth Development endowed by the Jacobs Center for Productive Youth Development
Prof. Ulf Zölitz

Ulf Zölitz primary research interests are in the field of applied microeconomics. He is interested in labor economics, economics of education and behavioral economics. His current research focuses on peer effects, the role of personality in education and interventions aiming to enhance the development of cognitive skills in children.

Henry Putnam Professor of Economics and Public Affairs at Princeton University
Prof. Janet Currie

Janet Currie is a pioneer in the economic analysis of child development. Her current research focuses on socioeconomic differences in health and access to health care, environmental threats to health, the important role of mental health, and the long-run impact of health problems in pregnancy and early childhood.

Senior Scholar and Professor Emeritus at Princeton University and Presidential Professor of Economics at USC
Nobel Laureate Sir Angus Deaton

Sir Angus Deaton is Senior Scholar and Professor Emeritus at Princeton University and Presidential Professor of Economics at USC. His interests span domestic and inter¬national issues and include health, happiness, development, poverty, inequality, and how to best collect and interpret evidence for policy. In 2015, he received the Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel “for his analysis of consumption, poverty, and welfare.”

UBS Foundation Professor of Globalization and Labor Markets, Research Fellow CEPR

David Dorn received his doctorate from the University of St. Gallen in 2009. His work studies the impact of globalization and automation on the labor market and society. He showed that rapidly rising import competition from China had more profound impacts on the U.S. labor market than was previously assumed. The relative decline of employment and wages in trade-exposed locations is also associated with decreasing marriage rates, rising drug mortality, and increased electoral support for politicians with non-moderate ideologies. In other work, he studies how the automation of routine labor and the rise of superstar firms have contributed to various facets of inequality. David’s work has been cited in thousands of academic papers and hundreds of newspaper articles.

Professor of Economics, Affiliated Professor at the UBS Center

Ernst Fehr received his doctorate from the University of Vienna in 1986. His work has shown how social motives shape the cooperation, negotiations and coordination among actors and how this affects the functioning of incentives, markets and organisations. His work identifies important conditions under which cooperation flourishes and breaks down. The work on the psychological foundations of incentives informs us about the merits and the limits of financial incentives for the compensation of employees. In other work he has shown the importance of corporate culture for the performance of firms. In more recent work he shows how social motives affect how people vote on issues related to the redistribution of incomes and how differences in people’s intrinsic patience is related to wealth inequality. His work has found large resonance inside and outside academia with more than 100’000 Google Scholar citations and his work has been mentioned many times in international and national newspapers.