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Summer School CALL for Papers: Inequality

Inequality: Measurement, analysis and policies

Socioeconomic inequality and its evolution have been at the center of recent debates in economic research and policy analysis. Inequality of income and wealth results from the interaction of economic and social structures and the degree of concentration of human and physical capital. Growing inequality has huge implications for democracy, social stability and the overall efficiency of the economic system. Income and wealth distribution, and the determinants at its basis, also affect the way economic shocks – such as economic crises – affect the macroeconomic system. Moreover, large or increasing inequalities may have an impact on the overall efficiency of public policies and policy instruments.

The available evidence on income and wealth inequality shows increasing concentration in most of the regions of the world. Latin America and the Caribbean has benefitted from a strong period of economic growth accompanied by redistributive policies during which many countries of the region have been able to reduce inequalities and poverty. However, real increases in income and wages hide strong disparities between and within countries. Latin America as a whole remains the most unequal region of the world: eight out of the 20 most unequal countries of the world in terms of income are in Latin America.

Improving the understanding of income and wealth inequalities in Latin America and the Caribbean has historically played a central role within the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (UN-ECLAC). UN-ECLAC centers the debate not only on inequalities that operate vertically – i.e. the differences between rich and poor – but also horizontally – reflecting differences depending on sex, territory or membership of certain population groups, such as indigenous or Afro descendent populations. Horizontal inequalities operate throughout individuals’ lifetime, perpetuating structural differences. In Latin America, vertical and horizontal inequalities

To promote innovative research on inequality measurement, analysis and policy and to celebrate its 20th Anniversary, the UN-ECLAC Summer School on Latin American Economies will convene a seminar on the 26th and 27th of August to bring together researchers from academia, think-tanks, business and non-profit organizations, the seminar will be held at the UN-ECLAC Headquarters in Santiago, Chile.

Research papers on all aspects of the distribution of income and wealth, the intergenerational mobility within these distributions, the measurement of vertical and horizontal inequalities and new tools and methodologies for measuring inequalities, are welcome. Topics that will be taken in consideration include, but are not limited to the following:

  1. Intergenerational Persistence of Inequalities

To what extent are inequalities transmitted and reproduced across generations? What are the mechanisms behind this transmission? How can policies tackle the factors reinforcing this mechanism? What is the role of intergenerational transmission of earning capacity?

  1. Measuring Income and Wealth Inequality

What are the challenges to measure the top tail of the income distribution (e.g. top 1%)? Which new sources of data are available to measure income and wealth? How can household survey data be reconciled with tax data and National Accounts?  How can existing measures be used in a complementary way? What are possible improvements to data sources?

  1. GIS (big) data and Inequality

Can Geographical Information Systems and Big Data improve our knowledge about inequality, its determinants and transmission mechanisms? What are the data sources available and the challenges in using them for measuring inequality? What are the links between geography and income and wealth inequality?

  1. The Multiple Dimensions of Inequality

What key dimensions of inequality are relevant in shaping opportunities and welfare? How can they be measured? What are the relations between income inequality and inequality in other dimensions? How do these interactions affect policy priorities and policy instruments?

Each proposal should clearly explain the main research questions that will be studied, hypotheses, sources of data that will be used, and research methods and results. Additional supporting material, such as preliminary results or draft papers, are also welcome. Deadline for submission: July 21. Decisions about the proposals will be made by July 26. The final presentation to be made at the seminar will be due by August 3.

At least two papers per topic will be selected. Limited financial support is available upon request. Questions about the seminar and financial support may be addressed to