Maurizio Bussolo on Towards a new social contract – taking on distributional tensions in Europe and Central Asia

WIDER Seminar Series

Maurizio Bussolo on taking on distributional tensions in Europe and Central Asia

Maurizio Bussolo will present at the WIDER Seminar Series on 23 January 2019. 

Abstract – Towards a new social contract: taking on distributional tensions in Europe and Central Asia

Globalization, rapid technological change, and aging have created opportunities but also intensified cleavages within the society. 'Towards a New Social Contract' presents strong new evidence showing that insecurity and risks are not shared equally, and its originality and main contribution is to highlight that the nature of inequality has been changing. It clearly illustrates that, in Europe, standard indicators of 'vertical' inequality have not drastically increased, but “horizontal” inequality – distributional tensions between groups, such as generations, workers, and regions – has been rising, and inequality of opportunity remains persistently high. A welfare state is needed now more than ever. However, as the report shows, the current ones were designed when the world was a different place and are not anymore very effective in coping with the emerging distributional tensions. Dissatisfaction with the status quo and the trust deficit towards the existing social and political arrangements have resulted in voting polarization and rise of populism.

How would a renewed social contract look like? The report highlights three policy principles, which, considered jointly, should inform a renewed social contract: 1) encourage universal provision of social assistance, social insurance, and basic quality services; 2) promote equal protection of all workers, regardless of their type of employment; and 3) improve the fairness of the tax system by supporting progressivity of a broad tax base that complements labor income taxation with the taxation of capital.

Toward a New Social Contract : Taking on Distributional Tensions in Europe and Central Asia, by Maria Eugenia Davalos, Maurizio Bussolo, Ramya Sundaram, and Vito Peragine

About the speaker

Currently at the World Bank, Maurizio Bussolo, has been working on quantitative analyses of economic policy and development with research interests spanning both micro and macroeconomic topics. He previously worked at the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the Overseas Development Institute in London, and Fedesarrollo and the University of Los Andes in Colombia. He has extensively published in peer-reviewed journals on trade, growth, poverty, and income distribution. He holds a PhD in economics from the University of Warwick.

WIDER Seminar Series

The WIDER Seminar Series showcases recent and ongoing work on key topics in development economics. The weekly sessions held in Helsinki are open to local and visiting researchers, policy makers, and others interested in development topics. Click here to learn more.

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