WIDER Annual Lecture 3 - Is Rising Income Inequality Inevitable?
A Critique of the Transatlantic Consensus
WIDER Annual Lecture 3 - Is Rising Income Inequality Inevitable? A Critique of the Transatlantic Consensus
Many people believe that rising income inequality is inevitable. It is the result of forces, such as technological change, over which we have no control, or of developments such as globalisation, which are irreversible.
Professor Atkinson takes issue with this view, focusing on the experience of OECD countries, but with lessons for the world as a whole. He argues that rising income inequality has a social as well as an economic explanation, and that redistributive policy can be effective. Rising inequality is not inevitable.
Professor Anthony Barnes Atkinson is Warden of Nuffield College, Oxford. He was previously Professor of Political Economy at the University of Cambridge, and Chairman of the Suntory Toyota International Centre at the London School of Economics. He is Fellow of the British Academy, and has been President of the Royal Economic Society, of the Econometric Society, of the European Economic Association and of the International Economic Association.
He has served on the Royal Commission on the Distribution of Income and Wealth, the Pension Law Review Committee, and the Commission on Social Justice. He is author of Unequal Shares, The Economics of Inequality, Lectures on Public Economics (with J.E. Stiglitz), Poverty and Social Security, Public Economics in Action, Incomes and the Welfare State, Three Lectures on Poverty in Europe and The Economic Consequences of Rolling Back the Welfare State.
In this thought-provoking lecture, Professor Atkinson focuses on the rise in income inequality in a large number of industrialized countries over the last two decades. This phenomenon, which first became apparent in the United States and the United...