Plenary session
Poverty and inequality - what's next?

The analysis of poverty and inequality has witnessed extraordinary progress during the last decades. The development of a dynamic perspective, the possibility of accounting for different dimensions of wellbeing, and the incorporation of a more global perspective are only a few examples of the new directions taken on this topic.

All this was possible due to the combined effect of the development of analytical frameworks and the increasing availability of rich datasets, even for the poorest countries. The importance of achieving a fair distribution of wellbeing has become a central part of the public debate, with the elimination of extreme poverty and the reduction of inequalities between and within countries being two key UN sustainable development goals.

During the past years, UNU-WIDER has contributed to this process. UNU-WIDER has made available new datasets, has engaged in country and global studies, and has contributed to the dissemination of this research through conferences, workshops, and discussions with stakeholders.

It is time to look into the future to identify what are the next steps that need to be taken. For that, this plenary session will gather some of the most recognized worldwide experts in this field to sound out their reading of where the profession is and should be heading in future

Session videos

Plenary 2 | Poverty and inequality – what’s next?

Martin Ravallion | Sabina Alkire | François Bourguignon | Q&A


Ravi Kanbur | Chair

Ravi Kanbur is T. H. Lee Professor of World Affairs at Cornell University. He has served on the senior staff of the World Bank, including as Resident Representative in Ghana, Chief Economist of the Africa Region, as Principal Adviser to the Chief Economist of the World Bank, and as Director of the World Bank's World Development Report. Professor Kanbur has published over 250 publications during his career.


Martin RavallionMartin Ravallion | Presenter | Presentation

Martin Ravallion holds the inaugural Edmond D. Villani Chair of Economics at Georgetown University. Previously he was Director of the World Bank’s research department, the Development Research Group. Professor Ravallion’s main research interests over the last 30 years have concerned poverty and policies for fighting it. He has written extensively on this and other subjects in economics, including four books and 200 papers in scholarly journals and edited volumes.

Sabina Alkire | Presenter | Presentation

Sabina Alkire is Director of the Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative (OPHI) — a research centre within the Department of International Development, University of Oxford — where she works on a new approach to measuring poverty and wellbeing that goes beyond the traditional focus on income and growth. Professor Alkire’s broad research interests include multidimensional poverty measurement and analysis, welfare economics, Amartya Sen’s capability approach, the measurement of freedoms, and human development.

Photo: UNU-WIDERFrançois Bourguignon | Presenter | Presentation

François Bourguignon, a former Chief Economist of the World Bank, is Professor Emeritus of Economics at the Paris School of Economics. His theoretical and empirical work focuses on income distribution and redistribution in developing and developed countries. He is the author of several books and numerous articles in international economic journals and has received several scientific distinctions. He also has a wealth of consulting experience with several governments and international organizations.

Michael Grimm | Discussant | Presentation

Michael Grimm is Professor of Development Economics at the University of Passau in Germany. He is also affiliated with DIW Berlin, RWI Essen, ZEF Bonn and the IZA research network. An Economist by training, professor Grimm’s research focus is on the causes and consequences of poverty in low-income countries, in particular in Sub-Saharan Africa. He has also consulted extensively for international organizations such as the World Bank and UNDP as well as national donor agencies.

Conchita D’Ambrosio | Discussant

Conchita D’Ambrosio is Professor of Economics at the Université du Luxembourg. Her research focuses on income and wealth distributions, deprivation, polarization and social exclusion. She was awarded an FNR PEARL Chair and together with Professor Louis Chauvel, she founded the PEARL Institute for Research on Socio-Economic Inequality (IRSEI) at the University of Luxembourg. Since 2008, Professor D’Ambrosio has also been the editor of the Review of Income and Wealth.