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2014 Inequality and...? Lecture Series

Inequality and Financial Literacy

Annamaria Lusardi, George Washington University
10 November 2014

 

Shifting economic policies and changes in the pension and economic landscape have forced individuals around the world to assume greater responsibility for their own financial well-being. But how prepared are individuals to take on this greater responsibility and to process the economic information needed to make informed decisions about their current and future finances?

 

Evidence using data collected across many countries shows that the level of financial literacy is very low, even in countries with well-developed financial markets. Financial illiteracy is not only widespread but is particularly acute among some demographic groups, such as young people and women.

 

Moreover, financial literacy can be linked to borrowing and saving behavior. It is also an important determinant of wealth inequality; according to the predictions of an intertemporal model of saving, from 30 to 40% of wealth inequality can be accounted for by financial literacy.

 

 

 

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Inequality and Financial Literacy

 

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Inequality and Growth

Jean Marc Fournier, Economist at OECD
14 October 2014

 

Income inequality has widened in most OECD countries during the past decades, reflecting to a large extent skill-biased technological change. Inequality is a concern as the relevant target is not GDP growth per se but rather the well-being of people.

 

Furthermore, a recent OECD analysis suggests that higher inequality can reduce GDP per capita. The OECD has thus investigated the impact of growth-friendly structural reforms on inequality.

 

Some growth-friendly policies could increase inequality, such as tightening unemployment benefits for the long-term unemployed. By contrast, several growth-enhancing reforms contributed to narrower inequality by delivering stronger market income gains for the poorest, such as raising secondary education rates, stepping up job-search support and activation programmes, or policies aiming at reducing the share of temporary contracts. Last, some reforms can lift all boats, such as increasing the overall level of education.

 

 

 

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Inequality and Growth

 

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Inequality and Diversity

Shlomo Weber, Southern Methodist University and Center for Study of Diversity and Social Interactions, New Economic School
4 June 2014

 

The bulk of economic research on the issue of diversity has been centered on the role of economic and wealth inequality in the global economy. However, one cannot deny the impact of linguistic diversity on economic and political development, as well as on public policies.

 

In spite of the claim that “globalization proceeds in English”, linguistic diversity is a global social phenomenon. On one hand, there are financial costs, communication barriers, divisions in national unity, and, in some extreme cases, conflicts and war, associated with linguistic diversity, on the other hand, there is a growing support for protection of group and an individual identity.

 

In our lecture we will argue that denial or restriction of linguistic rights of various population groups, or so-called linguistic disenfranchisement, could be detrimental for economic growth, political and social development.

 

 

 

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Inequality and Diversity

 

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Inequality and Education

Daniele Checchi, University of Milan
21 May 2014

 

Inequality in education concerns not only school attendance, but also what you may achieve in terms of competences. It represents a potential cause of inequality in earnings, since it drives people in or out of the labour market.

 

Policies favouring school inclusion seem effective in reducing educational inequality. These policies may take the form of either increases in years of education or increases in abilities. Years of education partially compensate for a possible lack of cultural resources due to family background, while abilities favour labour market participation and earnings potential.

 

This lecture will address these issues from a theoretical and empirical perspective.

 

 

 

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Inequality and Education

 

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Inequality and Poverty

Stephen Jenkins, London School of Economics
26 March 2014

 

The income distribution is most commonly assessed in terms of how much inequality or poverty there is in a given year or by how much inequality and poverty have changed over time.

 

This lecture makes a case for also drawing on information about income mobility – the links between people’s incomes in one year and the next and between parental and offspring income. The questions addressed include:

  • Why does mobility matter?
  • How much mobility and poverty persistence is there?
  • To what extent is there a trade-off between greater income inequality and poverty and greater mobility?

Empirical illustrations draw on data for Europe and North America.

 

 

 

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Inequality and Poverty

 

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Inequality and Gender

Janet Gornick, LIS & City University of New York
16 January 2014

 

Inequality among men and women is still a reality.

 

What is the role of the European Union in establishing work-family reconciliation policies in Europe? How do these policy provisions vary across high-income countries? What do we know about the effects – both intended and unintended – of reconciliation policies? What explains the comparatively low level of provision in the English-speaking countries, especially in the United States?

 

 

 

Full lecture

 

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Inequality and Gender

 

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