CANCELLED - The Political Economy of Inequality

Course content

Within remarkably few years, the issue of economic inequality have moved from a peripheral issue within academia, to one of the most pressing issues of the day.

 

The course presents an introduction to the issue of economic inequality within economics, political science and related fields.

 

This involves a history of the patterns of global inequality since 1800, and the methodological debates around various empirical measures of inequality.  This historical survey includes the debate around ‘the great divergence’ between the west and the rest of the world, the rise of industrial capitalism and the egalitarian period in the mid-20th century, as well as the recent rise in inequality and the recent rise of formerly poor countries such as China and India.

 

The course will cover theoretical approaches to inequality within economic thought from the classical political economy of Smith and Marx, over 20th century economists as Simon Kuznets and Amartya Sen to the recent wave of scholarship on economic inequality headed by scholars such Thomas Piketty and Branko Milanovic. These perspectives will be brought into dialogue with recent scholarship from international political economy to get a comprehensive understanding of the complex political and economic processes shaping economic inequalities across the world.

Education

Bachelor student (2012 programme curriculum): 10 ECTS

Bachelor student (2017 programme curriculum): 7.5 ECTS

Master student: 7.5 ECTS

 

 

Learning outcome

Knowledge:

Upon completion of the course, the participants will be able to:

  • Understand and define key concepts and measures within the study of economic inequality
  • Understand and discuss key theories and claims about the implications of different forms of economic inequality

 

Skills:

Upon completion of the course, the participants will be able to:

  • Analyze trends and developments in economic inequality
  • Compare and reflect on different policy solutions to inequality

 

Competences:

Upon completion of the course, the participants will be able to:

  • Combine different theories and data in order to conduct independent analysis of issues surrounding economic inequality
  • Critically asses and debate different claims around economic inequality

Classes will consist of a mixture of lecture parts, group exercises and plenary debates and discussions.

Lecture 1: Introduction

  • Piketty, Thomas. 2014. Capital in the Twenty-First Century. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
  • Milanovic, Branko. 2016. Global inequality: A new approach for the age of globalization: Harvard University Press.

 

Lecture 2: Economics of inequality: basic concepts

  • Atkinson, Anthony B. 2015. Inequality: Harvard University Press.
  • Chang, H.-J. (2014). Economics: the user's guide: Bloomsbury Publishing USA.
  • Piketty, Thomas. 2014. Capital in the Twenty-First Century. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. Income and output, 39-72

 

Lecture 3: Global inequality I: Rich countries, poor countries

  • Milanovic, Branko. 2016. Global inequality: A new approach for the age of globalization: Harvard University Press.
  • Bourguignon, F., and C. Morrisson. 2002. "Inequality among world citizens: 1820-1992." 

 

Lecture 4: Global inequality II: Visit from Oxfam

  • Oxfam. (2019). Private Wealth or Public Good?

 

Lecture 5: History of inequality

  • Milanovic, Branko. 2016. Global inequality: A new approach for the age of globalization: Harvard University Press.

 

Lecture 6: Mechanism of inequality: taxes, technology, finance or

  • Atkinson, Anthony B. 2015. Inequality: Harvard University Press.
  • Glyn, A. 2007. Capitalism unleashed: Oxford University Press.
  • Zucman, G. (2015). The hidden wealth of nations: The scourge of tax havens. Chicago University of Chicago Press.

           

Lecture 7: Inequality beyond Economics: Health, gender, indentity

  • Therborn, Göran. 2014. The killing fields of inequality: John Wiley & Sons.
  • Stuckler, D., Basu, S., Suhrcke, M., Coutts, A., & McKee, M. (2009). The public health effect of economic crises and alternative policy responses in Europe: an empirical analysis. The Lancet, 374(9686), 315-323.
  • Wilkinson, R. G., & Pickett, K. (2010). The spirit level: why equality is better for everyone: Penguin.

 

Lecture 8: Is inequality a political problem?

  • Feldstein, M. (1998). Income inequality and poverty. National bureau of economic research, working paper 6670.
  • Friedman, M. (1962). Capitalism and freedom. [Chicago] University of Chicago Press.
  • Sayer, A. (2015). Why we can't afford the rich: Policy Press.

 

Lecture 9: What can be done? Inequality and policy?

  • OECD. 2011. Divided we Stand: Why Inequality Keeps Rising. Executive summary
  • Thompson, M. J. (2007). The Politics of Inequality. New York: Columbia University Press.
  • Emmanuel Saez and Gabriel Zucman (2019) Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s Tax Hike Idea Is Not About Soaking the Rich. It’s about curtailing inequality and saving democracy.

 

Lecture 10: Inequality, neoliberalism and ideology

  • Hacker, J. S. and P. Pierson (2010). "Winner-take-all politics: Public policy, political organization, and the precipitous rise of top incomes in the United States." Politics & Society 38(2): 152-204.
  • Harvey, D. (2007). A brief history of neoliberalism: Oxford University Press, USA.
  • Mirowski, P., & Plehwe, D. (2009). The road from Mont Pelerin: the making of the neoliberal thought collective. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.
  • Dumenil, G., & Levy, D. (2004). Capital resurgent : roots of the neoliberal revolution. Cambridge :: Harvard University Press.
  • Blyth, M. (2002). Great transformations : economic ideas and institutional change in the twentieth century. New York: Cambridge University Press.

 

Lecture 11:  Inequality and Oligarchy: power of the rich

  • Bartels, Larry M. 2009. Unequal democracy: The political economy of the new gilded age. Princeton: Princeton University Press.
  • McCormick, J. P. (2006). Contain the wealthy and patrol the magistrates: Restoring elite accountability to popular government. American Political Science Review, 100(02),
  • Winters, J. A. (2011). Oligarchy: Cambridge University Press.
  • Gilens, M., & Page, B. I. (2014). Testing Theories of American Politics: Elites, Interest Groups, and Average Citizens. Perspectives on Politics.

 

Lecture 12 Globalisation and inequality:

  • Milanovic, Branko. 2016. Global inequality: A new approach for the age of globalization: Harvard University Press. 10-46
  • Hay, C. and B. Rosamond (2002). "Globalization, European integration and the discursive construction of economic imperatives." Journal of European Public Policy 9(2): 147-167. 20 p

 

Lecture 13 Inequality and populism

  • Robin, C. (2011). The Reactionary Mind: Conservatism from Edmund Burke to Sarah Palin. New York: Oxford University Press.
  • Schäfer, Armin (2016). "Liberalization, Inequality and Democracy's Discontent." Politics in the Age of Austerity. Polity Press, 2013.
  • Mouffe, C. (2018) for a left populism

 

Lecture 14: Future of inequality

  • Alvaredo, F., Chancel, L., Piketty, T., Saez, E., & Zucman, G. (2018). World inequality report 2018. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.
  • Milanovic, Branko. 2016. Global inequality: A new approach for the age of globalization: Harvard University Press.

A good knowledge of key literatures in international relations, comparative politics and political theory. An interest in economics is useful, but formal training in economics is not essential.

Continuous feedback during the course of the semester
Peer feedback (Students give each other feedback)
ECTS
7,5 ECTS
Type of assessment
Oral examination
Oral exam with a synopsis
Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
No external censorship
Criteria for exam assessment
  • Grade 12 is given for an outstanding performance: the student lives up to the course's goal description in an independent and convincing manner with no or few and minor shortcomings
  • Grade 7 is given for a good performance: the student is confidently able to live up to the goal description, albeit with several shortcomings
  • Grade 02 is given for an adequate performance: the minimum acceptable performance in which the student is only able to live up to the goal description in an insecure and incomplete manner

Single subject courses (day)

  • Category
  • Hours
  • Class Instruction
  • 28
  • English
  • 28