New complementary database: Routine Task Intensity and Offshorability for the LIS

LIS recently added to its complementary databases section a new dataset on the offshorability (OFFS) and routine-task intensity (RTI) of occupations for use with the Luxembourg Income Study Database. This dataset, created by Matthew C Mahutga (University of California, Riverside), Michaela Curran (University of California, Riverside), and Anthony Roberts (California State University, Los Angeles), allows LIS users to retrieve very detailed and standardized occupation categories, following the international two-digit coding of the ISCO-88 standard. For their analyses, the authors recoded additionally 23 country-specific occupational schemes (74 LIS country-years), so that currently in total 38 LIS countries (160 LIS country-years) could be analyzed using the detailed two-digit ISCO-88 level. First analyses by Mahutga et al. (2018) reveal that both routine-task intensity and offshorability contribute to income polarization, particularly in the global North, but not in the South yet.

Users can access these data in one of two ways. Users who wish to make use of assembled RTI and OFFS scores used in Mahutga et al. (2018), as well as new ISCO-88, occ1a and occ1b covariates that result from their recode, can find them on the LIS website and here. The authors also provide a user guide and codebook for the variables included in these data, as well as a very large document detailing the recoding particulars for each country-year recoded. Users who wish to work with (or augment) our original script may find it on or by emailing the lead author. This script can be used to recode additional datasets as they come online in the LIS.

Mahutga, Matthew C., Michaela Curran and Anthony Roberts. Job Tasks and the Comparative Structure of Income and Employment: Routine Task Intensity and Offshorability for the LIS. International Journal of Comparative Sociology 59(2): 81-109. Free access to the LIS working paper here.

July 27, 2018 | News

Workshop on “Harmonization of Household Surveys, Fiscal Data and National Accounts” at the Paris School of Economics

On 17-18 May 2018, the Paris School of Economics hosted a workshop titled: “Workshop on Harmonization of Household Surveys, Fiscal Data and National Accounts: Comparing Approaches and Establishing Standards”. The workshop was co-organized by representatives from the Commitment to Equity (CEQ) Institute at Tulane University, the Stone Center on Socio-Economic Inequality at the CUNY Graduate Center, and the Paris School of Economics. The attendees included over 60 scholars and analysts, from many institutions, working in the field of income/wealth distribution measurement. Daniele Checchi and Teresa Munzi from LIS attended, as did Branko Milanovic, Janet Gornick, Salvatore Morelli, and Nishant Yonzan from the Stone Center.

The workshop panels explored an array of methods, with empirical examples, aimed at adjusting the top of income and wealth distributions. Presentations were organized into six panels: “Methods for combining surveys, tax, and national accounts data & DINA”; “Methods for combining surveys and administrative data”; “Methods for combining surveys and administrative data: developing economies”; “Global-level adjustments: approaches so far”; and “Wealth inequality”. The conference program, with links to the presentations, is available online.

June 15, 2018 | Ignore on home

Research Agreement with the Agence Francaise de Developpement (AFD)

The fight against inequality is linked to the fight against poverty. All studies agree that the fight against poverty is easier, at the same time, inequalities are reduced. Everywhere, there is a link for the rising of the debt, and the rise of private and financial indebtedness. There are therefore inequalities for a negative impact on development because they reduce well-being, slow down poverty reduction, lead to social and political instability and, ultimately, are associated with lower growth.

The research agreement between AFD and LIS aims at providing both parties with enhanced capacities to realize national or cross-national studies on socio-economic outcomes and on the institutional factors that shape those outcomes.

This research collaboration will rely on three pillars (1) producing research papers on the topic of inequality and development (2) expanding the LIS database with 2 more countries (3) providing scientific support for the 2018 AFD conference.

June 13, 2018 | News

LIS signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Economic Research Forum (ERF)

In our quest to establish closer collaboration with regional and international organizations, to promote cross-national comparative research on socio-economic outcomes and on the institutional factors that shape those outcomes, this March LIS has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Economic Research Forum (ERF). The ERF is a regional network dedicated to promoting high quality economic research to contribute to sustainable development in the Arab countries, Iran and Turkey.

Both the ERF- via its Open Access Micro Data Initiative (OAMDI) – and LIS contribute to the research community by providing researchers with access to comparable and harmonized Micro datasets with common denominator of the income and expenditure measures, to promote academic research on inequality and poverty and development/evaluation of evidence-based policies. The collaboration between the two institutions is ultimately intended to benefit the research community and both institutions’ users to achieve the following:

  • Producing and disseminating research on social problems created by inequality/poverty/unemployment in a cross-country comparative perspective and/or along a temporal dimension.
  • Promoting awareness of the micro-consequences of macro phenomena, through the diffusion of statistical information on inequality/poverty/unemployment.
  • Promoting the advancement of the use of microdata in academic analysis and evidence-based policies
  • Promoting cross-country comparisons of MENA region and countries available in LIS, with particular focus of countries on the two sides of the Mediterranean.
  • Promoting knowledge of participating countries via remote access to microdata on income/wealth/labour market participation.

During the course of two years, the initial term of the MOU, the prospective collaboration will mainly entail producing and sharing comparable LIS/ERF key figures, and promoting research based on the ERF Harmonized Household Surveys and LIS/LWS databases, through launching a joint call for proposals/papers on Inequality in the Mediterranean Region.

May 15, 2018 | News

What Can Be Done?

This past weekend, two days of events held in the UK honored the outstanding work and life of former LIS President Sir Tony Atkinson. On Friday 16 February 2018, the London School of Economics (LSE), organized a ‘Tony Atkinson Memorial Event’. Distinguished scholars were invited to present talks linked to the ‘15 proposals’ that Tony laid out in his 2015 book, ‘Inequality – What can be done’.

Among the speakers were Richard Blundell (UCL), Stephen Machin (LSE), Mervyn King (NYU), Joseph Stiglitz (Columbia), Holly Sutherland (Essex), François Bourguignon (PSE), and Janet Gornick (GC-CUNY and LIS). Peter Diamond (MIT) and Amartya Sen (Harvard) spoke via videotape.

On Saturday morning 17 February 2018, Oxford’s Nuffield College hosted the ‘Tony Atkinson Memorial Seminar’ – a series of short presentations focused on wealth research (Salvatore Morelli, GC-CUNY), top incomes and gender (Sarah Voitchovsky, Graduate Institute Geneva), the work of ‘Our World in Data’ (Max Roser, Oxford), and the power of the microsimulation tool EUROMOD (Holly Sutherland, Essex). A second set of presentations by Christoph Lakner (World Bank) and Sabina Alkire (Oxford) focused on poverty measurement around the world. The event closed with a presentation by John Micklewright (UCL) about his ongoing project, with Andrea Brandolini (Bank of Italy) and others, to complete Tony’s book on global poverty, based on the partial manuscript that Tony left behind.

On Saturday afternoon, at Nuffield College, seven people offered personal remembrances, against the backdrop of music chosen by Tony. The event brought together several hundred of Tony’s family, friends, former students, collaborators, and colleagues. The program – below – was followed by a reception.

Dennis Brain – Mozart Horn Concerto
Judith Atkinson
Nick Stern
Joan Baez – Blowin’ in the Wind
Eric Marlier
Claudine McCreadie
Holly Sutherland
Rodriguez – Sugar Man
Janet Gornick
Christopher Bliss
George Harrison – Within You Without You

February 20, 2018 | News

LIS commissioned for UN Women flagship reports

Earlier this year, LIS was commissioned by UN Women’s Research & Data Section to provide a background paper to feed into Progress of the World’s Women Report 2018, and Gender Equality in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development 2018. Progress of the World’s Women 2018, entitled Families in a Changing World, seeks to make visible the diversity of family structures and dynamics around the world, and tackles intersecting inequalities, especially by class, gender and race/ethnicity. The SDG Monitoring Report aims to provide a comprehensive and authoritative assessment of progress, gaps and challenges in the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) from a gender perspective.

Making use of the LIS Database, the LIS team in collaboration with Flaviana Palmisano (University of Rome “La Sapienza”) produced a set of tables deemed critical for the gender analysis focus in the two reports, specifically, women’s economic status, family expenditure patterns, families and social stratification, market vs disposable income amongst men and women, poverty of single-parent families, and SDG Goal 10 Indicators. Building upon the LIS produced tables, Rense Nieuwenhuis (SOFI, Stockholm University) framed the background paper Gender equality and poverty are intrinsically linked that provides an updated analysis of gendered economic inequality in high- and middle-income countries. Such gendered analysis explicitly recognizes that gender, poverty, and (economic) inequality are intrinsically linked.

December 13, 2017 | News

Inequality Expert Miles Corak Joins the Stone Center

Miles Corak has been appointed to the faculty of the Graduate Center of the City University of New York (CUNY), effective January 2018. He will also serve as a Senior Scholar in the Stone Center on Socio-Economic Inequality, which houses the US Office of LIS.

Corak is currently professor of economics at the University of Ottawa, and economist in residence at Employment and Social Development Canada, the department of the Canadian federal government responsible for social policy. A prolific scholar and author, he is best known for his groundbreaking research on inequality and the ways in which it affects opportunity and socio-economic mobility. Much of Corak’s scholarly work involves comparisons of labor markets and social and economic policies across countries. He has published four books and numerous journal articles, book chapters, and op-eds. He regularly addresses topics such as child poverty, access to university education, social mobility, and unemployment.

Prior to joining the University of Ottawa in 2007, he was a member of the senior management at Statistics Canada, Canada’s national statistical agency. He has been a visiting researcher with the UNICEF Innocenti Research Centre in Florence, Italy; the Centre for Longitudinal Studies at the University of London; the Office of Population Research at Princeton University; and the Russell Sage Foundation.

“All of us at the Stone Center are thrilled that Miles is joining our team,” Gornick said. “His unrivalled expertise on mobility adds a crucial element to the Center’s collective scholarship.”

December 13, 2017 | News

New Wealth Research Project Launched

We live in an age of increasing wealth concentration. Who holds this wealth and in what forms? To what extent is high-end wealth passed on inter-generationally?

With a focus on the U.S., these questions motivate the Graduate Center Wealth Project, a new research initiative based in the Stone Center. Officially launched this autumn, this project, still in its design phase, aims to:

  • Create a publicly accessible repository for curated information, research, and news related to wealth inequality;
  • Assess and extend data capacity related to household wealth;
  • Contribute to the growing methodological literature on wealth measurement; and
  • Conduct research on high-end wealth in the U.S., compared to selected other rich countries.

Salvatore Morelli, an Oxford-trained economist and inequality scholar, joined the Stone Center in September 2017 to lead the project in coordination with Stone Center Director Janet Gornick. For the next two years, Morelli will serve as Visiting Assistant Professor at the Graduate Center, Distinguished Fellow at the Graduate Center’s Advanced Research Collaborative, and Stone Center Senior Scholar.

Morelli brings extensive experience researching the economics of income and wealth distribution. His comparative work on the evolution and measurement of economic inequality is highly regarded. He has also studied the theoretical and empirical foundations of the claim that inequality contributes to economic and financial instability.

“We are excited that Salvatore has arrived at the Graduate Center and that he will contribute his expertise to shaping our wealth project,” said Gornick.

December 13, 2017 | News

Visiting scholars at LIS

This November, LIS welcomed one visiting scholar through the InGRID-2 project; Ana Suárez Álvarez who worked onsite with the LIS Database. Ana is a PhD student at the University of Oviedo in Asturias, Spain, her PhD project is funded by the Spanish Ministry of Education through the University Academic Staff Training Programme (FPU). During her visit at LIS, Ana used the LIS Database to undertake the project Inequality of Opportunity in developing economies: a cross-country analysis with LIS harmonised data. The aim of the project is to shed some light on the behaviour of income inequality and inequality of opportunity (IOp) for developing countries using LIS harmonised data, which incorporates a wide variety of personal characteristics variables. Moreover, the data availability of repeated cross-sections in Brazil, Guatemala, and South Africa was particularly relevant to assess changes over time in IOp and inequality indices. For the latter purpose, Ana implemented a stratified bootstrap methodology with the aim of testing the significance of the changes observed over time.

December 12, 2017 | Ignore on home

The October 2017 IMF Fiscal Monitor has been published

LIS is happy to announce the publication of IMF Fiscal Monitor that focuses on inequality issues. This publication makes use of the Luxembourg Income Study (LIS) Database for the analysis of income including, but not limited to, the reduction in inequality and relative poverty as well as redistribution

Rising inequality and slow economic growth in many countries have focused attention on policies to support inclusive growth. While some inequality is inevitable in a market-based economic system, excessive inequality can erode social cohesion, lead to political polarization, and ultimately lower economic growth. This Fiscal Monitor discusses how fiscal policies can help achieve redistributive objectives. It focuses on three salient policy debates: tax rates at the top of the income distribution, the introduction of a universal basic income, and the role of public spending on education and health.

November 29, 2017 | News