Economic and Political Inequality: Social Mobility, Economic Growth, and Inequality

A Conference hosted by the Huntington Library and sponsored by the All-UC Group in Economic History and the California Institute of Technology.

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Apr 05, 2013 09:00 AM to
Apr 06, 2013 04:00 PM


Huntington Library

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Program Committee: Leah Boustan, Greg Clark, Tracy Denison, Jean-Laurent Rosenthal

Theme: The widening of the income distribution in recent decades, both within and across countries, has led to a revival of interest in the causes and consequences of economic inequality. Debate has centered, in part, on the relationship between income inequality and disparities in political power.  These topics have spurred the gathering of new historical data on the distribution of income, wealth, health, education and political power, among other factors, in an attempt to learn from the past about contemporary economic processes.

This conference will address questions relating to economic and political inequality. Among these we particularly encourage work on the following issues:

  • National aggregates hide massive internal variation both in terms of endowments (say, environmental conditions) and outcomes (say human capital). This heterogeneity must be reconciled with studies that connect national institutions with aggregate national performance.
  • The wealth and human capital of one generation are both the result of what that generation has decided and been able to accumulate and the endowment of the next generation.  What are the connections between inequality and inheritance?
  • Inequality has been largely studied by taking countries as closed (with the flow of capital and people being taken as nearly exogenous). Human capital and economic growth, however, are partly the result of migration decisions (by labor or capital) and thus one must consider the merits of studying inequality or social mobility in an open versus a closed economy framework.

Registration for this conference is closed.

Conference Details


Institute of Governmental Affairs

University of California, Davis
360 Shields Library
One Shields Avenue
Davis, CA 95616


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