2015 Inequality Workshop


One-week workshop on socio-economic inequalities
June 1-6, 2015, sponsored by the Graduate Center of the City University of New York (CUNY), the Luxembourg Income Study (LIS) Center, and The Century Foundation's Bernard L. Schwartz Rediscovering Government Initiative

The workshop was held in the Martin E. Segal Theater at the Graduate Center, located at 365 Fifth Avenue (at 34th Street) in Manhattan.
This inaugural workshop will take a broad approach to the study of socio-economic inequalities — spanning inequalities in income, wealth, employment, caring labor, education, and happiness. Instructors will focus on inequalities through multiple lenses including gender, class, race, and immigration status. Disparities will be considered in multiple geographic contexts: across the U.S. states, across countries, and globally.
This workshop is targeted on PhD students and early-career scholars, working in a range of social science disciplines — especially economics, sociology, and political science — and with a keen interest in socio-economic inequalities. We also welcome applications from interested persons from other settings, including journalism, foundations, and nonprofit organizations. Applicants should be comfortable with presentations and readings that rely on quantitative research/analytic methods. About 40 applicants will be selected.
The workshop will have two components.
The first five days (Monday to Friday, June 1-5, 9am to 5pm each day) will feature 15 lectures and presentations, with time allowed for questions, discussions, and research project consultations. The instructors include Janet Gornick, Conchita D'Ambrosio, Louis Chauvel, Michael Förster, Branko Milanovic, John Mollenkopf, Paul Attewell, Richard Alba, Ruth Milkman, Sarah Bruch, Jeff Madrick, David Howell, Leslie McCall, Nancy Folbre, and Andrew Clark. A reading list will be available in advance of the workshop.
The sixth day (Saturday, June 6, 10am to 5pm) — held in a computer lab — will be a day of “hands-on” instruction focused on learning to access and use income, employment, and wealth microdata available through LIS, the cross-national data archive. This Saturday session will be overseen by Thierry Kruten, LIS Director of Operations and IT Director. He will be assisted by Graduate Center PhD students and others experienced with the LIS data.
Attendees are encouraged to participate in the entire workshop (with the sixth day being entirely optional), although some persons will be admitted who expect to attend only select sessions. Those who attend the June 1-5 portion of the workshop in full will receive a Certificate of Workshop Completion.
There is no fee for attending the workshop, and lunches will be provided. There will be a fee for an optional evening dinner. Attendees from outside of New York City are responsible for arranging and funding their own accommodation and travel.
The workshop, administered by the Luxembourg Income Study Center at the CUNY Graduate Center, is overseen by Workshop Director Janet Gornick and Workshop Associate Director Berglind Hólm Ragnarsdóttir.
Queries may be addressed to
The workshop is funded by The Century Foundation's Bernard L. Schwartz Rediscovering Government Initiative and the CUNY Graduate Center’s Advanced Research Collaborative (ARC).


Conchita D’Ambrosio

Conchita D’AmbrosioConchita D’Ambrosio is Professor of Economics at the University of Luxembourg. She is an economist, with a Ph.D. from New York University (2000). Her research interests have revolved around the study of individual and social well-being and the proposal of various measures that are able to capture its different aspects. Two main points were stressed. Individual well-being depends on comparisons with a reference situation; individual well-being depends both on one’s own life course and on the histories of others. Towards this aim, she has proposed a number of different indices, which have been axiomatically characterized. She has applied these to the study of different societies and analyzed their empirical links with subjective well-being, via their correlations with self-reported levels of satisfaction with income and life overall.
She has published in Economica, Economics Letters, International Economic Review, Review of Economics and Statistics, Social Choice and Welfare, the Review of Income and Wealth among other academic journals. She has been member of the editorial board of the Review of Income and Wealth since 2001 and managing editor of the same journal since 2007. She joined the editorial board of the Journal of Economic Inequality in 2013.

Richard Alba

Richard AlbaRichard Alba is Distinguished Professor of Sociology at the Graduate Center, City University of New York.  He was educated at Columbia University, where he received his doctorate in 1974. Alba’s teaching and research interests include race, ethnicity and immigration and increasingly have taken a comparative focus on North America and Western Europe.  He has conducted research in France and Germany with support of the National Science Foundation, Fulbright grants and fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the German Marshall Fund, and the Russell Sage Foundation.  His research has also been advanced by grants from the National Science Foundation and the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. His books include Ethnic Identity: The Transformation of White America (Yale University Press, 1990); Italian Americans: Into the Twilight of Ethnicity (Prentice Hall, 1985); the award-winning Remaking the American Mainstream: Assimilation and Contemporary Immigration (Harvard University Press, 2003), co-written with Victor Nee; The Children of Immigrants at School:  A Comparative Look at Integration in the United States and Western Europe (NYU Press, 2013), co-edited with Jennifer Holdaway. His next book, co-authored with Nancy Foner, will be Strangers No More:  Immigration and the Challenges of Integration in North America and Western Europe, to be published in 2015 by Princeton University Press. Alba has been elected Vice President of the American Sociological Association and President of the Eastern Sociological Society. He has delivered the Nathan Huggins Lectures at Harvard University, which led to the book, Blurring the Color Line: The New Chance for a More Integrated America (Harvard University Press, 2009).  

Paul Attewell 

Paul AttewellPaul Attewell is a Distinguished Professor of Sociology at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York, where he teaches in the PhD programs in sociology and in urban education. His current research focuses on the intersection of social stratification and education, and most especially on processes affecting students from low-income backgrounds in non-elite colleges. His book Passing the Torch: Does Higher Education for the Disadvantaged Pay Off across the Generations? (co-authored with David E. Lavin) won both the American Education Research Association’s Outstanding Book Award, and the Grawemeyer Prize in Education. His latest book, which will appear shortly from the University of California Press, is titled Data Mining for the Social Sciences:  An Introduction (co-authored with David Monaghan).

Sarah K. Bruch

Sarah K. BruchSarah K. Bruch is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Sociology at the University of Iowa. Her research focuses broadly on social stratification and public policy. In particular, she focuses on integrating theoretical insights from relational and social theorists into the empirical study of inequalities. She brings this approach to the study of social policy, education, race, politics, and citizenship.  Her work has been published in leading academic journals including the American Sociological Review, Sociology of Education, Journal of Marriage and Family, and Child Development.  Her current research includes three streams. The first focuses on U.S. social policies, examining their social and distributional impacts as well as their consequences for civic and political life. The second focuses on schools as organized sites of racialized authority relations that shape life trajectories and function as formative experiences of citizenship. The third focuses on the interplay of racial and economic inequalities, seeking to clarify how they relate to each other, how they are connected to state policy choices, and how they are produced through specific relational and policy mechanisms.

Louis Chauvel

Louis ChauvelLouis Chauvel is a French sociologist, Professor at the University of Luxembourg and winner of the Chair PEARL “Programme Excellence for Award of Research in Luxembourg” on social welfare,  income and wealth and social change in a comparative perspective. Honorary member of the Institut Universitaire de France (IUF) and former professor at Sciences Po Paris (2005-2012), he earned his PhD in U Lille in 1997 and his habilitation at Science Po Paris in 2003. In 2000 he was an invited fellow at Berkeley and was an invited professor at Columbia University in 2011-2012. He is specialized in social inequalities and public policies, social change, social stratification and mobility, advanced methodology of social sciences and population studies, with a special focus on comparative birth cohort dynamics. He has been member of the executive committee of International Sociological Association (ISA) since 2006 (2006-10 & 2010-14), former general secretary of the European Sociological Association (ESA 2005-7), and former treasurer of the French Sociological Association (AFS) (2002-6). He is a member of the ISA research committee on social stratification (RC28) and on classes (RC47) and has been responsible chair of the research network on classes, inequalities, fragmentations of the AFS .

Andrew Clark

Andrew ClarkAndrew Clark holds a PhD from the London School of Economics. He is currently a CNRS Research Professor at the Paris School of Economics (PSE), and previously held posts at Dartmouth, Essex, CEPREMAP, DELTA, the OECD and the University of Orléans. His work has largely focussed on the interface between psychology, sociology and economics; in particular, using job and life satisfaction scores, and other psychological indices, as proxy measures of utility. One particular research question has been that of relative utility or comparisons (to others like you, to others in the same household, and to yourself in the past), finding evidence of such comparisons with respect to both income and unemployment. Recent work has looked at habituation to unemployment, poverty, marriage, divorce and children using long-run panel data. In addition to his Paris position, he holds research associate positions at the Flinders University, IZA (Bonn), Kingston University and the London School of Economics. He is on the Editorial Board of ten journals, and has acted as referee for over 160 different journals across the social sciences.

Nancy Folbre
Nancy FolbreNancy Folbre is Professor Emerita of Economics at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Her research explores the interface between political economy and feminist theory, with a particular emphasis on the value of unpaid care work. In addition to numerous articles published in academic journals, she is the editor of For Love and Money: Care Work in the U.S. (Russell Sage, 2012), and the author of Greed, Lust, and Gender: A History of Economic Ideas (Oxford, 2009), Valuing Children: Rethinking the Economics of the Family (Harvard, 2008), and The Invisible Heart: Economics and Family Values (New Press, 2001). She has also written widely for a popular audience, including contributions to the New York Times Economix blog, The Nation, and the American Prospect.

Michael F. Förster

Michael F. FörsterMichael F. Förster is a senior policy analyst at the OECD Social Policy Division. He has been working in different departments at the OECD Directorate for Employment, Labour and Social Affairs since 1986 and, particularly, has been involved in successive OECD work on income distribution and poverty. He is co-author of “Growing Unequal? Income Distribution and Poverty Trends in the OECD Area” (2008) and lead author of the follow-up study, “Divided we Stand: Why Inequality keeps rising” (2011). He is currently directing several follow-up projects to this report to be published in a volume in spring 2015, including work on the impact of the Great Recession and consolidation policies on inequalities in OECD countries, on the distributive effects of employment structure changes, and on recent poverty and inequality trends in OECD and emerging economies. In the past, he has been working with international research institutes, such as the Luxembourg Income Study (1994-1996) and the European Centre for Social Policy, Vienna (2000-2004). He studied economics at the Universities of Vienna, Austria (M.A.) and Saarbrücken, Germany and holds a Ph.D. from University of Liège, Belgium. Förster, who is an Austrian citizen, is a member of several scientific advisory boards of international research projects and the NGO “inequality watch”, and a member of the French national observatory of poverty and social exclusion (ONPES). He is author of various journal articles, research papers and book contributions, most recently to the Elsevier Handbook of Income Distribution (2015).

Janet Gornick

Janet GornickJanet Gornick attended Harvard University, where she was awarded a BA (Psychology and Social Relations 1980), an MPA (Kennedy School 1987), and a PhD (Political Economy and Government 1994). She is currently Professor of Political Science and Sociology at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. She has also served, since 2006, as Director of LIS (formerly, the Luxembourg Income Study), a cross-national data archive and research center located in Luxembourg, with a satellite office at the Graduate Center. Most of her research is comparative and concerns social welfare policies and their impact on gender disparities in the labor market and income inequality. She has published articles on gender inequality, employment, and social policy in several journals. She is co-author or co-editor of three books: Families That Work: Policies for Reconciling Parenthood and Employment (Russell Sage Foundation 2003), Gender Equality: Transforming Family Divisions of Labor (Verso Press 2009), and Income Inequality: Economic Disparities and the Middle Class in Affluent Countries (Stanford University Press 2013). She is now working on a book about how and why inequality varies across the American states. Her research has been supported by many sponsors, including the Russell Sage Foundation, the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, the Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management (APPAM), the Department of Health and Human Services (USDHHS), the Social Security Administration (SSA), the National Science Foundation (NSF), the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the National Governors' Association (NGA), the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), and the World Bank.

David R. Howell

David R. HowellDavid R. Howell is a Professor of economics and public policy at The New School (New York City), where he directs the Doctoral Program in Public and Urban Policy. Recent publications have focused on the effects of labor market institutions and social policy on unemployment across OECD countries; the importance of minimum wage policies for the comparative employment performance of the US and France; and the consequences of rising inequality for economic growth. Current work includes the examination of the effects of alternative policy and institutional regimes on the translation of economic growth into decent jobs, focusing on the US, Canada, France, and Germany and funded by the Washington Center for Equitable Growth (for more details on publications, see  http://www.newschool.edu/public-engagement/milano-school-faculty/?id=87988).

Thierry Kruten

Thierry KrutenThierry Kruten is LIS' operations manager. He holds an MSc in Economics and an MSc in Information Technology, both from the University of Nancy in France. Prior to his time at LIS, he worked as an independent consultant for Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union (EU). He provided assistance in the development of the EU Statistics on Income and Living Conditions (EU-SILC) and conducted organisation / IT projects for consulting firms. At LIS, he is responsible for managing IT operations and overseeing day-to-day operations.

Jeff Madrick

Jeff MadrickJeff Madrick is the Director of the Bernard L. Schwartz Rediscovering Government Initiative at the Century Foundation, where he is also a senior fellow. He is editor of Challenge Magazine, the long-standing economics publication. He is a regular contributor to The New York Review of Books and a former columnist for the New York Times. He is author of more than half a dozen books. The latest is Seven Bad Ideas, How Mainstream Economists Have Damaged America and the World, published by Alfred A. Knopf.

Leslie McCall

Leslie McCallLeslie McCall is Professor of Sociology and Political Science, and Faculty Fellow at the Institute for Policy Research, Northwestern University. She studies public opinion about inequality and related economic and policy issues as well as trends in actual earnings and family income inequality. She is the author of The Undeserving Rich: American Beliefs about Inequality, Opportunity, and Redistribution (2013) and Complex Inequality: Gender, Class, and Race in the New Economy (2001). Her research has also been published in a wide range of journals and edited volumes and supported by the National Science Foundation, the Russell Sage Foundation, Demos: A Network of Ideas and Action, and the Center for the Study of Democratic Politics at Princeton University. 

Branko Milanovic

Branko MilanovicCurrently, Visiting Presidential Professor at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York and Senior Scholar in the Luxembourg Income Study Center. He obtained his Ph. D. in economics at the University of Belgrade with a dissertation on income inequality in Yugoslavia. He was lead economist in World Bank Research Department for almost 20 years and senior associate at Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Washington (2003-2005). He held teaching appointments at University of Maryland (2007-2013) and School for Advanced International Studies, Johns Hopkins University (1997-2007). Milanovic’s main area of work is income inequality, in individual countries and globally. He has published a number of articles on methodology and empirics of global income distribution and effects of globalization (Economic Journal, Review of Economics and Statistics, Journal of Economic Literature, Journal of Political Philosophy etc.). His most recent book The Haves and the Have-nots: A Brief and Idiosyncratic History of Global Inequality, was published in 2011, translated in seven languages, and selected by The Globalist as 2011 Book of the Year.

Ruth Milkman

Ruth MilkmanRuth Milkman is a sociologist of labor and labor movements who has written on a variety of topics involving work and organized labor in the United States, past and present. Her early research focused on the impact of economic crisis and war on women workers in the 1930s and 1940s. She then went on to study the restructuring of the U.S. automobile industry and its impact on workers and their union in the 1980s and 1990s; in that period she also conducted research on the labor practices of Japanese-owned factories in California. More recently she has written extensively about low-wage immigrant workers in the U.S., analyzing their employment conditions as well as the dynamics of immigrant labor organizing. She helped lead a multi-city team that produced a widely publicized 2009 study documenting the prevalence of wage theft and violations of other workplace laws in Los Angeles, Chicago and New York. She also recently co-authored a study of California’s paid family leave program, focusing on its impact on employers and workers. After 21 years as a sociology professor at UCLA, where she directed the Institute for Research on Labor and Employment from 2001 to 2008, she returned to New York City in 2010. She is currently a Professor of Sociology at the CUNY Graduate Center and at the Joseph F. Murphy Institute for Worker Education and Labor Studies, where she also serves as Research Director. 

John Mollenkopf

John MollenkopfJohn Mollenkopf is Distinguished Professor of Political Science and Sociology at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York and directs its Center for Urban Research. He has published eighteen books on urban politics, urban policy, and race, ethnicity, and immigration. Much of his recent work has focused on comparative perspectives on the political and social incorporation of new immigrant groups. In press with Cornell University Press, Struggling with Strangers: The Metropolitics of Immigrant Integration, co-edited with Manuel Pastor, examines the politics of local responsiveness to new immigrants. His Inheriting the City: The Children of Immigrants Come of Age, co-authored with Philip Kasinitz, Mary Waters, and Jennifer Holdaway (Russell Sage Foundation, 2009) received the 2010 Distinguished Book Award from the American Sociological Association as well as several other awards. His The Changing Face of World Cities (Russell Sage Foundation, 2012) co-edited with Maurice Crul, provides the first rigorous comparison of second generation outcomes in West Europe and the U.S. He is currently analyzing how the rise of new immigrant communities is reshaping New York City politics, with comparisons to Los Angeles. His Bringing Outsiders In: Transatlantic Perspectives on Immigrant Political incorporation (Cornell University Press, 2009, co-edited with Jennifer Hochschild) compares the challenges of immigrant political incorporation in West Europe and the U.S. Prior to joining the Graduate Center in 1981, he directed the New York City Department of City Planning’s Economic Development Division and taught urban studies and public management at Stanford University. He received his PhD from Harvard and BA from Carleton College.

Rense Nieuwenhuis

Rense NieuwenhuisRense Nieuwenhuis is a sociologist interested in how the interplay between social policies and demographic trends gives rise to economic inequalities. His current research focuses on family policy outcomes, active labour market policies, and EU social investment policies. His publications appeared in the Journal of Marriage and Family and the European Sociological Review, among others. In 2014 he obtained a Phd ('Cum Laude') from the University of Twente in the Netherlands, and currently he is an assistant professor at the Swedish Institute for Social Research (SOFI). http://www.rensenieuwenhuis.nl/

Berglind Hólm Ragnarsdóttir

Berglind Hólm RagnarsdóttirBerglind Hólm Ragnarsdóttir is this workshop's Associate Director. She is a Ph.D candidate in sociology at the Graduate Center, City University of New York. Her research focuses on cross-national stratification and inequality, gender equality, and family well-being. She is currently a Research Associate in the Luxembourg Income Study Center and an Adjunct Lecturer at Queens College. She is a recipient of the Leifur Eiríksson Foundation award and a Fulbright scholar.