InequaliTalks

InequaliTalks

What is the most unequal region of the world? How deep does gender discrimination run in our societies? What happens to poor households during a housing boom? How is land distributed today? How can minimum wage reduce racial inequality? Can we really expect politicians to fix inequality? InequaliTalks presents accessible research done by young economists on one of the most pressing issues in the public conversation: inequality. InequaliTalks is supported by School of Cities at the University of Toronto.

Episodes

February 16, 2022 25 min

In recent years, decreasing federal minimum wage, low unionization rates and growing outsourcing trends have had some important effects on wage growth in the US low wage sector. As major firms throughout the world come under scrutiny for their failure to compensate their workers fairly, it is becoming increasingly necessary to better understand what motivates companies to mirror other larger firms’ wage changes. In this episode, El...

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How do beliefs shape and determine our attitudes towards policies? In this episode, Thomas Douenne looks at carbon taxation in the context of the Yellow Vest Movement, and how French people rejected a tax & dividend policy which they assumed would negatively impact their purchasing power.

Working Paper:
“Yellow Vests, Pessimistic Beliefs and Carbon Tax Aversion”, with Adrien Fabre
https://www.aeaweb.org/articles?id=10.125...

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What are racial covenants? How do they target specific ethnic and religious minorities? And how do they affect present-day economic outcomes? In this episode, Aradhya Sood tells us about her research on the prevalence of racially-restrictive covenants during the early-to-mid 20th century, and how these contracts continue to impact house prices and promote racial segregation today.

Working Paper:
Long Shadow of Racial Discriminati...

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In recent decades, firms' decision to rely on contract labor over "in-house" workers has become increasingly prevalent. In this episode, Adrien Bilal tells us about his research on labor outsourcing and inequality in France. He explains that while domestic outsourcing may increase aggregate productivity, it nonetheless leads to oursourced workers suffering important wage losses.

Paper:
“Outsourcing,
Inequality and Agg...

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What is affirmative action? How can it increase the representation of under-privileged groups in a given field? And how might it play out in the higher education sector? In this episode, Ana Paula Melo talks to us about her research on the impact of affirmative action policies on the access to college in Brazil. She tells us about the benefits and shortcomings of this policy, and what is still missing in the existing literature on ...

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Evan K. Rose talks to us about his research on the relationship between human capital, company behavior and discrimination. Looking at the hiring procedures of over a hundred Fortune 500 firms across the US, Rose found that there were significant penalties for applicants belonging to gender and/or racial minorities. In this episode, Rose discusses the policy implications of this phenomenon, and the need for change in both instituti...

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Why has wage inequality increased in the past 40 years in the United States? Why has corporate valuation skyrocketed? In this episode, Anna Stansbury presents her work with Larry Summers
on how declining worker power better explains these recent trends in the American economy and what that means for inequality.

Paper: “The Declining Worker Power Hypothesis” by Anna Stansbury and Lawrence Summers
https://www.brookings.edu/bpea-art...

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Books shape how children learn about society and the world. Analyzing over 1,100 award-winning children’s books, Anjali Adukia talks about what artificial intelligence (AI) tools can tell us about how race and gender are depicted to children.

Paper:
“What We Teach About Race and Gender: Representation in Images and Text of Children’s Books” (by A. Adukia, A. Eble, E. Harrison, H.B. Runesha, T. Szasz)
https://www.nber.org/system/f...

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Governments in the world’s poorest countries face important revenue constraints. The ability to collect taxes directly affects the quality of public services and infrastructures, and is thought to undermine economic growth. Augustin Bergeron walks us through 3 experiments he conducted in D.R. Congo to investigate how the architecture of tax collection affects a state's fiscal capacity: who collects taxes, how much you can colle...

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Can obesity signal wealth? In this episode, Elisa talks about the experiment she conducted in Uganda, in which she demonstrates that obese people are perceived as rich and that being obese facilitates access to credit.

Paper:
"Worth your weight? Experimental evidence on the benefits of obesity in low-income countries" by Elisa Macchi
https://elisamacchi.github.io/publication/job-market-paper/

Recommendation:
"The Lon...

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Does inequality affect our perception of necessity and luxury? Does it change our preferences for certain goods? And if yes, what are the impact in terms of malnutruition? Eve Colson-Sihra talks about the research she conducted with Clément Bellet on the impact of exposure to inequality on the perceived needs of the poor in India.

Paper:
"Does Inequality Affect the Perception of Needs?" by Clément Bellet and Eve Colson-Sih...

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Higher asthma rates are one of the more obvious ways that health inequalities between African American and other children are manifested beginning in early childhood. Diane Alexander talks about the research she conducted with Janet Currie on the impact of children's neighborhoods on the racial gap in respiratory diseases such as asthma.

Paper:
"Is it who you are or where you live? Residential segregation and racial gaps ...

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Does immigration import inequality? Felix Koenig talks about his recent research on the contribution of migrants to the rise in UK top incomes, showing that immigrants make up a much larger proportion of the top of the income range than of the bottom.

Paper:
“Importing Inequality: Immigration and the Top 1%” by Arun Advani, Felix Koenig, Lorenzo Pessina, Andrew Summers.
http://ftp.iza.org/dp13731.pdf

Recommendations:

  • "A Sta...
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    Local governments are essential providers of public goods and services utilized by Americans every day. Extreme weather events can threaten the stability of local revenue sources and the ability of municipalities to provide essential goods and services. Rhiannon Jerch talks about her research with Matthew E. Kahn & Gary Lin in which they study what happens to local public finances in the aftermath of hurricanes in the United St...

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    People of color are drastically overrepresented in Massachusetts state prisons. What happens at different stages of the criminal system, from charging and bail to adjudication and sentencing?
    Felix Owusu presents the work he conducted with The Criminal Justice Policy Program at Harvard Law School to explore the factors that lead to persistent racial disparities in the Massachusetts criminal system.

    Paper:
    "Racial Disparities ...

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    Progressive wealth taxes may be difficult to enforce if wealthy individuals underreport their wealth, but disclosure incentives and greater enforcement can improve tax collection.
    Juliana Londoño-Vélez presents her work with Javier Avila-Mahecha which uses rich administrative data from Colombia and leverages a government-designed program for voluntary disclosures of hidden wealth, as well as the threat of detection triggered by the...

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    An (almost) unedited conversation with Thomas Piketty about his last book "Capital and Ideology" (2019). We talked about private property, slavery, colonialism, Haiti and arts.

    Book:
    "Capital and Ideology" by Thomas Piketty
    https://www.hup.harvard.edu/catalog.php?isbn=9780674980822

    Recommendation:

  • "La voluntad y la fortuna" (2008) by Carlos Fuentes https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/50254105-volunta...
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    The earnings difference between white and Black workers fell dramatically in the United States in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Claire Montialoux, in a paper with Ellora Derenoncourt, shows that the expansion of the minimum wage played a critical role in this decline.

    Recommendation:
    "The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America" by Richard Rothstein
    https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/3...

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    Does a person's gender influence the way we interpret information about his or her ability? Heather Sarsons tests this hypothesis in a unique setting using Medicare data on referrals from physicians to surgical specialists. She finds that the referring physicians view their patients' surgical outcomes differently depending on whether the surgeon is a man or a woman.

    Recommendations:

  • "Privilege: The Making of an Adole...
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    Housing is the main asset in most individual portfolios. The recent rise in private wealth with respect to national income has been mainly driven by capital gains on housing. How do house price cycles affect wealth inequality? Clara Martínez-Toledano explores the dynamics of wealth accumulation over forty years in Spain.

    Recommendations:

  • "The Hidden Wealth of Nations" by Gabriel Zucman http://gabriel-zucman.eu/hidden-weal...
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