Debating Development: Why and how to tackle inequality post-2015

Date: 2 December 2014

Venue: Stadscampus - R.001 - Rodestraat 14 - 2000 Antwerpen

Time: 7:00 PM - 9:00 PM

Organization / co-organization: IOB and USOS

Short description: Stephan Klasen (Professor, University of Göttingen and Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA), Germany), Ricardo Fuentes-Nieva (Head of Research, Oxfam GB, UK), Moderator: Koen Decancq (Centre for Social Policy Herman Deleeck - University of Antwerp)

Inequality has undoubtedly become one of the hottest discussion topics in economic and social policy circles, both in the developing world and industrialised countries (witness the record sales of Thomas Piketty’s opus magnum Capital). Inevitably, inequality has also occupied a prominent role in deliberations on the Sustainable Development Goals, which will replace the original MDGs after 2015. Inequality concerns were notably missing in the MDGs. Our keynote, Stephan Klasen, will argue that, while inequality is certainly a serious problem that needs to be addressed, taking up within-country inequality reduction as a specific goal in the post-2015 agenda is not a good idea. For one, it will be very hard to establish a sort of global consensus on what the ‘optimal’ level of national inequality should be. Endless discussions about this may well derail the debate on a post-2015 development agenda that focuses firstmost on eliminating deprivation. Our discussant, Ricardo Fuentes-Nieva, believes that the fight against inequality, even if it will be difficult to agree on reduction targets, does deserve a central place in the post-2015 agenda. Higher inequality is closely associated with lower social mobility and lower equality of opportunities as well as with elite capture, which distorts accommodative economic and social policies away from those that need them most.

Professor Stephan Klasen holds a PhD from Harvard University, where he was also a research assistant to Amartya Sen. Since September 2003 he has been a Professor of Economics at the University of Göttingen. Before, he was employed at the Universities of Munich, Cambridge and Harvard and held visiting lecturer positions at the New School for Social Research in New York and the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg. Professor Klasen has been involved in numerous consultancies, including for the World Bank, OECD, UNESCO, UNDP, World Institute for Development Economics Research (WIDER), German Society for Technical Cooperation (GTZ) and the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID). His long publication list covers, among many other topics, issues such as income and gender inequality, poverty, employment and foreign aid. 





Mr. Ricardo Fuentes-Nieva  graduated with honors from CIDE in Mexico City and earned an MA in Economics from Universitat Pompeu Fabra in Barcelona. He is the Head of Research for Oxfam Great Britain, where he manages a team delivering high profile research in support of Oxfam's global campaigns. Prior to joining Oxfam, Mr. Fuentes-Nieva worked with UNDP on the production of the first Africa Human Development Report. He co-authored several global Human Development Reports as well as the World Bank's World Development Report 2010 and is currently collaborating with the new assessment of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Previously he held positions at the Ministry of Social Development in Mexico and the research department of the Inter-American Development Bank. He has done research on food security, climate change, social security and social policy, regional development, income, poverty, and inequality. 


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