Makro-Pic Seminar: Economics of the Very Long Run: Inequality

Lecture number:
Block Seminar: January, 9-10, 2015 .
Location: Heyne Haus
Kickoff Meeting: October 29th, 10-11
Registration: November, 5th-11th .
Prep Meeting "How to write a seminar paper": November, 26th, 4 pm.
Final Meeting: January, 5th, 4pm Seminar Info: info
Course material for participants is available at the course material webpage


In this seminar we discuss the long-run causes and consequences of economic inequality. Several themes in the list below are background articles of Thomas Piketty's book "Capital in the Twenty-First Century", this year's economics No 1 bestseller. In this video Piketty presents the main takeaway of the book and 3 eminent economists discuss it. A good introductory reading is a recent special issue of Science magazine.


1. Top Incomes in the Long Run of History

Reference: Atkinson, A. B., Piketty, T., and Saez, E. (2011). Top Incomes in the Long Run of History. Journal of Economic Literature 49(1), 3-71.

2. The Long-Run Evolution of Inheritance

Reference: Piketty, T. (2011). On the Long-Run Evolution of Inheritance: France 1820-2050. Quarterly Journal of Economics 126, 1071-1131.

3. Wealth-Income Ratios in Rich Countries, 1700-2010

Reference: Piketty, T., and Zucman, G. (2014). Capital is back: Wealth-income Ratios in Rich Countries, 1700-2010. Quarterly Journal of Economics, forthcoming.

4. Pre-Industrial Inequality

Reference: Milanovic, B., Lindert, P., and Williamson, J.G. (2010). Pre-Industrial Inequality. Economic Journal 121, 255–272.

5. Inequality in Germany

References: Dell, F. (2005). Top income in Germany and Switzerland over the Twentieth Century, Journal of the European Economic Association 3, 1-10.
Boenke, T., Corneo, G., and Luethen, H. (2014). Lifetime Earnings Inequality in Germany, Journal of Labor Economics, forthcoming.

6. Inequality in the Developing World

References: Ravallion, M. (2014). Income Inequality in the Developing World, Science 344, 851-855.
Ravallion, M. (2012). Why Don't We See Poverty Convergence? American Economic Review 102, 504-23.

7. The Decline of the Labor Share

Reference: Karabarbounis, L. and Neiman, B. (2014). The Global Decline of the Labor Share, Quarterly Journal of Economics 129, 61-103.

8. Long-Run Changes in the Wage Structure

Reference: Goldin, C., and Katz, L. F. (2007). Long-Run Changes in the Wage Structure: Narrowing, Widening, Polarizing. Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, 135-165.

9. Inequality and Intergenerational Mobility

References: Corak, M. 2013. Income Inequality, Equality of Opportunity, and Intergenerational Mobility. Journal of Economic Perspectives 27 (3), 79–102.
Bowles, S. and Gintis, H. (2002). The Inheritance of Inequality. Journal of Economic Perspectives 16 3-30.

10. Intergenerational Transmission of Human Capital

Reference: Black, S.E., Devereux, P.J. and Salvanes, K.G. (2005). Why the Apple Doesn’t Fall Far: Understanding Intergenerational Transmission of Human Capital, American Economic Review 95, 437-449.

11. Inequality and Childhood Health

Reference: Case, A., Fertig, A., and Paxson, C. (2005). The Lasting Impact of Childhood Health and Circumstance, Journal of Health Economics 24, 365-389.

12. Inequality: Theory

Reference: Stiglitz, J. (1969). Distribution of Income and Wealth Among Individuals. Econometrica 37, 382–397.

13. Intergenerational Mobility: Theory

Reference: Becker, G.S. and Tomes, N. (1986). Human Capital and the Rise and Fall of Families. Journal of Labor Economics 4, S1-S39.

14. Inequality and Economic Growth

Reference: Barro, R. J. (2000). Inequality and Growth in a Panel of Countries. Journal of Economic Growth 5, 5-32.

15. Inequality and Happiness

Reference: Alesina, A., Di Tella, R., and MacCulloch, R. (2004). Inequality and Happiness: Are Europeans and Americans Different?. Journal of Public Economics 88, 2009-2042.