Opportunity, Mobility and the Intergenerational Transmission of Inequality

This programme brings together interdisciplinary perspectives, ideas and findings on horizontal inequalities and intergenerational transmission of well-being. It explores how inequality of opportunity links inequality of outcomes to intergenerational transmission (immobility): when opportunities for today’s children are very unequal, their lives as adults are bound to be very different.

Some argue that inequality is like cholesterol: there are good and bad – or, at least, really bad and less bad – kinds of inequality. This research programme will focus on the really bad kind: that which is bequeathed from generation to generation, to the detriment both of social justice and of an efficient distribution of opportunities.

Professor Francisco H. G. Ferreira

This research programme is led by Professor Francisco H. G. Ferreira and Dr Paolo Brunori  

Not all inequalities are the same. Philosophers, religious leaders, politicians, policymakers and – most importantly – people at large seem to find some forms of inequality more morally repugnant than others. There is a widely held view, for example, that inequalities due to factors beyond a person’s control – such as race, biological sex, place of birth or family background – are normatively unacceptable. There is growing evidence that they may also hinder society from prospering economically. Many feel that society should seek to redress and, if possible, eliminate such inequalities, also known collectively as inequality of opportunity.  

Because many critical factors that shape people’s wellbeing independently of their own choices are inherited from one’s family, genetically or otherwise, the study of inequality of opportunity is also closely related to that of the intergenerational transmission of outcomes such as income, education and health. That transmission is, of course, the converse of intergenerational mobility. In fact, we argue that inequality of opportunity provides a natural link between inequality of outcomes and intergenerational transmission (immobility): when opportunities for today’s children are very unequal, their lives as adults are bound to be very different. That inequality is then transmitted to the next generation as a new round of unequal life chances. And so the cycle of inequality persistence sustains itself.

On the 21st-22nd November 2024, the Opportunity and Mobility programme will be co-hosting a workshop with Research Institute Economics of Inequality at WU Vienna and ZEW - Leibniz Centre for European Economic Research in Vienna. Please find the call for papers here

Research focus and aims

The research programme will focus on the following three areas:

1. Making sense of the myriad approaches to measuring intergenerational transmission and improving the comparability of these measures

Although there is much conceptual common ground among scholars analysing horizontal inequalities, opportunity and mobility, empirical findings are highly sensitive to methodological choices. This limits our ability to compare empirical results and to see the “big picture”. We actually know very little about how horizontal inequalities are distributed around the globe. This is due at least in part to the fact that our “findings” about horizontal inequalities are crucially dependent on the kinds of data we have: cross-section surveys versus panel surveys; surveys versus registries and other administrative data sources; income data versus data on surnames; etc.  Even among a certain class of surveys, much depends on sample size; the availability of information on circumstance variables; and so on. Moreover, different techniques, ranging from standard inequality decompositions to more sophisticated machine learning algorithms can also yield different “stories” (although sometimes there is a reassuring measure of agreement…).

There are also different practices as to whether intergenerational persistence should be studied looking at the transmission of a single outcome across generations, such as income or education; or incorporate the effect of a wider range of family and personal characteristics from one generation on the next. The research programme investigates what implications these data- and method-dependencies have for comparisons over time and, especially, across countries. The final aim is to propose methods to improve the comparability of measures obtained, across countries, over time, and across disciplines.

2. How do opportunity and intergenerational transmission relate to people’s understanding of fairness? Political philosophers, sociologists, economists and others have long grappled with the question of what makes a society just, or unjust.  For many, issues of inequality and inequity feature prominently, but there is a wide range of views as to which inequalities are acceptable or unacceptable; and as to how trade-offs that might arise between the pursuit of equity and other desiderata (such as certain rights and freedoms, or prosperity) should be dealt with.  This area or research lies at the confluence of many academic disciplines and could be a fruitful topic for work at the III. 

3.  What are the consequences of widespread unequal opportunity and intergenerational persistence?  When large groups of people – such as women; people of colour; people with disabilities; people of lower castes; and so on – are excluded from opportunity, it stands to reason that human talent is likely to be underdeveloped and underused.  Does this have consequences beyond unfairness – e.g. on the efficiency of resource allocation; on investment and growth; on people’s health; on crime or political conflict? 

The research programme will aims to produce the following outputs: 

    • Opportunity and Mobility Seminars and Workshops: These events aim to become an internationally recognized forum for researches active in different disciplines whose research interests deal with horizontal inequalities and mobility in income, education and health. Seminars will be a hybrid (in-person at LSE and online) workshops may be co organized with partner institutions: in November 2024 the Opportunity and Mobility workshop will be co-organized with Research Institute Economics of Inequality at WU Vienna and ZEW - Leibniz Centre for European Economic Research in Vienna. Find the call for papers here
    • Global Estimates of Opportunity and Mobility (GEOM) Database: one main objective of the research programme is to construct and maintain an international database about social mobility, unequal opportunity and intergenerational persistence. The database will include measures of intergenerational persistence widely adopted in social sciences, such as the intergenerational elasticity of income, intergenerational correlation of education, and inequality of opportunity in income. The database will be developed in collaboration with a network of colleagues working at the World Bank, Paris School of Economics, University of Notre Dame and University of Bari. It will be designed in modular fashion, so that it can be easily extended and expanded.
    • Doctoral research groupthe Doctoral Research Group on Inequality and Social Mobility is an international forum of early-stage researchers across different departments at the LSE. It encourages interdisciplinary collaboration on research for inequality and social mobility. The group approaches these research interests: a) comprehensively: by understanding social mobility as both movements across social and economic positions, and sets of beliefs and narratives that shape the discourse around inequality; b) from a pluralist perspective: by integrating insights from various theoretical perspectives, methodological approaches, ranging across different disciplines; and c) comparatively: by exploring insights from various settings around the world. 
      • A Winter School: since 2023 the programme co-organizes the Winter School on Inequality and Social Welfare Theory in the Italian Alps, as an opportunity for PhD students and early career researchers to physically meet, attend master classes, and present their ongoing research projects on topics related to the programme.


Grants availble through the Opportunity, Mobility and the Intergenerational Transmission of Inequality programme:


Professor Francisco H G Ferreira, Amartya Sen Professor of Inequality Studies and Director, LSE III

Dr Paolo Brunori, Assistant Professorial Research Fellow, LSE III

Benjamin Brundu-Gonzalez, PhD Candidate, Department of Sociology, LSE

Asif Butt, PhD Candidate, Department of Sociology, LSE

Julia Buzan, PhD Candidate, Department of Psychological and Behavioural Science, LSE

Professor Miles Corak, Professor of Economics, Graduate Center of the City University of New York

Professor Joan Costa-Font, Faculty Associate, LSE III and Professor in Heath Economics, Department of Health Policy, LSE

Professor Frank Cowell, Faculty Associate, LSE III and Professor of Economics and MSc Economics (2 year) Programme Director Programme Director, Department of Economics

Dr Beatrice D’Hombres, Senior Scientist, European Commission's Joint Research Centre (JRC)

Dr Sara Evans-Lacko, Associate Professorial Research Fellow, Care Policy and Evaluation Centre (CPEC), LSE

Malik Fercovic Cerda, PhD Candidate, Department of Sociology

Professor Marc Fleurbaey, PSE Chaired Professor, Paris School of Economics

Professor Sam Friedman, Professor of Sociology, Department of Sociology, LSE

Fiona Gogescu, PhD Candidate, Department of Social Policy, LSE

Dr Paul Hufe, Assistant Professor, University of Bristol

Professor Stephen Jenkins, Faculty Associate, LSE III and Professor of Economic and Social Policy, Department of Social Policy, LSE

Professor Jouni Kuha, Professor, Department of Statistics, LSE

Professor Stephen Machin, Professor of Economics, Department of Economics, LSE

Professor Lindsey Macmillan, Professor of Economics, University College London (UCL)

Dr Daniel Mahler, Economist, The World Bank

Anthony Miro Born, PhD Candidate, Department of Sociology, LSE

Domenico Moramarco, PhD Candidate, European Center for Advanced Research in Economics and Statistics (ECARES) – ULB

Dr Guido Neidhöfer, Researcher, ZEW Leibniz Centre for European Economic Research

Dr Flaviana Palmisano, Associate Professor of Public Economics, University of Rome, Sapienza

Professor Andreas Peichl, Professor of Macroeconomics and Public Finance, University of Munich

Professor Vito Peragine, Professor of Economics, University of Bari

Dr Patrizio Piraino, Associate Professor, University of Notre Dame

Professor Lucinda Platt, Faculty Associate, LSE III and Professor of Social Policy and Sociology, Department of Social Policy, LSE

Fabian Reutzel, PhD Candidate, Paris School of Economics

Dr Pedro Salas-Rojo, Research Officer, LSE III

Dr Giovanna Scarchilli, Visiting Fellow, LSE III and Post-Doctoral Fellow, University of Trento

Pedro Torres, PhD Candidate, Department of Social Policy, LSE

Dr Jennifer Sheehy-Skeffington, Faculty Associate, LSE III and Assistant Professor of Social Psychology, Department of Psychological and Behavioural Science, LSE

Dr Jan Stuhler, Associate Professor, Universidad Carlos III de Madrid

Dr Kate Summers, LSE Fellow in Qualitative Methodology, Department of Methodology, LSE

Dr Chana Teeger, Faculty Associate, LSE III and Assistant Professor, Department of Methodology, LSE

Professor Christian Thielscher, Head, Competence Center for Medical Economics, FOM University of Applied Science

Professor Moris Triventi, Professor of Sociology, University of Milan

Annaelena Valentini, PhD Candidate, University of Siena

Roy van der Weide, Senior Economist, Poverty and Inequality Research Team, The World Bank

Professor Dirk van de Gaer, Professor of Microeconomics and Public Economics, Ghent University

Professor Alex Voorhoeve, Professor, Department of Philosophy Logic and Scientific Method, LSE


Ashley, L., Boussebaa, M., Friedman, S., Harrington, B., Heusinkveld, S., Gustafsson, S., & Muzio, D. (2023). Professions and inequality: challenges, controversies, and opportunities. Journal of Professions and Organization, 10, 80-98. 

Baranowska-Rataj, Anna, Barclay, Kieron, Costa-Font, Joan, Myrskylä, Mikko and Özcan, Berkay (2022) Preterm Births and Educational Disadvantage: Heterogeneous Effects, Population Studies

Bauer, Annette, Araya, Ricardo, Avendano-Pabon, Mauricio, Diaz, Yadira, Garman, Emily, Hessel, Phillipp, Lund, Crick, Malvasi, Paulo, Matijasevich, Alicia, McDaid, David, Park, A-La, Silvestre Paula, Christiane, Zimmerman, Annie, and Evans-Lacko, Sara (2021) Examining the dynamics between young people’s mental health, poverty and life chances in six low- and middle-income countries: protocol for the CHANCES-6 study, Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology

Bauer, Annette, Garman, Emily. McDaid, David, Avendano-Pabon, Mauricio, Araya, Ricardo, Diaz, Yadira, Hessel, Phillip, Lund, Crick, Malvasi, Paulo, Matijasevich, Alicia, Park, A-La, Silvestre Paula, Cristiane, Ziebold, Carolina, Zimmerman, Annie and  Evans-Lacko, Sara (2021) Integrating Youth Mental Health into Cash Transfer Programmes in response to the COVID-19 Crisis in Low- and Middle-income Countries, Lancet Psychiatry

Bell, Brian, Blundell, Jack and Machin, Stephen (2022) Where is the land of hope and glory? The geography of intergenerational mobility in England and Wales, The Scandinavian Journal of Economics,

Bell, Brian, Costa, Rio and Machin, Stephen (2022) Why does education reduce crime?Journal of Political Economy, 130(3): 732-765.

Blanden, J., Eyles, A., & Machin, S. (2023). Intergenerational home ownership. The Journal of Economic Inequality, 21, 251-275. 

Bloise, Francesco, Brunori, Paolo and Piraino, Patrizio (2021) Estimating intergenerational income mobility on sub-optimal data: a machine learning approach, The Journal of Economic Inequality, 19(4): 643-665.

Born, A. M. (2023). The long shadow of territorial stigma: Upward social mobility and the symbolic -baggage of the old neighbourhood. Urban Studies, 60, 537-553. 

Brunori, P., Davillas, A., Jones, A. N., & Scarchilli, G., (2022). Model-based Recursive Partitioning to Estimate Unfair Health Inequalities in the United Kingdom Household Longitudinal Study. Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization, 204, 543-565. 

Brunori, P., Hufe, P., & Mahler, D. (2023). The roots of inequality: Estimating inequality of opportunity from regression trees and forests. Scandinavian Journal of Economics. Advance online publication. 

Brunori, Paolo, and Neidhöfer, Guido (2021) The evolution of inequality of opportunity in Germany: A machine learning approach, Review of Income and Wealth, 67(4): 900-927.

Brunori, Paolo, Trannoy, Alan and Guidi, Caterina Francesca (2021) Ranking populations in terms of inequality of health opportunity: A flexible latent type approach, Health Economics, 30(2): 358-383.

Burkhauser, Richard, Hérault, Nicolas, Jenkins, Stephen, and Wilkins, Roger (2021) What Accounts for the Rising Share of Women in the Top 1 percent?, Review of Income and Wealth

Burgess, Simon, and Platt, Lucinda (2021) Inter-ethnic relations of teenagers in England’s schools: the role of school and neighborhood ethnic composition, Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, 47(9): 2011-2038.

Cabrera, Leopoldo, Marrero, Gustavo, Rodríguez, Juan Gabriel, and Salas-Rojo, Pedro (2021) Inequality of Opportunity in Spain: New Insights from New Data, Review of Public Economics, 237(1): 153-185.

Costa-Font, Joan, and Cowell, Frank (2022) The Measurement of Health Inequalities: Does Status Matter?, Journal of Economic Inequality, 20: 299–325.

Costa-Font, Joan, Cowell, Frank and Sáenz de Miera, Belén  (2021) Measuring pure health inequality and mobility during a health insurance expansion: Evidence from Mexico,  Health Economics, 2021, 30(8): 1833-1848.

Cowell, Frank, and Flachaire, Emmanuel (2022) Inequality measurement: Methods and data, In Handbook of Labor, Human Resources and Population Economics, Springer International Publishing: 1-46.

Decerf, Benoit, Ferreira, Francisco, Mahler, Daniel, and Sterck, Olivier (2021): Lives and Livelihoods: Estimates of the Global Mortality and Poverty Effects of the Covid-19 Pandemic, World Development 146 105561.

Edmiston, Daniel, Robertshaw, David, Young, David, Ingold, Jo, Gibbons, Andrea, Summers, Kate, Scullion, Lisa, Baumberg, Ben, Geiger and de Vries, Robert (2022) Mediating the claim? How ‘local ecosystems of support’ shape the operation and experience of UK social security”, Social Policy and Administration

Fercovic-Cerda, Malik (2022) Disentangling Meritocracy Among the Long-Range Upwardly Mobile: The Chilean Case, Sociological Research Online, 27(1): 118–135.

Fercovic-Cerda, Malik (2021) Between success and dislocation: the experience of long-range upward mobility in contemporary Chile, Doctoral Dissertation, London School of Economics and Political Science

Ferreira, F. (2022). “The Analysis of Inequality in the Bretton Woods Institutions”, Global Perspectives. 2022. 

Ferreira, F. (2023). “What is the optimal level of inequality?” in Corinne M. Flick (ed.) Equality in an Unequal World. Berlin: Convoco Editions. 

Ferreira, Francisco H.G. (2022) Not all inequalities are alike, Nature 606 (7915): 646-649.

Ferreira, Francisco H.G. (2021) Inequality in the time of COVID-19, Finance and Development, 58 (2): 20-23.

Friedman, S. (2022). (Not) bringing your whole self to work: The gendered experience of upward mobility in the UK Civil Service. Gender, Work & Organization, 29, 502-519. 

Friedman, S., & Reeves, A. (2022). The cultivation of the synthetic gentleman: Exploring horizontal boundaries within the British elite. In Class Boundaries in Europe (pp. 75-97). Routledge.

Garman, Emily, Eyal, Katherine, Avendano-Pavon, Mauricio,  Evans-Lacko, Sara and Lund, Crick (2022): Cash transfers and the mental health of young people: Evidence from South Africa's child support grant, Social Sciences and Medicine

Haux, Tina, and Platt, Lucinda (2021) Fathers’ involvement with their children before and after separation, European Journal of Population, 37(1): 151-177.

Hecht, Katharina, and Summers, Kate (2021): The Long and Short of It: The temporal significance of wealth and income, Social Policy and Administration

Hoffmann, Mauricio Scopel, McDaid, David, Abrahao Salum, Giovanni, Silva-Ribeiro, Wagner, Ziebold, Carolina, King, Derek, Gadelha, Ary, Constantino Miguel, Eurípedes, de Jesus Mari, Jair, Augusto Rohde, Luis, Mario Pan, Pedro, Affonseca Bressan, Rodrigo, Mojtabai, Ramin, and Evans-Lacko, Sara (2021) The impact of child psychiatric conditions on future educational outcomes among a community cohort in Brazil. Epidemiology and Psychiatric Services, Epidemiology and Psychiatric Services

Kuha, Jouni, Bukodi, Erzsébet and Goldthorpe, John (2021) Mediation analysis for associations of categorical variables: The role of education in social class mobility in Britain, Annals of Applied Statistics, 15: 2061-2082.

Kuha, J., Zhang, S., & Steele, F. (2023). Latent variable models for multivariate dyadic data with zero inflation: Analysis of intergenerational exchanges of family support. The Annals of Applied Statistics, 17, 1521-1542. 

Luthra, R. R., & Platt, L. (2023). Do immigrants benefit from selection? Migrant educational selectivity and its association with social networks, skills and health. Social Science Research. Advance online publication. 

Moor, Liz, and Friedman, Sam (2021) Justifying inherited wealth: Between ‘the bank of mum and dad’and the meritocratic ideal, Economy and Society, 50(4): 618-642.

Orton, Michael, Summers, Kate and Moris, Rosa (2021) Guiding principles for social security policy: outcomes from a bottom-up approach, Social Policy and Administration

Palencia-Esteban, A., & Salas-Rojo, P. (2023). Intergenerational Mobility and Life Satisfaction in Spain. In S. Bandyopadhyay & J. G. Rodríguez (Eds.), Mobility and Inequality Trends (Research on Economic Inequality, Vol. 30) (pp. 109-137). Bingley: Emerald Publishing Limited. 

Platt, Lucinda (2021): COVID-19 and ethnic inequalities in England, LSE Public Policy Review,

Robertshaw, David, Kate Summers, Lisa Scullion, Daniel Edmiston, Ben Baumberg Geiger, Andrea Gibbons, Jo Ingold, Robert De Vries and David Young (2022): “Welfare at a (Social) Distance: Accessing social security and employment support during the Covid-19 and its aftermath”, Covid-19 Collaborations: Researching Poverty and Low-Income Family Life During the Pandemics (

Ryding, Tove Maria, and Voorhoeve, Alex (2022): Is the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development's 2021 Tax Deal Fair?, LSE Public Policy Review (forthcoming).

Salas-Rojo, Pedro, and Rodríguez, Juan Gabriel (2022): Inheritances and Wealth Inequality: a Machine Learning Approach, The Journal of Economic Inequality, 20(1), 27-51.

Salas-Rojo, Pedro, and Rodríguez, Juan Gabriel (2021) The Distribution of Wealth in Spain and the USA: the Role of Socioeconomic Factors, SERIEs, 12(3), 389-421.

Sheehy-Skeffington, Jennifer (2021): Taking context seriously, Psychologist, 34(7): 50-53.

Summers, Kate, Fabien Accominotti, Tania Burchardt, Katharina Hecht, Elizabeth Mann and Jonathan Mijs (2022): Deliberating Inequality: A Blueprint for Studying the Social Formation of Beliefs about Economic Inequality, Social Justice Research

Teeger, C. (2023). (Not) feeling the past: boredom as a racialized emotion. American Journal of Sociology, forthcoming. 

Toft, Maren, and Friedman, Sam (2021): Family wealth and the class ceiling: The propulsive power of the bank of mum and dad, Sociology, 55(1): 90-109.

Voorhoeve, Alex (2022): Policy Evaluation under Severe Uncertainty: A Cautious, Egalitarian Approach, in C. Heilmann and J. Reiss (eds.) The Routledge Handbook of Philosophy of Economics. Routledge: 467-479.

Voorhoeve, Alex (2021): Equality for Prospective People: A Novel Statement and Defence, Utilitas, 33: 304-320.

Waldfogel, Hannah, Sheehy-Skeffington, Jennifer, Hauser, Oliver, Ho, Arnold and Kteily, Nour (2021) Ideology selectively shapes attention to inequality, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences

Ziebold, Carolina, Sara Evans-Lacko, Mário César Rezende Andrade, Maurício Hoffmann, Laís Fonseca,

Matheus Barbosa, Pedro Mario Pan, Eurípides Constantino Miguel, Rodrigo Affonseca Bressan, Luis Augusto Rohde, Giovanni Abrahao Salum, Julia Schafer, Jair de Jesus Mari and Ary Gadelha (2021): Childhood poverty and mental health disorders in early adulthood: Evidence from a Brazilian cohort study, European Child and Adolescent Psychiatry

Ziebold, Carolina, Cristiane Silvestre Paula, Iná Santos, Fernando Barros, Tiago Munhoz, Crick Lund, David McDaid, Ricardo Araya, Annette Bauer, Emily Garman, A-La Park, Annie Zimmerman, Philipp Hessel, Mauricio Avendano-Pavón, Sara Evans-Lacko and Alicia Matijasevich (2021) Conditional cash transfers and adolescent mental health in Brazil:  Evidence from the 2004 Pelotas Birth Cohort,  Journal of Global Health

Zimmerman, Annie, Crick Lund, Ricardo Araya, Philipp Hessel, Jualiana Sanchez, Emily Garman, Sara Evans-Lacko, Yadira Diaz and Mauricio Avendano-Pavon (2022): The relationship between multidimensional poverty, income poverty and youth depressive symptoms: cross-sectional evidence from Mexico, South Africa and Colombia, BMJ Global Health


Conchita D'Ambrosio

Job Insecurity, Savings and Consumption: an Italian experiment

Part of the Inequalities Seminar Series

Tuesday 23 May 12.30pm to 1.30pm. Online and in-person public eventThe Marshall Building - MAR 1.09.

Watch the event recording

Professor Conchita D’Ambrosio, Professor of Economics, Université du Luxembourg 

Professor Francisco H. G. Ferreira, Amartya Sen Professor of Inequality Studies and Director, LSE III

Job insecurity has consequences outside of the labour market. Using the 2012 Fornero reform as a natural experiment, a difference-in-differences framework based on a firm-size discontinuity and individual data coming from the Italian Survey on Household Income and Wealth, our results suggest that greater job insecurity reduces consumption and increases savings. We also show that the changes in consumption and savings are a function of the family structure and of the rank in the household income distribution. Last, greater job insecurity reduces all types of consumption except food expenditures and the extra-savings are either invested in safe assets or kept on savings account.



Assessment of Individual Income Growth with Relative Concerns

Part of the Inequalities Seminar Series

Tuesday 16 May 12.30pm to 1.30pm. Online and in-person public eventThe Marshall Building - MAR 1.09.

Watch the event recording

Professor Elena Bárcena Martín, Professor of Applied Economics, University of Malaga

Professor Facundo Alvaredo, Professorial Research Fellow, LSE III and Co-Director of the World Inequality Database and the World Inequality Lab

We assess individual income growth providing a framework in which each individual accounts for own income growth and for the growth of each individual’s reference group. We take as a starting point the concept of relative deprivation, in which an individual compares with those who are better off, and interpret it as the extent to which an individual is left behind. In this line, we propose that individuals evaluate own income and compare it with income growth of other people in society, which are taken as a sort of benchmark. After some computation, progressive growth and re-ranking are identified at the individual level, and the first component is broken down into one term that captures growth self-concern and another that accounts for growth with respect to others, or relative concerns. The empirical application to Spain over the past ten years shows that this measure supplements the analyses based on common metrics of income distribution and how it helps to identify the different aspects of income growth assessment.


Cecilia Penalosa

The Dynamics of Lifetime Incomes in France

Part of the Inequalities Seminar Series

Tuesday 9 May 12.30pm to 1.30pm. Online and in-person public eventThe Marshall Building - MAR 1.09.

Watch the event recording

Professor Cecilia García-Peñalosa, Professor of Economics, Aix-Marseille School of Economics

Dr H. Xavier Jara, Research Officer, LSE III

This seminar examines the evolution of lifetime earnings in France. We have access to complete earnings histories that allow us to compute lifetime earnings for the cohorts born between 1942 and 1962. The data show that after increasing for several cohorts, median incomes have been flat, although we do not find the decline in median lifetime earnings observed in the US. Lifetime earnings inequality exhibits small changes across cohorts, following a U-shaped pattern but without the marked increase observed in the US. The stability of lifetime inequality seems to be the result of a period of declining dispersion in annual (cross-sectional) earnings and a subsequent decrease in earnings mobility over the lifetime. These results point towards both institutions, such as the minimum wage, and social norms related to female participation as important factors in shaping lifetime earnings dispersion.

Kaushik BasuThe Changing Nature of Global Economy: Digital Technology, Labour and Inequality

Part of the III Inequalities Seminar Series

Tuesday 14 March 12.00pm to 1.00pm. Online and in-person public eventThe Marshall Building - MAR 1.09.

Watch the event recording

Professor Kaushik Basu, C. Marks Professor of International Studies and Professor of Economics, Cornell University

Professor Francisco H. G. Ferreira, Amartya Sen Professor of Inequality Studies and Director, LSE III

The lecture will review the recent global experience and discuss the new challenges not just for economic theory, but for regulation, law and policies to curb inequality. This bend in the road of the global economy is bound to bring about new winners and new losers among nations, in the same way that the Industrial Revolution had done. The lecture will also peer into the future and speculate about who the winners and the losers might be. 

Flaviana Palmisano

Dynastic measures of intergenerational mobility

Part of the III Inequalities Seminar Series

Tuesday 31 January 12.00pm to 1.00pm. Online and in-person public eventThe Marshall Building - MAR 1.09.

Watch the event recording

Dr Flaviana Palmisano, Associate Professor of Public Economics, Sapienza University of Rome

Dr Pedro Salas-Rojo, Research Officer, LSE III

This seminar suggests a simple and flexible criterion to assess relative intergenerational mobility. It accommodates different types of outcomes, such as (continuous) earnings or (discrete and ordinal) education levels, and captures dynastic improvements of such outcomes at different points of the initial distribution. We suggest an application on Indonesia. Using the IFLS data, we match parents observed in 1993 to their children in 2014, providing one of the rare intergenerational mobility analyses based on a long panel in the context of a developing country.

pedro_salas_rojo (1)

Using Machine Learning to Decompose Inequality: The Case of Opportunity in South Africa

Part of the III Inequalities Seminar Series

Tuesday 25 October 12.30pm to 1.30pm. Online and in-person public eventLSE Centre Building, Room 2.05.

Dr Pedro Salas-Rojo, Research Officer, LSE III

Dr Paolo Brunori, Assistant Professorial Research Fellow, LSE III

According to a widespread view a society achieves equality of opportunity when individuals exerting the same effort obtain the same outcomes regardless of circumstances that they cannot control such as gender, race, and socioeconomic background. This view was formalized by John Roemer in a number of influential contributions. We illustrate an exact analogy between how the phenomenon of inequality of opportunity may be measured and how transformation trees - a machine learning algorithm developed by Hothorn and Zeileis (2021) predicts an output variable based on a set of features. Then, we use data from South Africa (2017) to analyze inequality of opportunity. Our estimates show that the magnitude of this phenomenon is much greater than what has been suggested in the past. Limiting the analysis to only three circumstances - race, parental education and occupation - the Gini of inequality of opportunity ascends to 0.45, twice as large as previously estimated.


Programme launch event: An Idea of Equality for Troubled Times 

Hosted by the International Inequalities Institute

Tuesday 3 February 2022. Online public event.  

Watch the video. Listen to the podcast.

Speakers: Professor Joseph Fishkin, Professor of Law, UCLA School of Law; Professor Marc Fleurbaey, Professor of Economics, Paris School of Economics; Dr Jennifer Sheehy-Skeffington, Assistant Professor of Social Psychology, LSE  

Chair: Dr Paolo Brunori, Assistant Professorial Research Fellow, LSE III 



Upper secondary tracks and student competencies: A selection or a causal effect? 

Part of the Opportunity and Mobility Seminar Series

Wednesday 10 November 2021. Online public event.  

Speaker: Dr Moris Triventi, Associate Professor in Quantitative Sociology University of Trento  

Discussant: Dr Sara Geven, Assistant Professor of Sociology, University of Amsterdam 

Chair: Dr Paolo Brunori, Assistant Professorial Research Fellow, LSE III 



Comparing Distributions of Ordinal Data: Theory and Empirics 

Part of the Opportunity and Mobility Seminar Series

Wednesday 17 November 2021. Online public event.   

Speaker: Professor Stephen Jenkins, Convenor, Global Inequalities Observatory Research programme, LSE III and Professor of Economic and Social Policy Department of Social Policy, LSE 

Discussant: Professor Vanesa Jordá, Associate Professor of Economics, University of Cantabria 

Chair: Fiona Gogescu, Doctoral student, Department of Social Policy, LSE 


mijs-headshot-updated-600x600 (1)Siyu-Li

The Social Life of Inequality: why unequal countries stay that way 

Part of the Opportunity and Mobility Seminar Series

Wednesday 9 March 2022. Online public event.  

Watch the video. Listen to the podcast.

Speaker: Dr Jonathan Mijs, Lecturer in Sociology, Boston University and Visiting Fellow, LSE III 

Discussant: Siyu Li, PhD student, Lille Center for Sociological and Economic Studies and Research 

Chair: Asif Butt, PhD student, Department of Sociology, LSE 


Emilia-DelBono-200x200 (1)matthias-parey

Expectations about the Productivity of Effort and Academic Outcomes: evidence from a randomized information intervention 

Part of the Opportunity and Mobility Seminar Series.Co-hosted by the ZEW – Leibniz Centre for European Economic Research.

Wednesday 6 April 2022. Online public event. 

Speaker: Professor Emilia Del Bono, Professor of Economics, University of Essex, and Director of the Centre for Micro Social Change 

Discussant: Professor Matthias Parey, Professor of Economics, University of Surrey and ZEW Research Associate 

Chair: Dr Guido Neidhöfer, Senior Researcher, ZEW – Leibniz Centre for European Economic Research 



Spatial & temporal disparities in air pollution exposure at Italian schools

 Part of the Opportunity and Mobility Seminar SeriesCo-hosted by the Department of Sociology, University of Trento. 

Tuesday 10 May 2022. Online and in-person public event.  

Speaker: Risto Conte Keivabu, Researcher, Department of Political and Social Sciences, European University Institute 

Discussant: Giovanna Scarchilli, Post-doctoral Research Fellow, INEQUALITREES Project, University of Trento 

Chair: Emanuele Fedeli, Post-doctoral Research Fellow, INEQUALITREES Project, University of Trento 



First Generation Elite: the role of school social networks  

Part of the Opportunity and Mobility Seminar SeriesCo-hosted by the Department of Economics and Law of Sapienza University of Rome

Wednesday 25 May 2022. Online public event.  

Co-hosted by the Department of Economics and Law of Sapienza University of Rome 

Speaker: Professor Emma Tominey, Professor of Economics, University of York  

Discussant: Dr Anthony Lepinteur, Research Associate, Department of Behavioural and Cognitive Sciences, University of Luxembourg 

Chair: Professor Flaviana Palmisano, Associate Professor of Public Economics, Sapienza University of Rome