Combating Inequality: Rethinking Policies to Reduce Inequality in Advanced Economies


October 17, 9:00 AM EDT to October 18, 2019, 5:15 PM EDT
PIIE Webcast, Washington, DC

Conference coordinators: Olivier Blanchard (PIIE) and Dani Rodrik (Harvard University)

Join the conversation on Twitter using #Inequality2019


Event Summary

Read a summary and reflections of the conference by its organizers, Olivier Blanchard and Dani Rodrik.

The Peterson Institute for International Economics (PIIE) held a major conference on "Combating Inequality: Rethinking Policies to Reduce Inequality in Advanced Economies," on October 17–18, 2019. The conference coordinators were Olivier Blanchard, C. Fred Bergsten Senior Fellow at PIIE, and Dani Rodrik, Ford Foundation Professor of International Political Economy at Harvard's John F. Kennedy School of Government.

Inequality has increased in almost all advanced economies, to alarming levels in some cases as in the United States. It is essential, therefore, to consider the full range of policies, in education, finance, labor markets, taxation, and beyond, to address it. The purpose of the conference is to take stock of knowledge about specific concrete policies that can be deployed to reduce within-country inequality in advanced economies. The conference comprised one survey paper to set the landscape on the evolution of inequality in advanced economies, two general panels on the moral and political aspects of inequality, and a series of policy proposals.

Olivier Blanchard began organizing the Rethinking Macroeconomic Policy series at the International Monetary Fund, where he was the chief economist from 2008 to 2015. This year's Rethinking Macroeconomic Policy Conference, the fifth in the series, featured Nobel laureates Angus Deaton and Peter Diamond, among two dozen leading policy scholars who discussed inequality issues and shared policy recommendations in high-level panel discussions.

MIT Press published a conference volume, Combating Inequality: Rethinking Government's Role, in 2021.


Find event material links below

October 17  October 18

October 17, 2019

Agenda | Conference Speaker Biographies

Introduction and Session 1: The landscape
[full session video]

Opening Remarks: Olivier Blanchard, PIIE

Chair: Adam Posen, PIIE

Lucas Chancel, Paris School of Economics [edited video] [paper] [presentation]
Peter Diamond, MIT

Session 2: Ethical and philosophical dimensions
[full session video]

Chair: Dani Rodrik, Harvard University

Danielle Allen, Harvard University [presentation]
Philippe Van Parijs, University of Louvain
Thomas M. (Tim) Scanlon, Harvard University [presentation] [paper]

Session 3: Political dimensions
[full session video]

Chair: Dani Rodrik, Harvard University

Ben Ansell, University of Oxford [presentation]
Sheri Berman, Columbia University [presentation]
Nolan McCarty, Princeton University [presentation]

Session 4: The distribution of human capital
[full session video]

Chair: Eduardo Porter, New York Times

David Deming, Harvard Kennedy School
Lawrence Katz, Harvard University [presentation]
Tharman Shanmugaratnam, Monetary Authority of Singapore

Session 5: Trade, outsourcing, and foreign investment
[full session video]

Chair: Min Zhu, Tsinghua University

David Autor, MIT Department of Economics [presentation]
Christian Dustmann, University College London
Caroline Freund, World Bank Group [presentation]

Session 6: The (re)distribution of financial capital
[full session video]

Chair: Catherine Rampell, Washington Post

Greg Mankiw, Harvard University [presentation]
Lawrence Summers, Harvard University
Emmanuel Saez, University of California, Berkeley [presentation]

October 18, 2019

Session 1: Rate and direction of technological change
[full session video]

Chair: David Wessel, Brookings

Daron Acemoglu, MIT Department of Economics [presentation]
Philippe Aghion, Harvard University [presentation]
Laura Tyson, University of California, Berkeley [presentation]

Session 2: Labor market policies, institutions and social norms
[full session video]

Chair: Olivier Blanchard, PIIE

Marianne Bertrand, University of Chicago
Sandra Black, Columbia University
Richard Freeman, Harvard University

Session 3: Labor market tools
[full session video]

Chair: Heather Boushey, Center for Equitable Growth

William Darity Jr., Duke University
David Ellwood, Harvard University [presentation]
Heidi Shierholz, Economic Policy Institute

Session 4: Social safety net
[full session video]

Chair: Josh Bivens, EPI

Jason Furman, Harvard University [presentation]
Hilary Hoynes, University of California, Berkeley [presentation]
Jesse Rothstein, University of California, Berkeley [presentation]

Session 5: Progressive taxation
[full session video]

Chair: Gene Sperling, Former National Economic Council Director

Wojciech Kopczuk, Columbia University [presentation]
Stefanie Stantcheva, Harvard University [edited video] [presentation]
Gabriel Zucman, University of California, Berkeley [edited video] [presentation]

Concluding remarks
[full session video]

Chair: Adam S. Posen, PIIE
Speaker: Dani Rodrik, Harvard University [presentation]