30195 - ECONOMICS (POVERTY, INEQUALITY AND INCOME DISTRIBUTION)
Course taught in English
Go to class group/s: 31
Synchronous Blended: Lessons in synchronous mode in the classroom (for a maximum of one hour per credit in remote mode)
Attendance of introductory courses of microeconomics, mathematics, and statistics is strongly suggested. Make sure you are familiar with basic concepts such as utility functions, derivatives, integrals, probability distribution functions, expected values, mean, median, variance, quantiles and other basic statistical and mathematical concepts.
The course addresses the main approaches to the measurement of inequality and poverty, their main trends at the global level, and their fundamental determinants. For each topic we discuss the relevant theoretical framework, the main measurement issues, and the available empirical evidence. This course is particularly targeted to students who plan to enroll in a Master or Ph.D. program, but students from all degrees and backgrounds willing to get exposure to the academic literature on these topics.
Trends in Inequality and Poverty:
- Inequality, the financial crisis, and the great recession.
- Global trends in inequality and poverty.
- Measurement: the need for criteria.
- The transfer principle and other criteria for evaluating inequality measures.
- Income distribution functions: Pareto, Normal and Log-normal.
- Partial ordering methods: stochastic dominance and the Lorenz Curve.
- Complete ordering methods: the Gini index.
- The top 1%: capital in the XXI century.
- The remaining 99%: skills, education, job polarization, robots, trade and the rise of earnings inequality.
- Migration and Inequality.
- Intergenerational inequality: where is the Land of Opportunity?
- Measurement of intergenerational income elasticity, rank-rank regressions.
- The Great Gatsby curve.
- Optimal taxation.
- Measurement: poverty measures.
- Anti-poverty policies: earned income tax credit and food stamps.
- Universal Basic Income in Advanced Countries.
- Estimate several measures of Economic Inequality and Poverty.
- Select the most appropriate measure of Inequality/Poverty according to the research question, the context or the type of data.
- Identify advantages and disadvantages of each measure of Inequality/Poverty.
- Distinguish between different types and definitions of Economic Inequality.
- Describe trends and the main determinants of Economic Inequality.
- Summarize the available empirical evidence on Inequality and Poverty.
- Discuss the extent and dynamics of Economic Inequality and Poverty based on normative theory and empirical evidence.
- Compute and Compare different measures of Inequality/Poverty.
- Use and Interpret income distribution functions.
- Read, Analyze and Discuss academic research papers and empirical evidence on Inequality and Poverty.
- Face-to-face lectures
- Exercises (exercises, database, software etc.)
- Group assignments
- Interactive class activities on campus/online (role playing, business game, simulation, online forum, instant polls)
- We use databases and the software STATA to better understand the theoretical measures of Inequality and Poverty, to calculate measures of Inequality and Poverty in class and to plot graphs. Knowledge of STATA is NOT required and you will not be tested on your STATA knowledge.
- Students can (but it is not compulsory) choose to prepare an in-class group presentation of a given research paper.
- Students' presentation sessions in interactive environment with peers.
With the purpose of measuring the acquisition of the above-mentioned learning outcomes,
the students have two assessment options available, based on student’s preference:
1) Written exam (either two partial exams or one comprehensive exam) worth 100% of final score. The written exam consists of exercises and open questions aimed to assess students’ ability to
estimate several measures of Economic Inequality and Poverty, select the most appropriate measure of Inequality/Poverty according to the research question, the context or the type of data. The assessment will also be aimed to test students’ developed ability to analyze and discuss the extent and dynamics of Economic Inequality and Poverty based on normative theory and empirical evidence.
2) Written exam worth 70% (two partial exams worth 35% each or one comprehensive exam worth 70%) of final score plus an in-class group presentation of a given research paper worth 30% of final score. The written exam present the same characteristics and assessment objectives as above for option 1). Presentations are aimed at assessing whether students develop adequate skills to read, analyze and discuss academic research papers on Inequality and Poverty.
- There is no textbook for this class. All methodological issues are covered in detail in the classnotes P. PINOTTI, Tools for the Analysis of Income Inequality and Poverty. These classnotes are uploaded on Bboard.
- The course is also based on academic research papers that are uploaded on Bboard.
- The slides used for lectures are uploaded on Bboard and are compulsory study material for the course.