Institutions, Inequality and Development
This research cluster explores the causes and consequences of inequality. We are particularly concerned with the drivers that create and maintain various interconnected patterns of inequality—whether based on the unequal distribution of particular resources (e.g., income, assets) or related to membership in a particular group or category (e.g., race, gender, ethnicity). We are equally concerned with the developmental and institutional consequences of different forms of inequality and thus explore their impact on issues such as economic growth, poverty and poverty reduction, redistributive preferences, the persistence and transformation of political regimes, the quality of state institutions, and forms of regulatory governance. In so doing, we combine conceptual and theoretical work with empirical analysis, along with close attention to policies that might mitigate inequality and its most harmful consequences.
The members of the cluster use historical as well as contemporary data and draw on a variety of different methodologies, including quantitative analysis, qualitative techniques, and experiments. Our substantive focus covers a broad range of topics and geographic areas. Current research interests focus on the historical roots of inequality in Europe and sub-Saharan Africa, the relationship between ethnic diversity and public goods provision in Latin America, and the interdependence between inequality, financialization and market building in the Middle East and South East Asia. Other topics we work on include the political incorporation of labor and development outcomes, technological change and political inequality, and the effects of middle income growth in developing countries, most prominently regarding the political economy of social policy reform and development finance.