Poverty and income inequality

Charles Goodhart, Anthony Venables, 17 January 2020

When the industries that have sustained our cities decline, how can we regenerate urban areas? At the SUERF conference in Amsterdam, Tony Venables and Charles Goodhart tell Tim Phillips that redevelopment policies may have made regional inequality and social conflict worse.

Daniel Oesch, Giorgio Piccitto, 04 January 2020

The consensus view in economics is that labour markets are polarising as jobs are created in high-skilled and low-skilled occupations but disappear in mid-skilled ones. This column shows empirical evidence against the polarisation theory in Western Europe. Between 1992 and 2015, job growth in Germany, Spain, Sweden, and the UK was strongest in top-end occupations and, except in the UK, weakest in low-end occupations. 

Philippe Aghion, Antonin Bergeaud, Richard Blundell, Rachel Griffith, 02 January 2020

A growing literature emphasises that firm heterogeneity plays a large role in explaining wage differences across workers. This column highlights one channel through which firm features feed through into the wages of workers in low-skilled occupations, namely, the interplay between a firm's innovativeness and the complementarity between the (soft) skills of workers in low-skilled occupations and the firm's other assets. It shows that more R&D-intensive firms pay higher wages on average, and in particular workers in certain low-skilled occupations benefit considerably from working in more R&D-intensive firms.

Oriana Bandiera, Lant Pritchett, 23 December 2019

This year's Nobel prize celebrated the work of the economists who popularised randomised controlled trials, “for their experimental approach to alleviating global poverty”. But is it possible to have too much of a good thing? Tim Phillips investigates.

Picture © Nobel Media 2019. Illustration: Niklas Elmehed

Carlo Barone, Denis Fougère, Clément Pin, 19 December 2019

Interventions that encourage parents to read with their pre-school aged children can be a cost-effective way to boost early childhood development and reduce educational inequalities. But socioeconomic and cultural barriers can hinder the efficacy of such interventions, and recent impact evaluations question their value. This column looks at a large-scale experiment that provided parents of pre-schoolers with books as well as materials on the benefits of shared reading. It finds that the accessibility of the information provided played a key role in the intervention’s success. 

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