Keynote Speech | Evelyn Huber & John D. Stephens “Challenging Inequality: Variation Across Post-Industrial Societies”

About this Session


Fri. 12.04.'24 09:00



We shall present the main findings of our forthcoming book (University of Chicago Press, July/ August 2024) that analyzes different patterns of increasing income inequality in post-industrial societies since the 1980s, the factors that are driving these increases, and those that are accounting for persistent marked differences between countries. We first show different patterns of inequality and then explain the constellation of factors driving these different patterns. We highlight that strong positions of labor at the enterprise and the societal level have worked against rising market income inequality, as has a history of strong human capital spending. Generosity of the welfare state has remained the most important variable shaping redistribution. Incumbency of left parties in turn remains the master variable behind welfare state generosity and human capital investment. Our main point is that politics and political choices remain crucial in dealing with the inegalitarian effects of technological change and globalization. We shall present some results of our statistical analysis of data from 22 countries and illustrate them with a comparison of Germany, Spain, Sweden, and the United States.