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Welfare, Inequality and the Social Dimension in Europe


  • Handelshögskolan vid Göteborgs universitet 1 Vasagatan Göteborg, Västra Götalands län, 411 24 Sweden (map)

On 17 November 2017, the President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, and Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven will be hosting the Social Summit for Fair Jobs and Growth in Gothenburg. In order to contribute to an informed and vigorous public debate on these issues, an open workshop on Welfare, Inequality and the Social Dimension in Europe involving leading international researchers has been organized by CERGU (Centre for European Research at the University of Gothenburg) and SOCAV (Department of Sociology and Work Science), with support as co-organizers from Brännpunkt Europa and CES (Centre for European Studies). The keynote speech will be given by Professor John D. Stephens (Chapel Hill, USA), and is entitled 'Top Income Shares: Political and Economic Determinants.' This will be followed by research presentations and discussions on key issues such as the dualization of labour markets in Europe; inequality and the rise of the Swedish Democrats; work-family reconciliation practices; and trade unions and the social dimension in Europe. The workshop takes place over two days and is open to all.


Thursday- 16 November, 2017
12.00 - 14.00 Keynote speech: Top Income Shares: Political and Economic Determinants, Professor John D. Stephens
14.00-14.30 Coffee, 'Hyllan', Handelsrätten second floor
14.30 - 17.30 Research Presentations


Friday - 17 November, 2017
9.00 - 10.30 Research Presentations
10.30-11.00 Coffee, 'Hyllan', Handelsrätten second floor
11.00 - 13.00 Research Presentations

Contributors
John D Stephens, Centre for European Studies, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Barbara Bechter, Durham University Business School
Bengt Furåker, Department of Sociology and Work Science, University of Gothenburg
Erik Vestin, Department of Political Science, University of Gothenburg
Tomas Berglund, Department of Sociology and Work Science, University of Gothenburg
Andrea Spehar, Department of Political Science, University of Gothenburg
Bengt Larsson, Department of Sociology and Work Science, University of Gothenburg

A detailed program can be found here: http://cergu.gu.se/infoglueCalendar/digitalAssets/70136554567_BifogadFil_Workshop%20on%20Welfare%20Inequality%20and%20the%20Social%20Dimension%20in%20Europe%20Nov%2016-17%20Gothenburg%20Detailed%20Schedule.pdf

The rise of the super-rich has attracted much political and academic attention in recent years. However, there have been few attempts to explain the cross-national along with the temporal variation in the rise of top incomes. Drawing on the World Wealth and Income Database, we study the income share of the top 1% in almost all current postindustrial democracies from 1960 to 2012. We find that extreme income concentration at the top is a predominantly political phenomenon, not the result of increasing marginal productivity of top managers in markets of increasing size. Top income shares are largely unrelated to economic growth, increased knowledge-intensive production, export competitiveness, and wealth accumulation, though they are related to stock market capitalization and some measures of financialization. Instead, they are closely associated with political and policy changes some of which reflect a decline in the relative power of labor, such as union density and centralization, secular-right governments, top marginal tax rates, and investment in public tertiary education.