Counting the Divide: how the World Bank and the UN should strengthen the way they measure inequality

In July, 2023, over 225 economists and inequality leaders wrote to World Bank President Ajay Banga and UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, drawing attention to alarmingly high levels of national and global inequality and the harm this is causing to people across the world. The letter called on the World Bank and UN to strengthen its indicators and goals on inequality urgently to address this dangerous divide.

In this panel discussion, four of the key signatories to the letter will discuss in more detail what needs to happen urgently at the UN and the World Bank to redouble efforts to fight inequality.

Meet our speakers and chair 

Francisco H G Ferreira (@fhgferreira) is the Amartya Sen Professor of Inequality Studies and Director of the International Inequalities Institute at LSE.

Jayati Ghosh (@Jayati1609) is Professor of Economics at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and a specialist on the challenges that globalisation presents to the developing world. She is the Executive Secretary of International Development Economics Associates, an international network of heterodox development economists. She has received the International Labour Organisation’s Decent Work Research Prize for 2010 and the NordSud Prize for Social Sciences in 2010.

José Gabriel Palma is a Chilean economist. He is currently Emeritus Senior Lecturer at the Faculty of Economics at the University of Cambridge, and Professor of Economics (part-time) at the Faculty of Administration and Economics of the University of Santiago, Chile (USACH). He is the author of the “Palma Ratio’, a new way to measure and understand income inequality.

Faiza Shaheen (@faizashaheen) is Visiting Professor in Practice at LSE and Program Lead on Inequality and Exclusion at the Pathfinders for Peaceful, Just and Inclusive Societies at the Center on International Cooperation at New York University. Faiza is an economist, activist, and political commentator.

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