DIAL Mid-term Conference 2019

The first mid-term conference of the DIAL (Dynamics of Inequality Across the Life-course) research programme will take place from the 6th to the 8th of June 2019.

The call for papers is now closed and the decisions will be made in February 8th, 2019.

For more information, visit http://dynamicsofinequality.org/midterm-conference


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Andreas Peichl: income inequality: should we measure it differently?

In Episode 1 of Series one of the Dial podcast, Prof. Dr. Andreas Peichl, Director of the ifo Center for Macroeconomics and Surveys at the University of Munich discusses the DIAL Working Paper, Measuring unfair inequality: reconciling equality of opportunity and freedom from poverty.




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Divorce and the Growth of Poverty Gaps Over the Life Course: A Risk and Vulnerability Approach

A new paper by Hogendoorn, Leopold and Bol, Divorce and the Growth of Poverty Gaps Over the Life Course: A Risk and Vulnerability Approach, published in the DIAL working paper series, examines educational gradients in the relationship between divorce and poverty. The authors take a new approach to studying growing poverty gaps between education groups by combining theoretical aspects of gradients in the probability of divorce (risk) and gradients in how divorce influences poverty (vulnerability). Previous studies have demonstrated that the lower educated have both a higher risk of divorce, and have suggested they also have a higher probability to suffer from the negative consequences of divorce. However, by studying risk and vulnerability separately, previous research has not fully assessed their joint contributions to poverty.

Hogendoorn and colleagues study the educational gradients in divorce and poverty using longitudinal administrative data from the Netherlands. They confirm that the lower educated indeed have the highest risk of divorce and the highest probability to fall into poverty after divorce. These gradients also strengthen over the life course, which means that the contributions of divorce to poverty among lower educated men and women increase as they age. However, the contributions of divorce to poverty differ by gender and parenthood, for example mothers seem to be particularly likely to fall into poverty after divorce than any other group.

One of the main contributions of the paper is the two-fold approach of risk and vulnerability of divorce and how they have contributed to the increased poverty gaps between education groups. Hogendoorn and colleagues illustrate that especially among mothers, both risk and vulnerability of divorce contribute significantly to the educational gradient in poverty. The phenomenon is less substantial among childless individuals and absent among fathers.

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Fetal programming of neuropsychiatric disorders by maternal pregnancy depression: a systematic mini review

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Preterm birth: high vulnerability and no resiliency? Reflections on van Lieshout et al.(2018)

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Structures and processes of labour market inequalities – Highlights from the first DIAL thematic workshop

Dynamics of Inequality Across the Life-course (DIAL) organised its first thematic workshop on Labour Market Inequalities Across the Life-course at the University of Turku on November 15-16, 2018. This two-day workshop brought together researchers from many of the research projects of the multi-disciplinary research programme as well as a representative from the OECD. Its focus was on inequalities related to the labour market, including working life transitions, gendered pay, retirement and working conditions. The presentations covered inequalities spanning different points of working-life pathways such as the early career, work-family relations, later earnings and retirement.

Starting from the early career stage, the HuCIAW project showed new evidence using administrative data on how, even after taking family background into account, which university you attended and what subject you studied matters for your earnings in the UK. Some research projects brought up emerging vital fields of studies regarding inequalities. For example the CILIA-LGBTQI+ project introduced a new approach, the agent-based model, to study the interactions between workplaces and LGBTQI+ citizens, and presented existing findings on the discrimination of LGBTQI+ workers in Portugal. The PREMLIFE project discussed intergenerational aspects of labour market fluctuations and how parental stress influences pre-term births, which in turn have long-lasting impacts on children’s development.

One important theme among the presentations was gender inequalities with respect to earnings, career projections and work-family relations. The HuCIAW project has found work experience after childbirth to be a significant factor affecting the gender pay gap in the UK. Further, their results show that mothers work closer to home than do fathers, which can limit their possibilities for obtaining higher-earning jobs. The EQUALLIVES project, on the other hand, showed that returning to work after childbirth is affected by mother’s pre-birth employment characteristics as well as educational attainment level. Further, they demonstrated that parental social class explains variation in initial wages among women whereas family-life trajectories influence the rate of women’s wage increases.

Another important theme during the workshop was inequalities of work among the older population. The DAISIE project presented results on working conditions of older citizens across European countries, highlighting that older workers reported being subjected to difficult working conditions less frequently in Nordic and Continental European countries than in Southern-Eastern countries. The DAISIE project also showed how the entitlement to a pension is the main factor in determining the timing of retirement in the Czech Republic. However, this can raise worries as women are entitled to retire earlier and thus their risk of poverty at old age is increased, something for which they already have a higher risk. The comparative studies of the DAISIE project demonstrated variation in retirement pathways across and within countries in Europe. For example, women and men in corporatist welfare regime countries are more likely to retire early than in other regimes. The OECD’s work on pension systems and their influence on inequality in retirement income was also discussed.

Workshop Programme

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Measuring Unfair Inequality: Reconciling Equality of Opportunity and Freedom from Poverty

Measuring Unfair Inequality: Reconciling Equality of Opportunity and Freedom from Poverty, a new working paper by Hufe, Kanbur and Peichl, takes up the issue of multifaceted inequality by putting forth a new measure of unfair inequality. The authors argue that inequality is not bad per se, but that one should differentiate between different aspects of inequality in order to make normative statements about the fairness of a given income distribution.

Hufe, Kanbur and Peichl focus on two widely held principles of justice: equality of opportunity and freedom from poverty. Inequality of opportunity exists when individual outcomes are a result of factors one has no control over, such as gender, race or parental resources. Poverty is understood as an extreme outcome, in which people do not have sufficient resources to make ends meet. Both of these concepts are considered equally important when measuring unfair inequality. Thus, Hufe and colleagues combine both considerations in a co-equal fashion to provide a more comprehensive empirical measure for unfair inequality.

To illustrate the use and significance of the new measure, Hufe and colleagues provide empirical evidence on cross-national inequalities in Europe and the development in the United States over time. The results indicate a higher level of unfair inequality compared to existing measures. Furthermore, the ranking of distributions is markedly different in comparison to measures that focus on either of the two principles in isolation. This confirms, that their measure can provide fundamental insights into the normative structure of income distributions and their evolution.

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Dynamics of Inequality Across the Life-course (DIAL) is a multi-disciplinary research programme consisting of thirteen European projects. The projects examine the sources, structures and consequences of inequalities in contemporary societies. The programme is funded by NORFACE for the period 2017–2021.

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