Development Centre

DEV Week 2017 - 5th Angus Maddison Development Lecture: the rise and future of progressive redistribution


5th Angus Maddison Development Lecture: the rise and future of progressive redistribution

by Professor Peter H. Lindert, Distinguished Professor of Economics, University of California, Davis


New estimates of fiscal distribution within each of 53 countries today help us to launch a new history of how redistribution has evolved historically, and to identify some likely influences on its trends in the next few decades. All prospering countries have shifted toward progressive redistribution over the last hundred years. The retreats toward regressive redistribution have been rare, and have been reversed. As a corollary, the rise in income inequality since the 1970s owes nothing to any net retreat from progressivity. Adding the effects of rising subsidy for public education on the later inequality of adult earning power strongly suggests that a fuller, longer-run measure of fiscal incidence would reveal a still greater shift toward progressivity, most notably in Japan, Korea, and Taiwan. The key determinant of progressivity in the decades ahead is population aging, not inequality itself or immigration backlash.


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The lecture will be in english.

Peter H. Lindert is Distinguished Research Professor of Economics at the University of California, Davis, and a Research Associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research. Prior to joining the University of California he was Professor of Economics at the University of Wisconsin, where he held faculty posts between 1966 and 1978. He has served as the elected President of the Economic History Association.

Professor Lindert has published extensively on modern inequality trends and the welfare state, with additional books and articles on human fertility, key currencies, international debt crisis, farm policy, and soil history. His book Growing Public: Social Spending and Economic Growth since the Eighteenth Century (two volumes, 2004) received both the Allan Sharlin Award for Best Book in Social Science History and the Gyorgy Ranki Prize for best book in European Economic History. His latest book, co-authored with Jeffrey G. Williamson, is Unequal Gains: American Growth and Inequality since 1700 (2016). Among the journals publishing his articles are Journal of Finance, Journal of Political Economy, Journal of Human Resources, Journal of Public Economics, and Economic Development and Cultural Change, and the four leading journals in the field of economic history. He has also served on the US National Science Foundation’s panel in economics, and as Editor of the Journal of Economic History.

His outstanding teaching career has been crowned with several honours and awards -- the Economic History Association’s Jonathan Hughes Prize for Excellence in Teaching Economic History (2007); the UC Davis Prize for Undergraduate Teaching and Scholarly Distinction (1999); and two other teaching prizes.


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