Bringing Redistribution Back. Inequality, New Forms of Work, and Distributional Equilibria in the Post-Industrial Age

Wednesday, 18 July 2018: 08:30-10:20
RC19 Sociology of Poverty, Social Welfare and Social Policy (host committee)

Language: English

Recent scholarship has highlighted two phenomena linked to occupational changes in post-industrial economies. Authors such as Atkinson (2015) and Piketty (2013) highlighted increasing income and asset inequality throughout advanced post-industrial economies (OECD 2008). This trend results from a range of factors, some of which will likely affect patterns of income distribution in the future. Moreover, the transformation of work results in increasing shares of workers who are precariously employed (on-call work, gig-economy, mini-jobs, etc.). These arrangements challenge the functioning of standard redistributive policies because they lead to contribution gaps and insufficient welfare coverage, caused in particular by technological change that reduces labour demand for low to mid-skilled occupations.

These phenomena suggest that the historically high levels of inequality reached in several OECD countries are unlikely to disappear without political interventions.

The result of this set of trends is that traditional redistributive mechanisms are increasing proving technically inadequate and politically unsustainable. Against this background, this session will focus on research on redistributive mechanism. We are particularly interested in papers that contribute to answer one or more of the following questions:

-          How (through what mechanisms) can redistribution be performed in capitalist societies?

-          What principles can justify redistribution in the post-industrial/multicultural/digital work world? 

-          How politically acceptable are different redistributive mechanisms?

-          How do different redistributive mechanisms impact on economic incentives? In particular, at the bottom of the income/skill distribution?

-          What determines public perceptions of redistribution?

We welcome theoretical and empirical contributions, as well as case studies and comparative approaches.

Session Organizers:
Flavia FOSSATI, University of Lausanne, Switzerland and Giuliano BONOLI, University of Lausanne, Switzerland
Oral Presentations
The Welfare State and the Middle Class in Southern Europe Under the Crisis
Costanzo RANCI, Polytechnic of Milan, Italy; Manos MATSAGANIS, Polytechnic of Milan, Italy; Andrea PARMA, Polytechnic of Milan, Italy