Call for papers: 2017 ASE/ASSA sessions on "Human Development and Poverty Reduction"

UPDATE: The submission site is now open. The deadline is May 1.

From Quentin Wodon, ASE president-elect:

BasuThe Association for Social Economics (ASE) is one of the founding members of the Allied Social Sciences Associations that holds its annual meetings together with the American Economic Association (AEA) in January each year. In January 2017, the AEA-ASSA meetings will be held in Chicago. ASE will organize seven sessions, plus a Presidential breakfast during the conference and an opening plenary address the night before the start of the conference. The plenary will be given by Kaushik Basu, Senior Vice President for Development Economics at the World Bank.

We encourage you to submit proposals for individual papers or sessions. Apart from presenting your paper at the AEA-ASSA meetings, you will also have the opportunity to submit your paper (or a shortened, policy-oriented version thereof) for publication in a special issue of Forum for Social Economics devoted to some of the best papers presented in Chicago. In addition, papers presented at the ASSA meetings are eligible for the Warren Samuels Prize awarded to the best paper that advances the goals of social economics and has widespread appeal.

You may submit a paper or session proposal related to social economics broadly defined. We also encourage you to consider proposals for papers/sessions related to human development and poverty reduction, the theme of our ASE sessions this year. Possible topics include but are not limited to:

  • Poverty: How should poverty be measured? How should the impact on poverty of programs and policies be assessed? Is the nature of extreme poverty different from poverty? Which types of new and innovative programs appear especially promising to help reduce poverty and multiple forms of deprivation? To what extent is the persistence of extreme poverty an ethical issue? What does social justice have to say about the persistence of extreme poverty?
  • Education: How should education attainment and achievement be measured? How much progress has been achieved and what remains to be done to improve outcomes, especially for disadvantaged students? Which interventions should be prioritized to improve equity and inclusion in education? What have been the results of recent program and policy experiments in the area of education? What have we learned about specific vulnerable groups, such as children with disabilities, orphans, ethnic minorities, rural girls, etc.? What needs to be done in contexts of conflict and adversity?
  • Health and nutrition: What are the challenges faced by the poor to access health care? How can universal health care be promoted in developing countries? What are the consequences of catastrophic health events for the poor? Which types of interventions can help to improve health outcomes, especially for young children? What can be done to improve nutrition for children?
  • Social protection and labor: Do the poor benefit from social protection programs? What should be done about youth unemployment and underemployment? What are the results of recent experiments in these areas? Which social protection and employment programs appear to be most promising? How do threats such as climate change affect the resilience of communities?
  • Cross-cutting themes: How should we think about human development and poverty reduction in a cross-sectoral way? What can we learn from empirical research on cross-sectoral topics such as early childhood development or child marriage? What is the role of nonprofits, whether secular or faith-based, in improving human development outcomes, whether for education, health?

The submission deadline is May 1, 2016. Please go to the call for papers for ASSA on the ASE website for submissions at submission site is now open.) Individuals whose papers are accepted for presentation must either be or become members of the Association for Social Economics by July 1, 2016, in order for the paper to be included in the program. Although this is not required, you are encouraged to share your (draft) paper at the time of submission, as this will increase the likelihood of acceptance in the program and publication in the special issue of Forum for Social Economics.


Learn from Inspiring Women of Action on International Women’s Day

Quentin Wodon

QW picMarch 8 is International Women’s Day. The day celebrates the social, economic, cultural and political achievement of women. The focus this year is on urgent action needed to accelerate gender parity.

On that day, the World Bank Group Staff Association will host a discussion with inspiring Rotarian women who have made a difference in the world. The event will illustrate the power of women to change the world and improve the lives of the less fortunate through innovative and impactful projects in the areas of education and health. The event will take place from 2 PM to 3 PM and will be streamed online through World Bank Live, so you can watch it from wherever you are.

Three great speakers will be featured. Marion Bunch is the head of Rotarians for Family Health & AIDS Prevention. Her signature program has been the organization of Family Health Days in developing countries where families receive free consultations and health care. Jennifer Jones a Director on Rotary International’s global board. A media professional, she led Rotary missions to create documentaries and teach journalism and ethics classes in Brazil, Tanzania and Haiti. Deepa Willingham, also a Rotarian, founded Promise of Assurance to Children Everywhere, a program for impoverished girls in India. The panelists will be introduced by Daniel Sellen, Chair of the World Bank Group Staff Association.

In order to connect online, simply click here. For those living in the Washington, DC, area, limited seating is available to attend in person provided you register here. More details on the event are available on the Rotarian Economist blog where I will also feature stories about Deepa’s and Marion’s work. Please don’t hesitate to send me an email through the Contact Me page of my blog if you have any question. And please don’t hesitate to share this information with friends.


Call for participation: ASE Summer School in Social Economics, June 21-22, 2016, Bilbao, Spain

Summer School in Social Economics, June 21-22, 2016

Economics Department, University of the Basque Country, Bilbao, Spain


The Association of Social Economics (ASE) will organize a two-day summer school in social economics in Spain. The summer school will be free, and ASE is able to provide some support (up to 500 USD) for travel cost. The summer school will be followed by the annual conference of the economics department of the University of the Basque Country (23-24 June), which presents a wide variety of economic perspectives and includes ASE summer school coordinator Irene van Staveren as keynote speaker.

Summer school
The summer school provides an overview of recent social economic research by prominent ASE scholars, major social economics concepts and themes, and information about both ASE scholarly journals Review of Social Economy and Forum for Social Economics. There will be two days of lectures with Q&A, informal meetings between participants and lecturers, and a set of reading materials for preparation.

The conference provides an opportunity for summer school participants to present their work in special PhD student sessions, giving participants the opportunity to network with PhD students from all over the world, working in different schools of thought, and to receive feedback on their papers.

How to apply for the summer school: please fill in the application form and send it to Irene van Staveren ( before 15 th of April 2016. You will be notified of your participation (and of possible travel support if you have requested this) before 1st May 2016.

ASE Summer School Application Form

How to apply for the conference: please check out the conference website and indicate that you are an ASE summer school participant (to obtain the discount for the conference fee):

or contact the local organizer:

Summer school fee: free (including two lunches and refreshments)

Reduced conference fee: 75 euro

University residence rooms: 42 euro single room or 76 euro double room per night, including breakfast (dinner optional 7,30 euro per meal)

More information
Irene van Staveren, email:


Irene van Staveren on Anthony Atkinson’s Inequality: What Can Be Done?

AtkinsonVarious important books have been published recently about economic inequality, from Piketty on wealth to Wilkinson and Pickett on social impacts. Tony Atkinson's book Inequality: What Can Be Done? focuses on the characteristics of income inequality and what can be done about it.

First, Atkinson presents data on household income inequality from the Luxembourg Income Studies data (LIS). A country comparison shows that the Gini coefficients of both the US and the UK are relatively high, above 35, with many continental European countries showing figures between 25 and 30. He also points out that the Gini coefficients have been on the rise since the 1980s in most Western countries.

Second, he presents a long list of policy proposals. Let me share a few with you, which are of particular interest for social economics. On taxation, he proposes to raise the marginal income tax rate to 65 percent and to introduce a substantive earned income discount. Furthermore, he comes with an innovative proposal on inheritance taxation: no longer on the giver but on the receiver, with a lifetime progressive capital taxation. This is an incentive to leave one’s wealth behind for the poorest relatives, charities or other goals, rather than for the richest relatives. Next, he proposes a substantial child benefit, to be taxed as income, so that the rich benefit much less than the poor. Moreover, he pleas for a basic children’s income and a basic capital endowment for all at adulthood. And he insists on a one percent development aid of GNP.

On employment, he argues for a target for unemployment reduction in the UK, as in the US, as well as a minimum wage as a living wage, as in the Netherlands, and a public employment guarantee, as in India.

Atkinson's argumentation is smart. He demonstrates the history of his proposals, with old and new claims by politicians, activists, and even business leaders (UK premier league football clubs, such as Chelsea). And he argues that “there is not just one economics” (p. 5), showing a variety of economic arguments, including Kenneth Arrow’s argument that ethical codes should be part of businesses behavior. Of course, Atkinson criticizes the break-down of the welfare state in many Western countries, with a reduction in benefits and coverage for disadvantaged groups. But he does not fall into the trap of proposing increasing public expenditures in times where many governments seek to reduce public debt and budget deficits. Instead, his fiscal proposals are all revenue-neutral. Hence, the political feasibility should not be a constraint. I find this part of his policy proposals the smartest one of all.

* * * * *

IreneIrene van Staveren is professor of Pluralist Development Economics at the Institute of Social Studies of Erasmus University Rotterdam, the Netherlands. She was awarded the 2014 Lifetime Achievement Thomas Divine award by the Association of Social Economics.


Job opening: Chief economist or senior economist, New Economic Foundation

Here's a job opening that may be of interested to social economists (and other heterodox economists):

Chief Economist or Senior Economist

Salary: Depending on experience
Contract: Full-time

The New Economics Foundation (NEF) is the UK’s leading independent think tank promoting social, economic and environmental justice. NEF understands the interlinked and systemic nature of the biggest issues we face today: from escalating economic inequality to runaway climate change.  It is an organisation highly regarded for its ground breaking research and for the way it works in partnership with organisations and communities to put its ideas into action. Through the excellence of its research, NEF continues its mission to build a new economy – one which truly serves the interests of people and the planet.

We currently have a vacancy for a Chief Economist or Senior Economist (depending on experience and expertise) with important responsibilities for helping to strengthen NEF’s public profile and policy impact.

The post holder will work to highlight the critical importance of new and progressive economic thinking across all aspects of NEF’s work, including in our research projects and policy advocacy; external engagement with media, decision-makers and opinion formers; training; movement building; and campaigning.

The successful candidate will work with colleagues to provide strategic vision, innovation and leadership on economic policy and research at NEF, working to enhance and develop NEF’s external profile, its influence and impact. S/he will combine academic credentials with demonstrable experience of first-rate research and analysis in the field of economics (both heterodox and orthodox), creativity and flair, and experience of effective external engagement with the media and policy makers.

Although this role is being advertised as full-time and based in our London offices, we welcome the opportunity to discuss a flexible working pattern, and would encourage you to explore the flexible working options we are able to offer during the interview process. We are keen to consider candidates with excellence and promise as well as those with seniority and an outstanding track record.

Deadline for applications: 9am, Monday 29th February 2016

Interviews: First round, Monday 7th March 2016; Second round, Monday 14th March 2016

Click to download the job description

Click to download the application form

Click to download the equal opportunities form


Call for Papers: IIPPE conference session on "Social Capital in Context: Crisis, Values and Power"

IIPPE’s Seventh International Conference in Political Economy
“Political Economy: International Trends and National Differences”
School of Economics & Management, University of Lisbon, Portugal
September 7-9, 2016
Call for Papers – Panel organised by Social Capital Working Group
Social Capital in Context: Crisis, Values and Power
Asimina Christoforou, Athens University of Economics and Business
Luca Andriani, Birkbeck, University of London
Economic models of social capital incorporate cooperative behaviour and trusting relations based on social norms and networks, challenging traditional assumptions of self-interest. Yet these models maintain instrumental, value-free, and individualist principles of rational choice, reducing cooperation, trust and solidarity to a means for satisfying individual preference and ensuring market efficiency. Thus they overlook the influence of the broader social and institutional context within which individuals and groups interact and which is characterized by diverse and conflictual interests, power and inequality, social and political struggles.
In this way, we fail to see that not all norms and networks are socially beneficial. For instance the current crises have fostered increasing poverty and inequality, the rise of extremist groups, the flux of immigrants and refugees, and the spread of uncertainty, fear and violence. There are groups in the private and public spheres that still promote policies that lead to market liberalization, welfare state retrenchment, the indebtedness of households and nations, the over-exploitation of the earth’s natural resources, and the degradation of certain ethnic and racial groups. At the same time, there are groups that resist these forces, raise social awareness and propose alternative values and networks for the restructuring of markets and states in order to protect the natural environment, human rights, justice and public welfare. These groups range from social movements spanning across countries to local organizations, especially in the social economy, mobilizing to respond to their community’s needs for subsistence and self-determination.
Thus we would like to invite contributions that re-contextualize conceptions and measures of social capital to incorporate the complex reality of social relations, as a dynamic space where people interact, define and pursue, individually and collectively, principles and objectives, means and ends for well-being. The aim is to uncover the dynamics of trust, cooperation and collective action to promote alternative principles and visions about the economy and society that favour public welfare. But we also encourage contributions that generally address the topic of social capital. We welcome works that derive from various social science disciplines and use different units of analysis (individual, regional, country or cross-country level), methodologies and techniques (theoretical, empirical, qualitative and quantitative).

Abstracts (500 words maximum) should be submitted by April 1, 2016. To submit your abstract, please go to the Electronic Proposal Form and carefully follow the instructions there. (All deadlines are listed at the link.)
For more general information about IIPPE, the working groups and the conference, please visit our websiteFor details on the panel, you can contact Asimina Christoforou (


Grabel, "Post-Crisis Experiments in Development Finance Architectures: A Hirschmanian Perspective on ‘Productive Incoherence’"

ROSEThe Asian and especially the global crisis of 2008 have catalyzed decentralization of the developing world’s financial governance architecture. I understand this state of affairs via the concept of “productive incoherence” which is apparent in a denser, multilayered development financial architecture that is emerging as a consequence of heterogeneous practical adjustments to changing circumstances rather than as the embodiment of a coherent doctrine. Drawing on Albert Hirschman, I argue that the absence of an encompassing theoretical blueprint for a new economic system—i.e. a new “ism” to replace neoliberalism—is in fact a vitally important virtue. If we cannot live without a new “ism,” I propose “Hirschmanian Possibilism” as a new doctrine—one that rejects an overarching theoretical framework from which to deduce the singly appropriate institutional structure of the economy. Hirschmanian Possibilism asserts instead the value of productive incoherence as a framework for pursuing democratic, ethically viable development institutions.

Ilene Grabel, "Post-Crisis Experiments in Development Finance Architectures: A Hirschmanian Perspective on ‘Productive Incoherence’", Review of Social Economy, 73/4 (2015), pp. 388-414.  

(This article is part of the special issue of Review of Social Economy on "Ethics, Global Finance, and the Great Recession," on which more here.)


Arestis, Charles, and Fontana, "Power, Intergroup Conflicts and Social Stratification in the United States: What Has the Global Crisis Taught us?"

ROSEDrawing on early sociological analyses of how power and intergroup conflicts can affect the development of modern economies, this paper investigates how the recent Global Crisis (GC) has affected the stratification of the US society. The paper argues that the consumerist society has reinforced the historical stratification of social identities with white men in high-paid, high-social status managerial and financial occupations at the top, and black women in low-paid, low-status service occupations at the bottom. This paper calls for a deconstruction of the neoliberal individual into a unique combination of identities in a stratified capitalist society in order to reveal how social stratification has evolved during the GC. The paper finally concludes on the importance of heterogeneous identities in reflecting the diversity of societal and economic interests in order to address the issues of financial stability and sustainability at the corporate and societal levels.

Philip Arestis, Aurelie Charles, and Giuseppe Fontana, "Power, Intergroup Conflicts and Social Stratification in the United States: What Has the Global Crisis Taught Us?", Review of Social Economy, 73/4 (2015), pp. 370-387.  

FREE ACCESS as of 1-25-16

(This article is part of the special issue of Review of Social Economy on "Ethics, Global Finance, and the Great Recession," on which more here.)


Bansak and Starr, "Distributional Costs of Housing-Price Bubbles: Who Pays the Price when Bubbles Deflate?"

ROSEIn considering whether asset-price bubbles should be offset through policy, an important issue is who pays the price when the bubble bursts. A bust that reduces the wealth of well-off households only may have small welfare costs, but costs may be sizable if broad swaths of households are affected. This paper uses micro data on millions of households from the US American Community Survey to examine how the bursting of the 1998–2006 housing bubble affected households’ employment, homeownership, home values, and housing costs. To separate dynamics of the housing bust from those of the aggregate downturn, we differentiate between metropolitan areas that did and did not experience bubbles. We find that, for most measures, deteriorations in well-being were more severe in bubble metros than elsewhere, and for several measures, differential effects on less-educated households were also more severe. This underscores the importance of leaning against broad-based housing bubbles via appropriate policies, as burdens of adjustment fall differentially on people not well prepared to bear them.

Cynthia Bansak and Martha A. Starr, "Distributional Costs of Housing-Price Bubbles: Who Pays the Price when Bubbles Deflate?", Review of Social Economy, 73/4 (2015), pp. 341-369.

(This article is part of the special issue of Review of Social Economy on "Ethics, Global Finance, and the Great Recession," on which more here.)


DeMartino, "Harming Irreparably: On Neoliberalism, Kaldor-Hicks, and the Paretian Guarantee"

ROSEThe global neoliberal project, which entailed inter alia financial liberalization that accelerated financialization of the world economy, was advocated by leading Austrian, Chicago School neoclassical, and New Keynesian economists, despite awareness that the project would harm many members of society even as it benefitted others. To the extent that they were efficacious in their advocacy, economists contributed to the imposition of serious harm. Often the harm befell the most vulnerable members of society. At least some of the harm was avoidable. This paper examines critically the Kaldor-Hicks compensation test, a primary criterion used in defense of the neoliberal project. The paper finds that the best existing defense of Kaldor-Hicks is Paretian rather than Benthamian in nature: it focuses on the long-run rather than on each individual policy innovation, and claims that all agents benefit by a series of Kaldor-Hicks consistent innovations even if some are harmed in each individual instance. The paper finds that the Paretian case is deficient on grounds other than those commonly invoked against Kaldor-Hicks. The critique focuses on the neoclassical consequentialist welfarism that grounds the Paretian case, and the related presumption that all harms are reparable and, indeed, compensable.

George F. DeMartino, "Harming Irreparably: On Neoliberalism, Kaldor-Hicks, and the Paretian Guarantee," Review of Social Economy, 73/4 (2015), pp. 315-340.

(This article is part of the special issue of Review of Social Economy on "Ethics, Global Finance, and the Great Recession," on which more here.)


Special issue of Review of Social Economy on "Ethics, Global Finance, and the Great Recession"

ROSEThe December 2015 issue of Review of Social Economy is a special issue on the theme "Ethics, Global Finance, and the Great Recession," edited by Philip Arestis, Aurelie Charles, and Giuseppe Fontana. (All three co-editors are actively involved with the ASE: Fontana is the current president, Charles is an international director, and Arestis is a trustee.)

From the editors' introduction:

The global events of 2007–2008 have brought financialisation, namely the increasing role of financial motives in the operation of modern economies and societies, to the attention of millions of people, who are now questioning the neoclassical foundations of economic theory and practice. However, many fundamental questions are still unanswered. Will the actors, institutions, and policies of financial markets that led to the financial crisis and the related Global Crisis be tamed once and for all with new regulations? Would this require a paradigm change in the economics discipline and policy-making away from neoclassical models and assumptions? Furthermore, what is the proper function of financial institutions in the achievement of a fair society? What role should ethics play in shaping the behaviour of these institutions? Could the financial sector be restructured to enhance social and economic goals such that if a financial crisis occurs, as in 2007, its negative effects will not fall disproportionally on the most vulnerable parts of the society? These are complex and challenging questions. The papers in this special issue are an attempt to start answering these fundamental questions, and provide hints for policy-making to address future crises and their impact on the society at large.

The articles in this special issue are:

George F. DeMartino, "Harming Irreparably: On Neoliberalism, Kaldor-Hicks, and the Paretian Guarantee"

Cynthia Bansak & Martha A. Starr, "Distributional Costs of Housing-Price Bubbles: Who Pays the Price when Bubbles Deflate?"

Philip Arestis, Aurelie Charles & Giuseppe Fontana, "Power, Intergroup Conflicts and Social Stratification in the United States: What Has the Global Crisis Taught Us?"   FREE ACCESS (as of 1-25-16)

Ilene Grabel, "Post-Crisis Experiments in Development Finance Architectures: A Hirschmanian Perspective on ‘Productive Incoherence’"