July 2-4, 2015
The London School of Economics and Political Science

2015 – London

Inequality in the 21st Century

The first decade of the 21st century saw increased controversy over the degree of inequality in contemporary societies. This controversy grew more heated yet due to the fact that even after the financial crisis, the wealth and income of the rich continued to grow disproportionately in spite of their role in the crash. As the remedies to the crisis became transmuted in many countries into austerity, the divide appeared to be growing larger, leading to popular protest movements such as the Occupy movement. At the same time, conventional politics and politicians seemed relatively powerless to intervene or to articulate alternatives. The result in many countries has appeared to be on the one hand a general disillusion with conventional politics and on the other hand the emergence of new populist movements that reject traditional political remedies.

At this time, it is therefore appropriate for SASE to revisit the question of inequality, especially in a conference hosted by the London School of Economics, founded by social reformers in the early 20th century and the academic home of R.H. Tawney, whose book Equality (initially published in 1931 and reissued regularly through the early post-war years) served as a key text for Labour politics in the UK and rejected the idea that the inequality he perceived in that period was economically efficient. On the contrary, Tawney saw it as “an economic liability of alarming dimensions.” He argued that “the distribution of wealth [in societies] depends, not wholly, indeed, but largely on their institutions; and the character of their institutions is determined not by immutable economic laws but by the values, preferences, interests and ideals which rule at any given moment in a given society.” (1964 ed., p. 54)

For anybody interested in socio-economics, therefore, inequality is a central phenomenon where institutions and markets come together, and where the key political questions of an era are enacted.

  • How and why has the degree and form of inequality within and between societies changed over the last 50 years?
  • How has the gradual dominance of neo-liberal policy-making affected the distribution of inequality between labor and capital and between different social groups?How has the politics of inequality changed in this period? What have been the legitimating ideologies and discourses for different patterns of inequality and how have perceptions about the nature, extent, causes, and consequences of inequality shifted?
  • How have changes in state policies impacted on inequality?
  • What forms of resistance and opposition to inequalities (such as trade unions, feminist movements, and social movements) have been effective and in what ways?
    In contemporary societies, who are the rich, where does their wealth come from and how do they sustain their ability to grow their wealth in the face of economic and political uncertainty?
    How has the rise of the emerging economies impacted on inequality? What sorts of inequalities are emerging in China and other developing economies and how are these related to the politics of these countries?
  • Many of these inequalities emerge from the policies and practices of multinational firms competing in global markets though coordinating global value chains of subcontractors and subsidiaries. How much do we know about what is happening to inequality inside firms and how firm level policies interact with and impact on local regulations and practices?
  • Global climate change is producing a variety of effects for humans (let alone other species) and these are not evenly distributed, either between or within countries. The inequality of these impacts means that effects will be transmitted and mediated by social structures and institutions at different levels.

The 2015 SASE Annual Meeting seeks contributions that explore inequality, its structure, its sources, its ideological legitimations, and its politics. In keeping with SASE’s comparative and international perspective, contributions that examine these issues locally, regionally, nationally, and globally are encouraged as are studies using a variety of qualitative, historical, and quantitative methodologies.

SASE/LSE Program available here.


Program Directors



SASE received an astonishing, record-breaking number of submissions for mini-conference themes this year. We are pleased to announce those selected for our 2015 annual meeting!

Submissions to the SASE conference must be made through one of the mini-conferences below (or through a research network). Paper and session abstracts as well as full papers for grant, prize, and stipend applications must be submitted to all networks by February 9, 2015. Candidates will be notified by March 9, 2015. Please note that mini-conferences require an extended (~1,000 word) abstract, and ask that you submit a full paper by June 1st. For further information, please contact the organizer of the mini-conference  to which you are submitting.

Mini-conferences are based around a selected number of focused themes, and have open submissions for panels and papers, based on an extended abstract (approx. 1000 words). Each mini-conference will consist of 3 to 6 panels. Each panel will have a discussant, meaning that selected participants must submit a completed paper by June 1st. In the event that a Mini-Conference proposal fails to attract sufficient participants to make three viable sessions, the conference organizers reserve the right to move any sessions which are organized into an appropriate Network. If a paper proposal cannot be accommodated within a mini-conference, organizers will forward it to the program committee, who will pass it on to one of the networks as a regular submission.

Continuity and Change in National Systems of Collective Bargaining in a Context of Crisis
detailed info
Aristea Koukiadaki
Miguel Martinez Lucio
Isabel Tavora
Domesticizing Financial Economies, Part 2
detailed info
Joe Deville
Jeanne Lazarus
Mariana Luzzi
José Ossandón
Employers’ Organizations, Business Interest Representation, and Employer Collective Action
detailed info
Marco Hauptmeier
Edmund Heery
Leon Gooberman
Inequalities in Youth Labor Transitions
detailed info
Jacqueline O’Reilly
Werner Eichhorst
María González
Andy Hodder
Lefteris Kretsos
Janine Leschke
Christer Hyggen
Jale Tosun
Inequality: Drivers, Impacts and Policies
detailed info
Abigail McKnight
Wiemer Salverda
Daniele Checchi
Ive Marx
Brian Nolan
Herman van de Werfhorst
Inequality of What? Social Monitoring and the Difficult Choice of Analytical Concepts and an Implementable Metric
detailed info
Andrea Hense
Jürgen Kaedtler
René Lehwess-Litzmann
Ortrud Lessmann
Mixed Market Economies in the Recession: The Issues of Growth, Employment, and Equality
detailed info
Luigi Burroni
Emmanuele Pavolini
Roberto Pedersini
Francesco Ramella
Multinational Firms: Labor, Management, and Society
detailed info
Phil Almond
Tony Edwards
Gregor Murray
Regulatory Intermediaries: Bringing together Domestic and Transnational Regulation
detailed info
Kenneth Abbott
Duncan Snidal
David Levi-Faur
Scrutinizing Organizational Inequalities: New Theoretical and Empirical Approaches
detailed info
Nina Bandelj
Andrew Penner
Donald Tomaskovic-Devey
Social Coalitions, Political and Economic Crises, and Diversity of Capitalism
detailed info
Bruno Amable
Hideko Magara
The Foundational Economy
detailed info
Ewald Engelen
Julie Froud
Angelo Salento
Karel Williams
The Politics of Egalitarian Policy
detailed info
Lucy Barnes
Tim Hicks
Transnational Trade Unionism and MNCs: Building New Capabilities to Reduce Inequalities
detailed info
Christian Lévesque
Peter Fairbrother
Marc-Antonin Hennebert
Uncertain Futures in Economic Decision Making
detailed info
Jens Beckert
Richard Bronk

Featured Speakers and Panelists


Here is a sampling of the outstanding scholars giving featured talks or participating in featured panels in London this summer.

Craig Calhoun
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Wolfgang Streeck
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Nancy DiTomaso
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Amitai Etzioni
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Mariana Mazzucato
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Andrew Sayer
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Polly Toynbee
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Mike Savage
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Tom Clark
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Colin Crouch
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Woody Powell
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Stephen Machin
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Presidential Author-Meets-Critics Panels

These Presidential Author-Meets-Critics panelists will be in discussion in parallel conference sessions.

Christel Lane
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Rosemary Batt
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Eileen Appelbaum
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