There are persistent debates about whether income inequality on a global scale has been rising or declining. Some of these debates focus on inequality within countries (such as the United States), others on inequality between countries (such as between wealthy and poor nations), and yet other on the interaction of “within-countries” and “between-countries” trends. This course provides a thorough background on the past and current development of these debates on global inequality, while engaging students in research projects related to the study of global social stratification and mobility. Thus, moving beyond the study of inequality using existing interpretations of data, the course actively involves participants in ongoing, original research projects on inequality, enhancing the skills of students in data recording using primary sources, the design and implementation of data coding procedures, data processing, the use of quantitative and qualitative methods of interpretation, and the oral and written presentation of research results.

Likely assignments include: active participation in discussions based on completion of readings and research tasks; weekly written exercises encompassing multiple dimensions of research practice; short oral presentations of research results; a research paper at the end of the course (preceded by required submission of various components of the paper throughout the semester).

Likely readings include: Charles Tilly, Durable Inequality; Roberto Patricio Korzeniewicz & Timothy Moran, Unveiling Inequality; Branco Milanovic, Worlds Apart; and Thomas Piketty, Capital in the Twenty-First Century.