Five Lectures on Economic Inequality

Debraj Ray

Department of Economics, University of Warwick, May-June 2017

My lectures will be divided into five 2-hour sessions. For links to slides used in the lectures and some readings, see below.

Lecture dates:

May 24 (Wednesday), 10am-12noon

May 25 (Thursday), 10am-12noon

May 26 (Friday), 10am-12noon

May 31 (Wednesday), 10am-12noon

June 1 (Thursday), 10am-12noon

June 2 (Friday), 10am-12noon

Lecture location: Room S2.84

Office Hours: You are free to email me any time and set up an appointment to meet. I will be more than happy to talk about the course, or your research, or life in general...

Lecture 1. Divergence: Growth and Inequality [Slides 1]


D. Ray (2010), "Uneven Growth: A Framework for Research in Development Economics," Journal of Economic Perspectives 24, No. 3 (Summer 2010), 45--60.

D. Ray, Development Economics, Princeton University Press, Chapter 2, Chapter 3, Chapter 4 (new versions)

D. Ray (2014), "Nit-Piketty," blog post, published in CESifo Forum 16 (1), 2015, 19-25.


T. Piketty (2013), Capital in the Twenty-First Century, Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

L. Pritchett (1997), "Divergence, Big Time," Journal of Economic Perspectives 11, 3--17.

Lecture 2. History, Inequality and Development [Slides 2, and links to Supplements 1, 2 and 3]


G. Loury (1981), "Intergenerational Transfers and the Distribution of Earnings,'' Econometrica 49, 843-867.

D. Mookherjee and D. Ray (2003), "Persistent Inequality," Review of Economic Studies 70, 369--393.

D. Mookherjeen and D. Ray (2010), "Inequality and Markets," AEJ Microeconomics 2, 38-76.


A. Banerjee and A. Newman (1993), "Occupational Choice and the Process of Development,'' Journal of Political Economy 101, 274-298.

O. Galor and J. Zeira (1993), "Income Distribution and Macroeconomics,'' Review of Economic Studies 60, 35-52.

Lecture 3. The Psychology of Inequality and Poverty [Slides 3 and a Supplement]


G. Genicot and D. Ray (2017), "Aspirations and Inequality," Econometrica 85, 489–519.


D. Bernheim, D. Ray and S. Yeltekin (2015), "Poverty and Self-Control," Econometrica 83, 1877--1911. Mimeo. 1999 version here.

A Banerjee and S. Mullainathan (2010), "The Shape of Temptation: Implications for the Economic Lives of the Poor," mimeo.

Lectures 4 and 5. Distribution and Conflict [Slides 4, Slides 5 and a Supplement]


D. Ray and J. Esteban (2016), Conflict and Development, forthcoming, Annual Reviews of Economics.

J. Esteban and D. Ray (2011), "Linking Conflict to Inequality and Polarization," American Economic Review 101(4), 1345–74.

Mitra, A. and D. Ray (2014), Implications of an Economic Theory of Conflict: Hindu-Muslim Violence in India, Journal of Political Economy 122, 719-765.

L. Mayoral and D. Ray (2016), "Groups in Conflict: Size Mat5ers, But Not in the Way You Think," mimeo., Department of Economics NYU.


Esteban, J., Mayoral, L. and D. Ray (2012), "Ethnicity and Conflict: An Empirical Investigation," American Economic Review 102, 1310-1342.

Montalvo, J. and M. Reynal-Querol (2005), "Ethnic Polarization, Potential Conflict and Civil Wars," American Economic Review 95, 796--815.

Miguel, E., Satyanath, S. and E. Sergenti (2004), "Economic Shocks and Civil Conflict: An Instrumental Variables Approach," Journal of Political Economy 112, 725--753.

Esteban, J., Mayoral, L. and D. Ray (2012), "Ethnicity and Conflict: Theory and Facts," Science 336, 858 - 865.

Dal Bó, E., and P. Dal Bó (2011), "Workers, Warriors and Criminals: Social Conflict in General Equilibrium," Journal of the European Economic Association 9, 646-677.

Dube, O. and J. Vargas (2013), "Commodity Price Shocks and Civil Conflict: Evidence from Colombia," forthcoming, Review of Economic Studies.

Notes: For more on the relationship between per-capita income and conflict, see Collier and Hoeffler (2004) or Miguel (2005). For more on the measurement of polarization, see Esteban and Ray (1994), or Duclos, Esteban and Ray (2004). The theoretical link between polarization and conflict is first explored in Esteban and Ray (1999). On the salience of ethnic conflict, see Esteban and Ray (2008).