The Luxembourg Income Study (LIS), the Luxembourg-based data archive and research institute, will host an international research conference, June 28-30, 2010, entitled Inequality and the Status of the Middle Class: Lessons from the Luxembourg Income Study.

The conference, including an associated opening address by US economist and Nobel laureate Paul Krugman, will be co-sponsored by the Alphonse Weicker Foundation; the Luxembourg National Research Foundation (FNR); the University of Luxembourg; and the Ministry of the Economy/STATEC. In addition, core support to LIS, which supports the conference, has been granted by the Luxembourg Ministry of Culture, Higher Education and Research (MCESR).


Many LIS papers on inequality have been published in scientific journals and are widely cited. This conference is LIS' first international conference aimed at bringing together the rich, varied, and inter-disciplinary literature on inequality that has long drawn on the LIS databases. Inequality experts, individually and as a group, will clarify patterns of variation across countries and over time, allowing for a collective assessment of the state of the art of comparative inequality research.

Many recent studies, using multiple data sources, have concluded that a number of industrialized countries have experienced a "hollowing-out of the middle" as income distributions have become increasingly polarized. The nature, magnitude, and determinants of this polarization appear to vary across countries and over time, indicating the need for a systematic assessment. Thus, the conference will integrate a crucial sub-theme: the economic status of middle-class families and households.

The conference will culminate in a published volume, to be edited by LIS Director Janet Gornick and LIS Research Director Markus Jäntti.

Program and Papers

Download the Conference Program and Papers


Sixteen invited senior scholars - or teams of scholars - will present new research on the subject of inequality, with some attention paid to patterns and outcomes in the middle of the distribution. Thirteen of these papers will present cross-national analyses based on the Luxembourg Income Study (LIS) or Luxembourg Wealth Study (LWS) micro-data; some of these will contain data from other sources as well. Three additional papers will focus on inequality in countries that will soon be added to one of the LIS databases; these papers will cover, respectively, Japan, Iceland, and India.