Review of Income and Wealth, Co-Edited by Markus Jäntti

The most recent issue of the Review of Income and Wealth is a special issue focusing on poverty, development, and behavioural economics. This issue was guest edited by Ravi Kanbur (Cornell University), Jukka Pirttilä (University of Tampere), and LIS Research Director, Markus Jäntti. The issue features the published version of “Income Inequality, Redistribution and Poverty: Contrasting Rational Choice and Behavioural Perspectives” by Malte Luebker, for which he received the 2013 Aldi Hagenaars Memorial Award. Other topics covered in the edition include behavioral design, savings, social networks, contracts, cooperation, and inequality and poverty.

March 27, 2014 | News

Paul Krugman to Join LIS Team

Dear LIS Colleagues and Friends,

It is with distinct pleasure that I am sharing exciting news from the LIS Center, our satellite office at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York (CUNY).

Noted American economist Paul Krugman, 2008 winner of the Alfred Nobel Memorial Prize in Economics, and a keynote speaker at the 2010 LIS Conference on Inequality and the Middle Class, will be taking up a position as Distinguished Scholar in the LIS Center, effective July 2014.

In August 2015, Professor Krugman will leave his current post as professor at the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University and will join the faculty of the PhD Program in Economics at the Graduate Center. He will be nominated for the position of distinguished professor, CUNY’s highest honor.

Professor Krugman will be based in New York City and will continue both his biweekly opinion column in the New York Times, and his uncommonly popular New York Times-based blog, “The Conscience of a Liberal.” He announced his decision in a blog post today

Paul Krugman’s appointment to the LIS Center underscores LIS’ and the Graduate Center’s engagement in the growing international public conversation about socio-economic inequality. Tony Atkinson applauded the news and invited me to share his excitement with you: “As President of LIS, I greatly welcome Paul Krugman’s attachment with the work of the LIS Center.” LIS founding director Timothy Smeeding was similarly pleased. “I know that Paul will make good use of the LIS data as he studies and writes about real world problems.”

Paul Krugman will join LIS’ growing roster of senior scholars, which now includes Professors Louis Chauvel and Conchita D’Ambrosio, at the University of Luxembourg, and Professor Branko Milanovic, based at the LIS Center in New York City. All of us at LIS are delighted to welcome him to the LIS team!

Janet Gornick


February 28, 2014 | News

LIS Seeks Associate Director

Associate Director, LIS

LIS, the cross-national data center in Luxembourg (formerly known as the Luxembourg Income Study), seeks applications for an Associate Director.

The LIS Associate Director will collaborate with the LIS Director on a range of activities:

  • establish LIS’ objectives/goals on ongoing basis
  • lead and manage the organization
  • oversee LIS’ senior onsite staff as they carry out core activities and responsibilities
  • direct LIS’ research, teaching, and training activities
  • raise and maintain funding
  • build relations with LIS’ partners and sponsors in Luxembourg and internationally.

Candidates should have a strong record of research and scholarship, ideally related to income distribution, labor markets, demography, or related areas. Fluency in English is required.

The Associate Director is expected to spend at least 4 weeks/year in Luxembourg. The position is part-time, and a modest annual stipend is provided.

Send a letter of interest, CV, and names/contact information for three references to Professor Tony Atkinson, Chair of Search Committee, at The letter of interest should describe the applicant’s experience in scholarship/research (including experience with LIS); data production/infrastructure; and administration, management, and fundraising.

Priority will be given to applications received by 31 March 2014, although applications will be reviewed until the position is filled. Position start date is 1 January 2015.

February 13, 2014 | News

2014 LIS Introductory Summer Workshop

The next LIS Introductory Summer Workshop will be held 29 June – 5 July 2014, at the University of Luxembourg campus.

The winner of the 2014 Aldi Hagenaars Award will be invited to present his or her paper.

Our annual Summer Lecture will also be taking place that week.

2014 Workshop Application – deadline is 1 April 2014

Participants are responsible for their own tuition and transportation to and from Luxembourg. The €1,500 tuition covers instructional materials, single-occupancy accommodations, and full board.

January 31, 2014 | News

Conversation on inequality with LIS Director Janet Gornick and World Bank economist Branko Milanovic, moderated by CUNY Interim Chancellor William Kelly

LIS Director Janet Gornick and World Bank economist Branko Milanovic participated in a discussion on income inequality with William Kelly, the Interim Chancellor of CUNY. The event took place at the Roosevelt Center at Hunter College (CUNY).

December 4, 2013 | News

Watch Video From Income Inequality Book Launch, Moderated by Branko Milanovic

Watch the video of the panel and discussion from the November 4th book launch. The discussion and Q&A ran about one and a half hours.

Editors Janet Gornick and Markus Jäntti present  Income Inequality: Economic Disparities and the Middle Class in Affluent Countries with contributing authors.

Moderated by Branko Milanovic, expert on global income inequality.

November 4, 2013 | News

The LIS Center in New York welcomes Hicham Ait Mansour.

LIS is pleased to welcome the arrival of Hicham Ait Mansour, a Fulbright Scholar. Hicham is a Sociology PhD Candidate at Mohamed V University in Rabat, Morocco. During his time with LIS, Hicham will be working on his PhD dissertation on child poverty in Morocco; his study uses a multidimensional approach. In partnership with the LIS Center and the UNICEF Policy and Strategy Division, Hicham will also be contributing to a research project on measuring child poverty in middle-income countries.

October 23, 2013 | News

American Sociological Association Session Features Presentation About LIS

LIS Director Janet Gornick gave a presentation at the American Sociological Association Annual Meeting in August. Her presentation highlighted LIS’ harmonisation process, access to the LIS databases, and examples of research using LIS and LWS data. The session, organized by Patricia White of the US National Science Foundation (NSF), presented four prominent data sources that are funded by the NSF. Other presentations concerned IPUMS-International, the School Attendance Boundary Information System, and the General Social Survey.

Below are the slides from Janet Gornick’s presentation.

September 4, 2013 | News

Read Tony Atkinson’s Foreword to Our New Book

Sir Tony Atkinson, President of the LIS Board, is a professor of economics at Oxford University and one of the world’s leading scholars on economic inequality. We are delighted that he was able to contribute to our new book, “Income Inequality: Economic Disparities and the Middle Class in Affluent Countries.” In addition to contributing a chapter on the definitions of “middle class,” Professor Atkinson also penned the book’s foreword.

The foreword is reprinted with permission below.
To purchase the book online from Stanford University Press, click here.


Anthony B. Atkinson

I am delighted that one of my first tasks as president of LIS is to contribute the foreword to this book edited by Janet Gornick, director of LIS, and Markus Jäntti, research director. I have been associated with LIS since the early days of its 30-year history, and I have followed with great interest its development and expanding horizons. And, as a researcher, I have benefited much from using LIS data.

The history is important. It is thanks to the farsightedness of LIS’s founders, Gaston Schaber, Lee Rainwater (its first research director), and Tim Smeeding (its first director), that researchers today have access to the comparable cross-country data provided by LIS via its two databases—the Luxembourg Income Study (LIS) and the Luxembourg Wealth Study (LWS)—that have been employed to such advantage in this book. The assembly of microdatasets and, above all, the ex post harmonization of the data according to a common template involve a major investment of time. Such social science infrastructure cannot be created overnight.

We should therefore be looking ahead to future needs and be planning the infrastructural investments that we need to make today. Such planning is particularly important at the present time because of the major threat to one of LIS’s core ingredients: the household survey. Despite the advances in technology and methodology, household surveys are labor-intensive and expensive, and around the world national statistical offices are subject to budget cuts. The survey instrument itself faces its own problems in the form of declining response rates and inability to expand the range of questioning to meet the increased need for data linked across different domains. These concerns have led to increased interest in the use of administrative records and to the exploration of data linkage methods. However, it is important that such developments continue to provide individual researchers with the kind of access currently available via LIS.

LIS has been expanding its geographical coverage, and this is most welcome. Thus, while the chapters in this book largely concentrate on high-income countries, future LIS-based research will be able to encompass important middle-income countries. Each such development, however, leads one to ask for more. How else could the scope of LIS be widened? One priority immediately suggests itself. The economic crisis has highlighted the need for both up-to-date data and annual data. The events in which we are interested, such as the financial crisis that began in 2007, do not occur neatly vis-à-vis the intervals between waves of LIS data. Although LIS has shortened the interval from five to three years, more frequent data and more up-to-date data are needed, and this will require additional resources. Expansion means investment.

Substantively, the chapters in this book clearly demonstrate the importance of looking at the distribution as a whole. We cannot focus on just one part of the distribution in isolation. Some economists say that they are concerned about poverty but not about inequality. However, as Richard Tawney famously noted in 1913, “What thoughtful rich people call the problem of poverty, thoughtful poor people call with equal justice a problem of riches.” In between is situated the “middle class,” and this book reflects increased interest in distributional changes affecting those around the median. For those who see the growth of a middle class as a sign of development and as a guarantee of democracy, there are concerns about the possible “hollowing out of the middle” in high-income countries. It is perhaps reassuring to remind ourselves that such concerns are not new. In The Grasmere Journal, Dorothy Wordsworth in May 1800 records that a neighbor “talked much about the alteration of the times and observed that in a short time there would be only two ranks of people, the very rich and the very poor.” The difference today is that the observations that we make about “the alteration of the times”—like those in this book—can be more firmly based in empirical evidence.


Tawney, Richard. 1913. “Poverty as an Industrial Problem,” Inaugural Lecture, Memoranda on the Problems of Poverty. London: William Morris Press.

Wordsworth, Dorothy. 2002. The Grasmere and Alfoxden Journals. Oxford: Oxford University Press

July 15, 2013 | News

2013 LIS Summer Workshop Completed

This past Saturday marked the end of the 2013 LIS Summer Workshop. The workshop, which has been held annually since 1988, features a mix of lectures and hands-on laboratory sessions. This year, lectures were given by LIS Director Janet Gornick, Research Director Markus Jäntti, and members of the LIS staff. The week-long workshop introduced attendees to diverse applications of the LIS and LWS Databases.

This year, the workshop hosted 28 attendees from several supranational organisations, data providers, and universities. This year’s class came from nearly 20 countries.

LIS staff members and workshop attendees celebrate the final night of the workshop at the Château Bourglinster.

July 9, 2013 | News