2019 “Inequality Trends around the Mediterranean” Conference


The rising trends of inequality are hitting developed and developing countries in different ways. The Mediterranean area constitutes notably an interesting case, because European countries overlooking the Northern side experienced a pronounced increase in inequality in the last decades, while MENA countries showing on the Southern side faced diverging trends in inequality, often associated with political instability. A call was launched early 2019 to exploit the richness of harmonized data offered by LIS and the Economic Research Forum (ERF), the two institutions have joined forces to offer access to the largest database available on harmonized income and expenditure/consumption data, to enable researchers to easily conduct socio-economic analysis of various dimensions of inequality using all datasets available from both of the institutions. 10 papers were accepted under this call. This conference is intended to provide a platform for discussing the findings of these 10 research papers, and bring insights from different stakeholders including researchers, policymakers and media.

Conference Objectives

The primary objective of the conference is to provide a platform for the discussion of research findings among a well-informed diversified audience, including international experts, regional academics and policymakers and the media.

Conference Organization

The conference took place in Cairo on the 5th of December 2019 at the ERF Premises and hosted participants from the MENA region, Europe, and different parts of the world, with the presence of Francisco Ferreira (World Bank) as the Keynote Speaker.

Conference Agenda

The Conference Final Agenda is available here.

Video Presentations

Session 1: Opening Session

Keynote Speaker:
Francisco Ferreira; Is Inequality Really Increasing Everywhere?

Lead Commentator:
Khalid Abu-Ismail; UN- ESCWA

Session 2: Inequality, Labor & Migration

Moderator: Paul Makdissi; University of Ottawa

Carsten Schröder, Matteo Targa, and Patrick Burauel; Job Polarization and Inequality in a Worldwide Perspective

Björn Nilsson and Racha Ramadan; The effect of Migration on Income Distributions Around the Mediterranean

Session 3: Income Inequality

Moderator: Daniele Checchi; LIS Cross National Data Center in Luxembourg

Ioannis Bournakis, Antonio Savoia, and Francesco Savoia; Income Inequality Convergence Across Egyptian Regions

Vladimir Hlasny, Lidia Ceriani, and Paolo Verme; Accounting for Negative and zero Incomes from the Welfare and Capabilities Perspectives: the Case of Mediterranean Surveys

Session 4: Inequality, Poverty & Education

Moderator: Hala Hattab; British University in Egypt

Fateh Belaid; Fuel Poverty Exposure and Drivers: A comparison of Vulnerability Landscape Between Egypt and Jordan

Reham Rizk and Ronia Hawash; Inequality of opportunity in education: Estimates from Recentered Influence Function Regressions in the MENA region

Open Discussion

Session 5: Income Distribution & Real Exchange Rate

Moderator: Ahmed Ghoneim; Cairo University

Francesco Figari and Luca Gandullia; The Effects of Taxes and Benefits on Income Distribution in the European Union and in the MENA Countries

Ahmed Mohamed Ezzat; Income inequality effects on real exchange rate: Do differentials between tails matter?

Special Session: ERF-ESCWA Report on “Rethinking Inequality in Arab States”

Moderator: Sherine Ghoneim; Economic Research Forum

Paul Makdissi; University of Ottawa

Khalid Abu Ismail; UN ESCWA

Lead Commentators:

Francisco Ferreira; the World Bank

Daniele Checchi; LIS Cross National Data Center in Luxembourg


Conference papers will be available as part of the LIS Working Papers Series.