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Inequality: Wealth, Behaviour and Society


Dr Marta Guerriero

Module Leader

Option - Second and Final years
Term 2
10 lecture hours
10 seminar hours
5 hours of film screenings
1 hour individual supervision

Available to students outside GSD by application

Please note: The information on this page relates to the 2018-19 academic year.

Principal Aims

  • Critically reflect on the UN’s decision to integrate inequality into the sustainable development agenda (SDG 10: “Reduced inequalities”) and examine the relationship between inequality and sustainability.
  • Analyse how inequality shapes our economy, behaviour and society, using cross-disciplinary theories and evidence from empirical data, case studies and behavioural experiments.
  • Engage with the most current research on inequality and examine the perspectives of different disciplines, such as social economics, public policy, behavioural science, political economy and history.

Principal Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of this module, students will be able to:

  • Identify and appraise key characteristics of, and recent developments in, inequality in modern societies, at a local/domestic level as well as in a more global context.
  • Critically analyse the current debate around inequality and socio-economic-environmental sustainability, appreciate the complexities of these problems and recognise the challenges faced by policy makers who aim to resolve them.
  • Demonstrate advanced knowledge of various cross-disciplinary theories and empirical evidence on the determinants of inequality, its consequences, and people’s attitudes to it.
  • Demonstrate an ability to undertake and critically review research on issues relating to inequality.


  1. Does inequality matter? Justice, happiness and efficiency
  2. Income inequality: measurements and concepts
  3. Inequality of opportunities: prejudice, discrimination and segregation
  4. Inequality and environmental sustainability
  5. Does inequality shape behaviour?
  6. Does inequality “threaten democracy”?
  7. A historical outlook: how was inequality curbed in the past?
  8. Inequality, skill premium and “superstars”
  9. Automation, globalisation and inequality
  10. Attitudes to inequality: fairness and redistribution