As part of its two-year project on inequality in British society, the McDonald Centre welcomed a group of distinguished academics for a colloquium addressing historic and contemporary trends in economic inequality. Participants included Sir Andrew Dilnot, Warden of Nuffield College, Oxford, and Chairman of the UK Statistics Authority, Prof Donald Hay, former Head of the Social Sciences Division at the University of Oxford, and Dr Andrew Hood, Senior Research Economist at the Institute for Fiscal Studies. The event was chaired by Dr James Orr, McDonald Postdoctoral Fellow. Other contributors were: Brad Barlow, McDonald Student, M.Phil (Christian Ethics), Christ Church, Oxford; Prof Nigel Biggar, Regius Professor of Moral and Pastoral Theology and Director of the McDonald Centre; Edward David, D.Phil Student (Christian Ethics) and Research Assistant, McDonald Centre; Meg Scott, D.Phil Student (Sociology), Nuffield College, Oxford, and ICA Associate; and Stuart Ramsay, Associate Fellow at the McDonald Centre and Chief of Staff to John Glen MP.
Discussion in the morning sessions focused on issues arising from a recent report co-authored by Dr Hood for the IFS on living standards, inequality, and poverty in Britain. In the afternoon, attention turned to analysing wealth inequality and the plausibility of measures designed to reduce it. The event concluded with a session of critical reflection on some of the most influential recent work on the economics of income and wealth inequality. A second colloquium will be held in June this year to draw together some philosophical and theological perspectives on the ethics of inequality.